Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!


Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2008, and to remind everyone to please ring it in safely.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Link to me!

Well, I figured it was time I do this, so here goes... I've had a person or two ask if I had any buttons or banners they could use to link to my site, so I figured I'd better get on the ball and make a few! Please host these on your own server, and direct the links to my main page. Thanks!


80 x 15:
bun-girl mini button

60 x 60:
rainbow bun

125 x 125:
bungirl entrecard


I'll upload more as I come up with them, but that ought to get it started for now... Also, this post will now be available at all times from my homepage by simply clicking "Link to Me" just below the header.

Thanks to all!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Photo Hunters: Messy



It's that time again! This week's theme is "messy" and a photo op that fit it just happened to fall into my lap. For Christmas, our four dogs got rawhide candy canes. Here's a shot of Donovan, the littlest, enjoying his:

Now, the other four dogs all managed to eat their rawhide without getting it all over themselves or anything else, but not Donovan... He had it smeared all over his face. By the time we got the camera and set up the shot, he had gotten most of it off, but you can still see some clinging to his nose:



Here's a closeup shot of his MESSY nose:

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Quiz: What Kind of Cake Are You?

It's no secret to anyone who's delved into my archives that I love internet quizzes. I would post one every day, but that might be a bit of over kill, so I've decided to keep it down to a weekly post. Every Friday, you can expect to see at least one quiz posting on this site, so if quizzes are just not your thing, you might want to avoid this page on Fridays... And so, without further ado:

You Are a Chocolate Cake

Fun, comforting, and friendly.
You are a true classic, and while you're not super cutting edge, you're high quality.
People love your company - and have even been known to get addicted to you.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Blog Battle Royale

Some of you may have noticed that there's been a new graphic on my sidebar for a little while now that I haven't yet talked about. You know, this one:

Blog Battle Royale

It's for Blog Battle Royale, a new Battle of the Blogs competition that's only recently been made public. Thanks a ton to Dan of My Dusky Brain. The basic concept is you enter your blog in a challenge against another blog. Then when someone clicks on the challenge they have to view each of the blogs for 20 seconds, and then vote for their favorite. As of this writing, I'm #1 of 8 blogs. IMHO, it would be far better to say I was #1 of 100, so I'm hoping some of you out there will also participate! So what are you waiting for? Go join already!!! If nothing else, it'll earn you a few extra pageviews.

Blog365

Some of you who also read my games blog may know that I participated this year in NaBloPoMo. The idea was to post a blog entry every day for the entire month of November. Not only did I manage to complete the challenge, I was also named as a prize winner! (Btw, Robyn, if you're reading this I still haven't heard back from you...) It was such a blast that I think I'd like to do it again, but I don't want to wait till next November! So, I've decided to give Blog365 a go this year. That means you'll be seeing a lot more frequent posting here for 2008. Anyone want to join me???



Visit Blog 365

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Joe Tech Rocks!

Just wanted to take a minute to post a great big Thank you to JoeTech.com for the 1000 EntreCard credits I just won. Joe, you rock!

Thing is, I'm a big fan of sharing the wealth... So stay tuned for details!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Photo Hunt: Light


This week the Photo Hunt theme is Light. I must admit that I'm cheating just a little bit though. I didn't actually take this shot. Grumpamoose did. Still, since I asked him to take it, I figure it counts. Anyway, this is to highlight the difference between my new energy saver lightbulbs and the old traditional types (the two bulbs in the background). The difference in color and the amount of light put out is not a photo trick -- that's how it really looks. I'm quite pleased with the new bulbs, and they should save us some money in the long run too, so I think we'll be sticking with them.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Writers Strike

I read a lot of blogs. I also read a lot of webcomics. When the authors of said webcomics write decent blogs, you can bet I'm on board. Such is the case with Scott Kurtz of PVP. Today he posted about how the writers' strike in Hollywood has made him look at a lot of old hobbies differently, and how he's reevaluating his television habits. Kudos to him! There's a pretty good quote on there too that really hits the nail on the head about this entire thing, but I'll let you follow the above link and read it there yourself.

So I got to thinking. The blogworld has been buzzing with talk about this strike for some time now, but I have remained silent on the matter. Why, you might ask? Because were it not for the posts of other bloggers, I would not even have realized that there was a strike going on. Grump and I cancelled our satellite tv subscription a few months back. At the moment it's been reactivated, but only so that we can catch all the Christmas specials on tv this time of year. Television hasn't held much fascination for me for quite a number of years. I mean, there have been a few shows I've enjoyed, but overall it's just a load of crap that I could just as well do without. It seems that this strike has made a lot of people realize that.

I mean really, how does television enrich my life? Or yours? Or anyone's? For most people out there it's a way of turning off all of your higher thinking processes and letting yourself just veg out. Now don't get me wrong, that's something we should all do from time to time. We all need time to just quiet our minds and not think. But not five or six hours a day, or more in many cases.

I know a lot of people will say that the internet is no different, but it is. The internet is interactive. Some folks choose to surf the mind-numbing stuff and that's it, but many more of us use this wonderful world wide web to express our creativity, reach out to other people, learn, grow and better ourselves. After all, that's what this blogging thing is at it's root isn't it? A way of connecting with people from all over the world? That's how I see it anyway. Even games aid development in hand-eye coordination, puzzle solving skills, and other fundamental abilities.

So if the writers of lame sitcoms and lamer dramas refuse to work, what is it to me? I couldn't care less. I'm quite happy here in front of my computer where I control my entertainment, rather than the other way around. I'm happy with a means of engaging my brain, rather than disengaging. And if those writers find themselves out of jobs, so much the better. Maybe if more of us would keep our brains firmly in "on" mode, our society as a whole would be a little better off. But perhaps that's just me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Joe Tech's Giving Away 1000ec!

Don't know what ec are? Well then you obviously haven't been to Entrecard yet. Pop on over, create an account, then go check out Joe Tech's giveaway. And tell him BunGirl sent you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Doodles

While surfing, I came across a doodling challenge on doodlage.com. Since I used to drive my teachers mad with the doodling in the margins on just about everything I ever turned in, and I still tend to scrawl little doodles in the appointment book at work unless I am very careful not to, I figured I could do this one in my sleep. Doodling is harder when you're actually trying to do it. It's like someone telling you not to picture a pink elephant. Until someone tells you NOT to picture a pink elephant, you have no trouble not doing so. But the harder you concentrate on not picturing it, the more it becomes impossible. Likewise, trying to draw without drawing anything in particular, is kind of difficult... Though it wouldn't be difficult if I wasn't trying. Anyway, here's what I came up with:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Voting Time!

The Christmas Ninja presents The Mystery Challenge #5! The topic was proposed by Scott of Scott-O-Rama, the winner of MTC #4. Below you will find all the entries for this challenge. Please visit and read them all. Once you've read all the entries, please vote for your favorite. Members of the forum may vote in the poll HERE. Guests can place their vote in this thread HERE. Voting concludes on Dec. 16th.

Read - Robby Rational: Holiday Traditions
Read - Peter Namtvedt: What are your favorite holiday traditions and why?
Read - Uninhabited Man: Mystery Topic Challenge #5: What are your favorite holiday traditions and why?


Read - Jester: The Christmas Colonic
Read - Leaf Probably: Mystery Topic Challenge #5
Read - Jayne d'Arcy: Holiday Traditions - MTC #5


Read - Zybron: That Holiday Spirit
Read - BunGirl: MTC #5: Christmas Traditions
Read - Some Go Softly: Traditions Are Our History


Read - ShadyLady: MTC#5
Read - Mr President: The Christmas Ninja
Read - Seaguy8: Mystery Topic Challenge: Favourite Holiday Traditions
Read - Geekgrl64: Mystery Topic 5 - What are your favorite holiday traditions and why?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

How to make your photos talk for free!

This article is part of How2Blogger’s Super Sexy Holiday ‘How To’ Contest which you can see at How2Blogger’s ‘How To’ site.

While surfing today I came across an interesting post from OrangeInks in which I was introduced to PQ Talking Photo. It seems they've come up with a new software that you can use to make your photos talk, like so:


blogmyspacedvd to ipod video convertertalkingphoto, dvd to psp convertertalkingphoto, dvd to zunetalking photo album



Of course, the uses for this would be plentiful and plenty of fun. But, the software costs $59.90, which is perhaps more than you can justify spending right now, with Christmas around the corner and all. No worries! They're giving it away for free. That's right FREE. All you have to do is blog about it on an established blog (at least 10 prior posts) and then email the link to the good folks at blogging@pqdvd.com to get your free copy. But watch out, time is ticking... the contest is only running now through Christmas, so better make it quick!

MTC #5: Christmas Traditions

What's that behind you? Are those sleigh bells you hear? Did you see something? I think it was wearing red...could it be the Christmas Ninja? Happy Holidays from the BlogNinjas. They are the crazy internet group behind the MTC. The members rock the blogosphere in varying degrees, and can sneak up behind you in a moments notice. You can join the clandestine group after undergoing a severe and heavily scrutinized Blog Ninja review that verifies your actual existence and BN worthiness (basically, we read your blog). Post an entry, vote, maybe win, and you may be selecting the next topic. It's like a blog party.

Click here to join.

This time, the topic was chosen by Scot-o-Rama: What are your favorite holiday traditions and why?

All of my favorite Christmas traditions are things that we did when I was little.

Christmas itself would start for us on Christmas Eve. We'd pile in the car and go to the family service at church, where they'd always have a Christmas Carol Sing-Along to add to the festiveness. After the service, when we got home, Mom and Dad would have one special present picked out that we could open that night before bed, usually with a plate of cookies and some cold milk at hand. When it was time to tuck us in, the bedtime story was always "The Night Before Christmas" as read by my Mom. I can still remember most of the words to that poem. As I got older, I also got to help my Mom wrap some of my sister's gifts from "Santa" since she still believed (we're five years apart). It was so much fun to hang out in Mom's room, wrapping gifts and stuffing candy into stockings, way later than I was normally allowed to be up.

Christmas morning always came early, with Mamie usually waking us all up long before anyone was ready. There was a rule in the house: no one was allowed into the living room (where the tree was) until everyone was awake. So we'd both go wake up my parents, eager to see what we'd find under the tree.

There were certain things that were the same every year. Mamie's gifts were always on one side of the tree, while mine were on the opposite side, with Mom and Dad's in the middle. There were certain wrapping papers that belonged to "Santa" while others were from the family. For some reason, neither of us ever noticed that Santa's handwriting looked a lot like Mom's neat hand. Our stockings, while mostly surprises, always contained the same two objects in the toe. A bag of chocolate coins, and an orange. These were part of an old tradition that I only vaguely understood, but the stocking would never have been the same without these items.

Once all the presents were opened, we'd find a parade on the TV and start cleaning up the shredded paper while Mom started breakfast. Before long, the sweet smell of Pilsbury Cinnamon Rolls would fill the apartment. To this day, I still haven't figured out how she always made them so gooey soft. Believe me, it's not for lack of trying.

Christmas day would largely be spent playing with new toys and trying on new clothes until early afternoon when we'd start getting ready for Christmas Dinner. This was a formal affair, and required our very best clothes. Mom, Mamie and I would go to my grandmother's house for an early dinner with her, my uncle and my cousin Jason. She'd always have honeyed ham with pineapple rings and cherries on it. It was always a treat to make any mouth water. We'd open gifts again, from Mom-Mom and my Aunt Linda, who rarely made it back from Texas for Christmas.

Once all the festivities there were done, Christmas was still only getting started. We'd all pile into cars and venture out into the icy weather to my Great Aunt Ann's house. There the extended family would gather for dessert, including Mom-Mom's two sisters and their children. There would be more sweets, cakes and candies than any army could possibly polish off, and we were allowed to have anything we wanted. Of course, there were more gifts there, and the kids got to help pass them out, and later to collect the wrapping paper. Most of the bows, of course, wound up on the dog, Shadow. Afterward, there'd always be a football game on, and sometimes there would also be a party game. Jenga was a favorite. Aunt Ann also would sometimes have word puzzles or jokes with Christmas themes printed out. By the time we got home, we were usually so tired and/or stuffed, that we all pretty much just went straight to bed.

There are so many parts from my childhood Christmases that I plan to carry on when I have kids. Among them are the entire Christmas Eve chain of events, the stockings, the cinnamon rolls, parades on tv, and spending as much time with family as possible. When possible, we'll even show up for Christmas dessert in PA, whoever happens to be hosting it by then...

As for the why part, that's easy. Christmas was always my favorite time of year as a kid. It was one of the few times a year that my whole extended family got together, so I guess anything that reminds me of those years is a good thing in my mind.

I guess I'm in a quiz-taking mood these days!



Your Score: Ki-lin


You scored 50% Esotericism, 24% Power, and 34% Malevolence!




A mythical being of Chinese mythology, comparable with the Western unicorn. Ki-lin personifies all that is good, pure, and peaceful. It lives in paradise and only visits the world at the birth of a wise philosopher. The unicorn, which can become one thousand years old, is portrayed as a deer with one horn, the tail of an ox, the hooves of a horse, and a body covered with the scales of a fish. It is one of the four Ling.




Link: The Mythological Profile Test written by LacedWithASmile on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test


(Hat tip to Mr President for this one)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Yes, I am a Grammar Nazi, thank you very much.

You Scored an A

You got 10/10 questions correct.

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.
If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.
As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.
And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Photo Hunt: Long


This week's theme is "long," so in continuing with my Christmas decorations series, I'm posting a shot of a long strand of Christmas lights.

When I was a kid, my Dad LOVED having a ton of lights. I think the tree was about the only thing he actually liked about Christmas, and it had to be just covered in lights and tinsel. We lived in a very cramped apartment, so stringing up the lights took up the entire living room and part of the dining room too. My sister and I would tiptoe through the long strands of blinking, twinkling or just shining lights, checking for bulbs that weren't working. Then would come the actual placing on the tree part. We'd form a line, holding out the whole strand so it didn't get tangled with any of the others, with Dad wrapping it around the tree just so. It had to be done perfectly, you see. No single light could be out of place. By the time the lights were all up, the tree would look like it couldn't possibly have room for ornaments, but we'd pile those on as well. That was mostly left to the girls though. Mamie would place the lowest ornaments, I'd take the middle and Mom would get the stuff that needed to be up high. Then Mame and I would be off to bed and Mom would rearrange the ornaments so that there weren't any glaring gaps or clumps, and dad would cover the whole thing in two or three boxes of tinsel.

My tree these days is a bit different. We only have three strands of lights, quite a bit fewer ornaments (we haven't been collecting them for 20+ years!) and no tinsel as it's just too tempting for the dogs. It's not quite the same, but it still holds that spark of Christmas wonder. I know it's really Christmastime when I see the hubby start laying out those strands of lights!

Stay tuned for more Christmas memories tomorrow as the Blog Ninjas present Mystery Topic Challenge #5, and more photo fun next week with the theme of "small."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Life in the Blogosphere

Lately, I've been spending more and more time on blog-related websites. Partially, this is because of two specific sites: Entrecard and Blog Ninjas.

Entrecard, for me at least, is more than just a blog promotion tool. I've found several great sites through it. It's fun to just surf from one to another, dropping cards as I go and reading perspectives from all kinds of people. I've added several sites to my RSS reader that I would never have found otherwise.

At Blog Ninjas, I have found not only a fun blogging challenge, but also a great community. It's still small enough to be interesting, but large enough that there are plenty of things going on there on any given day. There too I have found a plethora of new blogs to read.

So I just wanted to do a little promoting for my two favorite websites of late. If either sounds interesting, and you decide to sign up, drop a comment here and let me know.

75%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Photo Hunt: Red

I've been thinking for a while about doing a weekly themed post, similar to some of the ones I've participated in before, but I wanted to try something new. While surfing through Entrecard, I came upon Colloquium, and saw her beautiful entries to Photo Hunt. Seems perfect to me, so here goes...

This week's theme is "red," a color which naturally makes me think of Christmas. So I've decided to post a shot of the pretty red bows we hang from our front porch railing this time of year. In fact, the Grump will be hanging said bows today, so it's quite appropriate timing.

I've always favored traditional and clean-looking Christmas decorations, and the way we decorate our house reflects that. I like little white lights, evergreen garlands and big red bows, all of which are in this picture (though you can't see the lights entwined in the garland because it's too sunny and they aren't lit). We're probably going to add candles in the upstairs windows this year. We also have three little white Christmas trees made of lights going down the walk, and of course the tree in the front window.

So, that's my entry for "red". Tune in next week for "long" -- I have an idea, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to get the shot I want... so we'll see!

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Golden Compass

Today I got one of those call-to-action type emails that I hate to see littering up my inbox. Usually I just delete these without even looking at them, but this came from a trusted friend who is not usually the type to forward such things, so I figured I'd at least take a peek and see what it was all about. It was an outcry against an upcoming children's movie called "The Golden Compass." Now these things show up in my inbox pretty regularly, and most of them are pretty harmless in my opinion (Harry Potter, Pokemon, et al) but this one caught my eye for some reason. So, I went to my favorite source for such things, snopes.com. Strangely, it seems this internet warning checks out. (Yeah, that's a first.)

The movie is actually based on the first in a series of books in which the heroes wage war on God. It's kinda like the opposite side of the Chronicles of Narnia. Of course, most of the really bad stuff is taken out of the movie, but that seems more dangerous than leaving it in to me. Even parents who are careful about what their children watch and read may be fooled by the surface harmlessness of the movie and let their kids get involved with the book series, which apparently culminates with the celebrated death of God. Seems like a pretty sneaky way to indoctrinate kids into the world of angry atheism to me.

So, am I here to tell people to picket the box office, burn movie posters or even boycott the movie? No. I just want to make sure people know what they're really watching, should they make the choice to go see The Golden Compass with their kids.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Entrecards

You may notice a new widget to the right. Yup, Zybron has reviewed another great idea that seems to be worth a try... (that guy's always got good stuff. you should bookmark him.) So, I now have an Entrecard. What's an Entrecard you ask? Well, it's kinda like a business card for the web. When you visit a site that subscribes, you can leave behind your card, and let the site owner know you were there. Then, when other folks visit you, they can do the same. You earn credits for every card you leave (IE, for visiting other entrecard sites). You can then pay those credits to other bloggers to advertise on their blogs. Within about ten minutes of signing up, I already have an advertiser -- Hi there Daisy! Of course, you have complete control over who can and can't advertise on your site, so you'll never find yourself linked to something you find objectionable. The price of an advertisement is set in direct proportion to the entrecard traffic that site gets, so some sites are cheaper to advertise with than others. Also, you can transfer credits between sites easily, so you can always gift them to friends (or even sell them if you so choose). Oh, and if you let me know that you've signed up for Entrecard by leaving me a comment with your link, I'll be sure to stop by your site.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Blog Ninjas present Mystery Topic Challenge #5!

Perhaps you read my entry into Mystery Topic Challenge #4 and now you're wondering how you could take part in all the fun. Well, wonder no more! Signups are open until Dec. 2nd when the Mystery Topic will be revealed by the last winner, Scott-O-Rama. You don't have to register to signup, but you're missing out on so much more. Besides, don't you want to be a Blog Ninja?

For more information on what the Mystery Topic Challenge is click HERE.

To signup, click HERE.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

100 Things I am Thankful For

A few weeks ago, I proposed a Thanksgiving Challenge, to list 100 things you're thankful for. I've been working on mine a little at a time since then, and here's what I've come up with. There are plenty of things that aren't noted here that probably should be, but this was never meant to be an exhaustive list.

  1. Salvation
  2. providence
  3. Grumpamoose
  4. Mom
  5. my sister, Mamie
  6. my pets
  7. my home
  8. Friends in Russia
  9. Power FM
  10. Denton Bible Church
  11. Tommy Nelson
  12. American freedoms
  13. those who defend our freedom
  14. small kindnesses
  15. logical reasoning
  16. blind faith
  17. the internet
  18. my laptop
  19. Cinnabon-flavored coffee
  20. Queso
  21. crisp afternoons
  22. my job
  23. NetFlix
  24. GameFly
  25. good books
  26. blog friends
  27. blogger
  28. facebook
  29. computer games
  30. bunny nose wiggles
  31. Wendy's dollar menu
  32. Chick-Fil-A waffle fries
  33. BK Mocha Joes
  34. leftover Halloween candy
  35. warm blankets
  36. Indian Spice tea
  37. frequent flyer miles
  38. thunderstorms
  39. wind
  40. fall color in the trees
  41. quiet time
  42. restaurants
  43. scrapbooking crops
  44. supermarket bouquets
  45. chocolate
  46. movies that make me think
  47. free checking
  48. the dog park in my neighborhood
  49. puppy kisses
  50. scenic views
  51. car trips
  52. sunlight
  53. moonlight
  54. days off
  55. back roads
  56. deliveries
  57. wholesale
  58. used book stores
  59. well-behaved clients (dogs)
  60. disposable flossers
  61. hot running water
  62. fresh baked cookies
  63. grubby little paws
  64. internet forums
  65. writing challenges
  66. funky juice combinations
  67. half-price sales
  68. coupons
  69. freebies
  70. instant oatmeal
  71. rechargeable batteries
  72. energy-saving light bulbs
  73. clouds
  74. vinyl fencing
  75. unexpected wildlife encounters
  76. StumbleUpon
  77. Swiffer
  78. pocket change
  79. free parking
  80. drive-thrus
  81. family-run businesses
  82. fleece
  83. pajamas
  84. slippers
  85. free trials
  86. Braum's milk
  87. ice cream
  88. LOL Cats
  89. silly emoticons
  90. perspective
  91. day dreams
  92. hot showers
  93. laminate flooring
  94. family gatherings
  95. extended weekends
  96. new shoes!
  97. hearing from old friends
  98. phone calls/letters/email from afar
  99. sleeping in
  100. seasonally appropriate weather
So what's your list? It's not too late! If you'd like to post a list of things you're thankful for, just leave me a comment and I'll be sure to link to it here. Here are some of the other lists:

Blog Challenge: Thanksgiving

I have an idea, and I hope some of you will join me. In the spirit of Grumpamoose's Thankful posts, I've decided to make a list: 100 Things I'm Thankful For. I'll work on this list for the next few weeks and post it sometime Thanksgiving weekend. I think one of the things that's missing in our culture is thankfulness. If we would all take the time to be thankful for the good things in our lives, we wouldn't have time left to argue, bicker and complain about the bad stuff. So, I'm challenging myself to come up with 100 things. If this sounds like a good idea to you, please join me! Post on your blog that you are taking part in this challenge and direct your readers back here so that they can also join in the fun. Leave a comment with a link to your blog and I'll post it here. Then, start working on that list!

I've even made a button you can use to link back to this page. I'm sure someone else out there could probably do better (and if that's you, please let me know!) but this is what I've come up with:

Thankful

Participating Blogs:
Bun-Girl

Some Go Softly
A Light in the Dark
GhostWorks
anyone else?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Time to vote!

Blog Ninjas present The Mystery Challenge #4!

The topic was proposed by Mr. President of Textual Relations, the winner of MTC #3. Below you will find all the entries for this challenge. Please visit and read them all. Once you've read all the entries, please vote for your favorite. Members of the forum may vote in the poll HERE. Guests can place their vote in this thread HERE. Voting concludes on Nov. 22nd.

Leaf - Read More
Scott - Read More
BunGirl - Read More
Grumpamoose - Read More

from Reason to Freedom (4 entries)
Peter Namtvedt - Read More
Bob Bachus - Read More
Michelle L. - Read More
MJ Taylor - Read More

Jayne - Read More
Zybron - Read More
lonelygurl - Read More
TooBIG - Read More
An Honest Woman - Read More
Stepford Mom - Read More
ShadyLady - Read More
Some Go Softly - Read More
Debaloo - Read More
Jan - Read More

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mystery Topic Challenge #4

What's that behind you? Did you see something? I think it was black...could it be the BlogNinjas? They are the crazy internet group behind the MTC. The members rock the blogosphere in varying degrees, and can sneak up behind you in a moments notice.You can join the clandestine group after undergoing a severe and heavily scrutinized Blog Ninja review that verifies your actual existence and BN worthiness (basically, we read your blog). Post an entry, vote, maybe win, and you may be selecting the next topic. It's like a blog party.

Click here to join.

Challenge #4: If you were President/Prime Minister for a day, with the power to do absolutely anything (Supreme Court? What Supreme Court?) , what would you do and why?

Wow, this is a tough one for me. I'm not really what one might call a political person, so this topic requires a lot of thought. I don't know that I would do anything "global" as it's not my area of expertize. I know just enough about what's happening in the world right now to cringe, but not enough to do anything about it if I were given such a power. So what would I do?

I guess probably my first order of business would be to declare pets to have rights similar to that of children, rather than being simply property. Clearly this would not apply to animals designated as agricultural, though I would certainly bring about stricter laws on how they should be treated as well (goodbye feed lots, hello free roaming). I feel that Americans as a whole (though clearly not all Americans) believe their pets to be part of the family, rather than just things that they own. Hence the reason that pet boutiques, hotels and day spas are slowly replacing shops, kennels and groomers. I think they should be treated by the law in the same manner. Right now in many states, if someone were to throw a poisoned steak into your backyard, killing your dog, they would only be liable for the cost of replacing the animal. Same as if they ran over your kid's bike. Now, we pet lovers all know that you can't replace a life, but that's the way the law reads in most states. My new laws would also include stricter animal abuse penalties and standards applicable to breeders, kennels, pet stores and any other business that handles pets on a regular basis.

Once that was done, I would also implement a strict regulatory board to evaluate and inspect the safety of all imported goods. It has become overwhelmingly clear of late that we simply can't trust the standards of foreign agencies when it comes to our health. This would in turn be paid for by adding a small tariff on all goods it applies to. Perhaps it would also act as a reason for more folks to "buy locally" if it weren't so much cheaper to buy items brought in from sweat shops in less fortunate parts of the world, bringing some much-needed jobs back to home soil.

To go along with this, I'd overhaul our government subsidies for farmers so that it would not be based on the type of crop produced (ahem... corn), and the farms that get the money would be the ones that actually need it. Right now, a large amount of the budget for subsidies is going to farms that clear $200k per year. I would maintain subsidies only for those farms whose owners remain near or below the poverty line, as was the original intent for the subsidies anyway. Sorry Mr. Turner, you don't qualify. I find it sad that so much of our tax money is currently going to supplement the incomes of folks who are making more money in their own right than the average tax payer.

So, a busy day all in all, but a productive one. Amazing what you can get done when you don't have to worry about red tape!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Introducing Yuwie!

What is Yuwie you ask? It's a social networking site, kinda like myspace, but with one little difference. They pay you every time your page/picture/content of any type is viewed. Now, do I expect to get rich on Yuwie? Not a chance. Not that it wouldn't be nice, I'm just a little more realistic than that. The pay is based on viewing ads. Every time you load your myspace page (or anyone else's) you are seeing ads. Somebody's getting paid for those ads. With myspace or pretty much any of the others out there, that somebody is the owner of the site. With Yuwie, you get a cut of that ad revenue. Not much, mind you, but it ads up. AND you get a cut for everyone you refer. And everyone they refer, and on and on till the tenth level of referrers. Sounds pretty sweet to me. So, if you'd like to give it a try, click on the banner below. Or the links in this post. Or the title. Whichever. If you don't want to give it a try, well that's your call, but what do you really have to lose?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Right Brain or Left Brain?

I'd imagine by now, everybody who spends much time on the internet has probably seen the dancer above... She's part of a left brain/right brain test. Allegedly, if you see her turning clockwise, you're a right-brained person, counter-clockwise is left-brained. (for all the details, click on the title to this post)

So, my question is, what if you see her spinning a different direction every time you look away for a second? Seriously. Clockwise. Counter. Clockwise.

I've always wondered about the whole left/right brain thing anyway. I mean supposedly, the right brain handles creativity, religion, etc. while the left handles math and logic. I can buy that. The part that I don't get is how everyone is supposed to fall into one or the other category, but not both.

I've always found myself in both categories. In school I took mostly art classes, and precalculus as an elective. I love logic problems, but I also like to draw paint and write. Theoretically, the folks who are good at math should also excel at sciences, but most of that is over my head.

So I've been thinking about it. Haven't there been a lot of people who have exhibited the traits of both brain sides? Probably the best example I can come up with would be Leonardo DaVinci. I mean, he was an amazing artist and also had a really good grasp on physics. Or how about Ben Franklin? Quite the creative writer. Quite the inventor. History is just littered with people who are neither right-brained nor left-brained, but seemingly both. And that's just the ones who did something notable enough (in both spheres) for us to remember them.

The way I see it, it's not A or B, but more varying degrees of both.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Write a Letter, Win a Custom Blog Header

Anti-Barbie is currently running a contest. All you have to do is write a letter to her fictional advice columnist and the one she likes best will win a custom blog header. Of course, I couldn't pass this one up, so here's my entry:

Dear Shabby,

I have an unusual problem and I hope you can help.

After work a few days ago I was driving to my home, way out in the country when I encountered a herd of cattle crossing the road. I waited patiently for what seemed like forever, then got out to see if I could somehow hurry them along. Unfortunately, I managed to spook the cows, who then stampeded over my car as if it were a speed bump. Of course, by the time they were cleared out, I found that the car wouldn’t start.

You would think I’d be asking about car repair, but I’m not.

I had left my cell phone at home on the charger, so I wandered up to the nearest house I could spot. It was quite a ways off and I had to climb over the broken fence the cows had come through to get there. So distressed was I by my situation, that I neglected to keep an eye out for cow droppings. My foot hit a big pile and I slipped and fell flat on my butt, covering my business suit in some of the finest fertilizer nature has ever made.

You would think I’d be asking about how to get manure out of dry cleaning, but I’m not.

When I managed to pick myself up and brush/wipe the biggest clumps off, I continued my journey across the field when I heard a commotion coming from the other side of the house. I broke into a run and made it around the corner just in time to see a couple of men beating up a defenseless farmer. I couldn’t just leave him to his fate, so I got the thugs’ attention and they immediately turned and came after me, saying something about “no witnesses.”

You would think I would be asking about self defense classes, but I’m not.

As I was defending the poor, helpless farmer by taking multiple kicks and punches all over my dung-covered body, I heard what sounded like gunshots coming from the house. Apparently that startled my attackers enough to convince them to flee. As my vision began fading out, I looked up to see the farmer’s wife standing over me with a shotgun in her hand and a concerned look on her face. “Now don’t you worry, I’ll get you all fixed up,” was the thing I heard before drifting into unconsciousness.

You would think I would be asking about how to repay someone for saving my life, but I’m not.

When I finally came to, I found myself tied to a chair in the middle of an otherwise empty barn with a gag in my mouth. The noise that had awakened me apparently was one of the barn doors opening, as soon the farmer’s wife came into view again. “What are you doing on my property?” she demanded. When I could only give her a confused grunt, she went on, “You’re that tramp my Fred’s been seeing behind my back, aren’t you? I don’t know about wherever you’re from, but we don’t tolerate sleeping with other women’s husbands around here missy.”

You would think I’d be asking about how to prove my innocence, but I’m not.

She removed the gag and I denied the charges against me vehemently, but she insisted that I would not be leaving this barn until her husband woke up. Seems he was still knocked out from his attack. “I’ll know as soon as he sees you, and you’d better hope you’re not lying to me,” she told me. She seemed like she wanted to believe me and for the next couple of days she treated me better than I had expected, cooking for me and tending to my scrapes and bruises, all the while giving me reports on Fred’s progress. On the second evening, she reported that he was looking well enough that she’d be bringing him to the barn in the morning. That morning, she helped him limp out to the barn and opened the door so he could see me. I must’ve looked a fright, and he certainly didn’t recognize me at all, so she took him back to the house and came and untied me.

You would think I’d be asking about how to press charges for kidnapping, but I’m not.

“Now I hope there won’t be any hard feelings,” she stammered as she let me go. I assured her that I wanted nothing more than to put this whole incident behind me, and asked if my car had been towed out of the road yet. She said she had seen a tow truck come a few hours after my attack, and she had written down the name and number of the towing company in case the car was mine. She took me into the house and let me get myself cleaned up as well as I could. Then she handed me a slip of paper and pointed me to the phone while she started to make breakfast.

You would think I’d be asking about how to get my car back, but I’m not.

A few hours and a plate of the best pancakes I had ever eaten later, I had finally gotten things straightened out with the towing company and the local police. In exchange for her paying for my car repairs (apparently it wasn’t totaled in the stampede) I was just telling everyone that I had been unconscious this whole time and she had nursed me back to health. I was ok with that. As I said, I just wanted to put it all behind me. While I was waiting for a friend to come drive me home, we got to chatting and I found out that she was actually my boss’ sister. The thugs who had beaten me so badly were collecting on an “unpaid insurance policy” that her brother had given her the money to cover. Unfortunately, she had been angry at her husband for his affair (she still doesn’t know who the girl is) so she had spent the money on herself with a day at the spa, figuring they’d just rough him up a bit and leave. She begged me not to tell her brother that she had misspent his money, and I agreed as I was feeling quite glad that this whole incident was almost over.

You would think I’d be asking about how to convince someone to seek help from the police when they really need it, but I’m not.

My question is, how do I explain to my boss the three days I missed of work and why I didn’t call, without letting my kidnapper’s secret out?

Bruised and Baffled in Yoder, KS


Monday, November 05, 2007

38 Questions

Got this one from Jayne of "A Light in the Dark"


1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?

Grumpamoose. He almost always does.

2. What were you doing at 0800?

Umm... I was on the internet. Where I always am. Probably, I was either checking email or working on my blog.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?

See above.

4. What happened to you in 2006?

Hmm... Bunches of stuff. New house. (or was that 2005? I need more coffee) Pet stuff. Unemployed (intentionally). Russia. Probably a whole lot more really, but I can hardly remember last week, let alone last year!

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?

"Get in this house right now!" (Donovan has a habit of wanting to play "you can't catch me" in the morning)

6. How many beverages did you have today?

Still working on my first cuppa.

7. What color is your hairbrush?

silver and white

8. What was the last thing you paid for?

My lunch on Friday. Grump gets to do all the paying on the weekends.

9. Where were you last night?

See question #2. Actually, last night I went to church. But after that, see question #2.

10. What color is your front door?

Kind of a dusty teal.

11. Where do you keep your change?

In my wallet or in a clay flower pot in the kitchen.

12. What’s the weather like today?

I donno -- let's see... According to the weather channel, it's sunny and 66. Sounds about right. I concur.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?

Best? There is no best! They're all yummy!!! If I had to choose one, I guess it would be Cherry Garcia from Ben & Jerry's. But really, I like variety and it depends on my mood.

14. What excites you?

Lots of stuff really. I guess number one right now would be hearing all the good news coming from my friends in Russia.

15. Do you want to cut your hair?

Yes. Perpetually it seems. I don't ever want it to be short, but it grows sooo fast!

16. Are you over the age of 25?

Yup. But not by too much.

17. Do you talk a lot?

Not really. Most people say I don't talk enough.

18. Do you watch the O.C.?

The what? Just kidding. I know that the OC is a tv show, but I couldn't honestly tell you what it's about or name any of the characters. I just don't watch much tv.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?

Hmm... I bet I do, but I can't think of anyone right now.

20. Do you make up your own words?

Regularly.

21. Are you a jealous person?

I try not to be, and I usually succeed.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘E’.

I don't honestly think I have any friends who start with E.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘R’.

Does my boss qualify? Her name's Rhonda. If not, I'd have to go with Rodney, though I haven't seen or talked to him since Russia.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?

Rhonda.

25. What does the last text message you received say?

Text messages? I don't do text messages. Phones are for making calls. Computers are for typing messages. Never the two should meet.

26. Do you chew on your straw?

Not usually.

27. Do you have curly hair?

Nope.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?

Work.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?

Prolly Grump. Sorry honey, I just don't hang out with that many rude people.

30. What was the last thing you ate?

Working on a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries right now.

31. Will you get married in the future?

Umm... I AM married. So, unless something tragic happens to Grump, that'd be a no.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?

Stranger Than Fiction (for the third time -- I'm not a Will Ferrell fan, but I LOVE that movie!)

33. Is there anyone you like right now?

Umm... yeah. I like most people. Easy to please, that's me.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?

Ick.

35. Are you currently depressed?

I plead the 5th. I don't like to talk about that because it's not what most people assume it is.

36. Did you cry today?

Nope. I'm not big on the crying.

37. Why did you answer and post this?

Hmm... Cause Jayne posted it and I figured I'd give it a go.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.

The first five people who read this and think it's interesting enough to add to their own blog. (Please link back folks)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Free Advertising: 1000boxs.com

Thanks to Zybron, I have found a great new advertising site: 1000boxs.com Marius Akselsen has started a site that will eventually simply be a bank of 1000 colored boxes. When you click on any box, you get an ad for a website or blog. The cool thing is that the site is still in its infancy. While eventually these boxes will sell for $100 a pop, right now the first 100 are being offered for free (one per person please). That's right, free. And who doesn't need free advertising for their blog or website?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mystery Topic Challenge

Well, I've decided I'm going to take part in the upcoming Mystery Topic Challenge #4. It sounds like a great idea to me. Here's how it works: (taken from the MTC forum)
HOW IT WORKS:

A forum thread is opened for signups, for people to participate. Ideally we'd like new folks to the challenge to register to the forum, but that isn't necessary. Currently (and this will remain as long as it isn't abused) guests are allowed to sign up for challenges.

The signup thread will remain open for five (5) days. Participants are asked to write a short announcement on their blogs in case any of their readers and lurkers would like to participate.

At the end of five days, the Mystery Topic will be announced by the previous winner. As of now, the winner of the last challenge can choose to participate, or they can sit out the challenge. If the previous winner does write a post, he/she will not be eligible for voting. This is to ensure that everyone will get to choose a topic at some point. If this doesn't work, we might change this to someone volunteering for thinking up the next topic.

Once the topic is announced, everyone will have five days to write their post. On the fifth day, everyone will post on the same day and go to the signup thread to post the direct URLs of their challenge entries. At that time a poll will go up and voting will remain open for 5 days. At the end of 5 days a winner will be announced and they will get a nifty graphical award to "pin" to their sidebar.
So, if that sounds like fun to you, hop on over to the forums and give it a try. Sign-ups for this challenge began 10/30. The topic will be posted on 11/6 and we'll all be posting our responses on 11/11 (so watch this space!).

EDIT: Sorry -- that'd be 11/13, not 11/11.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

BlogRush

You may notice a new widget on the sidebar called BlogRush. I've been using them for a little while with my gaming blog, and have been happy with their service thus far so I've decided to move them over here too. The idea is simple. You post the widget on your blog. It links to five posts from other blogs that fall into the same category as your own. When someone clicks through those links you earn credits to have your links posted on the widgets of other bloggers. BlogRush is still just getting started and they've added several features lately, and announced several others that will be forthcoming. Since BlogExplosion seems to no longer be functioning properly, why not give BlogRush a try?

Cookie Recipe

I was bored the other night, so I decided to bake. I don't bake very often, so when I do I like something fairly simple to make, so I can get to the good part (the eating) sooner. To that end, I found a great recipe that I thought I would share with everyone.

Cheesecake Cookies

Ingredients:
6 oz Cream Cheese
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and cheese. Mix in sugar. Mix in Flour. Drop by the teaspoon onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.


How's that for easy? To make them seasonally appropriate, I also added orange food coloring (10 drops of red, 15 drops of yellow) and chocolate sprinkles.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Things never seem to happen the way I expect them to.

Well, I woke up to a dead rat this morning. It actually came as quite a shock. You see, it wasn't the one I've been worried about. It was Betty, Wilma's lifelong companion. She was over two years old, so I wasn't completely surprised. I'm told that every day with a rat over two years is a gift. Wilma on the other hand, is regaining some weight and seems to be doing quite a bit better lately. Go figure. I think I've decided I'm not going to replace my rats as they go. I'll just stick with the longer-lived pets. I can't keep doing this to myself. First it was a series of mice that just weren't around long enough, and now rats. At least with dogs and bunnies a decade is not out of the question. Two years is just too short.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On a lighter note...

How'd you like to win Wendy's burgers for life?


Find out Why - Join the Cause

The hardest thing...

The hardest thing about having pets is having to watch them die, sometimes slowly. Within the last few days, one of my rats (Wilma) has gone from a happy, cheerful, playful little girl to being thin as a rail with her head swollen and her eyes crusted over with blood. We're pretty sure it's a tumor that's causing the problem, and we're treating her as best we can. She's still pretty feisty and I think it's bothering me more than her, so we haven't put her to sleep, but we will go that course if her behavior warrants it. She's over two years now, so it's not that surprising. Rats don't live very long really. That doesn't make it any easier. Every day when I come home, I expect to see the carrier where Wilma has been living lately cleaned out and empty. So far, it hasn't happened, but I would be surprised if she lasts much longer. So, my heart's not really in the blogging today...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hello again...

Ok, I'll be the first to admit that I've been falling down on the job on this blogging thing of late. So, I have decided to take this rainy Monday morning to start anew. Rain just always seems the perfect backdrop to new beginnings to me -- washing away the old and refreshing the landscape so to speak.

Now then, please don't expect daily posts here. I post daily at my game blog, so if you just want something new every day, go over there. This blog is more often posts that have taken some time and thought to put together, so I won't be able to get to it every day. I'm shooting for a couple of times a week. But don't hold me to that. (How's that for commitment?) As we get closer to the holidays, I expect it will drop off significantly as I get more and more busy at work, so my apologies in advance.

I've been doing this blogging thing for a number of years, and this blog has changed it's focus time and time again through that period. I think for now at least it's going back to being a personal blog, focusing on the comings and goings of the author (that's me!) because I firmly believe in writing what you know.

Does this mean I won't ever post devotional messages again? No! Certainly not! But I think most of the inspiration for those has passed, so don't expect them regularly anymore. I never once believed that would be something I could keep doing for long, and I guess I was at a loss when that chapter came to an end. Hence the lack of content lately. It's not that I have drifted from my Christian walk, far from that. I simply don't have the words to write it anymore. Still, from time to time, if the Spirit so moves, I will post more Bible verses.

So, for now, who knows where this blog may lead. I certainly don't. I never really pushed it to go in any of the directions it took before, and I don't intend to start pushing so now. The only thing I can promise is that it will continue.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

This blog is rated...


This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* death (6x)
* pain (5x)
* steal (4x)
* dead (2x)
* drugs (1x)


Hat tip to Jami for the link!

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Blog...

Yeah, I know... I haven't been that good at keeping up with this blog lately, and I'm adding yet another? Well, I am. If you like free games, check out BunGirl's Featured Games. If you don't, well, nothing for you there really, so you can just ignore this post in it's entirety.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Matthew 5:16


"Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (ASV)

When most of us hear the word "evangelism" we cringe. We think of it as a guy standing on a soapbox on a corner with a bullhorn. Of course, that's one option for sharing the gospel with the world, but it's far from the only one. The Bible tells us that simply living out our faith can turn others toward God.

Just as in other parts of your life, often what we do is more important than what we say. People learn from example and actions speak louder than words. Even sound preaching is weakened when your walk isn't also in line. We all know those people who claim to be Christians and preach to anyone who will listen, but don't live any differently from the rest of the world. If we don't take their faith seriously, why should the rest of the world? We need to let God's light shine through every part of our lives, not just the easy ones.

So how do we share God with a fallen world? Learn to walk in Faith. Learn to lean on God in times of struggle. Love your neighbor. Love your God. Do all these things in a transparent way, and let those around you see the change in you. True, you're bound to slip up from time to time, but don't be discouraged. We all fall now and then, and allowing the world to see that you messed up but you kept going can be a powerful testimony in itself.

If you learn to reflect God's love and let it shine in your life, you'll soon find that you don't need to preach to strangers. People in your everyday life will want to know why you're so different. They'll see your joy and want a piece of it for themselves. They'll want to know the source, and you'll be ready to share it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Prayer Request...

We just got the awful news that Grumpamoose's Step-Mom was killed in a car accident today. Please be praying for the family.

UPDATE: You can read the details here. The male passenger also killed was also a member of the family, and his wife (the female passenger) is expected to be released from the hospital Friday. Prayers for all the children and grandchildren who are trying to cope with this shocking loss are greatly appreciated, as well as prayers for a full recovery for Aunt M.

James 4:15

"For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that." (ASV)

Years ago, I heard the old Yiddish Proverb, "We plan, God laughs." It struck me at the time as being somewhat silly because of course, we have to have plans. Otherwise how would we ever move forward in life? That was before God got hold of my plans and I wound up living half a country away from my family and never having accomplished any of the goals I held then. And I'm all the happier for having followed God rather than following my own plans.

Each of us thinks we can run our own lives. We think we know what we want. We spend years, decades or even lifetimes chasing dreams that in the end can't fulfill us. We work so hard to attain goals that just end up making us more miserable. All the while the path of our lives is already laid out for us -- all we have to do is follow it.

You see, God has a plan for each of our lives. He laid it out for us before we were even born. He knows what will truly fulfill us and he knows what we need and want more than even we do. When we make plans, we don't know what tomorrow will bring. We can't even accurately predict the weather more than a few days in advance, so why should we think we can predict the circumstances around us for the rest of our lives? God on the other hand knows what is to come. And His plans never fall through. "But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." (Psalm 33:11 NIV)

So maybe it's time for us to stop trying to direct our lives. Time to put aside our own feeble plans and look for a path that is more trustworthy. Time to reach out to the Author of Life, and ask for His guidance in all things.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Psalm 34:19

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But Jehovah delivereth him out of them all." (ASV)

A lot of people have an unfortunate misconception about becoming a Christian. They think that once you're saved, your life should be trouble-free. Then they look at the Christians they know, see that this is not the case, and are put off by it. In truth, salvation does not ward off earthly troubles. In fact, sometimes it multiplies them. The good news though is that through every problem we may face in our Christian walk, we can hold the assurance that we are not alone. God will see us through.

Think about that thought for a moment: God will see us through. We all know what a blessing it can be to have a friend or family member by our side in times of trouble. We've seen the comfort to be gotten from a hug or a kind word. How much greater then is the comfort we can have from the Creator of us all? How much more will His loving kindness soothe us when we hurt or calm us when we are upset? And He is never more than a prayer away!

Rejoice then, fellow Christians, at the marvelous love of our God. Don't try to hide away your troubles or pretend that they don't exist. Rather reveal your deepest darkest fears to God and let him shine a light on them. Tell Him about your sorrows and allow Him to help ease the pain. Cry on His shoulder and know that He holds your life in the palm of His hand and nothing gets by Him. There is nothing our God can't do, and no trouble or worry is too great for His awesome power to help us through it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

James 1:12

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him."

I've often heard people equate temptation with sin. As if just being tempted to do something wrong is a sin in and of itself. This couldn't be farther from the truth! The Bible tells us that we will all be tempted. Even Jesus was tempted, but we know that He never gave in to sin.

The truth of the matter is, we only recognize temptation for what it is when we are on the right path. An unrepentant habitual liar is never tempted to lie. They just do it. They don't need to be tempted to lie because lying is what comes naturally to them. Only when we are struggling against sin do we truly feel the weight of temptation. When that same habitual liar decides to turn themselves around and try to speak only truth, they begin to feel the temptation to lie, but with prayer and grace they can overcome it.

Temptation is also often a tool of the enemy. When he sees that we are doing something for God or we're trying to improve our walk, Satan delights in frustrating our efforts. He will throw temptation after temptation in our path to try to distract us. He simply wants us to turn our eyes away from Christ and pay attention to more worldly concerns. These are the times when it is most important that we continue to focus on God. If we reach out to Him in prayer, He will help us through anything the enemy may drop in our path.

Notice that in the above verse from James, we are not called to destroy, defeat, or remove the temptation, but rather to endure it. The longer we endure temptation without giving in, the less power it can hold over us. Unless we are capable of controlling every aspect of our lives (and none of us are), we can't effectively remove temptation altogether. We may be able to clean all the sweets out of the refrigerator at home, but eventually someone is going to bring donuts to work to share or invite us to dinner where they are serving lavish desserts. Of course, this doesn't mean we should seek out temptations. Instead, we should spend our efforts in prayer, asking God to strengthen us against such attacks. Only with the strength that He has to give us can we be prepared for future struggles.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Hebrews 11:6

"And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him." (ASV)

It's easy for a Christian to believe in God. If we didn't believe that God exists, we wouldn't bother ascribing to ourselves the term "Christian" after all. More difficult for many though is to believe that God rewards all of those who seek Him. We struggle to believe that God has good things in store for us. Yet this is a basic tenet of the Christian faith.

Many people still think of God as a harsh taskmaster, a stern judge, a big bearded guy up in the sky whose main purpose is to keep us from having too much fun. Their view of God is distorted. They are trying to follow a God they don't even know. Others have trouble with the concept that an all-knowing, all-powerful God could possibly love them. For these people, it's their view of self that is out of line. They are allowing their own self image problems come between them and God.

Central to knowing God is knowing who He is. One of His most demonstrable characteristics is love. In fact, the Bible even states that God in fact IS love. (1 John 4:8) God is also the great provider. In fact, one of the names of God, Jehovah-jireh, means God provides. He is also a God who has a plan. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

The Bible also tells us who we are in relation to God. John 1:12 says "But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (ASV) As believers, we have been adopted into the family of God. We are His children, co-heirs with Christ. And like a good father, God wants only the best for us.

So the next time you begin to have doubts about what God has in store for you, remember who He is, remember who you are, and rest assured that He has it all under control.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

1 Corinthians 6:20


"For ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body." (ASV)

Self esteem is a huge issue in our society today. Television and magazines tell women that we have to be six feet tall, thin as a rail, and perfectly dressed and styled. Men are supposed to be thin but muscular, powerful, strong, and always in charge of their emotions and the world around them. Eating disorders, steroid abuse, plastic surgery, botox and other forms of self-destructive behavior are on the rise. And all the while we take it in. We wish we could look more like the celebrities on the screen. We strive for the "ideal" body. We forget that we have already been "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14)

In an age when even the Pope wears designer labels, it is time for Christians to cast aside the molds and standards of the world and remember the God who made us and who loves us just the way we are. It is time for us to remember that we are not our own. We belong to God. He paid for us with Christ's death on the cross, a very dear cost indeed. All He asks in return is that we love Him and strive for His glory above our own.

Every imperfection we see in the mirror, every time we tell ourselves we're not good enough, we allow Satan a foothold in our lives. We make the ideals of beauty and perfection our idols. We spend more time thinking about that extra five pounds than we do thinking about the God who loves us or the calling He's given us. We search for the perfect diet instead of searching for purpose. We waste our efforts trying to get rid of gray hairs instead of working toward ridding ourselves of sin. And we bask in our vanity, assuring ourselves that it's normal because it's what the rest of the world is doing.

Christians are not called to be just like the rest of the world. We are called to be a holy people. The simple definition of the world holy is "set apart". We are to set ourselves apart from the corruption and pride of the world in which we live. How are we to show them the difference God has made in our lives if we really are no different? It would be an act of hypocrisy to even try.

Instead of trying to be just like the world, we should strive to be just like Jesus. That is the true nature of being a follower -- seeking to emulate our leader in all things. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that He was on the cutting edge of fashion. He was a humble man, a carpenter's son by outward appearance. It was not beauty or physical presence that attracted people to Him. The crowds flocked to His side because of the love He showed and the miracles He performed. People wanted to be near Him because they could see God in Him.

We can have the same effect on our world, if we only try. God wants to shine through us. He wants us to be the light of the world. He wants us to be the salt of the earth, giving flavor to an otherwise bland existence. But the way to do this is not found in a beauty magazine. We can't attain it through long hours at the gym. Rather, we simply have to seek after God, "and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Psalm 27:8

"When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; My heart said unto thee, Thy face, Jehovah, will I seek." (ASV)

How many of us are truly, completely obedient to God? It is a hard thing to achieve. David had the idea when he penned this verse. When God tells us to do something, we should not complain, whine, or put it off. We should simply do it. And we should put our hearts into it. The best example of this type of obedience can be seen in the end of Jesus' earthly life: "and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8 ASV)

Obedience to God is something that even the great figures of the Bible have struggled with. It's difficult for us to put aside our own wishes and desires to do God's bidding when we don't know what the outcome may be. It requires a lot of trust to just let go of all of our uncertainties and remember that God knows the outcome, and has a good reason for asking us to do whatever it may be He wants from us.

Unlike human authority figures, God will not force us to obey in most cases. If we refuse, He will allow us to do so. But refusal to play our parts in His plan for us can have horrible effects. At the very least we miss out on all that God has in store for our lives, and that is a grave circumstance to be sure. At times, disobedience to God's will for us may mean we will have to deal with painful consequences of our actions.

One of the reasons that God doesn't make us do it His way, "or else..." is that He doesn't want us to follow him out of fear or obligation. He wants us to follow His ways out of love. When Jesus was asked which is the most important commandment, "And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (Matthew 22:37 ASV) When we love God the way Jesus describes it here, we strive to obey. We want nothing more than for Him to look upon us and be pleased with what He sees. We are His willing servants because we desire His glory above our own.

Still, even the most willing servant can have difficulty discerning what God's call for their life may be. That is why we need to study the word of God, so that we can know Him better. We can also become closer to God through other spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting and meditation. In these ways we can grow closer to God, and eventually learn to hear His still, small voice.

So when you hear the call of God, when the Holy Spirit tugs on your heart, when God instructs you in what to do, what will your answer be? Will you miss it altogether? Will you ignore Him? Will you obey grudgingly? Or will you give yourself over to God's instruction, wholeheartedly and without regret?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

1 John 3:1

"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." (ASV)

Many Christians are timid about sharing their faith, or even letting the world know that they are Christians. They afraid of what a secular world will think, say or do. They don't want to offend non-believers by proclaiming that God exists and He loves them. While it is true that many people may make fun of us, or even get angry with us because of our faith, that is no excuse for becoming a closet Christian.

The world does not understand Christianity. They won't until the day of Christ's return when "every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." (Isaiah 45:23) They can't understand Christians until they begin to understand Christ. So yes, if you tell your coworkers about God, you may hear giggles in the lunch room or be stared at by some of them, but is that so high a price to pay?

Christ made it very clear that He wants us to talk about Him and about our faith. "Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32) He wants us to let the world know that we belong to Him, and this is not because He was not able to foresee the reactions we might get. Rather, He had this advice for those who face persecution in His name: "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you." (Matthew 5:12) And the ridicule or judgement of our peers is a far lighter sentence than the persecution He spoke of.

In the end, when we choose to hide our faith, we are telling God we are ashamed of Him. We are not willing to be associated with Christ, who bled and died and defeated even death for our sake. Instead, we should be shouting from the rooftops that Christ is Lord and we are His!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

1 Chronicles 28:20

"And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed; for Jehovah God, even my God, is with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until all the work for the service of the house of Jehovah be finished." (ASV)

Most of us know the name of Solomon. We know him as a great king, an incredibly wise man, a powerful leader, and a man of God. While it's true that all of this can be said of him later in life, there was a time when he was simply King David's son, heir to the throne, and fearful of the tasks that lay before him. In the passage above, David has just revealed to the princes of the tribes of Israel plans for a great temple. He has also revealed that though he had planned to build it himself, God has instructed him to pass the task on to his son because David is not clean enough in God's eyes to do it.

Now, Solomon must have been thinking here that if King David, the King of all Israel, "a man after God's own heart" and Solomon's father, is not holy enough to undertake this task, how could he possibly measure up? But David has an answer for his son. He reminds him that God has called him to this task, and God will help him accomplish it. God is unfailing, God will not abandon you, he says.

This lesson is one that we often forget. God calls us to do great things some times. He instructs us to accomplish works that we feel unqualified to even attempt. It is easy to be fearful and tempting to say, "no God, find someone else, I can't do that." We should remember though that God never gives us a calling that He will not personally aide us through. Surely, all of the great Christian men and women throughout history have at one time or another felt unworthy of the tasks set before them. Yet, with God's help, wondrous miracles have been accomplished.

The temple David had designed was built, and it was considered to be Solomon's crowning achievement. It stood for 400 years as a house of prayer and sacrifice, a holy place, and the resting place for the tablets brought down the mountain by Moses on which the law of the Jews was inscribed.

It is also clear that God was present throughout the early years of Solomon's reign. He controlled a vast kingdom, ruled it with wisdom that amazed all those who saw him, and maintained peace for his people. He was wealthy, wise and a fair ruler. He worshipped his God with fervor and sought after truth in all things. Unfortunately, he eventually turned his back on God to seek after the idols that some of his many wives worshiped, and his reign failed.

There are many lessons to be learned from Solomon. Not the least of these is God's faithfulness to all those who seek to do His good works.

Verse of the Day