Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sorry, I just had to post this link... it is just too funny.



Saturday, December 27, 2008
Yes, I know that I haven't posted much recently, but I am on Christmas vacation, so I have a good excuse.

But I did want to post about our Christmas Eve services. We had it at Argyle High School because our current sanctuary isn't big enough (and because or new building isn't ready yet... still...). Both services went amazing!

Shh, don't tell anyone, but I had some tears in my eyes at Silent Night (my favorite Christmas song).


Before service:

During the second service:

More photos: Gallery


Moving Day

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Tomorrow I am turning in the keys to my current apartment. I feel a bond to this place because I have been here 18 months, longer than any other place since well before college.

I am sad that I am moving again, knowing that I will probably move again in 6 or 12 months, but I had to get away from this place because they were raising my rent...

Anywho, tomorrow will be busy. I will turn in my keys, go run two Christmas Eve services, and go on down to Arlington where I will meet up with my brother and his lovely wife. The next day (Christmas day) we will drive to Austin for a lunch with my mother, then on to Grandmother's house we go.

I don't know why I tell you all of that... but I did. Deal with it.


Photo Tag

Monday, December 22, 2008
OK, so my sister didn't officially tag me, but I thought I would do it anyway.

This is a photo that I took at the Texas Renaissance Festival in high school. It was taken with black and white film, and I processed the film myself. This is a digital scan of that frame. To see the rest of the photos from that roll click here (including photos of Ded Bob!).

1. Go to the place where you store all of your pictures on your computer and open up the 4th folder
2. Open the 4th picture
3. Post the picture and give an explanation
4. Tag 4 people

Instead of tagging specific people, I am tagging everyone that is reading this. That is about four people...



Sunday, December 21, 2008
I have decided to give away all of the cups and mugs that I haven't used in many years (the ones that I have had since my freshman year in college and may have gotten used two or three times).

Anyone have a good ministry to give these to, or is Good Will good enough?


Rick Warren

Friday, December 19, 2008
A quick poll: who here hasn't heard of Rick Warren? I didn't think so...

I have mostly liked Rick Warren, he has done a lot of great things for people, but watching a Dateline interview with him tonight made me fall in love with the guy. 95% of what he said I would agree 100% on, and he held himself very well while answering tough questions.

Anywho, if you have a moment, watch it yourself. You will be impressed.

Part 1 (7 minutes, 16MB, right click save as)
Part 2 (9 minutes, 20MB, right click save as)



I have too much junk! The problem is trying to get rid of it, I am too nice to just throw it away...

So does anyone want old cell phones, a cordless phone, an N64 system, two iso-butane-propane tanks, a bed warmer that doesn't work, a Linkys router, or a Belkin 4 port USB hub?

That is about half of my list right now...

I am taking pictures and will post them on Craigslist or something.



I e-mailed Stephen to tell him I was sleeping late and to not call me... I should have e-mailed the rest of the world as well.



I spent several hours tonight proofreading, printing, addressing, and otherwise getting my Christmas Letters ready. All I have to do is go to the post office and get a few more stamps... I hope there isn't a line... (yes, I know that there are machines that will give you stamps, but I am old fashioned, I like talking to a human...)

Anywho, I am watching old episodes of The West Wing. In one episode the president's Chief of Staff is talking to a female White House employee about his drug and alcohol addiction. Leo (the Chief of Staff) just finished telling Karen about how his father was an alcoholic and shot himself one night...

Karen: Is that why you drank and took drugs?
Leo: No, I drank and took drugs because I am a drug addict and an alcoholic.
Karen: How long did it take you to get cured?
Leo: I'm not cured, you don't get cured, I haven't had a drink or a pill in six and a half years, which isn't to say I won't have one tomorrow.
Karen: What would happen if you did?
Leo: I don't know, but probably a nightmare the likes of which both our fathers experienced, and me too.
Karen: And... so after six and a half years you still aren't allowed to have a drink?
Leo: The problem is I don't want a drink, I want ten drinks.
Karen: Are things that bad?
Leo: No.
Karen: Then why?
Leo: Because I'm an alcoholic.
Karen: I don't understand.
Leo: I know. It's OK, hardly anyone does. It's very hard to understand.

This speaks to something that I have mentioned here several times, and hearing them talk about this reminded me of it. I was addicted to pornography for many years, and I have been "sober" for two and a half years, but that doesn't make the fight any easier.

I know some guy readers of this blog that have never had this problem before, but I know that other readers have had the same problems that I have had. To get off on a tangent: I think most people would be surprised how many Christian males have had or currently have an addiction to pornography. I have been in groups of guys where every person in the room admitted to looking at pornography (and not just passively). As I was growing up I thought I was one of the few Christians who struggled with it, but now I see that it is rare to not have had this problem.

But I digress. Like I said, as a true addiction, I still struggle with it. Some weeks it is easy, some weeks it is hard. When Leo is asked "Why do you want to drink," he replies "Because I'm an alcoholic." For me, it's that simple. Why do I struggle with pornography? "Because I'm a male." There isn't something inside of me that other guys don't have, it is in all males of all ages. But I made a promise to God, and I am doing everything in my power to stick to it.

Even though I am not currently struggling with this issue, please keep me in your prayers for the times that I am struggling. Please also keep the other readers of this blog in your prayers, as well as my efforts to fight this epidemic in America today.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I just bought some Christmas presents on Amazon... I hope they get here in time... I hope I don't regret saving $6 by going with "FREE Super Saver Shipping".


1st Peter...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I love it when I read the Bible and feel encouraged...

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
~ 1st Peter 4: 1-11


2 AM

Monday, December 15, 2008
It is 2:30 AM and I am writing my Christmas Letter... this is going to end up being either amazing poetry or not fit for the bargain bin.

EDIT: OK, I have been writing Christmas letters, thank you letters, and confessional letters for an hour and a half now... I need to get to sleep!



Saturday, December 13, 2008
Quote of the week:

"The past isn't the only thing your family can be proud of."
~ Josiah Bartlet, the president in the TV show "The West Wing"



Thursday, December 11, 2008
ornery, or⋅ner⋅y [awr-nuh-ree] –adjective
1. a word that I would use more if I knew how to spell it.


Blog, blog...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Ya, so I haven't blogged in a while... I think it is a mixture of my life being mundane (doing the same thing every week), and me not being talkative. So don't feel left out, really, not much is going on. Just work, sleep, eat, work, work, work.

Oh, I am moving. I guess that is something to talk about. Really, though, the thing that I want to talk about is not me moving but that I need people to help me move. It looks like I will try to move my stuff before I go on Christmas Vacation, so I will need help the 22nd - 24th. Any volunteers? I have plans on going through my stuff BEFORE I move to get rid of any old junk, so stuff being moved will be not as much as it would be...

And I know I will regret saying this, but I need to borrow a truck from someone. A JEEP can carry lots of stuff, and I could probably do it without a truck, but it would mean lots of trips back and forth, and the box springs tied to the top. A truck even for one trip would make things a lot easier.

Anywho, that is all.



Thursday, December 04, 2008
Going to bed early doesn't work when everyone calls you, and leaves you voice messages, and sends you text messages...

*Note that I am not in bed asleep like I should be. =: <



Wednesday, December 03, 2008
[A disclaimer: Most of the following post is sarcastic. Due to the level of sarcasm involved, do not take it seriously. Do not believe what I said. Do not process the information. In fact, it would be best if you just didn't read it. Ignore this post like you do the rest of my posts. This will save you from the evils of sarcasm. Oh, except for the ending of this post, that part you can read without fear of sarcasm overload.]

As some of you may know, a two weeks ago I took a friend to "hang out" for a few hours. SHE is calling it a "date", but for me, it is "hanging out." Lets look at the facts:
A) Yes, I did pick her up, but she lives in my apartment complex, so it isn't like it was a long drive.
B) Yes, I did choose where we went, but we went to an ice cream shop where we had hung out before with friends.
C) Yes, I did pay for the "meal", but because that ice cream shop doesn't serve food after 4:00 PM, I only paid for ice cream... clearly paying for ice cream does not constitute a date.
D) Yes, we were mostly alone at the ice cream parlor that night, but at one point a small group from our church walked through the door, and we each talked to some people that we know, so we weren't alone ALL night.
E) Yes, I did walk her to her door, but it was because SHE insisted on it. AND there was no kiss. See? Clearly not a date.
F) And because the weekend before I had left my shoes at a friend's house, I was wearing sandals that night. Common sense says that if you are wearing sandals, it isn't a date.

So the facts all point to the fact that it wasn't a "date", it was "hanging out". Oh, and I hear Evan agrees that it was just "hanging out". See? I am not the only one!

However, I will say that I told Tiffany that once I buy "dinner" I would call it a "date", so I either have to plan to go to places that don't serve a full meal (like the movies), or I am going to have to move up in the world to "dating status."

OK, all sarcasm aside, I agree with our friend Sara (not to be confused with my sister Sara) that said that hanging out at an ice cream parlor is the perfect first date. The media shoves their version of what a date should be onto us, but I refuse to let the media define me. Why can't I decide what a good date is or isn't? Why does how well a date goes have to depend on how much money I spent, or how much kissing we did, or how many beers we had at a local bar? Why can't the perfect date simply be hanging out with a friend eating ice cream on a cold night?

