Where to go, where to go

What a crazy week or so.  I say, "or so" because the days sort of all blur together recently. I am not railing against this, even though it is not my preferred life style, just acknowledging that this is something i am getting used to.  With my Beloved working i have been trying to keep up with the things she used to do.  This is not an every day thing, which in a way makes it harder for me.  Fortunately my Beloved encouraged me to get my first "smart" phone - an HTC EVO.  I really like this phone, but the relevant part here is that i am able to use a calendar and notepad app to help me keep track of who/what/when/where and sometimes even the how.  While i am still working on dealing with the anxiety and probable depression, it seems like it has been getting easier.  I have met with a counselor twice now.  While i sometimes struggle with feeling like i am somehow failing because i need to do this (see someone to help me through this time of transition), i also recognize that i do indeed need to do this.  Maybe not for very long, but for now.  The verse (in addition to some Bible study material that was shared) for this week was Isaiah 26:3-4:
You (God) keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.  (ESV)
Every once in a while a co-worker and i head to Panera Bread for lunch.  Man i really enjoy that place.  I usually get the tune sandwhich on whole grain, plus a whole grain bread-thing.  Oh, and a large ice tea.  There is something about their ice tea that it just plain outstanding.  I can see why so many people like going there.

Recently a cousin shared a link to a "new" blog that is there to help parents of children with Aspergers, aptly titled "My Aspergers Child".  There is a lot of good information to be had there.  I encourage anyone who works with, has a family member, is a parent of, even one yourself, to visit this blog.

Last, but not least, for my ramblingness today, i will touch on MouseHunt once more.  For me, the Halloween special event was pretty decent, despite me not being a Halloween-kind-of-guy.  Some interesting event mice, and a new trap called the Pumpkin Pmmeler.  Not one i will use very often because i already have what i consider to be a better Shadow-type trap, butfun to keep in a collection none-the-less.  I even went through the event a second time to get a second copy of the pieces parts so i can eventually construct the "Cackle Lantern" trap - which as far as i can tell, is the most powerful Shadow-trap thus far.  However, that thing will take a LONG time to be able to construct just in the sheer number of points and money it takes.  On a similar vein, i managed to assemble all of the parts i need for the best Physical, non-limited edition, trap - the RhinoBot, but when i went to assemble it... not "experienced" enough.  *sigh*  So, i am back to Tribal Isles (where i have just recently assembled the Ancient Spear trap... making me itch for Tier V back at the King's Gauntlet).  My Beloved does not quite understand my facination with this game... and i am not so sure i could explain it either.  Oh well... back to the hunt!


Random one sixth of a dozen - 20101027

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee is getting burned out, and i can't say that i am surprised.  it is hard work coming up with twelve fresh questions each and every week.  And on top of that, making each question interesting and not a repeat of one that has gone before.  I am not entirely sure, but there may be a grass roots effort to band together and help share the load of this meme.  If interested, surf over there and post a comment stating as much.

Due to Linda's dilema, she has only posted two questions for this week:

1. What scares you the most,  A) Physically and B) Emotionally? Why does it scare you, and how do you cope? ~To be honest, things that scare me are not things i normally dwell on. Physically i have a thing for falling.  I love to rappel, but then i know i am connected to a rope and i have "control".  But there is just something about falling that turns my stomach.  I also seem to have trouble with trying to help others who are injured.  Especially if i have time to think on it.  I can take an x-acto knife to my own body to cut out a deep splinter, but just using tweezers on someone else to do the same thing.  Emotionally, while i am still exploring this with a counselor, it would seem that i have issues with abandonment. I am not a very verbal communicator.  While i have had a few people tell me that i write well, when i am face to face not so much.  So, this makes me all the more grateful for the handful of friends i do have, especially IRL (i really like all of my cyber friends, but it's not entirely the same, sorry :) ).  They are a gift from God which i could not measure in a thousand years.

2. What comes to mind when you read the phrase, "Nothing gold can stay?" ~ It brought to mind tales of ancient civilizations ransacking some conquered neighbor.  To be honest, i am not sure what this means. 

That sums things up for this week... maybe i will have to go back to Wicked Wednesdays, but only time will tell.


