Thursday, December 22

One Year Ago Sunday...

I married the most lovely of women. Kelly and I celebrated our very first anniversary this past weekend. The actual date was not the great celebration and tremendous feat of accomplishment that one would guess is reserved for such occasions. The real celebration lasted for the entire year and I may suggest will continue for the rest of our lives.

Marriage is a great mercy to me. I have learned more in one year from my beautiful bride than I had learned in five combined prior. She has taught me to love, to be selfless, to sacrifice. I have learned the aforementioned gifts not from her lecturing or badgering me, but from her example. In this one year of marriage I have asked her to pack up and move three times. She has complied with narry a complaint, and takes it upon herself to settle in to our new home as quickly as possible and form a new community around us so that we might settle back into a state of normalcy as quickly as possible. She continuously stays up late with me, helping me prepare for my flights, drilling me on my procedures, and urging me on when I fall back. She rises with me every morning, long before the sun rises and has my lunch made and breakfast ready even before I am out of the shower. She is truly an inspiration and a model to emulate.

Accordingly, it was not the wedding day, or the anniversary that has made the first year special. It was the year itself. I look forward with great anticipation to the coming years and cannot wait to see what else she has to teach me.

Sunday, December 18

Killing Christmas

It seems that we Christians have once again lost the forrest for the trees. Our current fight over the meaning of Christmas reminds me of a battle wherein the leaders have to ask, "what was the objective again?" I ran across this article and have found it to be the most clear thinking, forthright, and Truthful synopsis of this battle over the "meaning of Christmas."

As a Christian, I naturally see Christmas as more than a cultural tradition. It is also (or should be) the year's clearest display window for presenting that grand story of the long-ago O Holy Night.
And what is that story? God stooped down to enter and live on the Earth. That "stooping down" is what we call the Incarnation -- God became one of us. Luke gives a revealing little vignette of what God-with-us must have looked like:
As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out -- the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.
When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he . . . touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people."
-- Luke 7:12-16

Think of it: People watched as God felt -- and then acted on -- compassion for an "Earthling." They saw him raise her son from the dead and then give the boy back to her. (He didn't try to recruit or exploit him for his "movement.") That did it -- they reached a conclusion that was both logical and astonishing: "God has come to help his people."

Sadly, that story -- "God has come to help his people" -- has almost disappeared from Christmas. It has been replaced by torrential capitalism, unmerciful stress and (worst of all) an irrational, seething anger from Christians toward the very people God came to help.
So it seems that every holiday season now carries another angry blast from prominent Christians. This year we have two (so far).

The reliably nutty Pat Robertson recently told the people of Dover, Penn., that God is so angry about their recent school board vote that they can just forget about his mercy. Short version: "Go to hell."
And Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, sniffed some anti-Christmas attitudes from Wal-Mart. He went a little berserk, demanding an "apology for insulting Christians" and calling a Wal-Mart statement "flatulent." He also asked 126 religious organizations to boycott the retailer. His news release went on to taunt Wal-Mart with: "Don't forget, we have the next six weeks to pull out all the stops, and we will."

Wouldn't it seem reasonable for Christian leaders to consult the Bible in order to form responses to perceived insults? Had they done so, they might have discovered classic Christian disciplines and graces.
For example, Jesus said, "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me . . . Rejoice, and be glad." (Matthew 5:11-12)
And, the apostle Paul wrote, "When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly." (1 Corinthians 4:12-13)
Clearly, Robertson and Donohue did not rejoice, bless, endure or answer kindly.

I find it incredible that many Christian leaders are essentially saying that the Bible, our "constitution," is irrelevant and not to be consulted on these matters. They are taking the same position toward the Bible that they often accuse liberals of taking toward the U.S. Constitution.
Forget original intent. We cannot possibly know what Jesus and the other framers of our faith would do in these modern times. Therefore, the Bible ends up saying what we want it to say.
Christians have an annual opportunity to bestow a profound blessing upon our society. Especially at this time of year, in the midst of so much pain, conflict and poverty, we Christians could display healing graces that come from another world.

But some of us shoot right on past the heavenly attributes of love, blessing and kindness in our mad dash toward more modern tactics -- boycotts, marches, talk-show shouting matches, trading insults, etc. Many Christians now see themselves as merely another special-interest group, fighting for space on the airwaves, at funding troughs and at White House briefings.
This is part of what is killing Christmas. Some things are too deep, too profound, too mysterious to talk about. In a very real sense, they are beyond language. That's why some Christmas carols seem aglow with holy and awesome silence.

