Sunday, October 24, 2010

It changes the World

You know, more and more I find myself feeling as though I really don't matter. The world will go on, with or without me.  Dictators will continue destroying anything or anyone that looks like hope. Evil parents will continue abusing their helpless kids.  Haiti will continue wallowing in the grasp of Satan. And Africa (As well as the rest of Europe) will shortly tailspin into the iron fist of Islam.

Hmph. It's overwhelming. And, frankly, there have been times when I've wondered if I'm not better off packing a duffel bag and sleeping under the overpass with all the other stringy-beard idealists you meet. (In case you don't know what I mean, try talking to a drunk, homeless guy for a few minutes. These guys have foreign and domestic policies figured out like no other.)

But today, I was struck by people making a huge difference:

This morning, as we were preparing to leave for church, I saw our neighbor lady herding five little kids (of different races) down the sidewalk. Dressed in their nice jeans and sweaters, the kids were enamored by the bugs and twigs and early morning fog still hovering around them as they slowly made their way down the sidewalk. 
The nearest church is at least three blocks away.  And I doubt all of those kids were her blood relatives. But there she was, leading the little ones into the arms of Jesus in spite of her lack of car or husband to walk beside her. 
Shucks, I've skipped out of church on weaker excuses.

And, at church.  I love to see how different people serve to make church happen. Like my brother-in-law that left his sick wife at home so he could make sure the piano got played.  Not that you need a piano for church, but boy does it make a difference. 

And sure, the world wouldn't have stopped today if those kids weren't walked to church. And we would've still have had church without a piano.

But there is something in this world about sowing and reaping. Something God designed in it.  And I haven't quite figured it out. But what I'm gathering is that when we do the job He's given us, the world changes for the better.

So I've unpacked my duffel bag and shaved my beard. I know my little spot in the world.
We'll haf'ta let the God take care of the rest. 

My Wife's quote of the night: "If it's Ravi, it's good." She stole another book from the library tonight.  I may just steal it from her.
The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This morning I would love to be sitting at the library with a cup of coffee, my textbooks and computer. 

Two years ago I was sitting at the library with my coffee, my textbooks, my computer and a strong longing to have my own sweet little house where I could share my mornings with Joanna.

Turns out, life needs a balance of both.  Balance. That's a challenge that can last  lifetime.

One of the big challenges I face in switching to a shift with a 10-hour day, is that my days on and my days off are so clearly delineated.  By the time I get home at night, I am so exhausted that its hard to force myself to do anything but veg.  And my days off want to run around shopping at flea markets and go canoeing and camping - anything but pay attention to the schoolwork and paperwork that has been piling up. 

We got away for a couple of days last week to hang out with Joanna's family in Arkansas.  Frankly, it was a great break from the rut I've recently sunk into of working, vegging, poking at my computer, and sleeping. 

 One of my brother-in-laws captured a poor little lizard that he promptly named "Joe".  Gotta love a lizard that's willing to entertain the little guys for a couple of hours. 

Micah and I hiked through 3 miles of unmarked brush to get to the White River.  It was beautiful, rugged terrain, full of snakes (we only saw one. I screamed.) ticks, and other no-see-ums.  Frankly, I was so pooped at the end of the hike, it was good to get home.

And, of course, no family trip is complete without bedroom adventures.  Our air mattress refused to stay inflated, so once a night I'd wake up the whole house reinflating our bed. Thankfully I'm married to a girl who's tough enough (and crazy enough) to camp on the ground while pregnant, so a crazy bed can be made workable. 

Gavin keeps growing up so fast.  Apparently he giggled this week (I missed it), and his grins are becoming more easily coaxed.

He's also becoming a little more care-intensive.  He sleeps less during the day and more at night, which means that more of mommy's daytime is spent cuddling and talking to her little man.  She swears he has my rebellion against sleep, and I have to agree.  He fights it so hard and gets so distraught before she finally persuades his little eyes to rest.

I've been called 4 times in the past three days by these people who apparently keep dialing  the wrong number.  Just now she called twice. In thirty seconds.  On the second time, I said "Look, I don't mind talking to you, but let me give you my number"  I spelled it out slowly, and sarcastically added, "Now you can keep calling it if you want, but, while I really don't mind, you're not going to get anybody but me."

We'll see how long that lasts.

I guess I'd better get to the dishes.  My little lady got up and turned on one of Marshall's CD's and then fixed us a great little breakfast of bagels and scrambled breakfast.  So it's been a very nice quiet little morning.  Gotta' hand it to her for knowing how to create an uplifting atmosphere.  Frankly, that's one of the reasons I fell in love with her.  Controlling the atmosphere of the home is probably the most important thing a keeper at home does. 

But now I'm rambling about something I don't really know much about.  Except that I love how my wife orchestrates our home.

Oh, and talk about a bad time to die

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Son

He's getting so big.  And cantankerous.

My poor wife has become such a trooper, taking care of the nighttime rituals so that I can get my 'beauty sleep' before the 6am alarm wakes both us and our neighbors.

That means I get to see the cute moments of life.  Like waking him up from his nap when I get home.  And holding the still sleepy bundle as he stretches and tries to orient himself to his world (yet again).

Our supper "conversation" tonight was great:

Mama: "Oh my, what a good burp!!"
Mama:"Wow, you do that so well"
Little-G (Looking at her with big eyes): *Burp.
Mama: "You know, you don't have to do it just to impress me."

