Music Monday - 20110228

My song for this week was one that i happened to hear while listening to Pandora last week.  It was on my "Irish Folk" station.  For some time i have been searching for Christian Irish Folk musicians, and i have even had several comments recommending a few groups, but to be honest unless i can hear the music and experience it first hand, it's hard to know if i like it for sure.  Moya's song "Hear My Prayer" was very timely and beautiful.
Hear My Prayer
Moya Brennnan
Album: Signature

Hear my prayer
Bring me through the darkness, hear my heart
Draw me in
On this bright, new morning

Here I am, stay with me
Never too late to forgive
Here I am, set me free
Sing Hallelujah

Angels walk with me
Guide me to the water's edge
Wash away my doubts, my fears
Lord, strengthen me and bring me back to you

Change my heart
With a gentle touch you change my world
Hold me close
Fill my life with beauty

Hear my voice, stay with me
Bring cool water to my lips
Hear my prayer, set me free
Sing Hallelujah

Angels walk with me
Guide me to the water's edge
Wash away my doubts, my fears
Lord, strengthen me and bring me back to you
To know, and to be known, by God is the ultimate.  The scariest thing to hear is "‘I never knew you; depart from me" (Matthew 7:23 ESV), and prayer and meditation on the Word of God is essential to getting to know our Lord.  So this was a good song for me because it speaks to me about spending time with the Lord.

Microfiction Monday - 20110228

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

She couldn't bear the thought of poor Jenny not being able to buy that pretty ribbon.  "With this shilling, perhaps she will have it to put in her beautiful hair."

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


Wicked Wednesday - 20110223

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

Today we picked Salma Hayek. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. Every woman who thinks she is the only victim of violence has to know that there are many more.
Do you know someone that has been a victim of domestic violence?
My mother actually.  For some reason she became smitten with a bear of a man.  They dated for a little while, and even married.  It lasted four weeks.  I know i stood up to him once and had my head put through a wall.  While my beloved has the ability to push my buttons like no other, and i have pounded my fist against a wall, or slammed a door, it is NEVER appropriate to hit on a woman unless you are defending yourself AND you are in danger of serious injury/death.

2. I became obsessed with all these women who die never feeling they did anything extraordinary with their lives.
What woman do you feel has made a significant contribution to society over the last decade?
I feel there are several.  Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and many others that escape me right now.  Some better than others, some more than others.  Famous people bore me, so i've not paid attention.  The true would be said if asked about which men have made contributions.

3. I have a farm and I love it there. There's really nothing to do, but even watching the chickens, its fun.
Have you ever considered life on a farm (perhaps with a pig named Arnold)?
I've never lived on a farm, but i have lived around farms a lot.  Farms are awesome and a vital part of world, but i am pretty sure it is not for me.  I am smart enough to know that you don't just throw some seeds in the ground and wait a few months.  Animals require attention too.  I guess the life of a farmer is so different from what i've grown up with, and what i do now... i have a hard time imagining it.

4. I proved to myself that if I believe in something and set my mind to it I could actually accomplish it.
Do you think that’s true of everybody in all situations?
No, not in all situations.  For example, if i wanted to become the Emperor of Japan i am pretty confident that no matter how hard i believe in it, not matter how hard i try, it will always be out of my reach.  However, you have to believe in yourself to achieve great things.  You have to believe in yourself to achieve even very good things. Belief in yourself helps push you beyond the barriers and obstacles which invariably arise.  If you cannot push beyond them, then you will never achieve much.

5. I really do love Diana Ross; I grew up listening to her records. I grew up in a little town in Mexico, so while we got the music, we never got the experience of watching her.
Who is you favorite Motown era artist?
I think it would be Stevie Wonder.  To be honest, mostly because he is the only one that readily comes to my mind.  I have enjoyed some of the music from Motown, but it generally is not my cup of tea.However, this song is a real favorite of mine.

6. I think it's nice for women to try to be sexy for their man.
How much time to you spend getting “sexy” for a partner?
To my shame, not as much as i used to.  I need to work on that because i think she deserves the effort.  I do struggle with knowing how though. Women are different than men.  I can't just go slip into a thong and "do it" for her.  LOL - you ladies are complicated.  No two alike.

