I just cannot keep myself on track!

It was a simple challenge. One that should easily be successful.  One hundred words a day.  I type a hundred words in some of the e-mails i send everyday.  School essay questions are harder, and longer!  And yet... have i been successful in even one day of this challenge?!?  Nope! So far, this has been 57 words!  Can a hobby really be called a hobby when one does not spend anytime pursuing it?  Then again, time is a precious commodity around the samurai's Minka.  All three of the children are active in a variety of activities and we do our best to encourage them in such, but at the same time when the schedule gets tight my beloved and i often basically disappoint someone.  There are, and have to be, limits.  It's just not possible to be everywhere and to do everything.

Yesterday i saw a quick clip of a comedian coming to town.  As a part of his gig he plays the guitar.  I am a sucker for pretty much any musical instrument when it is played by a master, and this guys was really good.  Well, at least in my opinion.  The guy is Mike Rayburn.  For as long as i can remember i have been captivated my music.  Not just any kind of music though.  I do not captivate myself when i try and play notes on a flute or keyboard - because i am just not even an OK musician.  But the likes of Phil Keaggy (guitarist), Ian Anderson (flutist), Rex Lewis (Piano), whoever - have been able to rivet me to my seat.  I do not profess to be some kind of music expert, i cannot tell you if so-and-so's technique is flawless or their execution is sublime, but i do know that when the instrument is wielded well and i can get lost in the moment.  I prefer instrumental pieces, be it the harpsichord, violin, piano or guitar, but vocal pieces like the Opera piece (i know it from 'The Fifth Element") also mesmerize me.  I cannot explain it, but the verse from Philippians 4:8 comes to mind, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." This verse comes in the context of meditating on the things of God ("...guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - previous verse, and "What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things..." the next verse.  ALWAYS read scripture references within the surrounding context.), but i truly believe music is one of the most amazing gifts from God.  It gives to expression to wordless parts of our souls.  If God has given you a talent within the "arts", be it music or paint or words, i wholeheartedly encourage you to pursue it to the glory of God.

November is often a time when a lot of my friends post things they are thankful each day.  I often fail to post something everyday... and i am a little concerned that others may think that i am not grateful... but the truth is that i am often giving thanks to God throughout the day and i think... that in my mind, i say... i've already done that.  However... that does not mean we can't put something out there to share with others things we are thankful for either.  I'd like to think that i do not care what other people think of me... but the truth is i often care way too much.  I love to pray... and i have been told that i am quite "good at it", but then... all i could do was question... am i truly praying for the person... or am i praying for some kind of personal recognition.  The end result... is that i do not pray all that often in public... not unless i can somehow screen my real name/identity.  I am not sure if that is God glorifying or not... 8(

Well, this post has taken way too long to get rounded out... so... i am going to post it now... and start beginning the next one in bullet form.


Writer's block and other ramblings

What a whirlwind couple of weeks.  I started a new position at work, which requires some upfront commuting into the city.  Something i am NOT used to.  It has really thrown my little corner of the world into quite a whirlwind. I am reorienting myself regarding morning wake up time, Rx and vitamins (remembering to take them), keeping track of kids homework, finding time for my beloved and i to get out on a date, and all of the other routines i used to have fairly down pat.

I am loving my new job, even though i am still in the learning curve phase.  My only regret is i have been wanting to get some more writing done.  Let's be honest... i was not writing all that much before the new job.  I had been in a writing rut for quite a few months.  Part of it was due to wanting to wait until Path of the Seer by Gav Thorpe to be released.  I wanted more if his insight into the Eldar of the Warhammer 40,000 world.  But lately i have actually been having pretty good ideas... well, at least in my opinion.  I've not even written down my notes.  Mostly because i've been pretty tired lately and it clouds my memory so i will forget what i wanted to write down, or to even write at all. 

Well, a friend set a goal for herself... 100 words a day.  It can be an averaged, but she encouraged me to say just to use it as a goal per day, and allow myself the grace to excuse myself when i miss the goal.  Sounds like a plan.