Granted, one day I will plan dates that are much more romantic and personal, but for now I just want to enjoy time with a woman I like, and I don't need to spend a lot of money to do that.



Monday, December 01, 2008
Now here's an idea...



Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Ya, so I dig a girl, and she digs me... =: >



Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Normally, when I read the Bible, I do just that: I read the Bible. I try to "study", but often times I find it hard to do that.

Last night, however, was an exception. I read 2nd Timothy 4, and it just made me want to study it. Read this passage a few times, and you will know what I mean.

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 timothy 4:1-8


Sodium Chloride

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Yea! I got my first birthday gift today! It is a few days late, but that is because FedEx didn't leave a note on my door to say that I had a package at the office.

Anywho, thanks Sara for the Sodium Chloride Containment Unit!


EDIT: Fixed the link... thanks Spart!

Gas again...

Sunday, November 09, 2008
I just filled up with $1.84(9) gas. That's right, under $1.85 for a gallon gas! I filled a tank for under $35!!!

The last time I filled up for under $1.85 a gallon: January of '05. That's right, over 46 months ago!

I know that it is normal for the price of gas to drop at the end of the summer, but this is EXTREME! Everyone fill up your generators from Y2K while the prices are low!


Spirit Juice

Saturday, November 08, 2008
Tonight God is sending me lots of spiritual-goodness juice.

On the drive home from a job tonight I had a really good, deep conversation with a friend. It instantly made our friendship more than just passive. I asked a hard, taboo question of him (I was holding him accountable), and the resulting conversation was very cool.

When I got home, as I was taking a shower, I was thinking about the conversation that we had, and I got side tracked and had an epiphany about something that I said a week ago. (I told someone something that I meant, but I didn't know what it meant. To put it another way, I couldn't define what I was trying to say, but I knew it was true.) But now I know what I was trying to say, and it is a really cool idea.

Then, it being late and I have to be up early, I was trying to go to bed, and I had some music on like I normally do as I go to bed. But as I sat down to read scripture (I am currently reading through the New Testament, I am in 2nd Timothy), the track that I was playing started to read scripture. I knew what scripture it was, because I posted about it a few weeks ago. So I sat and listened for a moment to what they were reading, and I decided that it wasn't enough to just listen to them read a part of it, I wanted to read the passage again. So I flipped back a few pages to Ephesians. While reading it, I got a whole new idea that I turned into a post at my other blog: Linky

Anywho, I am totally grateful and thankful for God for showering me with spiritual-goodness juice tonight. He is one cool God, and I pray that he continues to answer my prayers as he is doing.

I just now pray that he will give me extra rest for when I wake up in the morning, because I have now stayed up to write two blog posts.



Wednesday, November 05, 2008
We are getting closer and closer to moving into our new building, and things are really starting to ramp up. We are installing equipment and finalizing things.

I am getting excited! I keep finding myself thinking about the opportunities that we will have, the fun and joy I will have worshiping God by leading worship... I am getting pumped!

So, who all is going to come up mid-December for our opening Sunday?


Not all is lost...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008
While I may disagree with who the country chose for it's next president, not all is lost. Check out this page to see some of the local ballot measures from around the country: link

I am surprised that California is going to pass a constitutional ammendment to ban gay marriage (at least right now it is projected to pass).


Dr. Horrible

Saturday, November 01, 2008
In honor of me not being able to dress up as Dr. Horrible for Halloween this year like I wanted to (I had a job), here is a bad photoshop job of me as Dr. Horrible:



Thursday, October 30, 2008
OK, I have to say I now somewhat regret posting my post "The Bible vs. Culture" the other night. I say "somewhat" because I regret classifying my two churches as extreme. I shouldn't have portrayed the two churches as I did, because it was not accurate to do so. I somewhat understood this at the time, which is why I had disclaimers in there, but still, I feel bad about saying bad things about my churches that have only done amazing things in my life. I am sorry.

But, just as McCain said "The fundamentals of the economy are strong", the fundamentals of my post were/are strong. I am going to two churches that disagree with each other, and that is not helping me.

The good news is that changes are being made. Because AUMC has a Sunday night service which I need to start attending, I have sent in my "resignation" to the guy at DBC; I wont be volunteering there any more. This saddens me much, because I fully believe that it was during my volunteering at the Tuesday night service of DBC that I first felt my calling for church media. Sure, before that I had worked at AUMC, but it was always a passive thing; I enjoyed doing it, but I was not personally involved with the service.

Because of the way that the sanctuary was set up in the old building at DBC I was able to (while volunteering) worship WITH the congregation, I for the first time found that I could lead worship from the booth. It was that that made me find my new passion in life: media ministry.

Anywho, I am rambling now. Off to bed... that is, after I write a blog post for my other blog.



Wow, God continues to work in my life.

It amazes me how a simple e-mail that someone sends me changed so many things in my head. (To be a little more clear, it had nothing to do with anything that I have posted on this blog (recently, anyway).) And it wasn't even about a big issue... it was just an e-mail sent to several people about a small topic. But it directly and indirectly answered many questions and fears that I had, so I am glad that I got it.

In my emotional-roller-coaster life, this is a bright spot, a light on my path (which I have been praying about), and while the skeptic in me says "It was a simple e-mail, stupid!", my soul cries out "This ray of sunshine is truly from God."


The Bible vs. Culture

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Yea! As the temperature drops, so are the gas prices! According to weather.com, it is currently 35 degrees here, and the price for a gallon of cheap gas is currently $2.159. Life is good.

Oh, how I wish that were true. Of course, the temp and gas prices are true, I just wish that low temps and gas prices were all that were needed for life to be good. In actuality, life is a complex tangle of religion, culture, money, sex, emotions, love, hate, idols, blogs, and work. And don't forget you have to sleep and eat!

OK, on with long-winded meandering intros... let me get to what I wanted to talk about: The Bible vs. Culture! [cue dramatic music]

I could start this off many ways, but for once, instead of taking the scenic route and telling you how I got here, I am going to just jump in.

I have realized recently that one of my problems is that I am attending two very different, very radical churches. By day I go to Argyle United Methodist Church, a sweet little traditional church in small town suburbia. By night I go to Denton Bible Church, a contemporary Bible-centered soon-to-be-mega-church.

While there are many ways you can compare (and contrast, thanks Mrs. Lampo) these two churches, one particular thing has recently stood out to me: how each church relates the Bible to culture.

(Warning: In the following paragraphs I will be making generalizations. Don't take my descriptions literally, I am exaggerating to make a point.)

DBC is on one extreme. They follow the Bible, period. They take the Bible very literally, and while they do make their teachings relevant to today's culture, their interpretation of the Bible is in no way influenced by current culture. This makes a lot of sense to me, because the Bible is the core of my religion. The Bible is God's word, his instructions for life (while cliche, it is true: the Bible is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). But I don't agree with everything that they preach. I don't take the creation story literally, and I am not a Calvinist.

On the other extreme is AUMC. They preach culture with no influence of the Bible. (Again, I am exaggerating to the extreme.) They take culture as the truth and try to bend the Bible around it. For example, it doesn't matter that Paul said "I would NEVER let a woman stand up in front of a co-ed group and teach" (paraphrased, of course), Methodists say "It is cultural suicide to say that a woman can't do something that a man can do, so therefore it is OK for a woman to teach church".

OK, well, I was going to give a few more examples, but as it tends to happen at 4 AM, my mind has hit a brick wall (or "blogger's block" as I like to call it). But I will still ask my ending question: What should I do? Sometimes I feel informed about both sides so that I can choose my own way, sometimes I feel torn and damned by both sides for not being on one extreme or the other. Wouldn't just going to one church be better for me? For that matter, what denomination am I? I grew up Methodist, but I can now see that I am not as liberal as they tend to be... but on the other hand, I am also not as conservative as Denton Bible is.

To answer my own question: I think it is is getting close to the time where I have to sever my ties with both churches, and find a church that can call my own. I haven't been a member of a church since before High School (I am not even a member at the church that I work for), and it is getting time for me to come home to a place that I can trust. Don't worry Joe, I won't be suddenly dropping out of AUMC or DBC, but I hope to, over a few years, migrate from a segregated church life to a new church home. Where that will take me, I don't know... but isn't that precisely the paradigm of life?


You're Fired...

Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here we go again... another night where I am depressed, down in the dump, just to wake up in the morning wondering why I was sad in the first place.


Idols part 3

Monday, October 20, 2008
(If you haven't yet, go down and read "Idols" and "Idols part 2", the previous two posts.)

The funny thing is, I started the "Idols part 2" post as something different. Sure, it turned out to be something that I had thought out already, but I had set out to say something different. So I just decided to make a third post about idols, rather than make a posts about two different subjects (the same topic, but different subjects).

What I had wanted to say was this: I believe that my "dearest idol I have known" (as the song put it) is money. This last year I have idolized money. I have centered my life on making money instead of centering my life on working for God.

This post actually fits very close with my recent post "A new leaf, maybe?". I am trying to not let money control my life. Yes, I am still planning on moving in December to save $100 a month, but there will be many more benefits than that. I am also trying to not be distraught over my "financial situation" (as I like to call it). Really, I should just call it what it is: I am broke.

In the past few months, I have been stressing out over being broke... and the economic failout isn't helping matters. I have been worrying about how I will pay back my debts; instead, I should be thinking about how to bring glory to Christ. Yes, I should be financially responsible, but stressing over money doesn't help anything.