7. I'm good at working, but I'm very good at playing.
How do balance work and play in your life?
Wow... that is pretty hard, and i am not so sure it is balanced right now.  I have an addictive personality so "play" tends to be at one extreme or the other.  Mostly, i play at writing which is what i get to do most regularly without losing track of my other duties.

8. I've stolen a couple of hearts and they are in my private collection!
Do you think that you’ve ever broke someone’s heart?
No, not really.  Had mine broken a few times.  My beloved's heart is the only one i ever swooned, and i pray that i have never broken hers.

9. My driving abilities from Mexico have helped me get through Hollywood.
Do you think that you drive well?
LOL - i believe i once read that 80% of drivers believe themselves to be above average, which of course is not possible.  8)  In general, yes i do.  I pay careful attention to what others are doing and drive defensively.  It has helped me more than once to avoid another "above average" driver.

10. Some men have a silly theory about beautiful women - that somewhere along the line they'll turn into a monster.
Do you feel that someone’s looks has a lot to do with their behavior?
I do, but mostly because of the circles that people 'naturally' fall into as they get older.  A lot of it will be influenced by things at home and how the parents raise them, but... in general i think it has some influence, yes.


Ok now, let me get this straight

photo © 2009 David O'Hare | more info (via: Wylio)
Over the past few months i have been sharing about some struggles with depression and possibly coming to grips the possibility of actually being on the spectrum myself (in addition to DS2).  I have never been to fond of change.  I've always struggled with changes in routine and the past several months have been a struggle for me.  I get discouraged because i feel like i should "know" better.  I remind myself constantly that God has already gone before me, that he already knows all of my days, he knows my personality, he knows my mistakes, and He still provides His Son so that i will not have to atone for my sins and i will get to enjoy Him forever.  I keep looking horizontal at the storm that rages around me, and i fail to look up to the One who can (and does figuratively) help me walk on water.  The whirlpool analogy still applies.  Never the less, God has also brought me a very long way during this time.  I have found that you can walk a very long distance over broken/hilly terrain and not really get an appreciation for just how far you've traveled while you are still down in the middle of the brambles and valleys, but when you get on top of the hills, even little ones, you can get a much better perspective.  That doesn't mean that the next valley will be less trouble than the previous one, or that you can just trot along the ridge line.  If only i could consistently have a similar point of view to what Eric Haney during his training to become a member of Delta Force:
 All day long, I crossed that mountain from one side to the other.. On the map the mountain looked like a big, dead, contorted octopus..  The main body was lumpy and irregular; the top writhed tentacle-like in a series of sharp-crested saddles.  The fingers and ridges running off the sides of the crest were gnarled and twisted like the arthritic hands of an old man.

I would arrive exhausted and breathless at one RV (check point) only to be sent to the next RV  back on the other side I had just come from. The mountain was too big to contour around, and the lay of the ground was such that I could never anything approximating a direct approach or maintain the hard-earned high ground for any length of time. Never getting anywhere, back and forth across the same mountain. It was a masterful torture. But then I had a revelation.

What difference could it possibly make if I crossed back and forth over this mountain until doomsday? A mountain is a mountain, time was time, and route selection was route selection. The only that that mattered was speed and ground made good..  My destination was determined by time; the physical position of that ultimate destination was only incidental to my reason for being there. The frustration and mental torture I had been suffering were completely of my own making - and completely within my power to disregard. I dropped all thoughts of anything other than making the best possible approach to the next RV, and it was amazing how much stronger I felt mentally and physically. (From Inside Delta Force, Delacorte Press, 2006, pg 79)
Now, fighting depression is not always as straight forward as telling yourself to "just get over it".  God has provided doctors, therapists, and when needed prescriptions too.  However, we need to remember to not give up on preaching to ourselves.  I read a timely article over at Desiring God, The Ministry or Reminding Myself.  I am not going to get into any finger wagging here because i am no expert.  I do know that my walk with Christ is a journey, a long distance journey, and along the way there will be low valleys with river crossings - probably in bitter weather, but there will also be pleasant meadows and hill tops, and maybe a mountain top or two.  Ultimately my journey is not about me and what i can get or what i can achieve, but what can i do for and with others who God brings into my life.  Focus outwards and upwards and not inwards.  This is of course is easier said than done.