Moving at the speed of life

I once heard a slogan that said, "Moving at the speed of life".  For the life of me i cannot remember what the product or service was that it was for now... and i am too tired to try and research it (sorry anxious reader).  But the saying is a 'truism'.  Life never stops, it never even slows down.  From my perspective it only seems to get faster and faster.  This is the time of my children's lives i should be most enjoying.  Soaking it all in.  But it is neigh impossible.  It feels like i can barely catch my own breath.  I get up, sometimes i help get lunches made and make sure they are on the bus off to school, then i go to work, i get home i play taxi driver to/from practices, when my beloved is working i will whip up something for dinner (over baked BBQ chicken is a recent hit), then i try and check homework (which i think i am failing at because DD3 is struggling silently in math and social studies), try and make sure they wash behind their ears and then shew the youngsters off to bed, and then climb in between the sheets myself, only to repeat the next day.  Weekends are not much better.  Replace work with chores and/or running to/from games and church on Sundays.  I love my kids, and i try and make a priority of spending time with them... but it all just seems to blur by so fast. I don't want to blink and have an empty house.  But life never slows down.  To quote Mr. Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."  The trick is... getting yourself stopped long enough to get that look in.  I wish i could slow down those moments like the Ba'ku in the movie Star trek: Insurrection. I think that is why the Psalmist says, "Be still and know I am God." (Psalm 46:10, ESV) (Note: it is always important to read verses in context of the surrounding verses - too often verses are taken out of context to mean something other than they were intended for - in this case the passages are talking about taking the time to contemplate all of the things God has done.)

Speaking of moving at the speed of life... i recently started a new job.  It happened incredibly fast.  I was approached, sort of off to the side, where i was asking how happy i was with my (now previous) employer.  The question caught me so off guard that i asked him what he meant.  When he clarified i say, i'm pretty happy with the people i work with, but the corporate environment and mentality of the company as a whole - i was pretty disillusioned.  I was encouraged to inquire with an incoming company regarding some new positions.  Not knowing what to expect i sent off an e-mail to the points of contact i had been given.  That day i received an e-mail and a phone call from one of the POC's saying he was forwarding my request to what i refer to as a "head hunter" (HH) - sort of a person who weeds through potentials and does a lot of the preliminary leg work so that companies don't have to "waste" as much time sorting through the piles of applicants and can focus on the smaller group of "potentials".  The next day i received a phone call from the HH, but i did not get the message until after work as we were literally moving offices across town.  The next day i call the HH back and he asks me a few questions, then asks if i mind f he bridges on two or three others - i am interviewed right then!  Technical questions, etc.  I was caught off guard again and felt pretty unprepared, but i felt like i did OK.  Later that night i get a call from the company's Human Resources person.  She asked me a few more questions and talked to me about the position they wanted to hire me for.  I was blown away, not just because the speed at which things were moving, but it was also a different position than i was led to believe i was applying for - which was fine, because it was a position i had pined for, for about two years.  The only downside... the group was based out of downtown Washington DC.  I hesitatingly mentioned that i could not do that kind of commute day in and day out; however, if i could work at the 'remote' office and only make the trip downtown a few times a month (after a train up period) i would accept.  The next day (a grand total of three business days) i was offered, and i accepted the position.  I am still amazed how it all happened, but this has been how God has moved regarding my entire career.

When i first got into my career it was because i was having trouble getting started in college (long story) and i was delivering pizzas at the time.  My beloved was starting her career having just graduated college (i proposed to her on her graduation day).  I was just looking to get a better paying job until i could start school full time.  I came in a entry level and they taught me the skills i needed.  I moved up, and then when my beloved became pregnant with DS1 i borrowed some money from the in-laws and went to a 6 month trade school at night.  When i finished that i sent out exactly one resume and was hired.  Again, they taught me the skills i needed specific to the job, and there were a lot of eager mentors to show me the ropes and i moved up with that company as well.  Quickly moving from the desk, to shift lead, and then to a change control group.  Each step of the way i found people willing to teach me.  Then 9/11 hit, i was deployed for 13 months and when i came back i was given a hard choice.  In the end it was not really all that hard - after being away from the family for that year my position was moved to the swing shift.  I was going to miss seeing the family during the week.  But then, an opportunity came along to jump to a new group, one  that was on site with the customer - but... it was a 2 pay grade reduction, and counting the shift differential i lost out on... a 20 percent cut in pay.  Since then i have slowly risen to new positions.  I was once asked how i got the job i had and how they could get one similar.  I answered the guy, it's not possible to do it the way i did it (i still explained how it all went down and the path i had taken)... but looking back... it should not be possible.  God has been incredibly generous to this High School dropout.  I have a position that i can provide for my family of 5 on my single income... pretty much unheard of in this day and age.

No matter how fast life is... take the time to give thanks and look around.  Marvel at all that God has done, and is doing.  We only come this way once... find a way to be like the Ba'ku, and slow down time to enjoy the experience.  I say this to myself as much as anyone.


Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!!! and other ramblins

After a miserable 2-14 season by the Carolina Panthers, i will not allow my hopes to get all that high in regards to the 2011 NFL season. I was not one of the fans or media types all hyped about Cam Newton starting week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, but i have to admit, i was impressed with his performance the past four weekends.  Still, one game - one season - does not make it to the Hall of Fame.  Still, if the Panthers can keep him healthy, and the coaches keep up good game plans and adapt... there very well could be an exciting future for the Panthers.  I have this year's schedule at my work area and i publicly listed my hopes for this season.  I am predicting 4-12, i will be happy with 6-10, amazed with  8-8 , and ecstatically happy with a 9-7 or better season.  Here is to hope, which springs eternal.

Speaking of the Panthers, my all time favorite player for the Panthers, John Kasay, signed a deal with the New Orleans Saints to fill in for their injured place kicker.  This has in no way diminished my opinions of this man as a Carolina Panther player.  The Panthers made a business decision when they released him, and Kasay made a business decision to continue to support his family through a talent that God has provided him with.  I still hope to make the trip should the Panthers do the right thing and honor him.  It is unlikely that the Saints will keep him once their regular kicker is healthy again, so...  I will not be burning my John Kasay jersey anytime soon.  Not like i wanted to do to any Julius Peppers jersey i saw.

Ok - any seasoned listener of Pandora probably already knows about this but the other day i accidentally clicked the "Quick Mix" channel.  It mixes all of your channels together randomly!  How awesome is that!  LOL  I really like that it moves through the various genres and plays a selection and then moves on.  Really cool.  I am enjoying this mostly while i am out exercising. Which reminds me... i like both RunKeeper and CardioTrainer as apps on my Android phone.  RunKeeper has the edge for me with an elevation tracker as well.  In all, i've lost about 6 pounds since starting to exercise at the beginning of summer with a few "set backs" in regards to aches and pains, but so far i've been keeping up with at least 3 times a week of getting out for an hour or more each time.

Have you ever had a song just bust out in your head?  Meaning, you see/hear/smell/read/whatever something and some song just pops into your mind? It happens to me a lot, and it's weird.  And it can drive some people crazy because i like to sing and/or whistle whatever the song is.  I once asked a musically gifted friend if she thought we would learn how to play musical instruments in heaven, and she said that she believed i would get that chance.  \o/  I just lack the time and discipline to do it (so far) on this side of heaven.

I've been struggling to write lately.  I go round and round about what to write but then nothing.  One stumbling block is my ability to access my older, unpublished, work and then edit or add to it.   I have a plethora of little notebooks lying around.  The intent was to add notes about a story line or character now and again and then access it when i am ready to put finger to keyboard.  But now... all my thoughts are jumbled and hard to pick up any one thread.  A friend once suggested to just set a goal for 100 words a day.  I am going to give that a try.  8)  Fortunately blogging counts, so this has given me a start for this month.


MouseHunt blogging and running Eldar

In the signature of my personal e-mail i have a link to my blog here.  It's to shamelessly plug my blog among my friends... and yet, ironically, i have no consistent readers among the friends i have in real life (vs. just facebook, or whatever).  Well, sometimes my work entails working by phone and it is often hard to get concepts across, especially as i think visually (i.e. in pictures) and then i have to translate them into words... which does not always convey what i am "seeing" very well (especially for a guy flunked English - a LOT).  The other day i had to exchange (quite) a few e-mails via my awesome HTC EVO.  Well, for a variety of reasons my phone is not synchronized to use my work e-mail account so we tread carefully and we used my personal account to banter back  and forth and resolved the issue we were working on.  About an hour later my coworker sent me a text message saying how much he liked the blog - mostly the information links pertaining to Autism in general, and Aspergers in particular.  I am not sure why, but i was embarrassed. Now, this blog gets posted to my Facebook profile and i have at sometime or another told all of my friends about it, so i make it a point to be careful what i post, to not post anything that i would not want to be public knowledge... so why should i be embarrassed by this blog?  I am actually pretty proud of it.

My all time favorite Facebook game, MouseHunt continues to improve itself.  In addition to a recent Baron area (a fairly high level) called the Sandtail Desert Region, the developers of this game have expanded upon the Chess themed area i love so much called the Crystal Library.  Love this new area.  One has to perform "research" in order to accomplish the needed tasks in order to eventually make an entirely new trap for a new adversary. In many ways it is similar to the Dragon Mouse.  You have to fashion a special trap for the one mouse!  However, there is also a brand new trap - that looks like a new Shadow type trap... pretty cool. Still enjoying this game after playing it for 18 months now... and for me... that is saying something.

