Flashback Friday

This is a meme i have seen around. This one is from Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee (a blogging friend i have made). I've not really run with it before, but this one caught my attention and spoke to me some.Who knows, maybe it will become a regular...

Did your family attend church when you were growing up? What are your earliest memories of church? Did you attend VBS (Vacation Bible School) when you were young? Sunday School? Other church activities? Was faith a Sunday-only thing or did it impact your life and the things you did? If faith and church were not a part of your growing-up years, when and how did you begin and what drew you to God?

My earliest memories of church were when my mom had to take us to a Nanny/Sitter during the week in Philadelphia, PA.We would walk to school by, and some times attend a weekday service of some kind with them.  My memories of that church are of the black/dark gray stonework exterior, and a not very well lit interior.  On weekends during this same time, my mom would put my brother and i on a bus that came through our neighborhood to take kids to Sunday School.  I don't remember much beyond that.

While i lived with my father in NYC (after my mother had almost killed herself, and during a two year(ish) custody battle, my only memories of anything church related was a Catholic Church on the corner of the block we lived on.  This one also had a stone exterior, but where the one in Philly was a course finish and dark, this one was smooth and white.  We never attended (that i remember) church services during this time, but i do remember 'terrorizing' the congregants as they exited mass, or from a wedding.  Zipping by on my bike, or playing cops and robbers with the neighborhood kids.

After my mom regained custody of my brother and i, i remember my mom doing things like getting us involved with the local Youth group at a nearby church at times.  That church was a more modern architectural design.  Lot's of windows and a gym come to mind.

Later, i remember actually going to a Korean Church service with my friend from school.  The services were all in Korean... i had no idea what they were saying.

The summer i spent with my cousins in West Virgina (THE absolute best summer of my entire childhood) brings memories of a more traditional Southern style building.  My oldest cousin (I called him "Uncle", and still do) was the Pastor at the Baptist church there.  A white building with steps from the outside leading up to the sanctuary.  Long additions for classrooms, etc.  In the sanctuary long wooden pews on a wood floor.  We sat in the front row every Sunday.  I remember the first one or two Sundays falling asleep right there in front of everybody.  This was also the first summer i remember attending VBS,  I made some good friends (but due to a character flaw of mine - never kept in touch), and some good memories.

My last memory of church as a child is of being taken by the mother of a guy who my mom was "attached" to.  One story building, wooden pews and wooden floors.  When communion came i got up and went forward.  I remember they used real wine (instead of grape juice) and it was unexpected.  Growing up with my mom, and a few other experiences, i was not real keen on such things.  So when i left that morning the preacher/pastor/minister/priest asked me what i thought of the service.  All i could think of to say was that i didn't like the taste of the wine.

God took His time leading me to Himself.  I truly believe that He used all of these experiences in my life.  Although i did not surrender my life to Him until i was in my twenties, He was slowly, persistently, calling to me.  Revealing Himself ever so slightly to a very fragile young man.  A boy who could not really make sense of the ever changing world around him, who was tossed on the waves of life, but every so often would crest a wave and catch a glimpse of Him standing upon the waves waiting patiently.


Wednesday Wickedness - 20100729 (Thursday edition)

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Wickedness. We are like other memes in that we will ask you ten questions each and every Wednesday. But our little "twist" is that each week we will pick a famous person and pick ten of their quotes. Each of our questions will be based on the quotes. Got it? Great! Let's begin this week's meme!

Today we picked Mick Jagger. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. “A good thing never ends.” Have you ever had a good thing in your life that never ended?
My marriage to my Beloved.  We are going on eighteen years, and they really are getting better as each day/week/month/year roll by.  God uses her in my life to help reveal sin in my life, He uses her to show me His care and love, she is my soulmate, my helpmate, my lover, my best friend, my best advocate, my confidant, she really is my bestest buddy in the whole world.

2. “I got nasty habits, I take tea at three.” Do you have an nasty habits?
'Nasty' is truly a relative term (from a human perspective).  It all depends on what you view as 'nasty'.  I do have some bad habits though.  I tend to not follow God with my whole heart, mind, and soul day in and day out.  8/  This in turn contributes to all of the other 'nastiness' in my life.

3. “I'd rather be dead than to be singing Satisfaction at 45.” He obviously changed his mind. What is something that you still do that you thought you' outgrow?
I thought i would have outgrown being as selfish and impatient as i am.  I am humming along, thinking i am doing really well and then BAM!