The Way of Walking with Christ - based on a work of Miyamoto Musashi

10) Have no heart for approaching the path of love.
I will jump quickly to what Paul says on the matter:
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. (1 Corinthians 7:8, ESV)
What Miyamoto Musashi is talking about here is strictly from the point of view of having a completely devoted life to pursuing "The Way".  As a Christian samurai "The Way" is not the pursuit of Bushido, but the pursuit of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I can speak from personal experience on this one.  I have been married to a wonderful woman for over seventeen years, and i am very grateful to God for her in my life.  God uses this woman, and our children, in my life to help me grow.  However, my focus is not continually upon the Lord now that i am married.  I need to make sure that i am providing for her and our children.  The cares of the world creep up much more frequently because i cannot just dismiss this or that concern.  But, when one is single, it is much easier to focus solely on God.  You can think less of yourself and be more readily available.  Sort of like when Jesus sent out the seventy two.  (Luke 10)  He instructed them, "Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road." (Luke 10:4, ESV)  Ever try and travel with a baby?  You practically double your load. Now having said all this, not everyone is called to be single.
But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:9, ESV)
Being married does not eliminate you from being able to serve the Lord, but you need to understand that it is a restraint and your focus of learning and conforming is different than that of an unmarried/uninhibited follower of Christ.  If you are married, stay married, but if you are not... consider remaining single.  The whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 7 is an excellent illustration of God's instructions to us in this regard.


Misc. Ramblings, yet again

MouseHunt is putting on a little Halloween "special" event.  To help change things up for those who play the game, a few times a year the Developers of the game throw "special events".  Themes seem to be Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Chinese New Year and to celebrate the game's "Birthday" too.  Maybe even "normal" New Year stuff too, but i am not sure.  Anyway, they've also redone some of the pictures of the "normal" mice they have, plus opened up a seasonal special area: Haunted Territories.  I particularly like the cyborg-like event mice that are there.  Variety is the spice of life.

Speaking about Halloween.  I have never been a big fan of Halloween.  I take that back... i had a phase in my early ten years where i tried to embrace it, but in the back of mind it was creepy and unsettling.  As i've gotten older i have come to feel that Halloween is not something that should be embraced.  It has the feel of the glorification of death and evil things.  It has the feel of the attempt to make such things "normal", accepted, even admired to a degree.  Please do not misunderstand what i am saying, i am not judging or condemning those who embrace and enjoy this holiday.  It is not my place to do either.  I am only sharing my opinion on the matter.  The blog of a Pastor in Plano, TX, Gunny, had an excellent post regarding his thoughts on the matter.  It would seem that he and i are in the minority.

I had my first visit with a counselor last week.  It was a good visit, and i am very grateful that he was  Christian.  To be honest i was, and am, very nervous about my faith and beliefs being trivialized or discarded. Not that i have ever experienced that first hand, but it was a concern of mine.  We prayed before hand, and then since it was my first visit, we pretty much covered the basics, etc.  This is not a diagnosis, but it would seem i am struggling with "abandonment anxiety" probably stemming from my childhood.  I have a follow up visit scheduled for this week, and plan to continue for at least the short term.  In the interim he encouraged me to exercise (or get back in the habit) and to meditate on Philippians 4:4-7:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
While this is a "Duh!" moment, he reminded me to also meditate on how much, and how far, God has brought me.  And it has been helpful.  I have many friends who have mentioned that very thing has been an encouragement to them.  If for them... why not me?  8)

I am going to wrap this chaotic post up by saying that... i have lost my Flair image files!  I have no idea where i misplaced them... so... i will be working on rebuilding my image library once more.  I still LOVE the Flair app on Facebook and still skim through the pieces of flair, and i am still creating pieces to share.  As of the writing of this post i have over 6,400 flair points, just shy of 900 pieces of flair (no duplicates that i am currently aware of), and i have created over 225 pieces.  I hope to rectify this problem soon so i can begin to give my posts some color once more.


Random Dozen - 20101020 - the late edition

Poor Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee has some real life interference while trying to get her weekly meme offering ready.  Fortunately Mocha with Linda stepped in to help out.  \o/ Yeah!  Although i am a little late in getting this published, here is my weekly addition to the Random Dozen.

1. Do you prefer to read the book or see the movie? ~ Mostly, i prefer the movie.  Not because i don't want to read, but because i am a slow reader and my life is in a phase right now where it is hard to sit still for more than 15 minutes and really be able to just enjoy the time reading.  Why?  Because when i do sit down, and get all engrossed in a book (which i almost always do), i have a very hard time putting it down and getting back to real life things... like MouseHunt

2. What is your favorite holiday and why? ~ Christmas by a wide margin.  Even at a young age, before i accepted Christ, i knew the holiday was more than a time to get gifts.  For me it is truly a magical time of year.  A sense of awe comes over me.  Now that i am a Christian to meditate all that this celebration portents is something i don't think i can come close to fully expound on.  I know that the date which we currently celebrate Christmas is a "borrowed" date from Pagan mythology, it is not the date or time of year that is important to me, but the Celebration of God become man, His condescension to come down to the Earth and live the life He did, and His ultimate end... to die for me, and all who come to Him, on the cross.