Ok, so I'm a first-time dad, but what gives? I love seeing little things in him that are so totally myself.  Here's to hoping he's easier to raise than I was.  All too soon he'll be crawling around here trying to pull the computer off the coffee table.  I can't wait for that day.

Ever wake up and not know who you were? Try being Benjamin Kyle.

(It's gonna take more than a double-shot of espresso to bring that guy around.)

Let mercy lead - Rich Mullins
Let love be the strength in your legs
And in every footprint that you leave

There'll be a drop of grace

If we can reach
   Beyond the wisdom of this age

Into the foolishness of God  -

That foolishness will save those who believe

Let mercy lead

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Read the Red and Pray the Power

Yesterday (was it that long ago?), I shared a link that another friend had shared about how modern, relevant, churches are losing their congregation.  As the author of that article states:

 "If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it's easy or trendy or popular. It's because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It's because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It's not because we want more of the same.

It brought to mind a testimony I read sometime ago.

Larry Lea has written a fascinating book from his life "Could you Not Tarry One Hour?"

I've been inspired every time I've read it.

Enjoy this excerpt:

...1972 was a big year for me: I graduated from college; I married my wife Melva Jo; and Howard Conaster, pastor of Beverly Hills Baptist Church in Dallas, surprised me with a generous invitation to become his youth minister.

I appreciated his offer, but didn't really want to be a youth minister.  My desire was to become an evanelist like James Robison, and I told Pastor Conaster so.  He wasn't upset in the least. "Just pray about it, Larry" his raspy bass voice drawled confidently.  So I prayed, and to my astonishment, the Lord directed me to accept the position. 

Back then I wasn't one to beat around the bush when a head-on confrontation would do as well.  When I learned that the youth group at Beverly Hills existed on a steady diet of skating parties, wiener roasts, haunted houses, and trips to Six Flags, I strolled in before the critical stares of fifty pairs of young eyes and announced,

"Ya'll, we're not gonna do all that stuff anymore.  We're gonna' read the red and pray for the power."

The response was tremendous! Overnight the youth group went from 50 to 14! Phenomenal growth!

...That group of 14 began meeting on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights.   By then end of the first summer, we had grown from 14 to 140.  By the end of the second year, we had 1,000 teenagers in our youth services, and many more flocked to the Christian concerts we sponsored...
I love it.  Maybe one day I'll get called to lead a work like that.  Until then the focus is on my new little family. Being faithful with little, and being inspired by those who are faithful with much.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Family visit, Vision correction, etc.

It's that time again.  Time to get the eyes corrected.

Normally I just swing into cheap-mart, get some stuff scribbled on a piece of paper, and go on with my life.  But, seeing as I pay monthly for eye insurance, I did my homework, and ventured into one of the "expensive" eye doctors.

I gotta say the difference has been worth it.  Sure, it's mostly all the same equipment, but the personalized attention -- and Dr. Pierce's care and he additional techniques he used (I mean, heck, this guy know how to fit a prescription for newborns with eye problems. Skillz, I tell you!) to fit me with a prescription that can meet the demands of these eyes that spend hours in front of a computer screen -- have left me confident about this upcoming year. 

Fewer headaches, and better grades - here I come!


It looks like water, but I wouldn't drink it.  They take metals, grind them into nano-particles and put it in water.  The water then is used to cool the massive servers with the result of being up to 40% more effective.

Effective water. Who woulda' thunk?


What can I say, except "Give me Jesus"? 
We had Dad and Tim and Anne here last night.  Gotta' love family, and since Joellie and I were just chillin anyhow, it was great to have the company.  We're around Gavin all the time, so its easy to forget how much the family misses out on the little smiles (and the grumps) and the big eyes he's learning to use.

It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me

Admittedly I probably did it subliminally for you

So I could come back a brand new me, you helped see me through

And don't even realise what you did, believe me you

-Not Afraid, Eminem

Monday, September 6, 2010

MattGyver, Cyborgs, and other feats of technology..

When I was a kid, my dad was king of fixing stuff on the fly.  On more than one occaision, he'd patch together his broken semi, and limp it across the nation in order to make it home for the weekend. 

Sure, he could have parked it at a shop on the east coast, and waited for his company to fix it.  But that meant a weekend away from home.  As long as the truck was packing ducttape, vise grips and some hefty jumper-cables -- Mattgyver was home every weekend.

It started turning into a game.  Anytime we kids heard that dad had been forced to limp his rig home the night before, we'd race through breakfast and go pop the hood of the truck to find the ducttape, or alien wiring.

My wife and I shelled out a whopping $1,000 on our current ride nearly a year ago.  It's holding up well - that is until the headlight switch went out on it.   I priced a new switch at nearly $600 (plus labor).

So, after a day of sweating and wiring, lets say it's been nicely "Mattgyvered".  Thanks, Dad, for mad skills.

I found this video of a "robot" (ok, so its a little car that drives around) with the brain of a rat.

That's right, instead of a computer, it uses neurons from a rat, kept alive inside of a jar and linked via bluetooth to this little contraption

It sounds rather disturbing, if you ask me.  But then I found this video from these scientists, explaining how this enables them to study memory, learning, and decision-making.  Hopefully, by the time I am an alzheimer's patient, these guys will have a cure for me. 

Or, at least have a use for my mal-functioning neurons.  (Maybe they can put my brain in a jar, and I can go practice law somewhere)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Coffee Trials

For a blog about cycling, I sure do talk a lot about coffee.  But then, what cyclist doesn't love his coffee?

Like the new coffee shop downtown - The Hub.  Coffee AND bikes.  (yes, BMX does count)

Now there's a business idea.