So anywho, I just wanted to share my idol with you. Please pray with me that I am able to dethrone my idol of money, that I stop seeing what I want to buy, and instead see what I can do with what I have. Pray that I am reminded that money is an earthly object, and that I am reminded to focus on Heavenly goals instead.


Idols part 2

The previous post about Idols was taken from a song that we sung in church. I was later thinking about what it said, about taking our idols off of the throne. The more I thought about it, the clearer the metaphor became.

Thrones are places for things that control us. Kings sit on thrones because they control us (that is, if we lived 500 years ago). In fact, what happens when a king's power is taken away? He is dethroned! Judges sit on a throne because they control our fate. God sits on a throne because... well, because he is both a judge and a king (or would that be THE judge and THE king?).

Isn't this what an idol is? How else would you define an idol than "something that controls your life"? If something controls your life, than it is an idol, if something doesn't control your life, than it isn't an idol. I think that in this culture, the word "idol" has been changed because of pop culture; things like "American Idol" make the word "idol" something that is good, while the Biblical definition of idol is something completely different. Don't mistake superstars and idols.

Lets take this metaphor one step further. Not only is the throne the seat of something that has rules over us, but the throne itself is often an object that controls us. It is often made of (or covered with) gold or rubies, so that the subject is envious/greedy of the owner of the throne. It is large, larger than it has to be to hold an overweight king, so that it always reminds you who is in control. It is always on a pedestal, so that the ruler will be looking down on his subject, while the subject will have to look up at the ruler.

Isn't it true that idols often bring baggage with them? Idols are covered in gold, they make you envious of others. They are giant, they lord over you. And they are always higher than you, always making you think lower of yourself than you should.

All idols sit on a throne. All idols control our lives, and bring baggage. What is your idol? What is controlling your life? What can you give up to be free to make the right decisions in life? Continue to pray to God that he help you to dethrone your idols, to strip them of all power, so that they have no rule in your life.



Sunday, October 19, 2008
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

~ William Cowper



"...to answer your question, no, I don’t worry about the polls. Polls are just a fancy way of systematically predicting what’s gunna happen. The only poll I care about is the North Pole, and that is... melting, it’s not great."
~Tina Fey, as Sarah Palin


A new leaf, maybe?

Saturday, October 18, 2008
My brother and I had a good conversation tonight, and I have been thinking about re-arranging the priorities in my life. Instead of sitting around waiting for better things in my life to happen to me, why not make them happen?

So I am going to try to be more pro-active in my life. Start doing more video work, look for more event work, do more (paid) church work. Things like that.

The problem with me is that I am a lightweight emotional... meaning, by this time Monday I won't have the motivation that I have right now.

Oh well, such is life. Either I will have the motivation to do what needs to happen or I won't and I will wallow in life for another year.


Great Day...

Thursday, October 16, 2008
The greatest day of the year is here! I had to go get my fuzzy slippers out of my closet... yea!!

And on a completely related note: Here is my partial birthday/Christmas wish list: a new set of fuzzy slippers (these are the Marvin the Martian ones that my dad got me a long time ago, and they both have worn through the soles), and a "full" size electric bed warmer (the kind that you put under your fitted sheet and it looks like a fitted sheet... I have one (thanks Sara), but it takes about an hour to warm up 3 degrees... time for a new one!).

I can't think of much else that I want this year, outside of monetary supplications for my financial situation. (And I will always enjoy my iTunes gift cards from Sara!)


More Ephesians...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm...
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

~Ephesians 6:10-14a, 18a (thanks, Kellie)



Monday, October 13, 2008
I was just reading my RSS feed from FoxNews.com. Here is one of the "news" articles on the website:

FOXSexpert: Sex on the First Date, Do or Don't?
Sex on the first date can be tricky. Can you pull it off?

Wow. This frustrates the heck out of me, when mainstream media outlets are "reporting" these types of "stories". And we wonder why our culture is so infatuated with sex.

And on a totally different and happy note: Read this


The Cross

Black day, stormy night
No love, no hope in sight
Don't cry, he is coming
Don't die without knowing the cross
~ Kevin Max



Christianity boiled down into one chapter, and my second favorite passage in the Bible:

Ephesians 4:17-5:21 (note verse 26, as it pertains to my previous post)


So much, so little

Sunday, October 12, 2008
There is so much I want to type out for my blog, but I am way too lazy to actually do it.

The good news: this morning I found that I could control my anger towards a petty offense... at least I did it this time (with the help of prayer), I hope I can do it again in the future.

Off to type out an apology to the person I was angry at, even if they didn't know I was angry at them. =: >



Saturday, October 11, 2008
So yesterday I filled up with gas: $2.999 a gallon! Woop! The first full tank of gas less than $60 in a long time! And I saw a place today for $2.879! We are dropping fast!

On a related note, why is the media not covering the drop like they covered the rise? I know this happens every year (early summer they report the rise, during the fall they don't cover the drop in prices), but I am still surprised by it.

Oh, and I am surprised that the price is falling this fast even through all of this "economic turmoil". With the stock market falling as much as it is (last week the stock market fell more than any other week in it's history).

Oh well, life goes on.


A (not so real) update

Friday, October 03, 2008
Yes, I know I need to post... I have several things that I want to talk about, like my new cell phone, Jackie, and the problems with waking up Rhonda.

But that will have to be at a later time. I am going to try to go to sleep soon (after I burn a DVD for church), tomorrow I will be refereeing flag football from 7:30 to noon, then I go straight from there to my job at Blue Moon Cinemas, and I won't get home until after midnight. Sunday morning I will be up early again to be at church to make sure everything runs smoothly (I am not running church, I just have to be there for the first service).

Anywho, wish me rest the next few days.


Word of the Day

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The word of the day is Quibble.


An end to this madness

Saturday, September 27, 2008
So I ranted the other day about the government spending $700 BILLION to bail out bad debt. If you feel the same way (and even if you don't, or even if you don't care, or even if you have no idea what is going on), then this is a must see:


The above link is to a site that may just have the answer. Dave Ramsey the other day talked for 30 minutes, explaining WHY all of this is going on, and one option to fix it (and that one option has nothing to do with $700,000,000,000). In the link above there is an audio version of the discussion (IE: it's original format), and a transcript for those that are time challenged.

I HIGHLY recommend that EVERYONE listens to or reads what he said. He does a great job of explaining simply what all is going on, and how it can be fixed. Even if you don't have 5 minutes to spare today, change your plans to read what he has to say!

What are you waiting for? GO!


Address book...

Friday, September 26, 2008
Well today I sent out lots of e-mails. Today is my annual Address Book Cleanup Day. I e-mailed everyone in my address book to make sure that I have their correct and up-to-date information. Also included in the e-mail was my current information, in case anyone had lost it.

Anywho, if you didn't get an e-mail from me, that is because I don't have your e-mail address. If you want one of these e-mails, feel free to just ask for one and I will send it your way.

That is all for now.



Thursday, September 25, 2008
When I made my "I Like Ike" post, I not only posted it here, I also posted it on a forum... and I quickly regretted it. People slammed me for finding something good in something so bad. People flat out told me "You should hate the cool weather because others are hurting because of the hurricane" [not a direct quote]. Granted, I should have been more respectable in my posting (that is why I took the "I Like Ike" button off of my post), but I still stand by what I said.

In the days following, I thought more about it, and it didn't make sense that I should suffer simply because others are suffering. How many people are homeless in my town alone? Should I not find beauty and love in this world while there are people on the streets? (Yes, Christ calls us to serve the poor and needy, but I don't think that the message is "You can't find any sort of happiness in life until every person in the world is not suffering".)

Anywho, after that I was reading "Prentice Alvin" by Orson Scott Card, and a passage caught my attention:

(Some background: it is the early 1800's, and Alvin is trying to rescue a child who has been kidnapped and is on his way to slavery.)

Alvin stood beside Horace, masked by shadows at the riverbank, waiting for a well-lighted riverboat to pass. Out on the boat, musicians were playing, and people danced a fancy quadrille on the decks. It made Alvin angry, to see them playing like children when a real child was being carried off to slavery tonight. Still, he knew they meant no harm, and knew it wasn't fair to blame others for being happy while somebody they didn't even know might be grieving. By that measure, there'd be no happiness in all the world, Alvin figured. Life being how it is, Alvin thought, there's not a moment in the day when there ain't at least a few hundred people grieving about something.

So yes, I feel bad about the hurricane, and I empathize with those that are hurting and suffering, but that doesn't mean that I can't find beauty and love in the cool weather that the hurricane brought.

(Yes, I am being defensive about this... but even while I sound strong in the post, I still wonder if I am viewing this wrong. What is your thought? Am I in the right for seeing beauty while others are hurting, or should I understand that the horrific nature of the event drowns out the beauty I see?)


=: <

I don't want to live in a socialist country.

And yet I do. Yesterday Bush said that he wants to give 700 billion dollars to help bail out a few key companies. That is to say, my money is going to pay for other companies to not fail. This is socialism.

I am sorry, but I don't want my hard earned money going to bail out companies that have been loaning money to people that can't afford a loan. These companies are bankrupt FOR A REASON! These companies have been making bad decisions for a long time, and we, the tax payers, are now going to flat out give them money for making bad decisions? GIVE ME A BREAK!

