Thursday, December 29, 2005

Vinnie's calling to me!

Have made arrangments with a couple of co-workers to go to Vincent's after work tomorrow. I can feel my arteries hardening already. It's been awhile, and we're really looking forward to it. Especially after the way we've been bustin hump this quarter.
Incidentally... for those of you who remember my previous calculations for life-expectancy reductions per slice of Vinnie's pie. There's been a modification. Previous calculations were based on a 76.7 year average life-expectancy for a non-smoking male. Newest estimates now say it's 77.6 years. WOOHOO!!! That just means more pizza before we start living on borrowed time!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What if I'm wrong?

Having a conversation with a co-worker who isn't quite sure that he believes that there's a God, he posed a question to me:
"What if you're wrong?"
O.K., what if I'm wrong? What if there is no God? What if Jesus is not who He claimed to be? What if the Bible is just a conglomeration of myths and legends?
What have I lost by believing? Who have I hurt by acting as if there's more to life than the acquisition of wealth, power and material possessions?
Or perhaps it would be better to look at the positives of my life. Who have I helped because of what I believe? Who is doing better in their own life because of some way that I impacted them? Will I leave the world as a better place than when I entered?

What if I'm right?

I don't think I've missed out on anything that the world has to offer by believing. I know for a fact that I'm a much better person because of my faith. A lot better than I could've become. I have a deeper sense of self and purpose in life because of my convictions. And I have a hope for what follows this life. Is there something wrong with this?
My co-worker, however...
If he's right, he has lost nothing by his doubt.
But if he's wrong?
He's lost out on everything that he might become otherwise. And of course, there's that other thing...
The eternal life or damnation thing.
I respect his right to believe what he wishes (or not believe as the case may be), but he really should come up with a better position to stand on. He has a lot more to lose by being wrong than I do.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Quote for 12/24/05

"This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ."
Frank McKibben

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Quote for 12/23/05

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
Calvin Coolidge

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"I'm Jo-Jo the duck..."

"... and I'm all f---ed up!"
At least, that's what the Drill Sgt. told him to say as he waddled around the barracks.

This is my brother-in-law (the soon-to-be-EX's brother), Michael. He just returned home from Basic last weekend. And, fortunately for the family, he'll be staying for Christmas.
I have to say that I'm quite proud of him signing up when he did. The distinct possibility exists for him to get sent to Iraq, and he's OK with that. As for the rest of the family... they're not too happy about it. But I won't get into any of that here.
They all agree that joining the military was probably the best thing for him to get his life straightened out, but they wish he had done it years ago when he first thought about it. When he was 18, not now that he's 30. But who's to say he wouldn't have decided to make a career out of it - and still been looking at the possibility of going?
Either way, please keep him in your prayers.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Quote for 12/22/05

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."
W. T. Ellis

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Is that so?

Earlier this evening I was flipping through the channels and I came across some news program where they were discussing - of all things - The War on Christmas. Now, I honestly thought that I had said all I'm going to say on this topic. That was, until I heard a particular comment that really got me thinking.
One of the guests had said something to the effect that Christmas is not as inclusive as simply saying Happy Holidays. So let me get this straight... Christmas is not inclusive.
Perhaps this individual has forgotten that Christmas is actually a conglomeration of various different religious celebrations that were assimilated into Christianity as it began to spread across the globe. That being the truth, then Christmas is probably the MOST inclusive of religious holidays. Christmas actually contains aspects of everything from the Greco-Roman culture, to the Norsemen, and even Celtic and Wiccan symbolism. I won't get into all of the particulars, but suffice it to say that much of what we celebrate as Christmas Traditions came from somewhere other than Christianity. So how does anyone get off saying that Christmas isn't inclusive?