While I'm on a Coffee rant, Check out this Hoops and Yo-yo e-card.

It rocks

I woke up late Friday morning.  Not late enough for the boss to know any different.  But late enough I wasn't about to wait for my Folgers to brew.

I regretted that decision.

Two hours later, my eyes were refusing to stay propped open.  One of my co-workers sauntered through with something that looked like coffee. I tried to act nonchalant, but it was all I could do to keep from forcibly taking his mug. "Where'd ya find da coffee, man?"

"Oh, I keep it at my desk.  Here, you want some?"

I microwaved some water and was soon drinking instant coffee.  I haven't had instant coffee since I was in Africa.  And there they don't call it coffee. It's Kaf-fe' (or something like that), as if it's a more elite item.

Apparently our hotel hosts didn't realize their continent was brimming with the real bean.


My wife has tons of decaf sitting around.  Most of has been given to her by well-meaning people - a church we visited handed us a fresh ground pouch,  a Gevalia sales person had some left-over samples, I think my mom gave her some as a Christmas present.

I don't drink decaf.  It seems unnatural.  Like snorting powdered milk instead of cocaine.  If I'm going decaf, I'm going tisane instead.  Much more enjoyable.

That aside, I can't say I haven't been jealous - eyeballing her freshly-ground exotic packages of decaf while a gulp my sludgy Yuban. ( I ran out of Folgers)

So I finally broke down.  I've started stealing her tea - lacing my cheap coffee with her exotic gifts.

Can't say I notice a difference. But somehow, the world seems more right.   

Monday, July 26, 2010

Coffee Break

We were putting a new coat of linseed oil on Pa's car-hauling trailer.  "When I bought this trailer, these boards were completely rotted out" he said.  "I bought this trailer for a steal but it was tough to find replacement boards for a twenty-two foot long trailer."

It always took Pa awhile to tell a story, and by the time he got this much out, we were a good third of the way done with our painting. 

"See how these boards fit tightly in those grooves on either end? If I were to cut the boards, so that they would fit in the old grooves, there would've been too much slop for them to withstand much weight. But they were so long that there was no way they were going to fit in there as it was."

"So do you know what I did?"

"No, Pa, I don't." I answered gravely.

"I poured me a cup of coffee"

We painted in silence for awhile.

After enjoying the perplexed glances I kept sending his way, he finally spoke. "If something isn't working for me, I always pour myself a cup of coffee and stare at it for awhile." 

I don't remember much how he got those boards to fit.  Bent them or something like that.   But I do know that I've taken quite a liking to coffee.  Maybe it'll make me as succesful as granpa.

And  right now I'm trying to neatly fit 4 bikes into a closet that is too small for them.  I've never found cycling to be quite so frustrating as this.  So after getting royally perplexed, I've sat down for a coffee break.

We'll see how it turns out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Life is Golden

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd post some pictures of our new place here at Golden Pond Apartments (So named, because it is situated on the edge of a rainwater runoff puddle near Golden street.)

Frankly, I'm loving it.  It's new, and has cool amenities like an ice maker and a dishwasher.

Unfortunately, we ended up in a handicapped-equipped unit.  So, while we pay the same amount as everyone else, we don't have outside storage or a built-in microwave.  Who says the handicapped aren't discriminated against? At least we have handrails next to the toilets.

The worst part about moving? That in between stage where half of your stuff is at the old house, and half of your stuff is at the new one.  It leads to major annoyances such as having eggs, but no salt, or cereal, with no spoon.

We're getting there, though.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Last week, Hurricane Alex missed the state of Texas and veered into Monterrey Mexico.

While US news anchors chatterred anxiously about oil-slickened coasts,  thousands of Mexicans were loosing evertything they owned.
I recently received an email from Allen Johnson of Wings Bearing Precious Seed ministry. He had joined the PREACH team for a couple of weeks while I was in Africa, and his fluent Portuguese was an incredible asset in leading souls to Christ.

He writes:

Dear Friends,
I do not believe I have ever sent this type of email before but I feel compelled to do so. Pastor Raul Reyes in Monterrey, Mexico is a dear friend and a humble servant of God who has taken a stand for the word of God in Mexico.

Hurricane Alex brought much flooding to Monterrey last week. I was not even aware of it until I received some pictures from a church member (Pastor Reyes is not one to complain or ask for help). They were without drinking water for 8 days. Pastor Reyes’ house and the “Grace Bible Baptist Church” had several feet of muddy water which caused much damage. Their Christian school lost most of their curriculum and Pastor Reyes’ car was washed away and is a total loss.

There is no house or car insurance to speak of...Please pray for Pastor Reyes and their congregation as they “get back on their feet”. If you are led to help financially please send gifts to:

Wings BPS
PO BOX 1593
McDonough, GA 30253

Here are a couple of the photographs in the email:

Praying for Mexico,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Missionary updates

A year ago, I was assisting a customer who mentioned having been in Serbia.  Turns out, he and his young family have been walking by faith for a few years now, spending some time both on their misson field, and also here at home as they prepare to lead the work in Serbia.  Every so often he sends out a "Smilebox", and I've been blessed to be on their mailing list. 

Their most recent one was short, but here it is,

Kip Copeland and Family

Young missionary families always inspire me -- partially because I am now in that "young family" stage -- but would love to spend some time in missions.  I was with Jonathon Quinn on my trip in Guinea-Bissau, and since then he and his family have set up permanent residence there, and in a matter of 2 years, they have seen amazing things happen for God. I've been blown away.

