Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

Well, at least here in the North East of the USA it is. By the time I finish the post? I'm guessing 1:20-1:25.

So. What's this year going to be like? That's my question. The answer? Exciting, amazing, a total adventure, difficult and enough to make me soil my drawers.

2006 is a year of vast opportunity for me. In fact, I see more things happening in 2006 than have happened in the past two years easily. No. It's not just that baby number 4 is on the way. It's more than that.

For me, 2006 is the year of the Tiger. No, it's not the Chinese year of the tiger, but it is my personal year of the tiger. You see, 2006 is a do or die year. It's a year that I either push the doors open (more like kick them open) or I pack it in and I live a quietly desperate and unfulfilled life for the rest of my days. Oh, sure. I would still have my wife, girls and home - but I wouldn't be doing what I KNOW I'm supposed to do.

And that, ladies and gents, is the reason why 2006 is going to be so difficult. 2006 is the year that the butterfly needs to push his way out of the cocoon or die. I've either got to do or die.

I'd love to give you more examples of why this is so, but for the moment I really can't put it all easily and clearly into words. But I will say this. I know that I've been pushed to this moment. I know that I must have the courage to push through it. I know I must have the love, the patience, the endurance, the self-control and discipline to see it through. And that is my goal. To do the things that I need to do. To be focused on what I need to do. To get it done.

No excuses. No regrets. No what could have, or should have beens. Do it or die. That's where I stand.

And, my hope for you my gentle friend, my kind reader is the same. Not exactly the same because you won't have all the things pushing you, you may not have the divine ultimatum that I have this year. But I do hope that for you, this year that you set your goals and go after them with gusto. Keep them before you. Don't stop reaching for them. And most of all, enjoy the entire journey to get where you're going!

Till next we meet - Shalom! And MAKE it a great new year.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Phone is Dead... Part II

And so, we continue the saga...

But, before we do, I'm letting you know now that there is a Part III! Yup, I'm doing a trillogy! Not on purpose, but it is the way things happened! And now, back to our story.

So, the phone is dead and I need a new phone. It's 12/15. The next day I go out shopping with my beautiful bride Shanna. After a bit of chick shopping, she sit's up in the food court at the mall having ice cream, I start the process of finding a phone. I visit Veriozon, Sprint, T-Mobile (I didn't even bother with Cingular, I know the coverage sucks here around where I live something fierce) and start shopping the deals. And, I'm pretty motivated to get something with anyone other than Sprint which is the carrier that I've had for three or four years now.

So. Into the Verizon store. Right. What a couple of door stops. Here I am actively asking questions and this guy doesn't give me a lick more information than what I really pumped him for. Dolt. Next stop, Sprint.

I know, I didn't want to go with Sprint. BUT, I know Sprint phones are set for internet access - which is key to me. So, I start to talk. Look at the phones, etc. And, while I'm there, I find out that I'm eligible for the big discount on the phones. Hmmm. Interesting. So, upstairs I go to get Shanna. And back down we come.

Soooo, we look at phones. Shannie doesn't like any of them, none of the displays. And, unfortunately, Sarah (the girl I was talking to) is just too busy to talk to us. So, what do I do? Walk about 50 feet to T-Mobile just because I'm curious.

T-Mobile. Hmmm, all Motorola phones. That didn't thrill me. But then I start looking. There's one really nice phone. Hmm. Better deal on minutes in the family plan, text messages and internet access. Hmmm. So, with all that in mind, I go get Shanna who's still standing over at the Sprint kiosk and we scoot back to T-Mobile - because unbelievably Sarah is still busy. Well the phone looks cool. Shanna finds one that she likes. One hangup. I can't figure a way to access the web and enter a url - CRITICAL to me. I mean a real deal breaker. That and I'm concerned with T-Mobile's coverage too.

Back I go to Sprint. Sarah is finally available and she's brilliant at confirming that even though T-Mobile says there coverage is better - there will be issues which confirms my fears. True or not. She also solves the phone dilemma by coming up with a phone that Shann REALLY likes. Soooo... after all the dance, I'm back at Sprint with a phone I like (not love, that one was another $100) and Shan loves her phone. Coverage is good, I can access the web (as it turns out you can with T-Mobile too) via URL and we got a family plan that works OK for us.