Mr Haley makes an excellent point, and it can be applied to real life as well.  What does it matter what God is taking you through.  Is He not God, does He not have your ultimate good designed?  We are not privy to the big picture... sometimes not even the small one, but when we trust in God that is where peace and joy in the middle of the storm is found.  If we want to argue like Job ("Though he slay me, I will hope in him; [1] yet I will argue my ways to his face."  (Job 13:15, ESV), we should also be willing to accept when He answers us:  "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Dress for action [1] like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me." (Job 38:2-3, ESV)

In the end, you are are not alone.  God has put in place friends, family, professionals, medicine.  When the waves of depression swarm over you you have to fight the natural inclination to withdraw and seclude.  Reach out for help.

As for me, my doctor has weened me off of Strattera and replaced it with something else... i can't remember the name of it off hand.  All i know is that i did not like the loopy feeling in between the two. I am on day 3 of the new med... i am seeing a difference mentally, but i have not been sleeping well.  Not sure if it is related or not.  On the side affects it lists the side affects such as the possibility of both insomnia and sleepiness.  Silly, i know, but it takes a few weeks for the new Rx to come to full affect.  We shall see.

One last thing before i end this blog session.  I found a new blog written by a mother with a child who has Autism.  Unfortunately it came to my attention because of some difficulty they had at Disney world.  She is very articulate and loves her son very much.  I look forward to following her blog moving forward.  Life is a Spectrum is the blog.  From what i have read, it is a very good blog.


Wicked Wednesday - 20110216

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

Today we picked Ronald Reagan. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

My answers to this meme run a week late, so the celebrity quotes are not as timely, but... anyway.

1. A tree's a tree. How many more do you need to look at?
Are you concerned about mankind's intrusion into forests and jungles?
I am.  Trees are a vital part of the planet's lungs.  There is plenty of land available without having to butcher down the forests to make more room, or for over manufacturing.  The only thing stopping such a change... borders of countries.

2. All great change in America begins at the dinner table.
What is the biggest change that you've seen in your lifetime with the U.S?
I would have to say cell phones.  I still remember the day of the pay-phone and needing to keep some change in the pocket in case of emergency.  During my time the bulking portable phones that look like huge, heavy show boxes, to systems that you hold in the palm of your hand that can search the internet, stream a movie, listen to whatever music you care to even think about, download navigation tools that can help you drive almost anywhere you care to go, and even make a video phone call if you want to.  Oh, i forgot they can take pictures and upload them to share with the world within seconds.  Simply amazing.

3. All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.
Do you feel nuclear power is still the fuel of our future?
I think it is a viable short term bridge until more potent reusable technology is viable.  A lot of progress has been made in solar/wind/even wave technology.  Progress also would need to be made on consumer consumption, which is being made, but unless we can obtain contentment on the consumption, we will always keep pace with improvements in production.

4. But there are advantages to being elected President. The day after I was elected, I had my high school grades classified Top Secret.
How did you do academically in high school?
Um... i plead the 5th.  I only passed 3 semesters of English.  Towards the end i would actually roll dice on multiple choice questions to answer them.  The rattling of the dice was quite loud in the middle of the quiet class.  I'd prefer to not go into more detail... there is a remote possibility that my children actually read this blog.

5. Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.
How closely have you followed the uprising in Egypt? Thoughts?
To be honest, other than a passing curiosity, not very.  It is not that the concerns of those who are protesting their government is not important, it is just that i have enough going on in my own life that i do not have enough 'CPU cycles' to keep track of all of the things going on in the world.

6. Democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.
Do you feel a political system is worth dying for?
While i am proud to be an American, i have a deep concern for taking a stance of being willing to die for a political system where those who make the rules all too often exempt themselves from those same rules.  Right now, and i am only speaking about my opinion/observations of things here in the U.S., the political system is more of an "us" versus "them" mentality than a system "of the people, by the people, for the people".  I honestly feel that there needs to be a minimum of two more major political parties.  I see the Tea Party as a viable alternative and compliment to the overall general Republican Party.  I think the Democratic Party needs something as well.  There is no one politician that i A) completely trust and B) agree with on all of the issues.  Just like the the government has taken action to break up industry monopolies, i feel that the current system needs just a little more diversification as well.

7. Don't be afraid to see what you see.
What do you see that scares you?
For me... it would have to be the interactions between parents, doctors, and/or teachers regarding the overarching diagnosis of PDD or Pervasive Development Disorder.  Parents are usually the first to know that something is not quite right with their child.  They are with them day in, and day out.  Usually they monitor every step, every 'check mark' if you will, of every development milestone.  Too often when the parent goes to their doctor they are told to be patient, just wait, you'll see.  The thing with Autism is that the sooner you begin therapy and treatment, the better overall success the parent will have in preparing their child for success and complete integration into society.  Then, after the parent has been worn down from fighting the battles with their doctors, the child enters the school system where the parent then has to fight a new battle on a new front.

Things have improved immensely, and there are doctors and teachers out there who truly care and want to work with you, but often their hands are tied or they are over worked on trying to help every child that they can.  My beloved and i have been blessed by God bringing people into our lives who are such doctors and teachers.  But not every family is so fortunate.

Now, before i leave the impression that the deficiency is solely with "them" (the doctors and teachers) i have a concern for many of the parents of PDD/ASD children.  Very often i hear of parents that are being given resources, given direction for their children (how to get an official diagnosis, good therapy concepts, etc.) sit back and do not take advantage.  They expect the school system to do it all.  To them is say, the school system is already underfunded for NT children and wide set of needs for them, and to expect them to have all the answers and be able to do all the work is redonkulous.  Those of us who are privileged to be the parent of a "special needs" child need to step up and lay aside some of our personal preferences and desires in order to do what is best for the child.  You are a member of a TEAM of people in your child's life, and it only works best when it works as one.

8. Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we've ever known.
Tell us about an advance that you we will see in out lifetimes that is not in existence.
I think we will have better robotic prosthetics.  Already advancements of brainwave control over robotic limbs has been tested.  It is amazing the advancements made in that technology just in the last decade.

9. Facts are stubborn things.
What is something that most think of as a fact that does not ring true to you?
I read this on someone else's blog last week and i am inclined to agree.  Global warming is what immediately comes to mind.  Weather data has only been collected for about 150 years and to make such wide sweeping statements is suspect to me.  Evolution also comes to mind.  I am not so entrenched that i say it did not happen as the theory states, but i am saying that it is not mathematically possible to have happened without outside intervention.

10. Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.
What do you think of politicians that use religion as justification of their beliefs?
It is impossible for a person to not allow their faith influence their beliefs.  Whether it is the faith of an Agnostic, an Atheist, a Mormon, a Hindi, a Buddhist, a Muslim or a Christian.  Our thoughts and actions are guided by what we believe, just some of them are more vocal about their beliefs than others.


Microfiction Monday - 20110214

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

Tom was lost in thought.  Always been like that.  His mind not on what was in front of him, always one valley over.  Besides, all of the ladies here were accounted for.

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


Look, i know it's Thursday, and this was "due" on Monday... but hey, no blog before it's time.

Hello and welcome to my rambling Music Monday and miscelanities.  I usually have a Microfiction Monday contribution on Monday's, but i dropped the ball on that one.  I also want to get back on the horse with regular Music Monday postings... so, that will be posted below.  But, with my wanting to get something, anything, posted again... i am of course throwing several offerings in all at once.  I am told that these kinds of posts are enjoyable... i will take the word of those who have left comments and feedback as... i don't see how, but... OK. 

Oh, and since i will probably not post this until Thursday i should probably mention that "The Way of Walking with Christ" blog series has completed with last weeks post.  I have placed a link to a single post with all entries on my "Blog entries with a samurai theme" list to the right. Or you can just click on the link i cleverly inserted here with the title. 