4. “Lose your dreams and lose your mind.” Have you lost any of your dreams as time went by?
Actually i have.  One was to be a Preacher/Teacher.  For many reasons, many still not fully known by this author, this is not one that has come about.  Overall i think this is a good thing because if it were to become a reality, i need to be more concerned with His glory being proclaimed, and not mine.  The other... i've wanted to know how to play an instrument, either the keyboard or Irish whistle or both, for as long as i can remember.  Life just conspires to defer this dream ever onward.

5. “I haven't had time to return to the scene because I never left it.” As you've grown older, what ways are you still act and think the way you did as when you were younger?
I have a really hard time thinking of myself as getting older, so i tend to not think about things long term.

6. “Patriotism is something that fades when the war starts.” How do you react to this quote?
I think most people don't really understand what it takes when it comes to 'drawing the sword'.  War is supposed to be the last resort when politicians fail.  "Supporting the Troops", in my opinion, means that helping give them the tools, the time, and the goals to complete the mission.  Thomas Jonathon Jackson (aka Stonewall) said it best, "The time for war has not yet come, but it will come, and that soon; and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard."

7. “The past is a great place and I don't want to erase it or regret it, but I don't want to be its prisoner either.” Is there a person in your life who still treats you as the same person to when your were younger? Do you like it?
I cannot think of anyone like that in my life.

8. “It's all right letting yourself go, as long as you pull yourself back.” Have you let yourself go in any aspect of your life?
My physical fitness.  When i was younger i loved to work out, i especially loved to run long distances.  As i've gotten older though i've not allotted the time that it takes to keep maintain it.  Now i have gained enough weight that it hurts to run now... But, my Beloved has purchased an eliptical for me to use... very easy on the knees... but again... i've not allotted the time it takes...

9. “My mother has always been unhappy with what I do. She would rather I do something nicer, like being a brick layer.” How do you parents feel about what you do?
My mother passed away in 2000, and i am not really sure what she thought.  My father approves (i am pretty sure), but again i am not really sure.

10. “Anarchy is the only slight glimmer of hope.” How would you categorize your political point of view?
I have always leaned to the "right", even when i was earning minimum wage and under-insured, etc.  But of late i am getting more and more disillusioned with the system of government here in the U.S.. Any system of government that is above the very laws that they pass for the general populace, and continues to spend beyond its means, and i could go on, needs some revamping in my opinion.  While it is not a perfect party, i am becoming more and more affiliated with the Tea Party of America.  This country at the very least needs a successful third (and maybe even a 4th) political party to truly balance out the power.


Ramblings of the Geek kind...

Although my life  is not nearly as interesting as most (if not all) of the Tilly Hat testimonials, i really like my Tilly hat  My beloved is not as enamored with it as i am, but after over 15 years of trying to find a hat that we both liked i had given up.  We were at Hershey Park and the sun was brutal.  I had tried several other full brim hats but the only thing she seemed to concede to was traditional baseball style hats, but i got tired of repositioning it every time i moved in relation to the sun.  Well, just about the time i was getting increasingly frustrated with my ball cap i saw a woman with a really nice hat, so i asked her where she had gotten it.  That was when i was first introduced to Tilley hats.  Fast forward a couple of weeks and i am exploring Tilley's website, and i order my hat.  Me beloved just smiles and shakes her head.  I've told her, "Oh, the hat plays!" Fast forward to this past Friday, and we are back at our favorite amusement park (that we can afford, and travel to relatively easily), Hershey Park.  The heat was incredible.  We had just gotten there and walked to where we usually start our visit (out towards the Fahrenheit), i was just sitting there waiting for THUMPER, and the sweat was just dripping off of me.  Eventually i couldn't take the heat anymore... i took the ice from my cup of ice water and filled the map pocket.  This created a cool "pocket" (no pun intended) that kept the head cool, with both the slowly melting ice and evaporating water really kept my noggin cool, which in turn kept the rest of me cool.

There is something about the smell of a computer room.  The A/C and the unique smell of warm electronic equipment "humming" along in a constant struggle to maintain a cool temperature, the vibration of the various fan motors stirring the air to sustain this conflict.  Even walking on an elevated floor knowing that probably literally miles of cable all snake between various points to allow every computer in the building to not only interact with the other computers, but the various servers.  And not just "in house", but with other offices not just several miles, but states, and even other continents via the WWW.  I think my affinity for such things, and the fact my mind can (sort of) picture data flows and how it interacts with configurations and hardware, is why i really enjoy the Matrix and Tron movies.  I think it is also why i like shows like Johnny Mnemonic and Max Headroom, even though i have NEVER played, games like Cyber Punk and Shadowrun.

Speaking of TRON, i am getting geek giddy over TRON: Legacy due out in December. This movie has been literally decades in the making.  TRON: Legacy, in its current form, was first presented to Disney by way of a "Concept Trailer" which was then shared at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2008.  Once Disney saw the reaction from the fan base there they agreed to finance the project.