My writing has been sporadic at best of late.  Just too many other things in life to distract me.  I still enjoy it, and it is a relaxing way to dream (so to speak) and i can start/stop without having to get out a bunch of materials, setting it all up, and then having to tear it all down again and put it away when i am finished.  Even the actually sitting down to type/write is not all that involved.  Recently Gav Thorpe wrote out a pretty detailed process of how he wrote one of his Elf novel trilogies. That really made me realize that i will most likely, barring the sky splitting open to tell me that this is what God wants me to do, never be a published writer.  I am ok with that.   This is just a hobby, one to be enjoyed.  If it becomes a struggle... then it will no longer be a hobby, but work.  In any event, i am not sure how long my Eldar Ranger story line will be shelved, but it may be until the last novel in the Eldar trilogy is released sometime next Summer/Fall.  The 2nd one of the series, Path of the Seer, is due to be out any day now.  Looking forward to this one, but not as much as the last one in the series titled, Path of the Outcast. My recent attempts are still forming, but i will share them on my short story blog when i am ready. 
One thing my depression has done, it affected my desire to take care of myself.  Not in selfish ways (although the semi-intentional self neglect could be classified as selfish), but in ways like watching what and how much i eat, and exercising.  I have always loved running.  For as long as i can remember i have loved it.  From the time my dad "dragged" me, my brother and my step mother out to the park in New York City to go running with him (i don't remember if i complained back then, but my memories of it now are all good), up through High School when i up and joined the Cross Country team (our 1st day of practice - 12 miles "warm up" 8 sets of hills, 8 wind sprints, then a 3 mile "cool down"), through my time in the Guard.  When i am in shape... i love the sensation of running.  I enjoy the "burn", i enjoy the personal challenge, the "mind over matter", i enjoy being alone in thought to pray or dream or just - not.  LOL.  But, i have let myself go over time.  Later on in my military service i stopped running all the time and would only get in shape to pass the APFT.  Well, since retiring in July of '08 i've not done ANY serious running.  As a result i added another 15 pounds to the frame (which was already 30 pounds over weight if you ask the doctors) and i started to develop problems with the knees.  About four months ago i was talked into trying out a pair of "minimalist" shoes for work.  Long story short, my knee ached less and gave me a lot less trouble using the stairs.  In June, i finally got the nerve to try and start running again and began the "Couch to 5k" (c25k) program.  It got off to a rocky start.  I developed discomfort in both knees and my right ankle.  Some of this was due to the "minimalist" style, and part of it is due to my being over weight and inactivity.  Well, i dialed it down some and began to just walk (in running it is almost NEVER a good idea to just run through the pain).  Once i was able to maintain a 4mph walking pace with no linger pain or needing to take a day or more off, i started the jogging back up.  Yesterday was the first day back to jogging and i am pretty psyched.  it's hard to keep the enthusiasm in check so that i don't injure myself and keep on track.  I am down 5 pounds since starting.  Who knows... if this works, and i can sustain it over time... maybe i can get off of the Celexa.  But if not... i am ok with that too.


A sad time for me as a Carolina Panthers fan - and the usual ramblings

It finally happened... the Carolina Panthers released John Kasay, my all time favorite player for the Panthers.   I am at the age now where i am really noticing these kinds of things.  Football player careers are short, and a 16 year stint with the Panthers is very long time in the world of the NFL.And yet... i am very sad that this day has come for John Kasay.  When i asked for a Carolina Panthers jersey, i was specific that i wanted the number 4, with John Kasay's name on the back.  The man is simply a class act.  Scott Fowler at the Charlotte Observer has done a couple of really nice articles, but i will add my agreement with his sentiments here.  John Kasay was pretty consistent.  With the exception of the year he tore his ACL (while making a tackle on a kick return no less), he was almost automatic.  Whenever he made a game winning field goal he always deflected the praise to his teammates for getting him in the position to kick the score, and when he missed - and especially after the bad kickoff in the SB against the Patriots he always took it upon himself, that he was the one who let his teammates down.  At the end of the day it is a team sport, and it always is a team effort.  But John Kasay left his mark outside the locker room as well, being a vital part of his community, and never shied away from his faith in Christ.  He will be missed, and by more than just myself.  I hope the Panthers add him to their "Hall of Honor".  I would love to make a trip down to the game when they do this - or even just for the ceremony if they do it in the off season.  I wish more professional athletes were as humble and upright as John Kasay.