3. Which do you like better - the mountains or the beach? ~ That is really hard to choose.  I absolutely love living in sight of the Blueridge Mountains, but my Beloved and i love going to the beach - especially in the off season.  The smell in the air, and the sound of the waves... very nice.  Both have their detractors, and both have their enjoyments... i can't choose... but if i must... the mountains by the slimmest of margins.

4. If money were no consideration, what vehicle would you drive? ~ A DeLorian.  I have no idea why other than i like the look of it.  From what i understand it was never a top of the line sports car, and there were other issues with the car as a whole, but i wouldn't mind having this car in my garage.

5. What is your favorite cold-weather beverage? ~ I really enjoy hot chocolate.  Especially when it is made with milk instead of water.  I can leave those tiny marshmallows though.  Those things are annoying to me.

6. How do you communicate most often with your friends: phone, email, text, face-to-face, or Facebook? ~ It is sad to say, but facebook has been a revolution to me.  It has really enabled me to reach out to friends who have moved away, or even who's life are as busy as mine is.  If not for facebook, i am not sure how i would be able to keep up with my friends.

7. How do you receive your mail? Mailbox on the porch, at the end of the driveway, down the street, or post office box? ~ Our mailbox is at the end of the driveway.  Fortunately the drive is not all that long.

8. Of the four basic personality types - sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic, and choleric - which is your strongest? Which is your least evident? ~ After review, and a confirmation request, i would say my strongest personality type is Melancholic, while the least evident is Sanguine.  Based off of the definitions listed below (as copied from Linda's page).  Although... the latter is not by a wide margin.

9. What do you miss the most about being 20? ~ Being able to roll out of bed and take an APFT and pass it. I also really enjoyed that time in the National Guard.  How does that saying go?  Being full of P__s and vinegar?  My nickname in the Guard back then was "High speed, low drag".

10. How long from the time you get up, does it take you to get ready to walk out the door in the morning? ~ I can do it in five minutes if i have to, with a little prior planning that is.  However, to do it properly, it will usually take me twenty minutes.

11. Who handles the car maintenance and pays the bills in your family? ~ I am "in charge" of making sure the cars are maintained.  Oil changed, inspection when needed, repairs, rotate tires, etc.  However, my Beloved tracks and handles the bulk of the bill paying.  To be honest, i was not always on top of things as i needed to be.

12. For those in the US, how many states have you visited? For those outside the US, how many provinces/other countries have you visited? ~ I have at least spent the night in twenty states, which actually surprised me (MA, CT, NY, PA, MD, VA, WV, NC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, AR, TX, OK, IL, OH, KY, and CA), and three countries outside of the U.S (Germany, Honduras, and Panama).  Even though i spent twenty two years in the Army National Guard, one thing i did get to do in uniform was travel (for training, not sight seeing).

The Sanguine temperament personality is fairly extroverted. People of a sanguine temperament tend to enjoy social gatherings, making new friends and tend to be quite loud. They are usually quite creative and often daydream. However, some alone time is crucial for those of this temperament. Sanguine can also mean very sensitive, compassionate and thoughtful. Sanguine personalities generally struggle with following tasks all the way through, are chronically late, and tend to be forgetful and sometimes a little sarcastic. Often, when pursuing a new hobby, interest is lost quickly when it ceases to be engaging or fun. They are very much people persons. They are talkative and not shy. For some people, these are the ones you want to be friends with and usually they become life long friends.

A person who is choleric is a doer. They have a lot of ambition, energy, and passion, and try to instill it in others. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic military and political figures were cholerics. They like to be leaders and in charge of everything.

A person who is a thoughtful ponderer has a melancholic disposition. Often very considerate and get rather worried when they could not be on time for events, melancholics can be highly creative in activities such as poetry and art - and can become occupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world. A melancholic is also often a perfectionist. They are often self-reliant and independent; one negative part of being a melancholic is sometimes they can get so involved in what they are doing they forget to think of others.

Phlegmatics tend to be self-content and kind. They can be very accepting and affectionate. They may be very receptive and shy and often prefer stability to uncertainty and change. They are very consistent, relaxed, rational, curious, and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats.