The woman at the heart of the Christmas story -- Mary, the mother of Jesus -- understood the silent interior rhythms of spiritual life. After glimpsing the spectacular majesties of that incredible "O holy night . . . of our Dear Savior's birth," she did not take to the streets to demand respect for Jesus; she didn't "engage the culture." She simply "kept and pondered these things in her heart" (Luke 2:19).
Sadly, the quiet, meditative life is out of favor these days. Even President Bush, a follower of Jesus, often turns to the louder and more divisive Christian voices for counsel. (Yes, I am concerned about the effect of angry and reactionary Christians on our public policy.)
I would like to read of him hosting a quiet dinner in the White House for the more insightful and contemplative "deep rivers" of spiritual leadership. I'd love to see a renaissance of "ponderers" such as Mary.

Call me sentimental, but I hope I live to see another "silent night, holy night [where] all is calm, all is bright." Think of it: a post-marketing, stress-free, heart-deep Christmas. Kindness to strangers, generosity to the poor, good will toward the earth.
To that end, it might be helpful if Christian leaders would go home to their families, read their Bibles and try to silently lay hold the exquisite truth of the Christmas story.
As for me, I'm going to Wal-Mart. It's certainly the time, and that's probably the place to spread some old fashioned Christmas cheer.
Ed Chinn is a free-lance writer who lives in Fort Worth.

Thursday, December 15

The Peeves that are our Pets

What is your pet peeve, in getting ready for Christmas?
I wish for lost time, when I could have gotten out Christmas cards. Moving mid-Christmas season requires planning ahead of time to get the gifts out that one wanted so cheerfully to supply, and planning ahead is a learned activity for me. I find that good things don't happen on their own. Thus, I am a bad girl--again!

Wednesday, December 14

3rd Advent Wednesday

"Our relation to God is unrighteousness. Secretly we are ourselves the masters in this relationship. We are not concerned with God, but with our own requirements, to which God must adjust Himself.

Our arrogance demands that, in addition to everything else, some super-world should also be known and accessible to us. Our conduct calls for some deeper sanction, some approbabtion and renumeration from another world.
Our well-regulated, pleasurable life longs for some hours of devotion, some prolongation into infinity.

And so, when we set God upon the throne of the world, we mean by God ourselves. In believing on Him, we justify, enjoy, and adore ourselves."
Barth: The Epistle to the Romans

Saturday, December 10

Icy Runways + Gunshots + Playmates = Entertainment

I have decided that these days the most exciting place to be is at an airport. Forget paying for movie tickets, concerts, or sports events. This is where the excitement is. For example, in the past week alone we have had a crazy man shot, a 737 run off a runway, and Playboy Bunnies fighting on an airplane and then "making sexual advances" on the officers who were arresting them. Talk about fun. You know where to find me on Friday nights.

Tuesday, December 6


The making of new recipes is a risky business. When deviating from the original, one must brace the tongue to be prepared for strange and curious assaults to its buds. The earth's caretakers cultivate numerous kinds of spices, which supply the lay cooks of the kitchen rich ingredients for their culinary imagination. I often make it my own mission to expose the house inmate to new and exciting flavours for the palate.

Take cardamon for example. This morning's experiment consisted of a a variation on a common Thanksgiving theme: pumpin pie. Adding a dash of cardamon to the crust turns into what tastes like a truck load of the "spicy, aromatic" Mid-Eastern seasoning. Pungent, I would add in the marginalia.

Sunday, December 4

The Shire

Kelly and I just settled into our new home down in Kingsville, Tx after our move from Enid, OK. Along the way we had the opportunity to spend about a week in our hometown of Franklin, Tn. I do believe that in all of the world there is nothing better than coming home.

In J.R.R. Tolkien's novel series The Lord of the Rings much is made about the Shire, the home of Frodo and all of the other Hobbits. The Shire is described as a safe place, a warm friendly environment where the community cares for itself. It changes little over time and remains constant in its atmosphere. It is for the safety of this sacred place that Frodo realizes he must leave it in order to preserve it.

Franklin is the Shire for Kelly and me. There are few other places where we truly feel safe and protected. There is truly a sense that nothing of remotely terrible consequence could or would happen to us there.