So what phone did I get? A sweet one. The Sanyo MM-8300.

Camcorder, camera, special features on photos. Actually quite the nice phone - just missing some of the more geeky options that I wanted like an SD card and bluetooth. But, I've got 15 more days... who knows what will happen by then! ;-)

And then... about 4 days later... DISASTER

Watch for part III!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas Morning

Well, I had intended to post this a bit earlier (like MONDAY) but, it didn't happen. Sorry! This is the scene from my front door (through a wreathe) of the cul-de-sac I live on. Pretty cool even if it wasn't a white Christmas!

Monday, December 26, 2005


The official Christmas post is coming, this is just a quick commentary.

Is it just me (being written at 2:30 am eastern time, USA - possibly in a state of sleep deprivation or just while being cranky) or do people that cannot use the words "their", "they're" and "there" make you nuts too?

I have the opportunity to work with someone that's a pretty dynamic and forward thinking individual that is very proactive. I can't do it. Why? Because their (possessive adjective) spelling is bad, their word usage isn't that great either, of course, neither is their grammar come to think of it. I just can't get past this.

Einstein was one of the most brilliant men of his time. Could he spell? Would I have missed that opportunity? Am I a snob? This stuff is just elementary to me. It was drilled into me by Sister Esther Marie (God rest her soul) when I was in elementary school.

By the way. I'm not a great speller either. Before the advent of the word processor and spell checker I lived with a dictionary next to me when writing. Which I guess makes this propensity of this individual even more perplexing and maddening. What, he can't compose in a word processor then cut and paste? What's the deal?

So, I tell you what. Let me know. Am I just kvetching, or is this a legit issue.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Phone is Dead, Long Live the Phone

Well, the old phone finally died. The Samsung A500, the faithful old brick. Sure, it was hot in its day. Literally, about a day that it was near the top of the line. $300 bills - or more than what you'd pay for a Razor now. Geesh. Firmware that put it on par with an abacus with a graphic interface.

As you can see, it was pretty beat up. The last thing that finally killed it was the power interface. The pin just split the casing, it wouldn't take a charge.

You can't really see how badly I beat the thing up, it was really abused by the end. Kept falling out of my pocket and the like. Scratched, dinged. But, it was an OK looking phone - it just didn't have any functionality - like text messaging or anything like that. So, the phone is dead, long live the phone.

Now, the funny part is that the phone actually died on the LAST day of my contract with Sprint. So, it was time to go phone and phone service shopping!

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005



Oh Lord. It was the office "holiday" party today. And no, don't get me off on that tangent we won't come back for a bit... But away.

By 9:45 I had my first lacewing chocolate chip cookie, then the cinnamon/sweet nuts, then the dark chocolate, then a more typical chocolate chip cookie. That was before lunch. Then we had our lunch (a nice cheese filled tortolini and Italian sausage) and I had a brownie (the thick kind, a bit spongy with pieces of dark chocolate in it) and another piece of dark chocolate.

Think I'm getting full yet? Not a chance. You'd think I hadn't eaten for a year.

So, there were also these other little tree shaped and star shaped pastry type treats. They weren't sweet though, they were really salty, but they had walnuts in them. Those were good with either the celery, carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes they had there. Good thing for those or my diet today would have soley consisted of sugar and white flower!

Back to the sweets...

Interspersed with the salty stuff, I mixed in another couple of chocolate chip cookies and two of these kind of puffy shapped chocolate cookies with coconut filling. OH YUM.


Wednesday I'm working from home. Good thing, I can't afford to gain another five pounds tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This is Ridiculous!

It's only December!

This is our second cold snap like this. This is mid January to mid February kind of cold.

OK. Here's my official whine... "I want to go to Miami!"

Feel free to send cheese to go with that whine :-)

Seems Like DejaVu all over again!

I think I've been here before. Like, say, seven weeks ago? Yup, the Turk cometh (for those of you that aren't football or hockey fans - the Turk is the guy that is the axe man - the guy that cuts you loose when you're trying to make the team).

