Friday, December 28, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 93

Category: Awkward Moments

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed. Winner: Peek-A-Boo

Click on images to enlarge them.


Logistical Issues

You can slice the tension with a light saber.

Grocery Store Etiquette

Played passenger roulette and lost.

Then pretended to just be stretching...

Questionable listening skills.

When time slows to a crawl.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Three Incarnations?

I learned something new at church on Christmas Eve.  Or at least I had something I already knew, pointed out to me in a way I've never considered before.  The birth of Jesus is often referred to as incarnation.  And rightly so considering its meaning.

Wikipedia defines it as such:  Embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient being who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature in immaterial.

A bit too sterile for my taste but you get the general idea.  And maybe this is a stretch since "taking on flesh" seems to be the key component here but in a sense, there have been three incarnations.

1. God the Father dwelt with His people in both the portable tabernacle and the permanent temple(s).

2. Jesus took on flesh and walked among us as a physical human being.

3. The Holy Spirit now indwells the believers of Christ using our physical bodies as a temple.

From this perspective we see all three persons of the Trinity have lived among us in a variety of ways.  If that isn't yet another good reason for understanding God's desire to have a personal relationship with us, I don't know what qualifies.  An uninterested god that has abandoned His creation as many atheists accuse us of worshiping would not take the time to call much less pay a visit...or three.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lightning Snow Storm

Many speculate that the actual birth date of Jesus is more likely to land between April and September based on astrological patterns and historical data in the Biblical text (the census for example).  But without complete certainty we still celebrate the coming of Emanuel (God with us) on December 25th.

He is certainly worth celebrating ANY year but this year was especially strange and fantastic.  We've had a white Christmas before but this year we literally had 70 degree weather just two days prior to the 25th.  We've had hardly a sign of winter save for a few sporadic cold fronts that require a days worth of bundling up.  So the fact that snow fell was truly amazing and miraculous.

But there's more.  Christmas Eve is when it started.  Rain storms pelted us all through the night and the lightning continued into the morning of Christmas Day.  I have never witnessed such a sight but literally we had thunder claps that became overwhelmed by a cold front.  And viola, storms were conquered by snow fall.  Loud bangs and daunting downpour became hushed wind and beautiful white confetti.

Isn't God just like that?  A Father with ultimate and fearful power.  But always able to calm the storms and turn them into wonderment and beauty.  Happy Birthday Jesus!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 92

Category: End of The World

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Place votes here ================================>

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.


The truth revealed.

Astute Observation

Well played Yoplait

Not the end we expected


Ancient LOTR Fans!

A prediction you can trust!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Deeper Implications

Today's video post to Youtube pretty much says everything I want to convey today.  So in respect for your time, I won't bother to recap the recent lesson I've learned but instead invite you to read the following two verses and watch said video.  It's just a little more than six minutes of your time and I think you'll agree this is worth consideration.

James 1:23-24 
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in the mirror and after looking at his image, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Parenting FAIL

One of the areas I want to be very successful with is my role as a parent.  I want to be a Christlike example.  I want them to see a man that protects them, provides, loves on them, and guides them.  Part of guidance is correction and correction sometimes brings discipline.  We try to be a house that rewards or motivates good behavior rather than one that solely focuses on and punishes for negative behavior.  I've always been better motivated by gold medals than I am German Shepherds.  In either case the person will run toward a goal.  But who wants to be chased down the path or fear getting bit on the backside?

The twins have entered into a stage where our techniques are a bit less effective.  They are exerting more independence and daring to disobey us or cop an attitude more-so than in times past.  The two biggest hot buttons for me is disrespect and bad attitude.  I don't much care if they forget to do chores or leave toys downstairs, or plead to stay up past bedtime.  These things do require us to get involved but there is no risk of me getting hot under the collar.  But tell me "no" right after I instruct you to do something and the blood pressure begins to rise.  Do exactly what I just told you to stop doing, right after I told you to stop doing it and my temple starts to bulge.  Speak to me or mom with a sassy tone and Houston we have problems.

Normally even in those cases, I keep myself under decent control but punishments are handed out.  But this morning I blew it.  The twins were arguing about what field trips they were taking this year.  I asked them to stop and told my son that he was being rude with his tone toward his sister and told my daughter that I was pretty sure her brother was right.  But either way...stop arguing and lets move on.  Then my daughter jabs one more time and claims to her brother that she knows she is right.  Michael immediately responds with aggravated protest and they are right back at it.