The Way of Walking with Christ - based on a work of Miyamoto Musashi

9) Do not complain or feel bitterly about yourself or others.
To complain is to challenge God's authority in your life.  When your focus is elsewhere, on how good someone else has it, or how hard your path is, you are no longer working to make progress on your own path.  You begin to desire what others have, and this leads to covetousness.
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? (John 21:21-23, ESV)
When we complain about our circumstances we are saying, "God, i do not like how You are leading me.  I know better than You."  And this is a dangerous place to be.  Job experienced this first hand, and the book in the Old Testament that chronicles his trials has page upon page of him proclaiming his innocence, and how he would challenge God that what he was going through was unfair.  His friends were not of much comfort either.  Only one of them (Elihu) extolled the virtues and character of God, and as a result, he was the only one not rebuked by God.  God's response?
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Dress for action like a man; will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements—surely you know!  Or who stretched the line upon it? (Job 38:1-5, ESV)
God continues to address Job for two chapters before Job is given a chance to respond.  These were his words:
Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?  I lay my hand on my mouth.  I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further. (Job 40:4-5, ESV)
But God is still not finished:
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.  Will you even put me in the wrong?  Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?  Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?  “Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor.  Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him.  Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand.  Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below.  Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you. (Job 40:6-14, ESV)
How can one think about even trying to respond, and yet God said so much more to Job when he addressed his concerns.  Since God considered Job a righteous man, and even went so far as to draw Satan's attention to the man, and then allow Satan to do what he did, i do not want to imagine how my dressing down would go.

In the end, if we claim to be followers of Jesus, our complete and utter trust is in Him, and our reward will be to be with Him in Heaven.  He is perfect and just.


Rambling for rambling sake

I had something (i thought was) profound to say earlier... but i am so tired my mind is all foggy right now.  So instead of trying to fake it, i will just ramble on and hopefully remember what it was before i get to the end of the blog post for today...

I may have blogged about this recently, but the Panthers are just plain awful this year.  The "bend-but-don't-break" philosophy has never been a favorite of mine.  Far too consistently i am seeing/hearing opposing teams having a 3rd and 5+, only for them to convert for a 1st down.  If you get a team to 3rd and long, their conversion rate should be sub .500 at best.  The Special teams does not appear to be winning the contest of field position either.  John Kasay has been doing well, but even he has not been 100% on his field goals.  Not all of the misses are on him, but he is on Special Teams... and well... they are struggling.  The Offense has been the worst of the three teams.  Last week i think the had less than 65 yards passing, and i am pretty sure the running game has yet to go over 100 yards in a game.  At the beginning of the season i was confident that the Panthers would go 7-9, and hopeful for a 9-7 season.  After seeing them go 0-5 into their bye week this week... i think 3-13 might be a stretch.  Don't get me wrong, i am STILL a Panthers fan, and if i had the money and could justify not using it in a more productive way... i would still want to go see them in Charlotte, but this year is a wash and i am on the sidelines with my friends who are Raiders, Lions and Browns fans wondering which team will get the overall #1 pick in the 2011 draft.  (Here's hoping there is a season to play in 2011 though - Owners...Players... i already can't afford to attend the games in person not consistently by the team brand merchandise... and i live in middle America.  Please keep that in mind moving forward.)

With interest rates at crazy historical lows my Beloved and i are looking into refinancing the house.  I just hope i can get all of my ducks in a row AND get an appointment with a mortgage person.  The part i don't like about refinancing is that A) it will extend the final payoff date some, and B) i will find out just how much my home really has "depreciated" since we bought it.  My Beloved and i are of one mind in that God has blessed us with the profit we made on the previous two homes we owned (aka mortgaged), and we are not planning on moving again any time soon... and it is all "paper" money anyway.  In the end it is only worth what the next owner is willing to pay for it.  We shall see.

