wind shifting Southward
ghosts from ruins across the sea
upon the rock firm


Rambling for rambling sake

I am entering the 3rd week of physical therapy for an old Army injury.  Actually a pair of old Army injuries.  Set the way back machine for the summer of 1987.  A young Private was both selected and prideful enough to put on a show for some visiting dignitary whom he will never meet in person.  His section of 3 soldiers had been chosen to perform a dismounted air-mobile deployment, implementation of, redeployment of a TOW Anti-Tank Missile system.  My memory fails to remember just how heavy that system is overall, but the distributed load is quite considerable since there are only 3 men in the Anti-Tank section - and that is at 100% strength (at the time).  The LZ was in the middle of an open field that a Gopher colony had set up.  After tripping TWICE on the way to the setup site (breaking his rucksack frame in the process), the engagement of the fictitious enemy tank tank was a complete success.  The re-deployment of the missile system went a little slower (thankfully), but back at the bird the young private, in his haste, attempts to man-handle not one 60+ pound piece of equipment, but two of them, into the troop area of the helo, one in each hand.  I tore something in both shoulders.  When i went to the medics the next day i could not lift either arm above my waist.  The promptly provided me with military strength ibuprofen, game me a light duty slip and sent me on my way.  Fast forward to about a year or so ago, and my shoulders had started screaming enough for me to go see a doctor about it.  An MRI later shows a tear in an awkward location.  The orthopedist prescribes 6 weeks of Physical Therapy to see if that will 'fix' the issue (or at least strengthen the surrounding muscles to provide some relief.  I waiting about six more months because of switching employers and the new insurance policy has a pretty large deductible.  Now that the deductible has been met i've been doing the PT and it is really uncomfortable.  There are muscle tie-ins that i had never been truly aware of.  From the first session i have been getting some incredible base of the skull headaches, but i am motivated to put my best effort forward.  Anything to avoid having the surgery. The doc said that it is in such a location, and of such a nature. that he will have to cut the rest of the muscle away, and then reattach it.  And of course after that... PT will have to start all over again.  So, for now... i communicate what is going on with the Physical Therapist (who keeps asking me when my follow up appointment is), and performing the exercises the PT has for me.  Where did i put those 500mg Tylenol Tablets?

Alise over at "Big Mama's Blog" has been doing an inspiring series on depression.  While i feel like i am in a "good place" in regards to my recent round of depression, it is always good to keep it in mind moving forward.

Speaking of depression, the Carolina Kittens have dropped to 1-8 for this season.  I am still a Carolina Panthers fan, but i have resigned myself to the fact that they just aren't that good this year.  I am not sure why it is that they seem unable to knit two winning seasons back to back.  One year they have an injury bug, another they just can't seem to catch a break, some seasons are rebuilding years as players age or are forced to retire do to injury.  Then there are years like this year when it just seems impossible to get enough of the acts together to put together a winning game effort. 

I was finally able to complete my download of  BB: Legends Edition.  Some really nice improvements over the first push of the game.  The 20 different teams, plus the story mode play is very nice.  Not to mention all of the extra angles (game mechanics)  that can be played that where not there before.  I created a new Wood Elf team, and a new Halfling team just for fun.  I was going to do straight up Elves, but the cheerleaders were dressed to skimpy in my opinion.  My new Halfling team (which are nearly impossible to win with any regularity with) are called the Floundering Chefs.  8)  I've also started a Story-mode 'Assistant Coach'... supposedly you can work your way up and create your own team and play against some of the "Veteran" teams from the background... we'll see.

MouseHunt has been even more fun of late.  In late October the developers of the game at HitGrab created a Halloween event.  There was a special temporary area where you could get a special cheese.  They did up special drawings of some of the mice in costumes, and some 'event' mice.  If you were able to collect all three, and purchased a set of blueprints, it was possible to craft a limited edition trap.  An interesting event to say the least.  This month they are having a "King's Giveaway" event, where you try and attract special "prize" mice that drop credits which can in turn be used to purchase "fun" non-game-affecting items.  I did have a 'hit' by a Leprechaun mouse, but i failed to catch the little guy.  I only need one more of the Prize mice to complete my collection for this event.  The upper two are returning special mice... and EXTREMELY RARE.  from what i can tell though... you just have to get lucky to catch any one of these mice so... next month there will be a Christmas event... but i do not know anything about that one yet.


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

13) Do not have a liking for delicious food for yourself.
The book of Daniel has an excellent example of this.
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.  And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.”  Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,  “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.”  So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days.  At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food.  So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.(Daniel 1:8-16, ESV)
I am sure many people are familiar with the adage, "why does bad food always taste so good".  Athletes know that when they go out to eat at fast food restaurants their performance suffers.  God's word outlines many dietary recommendations. When the Holy Spirit comes to live within us our bodies, for however long God sees fit for us to inhabit them, become a temple unto the Lord.  We should take every measure to provide good nutrition to our bodies, and not become gluttons.