This past Sunday i went over to my friend MOUSE's house (lol, pun not intended) for the Super Bowl.  He is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  It was nice to be invited out, and while his Steelers didn't win the big game, he put on quite a spread. Not only is he a football fan, and fond of tailgating... he is a Chef to boot.  Win-Win for team samurai Sunday night.  8)  One good thing for the Panthers right now... they are now officially undefeated once more, and they are #1!  #1 on draft day that is.  Let's see how the labor negotiations go between the owners and the players.  The more i think about it... the more i am on the player's side when it comes to the number of games played in a season.  Personally, i think 18 games are too many.  Player's bodies have a hard enough time making it through a 16 game schedule now, and the "concession" to add two (or is it three) more roster slots... not enough.  I feel that a minimum of five additional roster spots would be needed to help teams get through all of the inevitable injuries that would arise.  I like the idea of the rookie salary caps.  I like the idea of more money being set aside for players in the older ages to help with head injuries and other lingering issues.  Now, i understand that there are only so many M&M's in the jar out there, and how they all get divided up is pretty tricky, but... i am leaning towards agreeing with a lot of the players issues.  Still, it is hard to feel sorry for millionaires who get to play a game for a living - even if it is only for a few years (most likely), all the while the bulk of the fans - the ones who turn on the TV's. who pay the hard earned money to make it to the games, buy the products such as jerseys and hats, who are hurting to make ends meet.  Just because there are some who can dish out hundred's of dollars on a Sunday to see their favorite team play does not mean that we all can.  Well, anyway... the Panthers are undefeated once more, and they are #1!  Go Panthers!

Anyone who frequents this blog knows i am a fanboy of C.J. Mahaney, so it would only be natural for me to follow his blog.  Now, he is not the only contributor to the blog, but he does indeed contribute from time to time... ok... getting off track here... anyway, last Friday's blog was something i had pondered from time to time, but never really sunk my teeth into it.  It was titled "When Humility is Pride", and for some reason the title both caught me off guard, and glad to see as i know CJ has been accused of being artificially modest, that his humbleness is an act.  Now, one thing i know from having lived with my mother long enough, anyone can faux whatever they want, and they might be able to fool not just themselves, but others too.  The only impartial judge of the heart is God, but if you can be honest with yourself enough... it is good to perform self evaluations.  Anyway, this blog post really had me chewing and thinking and i thought it would be good to share.  Oh, and this is being added late, but... CJ has also been doing a great series on Criticism.  This is an area i REALLY struggle in, and i am not in any sort of public ministry (well, other than this blog... if it can be considered a ministry). Anyway, i know that for me i can be very prideful, and when everyone does not agree with me, or think that i am doing things in the most proficient manner... i tend to take exception and want to react before i really listen and evaluate.  I highly recommend this series as well.

Since last summer i have really been struggling to "pick up the pen" and get back to writing.  TULIP has told me that she believes this is one manifestation of my depression (among other things of course). I am inclined to agree.  When i am down i really don't feel like creating anything.  I end up just trying to keep my head above water.  When i finally start to claw my way out of it, and i get my fingers going once more... i do find an enjoyment of creating a story.  Well, i have been writing again... and that is a good thing.  I have a few chapters that needed to get posted over on my short story blog, Samurai's YarnsWhile i am being encouraged to "just keep writing" and "go back and edit later", i am not willing to post them until i have a chance to review and edit at least once before posting.  I am about 3,700 words into the next phase of the tale, with a rough estimate of another similar amount to go before this chapter is a wrap.  I also have inklings on the next phase too... i've just not fleshed them out any yet.

