Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

OK, I figured I'd repost this again...




You Are Scary



You even scare scary people sometimes!



Of course I'm scary !!!
I don't scare scary people some of the time, I scare scary people ALL of the time. And why shouldn't I? I have a brand on my shoulder, and a weapons collection that includes this...

Yes, I keep it sharp...
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go scare some Trick-or-Treaters

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One last look

I hope that it's not, but it's quite possible that it will be. The fall colors seem to be fading quickly now that we've had frost for the last couple of nights. I managed to get this shot a few days ago.

These particular trees are on the side of my next door neighbor's house. I like the brightness of the shot, even though it was kinda cloudy when I took it. I'm still hoping to get a few more good shots of all of the colors, while they still last. I've been so mezmerized by how deep the reds have been this year. But I can't seem to get any of it in the pics I've been taking. There's always something in the line of sight.
I trust that all of you have been able to enjoy the incredible beauty that God has given us this season. I certainly have.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Quote for 10/29/07

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."
Joseph Chilton Pearce

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Most enjoyable

As you all know, last night was mine and JT's joint birthday celebration. And it went quite well.
We didn't have to wait for long to be seated at Red Lobster. Of course, the meal began with their wonderful cheesy buscuits.

Then it moved on to the Endless Shrimp. This was round one for me; hand-breaded shrimp and shrimp alfredo over linguine with fries.

Mmmmmmmmmmm, that was rather tasty.

This was round two; more of the breaded shrimp and then popcorn shrimp. Also rather tasty.

I also enjoyed a third round, but didn't take pics of it. I had the scampi and more popcorn shrimp for that. By the time we got through that round we were all pretty much full.
From there I dropped my kids off at home and headed out for a drink and a cigar with JT. We stopped at a little establishment called the James Street Tavern. It's sort somewhere midway between mine and JT's home.
We had our drinks, then headed outside to smoke our cigars while we talked. It was a good conversation. Something JT and don't get to do as often as we probably should. We're usually too wrapped up in what's going on around us at church to have these kinds of meaningful discussions. So this was a great ending to the whole evening.
When I got home, Bob's friend Matt had come over to spend the night. I stayed up for awhile talking to the two of them. Aliesha had run out to go to another haunted house. I thought she had been to all of them already. But what do I know?
Thus begins the next year of my life.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Come 'round again

Well, here I am again. It is now the 2nd anniversary of my 40th birthday.
I'm sure you're all bright enough to figure out the math on that one. And if you need a point of reference for this particular inside joke, you'll just have to go back and read this post.
Otherwise, I'm having a great birthday. I took a half a vacation day from work. Treated myself to a light lunch, because I still want to have a big appetite for the Endless Shrimp tonight. And I'm about to go take a nice little nap - us old folks tend to need such things occasionally.
I'm taking my camera with me tonight. I'll be sure to get pics so I can post about what everyone will have missed out on. Til then, nighty-night.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

So you know

As was mentioned before, tomorrow will be the joint celebration of mine and JT's birthdays.
We'll be meeting at the Red Lobster in Monroeville at 5:30-ish. Anyone who cares to join us will be warmly welcomed. No presents are required, your company will be enough of a gift.

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Just not feeling it

Ya know, over the weekend, ABC/Family Channel began their 13 Days of Halloween. Which is cool, but it's nothing compared to the 25 Days of Christmas that they run every December. And for some odd reason, I'm just not into the 13 Days of Halloween as much as I usually am. I'm not sure why though.
Maybe it's because all of the horror flicks they show are edited for content and a little less frightening for it. Maybe it's because there's only so many times you can watch The Scariest Places on Earth before you've seen them all. Or maybe it's because there are no wonderfully, nostalgic Rankin/Bass animated holiday specials. Sure, we have Tim Burton's Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride, both of which are incredible as far as animated holiday specials go - and Nightmare is definitely a classic - but they just don't seem to hold the same wonder as Rudolph or Year Without a Santa Clause. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe, since I didn't actually grow up watching Nightmare and Corpse Bride, I don't have the same attachment to them that I have to the Christmas specials. Who knows.

Anyways, not that anyone needs reminding, but Christmas is only two months away...

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What will they think of next?

It's not your eyes, the picture is a little blurry. Hopefully clear enough to read, though.
This was the message Bob received after our visit to the chinese buffet yesterday.



So, now we have Stating-the-Painfully-Obvious Cookies? Somebody let me know when their day isn't "somewhat dictated by authority" and I'll know that the anarchists have taken over. Please !?!.
OK, it's time for me to get to work on my Mis-Fortune Cookies. After reading this one, there's bound to be a market for mine.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Signs 10/22/07



And if you'd like, I'll give you a reason why we should...

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This is why

Why should we give thanks to God, as the Sign says? Because He's the one who gives us all this beauty and color...











Just some pics we got on our ways to and from church yesterday. Thought you might enjoy seeing them.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quote for 10/21/07

"Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the Infinite."
Thomas Carlyle

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Eden or Gethsemane?

Gardens.
Gardening is my newest endeavor. I just got in from digging up and tilling a nice patch of my yard to turn into a garden for next year. It was certainly a nice enough day for it. Bob wanted to try it over this last summer, but we failed miserably at it. It was, in part, an attempt on my behalf to supplement my desire to live a healthier lifestyle. I figured that growing some of our own fruits and vegetables would be a good idea. And it might save some money on the grocery bill. It's unfortunate that it didn't work out the way we would've liked it to.
So I've taken some time to research gardening for the next season. And to make it even better, I've been focusing on natural and organic means of gardening. I'm going to try to avoid chemicals of any sort. And I want to start a compost pile to make my little piece of earth as productive as possible. I've explored a process called Biodynamics, which is about restoring the micro-organic energy in the soil through both natural and spiritual means.
Yes, I said spiritual.
I am one of those people who believes that there is something very spiritual about nature. And there is something very natural about spirituality. Many people will tell you that they find God in nature. Me, I just think that nature is a great place to hang out with Him. I can find Him anywhere, especially in my heart. So I don't scoff at the idea that you can bring spirituality into something like gardening.
And why shouldn't I see things this way? If I truly believe that God has a plan for my life, and that He wants me to be blessed and prosperous in my endeavors, then why shouldn't He want to be involved in my gardening? Especially if this is one of the ways in which I can live a life (a healthier life) that I hope is more pleasing to Him. Especially if this is a way in which I can show myself to be a good steward of the property He has placed in my care.
So I'm not just applying these principles to my garden, but to my entire yard. I have plenty of beautiful flowers, including a couple of rose bushes, around the yard that are having the life choked out of them by weeds. I need to fix that. It's going to be a long, slow process. But I can't wait to see the end results.

Now, I'll bet you're wondering where the gardens of Eden and Gethsemane come into play in this post.
Let me put it this way. The garden of Eden was where we were given life, but the choice of one man lead to death for all of us. In the garden of Gethsemane, there was a choice that was made by one Man that lead to His death, but it restored us to life. Well, my gardening is not too different from that entire dychotomy; it'll either kill me with the labor or revive my life with the excercise and healthy produce.
If I suddenly stop posting for an extensive period of time, without prior warning, you'll know which one it was...

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Friday, October 19, 2007

So... do I get a present?

Got home from work tonight and Bob immediately asked if I could take him to the mall. Well, today is payday, so why not?
Managed to do some shopping while we were there (No, JT, I did not get another "lap dance" - nor did I buy anything from the pretty girls who were pitching). But, since I didn't have much cash on hand, I opted for my checkbook. Of course, all of the sales clerks/cashiers asked for my ID. Then casually mentioned "You have a birthday coming up in a few days."
Now, I had a multitude quick comebacks that I could've used. I could've gone for the amazed and surprised "How did you know that? Are you psychic or something?". Or I could've gone with the oblivious scatterbrained "I have a what? Now how come I didn't know that?". I could even have gone with the caustic and sarcastic "Tell me something I don't already know." But since I was shopping, I opted for the attempted discount "So... do I get a present?"
They all said no.
Oh, well. ya can't blame a guy for trying.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Quote for 10/17/07

"Of what shall a man be proud, if he is not proud of his friends?"
Robert Louis Stevenson

Read below

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Make a note of it

The above Quote... is in honor of my best friend, JT's, birthday. If you feel so inclined, stop by his blog and wish him a happy one

And now, the open invitation....
Typically, JT and I do a joint celebration of our birthday's since they're so close together, his being today and mine being next Friday. This year we will be meeting at Red Lobster for the Endless Shrimp. Said meeting will be next Friday, the 26th, time to be announced. All are welcome to join us. A good time is sure to be had by all.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What have I become ???

It is time for me to make confession to you, my faithful friends and readers. I am an addict, and my addiction is...

Reality TV

I never thought, in a million years, that I would be saying this, but it's true. I find myself watching more and more reality shows. It kills me to admit this because I used to hate reality shows. And I hated them for the same reasons why I hated entertainment reporting - I have enough issues of my own to deal with in my life, why do I need to start worrying about some celebrity's problems?
It all began with the Surreal Life. Then came The Osbournes. Those were the only shows I watched. And at the time, I really didn't care if I missed an episode because I knew it would replay again later in the week.
Now, all of I sudden, I've found myself mezmerized, enthralled even, by Hogan Knows Best, Gene Simmon's Family Jewels, Rock of Love, The Pick-Up Artist, and even the newest addition to VH1's line-up; America's Most Smartest Model, just because I'm such a fan of Ben Stein (aside from his acting he's a genius, and a brilliant political commentator). And, yes, I've been watching Kid Nation, too...
But I have drawn a line. I do not watch Survivor. Nor do I watch America's Next Top Model. And I will not watch The Salt-n-Peppa Show. I also continue to refuse to watch the entertainment "rags" on TV. So, maybe there's still some hope for me. Otherwise, I'd have to ask someone to put me out of my misery. I'll even write my own name on the bullet.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Signs 10/15/07

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Quote for 10/14/07

"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world."
Joel A. Barker

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh... kaaay?

Well, Aliesha has a job interview tomorrow at Victoria's Secret...
She just went in to buy some of their body sprays and lotions, and before she knew it she was talking to the manager.
I'm OK with it. It's not like she'll be modeling lingerie, and even if she were it's not like she'd be modeling anything too revealing. It's in a mall for cryin' out loud. So I don't have to worry about sharpening any of my blades or cleaning my guns. I know it's just a sales position for a specialty shop.
It's only part time, and only minimum wage, so she won't be quiting her job at the Dry Cleaner's in Murrysville. But it's not just a "seasonal/holiday position", either. So she should have more money to work with towards achieving her goals - whatever they might be.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You have got to be kidding me

I found out earlier that today is National Mental Health Day.

What a sad social commentary it is that we need a nationally recognized day to bring attention to our collective state of mental health. This is pathetic !!!

We have become a culture in perpetual therapy. A new breed of vitims of society. If something doesn't go the way we expected, we call a doctor for advice or a prescription. If someone causes us a little grief, we call a lawyer. And God forbid we should actually develope strong enough relationships with people to last more than a few years.
That isn't how it used to be.
Friends used to talk to each other and solve their problems together, now they go out and drink their woes away. Marriages fall apart because neither of the people involved are wlling to work things out. They say it's just too hard. All we know is entitlement. Life should be easy, and if it's not, then somebody must be to blame for it. People act as if somebody owes them something whether they've earned it or not. We have our rights, you know? So now we devote a day on the calander to make us take notice of just how screwed up we've become by our own selfishness - although we conveniently call it stress or depression now.
Does anybody else remember a time when we actually toughed it out through the crisis' in our lives? Or how about when people just plain "dealt with" their problems, because that's what you did, that's what life was? When did people forget how to cope with their problems without the use of anti-depressants? When did our friends stop being the only therapists we need?

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Quote for 10/8/07

"The most absurd and reckless aspirations have sometimes led to extraordinary success."
Marquis De Vauvenargues

See below for "absurd", but maybe not "reckless aspirations".

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Lofty aspirations

My daughter, Aliesha, has been running around a bit more than usual lately, so I asked her why. Now, think about the "Quote..." I just posted and read her response;
"I want to go to every haunted house in Pittsburgh this year."

Hmmmmmmmmm.

At least she has a goal...

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Off on a tangent

I just haven't had anything of any real significance to post these last few days. There hasn't been a whole lot of excitement going on in my life lately. A surprisingly low level of drama is always a good thing. And I tend to believe that the absence of drama is a direct result of not having any kind of romantic connection to any women. Which kinda sucks, since I do get to feeling a little lonely now and then.
But I'm not really complaining. I'm just sorta pondering out-loud here. Is it a fair trade-off? Is the absence of drama better than the lack of a caring individual to butt-heads with occasionally? Is the relative calm and quiet of my life worth as much as missing a soft, warm, female companion to share my time with? Is the non-argument of equal value to making up afterwards? I dunno...
I do know that there is someone out there who is perfect for me. I wouldn't say that she's the perfect woman, but she'll be perfect for me - whenever I find her. I know that I'm doing what I can to find her, but I still trust God, above all else, that He'll be the One to bring us together in His perfect timing.
So, I guess I'll just sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet I have for the time being. After all, everything could easily change in the space of a heartbeat.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Quote for 10/4/07

"Sad will be the day for any man when he becomes contented with the thoughts he is thinking and the deeds he is doing - where there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger; which he knows he was meant and made to do."
Phillips Brooks

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Quotes from 9/2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

That's good to know

I know that I already mentioned that Sunday's service at my church went rather well for everybody who attended. But you know things went really well when your pastor tells you about how much everybody told him they enjoyed the service.
I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again anyways; I really love the opportunity to serve my church in that way. And I really appreciate the fact that P.Dave is willing to entrust his flock to me. It truly is an honor. So I'm always pleased to know that his trust is well placed. And that I do a good job of feeding his sheep when he's away. But I doubt I could do it every week. I'm just as satisfied to serve in my present capacity as an elder, worship leader, and minister of the communion elements - I'm not an official Eucharistic Minister, so I won't use that title in regard to what I do.
I know that P.Dave is also pretty happy about how well the service goes without him being there. In his estimation, the future of the Church (the body of believers in Christ) is in small groups and lay-ministers, not in church buildings and professional clergy. The Church needs to change, or it will perish. People have had enough of the institutional church and organized religion. They want a faith that allows them to ask questions and confront unnecessary traditions. And that's a part of what we're trying to do with our Revolution site.
We wanted a church that didn't look or feel like a church. And our services are practically built on the idea of being interactive. We encourage people to participate in the discussion. We want to know that people are asking questions, learning and exploring their faith as it pertains to their own lives, not some cookie-cutter sermon. It's a wonderful experience. And we have people of all stripes that attend. Perhaps it's a glimpse at what the Church really should be, instead of what it's become.
But those are just my thoughts about it.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Signs 10/1/07

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Ask, seek, knock

Yesterday's service went rather well for me - for all of us, actually.
No, I did not get the guitarist I was hoping for, but I did have a CD that P.Dave made so we would at least have songs to sing-a-long with. And that actually worked out pretty good.
As for my sermon...
I have to admit, I'm not much for "preaching". It's not what I'm good at. Instead, I like to have conversations with people. I like to interact with everyone. And that's what my sermon turned out to be, more or less.
Lately, the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me on the idea that I should be specific about what I'm praying for. Hence, the "ask, seek, knock" thing from Matthew chapt. 7:7-11. I used this opportunity to sorta "piggyback" on a sermon topic that P.Dave covered a few weeks back about the spiritual poverty that seems to be so prevelant in the Church (the body of believers in Christ).
So often, Christians will fail to be specific about what they ask of God because they feel as if they're bothering Him with their little problems. It's as if we believe that the universe will somehow fall apart if God takes the time to address something that we're having trouble with. And I've briefly addresed my take on that issue in a previous post called Pondering the Greatness of God. But to paraphrase - and ammend a little bit - how small, and weak must a person's God be if they believe that He cannot simultaneously manage both the vastness of the cosmos, and help us out with our needs. We may think of them as petty and insignificant, but if we truly believe that He is our Heavenly Father, then shouldn't He be concerned with how the lives of His children are going? Besides, if our problems are so insignificant, then it shouldn't be a problem at all for Him to take care of them. Especially if He's doing so good with the entire universe. He might actually enjoy the break from His mundane activities.
In any event, it turned out to be a really great discussion after I covered some of my thoughts on everything. And just about everybody that was there had something to contribute to the conversation. So I felt really good about it all. And everybody else seemed to get something from the service, too.
I guess that's why they keep having me back...

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