Yes, if the companies fail, it will lead to an economic downturn, or as Dave Ramsey puts it, "a cold winter for many." But maybe this is something that we need. It is proven that forests need forest fires to live. The longer a forest lives without a forest fire, the more it NEEDS a forest fire. The National Park Service understands this, and will periodically set fires to old forests.

Just like forests, our economy needs to be reset every once in a while. The 1920s are known as a decade of decadent spending, of people having lots of money without knowing what to do with it. So what happened in the '30s? There was a crash in the economy, and the economy reset. Now, again, in the past 20 years, people have spent more money than ever, most of which isn't theirs (they loaded it). Now, the economy is suffering because millions of people spent more money than they could afford to. Our economy needs to reset, and people need to learn the lesson that you can only spend what you make!

And let's look at the 700 BILLION DOLLAR figure. From this blog, here are some facts about $700,000,000,000:

It is one third of the total amount of money received by the federal government in 2007, including social security, income tax, corporate tax, and all other receipts.
It is $140 billion more than has been spent on the Iraq war since the invasion.
It is nine times the amount spent on education in 2007.
It is 35 times the amount spent on all foreign aid in most years.
Its over twice the amount of all money given to all charitalbe organizations in the United States in any given year.
It is more than $100 for every person in the world.

And, if you do the math, it is $2,300 per man woman, and child in America today. Think about it this way: earlier this year the government gave most tax payers $300 to stimulate the economy. What would happen if the government gave every person in America $2,300. You think THAT would stimulate the economy?

So on this point, I disagree with President Bush. His plan is socialism, pure and simple. There are MANY more problems with this situation than just the $700 billion, but that number itself is reason enough to be frustrated with the government.


I Like Ike

Sunday, September 14, 2008
I am going to say something that will be controversial, but "I like Ike". There, I said it.

I don't mean to be disrespectful to those in the path of Hurricane Ike. I feel bad for those that have lost their lives, their homes, their dreams, their everything. I wish that Ike didn't have to hurt anyone.

But I see more than the destruction and the loss. I see the beauty of the storm also. Ike has brought cool weather to end our hot summer. I haven't closed my windows since Ike blew threw, and my A/C in my house and my car have stayed off! And while the rain brought flooding to many areas, it also brought water to many thirsty regions. Ike has pushed Summer away and has invited Fall to come in.

So while the chaos and grieving are not lost on me, I also see the beauty and the benefits that Ike has brought to many of us.


Seen and Unseen

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.... So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16, 18

On a completely related topic, I am fully in love with the song "Angelise" by Russell Martin. Link (on the right hand side, click on "Angelise")


More Quotes please

Thursday, September 11, 2008
Best quote of the week:

"This is what it is to be a Mythbuster: You see this car behind me and you think 'Ahh, it's some Classified Ad piece of crap.' I see a flying water jet car."
~ Adam on Mythbusters


One more reason...

I couldn't sleep tonight, so instead I thought I would go computer shopping. In a few months our church will need to purchase a new computer for the sound booth in the new sanctuary, so I thought I would go out and see what was out there...

...and now I remember one of the biggest reasons I like Macs: choices. Apple gives you plenty of choices, and lets you customize your computer, which is great. Dell, on the other hand, gives you so many choices that your head explodes before you even get to the third line.

For example, I pulled up their OptiPlex 740 Mini-Tower (whatever that means). Under "Processor", here are the choices:
AMD PHENOM™ 9600B (2.3GHz,512KBX4) [add $457]
AMD PHENOM™ 9550 (2.2GHz,512KBX4) [add $404]
AMD PHENOM™ 8750 (2.4GHz,512KBX3) [add $337]
AMD PHENOM™ 8600B (2.3GHz,512KBX3) [add $291]
AMD ATHLON™ 64 X2 5600+ (2.9GHz, 512KBX2) [add $168]
AMD ATHLON™ 5400B (2.8GHz,512KBX2) [add $143]
AMD ATHLON™ 64 X2 5200+ (2.7GHz, 512KBX2) [add $133]
AMD ATHLON™ 5000B (2.6GHz,512KBX2) [add $108]
AMD ATHLON™ 4850e (2.5GHz, 512KBx2) [add $83]
AMD ATHLON™ X2 4800+ (2.5GHZ,512KBX2) [add $68]
AMD ATHLON™ 4450B (2.3GHz, 512KBx2) [add $63]
AMD ATHLON™ X2 4400+ (2.3GHZ,512KBX2) [add $43]
AMD ATHLON™ 1640B (2.7GHz, 512KB) [Included in Price]

And this is just one computer out of DOZENS of Dell configurations.

Looking at that list, I honestly couldn't tell you how each processor is different. I consider myself tech-savvy, at least more tech-savvy than your Average Joe, but to me, that list is just a big grouping of letters and numbers. I couldn't even tell you which AMD line is better, Athlon or Phenom.

I am sorry, but this is ridiculous. Can we not find a better way to buy computers? Instead of offering 50 different computers each offering 50 different options at 50 different points, why not offer a few good computers and let people customize it from there. (Oh wait, Apple already does that!)

At least I am on the business side of Dell.com... the home side is even more confusing! *sigh* Buying a computer shouldn't be this hard.

Oh, and most of their business computers come with both Vista and "downgrade XP"... Some people say that the whole "Vista Sucks" mentality is just because of Apple's smear adds, but this proves otherwise.

EDIT: So I went and looked at their "XPS One", which is an all-in-one computer (although there are other XPS computers that aren't all-in-one... I still haven't figured that one out). Anywho, there are three pre-built models, so I click on "Customize It" under one of them. This takes me to a page where I can customize the computer. There are two options:

20 widescreen display with Intel® Core™2 Duo E4500 [Included in Price]

Operating System
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium [Included in Price]

Yup, when you click "Customize It" you can't customize anything. SHOCKER! Buying a PC is one of the most asinine things I have ever seen. In leet speek, this could be called "EPIC FAIL!"


1 Corinthians 15:58

Monday, September 08, 2008
I never would have guessed last night when I posted 1 Corinthians 15:58 how much it would mean to me today. I posted it last night because I happened to read it, and I thought it was cool, so I posted it. But today it changed everything...

This story starts a few weeks ago when Kory (the pastor at the church that I work for) saw a YouTube Video about a pastor having an interview with Satan. Kory wanted to copy the idea and do it ourselves, but talking about issues that we are dealing with (hard hitting issues like parking!).

Anywho, Kory wanted to show the video this weekend, so Thursday we went up to the parsonage and taped Kory talking to Joe (the choir director), who was dressed as Satan. It went great. It was funny, and it made its point. Over the next few days I edited the video and had it ready to run for today's service. I wasn't running the service this morning, so I came to the 11:15 service (the only reason I came was to see people's reaction to the video... I am only half kidding...). Anywho, they didn't play the video during the announcements like I thought that they would. They didn't play it before the sermon, or during the sermon. I started getting worried. "Was the DVD bad, did they not like it?"

During communion, I was able to push aside my worries, and I thought about the passage in 1st Corinthians, so I opened a pew Bible and I found it:

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:58

(Notice that this quote is from the NRSV, what we have as pew Bibles, while the one I posted last night was from the NIV)

I love how Paul uses the word "immoveable". "Be steadfast, be immoveable, always excel in the work of the Lord." It is a beautiful passage, and may just become my favorite verse in the Bible... no, wait, I have just made an executive decision, it is now my favorite verse in the Bible (my favorite chapter is Psalm 73... look it up and read it!).

Anywho, after communion we sang a song and the service was over. No video. Not happy. I went and talked to Carter who was running the sound booth and he said "They hadn't seen it yet and decided to not show it." I got a little peeved because I had e-mailed Kory three versions of the video on Friday and Saturday, but apparently he hadn't checked his e-mail to see it before Sunday.

On the way home I was getting pretty angry. They didn't show a video even when I drove all the way out there just to see people's reaction to it (ha). We taped on Thursday so that we could get it done by Sunday, I worked all day Friday and Saturday just to get it done by Sunday... All of this in vain, because they didn't show it. I was feeding my anger and it just grew. I knew that it shouldn't anger me, but it still did!

I was getting all worked up about it, until I remembered the verse in 1st Corinthians. The first half of the verse says "Be steadfast, be immoveable", but the second half says "...you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." And I just became peaceful about the whole situation. Sure they didn't show the video today, but they still plan on showing it next week. And sure I hurried to get it done by this Sunday, but I had nothing better to those days, so it worked out well that I was forced to work on it, while it was completely possible that otherwise I would have procrastinated and pushed editing the video until last minute later this week.

But all of the above reasons were selfish reasons to be angry in the first place. It made me realize that I was editing the video because I wanted to see people's reaction to it, I wanted the self-gratification of my work. Remembering the verse reminded me that I didn't do that work for myself, I did the work for God, thus no matter the outcome, the work by definition was not in vain. Even if this video is never shown, the work was still worth it, because I was working for the Lord.

So if you ever volunteer, or give money to an organization, or help out God's kingdom in any way and it doesn't turn out like you thought it would, don't despair, don't get angry, mad, or upset, remember that the work that you did was for the Lord, THUS it was not in vain.