Jonathon and Tammy Quinn

And last night, Rann was sharing how he got to lead 2 people to the Lord during James River's I Love America event.  It gave me goosebumps to here how desperate these people are for Jesus by the time they get to the front. They needed Jesus, and they knew it. Two-hundred people in all gave their heart to Christ.  Be praying for these new believers, Oh, but does heaven rejoice!!

"How can they live without Jesus?
How can they live without God's Love?" - Keith Green

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shift Happens

"There are those who watch life happen.

There are those who life happens to.

And then there are those who happen to life."

-(unknown. Heard quoted by Dave Ramsey. Let me know if you find the original author)

Ran across this today.  Are you ready for 2049?

Check it.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

White and Nerdy

MIT Researchers Print Solar Cells on Paper

I'll bet Hewlitt-Packard had wished they had thought of this first.

Although, if this becomes and efficient fuel source, I imagine that we will promptly cut down all of our forests for "Solar Paper."  Ok, so I kid.  Mebbe I should get started on that bamboo paper factory to keep up with the demand ;)

Talk about geting distracted. I actually was looking for some information on "Typhoid Mary" when I ran across the article above. 

Well, the resident nerd is back to studying for finals.  Ms. Janice Horton  will be taxing these brain cells in about 2 hours with her last lab exam.  Don't ask me why we had to do Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Shigella and Salmonella all on this one test. 

Sounds supicously sneaky...

Friday, April 30, 2010

If I was a rich man...

"The most important men in town will come to fawn on me--
They will ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise--
....And it won't make one bit of difference
If I answer right or wrong--
When you're rich, they think you really know."

- Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof
Apparently Billy Long, the auctioneer, real estate, world-class poker player, and general shyster, has decided to run for congress.  That should be a good fit.  There's not been a single auction of his that I've been too (I've only attended about 10 of them), where I haven't had him or his cronies double-bill me, help me bid against myself, or change the lot mid-bid.
His website says he's gonna go fight Nancy Pelosi.  In all honesty, I think he's got a bad bite of Tevye's "Rich man" syndrome.  And I'm not the only one to think so.

I don't think he has a chance, so for now I'll just laugh and move on.  But it's something I'll be keeping tabs on.  We just  might have to do some campaigning ourselves.

(Oh, and been awhile since you've seen Tevye shake his stuff? Here's the link for that)
We're wrapping up this semester.  In Microbiology lab yesterday, we got a chance to "paint" using a variety of bacteria for the color palette.

I'm not much of an artist, but I am pretty impressed with how well the bacteria performed...

Here's my lame little prarie scene....

My lab partner -- also a graphic designer -- got more elaborate with his skull design.

And apparently Serratia marcesens likes MSU a lot more than I do 


(Pseudomonas aeruginosa = Green / Staphylococcus Aureus = "Gold" / Serratia marcescens = Red / Escherichia coli = White)

So far my back seems to finally be coming back around.  My primary care doc gave me some muscle relaxants to use, and other than trying to knock me out cold every night, they work wonders for making it easier to get through the day.  That, and Dr. Scott at Springfield Chiropractic is starting to get my spine persuaded back to it original shape, which helps tremendously.  I've just gotta say, it's good to finally have my memory back.  That short-term memory loss was getting a little trippy.

I also retained a lawyer to help sort through all of the hassle.  As my wife put it "you have finals to focus on right now", and she's right.  I'll focus on finals, and pay somebody else to focus on negotiations and such.  It should work out well, especially considering I've already gotten more done in 3 phone calls with the lawyer than I did in 6 phone calls with this insurance company.

That's what I call a good trade-off.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April's Showers...

You can tell it's late.  The lame title gives it away.

May is here.  Close enough anyhow.  The older I get, the faster the years go by.  I know my birthday isn't til January, but for all intensive purposes, I may as well be considered 26 now.  Four years 'til I turn 30.  Let's just hope I've moved outta' the cubicle by then.

The little guy is getting bigger.  He's been kicking pretty regularly now, so I've been able to "spend a little time" with him.  It sort've makes the fact that I'm about to be a father (ok, so I'm already am...) all that more real.

What's weird is that by the time my parents were 25, they had already potty-trained both my brother and I.  At that same age when they were changing my diapers and working multiple jobs, I was working part-time and racing my bicycle every weekend.  It makes one wonder about the maturity of me and my peers. Will we ever truly grow up? Or will our children forever have to struggle against their parent's own childish self-interest?

Fredrica Matthews-Green had a great post on her blog about that "missing" maturity in prevalent in modern movies.


"In a review ... Michael Atkinson referred to the current crop of childish male actors as 'toddler-men.' He wrote, 'The conscious contrast between baby-faced, teen-voiced toddler-men movie actors and the golden age’s grownups is unavoidable…[T]hough DiCaprio is the same age here as Hughes was in 1934, he may not be convincing as a 30-year-old until he’s 50.

Characters in these older movies appear to be an age nobody ever gets to be today. This isn’t so much an observation about these actors (who may have behaved in very juvenile ways privately), but about what audiences at the time thought grownups acted like."
It's a great skim, Read it here...

(Thanks, Darrin Rogers for pointing me there)


Been reading 109 East Palace.  It's the story about "Site Y" where  "The Manhattan Project" took place.  It's a fascinating read about these Noble-prize-winning scientists and their families living in makeshift barracks on the top of a deserted hill in complete secrecy -- hidden even from their own friends.