Have i mentioned a game called MouseHunt before?  No?  Are you sure?  Well, anyway, there is a game on Facebook that is not like the build your own hotel/restaurant/city, etc.  MouseHunt is what is known as a 'passive' game.  That is you assemble a trap, a base and a type of bait.  You then work on various combinations to makeyour trap the most effective it can be.  And strategies change based where in the game you are.  What makes the game 'passive' is that you can "sound the horn" to make a trap check once every fifteen minutes.  but you do not have to interact with the game constantly either.  If you need to walk away you can, and the game will automatically check your trap once an hour, on the hour, but just like in real life... you have to be patient when you hunt.  This past weekend (8-11 October) HitGrab set up a scenario where a toxic spill happened in the Laboratory (one of the hunting locations) where hunters were encouraged to go and gather up the Radioactive Sludge - which is in turn used to craft a specific type of cheese (bait) to attract a specific breed/group of mice.  It is things like that that enhance and prolong my enjoyment of this game.  For some it does not move fast enough, not exciting enough, but for me it is a classic.  You need to vary your strategy, you can "collect" the various breeds of mice, collect the various traps and bases.  There are even different kinds of "journal entries" to be found and enjoyed (IMO) and other "collectibles".  Last weekend i was able to add three more mice to my "collection".  LOL.  I only wish that i didn't have to smash some of my traps in order to make new ones.  Oh well, i will just have to eventually regain the old - now obsolete - trap... you know... just to collect them. 8)

Depression is not always that feeling like you are going to go over the edge.  For me it's the sense of just not being able to do things right.  My mind is always 2 or 3 "steps ahead" and i am unable to fund a "sinning scenario".  It doesn't help that i do not want "to be a bother" to anyone either, so i tend to "suffer in silence"... only i am not sure how much longer i can do that.  Attempts to reach out to a few have not really been all that successful.  I am now reaching thinking about reaching out to a professional of some sort... but then i am worried about money, etc.  Really does feel like a dead end, it is what it is, type of thing.


Microfiction Monday - 20101018

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

Barbara couldn't believe her father would do this, all because she would not renounce her faith.

A sudden crack of thunder nearby startled her... is she delivered?

(I based this on the legend of the Patron Saint of Artillerymen - Saint Barbara)

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


Random Dozen - 20101013

Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee hosts a weekly meme where she works hard to come up with completely random questions, a dozen at a time, to share with the blogosphere.  This is one of the few meme's i like both to read, and respond to.  Wander on over and check out her blog.

1. Is there a word which you initially mispronounced? Were the circumstances in which you made the faux pas embarrassing? ~ Nope!  I pronounce ever word correctly, every single time, no matter what region of the country, or world, i should find myself in.  Ok, seriously now... um... not that i can recall, but i am pretty sure this is a common occurrence.

2. How do you feel about the use of texting shortcuts and trends? (ex: "I've got ur notes. Get them 2 u 2morow.") ~ personally, i am intrigued... but in practice they confuse me.  I prefer to not use, or receive, them.  The world must conform to me!

3. Tell me about your high school senior picture. Please feel free to post. ~ I am sure there is one out there somewhere, but i dropped out of High School in December of what was supposed to be my Senior year, so i never received it, and i am quite sure my mother could not afford to purchase it.  If any of my High School friends actually read this... and you can find the incriminating evidence... please forward to me for delet... i mean dispersal.

4. Linda actually failed to post a question #4, but it reminded me of my favorite Carolina Panther player, the last original Panther, John Kasay.  A private man, from what i can tell a humble man.  A man who lives his life for God.  May God grant him continued success in his career, and may he be used by God all the days of his life.

5. Share a high school or college homecoming memory. ~ The only Homecoming anything i ever attended was a Homecoming dance at my Beloved's college.  I was in town for a friend's baptism and was set up on a blind date at the last minute with her roommate (long story - had to borrow a suit and everything).  As an ice breaker my friend set up a public meeting with my date at the Homecoming football game.  My (not as yet) Beloved was supposed to be on a canoe trip with the outdoor club that weekend, but it fell through.  I spent the whole football game talking with my date and the future Mrs. samurai talking about the sovereignty of God.  To this day i still could not tell you if the home team won or not.  Although i went out to dinner and to the dance with my date, the wheels were set in motion for the rest of my life.

6. Linda at Mocha with Linda wants to know: "Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?" ~ I still enjoy the sunrise, but i am more relaxed at sunset.  Also, i know there is almost no chance to get my Beloved up before sunrise to watch it with me so... the enjoyment is somewhat minimal.

7. Lea at Cici's Corner asks, "What is something you have not done that you desire to do?" ~ I would really like to learn how to play the Irish Whistle well.  It has been literally a life long dream of mine.  I am afraid of failure, and i know it takes time to master any musical instrument.  I just have not found, or set aside, the time i would really like to dedicate to it.

8. Carol at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind ponders, "If you could come back [in another life] as an animal, which would it be?" ~ That is a tough question.  I am pretty sure i would prefer to be either a Hawk or an Eagle.  I'd love to be able to fly. to be able to spot things a far off, to be able to swoop in and strike or just to stay aloft and ride the wind currents.