When you live a life that is dedicated to training in the art of making and waging war it is so comforting to come home to a place that (at least in recent history) has no idea of what war is. To a place where the community can enjoy evenings in a Pub, coffee on the corner discussing Chesterton, or shopping in one of the most affluent areas in the Nation.

Perhaps this why we left in the first place. Sometimes you have to truly understand how much you love a place, a person, or a principle before you are willing to fight to preserve it.

Monday, November 21

To Grey Mornings

The sky comes down to meet the earth when the clouds roll in and offer their gift of rain. A misty veil the sky lays at earth's feet, whereat he bends to behold how magnified her clean blades of grass become and shine in the half light; her being rejoices to reflect in vibrant greeness the life poured into dusty fields, the drink offered to roots clinging to earth's many layered bosom, trees swinging in the wind with sighs and old creaky voices as the givers of the bow invoking music from the strings of the orchestra.

Tuesday, November 15

The Newest In a Long Line of Wimps

I am not quite sure what has caused modern America to believe that the best way to win a war and send a line in the sand message to our enemies was to quit and run; but for some odd reason, the House and Senate feels it is the only way. Actually, I guess that is the problem, they are "feeling." How insensitive of me.

Davey Crockett, Jim Bowie, Stephen Austin; shame on you for actually staying to defend the Alamo. Don't you know that the best option is to cut and run? I mean it is not as if you actually had a cause to fight for.

Saturday, November 12

French Toast

"France has neither Winter, nor Summer, nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes." - Mark Twain Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 11

You won't see this on television

A co-ed international Scouting group formed this summer in Hasar held its first ever pinewood derby Oct 6th thanks to leader's efforts and cars donated by families of the 116th Brigade Combat Team.

This local Scouting group, known as Kashafa in Iraq began July 7th when members of the 115th BCT Task Force 1/148 Field Artillery and leaders from the community of Hasar celebrated a ribbon cutting and inauguration of the program.

The Hasar Kashafa consists of three groups: Tiger, comprised of boys and girls ages 8-11, Lightning, made up of boys and girls ages 12-14, and Eagles, children 15-18 years old. The groups meet weekly and have over 100 participants.

(information gleaned from an email) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 10

Here Is To 230 years Of Hell, Death, and Destruction heaped upon the heads of those who would dare fight a Marine!

Happy Birthday USMC! Posted by Picasa

the calm before the ....

Movers come. But first we go through our stuff we need to throw out. Moving is rediculously thought-consuming, until you do something about it or tell yourself to get off it and go be productive to someone else. As a last resort, one might as well have some fun--and enjoy the fine autumnal outdoors.

Tuesday, November 8

T-37 Complete

Posted by Picasa What every fighter pilot needs... a good looking woman!

Friday, November 4

Big dog, little dog

Mr Scherrer is out of town happening to visit the elder Mr Scherrer, spending a work day with dad as every boy should yet rarely gets the opportunity. Cross country flights take one away from home upon expeditions into the unknown and thus educate the man in a well-rounded way. Hands-on skill practice in the little jet, a city to explore upon landing, conversations to be had over dinner, a day in between to folic as on holiday, and a return to base to find the satisfaction of the ordinary life one left behind, coming home a new man.

Thursday, November 3

It's Rachel's Birthday....

Let's all celebrate the birth of the screaming pink infant some 27 years ago! You wouldn't recognise her now. What did you ever wish for and actually get?

Friday, October 28

South for the winter

Yes, it's to Kingsville in sunny hot Texas we go! No roaming the woods in the snow to find grandma's house this year for Christmas. Come down to visit next summer, and we can name a cabana on the beach for you!

Wednesday, October 26

In Other Words, e.g......

HE GOT JETS!!! And that means, (woohooo!) that we will be moving south. Warmth-heat- sun-water- fishing-boating- the Bay, all at our back door, if we move to NAS Kingsville. However, that's the one thing we aren't quite sure about is whre we'll be moving, b/c we could be sent to Meridian. Mississippi. Yeah. Well, that too would be the real south and close to family. We ought to know by Friday.

Tuesday, October 25

What do you do with answered prayers?

Last night my greatest and most dire prayer to date was answered. It was a plea that I had been asking for since I was a young boy. Of course there have been many other important prayers that have been on my heart over the years. In fact, in the great scheme of things, this prayer has little ramification (that I can see) other than the fulfillment of a boy's dream.

What do you do when a prayer is answered? Do you sacrifice the fatted calf? Do you pledge your unborn children to God? Vow to never drink again? (wait, that may be too much) Again and again, the answer is a resounding no.