It is a slippery slope when one gets a taste (if you will) of something "delicious".  Humans have an incredible ability to become addicted to things.  Thomas Jonathon Jackson (aka "Stonewall" Jackson) knew this well.  Most of his adult life he struggled with "dyspepsia", today it might be known as acid reflux disease, but he followed a strict diet so as to avoid, if at all possible, his stomach issues.  Once he got a taste of Whiskey and from that point on made a point to never drink it again.  His reasoning?  That he liked it too much and he knew that he would then consume it to excess if he allowed himself.  The same is true with food as well.

You need to eat to live, but you should not live to eat.  It is important to eat a balanced and healthy diet.


Rambling Wednesday

You know things are bad when the title of the articles in the paper after a game are, "Titanic's captain says he didn't build boat", and "It's like watching mascots fight".  Wow.  Now, i have not had a chance to watch my Panthers live yet, and since none of their games (except the 1st meeting against the Saints) have been close, they've not even been on NFL Replay (that i am aware of), so i a cannot speak to how they look.  Is their heart in it?  Are they even trying?  I have no idea, but when the Head Coach, and even some of the players, are beginning to vocalize their disappointment with the front office... not a good scenario.  I am hoping to make a trip down to Charlotte to catch a game next season.  I am pretty sure this boat will not get turned around next season either, but maybe i can at least get tickets at a good price from somewhere.

Related to football, sort...   recently Cynide games recently released an updated computer version of a fantasy version of American football.  It is based on the table top game by Games Workshop.  The first iteration of the game came out about a year and half ago with only 8 of the plethora of teams originally available in the tabletop form.  This updated version has 20 of the teams.  From Humans to Elves (three different kinds), to Halflings, and Orcs.  I purchased the game on-line as it is only available via download at this time.  2.88GB worth of compressed files!  And when i went to install it, nearly 40% of the files were corrupted!  *sigh*  Such is life.  I will look to find another 3 or 4 hours where i can make a second download attempt another day.


Not too long ago my Beloved encouraged me to get a "smart phone" to help me keep track of our now even more diverse schedule now that she is back to work.  It has been an immense help.  Since it is a phone running the "Android" platform it is tied into Google quite a bit, which is fine by me.  I know Windows is releasing their own version of the Smart Phone here soon, but they are now the 3rd... behind iPhone (Apple) and Android (Google).  Judging by how well my PC works both at work and home... i am NOT going to be jumping on the Microsoft bandwagon anytime soon when it comes to Smart-phones.  These little devices are essentially little computers that can make phone calls, stream movies, text, surf the web, e-mail, in some cases video call... if it were not for Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas... 8)  But... it can be played on a PS3...  Back to the phones though, the "smart-phone" can be an amazing tool.  Able to download directions to find where the nearest Steakhouse or bookstore is, need to kill some time at the airport - download and watch a movie.  What about researching a paper for a class... no problem, bring up the web browser and Google it.  Oh wait, i need to keep track of how many calories i am eating... no problem, download an 'App'.  Way too cool if you ask me.  The way of the standalone Personal computer is going by the way side.  My new phone not only can do all those things above, but i can also get an adapter cable and connect it to a TV and play the movie on a much bigger screen - or do all of those other things.  Oh, and i almost forgot... MUSIC!  You can download and stream your favorite music, or audio books, or conferences, or sermons!  Simply amazing... i am pretty sure the thing that is hanging on my hip is more powerful (in raw computing power, not running programs perhaps) than what NASA had, and filled up ROOMS, to get the men on the moon.  Some day... look up the history of computers... it will amaze you.


Recently, even before my recent 'adventures', i knew i needed to pursue my prayer life more passionately.  More sincerely.  But i was not really sure how to do it honestly, and not as some means of religious observance as i am prone to do.  "Ambition gets you started, but habit keeps you moving."  Too often i lead in with my heart, and i jump to pursue some "worthwhile" goal, only to not have the head to maintain the tempo and pursuit.  And this is true in most areas of my life.  'Coincidentally' Gunny recently posted a blog entry regarding prayer, and then Desiring God also had a very timely blog.  I love to pray, but over time my personal fears have hampered my own prayers.  At first it was just my public prayers, but over time it crept into my personal private ones as well.  For me, i began to worry if i was praying more for what others might think, or because this is what i really hoped for.  What a fine line the balance between effort and grace.  Effort to affect grace is vain and worthless, grace affect effort is holy and a glory to God.  It is so hard to maintain the right perspective and source of effort.