So, then however movie making companies, like Disney, go forward writing and filming began to take place.  Then at last years Comic Con Disney really stepped up their 'viral marketing campaign'.  Several Encom marketing press conferences, a new trailer for the movie, and several other web pages.  To be honest i have lost track of them all, but it has been impressive.  The New York Time recently wrote an article on the changing dynamics that studios have to go through to market movies and even TV shows.

Disney even kept up the fanbase, and the movie marketplace, gently fed with rumor and pictures, and other eye candy.  I know my friends on facebook are beginning to get concerned about my apparent obsession with this movie.  I know it is just a movie, and even when finished will not be near in epic in scope like the Lord of the Rings movies, but this may be the first 3D movie i ever see in theaters.  I am already planning on having a "guys night" planned.  perhaps catching the movie on Saturday afternoon and we all head out for steaks afterward.

I am really enjoying the visuals and the sneak peaks that have been put out for this movie.  I think Disney will have a success with this movie... but only time will tell.  I even enjoy the geek toys like the keyboard and mouse set up, as well as several of the toys being planned.

There is still a part of me that does not understand why God made me this way.  I struggle to make friends IRL.  I think i have more cyber friends than i do flesh and blood ones.  I don't get a lot of social cues - but i have learned a lot and have come a long way since High School (fellow Aspies out there take heart).  I struggle to maintain eye contact, or even to sit still when agitated for any reason (makes having 'intense' discussions with my Beloved very difficult).  I have trouble remaining focused on any one thing, even during prayer.  And yet, the way God has made me... i can literally visualize data streams and how they flow.  Sometimes down to the packet header level.  At times, i have been called to break it all the way down to the bit level.  I also do not seem to have too much difficulty putting the various pieces together from throughout the Bible.  While i am far from perfect, i am enjoying who i am.  A person who likes to wear hats, who enjoys sitting at the feet of God, who enjoys the Cyberpunk and Post Apocalyptic genres, who loves his Beloved bride, and all of the "packaging" i continue to struggle with in order to be conformed into the image of my Savior, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:26-30). 
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. [1] Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14, ESV)
Last night my Beloved came home from THUMPER's last basketball game of the summer and saw me watching the original TRON movie.  She then proceeded to ask me, "would you please stop telling people on Facebook that you like this movie!"  I told her, i can't do it.  "I am who i am, and i can't be anything else." She will just have to take me as i am, Tilley hat wearin', TRON watchin' socially flawed person that i am.  Because God has seen me as i am, taken the initiative to reach out to me, and has been slowly working to transform me into the image of His Son... and with the exception of these things possibly being an idol in my life, i do not think it matters in the overall scheme of things.


Music Monday - 20100726 - the evening edition

I took a long weekend to get some errands done, and to visit with my "favorite sister-in-law" and her two really cool girls.  (Sorry, no funny nick names for them yet... )  On Thursday i took care of personal errands.  Friday we headed to Hershey Park.  Wow that was hot day, but a fun time was had by all.  By the time Saturday came around my Beloved and i were feeling the lasting affects of heat exhaustion. 

I have dealt with heat exhaustion over my years.  Especially during my times with the National Guard.  I've learned to not only be preemptive, but to learn how to "push through" it.  Sometimes, no matter how much water you drink, or sodium you put into your body, it will just not handle the heat.  I've struggled with the heat since coming home with the flu from school one year.  I was so sick i didn't leave the couch i collapsed on until i went to the hospital with dehydration.  It sucks.  Not much you can do except just muddle through it and continue to drink adequate fluids and ensure proper diet.  The body will bounce back, but you have to take care of it.  Since i am more used to dealing with this i have been trying to help my Beloved stay in a rest state.  Yesterday i took THUMPER, PIRATE, and PUMPKIN to the early service and let my Beloved sleep in.  I arrived a little late to the service for reasons i shan't go into here, but at the end the worship team sung the song that seemed to express my hearts desire, and thus i thought i would use it for today:
The More I seek You
by Kari Jobe

The more i seek you,
the more i find you
The more i find you, the more I love you

I wanna sit at your feet
drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath, here your heart beat
This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming

For me it fit my desire to draw closer and closer to Christ.  I want to sit at His feet, i want to just be near Him.  And yet, unless the Father open my mind and my heart, my desire would never have been such.  I've remembered thinking how it would be to recline at the Last Supper like the Disciple John did.  To be among Jesus' followers and to walk with them, to see what they saw, and to hear what they heard.  And yet... i fall short of even my own basic desires.  I often allow distractions to interfere with my quiet times, and that is frustrating.  I long for the day when i no longer have to look as into a dim mirror.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:9-12, ESV)
After surfing around Kari Jobe's website i may have found yet another new "young" artist (i have no idea how old she is, only younger than me ) that i enjoy.  She seems to have a heart for God that, from what i can tell so far, comes through in her music.  It is wonderful to hear.