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Quote for 12/19/05

"I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses."
Taylor Caldwell

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Light has come into the world

I just finished reading this article and couldn't help posting a few comments about the subject.
Christmas time, as I've mentioned before, is that time of year when the majority of us celebrate a pivitol moment in human history; the birth of Christ. But it is also that time of year when we see the assault on Judeo-Christian values and morality at it's worst.
There are those individuals, as well as a multitude of special interest groups, that are attempting to remove religion, especially Christianity, from our public discourse. And there is only one reason why this happens. It is because Christianity, or - actually - the Judeo-Christian ethic, is the one thing that enforces the idea that God is the source of all of our rights (as humans), and not government. It is the Judeo-Christian ethic that teaches us, as a society, that there is an Authority above our government that will ultimately reward, or punish us for our actions. And as such, it re-enforces the idea that we ought to act toward one another as if we are truly responsible to One who is greater than our earthly rulers.
But if these individuals, or groups, have their way, they will remove the Judeo-Christian ethic from our culture. At first by slowly driving it out of public view. Then, as hate-speech legislation is enacted - as it has been in other countries, the mere public mention of our moral positions will be denied us. And thereafter, the church will become controlled in much the same way it was in the former Soviet Union - and currently is in China, preaching only what the "state" approves.
Of course, you may be wondering why I believe that anyone, or group of anyones, would have such an agenda. It's very simple, and I will quote Jesus to make my case:
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what has been done has been done through God." (John 3:19-21).
To remove the Church, the Judeo-Christian ethic, the traditionally held sense of morality that our society once embraced, is to set up a false morality. A new morality will develope. It will be implemented by government policy, but it will actually be an amoral system of conduct. And it will serve only one purpose; to ease the conscience of those who desire to live according to their own rules, in rejection of the revealed truth of the scriptures.
So, if you've been wondering why so many of us have been so actively fighting the War for Christmas, just know that there is so much more at stake here. This is not just about preserving the traditionally celebrated holiday called Christmas. This is a war to preserve the religious foundations of this country. And to protect the rights that we all hold so dear. We're not about to let the Light go out.

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

It's only a week away

I've been wondering...
Now that Christmas is only a week away, are we all ready for it, yet? Are we in the Spirit? Are we filled with the Joy that this season ought to bring us? If not, is there anything that might help to put you into the holiday mood?
For some odd reason, I take it somewhat personal when I know people who aren't happy about Christmas. So I always try to do my best to get those around me psyched up for the celebration. So if you're not quite feeling it yet, let me know if there's anything I can do to help. It's a part of who I am. It's what I do.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Quote for 12/16/05

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."
Roy L. Smith

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I will not despair

Sad news for me.
I mentioned in an earlier post this week that Friday is a bit of a festive day at work. But it will be a little less festive for me because I've been told that I will not be wearing the Santa suit. But that's OK. I keep the spirit of Christmas alive in my heart regardless of such matters.
But I must confess, I will miss the magic that seems to come from wearing the suit. People seem happier. The day seems brighter. There is a lighthearted joy that seems to be all around. Strong magic, indeed.
That and the fact that it's the only time a guy can ask an attractive female co-worker to sit on his lap without fearing a sexual harrassment lawsuit...
Just kidding!
I would never abuse the power that comes from the magic of Christmas in such a despicable way.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hard to believe

Today is the third anniversary of the fire. If you haven't read the story yet, I highly recommend doing so.
It's a long story, but very worthwhile, so I won't say much else here. Just this: in spite of all of the things that have happened since then. I am still convinced that God is in control.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Quote for 12/12/05

"But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round... as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely."
Charles Dickens

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Take this into consideration

You may remember a previous post in which I mention that I make sure to carry loose change when I go shopping. That way I have something to drop in the Salvation Army kettles. Aside from that fact that the Salvation Army is a Christ-based charity, I have found some additional information that makes me pretty happy to know that they are my charity of choice. You might like having this information as you consider your charitable giving throughout Christmas, and maybe even the rest of the year.
The American Red Cross pays their CEO a salary of $651,957 per year. Plus benefits and expenses.
The United Way pays their CEO a salary of $375,000 per year. Also with benefits and expenses.
The Salvation Army pays their CEO a salary of $13,000 per year. And he receives an allowance for housing.
So... who do you think is making the most of the donations that are being given to them?

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Notice anything different?

Perhaps you've noticed that I finally added a photo to my profile.
And of all the pics that I had to choose from, you may be wondering why I went with this one...