9. Joyce from The Other Side of the Pond is curious: "Where were you 10 years ago?" Please feel free to elaborate more than just your physical location. ~ I was juggling a long distance commute to/from work, and my Beloved and i were raising two toddlers.  Around Thanksgiving time in 2000 i loaded the family up for what would be my family's last visit to my mother.  We had a nice long weekend, and enjoyed not just a delicious Turkey dinner, but a nice time at Kevin Barry's Irish Pub in Savannah.  When we were called back less than a week later i packed the family back up for what would be a two week "adventure".  Kevin Barry's welcomed us back and we had a night i will never forget.

10. When you are proven to be correct in any contentious discussion, do you gloat? ~ Well, i am not much of a debater, so it usually takes some time to be proven right.  So, if i do gloat, it is from a far.  In any event, i hope that i don't.

11. What is your favorite food which includes the ingredient "caramel?" ~ I absolutely love Carmel Apples.  I love the chewy Caramel, and the sweetness of the apple underneath.  I also love Dark Chocolate caramels.

12. From my 17 year-old daughter to you: "If you could be part of any fictional family, which family would you choose and why?" (She's so cute. And clever.) ~ Wow... i never thought about this... to be honest... i cannot think of a single family that i would want to choose.  Too many "issues" that i am not familiar with... i will think about this one some more and come back and answer it...


The Way of Walking with Christ - based on a work of Miyamoto Musashi

8) Do not lament parting on any road whatsoever.
Time is linear, and it is moving only in one direction.  Being within the fabric of creation, to include time, our perspective is limited.  We only see the sliver in which we find ourselves.  God sees the end from the beginning and He is not surprised by where you find yourself either today or tomorrow, or even the choices you or i have made.
As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:15-26, ESV)
Once we set out on the path with Christ, we are forever bound to Him.  There is a dynamic of God's sovereignty and our free will to be sure, but in the end we are now traveling with the true Master.  There is no fork in the road He has not already seen, not already made atonement for on the cross.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:57-62, ESV)
Ultimately we are on a journey with the Savior.  To regret, or want to look back and want to return, is to say that the path He is leading us on is not the best, that we feel that He is misleading us, and we know better than the Creator of the Universe.  Our race is before us, run it with fervor.


What to do, what to do...

What do you do when you realize you really are just like those sitcom characters?  Okay, not a verbatim representation, but in a few ways at least.  You see, for years i took pride in that i was not like that.  Not that i could take it or leave it, but that while it was an enjoyable part of that relationship, but that is was not some be-all-need-all thing in my life.  Turns out the joke is on me.

Last week my Beloved and CHEF, who work together, had a passing conversation that went something like this:
CHEF:  So, have you taken care of him?
my Beloved:  (chuckles) yea, he's taken care of.
CHEF:  Yea, i could tell.
When my Beloved shared this with me it bothered me.  Not because she was sharing some intimate detail (which she wasn't, nor would she), not that she was sharing some personal revelation or secret (because i learned a long time ago that there is nothing sacred or taboo in our marriage), but because something that i felt i was "above" was actually so obvious to everyone that it is the basis for jokes.

A few things i (think i) have learned over the years:  1)  A good foot massage, or taking care of important things, is just as satisfying as the "connecting" to my Beloved.  2)  The scenes depicted in movies and on TV or hyped up.  Relationships are rarely that base and definitely a lot more complicated.  3)  You cannot dictate how others feel, think, react.  You can only do the best to lay groundwork to hopefully influence, but ultimately how they respond is totally out of your hands.  There is more... but my mind is failing me right now.

It is apparent to me that i have managed to make an idol out of something that is a gift from God, but i am really unsure of what to do about it.  I have, and am continuing to do so, going to God in prayer. 


Microfiction Monday - 20101011

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

Finally... although he didn't know where this train was going, he didn't care.  All he wanted was to get out of this city and start over somewhere.  It didn't matter where.