I can't say that I like the author's style.  She takes plenty of detours into the local painters and politicians of the WWII era Sante Fe area. And, to add insult, she leaves out most of the cool scientific stuff.  (Granted, if it included instructions on how to build a nuclear weapon, the book probably would not have been published.)

What is cool, though, is the Los Alamos' website.  I thought NASA had a cool site, but, whoa -- they need to get some pointers from these guys in the desert.  Fuel cell technology, atomic bombs, missile defense.....You've gotta check it out for yourself!!


Quiz tomorrow. Enjoy the rain.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Entering your PIN backwards will save your life...

..and other lies.

So, here it is. No, Obama did not deem the National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional.  He is actually in a court battle trying to defend it.  And he is using the premise that prayer is a right and an important part of many Americans individual lives.  As such, he isn't hosting a major White House event.

And no, if you are captured by an attacker and forced to withdraw money from an ATM, entering your PIN number into the machine will not summon the police.

I am increasingly surprised at how many people will forward items without checking their validity first.  Nothing screams "I"M AN IDIOT" like not checking before hitting the "share" button on facebook.

There. I've ranted.


The good news is, I'm back on the mend.  The body's still pretty sore, but I've quit limping, and even took the stairs once yesterday instead of the elevator.

The brain isn't still quite back with it... I still have some weird moments of short term memory issues, where I forget which sentence I was reading, or what I was trying to say.  They say it is standard with a little brain-bruising. 


Was reading about the construction of the tabernacle in Exodus.  All of the Israelites liberally donated their possessions.  Many of these items had probably been given to them when they "spoiled" the Egyptians.  Now they gave the items back to God.

I especially appreciated how the ladies donated the mirrors that were used for the water basins.  What lady can live without their mirror? And these ladies donated theirs for God's house. 

I tend to have an issue with considering things to be "mine".  But are they? Am I using them for God's house?

A couple of neat things I've run into this morning:

Kip Copeland called into the customer service department, and he and I got to talking about their mission work.  He still keeps me updated. Cool. And Random.

People who feel no pain.
'nough said.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chasing Cars

Four wheels move the body,
Two wheels move the soul.

-Seen on a bumper sticker

I got the Fixie out and rode to my 9 am lab class.  Loved it.  Took back roads -- that's the only way to ride a bike, you know, less traffic, more trees. 

More food for the soul

Got out of the class and called my honey at 12:04pm.  She was shopping with her family in Branson. 

Hit a Ford SUV at 12:08pm.

I was headed up towards OTC, coming through the green light there, near the "new" Cardinals stadium. According to her blinker she was planning on making a left turn.  Unfortunately, I was already in the intersection when I realized that she planned on making the turn while I was still in that intersection.

It was one of those accident you saw coming, and could do nothing about.  I decided I didn't want her hood.  So I steered as far left as I dared, hoping by some miracle I'd just clear the rear bumper. 

Unfortunately, her passenger side door was just a little too quick for me.

I'm just thanking God that I'm fine. They ran tests for about 3 hours in the ER.  No concussion, though my head is still a little weird. For instance, I had a test today, but had the hardest time remembering what an axon is.  Normally you could wake me up in the middle of the night and I could explain nerve action potentials, complete with sodium "inactivation" gates, and leak channels.  Not this morning.

I'll try heading back to work tomorrow.  Gotta pay rent, or so they say.

Major thanks to the boys at Sunshine Bike for putting my ride back together again.  Those are some awesomingly cool peeps over there.

I've finished reading "A Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning.  It's been an inspiring look at how God loves us, His ragamuffins.  And a real challenge as to how a view my fellow man, and the judgement and racisms, and stereotypes I can be so apt to throw around. 

And honesty.  Not the face I wear on Sunday morning. But Honesty.  In fact, he thinks that's why churches are so dead.  We all put on a good "act". Go to church to feed the "act".  And pick up the miserable reality again on Monday.  And when we are really honest with ourselves, are we that different from those we despise? It's only the Blood that has made the difference.  Lose the act, go to God as sinners.  Let God be real, and do His complete work in us.

Towards the end, he contrasts this notion we call "Born Again" with the old-fashioned phrase:
"Seized by the power of a great affection"

Well are we? Or are we simply, "born again"

That being said, this isn't a carte blanche review.  Do skip over his sections on "contemplative prayer" aight? And never replace "spiritual" books with the REAL THING.


Shucks, my head still isn't with me.  These sentences are coming out a little weird.

Keep pedaling.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I dare you...

to try this innocous workout.

Put two chairs side by side facing you with an 18" gap between them.

Perform 50 dips in any combination you can do...5 sets of 10, 10 sets of 5, 2 sets of 25, whatev...

(Oh, you can do all 50 without stopping, huh? Please go read somebody else's blog. You are making me feel irrelevant)

 Then tell me how you feel tomorrow. 


Thanks to Charles Atlas the "World's Most Perfectly Developed Man" from the 30's, I've been tormenting myself with that workout for years.  For pictures of the workout go here.
I met with my buddy Logan for Coffee this morning (Coffee should always be capitalized).  I love the guy, because his head is never boring.  For example, he just came up with a new workout for his bike riding:  When going up a hill, you wait 'til you can hardly pedal, and then shift up to a harder gear.
Does it make you stronger?  I don't know.  He does it because it makes the endorphins last longer.
See, now that is hard core. 
This morning he introduced me to an archaelogist by the name of Adam Zertal who has done some archaelogical work uncovering the altar at Schechem that is described in Joshua chapter 8.  Zertal also has done some work helping uncover extensive landmarks of early Jewish settlements that are being used to help establish Israel's right to statehood. 
Logan also posted another website with a short list of archaelogical finds and the scriptures they support. It's a great 5-minute read, and is sure to give you some fascinating items to share with believers and non-believers alike.
"They're Digging Up Bible Stories"
Frankly, these finds should be enough to convince anyone of the validity of God's word.
But, as Christ said "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44) and we also know that God's "Spirit shall not always strive with man..." (Genesis 6:3)
Some of us are always going to be a little bone-headed, I guess.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Softly as a Child

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

What is that -- this becoming a little child?  Is it the child's sweet innocence? I, for one, was a bratty child. 