OK, finally this was supposed to be my "Music Monday offering this week.
Rain Song

Bring rivers in this wasteland
Clouds into this sky
Bring springs of life into the wells that have been run dry

Rise up in this city
Gather in this light
Fall down on your people
Your glory and your life

Lord we thirst for water
We are desert Land
On your sons and daughters
Bring your rain again

Speak dreams into this water
And vision to this land
That oceans be divided
And bring forth life again

Rise up in this city
Gather in this light
Fall down on your people
Your glory and your life


Let the tide roll in
Washing over our lives
Let your water fall again

Bring rivers in this wasteland
Clouds into the sky


Bring your rain again
Let your water fall down
Bring your rain again now
This song was speaking to me this week.  In the book of John we find the account of Jesus' interaction with the Samaritan woman:
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give me a drink. (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. [2] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” (John 4:7-15, ESV)
I have always related to the imagery rain and being "thirsty" for God.  When we feel distant from God, and even before we confess Christ as our Lord, the deep desire of the need for that relationship... the need of a Savior, the need of fellowship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, can most be thought of... akin to if you will, a thirst.  Not just a my-mouth-is-dry thirst, but a thorough sense of relief-from-dehydration-as-every-cell-in-my-body-is-rehydrated kind of thirst.  Anyway... there are times in my walk where... i feel so very, very thirsty for the things of God, and when one gets a taste... it satiates like nothing else can.  Well, with my struggles with depression it feels like a vast Mohave Dessert kind of need.  The imagery of this song to me is off a rain storm in a dessert... of God's Spirit raining down and filling not just me, but others around (and through?) me.  There is a reason scientists look for water on other planets... without it (as far as we understand the universe presently) life is not possible.  The same is true for my walk with Christ... i NEED his Spirit to rain, and to reign.  Especially as i try and navigate this valley known as depression.


Wednesday Wickedness - 20110209

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

I know this is a week late, and is probably not as "current events", but... it is what it is.

Today we picked Charlie Sheen. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. As kids we're not taught how to deal with success; we're taught how to deal with failure. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. If at first you succeed, then what?
What is something in which that you did not expect to succeed, but ultimately you were successful?
The National Guard.  When i first enlisted it was because all of the full time jobs had stopped interviewing me.  Understandable since i never kept a job longer than three months, and the companies were beginning to detect a pattern.  It was my intention to join for the least amount of time (which was 3 years active reserve, 5 inactive ready reserve) and then move on with my life.  Within those first three years i obtained my GED, was planning on attending community college, was on the books with the guard for some high speed training, and had been promoted to Sergeant.  Not unheard of, but nothing to sneeze at either.  In the end it turned into a twenty two year semi-career that saw me in the roll of First Sergeant for a time.

2. Dad kept us out of school, but school comes and goes. Family is forever.
What do you think about home schooling?
I think home schooling is an great option - but only for those where the parents are diligent and ensuring the students are learning and progressing, and where the students are willing and able to learn in such an environment.  It is NOT for everyone.  It also allows for the customization to help facilitate advanced learning in specific areas if such an aptitude exists. It also allows for an increased focus on deficient areas of skill.  While the Public School systems do strive very hard to allow for both of these, it is often very difficult for the teachers and aides within the system to be able to adjust for all students.  It is my understanding that in order to maintain the highest level of education a certain middle ground must be maintained in order to provide for the broadest range of students attending.  Now, having said all that - school teachers, of all grade levels, whether in the public or private sector, and this includes special needs teachers, and the aides of all teachers... they have my utmost respect.  Often a huge burden is placed upon their shoulders, often with insufficient funding, and they put everything they have into their jobs and their students.  Teachers, in my opinion, are often WAY underpaid for all that they do.  May God richly bless each and everyone of you.

3. I just didn't believe I was like everybody else. I thought I was unique.
What makes you unique?
My DNA, my fingerprints, and i am pretty sure my retinas too.  Oh, you meant what about my personality makes me unique?  I honestly have no idea.  AS far as i know, there is nothing new under the sun.

4. I just don't want to live like I used to. And at some point, I'm going to put a gag order on myself in terms of talking about the past. I've got to slam the door and deal with the present and the future.
When you meet someone, how much of your past do you reveal?
Well, unless it comes up in conversation, and is relevant, i am not seeing why any of it should be revealed.  To be honest i do not remember most of my childhood, nor do i care to.  Even now i do not dwell on even recent past events.  The past is the past and cannot be undone.  Learn what you can from it and move on.