So, can you guess? Indeed! As of the end of next week, no job. The group I'm in lost funding. And yes, 10 days before Christmas it's not great to find that out. Ah, but alas, it is the life of a contractor.

So, now comes the great scramble. Tough this time of year, everyone is keyed into the holidays. No real movement happens typicially till mid-January. But... we'll see.

As it turns out, I was on a fast when I found out. Now I know part of why God had me fasting. But, I feel God has this one in control (doesn't he always?) because I felt prompted to end the fast at dinner today. I really had a strong impression that God was saying that I should celebrate the end of the fast. That, in case you've never been on a fast - or felt that particular impression from the Lord - is a good thing. It was an end to the fasting and a start of rejoycing. I'm all for rejoycing.

Now, the only thing I need to do is make sure that I continue where God is leading me so I don't miss what he has in store next!

Monday, December 12, 2005

OK, I changed my mind.

You know what, spending time with my kids and being a parent IS deep. Sure it may not fill the spiritual tank, but it's pretty important!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Tank is Empty

In case you've become a regular reader, that is if I have any (uh, besides you CyberGal, I know you're reading!) and you've noticed that my posts have been a lot more - shall we say - shallow? There's a reason why.

You see, my tank is empty. Spiritual tank that is. On "E." The big E. Zero, zip, zilch, nothing, nada, the big goose egg. Empty.

I think it happens to most people at one time or another, but I don't like when it happens to me. Especially because I know why.

Oh, sure, there are the obvious reasons or excuses like: I'm busy, I have a lot of work. But for me, that isn't the REAL reason.

The real reason is because I've hit that wonderful place in my relationship with God that he wants to take me to a new level. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is very exciting. It also happens to be terrifying. And I know that some of you may be wondering why I think it is so terrifying. After all, isn't God out to do us good? And the answer to that question is a resounding YES. It's just how he goes about it.

Don't be confused. The Lord of heaven and earth is kind, compassionate and gentle. He isn't going to make me do anything I don't want to do. Believe me when tell you I want to get to the next place he has for me in maturity in my walk and my relationship with Him. It's going to rock. However, to get to that place there is something required of me. Death.

Death you say? Yes. Death to me. Death to my knowledge, death to my preconceptions, death to the natural, death to my flesh - this rotting stinking flesh that will do nothing more than end up in the dirt somewhere. And you see, death to my flesh is precisely what my flesh isn't interested in doing. No. I'm not talking about flagellation or anything like that. I'm speaking of the things of the flesh. The natural and carnal desires of the mind and body. Think if you will to Maslow's Hierarchy.

But God, the King of the Universe wants to take me past that place. He wants to get me out of myself and my own narrow limitations of all that he's made me, and all that he has for me. But to get there I have to get rid of my own ideas. OH! And how we do love our own ideas. The brilliant minds that we have, the sterling thoughts! The mind that sees what others do not, the voice that speaks with wisdom that others should seek! Yes, I love my flesh. In the natural I do. But not in the spiritual.

In the spiritual realm my flesh reeks as a putrid carcass. It holds me down in this base reality. It keeps me looking at my past and focusing on only what my five senses can see and and/or understand. It keeps me focused on the small and the mean rather than the great and the wonderful. It keeps my mind on me instead of dwelling in the place of the Almighty. Oh, how I hate that flesh!

So, that's where I am. That's my struggle. That's why I'm on E. It's because, as the song says... "I hear the voice, the voice of the one I love. It's calling my name... It says, Come up higher and hear the angels sing. Come up higher my beloved. Come up higher and leave this world behind, you'll find it to be beautiful." And so, until I can - as they say - "mortify the flesh" to step up to that place, I'm going to remain on E. It's because God wants me to come up, to step up to another place in him. It's a place that I've got to rest to get to. (that's why scripture says that we labor to enter his rest). It's a place of intimacy with him that I haven't had before. A new place in a relationship that requires that I leave my disfunction behind.

Of course, I can't do that without him.

