Wednesday, 26 December 2007

links for 2007-12-26

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Tuesday, 25 December 2007

The Awaited One

The following is excerpted from Max Lucado’s An Angel’s Story, and was the 12/23/07 e-mail from MaxLucado.com, which anyone can sign up to receive. Max and his crew are encouraging subscribers to share this and the other excerpts with their friends, so here I am, sharing it with my readers.

We were a wreath of Light around the stable, a necklace of diamonds around the structure. Every angel had been called from his post for the coming, even Michael. None doubted God would, but none knew how He could, fulfill His promise.

“I’ve heated the water!”

“No need to yell, Joseph, I hear you fine.”

Mary would have heard had Joseph whispered. The stable was even smaller than Joseph had imagined but the innkeeper was right—it was clean. I started to clear out the sheep and cow, but Michael stopped me. “The Father wants all of creation to witness the moment.”

Mary cried out and gripped Joseph’s arm with one hand and a feed trough with the other. The thrust in her abdomen lifted her back, and she leaned forward.

“Is it time?” Joseph asked.

She shot back a glance, and he had his answer.

Within moments the Awaited One was born. I was privileged to have a position close to the couple, only a step behind Michael. We both gazed into the wrinkled face of the infant. Joseph had placed hay in a feed trough, giving Jesus His first bed.

All of God was in the infant. Light encircled His face and radiated from His tiny hands. The very glory I had witnessed in His throne room now burst through His skin.

I felt we should sing but did not know what. We had no song. We had no verse. We had never seen the sight of God in a baby. When God had made a star, our words had roared. When He had delivered His servants, our tongues had flown with praise. Before His throne, our songs never ended. But what do you sing to God in a feed trough?

In that moment a wonderful thing happened. As we looked at the baby Jesus, the darkness lifted. Not the darkness of the night, but the darkness of the mystery. Heaven’s enlightenment engulfed the legions.

Our minds were filled with the Truth we had never before known. We became aware for the first time of the Father’s plan to rescue those who bear His name.

“Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart, prepare Him room! Heaven and nature sing!”

posted at 12:07 AM in God , love
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Monday, 24 December 2007

links for 2007-12-24

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Sunday, 23 December 2007

links for 2007-12-23

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Saturday, 22 December 2007

links for 2007-12-22

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Friday, 21 December 2007

The Spirit of Christmas

The following landed in ye olde e-mail inbox earlier today, penned by talk radio host Laura Ingraham:

Megan pulled a three-ring binder out of her bag and showed me a photograph of herself and her husband. Young—they’re both 21—with big smiles on their faces and obviously wildly in love. “That’s what he looked like,” she said with a somber face, “He was such a cutie-pie, always buying me little stuffed animals and writing the most thoughtful notes the entire time he was in Iraq.” Then she showed me the photo of her husband receiving the Purple Heart on Wednesday from President Bush at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. As President Bush pinned the medal on Mike, he lay unconscious in the ICU, having suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by a piece of shrapnel that pierced his temple.

“This is my Mike now,” she said, rubbing her eyes. He is completely blind and to alleviate a terrible cranial pressure build-up, doctors had to remove the front of his skull. Since being wounded several months ago, Mike has never regained consciousness and suffers from terrible seizures. “That’s my guy,” she repeated, before she went on to tell me about how they met and fell in love.

For whatever reason, I kept thinking about the fact that some person somewhere carefully assembled the IED that would eventually maim Mike and many others. They are often packed with nails, hunks of lead and screws to cause maxim human suffering. When they explode, the contents rip through flesh and bones, shattering countless dreams in the process.

How to comprehend this level of evil and the physical and emotional agony it causes? This young woman and her husband should be out buying their first Christmas tree together, going to parties, raising a glass to their future. When I asked what she was doing for the holiday she said, “I’ll be here with Mike. I would never want him to be alone on Christmas.” They had been married for about three months when Mike was wounded.