Weather vane spinning
Thunder and Lightning in sync
By His hand, balance


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

12) Do not harbor hopes for your own personal home.
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.”  (Luke 9:57-58, ESV)
Miyamoto Musashi wrote 'The Way of the Warrior' and Book of Five Rings, he was a man who lived his entire life in pursuit of perfecting his skills as a samurai.  Instead of setting down roots in any one place he picked up and moved on when he felt he had learned everything that he could where he was at the time.  Our Lord Jesus also never had a place to call His own once He embarked upon His time of ministry.  He was about spreading the Word and proclaiming the Kingdom of God.  Both men (and i am not relating these two examples as equals) pursued their purpose in life with nothing to hold them back.  When one has a home it tethers one to a location and makes it more difficult to move from region to region as needed.  Jesus advised a rich young ruler, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21, ESV)

To be unfettered in this life to freely and perfectly follow Jesus, possessions are responsibilities that are detracting from the eternal.  But before a reader goes out and sells everything without thought i would also remind you that Paul followed up in 1 Corinthians 7 with:
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.  Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.  For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.  Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a slave [3] when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.)  For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ.  You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brothers, [4] in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.  (17-24, ESV)
So, where you find yourself on the path of following God "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness".


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

11) Do not have preferences.
Unless you are a member of one of the original tribes of Israel, your place within God's plan of redemption does not include you as an original recipient.  That does not mean; however, that His plan does not include you (or me).  I submit two sections of Scripture for your contemplation:
And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”  But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”  And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.”  She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.”  Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. [5] (Matthew 15:22-28, ESV)
When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”  But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.  And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant [3] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’  So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’  And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’  And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. (Luke 14:15-23, ESV)
The Gospel of Christ is not limited to the Tribes of Israel, but it is made clear that they were the chosen ones to be among the first. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16, ESV)  It is not up to us as to who can come unto God (for an illustration i encourage you to read the Book of Jonah).  We are instrumental in either "seeding", or "reaping", but how the Word grows is up to Him.

We were each ones sinners, in direct opposition to God, and yet He reached down and pulled us out of our condition to call us friend.  If God is presenting you with an opportunity to minister, you need to minister.  
The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour [2] to pray.  And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance  and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.  In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.  And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”  But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”  And the voice came to him again a second time, What God has made clean, do not call common.  This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate  and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there.  And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.  Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.”  And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?”  And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.”  So he invited them in to be his guests.

The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him.  And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.  When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.  But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”  And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered.  And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.  So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, [3] and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing  and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.  Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’  So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” (Acts 10:9-33, ESV Emphasis mine)

We were all sinners, in direct opposition to God, when He reached down and pulled us out of our retched condition to call us friend.  God does not see our skin color, hear our spoken language, consider our clothes or place where we sleep.  He does not consider our hangups, our preferences, or even our "good deeds".  He sees a man, or a woman, who is in need of His Son and the propitiatory sacrifice Jesus did on our behalf, and He takes action.  So should we when called upon.


I can't believe i am doing this...

I know i am several hours too late, and i also know how much i REALLY like Facebook, but a good friend of mine brought this cause to my attention.  It is called "Glabal Communications Shutdown for Autism".  It is a call to ask people to not use Facebook or Twitter for a whole day on November 1st to raise awareness, and hopefully money for research etc., for Autism Worldwide.  I can't believe i jumped and logged off of Facebook so fast... i can already feel the withdrawal symptoms...   Let's face it, i could use a little time away from Facebook anyway.   I added the HTML widget there to the left.  No, a little higher, just above my profile stuff.  If you click on the image it will take you to a Global fund raiser page.  Do with that what you will good reader.

OK, now on to my regularly (un)scheduled programing.  Yesterday was Reformation Day, although it is more commonly referred to as Halloween.  Reformation Day is not an attempt to protest all things Halloween, it is a day remembered as the day Martin Luther began what is known as the Protestant/Reformation movement.  I am not talking strictly about the denomination here.  I have several friends who are Catholic, and i am not celebrating this day as an "anti-Catholic" remembrance.  But for me, a Protestant (meaning i am a non-Catholic Christian), it is a day to celebrate.  Protestants do not have "it all right" either, so. 

Speaking of Halloween, an excellent article in regards to Christians and the "holiday" can be found on the Grace to You website.  It is titled Christians and Halloween. It touches on the Pagan origins of the day, as well as how the church 'adopted' it to try and counter the influences.  For me, the closing paragraph does an excellent job of summing up:
Ultimately, Christian participation in Halloween is a matter of conscience before God. Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, you must honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world and by showing mercy to those who are perishing. Halloween provides the Christian with the opportunity to accomplish both of those things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a message that is holy, set apart from the world; it's a message that is the very mercy of a forgiving God. What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?
Just because the Carolina Panthers are sucking dirt right now, and in serious contention for the #1 overall pick in April of 2011, does not mean i won't mention them in my blog any more.   It may mean that i do not have a whole lot to say though.  I do admire Steve Smith's stepping up and admitting he played poorly.  I admire a stand up man, and Steve Smith is that and more.  #89 and #4 are placed right up there with #51 (Sam Mills) in regards to the Hall of Honor for the Panthers, in my opinion.  While the Panthers may occupy the cellar of the National Football League, they are my team and i will remain a faithful fanatical.  Go Panthers!