All God asks of us is to Glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. And so, though I have in the past, I shall once again pledge my work to the Lord and to His Glory. For I was taught once, and reminded again of, the wise words of Micah 6:8- ...What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (ESV) Fair enough!

Thursday, October 20


It sticks to one's bones, becomes flesh overnight
fueling the software to run one's neurons,
so music springs forth from the one
who takes time to make the sweet grain,
warmed over from stove to stomach.
Mixed with milk, dried fruits, nuts diced in detail,
it blends unawares the ground seed of flax
bounteous in roughage, all pipes it will clean
and satisfy daily the palate it first pleased.

Sunday, October 16

Strange times, these

On a beautiful fall day, I spend no time outside, which is nearly criminal, considering the fact that there are few perfectly temperatured days in the human calendar within a year. We spent this Sunday worshipping and working, a full schedule of it, so that we're left wondering when the weekend is coming. Eric flies his last few rides of the season here at Vance, to find out next week where we'll be moving and when.

Wednesday, October 12

A Good Analogy

For anyone out there who needs a good analogy as to why we are fighting the war against terror, look no further.

The other day, my nine year old son wanted to know why we were at
war...My husband looked at our son and then looked at me.  My husband and I were in the Army during the Gulf War and we would be honored to serve and defend our Country again today. I knew that my husband would give him a good explanation.

My husband thought for a few minutes and then told my son to go stand
in our front living room window. He said "Son, stand there and tell me
what you see?" "I see trees and cars and our neighbor's houses." he replied. "OK, now I want you to pretend that our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush." Our son giggled and said "OK." "Now son, I want you to look out the window and pretend that every house and yard on this block is a different country" my husband said. "OK Dad, I'm pretending."

"Now I want you to stand there and look out the window and pretend
you see Saddam come out of his house with his wife, he has her by the hair and is hitting her. You see her bleeding and crying. He hits her in the face, he throws her on the ground, and then he starts to kick her to death. Their children run out and are afraid to stop him; they are screaming and crying, they are watching this but do nothing because they are kids and they are afraid of their father. You see all of this, son....what do you do?"

"What do you do, son?"
"I'd call the police, Dad."
"OK. Pretend that the police are the United Nations.  They take your
call.  They listen to what you know and saw but they refuse to help. What do you do then, son?" "Dad.......... but the police are supposed to help!" My son starts to whine.

"They don't want to son, because they say that it is not their place
or your place to get involved and that you should stay out of it," my
husband says.

"But Dad...he killed her!!" my son exclaims. "I know he did...but the police tell you to stay out of it. Now I
want you to look out that window and pretend you see our neighbor who you're pretending is Saddam turn around and do the same thing to his

"Daddy...he kills them?"
"Yes son, he does. What do you do?"
"Well, if the police don't want to help, I will go and ask my next
door neighbor to help me stop him." our son says. "Son, our next door neighbor sees what is happening and refuses to
get involved as well. He refuses to open the door & help you stop him,"
my husband says.

"But Dad, I NEED help!!! I can't stop him by myself!!"
Our son starts to cry.

"OK, no one wants to help you, the man across the street saw you ask
for help and saw that no one would help you stop him. He stands taller
and puffs out his chest. Guess what he does next son?" "What Daddy?" "He walks across the street to the old lady's house and breaks down
her door and drags her out, steals all her stuff and sets her house on
fire and then...he kills her. He turns around and sees you standing in the window and laughs at you. WHAT DO YOU DO?"

Our son is crying and he looks down and he whispers, "I'd close the
blinds, Daddy."
My husband looks at our son with tears in his eyes and asks

"Because Daddy.....the police are supposed to help people who need them...and they won't help.... You always say that neighbors are
supposed to HELP neighbors, but they won't help either...they won't help me stop him...I'm afraid....I can't do it by myself Daddy.....I can't look out my window and just watch him do all these terrible'm just going to close the blinds.... so I can't see what he's  doing........and I'm going to pretend that it is not happening." I start to cry. My husband looks at our nine year old son standing in the window, looking pitiful and ashamed at his answers to my husband's questions and he says..."Son" "Yes, Daddy." "Open the blinds because that man.... he's at your front door..."WHAT DO YOU DO?" My son looks at his father, anger and defiance in his eyes. He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes, without hesitation he says: "I DEFEND MY FAMILY DAD!! I'M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER, DAD!!! I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM, DAD, I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM!!!!!" I see a tear roll down my husband's cheek and he grabs our son to his chest and hugs him tight, and says... "It's too late to fight him, he's too strong and he's already at YOUR front door should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife, and his children and the old lady across the way. You have to do what's right, even if you have to do it alone, before it's too late." my husband whispers.

