Saturday, February 28, 2009

New Jeans

Since I’ve lost a lot of weight, I had to go out and buy myself some jeans.  Found a few on sale and bought them.  The next day, Saturday, I had to run some errands, so I grabbed a pair, took off the labels, and put them on.

They fit perfectly, and it felt good to be down to that size after a lot of hard work.  I headed off to my errands.  I visited several stores, stopped by the bank, and even dropped by work.  I saw a lot of friendly people along the way.

I got home, and my wife just kind of looked at me.

...

You know that plastic label that runs down the rear of the jeans?  The one that shows the size? Don't forget to remove that one.

I'm just saying.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Getting Out of Debt

I've heard all about Crown Financial, Dave Ramsey,vetc...

None of those work.

You know why? Because they claim that in order to get out of debt, you have to stop spending and start paying down the debt. At first, that made sense to me, but what do I know.

It seems that our President, who has far more education than I do, disagrees with such quaint oddities.

When he was courting us, he campaigned on issues such as reducing the growing federal deficit, shrinking the government and changing the old ways of Washington.

Now that he's driving, he says that the way to get out of debt is to borrow tons of money without paying off what you already owe. Of course, we will need to hire new people to manage the fake money we just printed. And, we need to hire people to oversee those getting the money (who already blew their own money) so they don't blow our money.

Doesn't quite make sense. Seems like a simple math problem. But then again, I never did do well in Economics at school.
Economics sure is hard work!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New (for me) Blog

I just found this blog: Carteach0. I'm going to get some coffee, kick back, and spend some time there. This looks like a good read.

Guaranteed Way to Lose Weight!!!

Ok. Now that I have your attention...

About eight months ago, I went to the doctor for a physical (the first one since high school). After the physical, I received a letter in the mail regarding my cholesterol test. I must not have studied for it because my cholesteral test results came back: not so good.

The letter was very polite, but it urged me to either lose weight, or make an appointment in three months to discuss my activity levels and eating habits with the doctor.

I don't think so.

I decided to take matters into my own hands. I set a goal of losing 52 pounds and I got to work. I decided that I would not concentrate on the weight, but rather on changing my lifestyle. Since then, I have lost 40 of the 52 pounds. That's about 5 pounds per month. I know, not exactly blazing progress, but I'm not complaining. Because the true measure of my success (for me) is that I have kept the weight off.

So many people have asked me how I did it. Here goes: hard work.

That's it. No magic pills, no super potions, no wonder machines.

I have had to retool my diet--I eat smaller portions, I eat every two to three hours. I have drastically cut down on my sweets (A moment of silence, please...). This means I have had to rediscover the ability to say NO.

I have had to change my activity levels. I (try to) work out every day. I do weight training, as well as run on the treadmill. I have had to carve time out of my day (time that I do not have) and work out even if I am tired (I may not get home until after 9p, thought I get up at 4:30a). I am motivated by the fear that I will regain what I have lost.

Unfortunately, no one likes that answer. Right after I share my "secret," they share theirs. They admit that although they have not lost any weight, they have discovered that the latest drink, powder, or wonder food will allow me to lose more weight.

I guess they misunderstand my goal. My primary goal is not to lose the weight. That is a secondary goal, and more of a benefit of what I am doing. My goal is to change my lifestyle. The weight loss will follow.

The magic pills and potions and the SuperWunder AbThigh Disaster3000 will not change my lifestyle. You can keep all that. I'll stick to what I'm doing. Good luck with that, though.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Social Media

My friends have really been on my case to make sure I get involved in the "social media." You know, Facebook, Twitter, etc...

Man, I didn't realize how important it is. I'd better get moving!


Link

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Ceremony

They filed in by the somber hundreds. Some with ceremony and ritual, others in a focused walk; yet all with a purpose. They came from everywhere, some from two states away, others from cities just across the river.

Outside, their vehicles filled most of the parking lot, spilling into the mall across the street. At the front of the lot, hundreds lined up in formation under the hot sun, as if preparing for a parade. The whole scene was a striking image of horses, flashing lights and uniforms.

Inside, more uniforms. They overran the building. The auditorium wasn’t nearly big enough, so they lined up along the walls and in the hallways, breaking rank just to make room for the doorways.