Yes, I yelled pretty near what I believe to be the top of my lungs.  And it was effective.  They stopped arguing immediately but the tears began streaming.  EPIC FAIL.  What a louse and a wretch I am.  I may have been justified in my frustration and in correcting their behavior.  But I am not justified by the method.  Any possibly leg I had to stand on in correcting them was hypocritically destroyed by my own hand.  So I pulled over into a parking lot, calmly talked with them, apologized for my behavior, and gave them hugs.  I am not sure I even came close to making it up to them.  All I really proved is that I am a bigger 7 year old.  That I need just as much correction and grace as they do...if not a bit more.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stuck In Rant Mode

Rant is a fairly new word in our vernacular.  As such the Urban Dictionary had to be consulted to help define it for you, as follows:

To speak aggressively about something, or to take your own tangent about a subject and talk for a long time in a passionate manner.

Word used when extremely annoyed.

My days of writing long blogs are over.  So save for the phrase "long time" I am satisfied with these as a general description of what blog authors often do when they have their sense of justice inflamed.  Some of my best works are proudly filed under the category of "Rant".  In fact its one of the main reasons I was attracted to the practice.  I never fancied myself much of a writer.  But I have always been passionate and never without something to aim that lens toward.

But it has its downside for sure.  And as of late I think I've been stuck in rant-mode.  Seeing life and the events around me as almost exclusively negative and aggravating   Whether its being put on hold for one minute too long or being asked an innocent but fiftieth question by one of my curious kids, I react like a grouch.  When I look in the mirror I want to see a loving man staring back. A man after God's own heart that is Christlike to his family, friends, neighbors, enemies, and yes...even that customer service agent that put me on hold too long.  I hereby confess that I have not been that guy...and I am sorry.  Forgive me if you somehow landed in the cross-hairs.

Even in the middle of a passionate gripe I know that I am part of the problem.  I know that the common denominator when "everything annoys me" is me.  I am a work-in-progress and may require a bit of patience.  For the moment, I've managed to get out of rant-mode.  I don't mind temporarily voicing disdain as a form of both personal therapy and a public service.  But letting my joy and contentment be permanently sacrificed on the rant altar is unacceptable.  I pray this confession also helps you to do the same.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Shame On Us

Newtown, Connecticut is worth our attention, prayers, concerns, love, support, and compassion.  They have suffered a tragedy in a category all its own.  The second largest population of school shooting deaths but the number one largest in terms of young victims.  Parents and School Teachers across this nation have been in a state of shock and mourning since the news first broke on Friday.

As is normally the case but not comforting in the least, we still have no idea what made this mad man target an Elementary School or more specifically First Graders.  My theory is that he is such a coward, that he choose the most defenseless among us.  But we may never know.  How do you even begin to analyze the mind of the depraved?  Especially one that is dead, his secrets and sins gone with him.

The only emotion besides utter sorrow that hit me this weekend regarding this tragedy was anger.  Some of it was righteous anger aimed at the fallen state of our world and the monsters it breeds.  But more of it was at people taking advantage of this event to promote an ideal or political position.  Some said things like, "this is what happens when God is taken out of schools."  Really folks?  I am a Christian and do not like the path our school systems have taken over the years but do you realize what you are saying?  God suddenly stopped caring for and protecting first graders because public sponsored prayer is no longer allowed at school?

But those folks were much smaller in numbers than those seeking to promote a stance on owning firearms.  Everyone from Susie Homemaker to Barack Obama had to say something about their position.  I support our Constitutional rights despite not owning a firearm for myself.  But to use this event to piggyback a position, regardless of what side of the debate you land on is despicable.  This divisive country should be united in grief over the lives lost.  Our opinions belong somewhere in the distant background.  At least for now.  It's too soon to move the dialog into political debates over separation of Church & State or the right to bear arms.

Instead focus on these beautiful people that will no longer be part of our collective lives:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 91

Category: Reality Check

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed. Winner: Ancient Angry Birds

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.

Titanic Romance

Bad Willy!

Face Wash

Sleeping in public

Ancient Angry Birds

Why don't they dig us out?

Photo I.D.

Photoshop Miracles

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Real Superman

Have you seen the trailer to the new Superman movie?  If not, look no further as I will embed it at the end of this post.  I am not sure what happened to Clark Kent's PR Department but when I was a kid, there was just NO other super hero that compared.  It wasn't that we despised Spiderman or Batman, its just that we all knew who was the best.  Perhaps the modern climate has less to do with bad PR and more to do with the popularity of a wide variety of choices but kids these days barely know who Superman is.  I know because I have test subjects at home that prove it.

And who wouldn't love Superman?  He is indestructible and incorruptible by most accounts.  They had to create a weakness (kryptonite) just to make the narrative interesting with the possibility that he can be defeated.  Often touted as "Savior to the World" the comparisons to Jesus abound (as I will demonstrate shortly).  If I have one complaint about Superman its this: like Santa at Christmas time...why do we need an alternative character to adore and admire?  Jesus is the ultimate superhero and the ultimate savior.  And unlike the fictional character of Clark Kent, He is real and every bit as powerful...nay...more-so.  He has no weakness and literally cannot be defeated.

Jesus | Superman Comparison - this is an abbreviated list from this site. I encourage you to click on the link and read the explanations under each category to learn more.