Microfiction Monday - 20100726

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, 
where a picture paints 140 characters, or even fewer.


How is it that I am chosen among so many?  What will the future hold?  What wonders to behold!

I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to His word.

Your Turn!  

About Microfiction Monday
Microfiction means the shortest of short stories. Think Aesop's fables, comic strips, or even jokes: complete stories that can be told in under a minute. For this game, the limit is a tweetable 140 characters or fewer. 

Hate counting letters and spaces? Try Design 215's character counter, which will count for you as you type. Microsoft Word will count for you too, of course, as part of its word count feature under the 'Review' tab.
Photos will be from my own archives; illustrations are from Dover Publications' free clipart sample newsletter.

And finally, why 140? A whole new fiction market has arisen via mobile phone texting and Twitter, who limits 'tweets' to 140 characters including spaces and punctuation. It's fast, it's fiction, it's fun. 

I joined this meme thread from a fellow parent dealing with an Autistic child: Susan @ Stony River: a writing life


Wednesday Wickedness - 20100721

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Wickedness. We are like other memes in that we will ask you ten questions each and every Wednesday. But our little "twist" is that each week we will pick a famous person and pick ten of their quotes. Each of our questions will be based on the quotes. Got it? Great! Let's begin this week's meme!

Today we picked Ellen Degeneres. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. "I was coming home from kindergarten--well they told me it was kindergarten. I found out later I had been working in a factory for ten years. It's good for a kid to know how to make gloves." How old were you when you started working and what was your first job?
I was 14 or 15.  I started delivery newspapers with my dog, a Welsh Corgi.  Man i loved that job.  Early in the morning, no one around to bother you.  It didn't last though because i absolutely hated having to go around and collect the money.  I don't remember caring about the paychecks... not sure if that is really the case though.  I also remember recruiting my friends to help me out when we pulled all-nighters.

2. "My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is." Tell us about your grandparents.
I didn't really know my biological grand mothers very well.  My Maternal Grandmother passed away when i was 2ish.  My Paternal Grandmother was divorced from my Paternal Grandfather who was a Sailor in World War II. After the Navy he worked with Chemicals.  After he retired from Dupont, he became a Chef.  Pretty cool in my opinion.  My Maternal Grandfather enlisted in Army Air Corp during WW II.  He was an excellent musician (so i am told).  He outlived two wives that he has been married to for over 25 years each.  My Maternal GF was a "complicated" man, but God used him to witness to me in various ways.

3. "Procrastination isn't the problem, it's the solution. So procrastinate now, don't put it off." Do you procrastinate or are you on top of the situations?

I try and force myself to take care of whatever matters i can as soon as possible.  Why?  Because if i don't i then put it off, and put it off, and put it off... you get the idea.  I was once employed to send out a company's summer sales flier.  They had them printed, all i needed to do was put the addresses on them, sort them, and get the to the post office.  I waited until the morning they absolutely had to be in the mail by.  That about "killed" me.

4. "Sometimes you can't see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others." What would others say about you?
LOL, Um... doesn't this defeat the purpose of the question?  I am pretty sure whatever i think is tainted by personal bias.  To be honest i am not inclined to care too much what other think about me.  Which is odd... because i really take it personally when someone disagrees with me... So, anyone who has read this blog and/or knows me in real life... please feel free to answer this question.

5. "The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there aren't any space aliens. We can't be the best that creation has to offer. I pray we're not all there is. If so, we're in big trouble" Do you believe in life on other planets?
No, not really.  While i am open to be wrong about this one, i am not convinced of intelligent life on other planets.  My Beloved does not agree with me on this one.  Life as defined by science though... amoebas, molds, maybe.  

6. "I'm a godmother, that's a great thing to be, a godmother. She calls me god for short, that's cute, I taught her that." Do you have a godchild?
Not that i am aware of... but i know my Beloved is on a lot of emergency contact lists.  To be honest, i am not real familiar with the whole Godparent deal.

7. "I don't understand the sizes anymore. There's a size zero, which I didn't even know that they had. It must stand for: 'Ohhh my God, you're thin.'" When was the last time that you were called too thin?
It had to be Jr. High.  I did not weigh over 100 pounds until i was 13 or 14.  It didn't help that i joined Cross Country in High School either.