Stand Firm

Sunday, September 07, 2008
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:58


Running the Race

Thursday, September 04, 2008
A few days ago I was reading the Bible, and I came across this passage:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Now I know that I am not the first person to talk on this passage, to use the analogy "Run the Race for God". But when I read this, I internalized it. When I hear a sermon, too often I just listen, I just hear what he says and leave it at that. But when I read this, I stopped and thought, "What does this really mean?"

The analogy is simple: Our life is a race, and as in a race, you want to get the prize. But beyond the simple analogy, lets break down what Paul says.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?

This part is confusing to me. The closest I can decipher it is: "Many people will try to get into Heaven, but few will," a paraphrase of what Jesus said. I think that Paul is trying to remind us that even those that ran, gave it their all, and got second, still didn't get the gold.

Run in such a way as to get the prize.

This is the motivational part for me. When you run a race, you don't ever let up. Even if you are ahead of everyone else, you don't slow down, because one of them could speed up at any moment and pass you. You run as hard as you can until the finish line so that you can get that top prize. This reminds me that I am not here to enjoy my stay on Earth. I am not here to work until I die, to have lots of babies, or to have all of my joys fulfilled. I am here to do the work of God, to run the race with all that I have, for God.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.

Remember that the race is not just run on the track, but in the practice field. You can't just go around your daily lives hoping to be a good Christian, you must "practice", you must pray, you must study the Word, you must spend alone time with God. Remember that when Jesus said "These demons only come out with prayer and fasting", he didn't stop to pray or fast, he cast out the demon on the spot. This means that Jesus must have done his prayer and fasting BEFORE that moment.

They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Here, Paul reminds us that we are in this for the long haul, that our prize is not Earthbound but Heavonbound. One of the biggest themes that I find in the Bible is: "Focus on Earthly gains, and you will receive Earthly rewards. Focus on Heavenly gains, and you will receive Heavenly rewards." Frankly, I want Heavenly rewards, so that means I need to focus on Heavenly gains.

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

Don't go around life with your brain turned off. Don't do anything without thinking about it first. You know how much money I have lost by buying things before thinking "Do I really need this?" Too many mistakes in life are made because we aren't thinking, we have no aim. Turn on your brain and find your focus in life.

No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Paul is saying "I practice what I preach." Or, "I said for you to go out and practice running... look at my life, I go out and practice running. I said run the race as hard as you can... I have run the race as hard as I could. I did this so that you can follow my example, so that other's could be lead to Christ through my actions. Now, YOU go out and do as I have done: lead others by your actions and your praise to God so that others will follow your lead."

OK, that is all I have for now. This post is kinda lame (in fact, I think it is my lamest post ever), it is just a few wondering musings of a confused soul. I hope and pray that you will be motivated and refreshed with what I have posted here, and remember to constantly run the race for God.


A good mood...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
OK, I am in a good mood for once, so I thought I would post a bunch of random links that I found this morning:

Link 1: the funniest comic I've seen in a long time.

Link 2: I know that Jos Whedon is openly an atheist, but who knew how powerful his shows are?

Link 3: Some of the worst news ever? I hope it works out well.


My Day...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Dear Bloggary,

(I know that "Bloggary" is not an accepted term yet, but "Dear Diary" isn't accurate and "Dear Blog" just doesn't have a good ring to it...)

So, any way, as I was saying...

Dear Boggary,

My day was good. I have been working so much lately that it was nice to have a day off! Yes, a day all to myself, with no J O B or anyone telling me what to do. So what did I do?

I cleaned my room.

Really, it makes sense. I have been so busy lately that my room was a wreck, with dirty clothes on the ground, a sink full of dirty dishes, and a closet unpacked and all over my floor because of a week old project. So, my dirty room kept reminding me that I have been busy, so by cleaning it, it reminds me that I had a day off. Does that make sense?

Anywho, as I was going through some of my old stuff, I found a card that I wrote on when I was in Washington D.C. (remember that trip? it was fun!). The card said:

"It's hard to eat cereal without a spoon. Stupid establishment."
~ Me

I don't know what that means, and I don't think it is funny, but I must have felt it was funny at some point.

After cleaning, I decided that tonight was a good night for MOVIE NIGHT! And you know what that means: PIZZA!!! Papa Johns is still the best pizza ever. I would give some to you, but you are a blog, and blogs don't eat, silly! (ham, spicy sausage, pepperoni, bacon, and pineapple)

So while eating amazing pizza I watched "Vantage Point". Wow, what a horrible movie! The movie bills itself to be a suspense thriller, but it isn't. In advertisements, it looks like the movie will solve the mystery of "Who killed the president?" by showing different "vantage points" of people in the crowd, but that is not at all what happened! The first half of the movie shows you the same sequence of events through 5 people's perspective, but each time, NO new information is given! THEN, it gives you all of the information at the end with no one "vantage point", IE: it turns into a normal movie showing lots of events in sequence. So what could have been a good suspense thriller turned into a dull blockbuster with bad acting and an even worse script (at the end of the movie whenForest Whitaker finds the president alive (*gasp*, ya, they tell you that in the previews), he has the line "I'm with you, Mr. President." LAME!). Oh, and they have whole sequences inside of a TV news control room and it is the most inaccurate representation of a control room that I have ever seen! The "on air" camera keeps changing while the guy's hand is NO WHERE near the control board! How lame!

*sigh* I hate bad movies, especially ones that show such great promise but utterly fail (and by "fail" I don't mean the horse got half way around the race track when he sprains his ankle and falls to the ground, I mean "fail" like the gates open and the horse is dead with maggots already rotting away its intestines... umm, sorry about that, but it served its purpose).

OK, really, moving on now...

I just bought the latest Family Force 5 album: "Dance or Die (iTunes link). I hope it is good (the EP is great). I also hope to listen to this CD when I start running soon, once it cools down.

But now, blog, I have to go to sleep. Wish me sweet dreams as you lullaby me to sleep.



Sunday, August 17, 2008
"Silence" by Jars of Clay

Take till there's nothing
Nothing to turn to
Nothing when you get through
Won't you break
Scattered pieces of all I've been
Bowing to all I've been
Running to
Where are you?
Where are you?

Did you leave me unbreakable?
You leave me frozen?
I've never felt so cold
I thought you were silent
And I thought you left me
For the wreckage and the waste
On an empty beach of faith
Was it true?

Because I...I've got a question
I got a question
Where are you?

Deeper I wanna scream
I want you to hear me
I want you to find me
Because I...I want to believe
But all I pray is wrong
And all I claim is gone

And I...I've got a question
I've got a question
Where are you?
And where...I...I've got a question
I've got a question
Where are you?
Where are you?
Where are you?
Where are you?


Here goes again...

Friday, August 15, 2008
*Wow, I finally have a night to write this all out... I have been planning on writing this since the night of my last "deep spiritual" post (a few days ago) but I haven't had the time... here goes!*

*... err, another point first: After writing the below post, I realize that it is not one of my better posts. My thoughts jump around, my points are not all clear, and my train of thought is a wreck... (get it? train... wreck... oh never mind) but I don't know how else to say it, so I will let it stand as it is. I hope you can follow along well enough.*

Oh, where to start... there's a good place! I was at my brother's house the other day and noticed that he had a sheet of paper taped to his desk near his monitor, so sitting at his computer it is impossible to miss. It is a list of his goals and his focuses (foci?) in life. A simple way to constantly remind him what to stay focused on and what his goals are.

My first reaction: wow, that is LAME! (roxorz boxorz omg...hax) But the idea kinda grew on me...

See, the other night after I posted my "I am spiritually depressed" post, I was lying in bed, and some thoughts came to my mind, and because I had seen Stephen's list, I grabbed a sheet of paper and a pencil. Here is what I came up with (and I quote):

Don't focus on what I can get away with,
         but focus on God!
A perception; a mind change
         to focus on God in everything.
Friends keep you company,
         friends keep you Godly*,
                 family does the same.

Let me break that down as to what it means to me,

Don't focus on what I can get away with,
         but focus on God!

Eleven months ago I "came out" about my pornography addiction. In many ways that has helped me, but it has also made me lower my defenses. While I haven't viewed any pornographic material in several years, in the last six months I have looked at things that I shouldn't have. I will come back to this point later, but I wanted to make this side point here: while I kept strong in my resolution to not look at pornography, I haven't done so good with my resolution to not lust.

See, I have been struggling with mind games, looking at things I shouldn't have and then making excuses for them (wasn't that what I was doing all along?). In other words, I was seeing how much I could get away with, and it hit me ("A bus?" "No, an idea!"): I can't go through life seeing how much I can get away with. That is not what God calls us to do. He doesn't say "Go and make disciples of all the nations... when or if you feel like it." or "If you want to get into heaven... do what feels good." He calls us to devote our entire lives to serve him in everything that we do. So the first part of the note to myself reminds me that I shouldn't push the envelope, I should stay on God's side as much as possible.

A perception; a mind change
         to focus on God in everything.

This is a continuation of the previous point: Always keep your mind on God! Now, I want to point out that while the previous point had the specific application of lust, it is transferrable to everything in life (as this point emphasizes). To speed or not to speed, now the choice is clear. "Should I watch this raunchy movie?" I think not. And, instead of simply giving money to a charity/church, why not give your time and effort? When you choose to focus on God, everything changes.

Friends keep you company,
         friends keep you Godly*,
                 family does the same.