I am sure there are many reasons that can be offered to those, like me, that question why we even need a fictional superhero to embody just a portion of what the real life Jesus has to offer.  But under number three in the twenty parallels, this explanation probably comes close to what kind of answer I might get:

Click to enlarge
But again, I say...why not embrace the real hero...the real savior?  Modern day imitations of Him are just that.  Imitations.

How many Christ references can you spot in this trailer alone?

Here are just a few images from the movies and TV shows that support my point.  Something tells me there is intention behind it.  What do you say?

Smallville Cross Pose 1

Hovering over Earth Cross Pose

Superman dies in Cross Pose and falls to the Earth

Smallville Cross Pose 2 with actual wood beam and bare torso

Screen shot from new movie, Cross Pose in water from back

Screen shot from new movie, Cross Pose in water from front

New movie has Clark not only dawning a Jesus beard but also working as a fisherman

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Are You Sure?

We say things to God that upon reflection, perhaps we don't really mean.  It's either that or a naivete that is just downright humorous if not tragic.  Here are some examples of what I have asked:

"God teach me patience".

"God, help me learn to be content in all things as Scripture proclaims."

"Lord, teach me discernment.  Help me to see things as you see them."

On the surface these look and sound like good prayers.  And I'm not really going to try in this post to convince you otherwise.  Instead I am going to break down these requests and translate them into more specific language to help you and me both truly understand what we are asking.  I am going to take away the ignorance factor and make sure those of us that are praying such things, really mean it.

Asking God to teach us patience is presumably being done because you severely lack it in the first place. It's a problem you've identified via the Holy Spirit or a discerning spouse perhaps and you would like a dose of patience installed in you supernaturally.  Ah, if only.  Instead God does the logical thing and gives you about 25 challenges to your patience as soon as you say Amen.  And let me tell you as one who struggles in this area, you will not enjoy these challenges.  At all. And as you are will fail over and over and over again before you see any progress being made.

Asking God to teach you contentment, again believing He is going to just supernaturally infuse this trait into your DNA is another silly one.  A moment of practical thinking should quickly help one, like me, who has asked for such a thing to realize that you are basically telling God you want Him to give you situations that are very tough so that you can practice contentment in ALL things.  Contentment is rather easy when things are firing on all cylinders   What about when job loss occurs?  What about strained relationships or marital issues?  What about when illness or injury to you or your loved ones occur.  What about when the stress of the day has your attitude at critical mass and just one more thing may set you off?

Asking for discernment and godly sight also sounds good.  Except you will soon start seeing (if you haven't already) just how short you have fallen from any kind of declaration of victory over sin.  Or victory as a husband & dad (or wife & mom).  You will see just how crazy and dark this world can be and how you are part of that nastiness.  It can and often is pretty depressing.  Thankfully it also means seeing just how loving God is and experiencing first hand how deeply He cares about you.

I suppose what I am trying to say careful what you pray for.  Be ready for the lessons to come and throw away the idea that it will come easily.  The refiners fire will purify.  But it can be a painful process.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mayan Nonsense

December 21, 2012 is fast approaching.  If you believe the hype, you have only ten days left to live and should be working diligently on your bucket list.  As a Christian, I am careful not to slam others for having an End Times narrative.  They are right about an eventual end.  They are just wrong about it being in ten days.  Scripture says none shall know the day or hour of the end.  The great thing about that claim is anytime someone does predict a specific end date, you know it won't be that date.

Depending on what articles you read or what rumors you've heard though, the Mayans weren't even trying to suggest the end of the world.  Instead they are suggesting the end of a cycle.  What exactly changes as we leave this cycle and start a new one I suppose is up for speculation and debate.  But last night as I was mulling this entire scenario over in my mind a theory came to me.  Perhaps the Mayan calendar ends just because they stopped adding to it.  Imagine if for some reason I had to move out of my home quickly and left everything including the calendar I have on the wall behind.  Would it be logical for the people that discover my empty home to assume that because my calendar ends on December 31st that it must be so?

I know my theory may have some holes but apparently I am not alone in thinking of that.  A quick Google search led me to a NASA website where they have taken the liberty of answering some of the top questions people have about the Mayan calendar.  Here is a snippet that supports my intuition:

Click to enlarge

Feel free to visit the site and read more by clicking HERE.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Today's Mailbag 19.0

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?" 

Bud looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell® notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany ...

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot® that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, receives a response. Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves." 

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?" 

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says Bud.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.

Now give me back my dog."

If you have a contribution to Today's Mailbag, send it to

Friday, December 07, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 90

Category: Christmas FAIL

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed.  Winner: Thoughtful Gift

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.

Creative light display

Over-sized tree

Letter order does matter honey!

Amazing Savings

The hunter's cabin

More like "shatter resistant"

How many square feet?

Thoughtful Gift