In these days before Christmas, Megan and other military wives and moms gave me a precious gift. They reminded me that true love requires sacrifice—sometimes seemingly unbearable, heart-wrenching sacrifice. They are living out their love in big and small ways. Many have moved thousands of miles to relocate to the hospitals where their husbands, wives, sons, and daughters are being treated. This takes an enormous emotional and financial toll, yet they do it for love. When they are not at the hospital bedsides of their wounded warriors, they sit for hours a day in waiting rooms across the United States, hoping for good news—or at least no more bad news. They pray with each other, cry with each other, and yes, even manage to laugh with each other as they hope for a day when they can return to “normal life.” Yet for the families of our most seriously injured troops, they know they will have to get used to a “new normal,” much different from the life they knew before.

As we are about to celebrate Christmas spending time with our families and friends, let us all do our best to live up to the true spirit of this season—and make it a time filled with love, faith, gratitude, hope, charity, and, yes, let’s try for some peace on earth. Let us remember the military families and our wounded heroes who will spend this Christmas at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center, Bethesda Naval Medical Center and other medical facilities across the nation. As we rush around stressed out because we “haven’t found the perfect gift” for so-and-so, these families hope and pray for gifts that cannot be wrapped up: a hand that squeezes back, a smile, the first step on a new prosthesis, or a positive medical report.

They need our prayers and support at Christmas and every day. Please give what you can to any of the wonderful organizations that support our bravest and their families.

Merry Christmas.

posted at 9:29 PM in God , armed forces , helping , liberty , love , salt and light
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links for 2007-12-21

posted at 8:18 AM in links
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Immanuel

The following is excerpted from Max Lucado’s An Angel’s Story, and was the 12/20/07 e-mail from MaxLucado.com, which anyone can sign up to receive. Max and his crew are encouraging subscribers to share this and the other excerpts with their friends, so here I am, sharing it with my readers.

The King walked over and reached for the book. He turned it toward Lucifer and commanded, “Come, Deceiver, read the name of the One who will call your bluff. Read the name of the One who will storm your gates.”

Satan rose slowly off his haunches. Like a wary wolf, he walked a wide circle toward the desk until he stood before the volume and read the word:

“Immanuel?” he muttered to himself, then spoke in a tone of disbelief. “God with us?” For the first time the hooded head turned squarely toward the face of the Father. “No. Not even You would do that. Not even You would go so far.”

“You’ve never believed me, Satan.”

“But Immanuel? The plan is bizarre! You don’t know what it’s like on Earth! You don’t know how dark I’ve made it. It’s putrid. It’s evil. Its…”

“IT IS MINE,” proclaimed the King. “AND I WILL RECLAIM WHAT IS MINE. I WILL BECOME FLESH. I WILL FEEL WHAT MY CREATURES FEEL. I WILL SEE WHAT THEY SEE.”

“But what of their sin?”

“I will bring mercy.”

“What of their death?”

“I will give life.”

Satan stood speechless.

God spoke, “I love my children. Love does not take away the beloved’s freedom. But love takes away fear. And Immanuel will leave behind a tribe of fearless children. They will not fear you or your hell.”

Satan stepped back at the thought. His retort was childish. “Th-th-they will too!”

“I will take away all sin. I will take away death. Without sin and without death, you have no power.”

Around and around in a circle Satan paced, clenching and unclenching his wiry fingers. When he finally stopped, he asked a question that even I was thinking. “Why? Why would You do this?”

The Father’s voice was deep and soft. “Because I love them.”

posted at 1:21 AM in God , love
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Thursday, 20 December 2007

links for 2007-12-20

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Friday, 14 December 2007

links for 2007-12-14

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Thursday, 13 December 2007

links for 2007-12-13

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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

links for 2007-12-11

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Christmas fun

I received this e-mail from a neighbor. It’s one of those things where you read their answers, then fill in your own and pass it on to the people you’d like to hear back from. Seeing as how while most of you will be getting ready for work or what-have-you this morning while I’m undergoing prep for surgery to get “unscrewed”, I won’t be in much of a blogging mood, and thought I’d leave this here for you to enjoy.