Most importantly, because it reflects the fullness of my Christmas spirit.
That being said. I may change the pic by the end of this week.
"Why?" might you ask.
Because on Friday, Respironics will be having the Annual Rookie Carol Sing. That's the day when all of the people who have been hired over the last 12 months meet up in the cafeteria to begin a plant-wide walk-thru while singing Christmas carols. Complete with Santa (ME!) and a few elves - and Rudolph - passing out candy as we go. Also, the company has begun a new "thing" to go along with this ancient tradition.
An impromptu Christmas party revolves around the event. Last year we even had a DJ with karaoke in the cafeteria.
So, this year, I'm hoping to get a picture of myself in the "Red Suit" so I can post it here as my profile pic. At least until the end of the holidays. By then I'm hoping to have something better than this...



Even though this is a really good representation of just who I am.

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Everything I was expecting

Well... me and the Boy went to see The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe yesterday. It was awesome!
I'm not going to say much more than that because you've probably heard all of the hype already. But I will say this; if you've already read the book, this movie will bring it to life for you in a magnificent way. If you haven't read the book, this will probably make you want to.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

The light bulb over my head goes on!

My pending divorce notwithstanding, having been married for 17+ years, I've purchased more than my fair share of jewelry as gifts for various occassions. From Birthdays and Anniversaries to Christmas and Valentines, I have dropped some serious cash at my jewelry store of choice. That would be Kay Jewelers. Such being the case, Kay Jewelers send me their mailers (complete with coupons) every time they have a sale. And, of course, with Christmas being close at hand, they've sent me the most recent ad.
So, now I'm sitting here looking at this ad - with all of it's sparkling appeal - and I'm pondering something that may be a stroke of pure genius... or maybe pure evil genius. Allow me to explain.
Currently, I have no one to buy jewelry for. Perhaps Aliesha, but she doesn't seem to be interested in the styles that they have at Kay's. Besides, what they have to offer is much more along the lines of romantic love, not father-daughter love. Yet, I have the funds to buy jewelry because I've gotten into the habit of working it into my budget. And with the sales, specials and coupons that are available to me, the jewelry in those ads is looking even more attractive. But that does not change the fact that I have no one to give the jewelry to...
Yet!
This is what I'm thinking:
I could go ahead and start buying some of the items that are on sale. Mostly the earrings and pendants - because buying the rings would create issues when it came to the size - so that I could actually stock up on gifts for when I do finally have a "special someone".
Now, before anyone out there (ladies) decides to denounce this idea as being "impersonal", I want to remind everyone that it would be no more impersonal than if I simply went out and bought the sale item as a gift simply because it was on sale, and it's jewelry. And let's face it, no woman has ever turned down a gift of jewelry. Even if the guy has no idea what styles or designs work for his woman.
But here's the real beauty of this scheme. Kay Jewelers has a "Trade-Up" policy. As long as I take the items in for regular cleaning and general upkeep, those items will retain their resale value if I choose to "Trade-Up" for something else. So I can still make any gifts of jewelry more personal, by taking an item to trade for an item that might be more appealing to my "special someone".
Of course, there is a very real possibility that I will never find a "special someone". In which case I'll never give these gifts to anyone. Unless I use them as a part of an inheritance for my kids. But then, I won't really be giving them anything. The jewelry would simply become their property. What they do with it after I'm gone is completely up to them.
On the other hand, having such things on hand might not be a bad idea for an investment. There are always jewelers and coin collectors, and such who are willing to pay cash for such items. Perhaps, in an economic hardship, I could use them as a bit of security. In fact, I plan on using my wedding ring to pay for a really great steak dinner when my divorce is final (and yes there will be an open invitation to all my readers to join me for the occasion - whenever that may be).
But I've gotten way off track here...
Anyways! What I'm considering doing is just going out occasionally, when I get these ads, and buy one of the sale items to tuck it away until I need to come up with a nice little gift for someone that I'm seeing on a somewhat steady basis. They don't have to be anything extravagant. Just something simple that conveys the message that "Hey, you're special to me." without implying anything too serious, or denying anything that might be heading in that direction. Or might even be able to give them to someone who's "just a friend". One never knows.
So... whaddyathink? Am I a genius or an evil genius?

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Quote for 12/8/05

"This year, Christmas will be ours!"
Jack Skellington (from Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas)

Read my next post to see what I'm getting at here.

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Reclaiming Christmas

It's that time of year again when the ACLU wages their annual war against Christmas, and anything else that even remotely resembles the Christian faith. Of course, the latter part of this conflict takes place year-round. It just becomes so much more transparent at Christmas time.
As if this weren't bad enough, now many businesses are falling into rank behind the ACLU by refusing to use the word Christmas. For the most part, these businesses - especially retailers - have done so as a matter of Political Correctness. They have been led to believe that by removing Christmas from their public personae they will be able to avoid offending anyone.
WRONG!
Recent surveys have shown that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas, regardless of their religious beliefs. They recognize the fact that Christmas is the national holiday that falls on December 25th every year. And in spite of it's over commercialization, it is a time for celebrating all those things which we hold to be dear to us. It is time for family and friends, goodwill and joy and all the things that make our lives so full.
So what we're seeing in this annual assault is a very vocal minority of hypersensitive, anti-christian organizations who've managed to convince our politicians, policy makers and business leaders that they - the 4% - represent mainstream American views and values. I say they don't! And I'd be willing to bet that most of you would say the same thing.
I also say that it's time for us - the 96% - to reclaim Christmas. And I'm not alone in this either. And it's not just Christians who are standing up for Christmas and Christian values. Don't believe me?
Check out The Flomblog, and some of Howie's comments here to some of my posts. Read the statements being made by Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation. Then go to the America Family Association and consider signing their petition to encourage retailers to drop their Politically Correct attitude, and advertising, and remember that the 96% of us who celebrate Christmas have a lot more money to spend on Christmas gifts than the 4% who won't be celebrating at all.
You can also go to the ACLJ website to get information on the legality of personal and public Christmas displays at school and in the workplace (like mine). Make a stand!
Let's send a message to the ACLU and tell them that we're not going to allow their intolerance to deny us our rights of free speech and religious expression. And let's remind the retailers that our Christmas shopping is what makes their holiday so happy.

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"He is not a tame lion."

Go see The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, this weekend. The book is a classic in the same vein as The Lord of The Rings.
For me there's more at stake than just seeing that this movie was made well. This is an opportunity for fans of C.S. Lewis, especially those of us who are Christians, to make a positive impact on our culture. Perhaps not as big an impact as Mel Gibson's, The Passion of The Christ, but maybe something that will make people take notice. This is a chance to tell Disney, and the rest of Hollywood, that Christians are a market that is willing to support films that reflect our values. If you agree, then please get out there and help to make this movie a blockbuster.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quote for 12/7/05

"Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God."
George F. McDougall


That's kinda what I was talking about in my last post. I want to have this attitude in my heart all year long

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

One of my aspirations

"And it was always said that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge."
Charles Dickens (from A Christmas Carol)

I love A Christmas Carol. It is a classic tale of redemption that warms the heart and gives us hope for our future. But even more than that is the above line about Scrooge. It's one of those things that I would really love for people to say about me one day because I really do try to do that. Even with all of the crap I'm going through in my personal life. I still make the greatest effort to keep Christmas well because I sincerely believe it to be one of the most important things that we can do. But that's just me.
I just thought I'd share that with everyone.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Quote for 12/4/05

"We may be staring death right in the face, but we'll still come back."
Bob Cross

This was the Boy's observation regarding our favorite chinese buffet. Some of the food had a "funny" taste, and the phrase "food poisoning" did pass through our lips. Still, we both agreed that it wouldn't be the first time, and not the last. And, of course, it won't keep us from going back.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

This kinda sucks

I went to bed early because I've been so wiped-out from all the OT I've been working, only to wake up far too early to get ready for the 8 hours I have to put in later on today. And I can never get back to sleep once I'm up. I wish I had something more substantial to post, but this is all I got...
and the "Quote..." below. But it was overdue, anyways.
I guess this will be the perfect opprtunity to get caught up on everybody else's blogs. Check out some news. Maybe even hit the "next blog" button for awhile. See who else is out there in this great big world.

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Quotes from 11/2005

Quote for 12/3/05

"This world is a very dangerous place and it's not likely that any of us will get out of it alive."
D. James Kennedy

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