This one is more personal to me. It is a reminder to not shut myself in my apartment, to not confine myself to be alone. I never got around to explaining my poem "Dark (I still plan to), but part of it deals with me enclosing myself in my room and not leaving. Being alone is a demon of mine, and I am constantly fighting it. This also emphasizes that family is amazing and important to me, but friends can also play an important role, so much so that it mentions that "friends can do these things, oh, and so can family."

Also, note the "*" (I have no idea how you spell that). This is getting back to the line of thought that I was talking about earlier (about viewing bad stuff). I decided to (finally) submit to having a "watcher" program on my computer; I choose Covenant Eyes. Covenant Eyes is simply a program that runs on my computer that tracks all of the web pages that I look at, then it rates me and tells my accountability partner how I have been doing. It won't stop me from viewing bad things, but if I do look at morally-questionable material, my accountability partner will know about it. (And no, I am not naming this person, but I do have an accountability partner).

Getting back to the point... my note to myself says "friends keep you Godly*" serves as several reminders:
Friends will keep you accountable,
Friends will keep you on the right path,
I have a watchdog on my computer, so don't look at anything stupid!

NOTE: The above note to myself, unlike Stephen's list, is not a comprehensive list, it is not a detailed list or an all-inclusive list. It was simply a list of resolutions that I wanted to be reminded of on a daily basis. I don't have this hanging on my wall yet, but I may soon.

OK, back to story time. As I was laying there in bed, after writing all these things out, I turned the sheet over and wrote a prayer:

Lord God, May this not be a tonight-thing, today-thing, or now-thing; may it be a for-the-rest-of-my-life-thing, a permanent-thing. Amen.

That was and is my prayer, that what I wrote down won't be a temporary fix or a spiritual high. I pray that my life will be changed, that those items will be a new leaf in my life, that I may be baptized and be washed new, out with the old, in with the new, a born again I-don't-want-to-go-back-for-anything resolution to change my life. I pray that you may also find the courage to write a list that will help you define your new life.


I hate life...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I hate life.

I just double booked myself for tomorrow afternoon, 20 miles apart from each other. I am now trying to rectify this situation.

I miss the old life, being a carefree kid. It was so great. Life sucks. Or as the old commercial said: "Stress stinks! (Arrid works.)"


The Mole: Final

Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Here are my final picks for the mole:

#1. Craig: Still sticking with him
#2. Nicole: Due to reasons that I am too tired to explain, if my #1 hadn't made it to the final round, Nicole would be my #1, but because I picked Craig a long time ago, I am sticking with him.
#3. Mark: Ehh, I just don't think it is him.

Note: Yes, I know by now that the Mole has been revealed, but I haven't seen the show yet... honest!


More Crap...

OK, so those of you that haven't talke to me in a while, ya, my life sucks right now).

Rhonda broke down (got her fixed).
My internet is out (I am writing this from work).

And I can't think of anything else right now. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but I think what is getting me most agrivated is just how the world is against me. OK, that sounds melodramatic, but it seams like every little thing is going wrong, that Murphy has moved in with me. It is hard to explain without sounding silly (or very detailed), but it seams like I am getting all red lights when I drive... not only am I REALLY hitting EVERY red light when I drive, but that is also a good metaphor about how I feel in every aspect of my life. If it could go wrong right now, it will. And my anger and frustration just grows and grows day by day.

Some people, when faced with bad times, turn to religion for help. Me, hard times drive me away from religion. Not that I am becoming less of a Christian (or am I?), but it makes me question my faith more, makes me question God more, makes me question why I am putting up with this for little earthly gain. I know in my heart that I have centered my life on heavenly things so that I will receive heavenly gains, but my body is aching for some earthly relief (and I don't mean that I want a mud bath).

I feel like I have blogged this before, so this may be repeating myself, but right now there is nothing you (the reader) can say to make me feel better. "Don't worry, it will get better soon" doesn't make me feel any better. "Everyone goes through hard times/I have been though similar things" doesn't make it any easier for me. "You will grow stronger because of this/God is leading you through this" just doesn't help. "Read the Bible/Psalms, it will help you" no it won't.

So what will help? This crap to go away! Problem is: there is a small part inside of me that says "This won't go away until you have a better attitude about it", but my reply is "I won't get a better attitude about this until it goes away." A catch 22.

So I post here again, knowing that what I type won't help (outside of figguring things out for myself). When I type this, I am not looking for answers, reassurment, or even a hug (although that would feel nice... Stephen, don't even think about driving up here, because even a hug would be short lived). The only thing that I can ask from you is prayer. Please continue to pray for me, every night, every day, every time you think about me. It is the only way to get these demons away from me.

And to get back to an earlier point, this is one of the reasons why my religion is hurt during these times: I pray, and pray, and pray, and I know that others are praying for me, but honestly, things have only gotten worse in the last two weeks... why does it get worse when my prayers get more? (And now that I say that, I have to admit that it is wrong, I don't pray more now... because my faith has shurnk. It is hard to pray when faith is lacking.)

OK, so this post went different places than I thought it would go, but it includes all feeling I have been feeling for a while. Please just continue to pray, I am desperate for help.



Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Ya, so here I am at my new job. The job that I haven't told you (my blog) about, not because I wanted to keep it a secret from you, but simply because I haven't posted in over a week.

So any way, I am at my job (yes, I am currently on the clock), and notice what time it is: 2:30 in the morning. Ya, I got here at 3:30, eleven hours ago, and I am still "working"... I say "working" because I am waiting for the computer to be done uploading a file, and I get paid until the computer gets done. So I am doing everything I can to hog bandwith so that the upload goes slower (just kidding!).

But any way, I have to be back at 11 in the morning, which is only 8.5 hours from now, minus an hour driving each way, I would only be home for 6.5 hours (and out $15 for gas). So I decided (with the permission of my "boss") to sleep here for the night. I don't have a blanket or a pillow, but I can deal with it.

Who else has ever slept over at their job the first night they worked there? (I just wish that "Spending the night the first day on the job" were on my List of Things to Do in Life, if only so I could check it off!)


Clinton Inn

Friday, July 25, 2008
This post will be mostly full of inside jokes, but because most people have at one time or another stayed in a sleazy hotel:

In honor of the Clinton Inn in Clinton, Mississippi, I present:

The Sleazy Index

Playing this game is easy. Just start with zero points, then...

Add five points if the hotel is named after the city that it is located in,
Add four points if the hotel is not a chain,
Add three points if the hotel is called an "Inn",
Add four points if there is a guy sitting outside their room without a shirt on,
Add three points if the A/C is controlled by a light switch (a bonus two points if that switch is horizontal, not vertical),
Add three points if the closet can be described as a "Helen Keller Closet" (a bonus two points if the girl doing the impersonation is named "Helen"),
Subtract three points if the room has a mini-fridge in it, but
Add four points if water left in the "freezer" of the mini-fridge for eight hours is still not frozen,
Subtract ten points if there are two TVs in the room, but
Add fifteen points if there are two TVs in the room because one TV's power button is broken and management didn't feel like removing the TV,
Add four points if the TV has a sticker on it that says "If cable is removed from TV, alarm will sound",
Add fifteen points if the buzzer for after-hours check-in is "a screw",
Subtract eight points if the hotel is presented on one of those blue "Lodging" signs on the highway, but
Add nine points if the hotel is a mile or more off of the highway,
Add six points if there is no "Continental Breakfast",
Add two points if the hotel advertises "free HBO",
Add fifteen points if there is no latch on the bathroom door (a bonus five points if the room has two or more beds),
Add three points if the towels in high school gym are more absorbant than the towels offered by the hotel,
Add four points if, when you request extra towels at the front desk, you are told "You will have to wait until 11 when my brother gets back",
Add fifteen points if the shower curtain is more affectionate than the lady at the front counter.

BONUS: Add ten points if you hear a car engine rev up and you are compelled to check to see if your car was stolen.
BONUS: Add ten points if you bring your pistol in with you to feel safe.

You are done! The number you now have is your "Sleazy Index." It is on a scale of 0 to 100, 0 being "Not Sleazy" and 100 being "Super Sleazy." To give you an idea, here are some hotels and the numbers you would associate with them:

Ritz-Carrolton: anything under Zero (minus twenty-one being the "best" score)
Sheraton: 0 - 20
Holiday Inn: 20-40
Best Western: 40-60
Motel 6: 60-80
Americas Best Value Inn: 80-100

And, with an amazing perfect score of 120 (including all bonus points) is, you guessed it:

The Clinton Inn in Clinton, Mississippi

Congratulations to the winner! I would have gotten you a prize, but I was too busy hurrying home to take a shower.


North Carolina or Bust!

Friday, July 18, 2008
Well, most of you know this story by now, but here it is for the few of you that haven't.

Wednesday morning, my best friend called me at 10AM. He was like "Ya, you know how I am getting out of the Marines this weekend? Ya, we need someone to drive one of our vehicles back to Texas with us."

To cut out the boring part of the story, less than eight hours later I was on a plane to North Carolina. I have been here for a few days, and we are planning on leaving Sunday morning (they are getting the rental truck right now, which is why I am bumming around and posting). We will spend a night in Atlanta and another night somewhere else (both at Matt's friend's houses), so we should be back in Denton on Tuesday. From then, the plans, well, aren't. We don't know what we will do at that point, so wish us luck!

Oh well, Matt is back with a huge Penske yellow truck, so I have to go make sure he doesn't back into the house. GTG!



Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Just as I laid down to go to sleep tonight (early, I might add) my mind started doing something that doesn't happen very often: it started to write poetry! Where it came from, I don't know, but I had to get up and type it out.

Tomorrow I may explain what the metaphors are (some are quite obvious, but some aren't). It is a dark poem, but don't worry about me, it is just my darker side getting out. Oh, and I should note that it is raining and thundering here.

Without further ado (what is "ado" any way, and why do we say that?), here is my poem:

By Matthew Kelling

Cold and Dark,
Alone I embrace what I cannot see,
Grasping at what is not there.
I cage myself in this jail
That has no holes or windows
A wide open door
That stays shut.
I have a mirror
That I fool myself into thinking
Can keep me company
I see faces, spaces,
Vast lands that are open and free,
But these faces, spaces,
They are not real,
Just a reflection in my mirror.

The one on my wall.
The girl that I long for,
The girl of my dreams...
The girl that is just like me.
She eludes me.
I cry out for companionship,
Hold me.
But all I find is emptiness.
Without her I am alone.

Alone, dark and alone,
The walls close in around me
As I pity the shell I call myself.
The water dissolves the walls
Leaving me alone
Surrounded by rain and thunder
I drip wet and cold,
The feeling gets old.
The thunder hits my chest
Like a blow that smashes.
The lightning crashes
Only illuminating sparks
Then go black.

But I am not alone,
He is always there with me,
By my side,
Holding when I shun those that hold,
Shelter when I am wet and cold,
Comforting when I am alone.
I cannot be alone
With Christ by my side.

I am free,
I fly high
As a bird, as a plane,
Falls all around me
Washing and purifying.
It refreshes as it splashes
On my face.
The lightening shows I am not alone
Surrounded by angels
While the thunder reminds me
That I am not God.
But He is,
And He is with me.


The Mole #5

Monday, July 14, 2008
Umm... my picks for the Mole stay the same (note that The Mole was off a week).


Titanic: The story of my life

Sunday, July 13, 2008
OK, it is 3:20 AM on a Sunday, and I am ready for some religious ramblings!

First, a side point: In all of the times that a pastor has brought up "The Gifts of The Spirit", I always said that "Faith" is not a spiritual gift of mine. I have always struggled with faith, and have never found a solid faith, so I assumed that it was not a spiritual gift of mine.

But I have been thinking lately: through all of my life's hardships, pains, trials, depression, sins, and sorrows, I have always had some level of faith. I look back and I see times that there was no good reason for me to have faith, but I did. I mean, I am basing the way that I live my life on the words of a guy that has been dead for almost two thousand years... but I still have faith.

Maybe faith is one of my gifts.

Moving on...

Lately I have been having a spiritual battle. I was brought up in (what I call) "The Church of America" (or TCoA for short). TCoA's beliefs are simple:
God = love
God wants to love you, and accepts you where you are
God wants you to be saved, so all you have to do is say "the prayer" and you are in. You don't actually have to LIVE a certain way, as long as you went to church at least once a month and pretended to read your Bible, you were saved.
God wants you to be prosperous.

Yes, that list is sarcastic, I wasn't actually brought up believing the above... but close to it. I was told that you should go to church and read your Bible, but those that told me to do it didn't do it themselves. And as for giving... well, you give what change you have at the end of the month to the offering plate, and that is it.

I have always felt that that way of living wasn't enough, that TCoA missed it, and not by a little bit. But I was brought up that way, and I find myself thinking that way, even if I don't agree with it (I want an iPhone, even if that money could better be used for God's kingdom).

Then came the Hot Tub Church of Christ (HTCoC for short). Before I get weird e-mails, let me explain: A few months ago my brother and I were at my dad's house for some jobs. Late after a job one night, we went out to my dad's hot tub, and in a round-about way, we got to talking about religion.

My brother starts talking about how he has been studying the Bible and has been thinking a lot about how we should live our lives. He says that if a person were to really experience Christ, their lives would be different. (Warning: The following is me putting his beliefs into my words. I my not be completely accurate as to what his beliefs are, this is just the way that I put it into words.)

See, when People join The Church of America, their lives don't change. Sure, they go to church on Sundays, and they give 10% of what they make... they stop cussing, and will even give up questionable behavior (smoking and drinking). But their every day lives are the same. They go to work, come home, watch TV, pay their taxes, and go to bed. How has their lives changed since Christ entered their lives?

My brother's point is that If they were to REALLY experience Christ (HTCoC style), then their every day, every hour, every minute of living would change. They would give up the luxuries of life, they would stop working to em-better themselves, and they would devote their time to "the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind" (Luke 14:12-14). They wouldn't believe America's lies that wealth has worth. They wouldn't watch TV (which turns off your brain), they would go out to homeless shelters and volunteer, they would bring hot food to people on the streets, they would comfort someone in need (it could be a friend down the street). And they wouldn't only give 10% to the church (which is an Old Testament tradition), they would give every dime that they could scrape from under the couch cushions to a variety of charities (not only when a commercial comes on for hungry African children), THEN they would go out and give every extra waking minute to those that need help. THAT is the way that Christ led his life, and THAT is the way that we should follow his footsteps.

So that is the teachings of the HTCoC: that if we were truly Christians, our lives would be changed. (yes, I know my dear brother, there is a lot more to it than that... but I am trying to keep this blog post down to under twenty pages... those other points will come in time, or feel free to make them in a comment below)

So, to get back to my post-introductory opening point: Lately I have been having a spiritual battle. See, my body still likes the teachings of The Church of America (TCoA), but TCoA simply isn't biblical. Yes, God is Love, but he also calls us to do his work. In reality, TCoA is based on America's culture more than it is based on the Bible. Conversely, the Hot Tub Church of Christ (HTCoC) is based on the Bible... "Get rid of all of that culture crap and get back to the basics." Which makes sense to me because I am a big believer in following the Bible.

Here is a great metaphor that I have come up with: Lets say that you are on a cruise ship, and halfway through your voyage you fall overboard. No one notices you are gone, so the ship keeps going, and soon you are all alone in the water. No life raft, no floaties around your arms, nothing. What do you do? You tread water, of course! Soon, you get too weighed down, so you take off your shoes, probably your pants, your jacket, anything weighing you down, just to lighten the load.

Hours go by. Then days go by.

After several days, it is obvious that they aren't out looking for you (or they would have found you). So now you have two options: the spirit on one shoulder is saying: "Just tread water a little longer, they will find you. Just keep doing what you're doing, you are doing good." The other spirit says: "Fool! Treading water ain't getting you anywhere! You are going to have to swim for shore! BTW, shore is that way... I am almost certain."

So what do you do? One option is the easy choice (tread water and wait it out), the other option makes more sense (swim for it), but it would take a lot of work to do.

But it isn't just about which option sounds better. See, you have already been treading water for several days. Treading water isn't easy, it takes constant work, constant concentration, and you are dog tired. You have already put every ounce of energy that you have into just keeping afloat. Swimming to shore is the logical thing to do, it makes sense, and everything else equal you have a much better chance of getting rescued. BUT you have NO energy to even do that, because you have already spent your energy on staying where you are.

On top of this, there are sharks. And I don't mean "Oh I think that there may be sharks down there," I mean you can see them, you can feel them, and one has already bitten off your toes! (anyone seen Open Water?) YOU KNOW that they are there, just waiting on you to stumble.

THAT is the story of my life. I feel like I have devoted myself to TCoA (shedding off the things weighing me down), but here comes a teaching that makes sense, that is logical, that is actually biblical... so why not jump on board? Oh how easy it would be!!! Truth is, I am having enough problems just having faith as it is! Back to my introductory opening: while I have always HAD faith, it has never been stable, I have never felt sure about my faith. It was always there, but it was always rocky, always something that was hard for me to grasp. Now I have someone on my shoulder telling me "Swim for it" and my response is "I am so freaken tired of treading water I am just about ready to give up as it is. Swimming is out of the question!"

You would think that me finding a closer walk with God a good thing for my spiritual life, but it has hurt it. Before the HTCoC, I was at least happy with where I was. Now, I know that I am not where I should be, but I don't have the energy/faith to move to where I need to be. I am being ripped apart, and I find myself between the two camps, which is dead-man's land, worse than being in either camp.

It is easy to say "Yes, but muscle must tear before it gets stronger. Now is hard, but God is just using it to make you better." Frankly, that is the ABSOLUTELY WORST advice you could give me right now. (OK, not the absolutely worst, but it sure feels like it sometimes) I don't want to hear "it will get better later", I want it to be better NOW! And I am not being demanding or forceful, I am saying that where I am SUCKS and I don't want to be here. But if I go one way I feel guilty, and if I go the other way I have to completely break who I am and become someone else (and right now the LAST thing I want to do is break down even more).

And that isn't including the "sharks". Sin is still a struggle in my every day life. Sure I "came out" about my pornography addiction and how I "overcame it". But to be honest, it is still a daily struggle for me. Just because I stopped doing it doesn't mean that the temptation went away. If you were once an alcoholic, it doesn't matter how "recovered" you are, you will always be drawn back to the bar. Even if you don't get drunk, you still want to hang out in a bar. And I find myself doing that: going to sites I shouldn't go to. No, the sites aren't "pornographic", I don't directly use the sites to lust. But they fill a sinful need deep inside that I find hard to squash.