Suddenly, the foyer became quiet and the crowd there cleared a path as a limousine pulled up to the door. She stepped out of the limousine, looking very much like someone lost. Her family stepped out as well and gathered around her as if pooling their strength to help her along.

She clutched a tissue. In fact, there were tissues everywhere. Tissues and tears. This was definitely a ceremony, but it wasn’t a celebration. For these fire departments, emergency medical service departments, and police departments, time was standing still.

They were all here to honor one of their own. For some maddening, unexplainable, and irrelevant reason, someone had killed a police officer.

And so, here we were, all sharing in a wife’s unimaginable grief, a mother’s sorrow, and the echoes in thousands of empty hearts.

I didn’t know the officer. And yet, I struggled to take this all in. I was touched at the way his life was honored, but I don’t doubt for a minute that they would all give it away just to have him back. It seemed so empty. The whole scene did not seem to measure up to the life that the officer lived. And yet, lacking any better option, all we could do was gather to pray, comfort, and grieve.

I stepped out into the foyer and watched as the casket was escorted out of the building and into the hearse. The parking lot came to life with the roar of car, truck, and motorcycle engines. The wail of sirens filled the air as the procession fell into order and drove away.

Then, as now, my thoughts turned to those left behind; those now responsible for carrying on.

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
Psalm 127:1

Lord, I lift up those who have been appointed to preserve our safety and enforce our rules. I pray that You protect them as they serve us. I ask that you give them clarity, wisdom, courage, and foresight as they carry out their duties. May You guide their steps through their day and may Your hand cover them so that they may all return home safely.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gun Range!

Finally got to the gun range this week. Matt and I headed out to the range during lunch so we could blow off some steam. I bought the ammo and targets at the counter and headed over to the bench to gear up.

Ear protection? Check

Eye protection? Check

Ammo? Check

Targets? Check

Guns? Che...

Erg?!

Aaaahhhrrrggg!!!

I forgot the guns?!?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Illinois Politics

Wow. I think they have a different version of ethics in Illinois. Neither Blagojevich nor Burris think they have done anything wrong.

Link

Link

Maybe I'm the one that's different...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Vague Apology

I have something to say about the Michael Phelps story, but it may not be what you think. I want to commend Mr. Phelps for taking responsibility for his actions. More specifically, I want to commend him for not being ...well... specific.

As a society, we like apologies. They make us feel good and reaffirm our faith in mankind because, after all, someone feels bad for what they did.

So, when Phelps was photographed smoking a bong this past November, many, including me, were disappointed. I certainly wanted him to take responsibility, repent, and turn away from his behavior (dare we call it sin?). As a result of the photo, he lost a couple of sponsors, he was suspended from swimming for three months, and he issued this apology:

"I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment," Phelps said Sunday after the British newspaper News of the World splashed an exclusive photo of him smoking marijuana from a bong. "I'm 23 years old and, despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me," he said. "For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again."

Interesting. No specifics here, just an apology for "regrettable and ... bad judgment," and "youthful and inappropriate" actions. Boy, that could be anything from blowing curfew at swimming camp to showing up late for graduation. That sounds like he consulted an attorney. Smart man.

You see, vague apologies are typically not acceptable to us, because we sometimes feel someone may be trying to pull a fast one. But, there are two audiences to an apology: man and God.

An apology before God should be sincere and specific (1 John 1:9). After all, the goal is to admit our sin, repent, accept His forgiveness, and turn away from the sin, repeating it no more. In God, we know we have a righteous judge. We know that, although forgiven sin still has consequences, those consequences are not eternal.

Man, on the other hand, is not so understanding. Richland County (South Carolina) Sheriff Leon Lott launched an investigation to determine if charges would be brought against anyone in connection with the use of marijuana during the party. Soon, eight "youths" were arrested and the Sheriff turned his eyes toward Phelps.

There, he says, he found nothing. In his words:

We had a photo, and him saying he was sorry for inappropriate behavior. That behavior could have been going to a party. He never said, "I smoked marijuana," Lott said.

Remember that movie/TV line? "Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. " That's not just Hollywood, it's real life. Had Michael admitting anything more specific, we'd have a different ending.