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


Ramblin' Early Fall Ramblings

Promises of Spring
Winters night chases the sun
Mirage whispers on


Back in August of 1989, when i prayed for Christ to come and make a home in my heart, i remember having two thoughts run simultaneously through my mind as the young man asked me questions about sin, my need of a Savior, etc.  I recognized my own fallible ideas and how they were broken against the truth of God.  Since that time i cannot recall having the same thing happen again... until recently.  For about the past three of four weeks i have been really struggling with my relationship with my beloved.  The only way in which she has changed has been to return to work. Well, that's not entirely true.  Her entire demeanor has improved.  She is happier, she seems healthier, she is more motivated overall, but for some reason i have been feeling like i am losing her.  Like she is drifting away.  My body has literally been at war with my mind.  I feel like i am letting her down because i am another thing she has to worry about, one more thing to take care of.  I think i need to pursue some kind of counseling/diagnosis.  ASD/Depression... something...  One thing i have been doing is praying and really trying to talk to someone... anyone.  Even though my Beloved and i had an "intense time of fellowship" on Friday/Saturday... it was good to work through some of the things.  The road is still rough, but God is faithful.


My favorite team in the National Football league is the Carolina Panthers.  I know, you all are shocked.  Anyway, coming into the season i had my doubts about the Offense, but the Defense looked really good in the pre-season and i had some hopes that they would keep them in the game until the offense could come together.  Unfortunately, i have not seen a real sign of life out of the defense until yesterday.  As a long distance fan i am seeing some improvement on both sides of the ball... but i don't think it will be good enough to pull out a .500 season.  I want to see Coach Fox back next season... but the media has pretty much written him off. 8(  I had hopes for the Panthers being 3-2 going into their bye-week... but, 1-4 is the best i can hope for... but the Chicago Bears defense is looking VERY good.  *sigh*  I don't think i want to renew my usual Gentleman's wager with 'LT'.


My fascination with MouseHunt has not abated... despite my grinding out a run through the "King's Gauntlet".  To help change the pace up some i have taken to moving away from the Gauntlet on weekends to hunt in other locations.  This past weekend i revisited the Catacombs/Forbidden Grove/Acolyte Realm.  It was fun to work on plussing up my count on some of the various mice to work on earning membership into the "MouseHunting Century Club" at some point down the road.  I still have almost 20m points to go before i can even hope to make a run at Zugzwang's Tower, so...


About a week and a half ago my beloved and i hired a tutor to help PIRATE with his homework twice a week.  We needed someone who knew how the teachers were assigning homework, the atmosphere there in his school, and someone who had experience in dealing with ASD students.  We were blessed when one of his aides said that they would love to help him and we jumped at the chance.  So far it has been working out wonderfully.  I know i was struggling to help him with his homework, and with my beloved working again she has not always been available to help.  If this helps him navigate the waters of middle school and beyond, it will be money well spent.

I had an interesting dream this week.  In this dream i was searching for my mother (she passed away in 2000).  I was searching through some kind of institutional-like building.  A lot of residence like halls, that kind of thing.  It was not a frantic search, more like one of someone just searching through an unknown location for someone or something.  When i got to the floor (the 8th, not sure if that is 'significant' or not), i got to just out side of her room (#874 or 824 or something close to that).  There was a plastic-like container... with familiar symbols on the bottom... i remember breaking down crying... but now that i am so far removed from the dream i don't remember why.  There were two men there... only one spoke to me, the other dropped out of my peripheral vision.  I woke up at that point... and i don't know if it is because i wanted to feel this way... or if perhaps the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me... that my mom had indeed been assigned a room (John 14:2)... or maybe it was showing me my assigned room... but the whole dream seemed to be me searching for her... so... i dunno.


Random Dozen - 20101006

Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee hosts a weekly meme where she works hard to come up with completely random questions, a dozen at a time, to share with the blogosphere.  Yesterday she actually posted a shout out for questions to be sent to here from her readers and today is the fruits of that request.  So, without further ado...

1. If you had a theme song that played whenever you walked into a room full of people, what would it be? ~ My mood of late the Mercy Me song, Bring the Rain really seems to fit the bill.  Rain is one of those things that brings such a brood range of responses.  On one hand people see it as somber, depressing, a harbinger of sad things.  Funerals in movies almost are always in the rain.  But it is also an imagery of refreshing, things being purged and cleaned... refreshed.  The rain comes in a cleans the landscape and provides a fresh scent.  It brings about renewal, strength.  I am not sure what others would have picked for my "theme song", but... i would go with "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me.
I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

2. Which of your shoes are your absolute favorite, and which are of the object of your most painful shoe-buyer's remorse? ~ Sandals.  I have a pair of that weigh next to nothing, and are really comfortable.  I can tighten them to where they don't slide, and yet not cut off the circulation, leaving me to be able to walk long distances in them without any issues.  In regards to buyer's remorse... i recently paid to have a pair of work shoes resoled... but the results were less than impressive.  Even after spending the money on them... they will most likely end up in a landfill somewhere. 8(

3. Tell about your favorite birthday celebration that you've personally experienced. ~ I am not inclined to big celebrations, either for me or for my friends.  I like getting together and just playing Mexican Train (dominoes) or some other game like that.