THAT scenario I just gave you is WHY we are at war with Iraq. When good men stand by and let evil happen son, THAT is the greatest atrocity "YOU MUST NEVER BE AFRAID TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT! EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO DO IT ALONE!"

Tuesday, October 11

back on the plains

We arrived back home from the humid beaches of Rockport, Texas to the windy plains of Oklahoma. It's always good to see one's own humble abode, even though the pangs of leaving on the other end linger. Only a precious few weeks left of flight training and coffee making!

Thursday, October 6

It's so cold... fingernails wear ice caps. It's so cold, my arm hairs turn into mohawks. It's so cold, my tongue clogs up my throat, running from the wind outside. The cold front came as predicted, taking all our cheeks' blood with it.

Tuesday, October 4

It's work time

I work so much, my legs are going to fall off. I'm going mind numb because I do coffee shop tasks at high speed. One may go to coffee houses to read or write, but working there spares no time for reading. So I complain to myself. A job brings little lasting happiness and yet no small measure of selfish satisfaction. The other "wives" and I who consider life a boring expanse of hours to be whiled away when we don't have a job, moan and groan under the weight of real schedules. Our prayers are gratified: here's you a great little job to add to the family income. Our prayers change: O God, deliver me from tedious labour that requires me to get up at 5AM--and remind me: why was this so necessary to my life's eternal purpose in pleasing You, again?

O Woman, how fickle your desires, how fleeting your pleasures!

Thursday, September 29

You are stuck on stupid

I greatly disdain the mainstream media. Further, I am not partial in my disdain; I dislike them all. I came across this conversation on the and immediately smiled at the tenacity of Gen. Russel Honore'. A shining example to us all.

"You are stuck on stupid." —Gen. Russel Honoré

Earlier this week, in a press conference on evacuation plans for New Orleans in the event Hurricane Rita moves north, Mayor Ray Nagin was displaced at the podium by Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who took over when reporters started to badger Nagin. Here are a few excerpts from Gen. Honoré's remarks:

Honoré: Mr. Mayor, let's go back, because I can see right now, they're setting this up... There are buses [at the convention center]. Is that clear to you? Buses parked. There are 4,000 troops there. People come, they get on a bus, they get on a truck, they move on. Is that clear?

Female reporter: Where do they move on...

Honoré: That's not your business.

Male reporter: But General, that didn't work the first time...

Honoré: Wait a minute. It didn't work the first time? This ain't the first time. Okay?... Let's get a little trust here, because you're starting to act like this is your problem. You are carrying the message, okay?

Male reporter: We were told that Berman Stadium...would be another staging area...

Honoré: Again, the current place, I just told you one time, is the convention center... Let's not confuse the questions with the answers... You're asking last storm questions for people who are concerned about the future storm. Don't get stuck on stupid, reporters. We are moving forward. And don't confuse the people please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight.

Male reporter: Why [will the convention center work] this time, though, not last time...

Honoré: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. Rita is happening now... We can have a conversation on the side about the past, in a couple of months.

Every Republican in the nation, starting with President Bush, should take a lesson from Honoré. Next time a reporter asks a stupid question (anytime their lips are moving), just reply, "You are stuck on stupid!"

Monday, September 26

sweet to my taste

Nutter Butters and gourmet cheddar hamburgers were the featured viands of our camping trip. We spent the day on Canton Lake, first in a friend's new boat while (most) everyone took turns water skiing; then Eric and I launched their old boat we borrowed, buzzing full throttle over to the beach. From the sandy shore, we watched sea gulls stalk the fish who flip and feed at the surface of the water. We headed back across the lake as the sun began its inglorious setting ending in a rosy cloud-wisped sky.

Back at camp, we cooked our dinner in courses over the grill, played chess in the light of a glowing florescent lantern, and watched the Milky Way as stars fell far over our heads.

We found tent sleeping less than romantic. Or maybe it's romanticised. Our bones were either bruised or misplaced by dawn's early light.