With that segue, sort of, in additional to Caleb Campbell being on the Detroit Lions roster, the Lions have invited Collen Mooney to camp.  Caleb Campbell is #53 and a Linebacker.  He played safety for Army "in the day", but was moved up to be a speedy linebacker.  Last year Caleb spent most of his time on the practice squad, but did make it up to the #53 man roster a time or two.  Collin Mooney was a Fullback for Army and currently has the single season rushing record for them.  The Lions had 2 Fullbacks on the roster, but only ever suited one - one article i said that the Lions may try and see how he does as a "Power" Running back.  While i am still not sure of either man's chances of making the final 53 man roster, or even the practice squads this year, i am still very glad to see West Point being represented in the NFL.  It doesn't hurt that both of them a Artillerymen either.    So... i will be watching both men, and if they both make the roster... i just might have to get some kind of Lions paraphernalia.    Go ARMY!

I am going to make it official... i am aligning myself with the American National Tea Party.  I have grown to despise the cross-aisle finger pointing and bickering.  I am tired of the laws of the land not applying to those who are supposed to "represent" us.  I am tired of the very people that are supposed to express the point of view of their constituency not "getting it", and i am especially tired of this nation getting deeper and deeper into debt every year.  There are some exceptions, and i am not pointing the finger at either of the two main political parties.  Over 11% of the annual budget is interest.  Just interest, not principle of the load, just the interest.  I have heard it put this way:

"If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget and debt, reduced to a level that we can understand." ~ Dave Ramsey

It is just not sustainable.  If i ran my house this way, i would be in bankruptcy and out on the street.  Those who represent us need to grow a set of _____ and put on their big girl panties and make some really hard decisions.  They need to tread carefully of course, but their eyes shouldn't wander to places like Social Security, Medicare, or the retirement "entitlement" those who have retired after 20+ years of service to this country.  Those programs are people - generally - from the lower income brackets who have put their time in, who have busted their tails all their lives.  There are plenty of other areas that could be scrutinized and pinched.  No plan is going to make everyone happy, and every plan is going to make somebody mad, but this country is heading down into a hole that is inescapable if we are not careful.  And before anyone goes off spouting that the Tea Party is a bunch of bigots, do some research to see just who makes up the rank and file of this political party's supporters.  I think our country is past due for a couple of more political parties with influence beyond the Democrats and the Republicans. Checks and balances.  Since the Tea Party is predominantly conservative, i feel that a subset of the Democratic liberal would be apropos. 


Writer's block, and how to get known

Ok, before anyone accuses me of a bait and switch, the title reflects the contents of this blog, and while it is catchy, the two topics are not directly related.  It is my quirky randomness that drew the two subjects together and thus created the Title for this blog post.  Sorry if it misled anyone.

Writer's block.  Anyone who has ever had a deadline for an essay in High School knows what this is.  It sucks, even when you are not a writer by profession.  I know of a few strategies to get past it.  Go back and rewrite the last sentence/paragraph/page.  Just free write until something comes to you.  Start a new thread until you complete the assignment or something new comes to you.  The second one works best for me, but there are times when nothing seems to work except stepping away for a time and coming back later.  Sometimes months or even a year.  I got to a point in my on going story series that i just couldn't seem to move forward with it.  I backed up, i approached it from various angles... but i am stuck.  I've even considered re-writing some of it.  Such are the perils of not having a start to finish outline i believe.  I outlined some, but since it was an on-going deal i only went so far, and then out paced my outline with the writing.  So... i am going to take a(n as yet determined) brief break from that storyline.  Almost immediately i had another story line concept that i am interested in pursuing.  This one not in the Necromunda setting.  It is still in a gaming system though, because i lack sufficient creativity to create my own 'universe'.  This one will take place within Steve Jackson Games universe of Car Wars.  Yet another not mainstream game - even by table top war gaming standards.  I will see if i can get some short stories off the ground this way.  Mostly, because i just like to write, and i am just not a touchy-feely kind of writer.  I like to write about people that have to eek out an existence out of pretty hostile situations.  As usual the main protagonist(s) will not be some well off, silver spoon fed, aristocrat.  They will be an everyman type deal, and their trials and accomplishments.  I have one character outlined in my head, but i am awaiting some feedback from a friend on the second one.  We shall see. 