5. I saw 28 Days. I don't remember rehab being like a day camp or being that funny. Rehab is a dumping ground. It's a big landfill.
Has rehab helped either you or a member of your family?
I attended AL-ANON a couple of times.  I don't remember if i got anything out of it (Thank you for trying H.P.).  I do have a member of my family who is attending Narcotics Anonymous.  He is extremely diligent in making sure he attends the meetings and talks with his... i can't remember the name, but like an accountability partner.  He also volunteers to help others and try and steer them to support groups and treatments.  In the end, he loves his wife and children very much, and works very hard for them.  So, yes.  rehab has helped me and a member of my family.

6. I still don't have all the answers. I'm more interested in what I can do next than what I did last.
Do you dwell on your past?
Please refer to question # 4.

7. I think what drove me insane for a long time is feeling like I hadn't earned most of what I achieved because it came so fast.
Have you ever profited from something that at the time you felt that you did not earn?
Aside from salvation in Christ?  DS1, aka LONG SHANKS, is a marvel to me.  Despite of all of my many faults and failures as a father (i once yelled at him to stop crying), he has been growing up a strong and self motivated young man.  He is consistently on the honor roll,he is regularly honored by his teachers, and he deeply wants to learn more about his Lord Jesus and be involved with things around the church.  I know i have not earned such a son, it is only by God's amazing grace and the Holy Spirit working in and through him.

8. I've got volumes on how not to behave. I've got more information now than a guy should have at my age.
Have you ever behaved in a way that you should not have?
All too often.  Just this morning actually (at the time of me writing this).  Despite my best efforts i screw up all the time.  A lot of people refer to the innate goodness of man.  I disagree with that generous statement of both myself, and my fellow mankind.  Yes, there are times when people reach down and help each other, but if you look at the heart of each man, woman, and child, you will see a selfishness that will override such charity should the person's idols be threatened. None of us behave the way we should all of the time. "For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23, ESV)  and "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1a, ESV)"

9. The paramedic called the press and sold me like a loaf of bread. This was news, and he wanted to be the one to report it.
Have you ever been in an ambulance? If not, have you ever been present when an ambulance was used?
Once that i remember.  Not sure why now that i think back on it.  I had broken my collarbone and my mom had called the paramedics (this was before 911).  I have been very fortunate in that my family has not needed emergency services very often - so far.  Another underpaid profession in my opinion.

10. Uncertainty is a sign of humility, and humility is just the ability or the willingness to learn.
Is there any uncertainty in your life at the present time? In the past?
Each day is a gift.  The only certain thing in life is uncertainty.  I am not a chaos theorist or anything, but when is anyone ever 100% certain about anything?  While i like order and symmetry and predictability... i have come to realize i will never be comfortable this side of heaven because "everything in the universe is on schedule, and everything in the universe is subject to change".


Wednesday Wickedness - 20110202

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

As usual, my responses are one week late...

Today we picked Steven Tyler. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. And the things that come to those that wait may be the things left by those that got there first.
When was the last time that you wanted to do something, but it was all done before you got there?
The one that comes immediately to mind is my Maternal Grandfather's funeral service.  I had to travel 90 minutes one way to get there, so i left two hours before hand to leave flex time for traffic.  I arrived after everyone had left the graveside.  8(

2. As good as I am, I'm nothing without my band.
Do you feel there is anyone you could not do without?
My beloved.  We have our moments of "intense times of fellowship", but there are times when she is running late, and i have not heard from her for whatever reason, i actually get a little nervous.

3. Back then it was nothing like today. So you'd go to the bowling alley. We bowled and you could be in the back and you could make out, you know? And you know how hot it was to make out.
When you were young and innocent, what place did you make out?
When i was "young and innocent" i only ever had two opportunities.  Once was in a closet, once in a set of bushes.  Not the most comfortable locations... not something i am proud of.  I was not one of the in-crowd, so opportunities did not occur all that often.

4. Drugs will get you out of your own way, but we lived it, and that's dangerous. It can actually turn around on itself and steal your soul, and that's what happened.
Were you ever tempted by something that could “steal your soul”?
Porn has been the most destructive 'drug' in my life.  Alcohol or the other things more commonly thought of drugs have never been a real temptation in my life, but pornography has been an almost constant temptation since i was a young man.