Of course, I do not condone the use of any type of illegal drugs. His actions, if portrayed correctly, were not just inappropriate, they were criminal. However, as it stands, the state must prove its case without the benefit of inappropriate assumptions. The state must be ready to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that a crime was committed. Sometimes, that involves using the accused's words against him. Other times, it involves a prosecutor saying, I just don't have enough to go on.

Now, some of those eight youths arrested may help, in order to save their own hides. But for now, Phelps needs to thank God that he had good advice, and as a result was not charged. He then must repent, turn away from His sin, so it does not become an issue in the future.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Overheard

Standing in line at the local Customer Service Mart:

Teenaged girl to teenaged boy: YES, I have an attitude! I don't know why, I just WANT to have an attitude!

Okaaaay....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Somebody Finally Admitted It

Finally, someone has claimed the "S" word many have denied for so long:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/183663

Believe me, it's no cause to celebrate.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Why Does a Christian own a Firearm? Part 2

Do I personally perpetuate a culture of violence by owning a gun?

Gun ownership does not make me a violent person. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a violent person. Owning guns has not changed that. I did not suddenly become a violent person when I purchased my first gun. In fact, over time I have become more observant, more cautious, and more eager than ever to avoid trouble. I'm more likely to try to walk away than feel like I have to prove something. Rather than concentrate on winning an encounter, I simply concentrate on getting home.

I own firearms. Our culture is exposed to a lot of violence.

The two preceding sentences, though true, are independent and unrelated. If I, and all other law abiding citizens, were to get rid of our guns, we would not stop violence. Take a look at this article. Great Britain has gun laws that make the Brady Campaign proud. Has that stopped crime? No. Criminals just use other weapons. It's become so laughable there that at one point, Great Britain wanted to ban knives. Because, after all they believe that man is not violent, knives are. As you read that article, substitute the word gun for knife and you'll read some of the same arguments used to further gun control. It did not work in Great Britain. It will not work here.

Please note that society has always known violence. The first recorded murder did not require the use of a firearm (Genesis 4:8). Ever since then, man has been incredibly creative at devising ways to kill his fellow man, with or without a firearm. Many wars were fought and murders committed long before the invention of the gun. As early as Genesis chapter 6, God himself observed that the earth, during the time of Noah, was filled with violence. This had nothing to do with gun ownership. It is inherent in man’s nature. To believe for a minute that the firearm is single-handedly or even primarily responsible for the current violence of our society requires the blatant ignorance of history.

Jeremiah 17:9 says:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Evil, whatever its manifestation, finds its roots in man's heart and mind. If we ban all firearms, we will not stop violence. Because violence resides in their heart, criminals will either choose another method or find ways around the law. The fact that I own guns has nothing to do with that.

We will always have firearms, even if the law forbids it. Think of counterfeiting, drug trafficking, murder, rape, theft, etc... All of these are prohibited by law, yet all continue to take place. We have strictly controlled the medicinal use of ephedrine—yet that has not stopped the manufacture of methamphetamine. We have banned all sorts of controlled substances, yet illegal drugs are sold under our noses every day. Laws do not (and cannot) prevent crime—they merely provide the mechanism to punish those who are caught.

Note this: I don't cause violence; my guns don’t cause violence. The violent do. No law will ever change that.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ask Me if I Care

I came across this post at Slice. At times, I disagree with what Ingrid writes there, but at the very least, her posts are thought provoking. I followed her post over to Chuck Baldwin Live, where his post was titled Christians Use Prophecy to Excuse Laziness. Finally, I thought of Ben's post, where he linked to this video:



All of this got me thinking. What am I the most passionate about? What is most important to me? Do I believe what I believe even if it is unpopular, or even dangerous? Am I willing to move past possible embarrassment, rejection and discomfort just to share my belief in God? Do I believe that I have that answer, that freedom that people seek?

And if I do have that answer, how far will I go to share it?

What obstacles am I willing to push aside?

Or, in the end, will I just prefer to be comfortable.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gun Video

Xavier, from Xavier Thoughts, has a great video posted on his blog. It's about a gun control activist who spends 30 days in the house of a gun enthusiast. I think its good video for all sides of the gun debate.

http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl on Credit

Well, I watched the Super Bowl on credit last night...

You know, enjoyed it last night--paying for it this morning.

I almost tossed the alarm clock across the street.