Sometime back, if you've actually been reading this blog long enough, you may remember my concern with the following verses:  
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." (Matthew 7:21-23, ESV)
It concerns me because it clearly shows people who were doing things in the name of Christ, and yet the Lord Himself say, "I never knew you"! How can one who proclaims themselves a Christian, a follower of Christ, not have at least some concern over this statement?!?  My concern does not come because i think the Lord is some kind of vindictive despot.  It is because i know He is a just God.
The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34: 5-7, ESV)
And the Lord being just is perfectly within His right to dismiss the very people that did all of those things in His name, and yet they are turned from the Throne because He never knew them.  This had me meditating.  I know we are NOT saved by works.  We can never do enough good things to overcome the debt we have incurred, and that we produce good works - not to obtain righteousness, or God's favor - but because of what He has already accomplished by Christ's work.  The concept of grace is not what concerned me... but the walk through life with the firm belief in those works are evidence of the grace, evidence of my heart change, but then when it comes to stand before the Judgment seat and hear those terrible words.  Then, yesterday the Lord showed me a verse within His word that gave me comfort:
Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3, ESV)
I can see how this can be a round robin train of thought.  If you love God, you will do what He says, but we cannot do what He says without His provision, and because, of His grace, but how do we receive this grace unless we love Him?  In the end i find myself praying for His grace to love Him more, so that i may do the things He commands.  In the end it is but for me to love, to serve, to pursue Him, and all my effort and strength is provided by and through my Lord Jesus Christ.


Musical Monday - 20110704

Another thing i miss because of my own not posting blogs of late... Music Monday.  This has been a song that recently has really grabbed my attention and brought forth meditations of God.  To think that God would condescend and become flesh.  To leave His glory, to leave heaven, to walk among man.  He then proclaimed the word of God, and when He had accomplished all that He had come to do, He ascended back to his home.  Because of this all those who come to receive Him and believe, will then get to share His home when our time here on earth is complete.  What an incredible thing to think upon.

Glorious Day

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Oh, glorious day
© 2009 My Refuge Music/Club Zoo Music (adm. by EMI CMG Publishing) (BMI) / Be Essential Songs (adm. by Sony/ATV Songs LLC) (BMI) / Word Music, LLC (ASCAP)

From the notes and the group and song writers:  The hymn "One Day" was a big hymn for me growing up. All I knew was hymns until probably 21 or 22 years old; that’s what we had in our church. The chorus: "Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away," that has just been a part of me from the start. As a youth pastor, you want your students to hear the theology of the hymns and sometimes you have to play it a little different way.


Something borrowed - and my own ramblings mixed in

I read this over at a friend's blog and thought it was pretty cool.

The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee

When things in your life seem
almost too much to handle,
when 24 Hours in a day is not enough,
remember the mayonnaise jar
and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class
and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly,
he picked up a very large
and empty mayonnaise jar
and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students
if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and
poured them into the jar.
He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open
areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again
if the jar was full..
They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand
and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with a unanimous

The professor then produced
two cups of coffee from under the table
And poured the entire contents
into the jar, effectively
filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.
“Now,” said the professor,
as the laughter subsided,
“I want you to recognize that this jar represents
your LIFE”
“The golf balls are the important things -
God, family, children, health,
friends, and favorite passions –
things that if everything else was lost
and only they remained,
your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter
like your job, house, and car.
The sand is everything else –
the small stuff.
If you put the sand into the jar first,”
he continued,
“there is no room for
the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time
and energy on the small stuff,
you will never have room for
the things that are
important to you.

Pay attention to the things
that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.
Play another 18.
There will always be time
to clean the house
and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first –
the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand
and inquired what the coffee represented.
The professor smiled.
“I’m glad you asked”.
“It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may
seem, there’s always room for
a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

I apologize for the infrequency of writing of late.  Life feels like it has been crazy since i started my anti-depressant meds.  Don't get me wrong, they are working wonders for me.  It's just that my writing endeavors have been focused elsewhere of late.  I write/read e-mails all day.  I write ticket notes.  I write problem summaries.  I even get a chance to write some more of my stories from time to time.  Then, when it comes time to blog... i feel like i am completely unsure of what to write about.  I have been doing the jot notes and save them deal... but i have not been coming back to flesh out the notes as often.  I am going to be trying to post at least one blog entry a week going forward.  Give myself a goal to shoot for.  8)  Anyway, for now... more rambling...

I had drifted away from collecting Pieces of Flair over on facebook, but i need to expand my MouseHunt flair some, and i created a few more pieces myself.  Besides, i really like using the images for spicing up my blog entries. ;-) So, time to spend some of my Flair credits.... 8)

Recently a really good morning radio show went off the air.  I really liked this trio, but alas the main guy took a job out in Northern California.  Fortunately one can catch things on the Internet.  LOL  It was the Mornings with Brant radio show.  I am especially going to miss their Monday Morning song, "I Saw the Light" as performed by The David Crowder Band:

It always brought a smile to my face.  I am not a fan of change, but i know that if there is one thing in certain in life, it's change.