Is it their helplessness, their dependence? I can certainly envision that being what Christ is saying. 

I've often pondered that, and as I was reading The Ragmuffin Gospel last  night, I was really stuck by author Brennan Manning's take on the subject.

"It's important to remember the Jewish attitude toward children in first century Palestine...In the present day, we tend to idealize childhood as the happy age of innocence, insoulciance, and simple faith, but in the New Testament times the child was considered of no importance, meriting little attention or favor.  'Children in that scoiety had no status at all -- they did not count' [Albert Nolan, Jesus Before Christianity, p56]

...For the disciple of Jesus, 'becoming like a little child' means the willingness to accept oneself as being of little account and regarded as unimportant.  The little child who is the image of the kingdom is a symbol of those who have the lowest places in society, the poor and the oppressed, the beggars, prostitutes and tax collectors -- the people whom Jesus often called the little ones or the least.  'See that you never despise any of these little ones' (Matthew 18:10) ...."

Am willing to accept myself of being of little account for the sake of the kingdom? an unknown person, overlooked by the world? ouch.

Hope you enjoy it.

Dang, I love this spring.  Think I'll go pull the fixie out.  It's a perfect day to ride to work.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Winning..By Quitting

In America, more people die of bacteria that are so mutated that none of our medications can touch them -- than they do of AIDS. 

Meanwhile, we stuff our livestock, our poultry, and our sniffly-nosed children with every broad spectrum antibiotic available, effectively turning our nation into a breeding lab for highly-resistant strains.

The Norwegians have an entirely different idea. "We don’t throw antibiotics at every person with a fever. We tell them to hang on, wait and see, and we give them a Tylenol to feel better,” says Dr. John Birger Haug.

They are conquering bacteria by NOT PRESCRIBING antibitoics!

The result? They can still prescribe simple pennicilins that have fewer side affects, and that are essentially useless in other developed countries.



My wife just brought me a big, beautiful wad of meat and bacon, and bread.  Looks good.  I haven't been to the gym yet today, so my brain is already making me feel guilty.  Maybe I can eat just half of it?  Oh, the joys of counting calories.

Gotta hand it to her cooking skills.  I am officially 20 pounds over my married weight. 

Been reading voraciously this past week about early inventors.  Pretty inspiring stuff.  Like, did you know that Newton stuck a needle in his eye when he was trying to figure out the "elements" of light?

"The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments" by George Johnson is a great little read here at the local library.  I'll be done with it in a couple of days, and you guys can enjoy it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Following the Cloud.

I've been working my way through the Bible.  It's been a year since I've read it all the way through, and each time that I put the effort into consistently staying in God's Word and moving from chapter to chapter, I find myself becoming more closely connected to my Heavenly Father.

Tonight I made it to the 30th chapter of Exodus.  The Red Sea has closed behind them so there's no easy way back to Egypt.  Moses is up in the mountains, receiving the Ten Commandments and intructions for constructing the tabernacle.
(You know, all that boring stuff we skim through so we can brag
"I've read through the Bible like, TWELVE TIMES now!")

The people are literally stranded in the wilderness.  Oh, they have food and water, but they're not getting anywhere.  The cloud that is "supposed to be leading them" is stuck on the mountain. And their leader Moses, is, literally, "walking around with his head in a cloud", as we would say.

They tell Aaron "Up, make us gods, which shall go before us" (Ex 32:1)

So he made them a couple of golden calves.  They broke out the wine  bottles and the manna, took their clothes off and started partying.  It was Mardi Gras, if ever there was one.

Chapter 33 opens up with a massive hangover.  God has moved in Holy anger.  Moses restores order to the camp, but not until the Levites cut down about 3,000 revelers getting the message across ("Party's over. Go home") and he ground the people's gods into a fine vitamin mix for their water.

So in chapter 33, God's making Himself clear to the Israelites, "I'm outta' here.  You guys want it your way? Have it your way." (vs3)

Suddenly the people wake up and see their true condition.  They are Godless.  He had physically departed.
They're standing in the middle of this desert. Nowhere near the promised land.
They're drinking their earrings.
And there's this massive, pounding headache.

The people mourned.

Now here's where it gets beautiful:

And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. (vs7)

"...every one which sought the LORD"

Don't we  all get that way? Doesn't each of us screw up and drive away the Holy Spirit, determined to do things our way?  And has not every one of us felt that horrifying numbness when the closeness of His presence -- the cloud, so to speak -- departs? 

We stand there with the metallic taste of our sins in our mouths and the tears slowly start to roll down our cheeks.

The Tabernacle is now without the congregation.  Oh, God is everywhere.  But in moments like these we must walk away from the noise of life, across the hot sands of the desert, into the coolness of His presence.  I love the picture.  I thank God for his forgiveness.

"And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend....And He said, "My Presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."
(Exodus 33:11a,14)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

killing ourselves

It's official.  I'm fat.  The adipocytes of my greater omentum have gorged themselves on homecooking until their cytoplasms are bulging with ugly yellow liquid. 