Please feel free to leave your own answers in the comments, or post to your own blog and link to it in the comments. Merry Christmas!

Welcome to the 2007 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends! You know the drill. Don’t be a scrooge! Fill it out, pass it on, blah blah blah. I would love to hear your answers.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

This time of year, I have to go with the nog. I can get hot chocolate any time.

2. Does Santa wrap the presents or just sit them under the tree?

Growing up, Santa just left stuff under the tree, or on the coach next to the tree, etc. Since then, he seems to have upgraded his process, as the gifts he leaves are now wrapped.

3. Colored or white lights?

I prefer white, though I do enjoy the colored lights when they’re done well.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Nope. I’m already kissing the person I want to kiss the most.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

We have no hard and fast rules on this one. The tree just went up this weekend, and the lights were put on last night.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?

Can I go with the nog again?

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?

The older gentlemen, Mr. Gridley, who lived next door to my grandparents, would dress as Santa and come over to hand out our presents when we did Christmas at their house. As a child, having Santa right there, handing you the presents he’d brought all the way from the North Pole? Incredible.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I’d have to check with my folks, but it was likely somewhere around ten or eleven years of age. I overheard some other boys talking about, and I confronted my parents with the information. They told me the truth, but swore me to secrecy, as my sister, five years younger than I, still believed.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

That usually depends on where we might be, but generally, yes.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

White lights, with ornaments from my childhood, plus some that were gifts from my mother-in-law, my mom, and my grandmothers. They’re pretty much all personal momentos of one sort or another. No tinsel or garland. Pretty simple, the way we like it.

11. Snow: Love it or hate it?

Love it, just because, growing up in south Louisiana, and now living in north Texas, we don’t see snow often.

12. Can you ice skate?

Nope. Heck, I barely remember how to roller skate!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

So many were favorites at so many different times of my life, I really couldn’t say.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?

Spending time with the family. It’s great to see Christmas through the eyes of a child—my son—once again.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

A tie between my grandmother’s chocolate pie, and my grandmother’s lemon pie. The tie is always broken by having a slice of each.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Watching my son open his presents on Christmas morning.

17. What is on top of your tree?

An angel.

18. Which do you like best giving or receiving?

Definitely the giving, though I won’t lie and say the receiving—especially when it’s something from my carefully assembled wish list—comes in a close second. Hey, at least I’m honest.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

I’m a sucker for a well done “What Child is This?”, and I also love “Joy To The World” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”.

20. Do you like candy canes?

To eat? Not really, but I don’t mind them otherwise.

21. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Technically not a movie, but I love “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

posted at 12:10 AM in God , food , fun , love , movie , music , that's life
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Sunday, 09 December 2007

links for 2007-12-09

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Saturday, 08 December 2007

links for 2007-12-08

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Friday, 07 December 2007

links for 2007-12-07

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Wednesday, 05 December 2007

Born to it

Monday night, my folks made the requisite birthday phone call, and while chatting with my dad, I was informed that thirty-seven years ago today, I witnessed my first LSU football game.

Not that I recall one lick of it, you understand, being all of two days old. But Dad held me and we watched LSU go at it against Ole Miss, which was quarterbacked by the legendary Archie Manning. Of the three games Archie played against the Tigers, this was the only one he lost, and the Rebels lost big, 61-17. Manning played the game with a protected broken arm. (They don’t make football players like they use to, though some come close.)

So for my friends who might not quite understand my passion for college football, especially the Tigers, you could say I was born to it, and it’s been with me ever since.