Sometime ago, i had received an invitation - and please pardon me for not researching back through my blog to dig it up - to join a group that had strong disagreements with Sovereign Grace Ministries and its leaders.  With some trepidation i explored their site, and while i had a very hard time imagining the grievances i found there, i was also willing to admit that there are no perfect churches and it might be possible.  However, since i did not experience the situations first hand, nor did i know the people presenting them, i decided that i would not be joining them as SGM has richly blessed me, and as a result many others who i interact with - even on a daily basis.  So, with my continued support of SGM it grieved me to learn that C.J. Mahaney would be taking a leave of absence from his position as head of SGM.  This was due to several serious "charges" being made against him - you can read it more thoroughly on his blog: CJ's View from the Cheap Seats.  While i am disappointed, and grieved about these events (mostly due to my own pride) i am also encouraged by the steps being taken.  CJ is not without sin here, as is plain to read in his own words (as even more elaborately stated in his comments to his home church), and this has been occurring over a decade long period.  To read about his reconciliation with Larry Tomczak is especially heartening.  I do not know how it will all play out, but i do know that if more leaders would take the steps CJ has finally realized he needed to, the church of Christ would be a whole lot stronger today.


I know i am but what are you?

It has been a really, really, REALLY long time since i last blogged.  Life has just sort of shifted gears and my free time is even more limited than usual... not sure how frequent i will be able to post in the near future, but i wanted to post something to say that i have not completely given up on this little endeavor.  If there are any return readers out there... thank you for your patience.

Ok, this is sort of an impromptu meme.  The problem is... i do not really have a whole lot of questions to ask... or maybe it would be more accurate to say, i am not sure how to form them into good questions... which i think is the true appeal of meme's but.... anyway... if you participate please place a comment here for myself and others to see what you have to say about yourself, and feel free to tag up to five of your friends.

So here is the catch.  You have to pick twelve (12) words that describe you.  You can do it in less if you get stuck, but no more.  Also, single words only, but then you have to take a few sentences to describe how/why it applies to you because what is red to one person is maroon to another.   Ok, here are mine.....

Christian - I am first and foremost a person who believes in, and follows Jesus Christ.  I am not always a good disciple, i am not always perfect... but in the end it is by His grace, by His life, by His death and His resurrection that i have placed my faith.  We all believe in something that is at the center of who we are, that guides our thoughts/emotions/actions, and for me it is Christ.

Samurai - I know, this one is probably a complete shock to you reader, but i hope that this is a word that does indeed describe me.  I have, from time to time, outlined my thoughts on the matter.  You will find them in the side bar to the right here.  The word samurai is derived from the Japanese verb saburau, meaning “to serve"

Sergeant - When anyone enlists in the military your first line supervisor is always an NCO - a Non Commissioned Officer.  In the Army that is the Sergeant.  Within the ranks officers come and go, they are usually not involved in the day to day interactions with the 'privates/airmen/seaman'.  The one to whom they look up to for direction, for support is their NCO's first.  My first enlistment was the shortest possible stint i could get, but i remember thinking how great it would be, to be a Sergeant.  Somehow, this High School drop out and kid who could not keep a job for more than three months at a time, managed to be promoted to Sergeant just before the end of his first enlistment.  That turned my life around and i re-enlisted for six more years.  I never expected it to last twenety two.  The word sergeant from Old French sergent,  from Latin serviēns,  literally: serving, from servīre  to serve.  Over time my Beloved will ask if i am going to lay down my jacket for someone to cross a street or if we have another name for the Christmas card list.  I am most at peace in my walk with Christ when i am serving someone, or something or group in the church.

Fundamental - In some social circles this is considered a bad thing.  I consider myself a "Fundamentalist" because i believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ - i believe that before the world was formed Christ was and He choose to lay that down and become man. I believe in the inerrancy of scripture - across all available sources of text there is a greater than 95% agreement, better than the works of Plato or even Shakespeare, and that while the translations are not always linear between the modern English translations, they all use the same "baseline" (if you will).  That is why it is important to understand (in my opinion) the translation philosophy of the Bible one reads.  I believe that Christ was born of a virgin - and her name was Mary. I believe that Christ's death on the cross was a propitiation, or payment in full, for my sins past, present, and future. I also believe that He then rose from the dead on the third day and thus defeating death. I believe in the miracles of Christ - I believe he fed the 5,000 and walked on water and healed the Centurion's servant and raised Lazarus from the dead. I believe that Christ will someday return to the earth the same way (but in reverse obviously) he ascended.

Pentecostal - I believe my life is transformed by the Holy Spirit. That i am not the same person i was before the day i accepted Christ into my heart and life, and although i continue to struggle with sin in my life, the Holy Spirit is here with me to help me continue to walk out my ongoing sanctification. I believe that the Bible is the definitive source of authority in my life concerning my faith.