Time to take up running again
Your kid has the sniffles, and you want the doctor to prescribe WHAT for it?
Go to the bottom and read about why you are a moron.

Been running too much these days, although it is definitely the wrong kind of running.  Microbiology is turning out to become a very fun, engrossing subject.  Physiology is trying it's best to ruin my career, with its systems, and mechanisms and regulations.  I'm discovering that I haven't put nearly enough time into it, so, here goes.

Let's just hope that I do better this week at fitting my devotional time in.

Been reading a fascinating book on E. coli.  It's sort've this historical account of the part e. coli has played in sceintific discoveries througout the years.  Through E. coli, we've discovered everything from gene structure and locations, to bacterial communal cell life (they group hug), to bacterial resistance mechanisms. 

We all know that anitbiotics are overprescribed.   But I love the way he puts it:

These disturbing discoveries [of bacteria's rapid ability to gain resistance] did nothing to halt the rise of antibiotics.  Today the world consumes more than ten thousand tons of antibiotics a year.  Some of these drugs save lives, but a lot of them are wasted.  Two-thirds of all the prescriptions that doctors hand out for antibiotics are useless.  Antibiotics can't kill viruses, for instance.  Many farmers today practically fron their animals with antibiotics because the drugs somehow make the animals grow bigger.  But the cost of the antibiotics is greater than the profit from the extra meat...

Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Life (Vintage)In August 1990, a nineteen-month-old girl was admitted...doctors discovered that E.coli had infected her blood, possibly through an ulcer in her intestines.  Test on the bacteria revealed that they were already resistant to two common antibiotics, ampicillin and cephalsporin.  Her doctor's gave her other antibiotics, each more potent than the last....After five months, and ten different antibiotics, the child died.     

- microcosm by Carl Zimmer. (pg 99-101, copyright 2008)

more info on drug resistance. click here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Filing System

It's an H&R block commercial gone wrong.

Penmac sent me a postcard saying I could go online and print off my W-2.
(yes, I have worked for Penmac.  
It was repetitve, exhaustive, dirty, assembly line work, 
and I will forever be proud that I "stooped" to such work 
when nothing else was to be had.  
Thank God for temp agencies. :D )

Knowing that I would be tackling my taxes within the next 48 hrs, I decided I would stick it in a safe, easy-to-remember place -- under the TV.

 But last night, whilst filing taxes, I discovered that this vital little bright-yellow postcard was missing.

I searched everywhere, even the trash can.

"Honey, have you seen the yellow post card I stuck under the TV?"

"Oh! This postcard?  Sorry, I'm using it to play whompdoodle on."
(The right side keeps winning, I can't figure out why the right side keeps winning.....)

My wife still wants to know why I would choose to keep an important card under her TV.  

Sigh.  Guess the filing systems of my bachelor days are over

 BTW, I'm using TaxAct for the second year in a row.  Go to their website and its only 17.95 for both State and Federal. No, I don't get paid to tell you this. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Moving things around

Man I'm exhausted.  I probably shouldn't even log onto here when I am so tired, but, eh, that's bloggin' right? The good, the bad and the random.

My lady rearranged the lights while I was at work.  So now we now have  3 floor lamps in the living room.  I know she did it just for me -- she personally likes everything darker.  At night, she prefers no lights whatsoever in the bedroom -- even the glow from the alarm clock is a little much.  And I think she'd run the living room on candles if I'd let her.   (Which does have a very cool effect, I must say)

Me?  I've slept --among some of the more esoteric places -- on asphalt (st louis parking lot), tile (Cape Verde patio), and a table (Biology study session before a final), all in daylight.  Guess it shows that opposites complement each other.

Or that this poor lady has a very weird husband.

"A statesman is a politician that's been dead 10 or 15 years" - Harry S. Truman

My wife and I had a in-depth conversation the other night about American's "debt" to others.  Basically, God has given us so much, what --and in what ways -- should we give back?

Basically, how much are we responsible for changing the world?

I've been mulling over that question for several days now.  And I'm beginning to think each of us carries a bigger responsibility than we typically take on.

In Afica, the roads are littered with garbage.  Everybody just drops their wrappers and wastes whereever they are. It's a very third-world thing.

Or so I thought. 

This afternoon, I watched the big SUV roll their window down and flick a cigarette out of the window.  It rolled along, carried by the wind, and ended up in the gutter.

Two minutes later a car behind me did the same thing.

Suddenly, I realized that the only thing seperating us from a third-world country, is that we have the money for street-sweepers, they don't.

Most of us would agree with Harry Truman's definition of a statesman.

Maybe we forget what a real statesman is. 

Where is that statesman that does put his God first, his family next, and truly seeks to make a difference in the lives of his fellow Americans?

Maybe I can get to be that guy.  It's worth a try.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good at Grudges

I've been learning something.
I'm good at grudges.

You know the old quip?

"Everytime we fight, my wife gets historical."
"You mean hysterical, right?"
"No, she gets historical, she remembers every wrong I've committed since we first met."

And as I began molding my personality into this new relationship with Joanna, I began discovering that I had a amazing "historical" capability  to my grudge holding.

And what one of us doesn't?  

I mean, which one of us doesn't bear the scars of left by a teacher, a principal, a law enforcement officer, a pastor, a dad, a classmate, an employee....
that didn't somehow blatantly mess up our lives up in some way?