GEAUX TIGERS!!

posted at 3:50 PM in football
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links for 2007-12-05

  • Type in the word of phrase you want to hear in R2’s distinctive chirps and whistles, and you’re delivered the corresponding audio.
    (tags: fun StarWars)
  • Newton software resource. Will come in handy for my “new” eMate and my resurrected MessagePad 2100.
posted at 8:18 AM in links
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Monday, 03 December 2007

2007 College Football Bowl Schedule

In some cultures, it is customary for the one having a birthday, instead of receiving gifts, to give them to loved ones and friends.

Since I’m unemployed and living off of the labor of the hot number who agreed to swim through life with me, my gift to my college football-loving friends is a ready-made, iCalendar format calendar for the 2007 College Football Bowl season. From the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (there’s a mouthful) on December 20th through the Allstate BCS Championship Game (Geaux Tigers!) on January 8th, they’re all in there, complete with locations, the match-ups, and the station on which you can find the game, courtesy of ESPN. All times are for the Central time zone.

Just click on the link below, unzip the file, and open it in your calendar application of choice. (Provided said calendar application supports the iCalendar protocol. This was created in Apple’s iCal, so if you’re a Mac OS X user, you’re covered.) Enjoy!

2007 College Football Bowl Schedule


posted at 1:14 AM in football
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Saturday, 01 December 2007

The operative part of the acronym is “No”

The third time was not the charm for me, at least as it it pertains to National Novel Writing Month.

I started out pretty good, keeping my word count around the daily average, for the first five days. Then I became ill. Nothing serious, just a massive head cold, with a sinus infection chaser. Persistent cough from the drainage. That led to the onset of bronchitis.

All of this kept me up most of the night on Wednesday/early Thursday of the 7th and 8th. It really sucked away a lot of my motivation, because I was just so tired all the freaking time. Then I began making excuses to not write during times when I wasn’t tired. Like deciding the afternoon of Friday the 9th that now was a good time to begin a massive purge of all magazines in my study. (Anything more than a year old, with some notable exceptions, went to the recycle bin.) I do have more legroom under my desk now, so one could rationalize that this actually assists in the writing process. Yeah, that sounds good.

In the end, though, I excused myself right out of getting anywhere past 6,000 words. It’s December 1st, and I’m still not 100%, but I’m well enough that I should be writing, writing, writing. And I will. Because writers write. I have some great ideas regarding this novel I started, and the overall plot is pretty well laid out in my head. (This is a rarirty for me, as nearly all of the novels I’ve begun, NaNoWriMo-related or not, have hardly ever been fully-formed, at least in terms of a basic plot.)

I’m going to keep at this one. It may turn in to the sort of project Jason Snell undertook, where instead of starting a new novel for this year’s NaNoWriMo, he added 50,000 words to one he already had underway. We’ll see.

posted at 11:53 PM in writing
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I was wrong. It’s worse than I thought.

Some chatter by the sports media talking heads got me to wondering, so I did some research.

I was wrong when I stated that a team had to win their conference to play in the BCS national championship game, thus eliminating Georgia and Kansas from contention. According to the BCS Selection Policies and Procedures, the only requirements to play in the National Championship Game (NCG) is that the two teams must be ranked first and second in the BCS rankings.

What this means is that if the unlikely scenario I posited comes true, and Missouri, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech all lose, what we’d likely see is Ohio State and Georgia playing for the BCS championship. That’s right, one team that played its last game on 11/17, and the other on 11/24, each getting to play for the national title, and only one of whom won its conference. If that scenario isn’t just one of many which continues to scream the need for a playoff system, I don’t know what would be one.

What this means is that if somehow Mizzo, WV, and VT all lose—and things are tied up between BC and VT as of this writing—and LSU prevails, the pollsters would have to give my Tigers some serious love to vault them past Georgia and Kansas to put them in the national championship game. Otherwise, the best they can hope for is the Sugar Bowl. Given how badly they played last week against Arkansas, and the way they’ve struggled all through November, that may just be the best they should get any way. Geaux Tigers!!!

posted at 2:32 PM in football
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links for 2007-12-01

posted at 8:18 AM in links
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