4. If you were a flavor of ice cream, which would you be? ~
I have no clue.  I am really not an expert on all of the various flavors... i pretty much enjoy just vanilla, and the toppings are not mixed together to make a soup.  I like the variety of texture and taste.  I think i will go with Tooty Fruity. 

5. Have you ever had a crush on a movie star? Who was it, and are you still crushing? ~ To be honest, not really.  I tried but... none of them really came close to a crush.  I think the closest i ever got was Elisabeth Shue from Adventures in Babysitting.

6. Glasses or braces--if you had to wear one, which would it be? ~ Well, being a life long wearer of Glasses i would say... glasses.  Braces are painful to see... they just look painful.  And with me getting mouth sores anytime i bite my lip... no thank you.

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? ~
This question comes around again every once in a while.  This time i would like to answer Rivendell.  I love the imagery in my mind from Tolkien's books... and the movie scenes were very stunning as well.  I love the idea of a race of people living in harmony with the land around them, and being able to pursue learning and interests ad infinitum. Some day i will get to do just that in regards to my Lord Jesus Christ.  Although, i am sure whatever mental image i have of Heaven is woefully inaccurate.

8. If money were no obstacle, what would be the perfect birthday gift to receive? ~ I would be incredibly happy with a 'Paid in Full' notice of my home mortgage.

9. What is your favorite birthday meal? ~ I must be a complicated person... because it depends on a lot of things.  What is my mood... what have we been eating a lot of lately... that sort of thing.  In general i enjoy a good fillet Mignon, 6 or 7 oz. is sufficient.  Some garlic mashed potatoes, and a crisp oven baked green bean with my Beloved's "special seasoning".  Yum!

10. Do you still send hand-written thank you notes? ~ Sadly... no.  Not nearly as often as i should.  I will more readily open up an e-mail and jot a note... or even a text message...

11. What is something you've done that you never thought you'd do? ~ Rappel Australian style.  I have what i like to refer to as a "severe respect for heights" and although i do not have problems rappelling in general... or going up into skyscrapers and looking at the view... i do seem to have some trouble looking over cliffs, etc. straight down, so when my old First Sergeant goaded me into trying out Australian... it took me a while to do it.  My first rappel my heart was in my throat, but once i got going down the rope i loved it.  I must have rappelled a dozen times that day.  I never did get a perfect rappel in, and a few times TOP let me "bounce" by deliberately feeding me too much slack (which left a neat rope sized bruise across my belt line), but i really enjoyed the sense of almost free falling down the rope.

12. Mount Rushmore honors four US Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. If you could add any person to Mount Rushmore, who would you add and why? ~ That is really a tough one.  My mind goes to John F. Kennedy (and i am a Republican with heavy Tea Party leanings), but in many ways... he did not get the chance to serve long enough.  I know as a Republican i am probably expected to say Ronald Reagan, but in the end i have issues with how he really launched the deficit spending platform that BOTH parties have embraced.  I LOVED what Bill Clinton did in regards to this nation's budget... if it just weren't for many of his other views.  So... my short answer is that i do not feel that we have had another President worth of such an honor... yet.  May God grant us such a public servant again... and soon.


The Way of Walking with Christ - based on a work of Miyamoto Musashi

7) Do not envy another’s good or evil.
First, your walk with God is not my walk with God.  Where He takes You, and what He will do with  you is most likely very different than where and what He is doing in my life.  Our walk with Christ is an individual experience.  What Billy Graham, Jonathon Edwards, Mother Teresa, CJ Mahaney, Habitat for Humanity and Operation Christmas Child accomplish(ed) are all really good things, but the path any one of us are on may not be the same.  To envy what these Godly people/organizations are doing, or have done, will only distracts you from what you need to be doing, and thus you are not going to be as effective. as you could/should be.  Do not covet includes the work God has placed before others.

To envy what is evil is also to place yourself in a position of temptation.  From our finite perspective there are times when those who do not seem to follow the rules, get a head.  Like they have an unfair advantage, but this is what God has to say: 
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. (Romans 12:17-19, ESV)
Do not burden yourselves with what others are doing, but concentrate on what God has you doing.


Microfiction Monday - 20101004

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

The view was incredible, but the horse was magnificent.  When the king bestowed this gift should could not have refused.  Not that she had wanted to.

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