Christ said it this way,
"It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!" (Lu 17:1)

And check out the disciples' response: "Lord, Increase our faith." (Lu17:5)

You've gotta remember, these are the same disciples that have seen the dead raised and demons go running.  These powerful acts never elicit this response from them.

But Christ's five-verse sermon on forgiveness does.

I've been needing more faith for this area.

Recently, I've come across a book called The Bait of Satan, by John Bevere.
And God's been using this book in a powerful way to build my faith, and free me from bitterness.

I wish I could buy a copy for every Christian.  I know so many that have been through divorces, and church splits, and abusive relationships.  We can all agree.  They were the victim. The other party royally wronged or even tried to destroy them.

Satan takes those offenses, those wrongs, and finishes destroying that person.

I was fast becoming that person.
For once I've found a peace and a release through this work.  I thank God for it.

(The local library doesn't have it, but CPO seemed to have the lowest price in town. Amazon is a few dollars cheaper)  

Definitely make this one a priority read for 2010.

So, my wife watched George Clooney's Hope For Haiti Now broadcast last night.  And then we sat up Youtubing the best performances.  (You've gotta' look up Justin Timberlake.  Probably the best [or dare I say - "the only decent"] performance of his entire career.)

Here's my favorite.  Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, and Kid Rock.  Check it:

Bang Head Here

Years ago when I worked in the warehouse at Sherwinn-Williams on St. Louis street, one of the co-workers printed out a piece of paper labelled "Stress Kit".  It had a large circle in the middle with the instructions for use underneath:

Bang Head Here

He taped it to one of the concrete walls.

It's been one of those weeks.

When I started at Chase, I had hoped to make it a permanent career move.  In the time I've been there, they've shut down one call center (in Canada), changed my job description once, tried out 5 different commission structures, and assigned me to three different managers. 

On top of that, there have been some major (beneficial) changes in credit card legislature that will be in full effect in a matter of weeks.  (Haven't been keeping up with the changes? Oh no. READ THIS!) Basically, the days of banks legally robbing their customers are numbered.  And, well, the bank writes my paycheck.

I can just see myself giving 60 hours a week to a company and ending up on the welfare line.

So, instead of spending an extra twenty hours a week promoting myself in the company, I'm investing it in college, wracking up some more bills and hoping desperately that it will all pay off in some sort of workable nursing degree.

That's not a half-bad plan, until colleges start losing transcripts and other important documents. Applications get denied.  Financial aid falls through.

It's been a frustrating week as I watch one well-laid plan after another crumble before my eyes.

The new baby will be here in months.  My wife needs a bigger place. And a baby bed. (And dresser, and carseat, and diapers)
Heck, she needs me to be around once in awhile.

I find myself singing the Keith Green song "now there ain't no use, banging your head, up against that cold, stone wall..."

And then there's that story of Christ's disciples trying to row across the Sea of Galilee
A storm arises with waves crashing on every side.
They are rowing, sweating, praying for their lives.
And Christ? Well, "...about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them."
And the disciples freaked out, thinking he was a ghost.
"And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered."

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't lay off the rowing, and let Jesus into the boat.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It goes by quickly

"Who would ever think of allowing an untrained man to climb into the cockpit of an airplane and tinker with the gauges?  Or who would allow a novice to service the engines of a modern jet?  Yet we expect men to build strong, loving relationships without any education at all.  Most men don't have the slightest idea how to read the complicated "gauges" of a woman..."

When I was a kid, I had all sorts of plans for how I would behave when I grew up.   I was gonna' workout regularly and have devotions at 5 am. My wife would never have to ask me to take out the trash, and our cars would always be cleaned and waxed, ready to be a carriage for my "Queen" whenever she wished.

One can laugh now.  The cars are salt-crusted.  The wife has to remind me twice before I take the trash out, and I am sturdily working on the mounts for a spare tire around my midsection.  Thankfully the devotions stay pretty current -- although not at 5 am.

But thankfully, I've kept decent notes of my childhood ambitions throughout the years, and I frequently revisit them to glean the best (and most feasible) of the ideas.

One of those was my plan to devote a significant amount of time each year to becoming a better husband.

This was a practice I began to undertake in earnest when I was about 19.  I ran across If Only He Knew by Gary Smalley and was horrified at how many despicable, marriage-ruining traits I owned.  God did a lot to change me at that time through that book, and as a married man, it seemed a fitting time to pick it up again.

So to my friends who are unmarried, I say, pick up some good works, and read from experienced, Godly people who have established Godly marriages before us.  And to those of us men who have "taken the leap", must I remind us that every high-caliber career --whether it be fighter pilot or brain surgeon -- requires "Continuing Education Courses".  Enroll yourselves, men.  Your marriage depends on it.

That's my opinion anyhow.

Wow.  The honey and I just passed our 6 month anniversary. It's scary how fast time flies.

I thinks that's why I've always felt like it was so important to write down goals. Otherwise, it is so easy to wake 3 years down the road and go "What Happened?!"  And, while I don't make as religious a ceremony out of New Year's Eve as I used to, January is still a great time for me to seek God's leading and right down and store physical goals that mirror His Calling in my life. 

The following year, I will pull them out and see how in tune I actually was. The results can really be amazing.  Sometimes it takes three or four years to reach a goal.  Sometimes God starts moving things really fast and a goal is reached supernaturally in half the time.  Many goals have been discarded as having no value -- just my flesh getting in the way.  It's been powerful tool in my life.

Maybe that's why God set my birthday in January.

..Thanks for stopping by.  I think I'll park the bike in a snow bank and hike off into the woods for a change.  Stick around.  Maybe we'll find something cool.