8. "I have the worst memory ever so no matter who comes up to me - they're just, like, 'I can't believe you don't remember me!" I'm like, 'Oh Dad I'm sorry!'" Who was the last person that you should have recognized but didn't?
Thursday night.  I was out with a couple of friends and ran into a couple from the 'old' church i used to go to here in town.  I know them, they are nice people, but my brain could just not lock on to what their names where. 

9. "I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It's been about two months since I've worked out. And I just don't have the time. Which uh..is odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And uh..and watch tv. And get a bone density test. And uh.. try to figure out what my phone number spells in words." Do you work out? Have you ever joined a gym and quit almost immediately?
I am not currently working out, even though i really want and need to.  I have joined both a Tae Kwon Do gym, and a health center, but i didn't quit either immediately.  I enjoy it too much.  A local gym near me has a cardio room that runs movies 24x7... i would love that... i just need to make the rest of my life revolve around my workout schedule.  An important lesson i learned once... you will find time for the things that are important to you (and free time never schedules itself).

10. 'We use 10 percent of our brains. Imagine how much we could accomplish if we used the other 60 percent." Do you feel that you utilize all your intelligence in every situation?
No, not always.  I once asked my Drill Sergeant is opinion of me.  He told me that i tended to slack off when i thought no one was looking.  That would include both physical and mental tasks.


Random Tuesday Thoughts

One of the things i struggle with as a writer is the process of proof reading and editing.  Both when others are helping me, and when i try and do it myself.  I know if you want to do quality work it is a vital part of the process, and yet i find myself being impatient.  Yeve Eeffoc has been a WWW acquaintance who has been an incredible encouragement and help in this area.  But, she has a life of her own and sometimes my stories get lost in the shuffle, etc.  Well last week i finished up my commentary (from a Christian "samurai" perspective) of Miyamota Musashi's The Way of Walking Alone.  I asked seven friends to give it a look over and get back to me if there is anything that needs to be corrected.  It's been four and a half days!  LOL  See what i mean about not being very patient.  One person is on vacation this week, four of them i "dropped" it on them, and the other two were aware i was sending it (and so did the one going on vacation), but like i said before... they all have lives.  But i really am anxious to know what they think...
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34, ESV)
Over the weekend i finished a personal project.  It was a small woodshed to store firewood for the winter.  When i mean small, i mean that is only a 1/2 cord of wood in there.  I am really happy with it...proud might be a better word.  I built it with the scraps from the deck project, with the only additional materials needed were some lag screws and a sheet of plywood for the roof.  It's a really simple project, and most anyone in the world can, and do, do much bigger and complex projects, so i am not really sure why i am so 'puffed up' over this.

The movie TRON is not due out for 4 months 27 days and 16 hours (as of when this blog post will post), and i am still really looking forward to it.  I know it is just a movie, and i am not like a giddy school girl waiting for the Beatles to come, but i am also aware that there is a very good possibility that it is not going to be as good as the hype.  But i am interested in a lot of the press releases and all.  but i think that a lot of my facebook friends are thinking i am over doing it.  But this is what i do... when i am interested in something i like to learn as much as i can, and even share it on facebook.  I know the movie is also only going to be 90 minute movie, and i also know it is only a movie... so... am i doing something wrong?  I did this with The Book of Eli, and The Hobbit Movie, and my interests in Shadowrun, Flair, MouseHunt, etc.... I think i am beginning to understand why people block me on facebook... I don't really care if people like what i like, i am not trying to make them like those things, i am not trying to annoy anyone, i am not trying to boast somehow... i am only trying to share my interests... i am just being... well... me.  Is that wrong?


Music Monday - 20100719

In a way, this entry probably should have preceded my Music Monday from last Thursday, but this song is a wonderful compliment to that post.  As God is leading me through a "growing season" my finite selfish mind leads me to believe that God has forsaken me instead of actually helping me along the path He has for me.  

I want to say that God has forsaken me during these times of "trial", but the truth is i will NEVER be left alone like Christ experienced on the cross ~ suffering the wrath i deserved.  But because He did allow Himself to be suspended in my place, i can know that "[He] will never leave [me] nor forsake[me]" (Hebrews 13:5).  Words cannot adequately express how wonderful that promise is to me.
Never Alone
Barlow Girl

I waited for you today
But you didn't show
No no no
I needed You today
So where did You go?
You told me to call
Said You'd be there
And though I haven't seen You
Are You still there?

I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I"m never alone

And though I cannot see You
And I can't explain why
Such a deep, deep reassurance
You've placed in my life

We cannot separate
'Cause You're part of me
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen


We cannot separate
You're part of me
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen