Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas and Christ

How can I make Christmas focus more on Christ?

Every year it seems the same: I have good intentions of this year being the one that I will focus on Christ in Christmas. And every year it's the same: the mad rush at the end of the month for shopping, the stress of bills after the holiday, the acceleration and speeding by of work - and the suddenly it's here.

Lord, how do I make this last week at least focus on You and the birth of Your son?

1) Put off TV - This is an easy one. I've no need for TV, even to fill the time as background noise (this holds throughout the year as well).

2) Music - Music affects me, so I need to fill my ears with music of the season - as much as possible.

3) The Christmas Story - Read it to the girls every night. Read it to myself every night.

4) Focus on Christ - Do I focus on what the arrival of Christ means? Do I truly consider "God Made Flesh", "Emmanuel - God with us", and and I overwhelmed at the Hope of the Ages?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy 5th Anniversary

A special Happy Fifth Anniversary today to Faith Community Church. It's a day to celebrate five years of coming together with a body of like minded believers to worship God under biblical committed teaching.

It has been said by individuals far smarter than I that the church represents heaven in and of the fact that it is a collection of individuals of different backgrounds, ages, races, interests, and types, all saved by the grace of God. An interesting thought in the abstract - the fact that it is true is all the more amazing. As I reflect on the individuals I've known and formed relationships with at Faith, I am forced to admit that it is a collage of folks I would not have otherwise ever met.

Also, as I think about it, it is the longest period of time that I as an adult have attended a church. I certainly went as a child (St. Luke's Episcopal Church and then Bethlehem Lutheran Church), and recommitted after I married (again, Bethlehem Lutheran Church), but only really made my own independent decision after we moved to Campbell. I have been blessed in my pastoral leaderships - in the first case, a gentle man committed to truth, and the second, another gentle man who is committed to truth (he's been my pastor for seven years now). God has guided me, as in both cases they were the first church we attended out of the blue when we relocated.

It has been an adventure, being involved in a church from the ground up - in many ways like starting a business: making sure you stay committed to your mission statement; working through building ministries (departments in business); developing leadership; making missteps in personnel, programs and facilities; watching people come and go as they move on to other challenges. But added is the aspect of God: watching the church grow in commitment and faith; seeing the teaching grow in depth and understanding; and even watching yourself grow and change as you seek to become more Christlike.

So Happy Fifth Anniversary, Faith Community Church! May you continue practice here what all the redeemed will practice in eternity: a commitment to truth, a commitment to worship, a commitment to glorifying God!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Old Friends

I had a phone conversation with Uisdean Ruadh tonight. Conversations with old friends are the best - partially because they are seemingly so rare in our daily range of personnel interactions. They are the sort where you can just launch into a subject, and seemingly there has been no time between the last time you talked about the item in question, you just pick up where you left off.

We talked about things of concern to both of us: the job situation in both of our industries, the precipitous drop in housing, news of this and that in his life. 45 minutes runs by as if no time at all had gone.

I am blessed that I have a number of these I have semi-regular conversations with - Bogha Frois, Uisdean Ruadh, Cleasiche Fionnadh, Otis , and of course, the Ravishing Mrs. TB. Like a fine wine or good cheese, they only get better with age.

Or to say it another way, friends over time have their tannins mellow and their flavours sharpen...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Carrying Notes

The Ravishing Mrs. TB and myself watched Invincible last night, the Disney movie based on Vince Papali, the 30 year old who in 1977, with no real experience, tried out for and played for the Philadelphia Eagles. Actually a fairly enjoyable movie - little foul language, no nudity, and the soundtrack alone (mid 70's) is worth listening to.

In part of the movie, Papali (played by Mark Wahlberg) looks at a note that his ex-wife left him when she left the marriage (shown in the beginning of the movie). It says something to the effect of "You're a loser, you'll never make any money, you'll never amount to anything". It is implied that he looks at this list frequently, perhaps every day. It is only after he destroys list after a humiliating loss to the Dallas Cowboys, just before he goes into the next game with the New York Giatns, that he meets with his success.

The point that this spawned for me in the morning as I was driving to work is what lists do I carry around. Most of us, I propose, carry around within us lists that have been given to us by others telling us that we are failure, bad, can't do certain things, etc. These are lists that we willingly carry ourselves, sometimes years after the relationship has been terminated - perhaps the people involved are even dead.

The problem, it seems to me, is that unlike the movie, our lists are more often than not are not something we can hold in our hands - they are ingrained deep within us, perhaps buried beneath most of our daily conscious thought. It may be (in fact, for me it is) that the incident that caused the list, the person who gave it to us, is long forgotten.

But the list remains. And we hand carry them with us every.

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may proved what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Part of that renewal is finding out and tearing up the lists.

Can every one do all things? No. Are some things that people say true? Yes. But we are capable of far more than we think, and people will use words as weapons and cloak them as "constructive criticism". It is our job to sort through these, pull out the truth and apply it where possible, and use our given abilities to glorify God to the best.

And that includes tearing up the list.

So go ahead. How long will you carry yours?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Crime and Punishment

I completed reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky last night. It is a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. The writing is excellent, the characters are well developed, the conflict the main character - Raskolnikov, although phrased in a way not immediately obvious, is one which the 20th Century and 21st Century had to grapple with, to the cost of more than 100 million dead.

What's the conflict? I won't tell - you've got to read.

I'll warn in advance, while the reading is quick, it is not necessarily easy. Something that always impresses me when I read classics is how much we have fallen in general by comparison. The man is a master with words, able to paint word pictures that vividly bring to life 19th Century St. Petersburg and the people that dwell within.

It is also a story of redemption - Christian redemption (mirroring that of Dostoevsky's life, which was itself remarkable). The redemption happens only when Rakolnikov is brought to the end of himself - just the way it works in real life.

I've been thinking of formalizing my reading list for next year. I think for classics, I'll finish Dostoevsky and then maybe move on to Tolstoy. Powerful writers

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Bees are Coming!

It's official - three 3 lb sets of bees with New World Carniolan's are set be picked up on 19 April 2007.

I'm excited. I really am. I'm ready to see if I can actually get the hives up and going. My goal (to the extent that I can control it is to end the season with four hives, the same that I start it out with.

Yay Bees!

For information on where I got the bees (and they really are swell people) go to the Olivarez Bees Website.

Here is the brief information on the Carniolan Honey bee (from Wikipedia):

Apis mellifera carnica, classified by Pollmann, 1879 - Carniola region of Slovenia, the southern part of the Austrian Alps, and northern Balkans - better known as the Carniolan honey bee - popular with beekeepers due to its extreme gentleness. The Carniolan tends to be quite dark in color, and the colonies are known to shrink to small populations over winter, and build very quickly in spring. It is a mountain bee in its native range, and is a good bee for colder climates.

For the full (and very fascinating) information packet on honeybees, go here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Planning for the New Year

It's never too early to plan for the new year, to set the course of one's sails in advance of its arrival. As always, this has not been the year I intended it to be - but it has been a year of hopefully substantial changes, especially in the latter half.

Why? A few reasons, I think:

1) I think I have finally started to put the failure of The Firm behind me. The final financial damages have worked themselves out, and I am far enough removed from the personalities and the events to look at them.

2) A book - provided by Bogha Frois called Conative Connection: Acting on Instinct which has provoked my thinking. In short, the book looks at how you do things, and suggests finding those goals - or even parts of the job you are currently doing - that lead to your strengths. It has been one of those books that make you say "Okay, there is a way to harness what I do". (Full disclosure: While I liked many of the ideas of the book, the author heavily markets her profiling test, developed by her, and quotes a great deal from successes of nameless big clients. Also, more into self actualization than is probably prudent. Still, a helpful book to start thinking.)

3) Conversations - Long conversations with friends and loved ones, including The Ravishing Mrs. TB, Bogha Frois, Cleasiche fionnadh, Aosdean Ruadh, Otis (go Here for his blog) and others. Probably more conversations about life which did not revolving purely around The Firm than I have had in the last five years. Conversations with the time to reason through, the space to be silent, and the willingness (is it age? or wisdom) to be honest with others and ones'self.

4) God - This has been a harder one to pin down, more my failure than His. Part of this, I think, has been His stripping away of those things I valued to pare me down to the core of being willing to obey - and even then, I still struggle. Patience, and wisdom, for example. But He is gracious, even as I am obstinate.

5) Writing - Both this blog, journaling, and working through publishing my written work as a serial. Certainly I love writing. Writing stuff down for me has a power, even if I am not always conscious of it at the time. It structures my thoughts, it makes me think, and it helps me express that which I cannot always express in words.

So now, to plan ahead...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Action and reaction

Today, a total random incident which provoked a serious thought: In the course of my normal work environment interaction, I responded to a coworker with what is often my satirical dry wit at my place of employment. Her reaction was less enthusiastic. Then, later in the day, I reacted in a calm, pleasant, positive manner, and got a distinctly different reaction.

This led to another thought: how am I interacting with everyone around me? How am I interacting with the Ravishing Mrs. TB? Is it as an adult, or do I still act and react according to a behaviour or maturity level that used to work for me, and I still believe it does?

The question is not an idle one. If much of an individual's response to me is how I present myself to them, and I am presenting myself to them in a way that gets the responses that I have always gotten, and therefore associate with "Okay", is it real or am I just continuing to play music off an 8 Track in an MP3 world and thinking the sound quality is great?

In speaking with Bogha frois about this issue tonight, I hypothesized that it was a question of behaviour and maturity, that one could change one's maturity and have a modified for of behavior, or not change behaviour and maturity. Bogha frois disagreed, presenting a couple of example where if the maturity level did not change, the behavior did not change, but instead got transmuted into age appropriate situations - boys who love toy cars have real, large, expensive toy cars; girls who loved to gossip about others in their social circle of friends becoming women (homemakers or professionals) who loved to gossip about others.

I think the jury is still out for me on this, as I can see both sides: there are forms of behavior I have changed as my situation has changed and I have matured, but are still recognizable echoes of myself (but are they good), and there are behaviors that have stuck with me all these years, as they have transformed with my life and situations (oddly enough, mostly bad habits).

If I interact with the Ravishing Mrs. TB as I interacted with her as a girlfriend and newlywed, I am not likely to get the same response as if I examined my level of maturity and changed my behavior to act accordingly. One example is that while I think that the help that I give around the house is a demonstration of my love, or being "hopelessly romantic" in hopes of getting my way, a more practical method might be to do the things that it is evident need to be done, but that she has not been able to do - the things I selfishly don't like to do, like paint, or trim bushes, or put laundry away. This represents a maturity level - moving out of my self-centeredness - and resulting in a change in my behaviour.

I'll continue to think about it. Odd how a single incident can prompt such a string of thoughts.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quiet Space

An evening where I felt quiet. Not for any reason that I can divine - often times these are brought on by depression or sadness, but neither of these things am I consciously aware of.

But you come home and you have quiet space - not feeling the need to communicate, not feeling the need to participate, just feeling the need to be solitary inside - "as an oyster", as Dickens said of Scrooge.

Perhaps it is an unconscious thing, a realization underneath that something has occurred which is great import, but is not recognized as such by your mind (if it happened today, I've no idea what it was). Oftentimes my own mind will run off on tangents, places I have no idea where it is going, because it sees a thought or connection it needs to complete to make sense.

I'm not sure - all I know is that tonight, there is quiet space within me, that vaguely ominous feeling that something occurred and I missed it.

And, unfortunately, the silence doesn't speak of its own accord....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Da Derga

I was going to write about something today, but now I'll write about something else.

It will surprise those who know me over the last 5-10 years that prior to then, I had a very different life. Some of it you know, in part: college professor, teacher, retail worker extraodinaire, water and coffee exporter, dreamer. The part you probably don't know is that at one time, I had a musical career.

Da Derga, the fabulous harp/vocal/bodhran group of Toirdhealbheach Beucail and Cleasiche fionnadh, which existed form 1994 -1995. We did music from all six of the Celtic Countries (Yes, as a side note, I play the harp - but not as well as I used to, probably part of the problem). We did shows, we sang in both English and in Celtic tongues (Toirdhealbheach Beucail is actually Old Gaelic for "Booming, Thundering, Roaring X" [X, of course, being my real name], in the sense of a roaring or booming cannon, which if you know me, know this is true: I'm loud!). I played the harp, and Cleasiche fionnadh sang and played the bodhran.

Why do I puzzle this now? Because it was something I loved to do. I practiced every day, I walked around muttering obscure languages, I actually got paid for playing!

Why do I write this? Because we made a decision at some point: tour or stop. Essentially, I entered the work force, moved to the South Bay, and got "A real job". Do I regret this? No, in many ways - that job, and the jobs that have resulted from it, have enabled me to travel, to support myself and my family, and given me greater income opportunities that I would have otherwise believed.

But still there is a part of me, the lyrical, musical, fantasy part, that was turned away that day - and is powerful. How do I connect that part with the reality of today?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why didn't the chicken cross the road?

The Ravishing Mrs. TB and myself went away for the weekend to the South Bay - just us, no kids. It was remarkable - we talked about our lives, and where we wanted to go; we ate meals and didn't fight over eating or sharing crayons - in one event, we just appetizers and dessert for dinner, and lingered over our meal for two hours!; we shopped without chasing kids under the clothing racks.

We even lingered in bookstores.

At which, for the first time in almost a year, I purchased a book from a bookstore- and a book just based on my review of it in the store: The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching! by Jeffrey Gitomer.

But all vacations must end. I felt myself tensing up as we got closer to home, and Mrs. TB was doing the same. For myself, it was the dread of work coming towards me.

In reading my new book, one of the author's points is that you have to believe in yourself and your product to sell it. If I am my product, do I believe in myself? Do I present that way?

This prompted me to review my CV, and having seen a lot of CVs lately, I can tell you that mine looked like everyone else's: each job, dates, name of company, followed by the summary description of what I did (which looked like the previous one) in order to build a "history" of experience.

Blah. The darn thing looks blah. I wouldn't hire me - and I'm stuck with me.

Jobs? Not a problem, no matter my own perception and excuses. On a job website for my industry, 8 pages of jobs under a version of what I currently do.

(Start Aside)

On a side note (and worthy of discussion at a later time) is that pessimists tend to be pessimistic (in other news, Sun rises in East. News at 11). People thrive physically, spiritually, and financially in all circumstances, including potentially bad economic ones. Instead of looking at the headlight of the oncoming train and thinking "Hmmm, that looks weird", shouldn't you at least get off the track?

(End Aside)

I have set my sights too low, settled for what I could get without struggle rather than tried to see how far I can reach. There is a brave new world in my industry, and I'm stuck in the 1980's - because I choose to remain there.

Why didn't the chicken cross the road?

Because who knows what's on the other side.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Talking to your wife

I realized the other day the my conversations with the Ravishing Mrs. TB are not near to the level of my interactions with other females I interact with, primarily through my job. Why is this, I wondered? It's not as if I have any more personal relationship that that with my wife, nor that one more enduring (think about it - how many coworkers do you work with in a lifetime?)

Is it the intellectual "content" of the conversations? Perhaps - but tell me how the discussion of matters that don't matter in five years is somehow "intellectual".

A two part problem, perhaps, one caused both by the habit of not talking to each other due to schedules to the point you feel you have nothing to speak about once the basics of communication are complete.

The other is a direct failure on my own part: how much do I seek to truly cultivate the art of conversation with my wife? How much do I seek to discuss with her matters of import to me, or matters of interest to her? How much do I eek to engage directly in the issues of the date and the future? How much do I share about myself?

How come this list seems to focus on my own shortcomings?

Probably because they are so manifest...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

God getting your attention

God got my attention yesterday:

1) I got an e-mail from at work indicating that I was the holdup on a major project at work. Senior management was carbon copied on the e-mail.

I felt like being two steps away from screaming "I quit". I know why it was done - someone needed the item taken care off, and chose to go this route to get it done.

I was angry because already that day I had been doing things to support clients - getting documentation into order to support projects, catching up on old projects, etc. My reward: You're the roadblock.

I came home and spent an hour at night ensuring that everything was in order, dreading the thought as I did it "You missed X" - but it could not afford not to be done.

I get angry just writing about it.

But did it serve me well? What did I desire, what was I denied?

Respect. Acknowledgement - indeed, worship. validation. To be seen as respected - not treated as recalcitrant.

I struggled today with going in, being Christlike, not showing anger, meeting everyones' requests humbly, not asking for recognition.

I hate it. I want to be respected and desired so badly, I could cry

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Finding a Life

Coming to work this morning, I could just sense myself coming down. I need to find a new career field.

I asked both the Ravishing Mrs. TB as well as Bogha frois what they could picture me doing. The Ravishing Mrs. TB said she could picture me doing a lot of things - farming, writing - but they wouldn't make a living. Bogha frois asked me a couple of thought questions - Make an impact on a few vs. making impact on many; would what I'm doing matter if it was making a major contribution in the industry I'm in versus what I doing in the industry now (not making a major contribution) - and said she'd get back to me.

I hunger for something that has impact and effect, something I can look back on and feel I made impact for good - not just a job, but a calling

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Another one of those days - the kind where you sort of collapse at the end of the day, worn out, not seeing anything but more of the same tomorrow.

I don't know what causes it - is it the onset of fall, is it the ordinariness of one's life, is it the feeling of no control over one's circumstanced? I cannot fully answer, perhaps all. All I know is that dark curtain called depression has returned.

And no, for those of you wondering, merely "changing your thoughts" is not enough...

They are different than they used to be - not nearly as black, not nearly as depressing. More of a general malaise, a feeling of futility, that nothing will change and nothing will improve and good heavens, here's the five bad things that will happen tomorrow and now let's extrapolate about how those five bad things will spin into five worse things and scar you for life....

And so it goes...depression as a James Joyce novel...

It will pass - they always do, and the singular light of God's presence will return. I suppose one could make the argument that the darkness makes the stars brighter - although, I would hasten to add that this is generally said by people in their nice warm lighted houses looking out the window....

....not by those in the howling darkness.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Making Decisions

I had a consulting appointment for a personal coach which turned out not as all like I had planned.

I had my phone conference with a project manager, after my initial screening. It went as I had expected: challenging, focus, look to the future. We then got down to brass tacks: the promises to me, expectations of me, and, of course, the finances - about $3300 for a 5 month session. We then got to closing the deal: the credit card number ("We recommend people use a line of credit so they can pay it off a little at a time"). I was honest with the project manager - I wanted to ask my parents for the money as a loan. We agreed to talk on Monday.

I was unsettled when I left for work. I called Bogha frois to talk about it. Her thought was that price someone else, see what the reates were - in essence, do more research.

It hit me during the day that I had been heavily sold that morning. Looking back, I could track it: what were my wants, look to the future (to what could be done), the challenge, the buy-in from me, the extension of the offer (like getting into an exclusive clb), the promises to me, the commitment ("What would it take to move you from a 7 to a 10 of commitment?"), and then the request for the sale. Only by the grace of God did I not go further, just because it cost a little too much to finance.

And then, I felt used. Icky, I described it. Like an incident long ago, where I was used by someone else. I felt dirty and unclean.

Why? Because I fell for it. I can see it now, but I still allowed myself to be sold.

Which lead into an interesting discussion with Bogha frois about decisions, good and bad. There are decisions I have made that were bad, but I clung to them - rode them down the rails to their bitter end - and usually regretted them. Theere other ones which did not have the same sense of "DECISION", that were not that difficult, that turned out fine.

What was the difference? I'm not sure - Bogha frois thought it was pride, that one worked one's self up to a diecision where one usually would not, and once one was decided, one was damn well going to follow through, because decisions were difficult, and one shouldn't listen to one's fears - even when they lead one nowhere. To turn aside, to adimit one wasn't ready, to go back requires humility.

I wrote in my journal that I need to ponder this more. How is the process of making decisions different between the two senses that I described? How can I engage in more of the decisions made not from pride, but from humility?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Inner Critic

I was speaking today with Bogha Frois on the way home today. She said she had intended to comment on the blog, but she wrote and unwrote a comment four times, finally not commenting at all. I asked her why, she said didn't think she put the words together right. I gently nudged her about the inner critic, and why did she let it get in the way.

From here we had a fruitful discussion about the inner critic. The thing that came out of our discussion was that the inner critic can become real not only from those who we have long associations with (often family) as we come to accept the folibles and lackings of those we honor and love, but (I think) more often from our friends and acquaintances, those whom we engage with as equals, whom we develop relationships with and give advice to and take advice from. What happens when those whose opinions we value react badly to heartfelt dreams or advice which we give with the best intentions.

I say this struggling with it myself - even in writing, I so fail to write at all - or speak at all - because I don't think things are good enough or make enough sense. But what am I critical of?

And is it I, or the voices of others long gone, whose only power only now lies in their ability to self-censor myself

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


How do I continue to cling to sin in my life?

Sometines I feel that I am in a state of stasis: not shedding my sin, but maybe not collecting "new ones" either. Some just seem to bubble to the surface, like anger or language. Some are always there, like sloth or lust. Some (by the grace of God) I seem to get a handle on, like covetousness or greed.

How is this? How is it determined?

Is it something that I do? Could I forsake more of my sin if I walked closer to God, confessed my sin, and tried harder?

Is it something that God is doing, working through them in a pattern random to me but sensible to Him?

Am I what is holding back becoming more like the Lord Jesus through my lack of dedication and sinfulness? If so, how can I more completely deal with my sin?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Winterizing the Bees

The Bees - the one colony that survived the summer - is now set (as far as I can make them) for the winter. This was not a stellar year - of the three colonies (one overwintered, two purchased, plus a new queen) only one survived - either Minnesota Hygenic or Carniolan, I'm not sure.

This year we did everything we knew to do: serviced for varroa mites, prepared winter syrup, placed a pollen patty in for extra nutrition, treated for foulbrood, and (of course) buttoned up the entrance to the smallest hole. I know not what else to do.

Next year I'm planning to order another three hives - if the overwinter one survives, so much the better, we just have to get another hive. That's okay. This is a hobby which, by failing, I seem to be getting sucked into more.

I love beekeeping!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Future

Nighean gheal and I had a brief interesting dicussion on the future. It began when nighean bhan asked what a fortune teller was. I told her it was someone who purported to tell the future, and that we, as Christians and followers of Jesus, were not to engage in such practices (Deuteronomy 18: 9-14, Isaiah 8: 18-19). Only God knows the future, I told her.

Then nighean gheal said "Sometimes I think that the future won't be good." I responded "Yes, but we know God is there through it. He says He will always be with us." "I'll try and remember that" she said, and then we had moved on.

Good enough, and I hope she does - but do I?

I get terribly upset and concerned about things over which I have no control. I worry about the future world of my children. But do I account for God in the future? Do I try and remember that?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I apologize for the absence, but have been fighting a deep depression over the last two weeks.

Partially, I think it's due to the fact that I have let work get out of control. My associate leaving has created a work load to be distributed between myself and one other. Looking at the piles depressed me, depressing me caused the work to seem even larger, and what I accomplished even more insignificant.

This then feeds into the equation of feeling that one's life is being wasted. What am I truly accomplishing (in the big picture) by doing what I do? I don't save lives, I don't convert souls, I don't truly feel like I am contributing anything, that I am a little person performing useless tasks which will have no meaning 10 years hence, let alone 100.

And then I more depressed, and then I eat (using food as the one thing I can control), and then I get more depressed.

So I cried and yelled at God. Alot. Then I fasted today, and prayed that God would help me see some hope.

Did anything drastic change? No. We had a nice birthday dinner for nighean bhan, she went to AB, nighean gheal stayed home watching a movie (she felt ill - probably too much sugar and fat), and nighean dhonn got read and went to bed. Nothing earthshattering I fear - except the knowledge that this is what I have been given - and certainly the lives (and spiritual destinies) of my children and my wife will last far beyond 100 years - eternally, in fact.

So thankful none the less - and hopeful to boot!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Seed Day

I received my seeds in the mail yesterday - 2 kinds of broccoli, cabbage, leeks, and an ancient (low gluten) wheat.

It is odd how something relatively simple (and cheap) can give a person so much pleasure. The cost was under $10.00. The anticipation of what I can do with them is, as they say, priceless.

The lesson here, I think, is that cost never total equals enjoyment - or usefulness. Done right, these seeds will lower some of our food costs, and be another sample of doing something which directly contibutes to my family - which makes me feel good.

And the challenges which come from there - planting early, doing my composting better, trying different amendments to the garden (not always successfully, I'll add) - give me pleasurable work, far removed from that which seemingly grabs so much of my time now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Driving to Work

Traffic to work has seemingly been getting worse - it takes a fully 90 -100 minutes to get to work, where previously it took 80-85 minutes. The worst part of it is simply the fact that I don't look forward to the arrival.

It hit me this morning that this is an intolerable thing. I recall doing The Firm, and in that, for all the things I didn't like, I can honestly say I actually anticipated going to work in the morning. E fhein still does that line of work, and I can guarantee you that with all the problems inherent in that line of work, he still looks foward to doing it every day.

And, said a very wise man, you can't be truly successful in a career you don't love.

I'm mulling this over. As I think I've said before, part of what keeps me from truly pursuing a new position is the sense that if I go somewhere else, the situation will become the same in about two years - my average stay in a job in this industry.

What would make me want to get up to go to work in the morning? What makes me get up now with excitement when I don't have to work? If I could hone and focus that, therein probably lies my answer.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Harvesting Corn

I harvested my corn this weekend. Yes, it's late in the season, and no, I can never seem to time it right to actually eat anything that I grow. I grow it mostly for the corn stalks for my wife to decorate with and the kernels to make corn meal with - and, I suppose, the ever present hope that this year, I'll get some...

It was one of the mornings where you can tell that autumn is here: the air is a little crisp, the sunlight has that slight haze that indicates that the fall is coming hard. I moved through, pulling the ears off the the stalks, putting them to the side, then cuttin off the corn at the roots, piling the larger stalks to one side for shocking, the smaller ones to the left for eventual composting. I could hear the voices of my family coming out from the open windows as I worked away in the quiet morning air.

There is something about harvesting that satisfies my soul in a way that I cannot fully or rationally explain. Maybe its the thought that I had a (small) hand in coaxing the Nature that God created, perhaps it's the feeling of knowing I can grow something that is useful, perhaps it is a harkening back to the First Garden before the Fall. I cannot explain it, but only enjoy it - as is true of all truly good pleasures.

The corn now hangs in my garage drying, the cornstalks are in the garden (probably knocked over by the wind - again!) drying as well, another autumn season well begun.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Goal Setting

I am struggling within myself as to the place of goals in the Christian's life.

The problem: To what extent do the goals I determine represent God's will?

No, I'm not talking about those things which are proscribed by Scripture (those are generally obvious), but those things which seem to be left to the decision of the individual based on their relationship with Christ.

For example: What career field should I transfer to? Should I practice this, or that? This is allowed by Scripture, but is it a worthy goal?

At the moment, this is my grid:

1) Is it glorifying to God?
2) Is it Scriptural? (Does it represent something which is definite sin, or is it allowable?)
3) Will increase or decrease my pursuit of holiness?
4) Will it cause another to stumble?
5) Is it making the most of my time?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Urban Survival

I hate Big Cities. I don’t like the numbers of people, I don’t like the traffic, I don’t like the built-uppedness of it all (yes, when words don’t work, make them up), and I don’t like the expense. It’s not my normal habitat, so I immediately feel on guard.

So, naturally, I got sent to a Big City for work.

Lessons I have learned:

1) Don’t plan to use credit cards in taxis. They grumble, won’t do it willingly, and may try to take advantage of you (processing fee, don’t you know).
2) Don’t eat in the hotel. Get there early enough to walk or drive around a bit, to see what else is available.
3) Take the pro-offered local food if recommended by locals. Today I had something I never had before, and it was quite yummy.
4) Always signal the bus. They don’t stop if you don’t.
5) Use the gym and pool if they have it. It makes you feel better.
6) Always miss your wife and family and tell them so.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I'm on the eve of a journey cross country tonight, struggling.

1) I realized, in reading my year through the bible reading this morning, that one of my cherished goals is gone - and I never knew it. I was the one deluding myself. I disqualified myself years ago, and never realized it - or never wanted to realize it. There is a role and a place for me to play, but the one I had imagined is not it.

2) I am struggling with my job. It has become terribly difficult to wake up to go in to work in the morning. The commute is bad enough, but the feeling of emptiness, of doing that which has no eternal value (perhaps little temporal value?) is wearing on me. I continually try to hold in front of me that I am doing the right thing - but is the whole sum of one's career to be suffered through, rather than enjoyed?

What does it mean? I don't know. My career field is the same no matter what company I am at - which should tell me something. But what else to do? I collect quotes about following one's dreams, of working hard - but they never discuss the realities of life. Accomplishing goals do not occur in a vacuum; one has to surrender something to get something, and one does not always know up front if the trade is worth it.

But being this way cannot be right either.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I had one of those wake up calls today, the kind God gives where He says "It's not enough to meet the appearance of obedience; you must be obedient."

I am insatiably curious about my work environment in terms of finance, senior management decisions, etc. - I suppose you could tie this to my general distrust of senior management (at every company I have worked at prior to this one, senior management has treated the employees poorly through bad decisions, company failures, and feathering their own nests). I try to keep my ear to the ground, looking at things publicly available, just trying to get a feel of what is going on.

So this afternoon, I found an interesting document, printed it out, and planned to take it home when I left to read. I'm 3o minutes into my commute, go to find it, and suddenly realized that I can't find it. I call mathair (mom, our admin), who goes and looks and finds it sitting in the work room by the pretzels I had stuffed myself with before I left. The rest of the drive I am tortured with "who saw it, did they connect me with it, will I get in trouble."

And then, in another one of those moments, God spoke to me through His word:

"Unless the Lord builds the house, they laboreth in vain that build it; unless the Lord keep the city, the watchment waketh but in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He giveth unto His beloved sleep." (Psalm 127 1-2)

Whom do I trust in? Myself ("Can you make hair of your head black or white?") With all my scheming and "Need to Know", am I truly trusting in God's hand, or in my own maneuvering to get my way? Am I being a good employee, or am I edging towards the line of delving into things I shouldn't?"

If I were to suffer consequences, and they are not because of any Christian witness I might have, I have failed to be a good witness and there is no benefit (1 Peter 2:20, 4:15). How does that benefit the glory of God?

Is Christ really the Lord of my Life? Do I truly trust Him in everything (Romans 8: 28-29)?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fear and Action

I had a fabuluous coffee this weekend with HWMNBN and spoke with Bogha Frois as well. The thoughts and news, in sync with my own thoughts, are pushing me to action:
- In 2003, when Gold was at $200, I distinctly rememer having a conversation in which I felt that gold was an asset, and should start buying some. I didn't - gold is now at $665 an ounce.

- In 2004, when we purchased our house, I was tagged by the nagging sense that we shouldn't do it for financial reasons (although I really do like my house and am not sorry on that account). I balked - and now we are on the edge.

- In 2005, rather than stick to my guns and get out of a business when I thought it wasn't working, I stayed in due to pride. The result: financial chaos costing around $100,000.

The point is, I see what to do, and fail to trust in my judgement.

And here we are again. I fear that the business for which I work, in the next 9-12 months, is in for some serious changes (by one estimate, my industry has indicated they will lay off 43,000 over two years). Part of me screams to prepare as much as I can, part of me says "Don't be silly."

Based on my past ignoring of choices, can I afford to do it again?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Feeling Fey

Reading the news of Countrywide's annoucement today (HT CNNFN.com) combined with Amgen's annoucement of layoffs (HT CNNFN.com), I kind of get that goose walking over my grave feeling (fey, the old Gaels would call it). Countrywide is one of the largest mortgage companies, and certainly Amgen is a giant in the industry I am in. When problems start appearing here, it becomes a little worrisome.

When does a system, a civlization, a way of life, realize that it is on the way out. Was Rome in 409 cognizant of the fact? Constantinople in 1452? Europe in March 1914? Antebellum South in March 1861? The day before it happens, do they truly believe it will happen?

In John Christopher's book No Blade of Grass (A fabulous end of civilization novel from a British point a view) the two protagonists, having information few else have, that the end is imminent, are having a conversation in a pub:

" John let his gaze travel again beyond the open door of the inn. On the green on the other side of the road, a group of village boys were playing cricket. Their voices seemed to carry to the listener on shafts of sunlight.
'We're probably both being a bit alarmist' he said. 'It's a long cry from the news that Phase 5 is ou t and about to a prospect of a potatoe diet or famine and cannibalism. From the time the scientist really got to work on it, it only took three months to develop 717.'
'Yes,' Roger said, 'that's something that worries me too. Every government in the world is going to be comforting itself tonight with the same reassuring thoughts. The scientists have never failed us yet. We shall never really believe they will until they do.'
'When a thing has never failed before, it's not a bad presumption that it won't fail now.'
'No,' Roger said, 'I suppose not' He lifted his nearly empty glass. 'Look thy last on all things lovely every hour. A world without beer? Unimaginable. Drink up and let's have another.'"

Would those on the other side of civlization changing events be able to truly say that they knew the day it happened? Will we?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Marketing Skunks

Have you ever reached the point of great frustration, where you so badly want something to move forward, impatient that it will not?

I am slowly becoming like He Who Must Not Be Named (HWMNBN) at work. Many people remember him - he'd been there five + years, through some terrible times, had held things together on a string and a prayer for a place that had not really recognized him.

Near the end, it became apparent that HWMNBN had been there a bit too long - one of those things that can happen, and one wishes not to happen. He'd become cynical about the ability to move forward, known for his (correct) frustration at knowing how things were to be done, but being ignored, in some cases becoming confrontational to the point that it politically hurt him. He left, eventually, moving on to a place more in tune with him.

And now, it's me and it can't happen soon enough.

But the thing that kills is impatience, that need for immediate gratification that overcomes the need for patient, consistent effort. If I think too much, more and more I am reaching towards becoming frustrated because things don't seem to be changing - at least not quickly enough, and at least not in my favor.

Like marketing skunks: trying to sell something that looks and smells unappealing as some it is not.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Time Management

I am a miserable time manager. I have more often than not been a poor manager of time - oh, for short periods of time I can motivate myself, but for long periods, I'm miserable.

And yet, time keeps slipping away.

Time to make a new commitment - to be a time miser. An interesting quote from Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IDEA: "Time is your most important asset. Split your life into 10 minute units, and sacriifce as few as possible to meaningless activity."

Or Musashai, the Kensai of Japan, who said in Go Rin No Sho (A Book of Five Rings) "Do nothing that is useless."

This, of course, presumes goals, a second thing I have trouble setting, although I have been working harder on them.

My commitment to the blog: This week, to the greatest extent possible, I will divide my day in 10 minute increments. Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Loving the Unlovable

I was confronted with a question today from Bogha-frois: how do you interact with someone who is essentially hostile to you and refuses to do what you ask them to?

I pondered a while, then suggested that when confronted by the individuals in question, you simply respond "I love you".

That's the great thing about giving advice - you so seldom have to take your own.

Is that how I respond? With love? In most instances, no. To my neighbor - literally my next door neighbor, as we move by and around each other in a sort of an agreed bubble of individualism? To the relatives whom I love, but don't really like sometimes - even when they try to engage me? To those at my work, when they challenge me or make my work difficult, let alone when they try to be "helpful"?

"But I say to you love love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you, that you may sons of your Father in heavean; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethern only, what more do you do than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." - Matthew 5: 43-48

Do I love like this?

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Blues

I woke up this morning and had the blues - that indefinable feeling of depression, of sadness, of something wrong that you can't define. It was overcast and foggy, to be sure, but the weather wasn't enough.

And then I realized midway through the day I was remembering.

Two years ago, I didn't have a job, and at that moment, didn't have a thought of where I was going to get a job. Yes, I had faith in God that He would supply a job, but no idea of where it would come from. When I look back now, this was about the time the realization that the business had failed really set in.

Things are much better now - there is light at the end of the tunnel finally, after another year of slowly sorting out the rubble of our financial and physical lives - and there is much to be thankful for.

But it's a good reminder none the less, to remember where I was, and where the grace and provision of God met me.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Harvesting Grain

The second (and final) part of my harvest occurred today of the two kinds of wheat.

An interesting day to do it: the wind blew a great deal, which tended to mess up my use of the fan to blow the chaff. I actually did the threshing 2 weeks ago, so I only had to use the breeze or fan to remove the chaff from the grain (I thought).

The Kemmer Wheat (also known as Polish wheat) was problemated. The grain got caught in the in the chaff, so it wasn't a clean blow. I lost more than I had intended as I poured between two buckets, let the airflow remove the chaff - in some cases, I blocked the wind, in others, the wind actually blew counter to the fan.

The durum wheat did much better - smaller heads, or perhaps I figured out how to do it.

For final removal, this year instead of trying to piece through the grains for remaining chaff, I washed the whole lot. I did in a bottom half of a Tupperware combination (top half is a colander), using a smaller strainer to catch the overflow for any potential wheat. This method worked pretty well, as most of the chaff floated up. Finally, I put them on cooking sheets and placed them in the sun for final drying. I would guess at least 2 quarts of the Kemmer wheat, and perhaps a gallon of the Durum. Not a lot, I know, but my durum harvest is double last year.

I think I'll only plant the Durum this winter (along with rye, barley, and perhaps oats). The Kemmer wheat, while beautiful to look at, was easily knocked over by the wind and was the more difficult of the two to thresh.

I just really enjoy growing grain. I had no idea that it could be so pleasant and rewarding, and a great use of garden space in the winter.

A peaceful morning

This morning, showered, shaved, and Bible reading done, I sat for a moment with Laurel after she woke up. She drank her juice, then quietly played with a cell phone as I sat there in the silence, reading short meditations and enjoying the time together - time we seemingly so seldom have.

Life is good. God is good.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Thoughts on the Pumphouse Spring

Focus on serving God, not what man would have you do.
Fear Him, Honor Him, Obey His Word.
Demonstrate His excellencies to an unbelieving world
that fools itself as to its relevance and its satisfaction:
Hollow shells with the essential core gone out.

Lift Him up, demonstrate His goodness,
Be satisfied with Him.
Glorify Him that hath made the universe:

He spoke, and it was.

Cast aside all that is not of Him,
That He might have all of you.

Who is like the Lord our God?
Who is like Him in Majesty and Strength?

How majestic , O Lord, is Thy name in all the earth!

- Written 16 July 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Happy Failure Day II

Yesterday was the Second Annual Failure Day.

It was a tough week for it - a Government Agency Audit, a client audit, long traffic hours and just general busyness. No sooner had I made plans for the future then they got smashed by the reality of life.

I mentioned my complaint to Bogha-frois on one of our afternoon commute converstations. Her response - "You have to keep trying, to have some goal to work for, because it will give you the feeling of accomplishment" was true enough.

The challenge comes when your exhausted, late, don't feel like doing anything, and don't feel like it will make a difference.

But I have to take the good with the bad - if nothing else, these last two years have been slowly edging me towards taking more reponsibility, of being a leader - even if done so kicking and screaming. They have also forced me to really evaluate my priorities and my goals - not having infinite amounts of time and money will do that for you (Now I need to find the focus and will to do them).

So Happy Failure Day! Go out and contemplate all that has not worked out in your life, and then think of all that has gone right, and then be thankful.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Feeling Thankful

I had another one of those "There but for the grace of God go I" moments. Johnson and Johnson announced yesterday that they were shedding 3-4% of their workforce, including about 600 people at their ALZA headquarters in Mountain View. Another 200 would get reassigned.

I worked at ALZA. I probably know some of those people.

One of the things that is really good about my industry (biopharmaceuticals) is that I have been able to succeed far beyond what a typical political science major could do (in that way, it is similar to high tech in the mid nineties). One of the bad things is that more and more (or has it always been this way?), it seems like these things happen (Perhaps another post for another day is the nature of the biopharmaceutical business. Only now are we reaching a timeframe where we have 20-30 years of an industry. What is the average company life? What is the average product life? Is it sustainable?)

The two things it impresses on me is 1) Continue to be thankful that I have been blessed with a job to support my family; and 2) One needs to seek ways to be able to weather such storms and control one's financial and work life.

There are people affected at ALZA who are truly suprised by this, had no idea, and today are wondering how they will make it.

I've been there. It won't happen again.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I was convicted this week of the attention I focus on myself instead of God. Confronted through the book The Exemplary Husband, I realized that I focus my attention on my own decisions, rather than the sovereignty of God. If I believe that God is supreme and sovereign (which I do), then all that has occurred in my life - even the times when I suffered from my own sin and bad decisions - were because He allowed me to. Even in my life now, God is in control - I am to be content with the situations He puts me in, not be discontent and questioning.

Where has God put you?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Buy this album!

My friend Vie has put out his solo album. It's very good. It's so good that, in fact, you should stop reading and click here to learn about him, his music, and to buy an album.

Strike that. Click here and order 3, and give them to two friends.

It's scriptural, heart-felt, rock. Honor God, support a great musician, and enjoy lyrics you can actually listen to.

And yes, he did do all the instrumentation and the vocals - and wrote almost all the songs on their. He's that good.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ephesian 5:15-16

I heard one of the best sermons I believe I have heard my pastor preach today about the above.
"See then that you walk circumstpectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, becuase the days are evil (NKJV)".

The key part, for me, was the confronting statement by my pastor concerning what he would do if he found out he had only one to two years to live. His comments:

- Pray more
- Turn off the TV
- Read a lot more, both Bible and great Christian authors
- Study harder
- Pray harder
- Sacrifice more for my family
- Personally disciple my girls
- Personal and passionate evangelism
- Fight for Holiness and Purity
- Do more with family
- Show love to my wife
- Prepare the church
- Do everything I could

The challenge is for me - and for you: Am I redeeming the time? Am I doing all I can for that that matters in eternity?

Good work and GOOD WORK

Yesterday I had a virtually perfect work day - on a Saturday, of all things.

What did I do? I worked inside and outside the An Taigh Thoirdhealbeach Bheucail, catching up on things I have been needing to do for weeks:

- Attempted (the jury is out) on parboiling the rice I grew last year to dehull it.

- Threshed my Teff (small grain from Africa, used in Ethiopian cusine to make injera, their version of flatbread. "It smells like molasses, while cooking, and if mixed with buttter, it tastes like cake" says The New Joy of Cooking).

- Hand shelled my blue corn for planting and grinding.

- Hand prepared my garden, including mixing in horse manure from The Ranch

- Made borsch with beets I grew in my garden (and homemade sauerkraut from my aunt -YUM!).

- Drove the truck!

- Got my smog certification on the truck (Yea, we passed!)

- Went to my local Nugget (A fine shopping experience), and bought myself a roll and an Imperial Stout for dinner.

- Went to Home Depot and got the last bit for my sprinkler set up for my garden, and a new handle for my pick.

- Went to Wal-Mart, got my oil changed, and got plants for the garden.

- Mowed and edged the lawn (not my favorite, especially edging, but got mulch for my garden)

- Prepared seeds for planting, including seeds I grew and saved from last year.

- Had a hearty and satisfying dinner of homemade borsch, dutch crunch roll, and Imperial Stout.

Now what, one might ask, is so satisfying about a day like this?

It's the sense I got at the end of the day, the sense of accomplishment. There is something - I don't know how to define it - that comes along with a good day of outdoor or manual labor that I have never achieved in my indoor work or white-color job. It is the sense of both mind and body laboring, feeling exhausted because of the labor, and having something accomplished. I went to bed with a good tired, not the collapse of exhaustion from lack of sleep.

The other aspect is the sense that, in some small way, I'm accomplishing one of my goals. To prepare the garden with horse manure from the Ranch (by default organic, I guess) and grass from home, preparing to use seeds that I grew last year, and preparing a meal out of what one has grown, gives me a small sense of providing for myself and working towards becoming more agricultural (and conservationist to boot).

C.S. Lewis in his book The World's Last Night And Other Essays in his article titled "Good Work and Good Works" notes:

"Granted the departure from the primitive condition in which every one makes things for himself, and granted, therefore, a condition in which many work for others (who will pay them), there are still two sorts of jobs. Of one sort, a man can truly say 'I am doing work which is worth doing. It would still be worth doing if nobody paid for it. But as I have no private means, and need to be fed and housed and clothed, I must be paid to do it'. The other kind of job is that in which people do work whose sole purpose is the earning of money; work which need not be done, ought not to be done, or would not be done by anyone in th whole world unless it were paid."


" If we have any 'choice of a career' (but has one man in a thousand any such thing?) we shall be after the sane jobs like greyhounds and stick there like limpets. We shall try, if we get the chance, to earn our living by doing well what would be worth doing even if we had not our living to earn. A considerable moritification of our avarice may be necessary. It is usually the insane jobs that lead to money; they are often also te least laborious."

Yesteday I did the work I would do if it were not paid (as it is not, at least economically).

It was a good day.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bee Update

Well, the bees and we had a successful visit:

1) The Italians (overwintered last year, requeened this year) showed evidence of producing brood. I removed one deep to help them concentrate on the other, as they appear to be expanding slowly.

2) The Minnesota Hygenic queen was located, but they had a tragic die off: the feeder we used accidently let the bees in, and literally hundreds got trapped inside and died - at least an inch deep.

3) The New World Carniolan were did not even use all their syrup (we gave it to the Italians). They seem very strong, although I was unable to locate the queen.

I think part of my problem (in all three cases) in locating brood was the fact that we are located directly beneath a pair of large pines, which shades the hives from summer sun, but also cuts down on the light available to look for eggs and larva.

Also, in all three cases, there was evidence that honey is being gathered. All in all, a respectable start to the bee season!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bee Update 2007

The Bees are back! The following developments have occurred:

1) The hive that I had survive the winter was failing. The queen was only laying drone eggs (books and pictures - you can't have enough of them!), so it was time to replace her. I got a new queen, put the old one in the empty hive (so at least she'd have access to food), and put a new Italian queen in. She was accepted by the new hive, but at last check, no progress was noticeable.

2) We are also the proud owner of two new types of bees: Minnesota hygenic and New World Carnolian. We got a package of bees and queens at the end of April (a supposedly easy jaunt that turned out as a 200 mile 6 hour extravaganza), and put them in the hive.

I hope to have a report after this weekend!

Back from the Wilderness

A long absence, for which I apologize. I would use the term back from the wilderness only because it is true.

Not a physical wilderness, but an emotional one. It has been a challenging 3 months - not from any real physical aspect, but more from spiritual and situational aspects, leading me to question what I have been doing heretofore and where I am going.

Another perspective - probably the one forcing me back - is the fact that I turned 40 this month. This in itself has caused a great deal of thought - mostly that of eternity, spending time wisely, legacy leaving, and activity participation (i.e. what were doing twenty years ago that you are doing now? Is that the way you want it to be in another twenty years?)

So pardon my absence. My thoughts for intially writing might have been good but flawed, but upon thinking about it, one thing I do is write well, and I should being doing that.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I have often dreamed
of being a leader,
one of The Great Ones:
Mover of Deeds,
Commander of Destinies,
Admired and Revered by all;
The proverbial "catch".

But in Your work, O Lord,
I find that greatness is not in being great,
but in serving.
"He who would be greatest of all", You say,
"must be servant of all",
As You were, Lord,
Servant of all, served by few.

Father, crush within me all that
is not of You:
The need to be served;
The need to be recognized;
The need to be adored.
Help me love humility and obscurity
and serving, O Lord,
as You do.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

A Random Thought Compendia:

- After approximately one month of what I would consider true goal setting and follow up, I am both rewarded by progress and somewhat set back by the fact that I am suddenly aware that for things in five years, I have to also start moving now. Maybe this is why I have failed heretofore in chess: an inability or unwillingness to plan ahead.

- Do not think that the enemies of the free world are not viewing the protests this weekend and the continued discussion concerning any Senate resolution with anything but glee. As Osama bin Laden predicted, it appears that if you kill enough Amercians, they will go home.

What happens when they start killing you at home? Where will you go then?

- My part of California continues in a relative dry spell (pushing record lack of rain). The last serious drought we had in California (late 1970's) the population was not nearly as large as it is not. How will folks react this time?

- At least one hive of bees is alive - discovered by my father last week as he accidently disturbed them changing their entrance......

Thursday, January 25, 2007

NRSC Pledge

I am not overly political by nature, but I have just finished reading The Looming Tower by Lawerence Wright. If you have not read this book, you should -it clearly defines the nature of our enemy, who will correctly interpret any senate resolution as a sign of weakness, resulting in renewed resolve to kill American here.

Sign the Pledge

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year

A belated (but none the less sincere) Happy New Year. A big year for me, of sorts - this is the year that I turn 4o.

Not that the number itself is important, but rather what it implies. Statistically, my life is half over - and what have I done with it? What have I spent my time on that matters? Of these great plans that I have, what have I done to bring them to pass?

The problem is that I lack the ability to persist in what I start. I even lectured my daughters last week, when Nighean gheal was complaining that life should always be fun and entertaining, like playing Lego Star Wars II was. "Real progress", I opined, "is not as fast or fun as it is in games, but far more rewarding".

Yeah. I should take my own advice.

On my list of things to do this year, I have 45 items: some with specific dates ( a first for me), some which are to stretch over the year. I will undoubtedly have to reallocate my time to them, as work and home continue to leave me with limited time - but pruning is not necessarily bad either.

You find time to do what you want to.