(Take a deep breath... I don't know how you read the above paragraphs, but in my mind, they are full of passion. These things really hurt, and I have to hold back emotion when I think the above thoughts. I get on a roll, and the thoughts and words crescendo, keep getting louder and faster... so, take a deep breath, then move on to the next topic.)

That having been said (and it was a lot to say), I am not looking for answers from you guys. I don't want a bunch of comments and phone calls reassuring me that treading water for now is a good option, or that swimming, however hard, is worth it. That is not what I want; nay, that is not what I need.

I need prayer. I need honest intercession with Christ for my behalf. I want you to pray that God delivers to me His truth... then stop. I want you to ONLY pray that God delivers to me His truth. Don't pray "God, show him that your truth is to swim for shore" or "God, he really needs to see that treading water is good right now." I don't like it when people put their opinions in prayers... kinda like when pastors pray (just before an offering) "And let these people empty out their pockets for You God." They aren't praying that the people will give a lot of money, they are sending signals to the congregation that he wants them to open their wallets. (Not to say that a pastor can't pray the above prayer, I just think it is showy when he says it out loud... kinda like praying on a street corner, you don't do it because you are praying, you do it for the people watching) (Sorry, that was a rant... back to MY problems now!)

I ask that you pray that God give me His truth, whatever it may be. Please pray that I have the wisdom to understand when God is talking to me, and the wisdom and courage to choose the right path. Please pray that the sharks of sin don't devour me, but that I may be redeemed and rescued by Christ.


PS: That post is over 2000 words, and took just over an hour to write... now it is time to proofread!

PPS: OK, 4:50 AM now... I am so tired I couldn't think of the word "proofread", so much so that I had to do a Google search for "writing steps"... "Research, Write, Revise... Proofread, ya, that word!" So really, nighty night time... I am just glad that I don't have church in the morning, or I would have to be there in three hours!


Thursday, July 10, 2008
So the iPhone 3G is set to launch in 5 hours... not here of course, in New Zealand, where it will be released at midnight local time, which is 7 AM here (exactly 24 hours before it is available on the Eastern Seaboard).

Don't worry, I am not planning on going out and buying an iPhone right away... at least not on the first day. As people said, it would not be smart for me to buy one when I don't have a steady job. So, I plan soon on getting a steady job (if I don't have something lined up in a week I will go back to UPS), THEN I can get an iPhone.

But really, the phone I have is only getting worse... the hinge is getting bad (sticking open, sticking closed), and the battery won't last 24 hours. Let's just say that I am looking forward to a phone that will correctly sync with my contacts. Oh, and it will do e-mail and everything else that I need.

Yes it is $35 extra a month just for the data plan, but I think that I will use it... a lot. Then again, that is more than I am paying for home internet, and THAT internet is sure faster than 3G speeds!

Oh well, the price you pay so that you can have everything that you don't need in your pocket!



Friday, July 04, 2008
I could fill lots of internet pages with stories about what has happened in the last few days (both good and bad), but I am so emotionally and physically drained that I will just post the pictures and tell the stories later (or maybe never).

So anywho, guys, meet Jackie (next to Rhonda for comparison, not that she compares with Rhonda):

Ain't she hot?

And just look at her back end... *whistles*

Jackie is clearly smaller than Rhonda, but I didn't notice how much shorter she is until they were next to each other. She is easily 1.5 feet shorter in the front:

... and well over two feet shorter in the back:

She is all purdy on the inside (6 speed manual, 4 wheel drive, 6 cylinder, 3.7 liter... oh, and COLD AC!)

Now, all Jackie needs is a topper:

... and a sticker:

... but I can't find any "I like cotton" stickers online, so Sara, can you PhotoShop that picture and make a sticker for me?


4:30 PM

4:30 PM tomorrow. That is when the fireworks go off and I get to celebrate!

15.5 hours and counting...


The Mole #4

Monday, June 30, 2008
Well, here are my predictions since LAST week's episode:

Craig (he is lovable, but is costing money)
Alex (he still still still looks suspicious!)
Mark (I think he is a good actor)


40 hours

I have worked over 40 hours in the last four days! And that doesn't include working three church services today!

OK, I am going to go crash now! Thankfully I am not taping with Cathy Monday morning, so I get to sleep late! DON'T CALL!



Saturday, June 28, 2008
It is 6 AM.

I left for a job yesterday at 1 PM and got home an hour ago (5 AM).

The sun is rising, and I have yet to get any sleep.

Getting paid rocks! Working sucks.


Recipe Time!

Thursday, June 26, 2008
OK, I have posted several of my recipes here, and I have a few more to post, but I want YOUR recipes! I am tired of eating the same old thing, so send me your recipes, either via a comment here or to my e-mail.

If I use them, I will post how much I like it! Yea, yum, wee!


In other news...

Sunday, June 22, 2008
(Just to note: I wrote this post last night, but wasn't able to post it until today)

Well, I need to update you guys about my Jeep, but first some other "news".

Most of you know a little bit about my new job, but let me explain it here for everyone. I work for BlueMoon Cinemas, who specializes in setting up inflatable movie screens for events. They come in three main sizes: 16 foot, 26', and 40', where the 16 foot screen is sixteen feet wide by nine feet tall. Here is a picture of a sixteen foot screen:

Here is a picture of me standing in front of the forty foot screen.

Ya, it is big! This job is fun, I work for two hours to set up the screen, then sit back and watch a movie (from Dumbo to Transformers, from The Wizard of Oz to Big), then spend an hour taking the screen down. It pays well, and is good physical work for me. It does hurt my sleeping schedule, but it is paying the bills for now.

Moving on... I want a 3G iPhone. This is no new news. I have been wanting an iPhone for a while now. But many things have made it more of a reason for me to get one now:

My current phone is starting to act flakey. IE: sometimes I can't hear others on the phone. Very annoying.
My current contract is up.
The price just got cut in half!
The App Store/SDK will be an amazing addition to the phone.
The new one has GPS, so I won't need a separate GPS unit (like I was thinking about getting).

But everything ain't rosey about getting one. For example, $300 is a lot of money for me right now, and the extra $30 a month (for the data plan) is a hard swallow. And...

Frankly, I am having "religious" second thoughts. Sure I would like it if I had one, but does the Bible call us to do what we want, or to serve the poor? I mean, how selfish am I to want an overpriced phone when others are hungry? I am not even speaking of "some random people in Africa," I mean people in my community, people in my neighborhood, people that walk by me on the street every day.

In the past I have spoken about my worries about greed, and this is a great example of that. Sure I volunteer at my church, and I give some money to organizations that I like to support, but when was the last time that I poured myself out for the poor?

Am I a bad person if I get an iPhone? I would hope not. But should I "fast" from an iPhone to learn some humility, or if I go back to work (I have ben thinking about going back to UPS to help pay for a new vehicle) would it be OK if I paid for it?

(I hate "religious" quandaries, because most of the time there are "right" answers and "wrong" answers, but I feel like often there is no way to absolutely know which is which. Sure, one can speculate and read the Bible, but transferring the Bible to modern times is an inaccurate science at best.)

Speaking about a new vehicle, I posted yesterday about two Jeep Liberties that I thought would be great for me. I originally wanted the 2003 (less expensive, more miles) but others convinced me that it was worth the extra money for the 2002 (less miles). Well, I went to the dealership, and they had already sold the 2002, so I looked at the 2003. The first thing that I noticed was that it smelled of smoke... that is, the kind of smell that says "someone who smokes lived here" (yes, the smell of "cigarette smoke" and the smell of "someone who smokes lived here" are different smells).

Then I noticed another kind of smoke. The dealer opened up the hood, and I saw white smoke coming out from behind the engine. It was at this point that he was all like "I just talked to my boss, and I told him that you were coming by, and because I said on the phone that I still had both Jeeps and one was sold last night, so I asked him how much I could take off of the price, and he said to take it down to six thousand." So right there on the spot he took one thousand dollars off the price, which just makes it a better deal... if it is a good deal in the first place.

I took it on a test drive, and it drove OK, but the "someone who smokes lived here" smell bothered me more than I thought that it would. I brought it back, and told the guy that the white smoke that I saw worried me, so he let me take it to my mechanic to look it over. Thankfully, my guy didn't charge me anything. He said that there was nothing mechanically wrong with the Jeep, except for a leaking valve gasket cover (or something like that) which was leaking oil on the manifold which was causing the smoke (turns out it would only cost a few hundred dollars to fix).

So I went back to the dealership, and I told him: "I know it sounds cliche, but this isn't the car for me." I didn't like the smell, it had too many miles, and there were other little things: like it had been in a fender-bender (cracking the plastic front bumper), and there were smudges on the inside of the plastic over the gauges.

So I didn't get either Jeep Liberty. I am still looking for a Jeep Liberty, but as Sara put it, this will just make me appreciate even more the Jeep that is "right for me."

Well, that is about it for now. Wish me luck (or something). As I write this, I am sitting here at a job watching Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (that is the original, not the creepy new one). The TV boy just got shrunk, and Charlie is the only one left, so I need to go get ready to take down the screen (the second picture above was taken tonight). Ta ta for now!