5. Every life has a measure of sorrow, and sometimes this is what awakens us.
How do you deal with sorrow?
Um... i don't.  I guess.  It's pretty rare that something moves me to genuine sorrow.  It's not that i don't have anything to be sorrowful for... i just don't understand the why's usually.

6. Fake it until you make it.
Did you ever have dreams of making it in showbiz in some capacity?
No, not really.

7. Humility is really important because it keeps you fresh and new.
What keeps you fresh and new?
I have a wife who loves me, and i enjoy writing.

8. I don't mind being a grandfather.
If you are a grandparent, do you at first “mind it”? If you aren't, how do you think that you would feel about it?
I am not sure... but i sure hope it is at least six to eight years out! Minimum.

9. I grew up in New Hampshire. My closest neighbor was a mile away. The deer and the raccoons were my friends. So I would spend time walking through the woods, looking for the most beautiful tropical thing that can survive the winter in the woods in New Hampshire.
Do you enjoy winter where you live?
For the most part yes. I live in a region where we get four genuine seasons, and the winters themselves are not overly severe.  The only thing i don't like are the people who drive like un-informed novices.  Driving 101, when the weather gets anything other than daylight, you adjust your speed accordingly.  Wet/snowy/icy road surfaces do not lend themselves towards traction between the actual road surface and tire surface.  Oh, and four wheel drive does not give you carte-blanche in teh handling department either.

10. I have to get inspired by something that touches my soul, or rocks my soul.
What rocks your soul?
Jesus Christ and being surrounded by those singing praise to Him, and seated at His feet to learn more of Him.  If i had any doubt about this i was reminded of it last night as i read about and listened to a conference coming up that i am looking forward going to.  I have heard it told that if you feel passionately about something... you should pursue it.  I can't think of anything better than to pursue God with all of my heart, mind, and strength.


Music Monday - replacement

This song really spoke to me this morning, so this is a last minute substitution.... and apparently not scheduled correctly...

Music by: Third Day
Lyrics by:  Mac Powell

It’s been so long since you felt like you were loved
So what went wrong
But do you know there’s a place where you belong
Here in my arms

When you feel like you’re alone in your sadness
And it seems like no one in this whole world cares
And you want to get away from the madness
You just call my name and I’ll be there
You just call my name and I’ll be there

The pain inside has erased your hope for love
But soon you will find
That I’ll give you all that your heart could ever want
And so much more

You just call my name
You just call my name

Call my name, say it now
I want you to never doubt
The love I have for you is so alive

Call my name, say it now
I want you to never doubt
The love I have for you is so alive

You just call my name
You just call my name
You just call my name now

The love I have for you is so alive
The love I have for you is so alive
You just call my name
You just call my name
You just call my name

I am at a really low point today... i honestly feel like there is little i can do right, and i am losing my grip on a great many things.  Not that any of it is mine to hold...

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

21) Never Depart from the Way of the Martial Arts.
For the Christian samurai 'The Way' is our walk with Christ.  It is not something entered into casually, nor is it something to discard.  You are either a Christian, or you are not. 
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV)
For those who are parents, we are admonished to "train up a child in the way he should go; [so] even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6), the same is true for ourselves.  All soldiers train for battle so our own training should be a daily thing, and in doing so we need to make sure we are evaluating what we are putting into our mind by God's Word.  The Apostle Paul admonishes us...
"O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith." (1 Timothy 6:20-21, ESV)
and again...
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to [1] a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, [2] and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. [3]  Follow the pattern of the sound [4] words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:8-14, ESV)
In closing i would like to encourage those who read these words to stay in God's Word.  Read it, meditate on it.  Keep your heart and mind open to it.  At no time should you interpret it by your own experiences.  Be willing to adjust your own understanding, but always remember that God is Holy, He cannot contradict Himself.  If something about God appears to be contradictory then we must step back and reevaluate our understanding because we are finite, He is Infinite; we are mortal, He is immortal; we are imperfect, He is perfect; we are sinful, He is Holy; we are in need of His grace, He died so that He might shed His grace upon us.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.(Ephesians 6:10-18a, ESV)