If you've read The Chronicles of Narnia, you may have read the Voyage of the Dawntreader. In the book, the boy Eustance by way of a magical bracelet or curse, becomes a dragon. It's really the result and the outward manifestation of his own heart. Then, one evening, Eustance encounters Aslan, the great lion who is the metaphor of Christ in the books. Aslan invites Eustance to get out of his dragon skin (he is a large reptile essentially after all) and get into the pool to be free. But Eustance, though he uses his great dragon claws, can't do it himself. He needs Aslan to do it. And when Aslan does it, the great lion's claws rip deep into Eustance. Deep into the place at the core where he needs to get to so that he can take away the dragon skin and get to the boy inside.

That's what I need.

So, here I am. Me and the Lord. And though I'm empty right now and I've nothing to give - I know that God's going to get me to a place someday soon. Not because I'm anything great. No. But because I'm desperate. Desperate for him. Desperate to fulfill what he has for me. Desperate to be what I'm called to be. Desperate to love fully. Desperate to become a better husband and dad. Desperate. And, I know according to scripture that God is a rewarder of those that diligently (and desperately) seek him.

So, I'm on E. But. I have hope. And hopefully soon I'll post something that has some depth, some spiritual impact, some resonance for your souls. Something other than some cute pictures of my kids. Soon.


Fun in the snow!

Well, yesterday I showed you what it was like from the teeth of the storm. Not a ton of snow, but we got about 2-3 inches in a short period of time with winds that blew the stuff horizontally. Look at the trees and you'll see how it stuck.

Anyway, here are some pictures. One of my current youngest, 2 1/2 year old Chloe who really wanted to swing (man she was having a blast out there) and one of part of the neighboorhood out my front door.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Let it Snow

Ok. The first picture is what it's like to try to look out the window here at the front of my house.

The second picture is what it looks like in the back. This all happened in the past hour...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Oh man! I can't wait to get my iPod with Video!

I'm in potential MacPhilly heaven. Check this out.

W00t! Yeha! TV on my iPod. Of course, that means that I'm going to be paying for the third or fourth time for my TV content (ads on TV, digital cable, Tivo, now the download...) but I'm jacked. I'm excited because there is just stuff that is tough for me to watch in the house with the little chicks. That, and how great will it be to watch a TV show like this while I'm working out on the exercise bike and the like. Totally cool.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Stand Up for Your Rights!

Oddly, I find myself being in agreement with the ACLU on this one. Check out this link. This woman was just riding a bus, didn't want to show her ID (constitutionally and legally she is not required without a warrant) and she got handcuffed and dragged off the bus. Yet another reason why I don't support the Patriot Act or it's extension!

Here's the link Deb Davis

Really, check it out.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tastes Like Chicken... I Think

I just ate a chicken nugget. Well, according to claims by Wendy's it is an all white meat chicken nugget. Now I'm not questioning the voracity of Wendy's claims - not exactly. I'm not asking "Since when are chicken lips consider white meat?" I'm actually saying that I don't recall eating chicken.

I ate something. I know I ate some kind of breading. I know I saw some fat and some congealed lard. I just didn't see chicken.

So, what's the moral of the story? Well, if you're eating at Wendy's and want chicken go with a filet. Other than that, you're on your own. And never eat nuggets - I'm sure that may be my last foray.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Pregnant Women Denied US Travel - Go figure.

Heres an e-mail I just got from an associate in Australia.

"I'm having a baby in March and since the US isn't keen on having it born over there, they won't let me fly over to SF as of last week!"

So, as of Thanksgiving, this woman who owns her own business can't travel to do business in here in the States. Why, just because they don't want the baby born here and possibly become a US citizen? My word.

Geesh, State Department is pretty tough on pregnant travelers. Now if they would just do the same thing for the thousands of illegal aliens coming in over the Mexican border every month (that we pay health care for don’t you know – but I can’t get the same health care for less than $800-1000 a month...) that would be a better use of our money. Do you think?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I get way to much spam...

Yah, look at it. That's right. Welcome to my junk mail box. You and every flipping spammer in North America. Thankfully I've got a good combo of junk/spam filters and about 98% of my spam goes into my junk mail box. How about you? Is there anything we can do?

Yes. Don't click on them, just delete them. Don't show them, forward them or buy from the sites. Delete them! And then pray that they all get hit by a power spike!