Reformed - This word does not always bring about a good mental image either.  I feel this describes me because i see it as how we should walk out our faith is akin to the early church. We need to live out our "church experience" as a dedicated body of believers, committed to the local church - whether that is the group of believers that meet at the church building on corner, or few families that meet in a basement of a house. We need to live lives that are intertwined with other believers where we can speak into each others lives and help share one another's burdens. I also do not believe that traditions can ever form a basis for my belief, instead the "Word of God" (aka The Bible) is my ultimate source.

Charismatic - This was a popular group of Christians in the mid to late 80's, but they kind of lost their 'edge' as more and more people came into the 'fold' but never took it beyond the superficial.  I believe that my relationship with God can be experienced in my response to His Word. My emotions can be a valid part (but not THE only part, and they can be manipulated or deceived) of my experience in the worship of Christ. I also believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for today. I acknowledge my agreement with these statements with the following caveat: It must be tested by the Word of God. Finite man can't possibly be the final authority in regards to the relationship with the Infinite. Even though we know our experiences better than any other our flesh is corrupted and we can feign an outward appearance in order to deceive the world... and a lie told often enough will eventually be believed by the liar. The same can be said of the gifts of the Spirit. I think this "label" is the most often rejected by others because it is so easily abused and misused. But how can my emotions not be affected as God reveals His glories to me? How cannot i despair and fear when i see the depravity of my soul without Christ? As for the gifts of the Spirit how can one deny the healing of the sick, or "words of wisdom" spoken by an unknowing commenter that say just the right thing at the right time? But, do not allow these things to be the final authority in your life.

Hedonist - because i feel that the ultimate goal of my life is to glorify Christ. For me John Piper is my hero in this regard. As a human being it is only natural to desire to seek out what is best for me. To seek out things for my best interest. I want comfort, peace, security. I want prosperity and i want what is best for me! As a Christian gets to know Christ you slowly begin to realize that all of these things are ultimately found in Him! If we live our lives for Christ he provides us with everything that is indeed best for us! Therefore it can be said that by dying to ourselves we live in Christ. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. He is our joy, our peace, our security, our prosperity (if you will). The best thing for us, the thing that is in our best interest, is to be found in Him.

Eldar or Elf - For me, the romantic view of the Tolkien Elf is pretty cool. and maybe this is just a 'wishful misplaced longing', but the Elves of Tolkien's vision are good.  They seek to protect and to learn.  They engage themselves in the learning of things and the various dimensions and aspects of what they endeavor to learn. It is a similar sentiment heard in the movie 'The Last Samurai', (as spoken by Algren, the self appointed Western Historian), "They are an intriguing people. From the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue. I have never seem such discipline." There are so many things (music, writing, history, wood working to name a few) i long to pursue, but our life upon this Earth is way too short.  Sometimes, i think the pursuit of such things can also be a distraction - when they are pursued for selfish reasons, or for the knowledge of whatever in and of itself.  Ultimately i desire, and i truly hope this is a pure desire, to pursue them for the glory of God.  After all, i (all humans) were made in His image, to include desires of His pursuits (which ultimately is the proclamation of His glory and Holiness).  I do not know how we will be praising God through the ages in Heaven, but there is a small part of me that hopes it will be in similar endeavors.  I am sure that no matter what/how... i will be ok with it though.  I love that the original English meaning is a Hebrew first/last name meaning "God resides.  For me that kind of bundles it up nicely.

Nerd/Geek - an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit - n. an earnest student; a hardworking student. (Usually objectionable.) - To be honest, i do tend to be single minded and my tastes do not follow the 'norm'.  Take the game Necromunda, or the music i like - Celtic Folk music.  I do not recall a single time that being "normal" ever really mattered to me.

Redleg - Ok, this is NOT in regards to a term to refer to 'poor white people' in the Caribbean. For me the definition is "Redleg", a US slang terms for artillery personnel. The "redleg" term in the U.S. military comes from the red stripe down the trouser seam of the dress uniforms of US Army artillery types.  The best years of my military career was as a "Redleg".

Panther - Ok, i was desperate to round out the 12th word... i saw a "Blog Thing" question deal.  Where you answer questions and they tell you what color you are, or what kind of girl you should marry or something that silly.  Well, this one was in regards to "Big Cats".  So i did it and it came back as "Panther" - LOL, "You are unemotional and downright stoic. It's hard to ruffle your feathers.  You have an amazing depth to you. You have layers upon layers that no one else has seen.  You are confident about your place in the world, and you've happily carved out your own niche.  You live primarily inside your own mind. You happily spend a lot of time thinking."