The feature success of our deep reed fishing that morning was a little brim that Eric caught on the second cast. My bright-red-monster-squid-like lure must have sent the rest into hiding. We left the fish to their play and became one with them over on the beach side, where we floated in the cool, cold water and listened to some little girls voice our own opinions--the dismay of resounding "no" to the parentals who declare the time has come to go home.

Thursday, September 22


On a treadmill is an activity I scorned ever to do. Eric, despite much time with them, hates the revolving black belt. Even Forrest Gump ran in the great outdoors, breaking all precautionary laws of protected health as embodied in his leg braces. If he wasn't running for his life, he ran for his broken heart.

There's something about the soothing whir of the machine, the flash pot show of Country Music TV on the overhead screen, the rhythmic pounding of the other joggers, all of which creates a safe haven for meditation. Running becomes a musical score, druming time with the feet, fluted patterns of breath, and the harp like strumming of other voices in one's head.

Wednesday, September 21


As one turns a corner to get to the other side of the room, so the week turns on a Wenesday, a hinge connecting the First day and the Last.

Every weekend in a regular man's schedule provides the opportunity to enter a novel realm. Once freed of the week's responsibilities, we seek relaxation in the form of recreation, a sacred time that will give us a break from the demands of tedious details in week-life. Thus, we find ourselves dividing our lives between two kinds of time: work time and free time.

While we commonly identify ourselves by our work, what is perhaps more telling about a man is the manner in which he spends the spare time, the sacred off time of the weekend. Where does one go? What is there to do? How do we spend it (as if it were gold)? Or is this freedom time like iron to us--harder than the cross of work time--to bear?

Sunday, September 18

A Tale of Two Leaders

During the Presidency of Grover Cleveland a large drought hit the west Texas region. Opposing party leaders and much of the local populace were screaming for the Federal Government to send in over $10,000.00 in aid. President Cleveland, however, was certain that the American people could, and would, come to the aid of their fellow countrymen. You see, President Cleveland believed that it was not the Federal Government's job to directly care for the people. The true care of a region's people fell to the community in which they lived, the Church in which they worshipped and finally the local government that governed them, he argued. In fact, Cleveland believed this so wholeheartedly that he told the region that it was up to them to care for its own. Only in a lack of local funds would he allow to Federal Government to intervene. This certainly was not a popular decision, and many leaders both in his party, the opposing party, and the press forecasted disaster, both for west Texas and for the President. They were all wrong. Not only did the community recover, but the American People united and brought in over 1 million dollars for the hard hit area. Much, much, more than they even dreamed of asking for.

President Bush has pledged over 62 Billion dollars of the Federal Government's money to the relief of Hurricane Katrina. If you think that this is a tremendous amount of money, and you wonder how it may be spent, you are not alone. I find this interesting that President Bush has pledged this much money even in the face of admittedly tremendous initiative on the part of faith based organizations. The very organizations that President Bush was so excited about in the early years of his first term.

Perhaps the Federal Government should look back at history and weigh the benefits of stepping in and committing to such a large hand. What with the success of our local Churches, charities, and private support; perhaps this could be a chance for America to prove that she is still made out of the mettle she once was.

Sentimentality Anyone?

It seems that everywhere I go these days I see folks with little yellow stickers on their cars, flags stuck in the windows, and bumper stickers that read "God Bless the U.S.," etc. Even the little yellow stickers are not consistent in their message. Some read "Support our Troops", some say "Bring 'em home safe", others simply display remarks referring to Sep 11, 2001.

Why in the past 4 years has their been such a outpouring of national nostalgia and seeming pride in our Nation? Perhaps it is because our lives radically changed after the terrorist attacks of 2001, perhaps it is because we remember the good old days when we were paying only 0.98$ per gallon, or maybe, it is because we still are haunted by the 1960's and 70's.

The short answer is that simple sentimentality is not going to change where we are. Looking back to the 90's where the economy was great, fuel was cheap, and global conflicts could be solved with a cruise missile is not the cure. We Americans have a choice in front of us. We can buy into our sentimentality, wish for the old days and fade into oblivion, or we can make a stand where we are, bite the bullet and surge forward.

We as a people should not support the idea of "Bring them home safe;" that is not how we wage war. We must not let our rosy memories of the past deter us from our current course. We are not fighting right now for lower gas prices, or shorter lines at the airport terminal. We are fighting for the survival of Western civilization, and more importantly, the future of our children.

Thursday, September 15

The Fall of Days

After last night's storm, the morning brought the cool air of Autumn. The drawing of the seasons marks the end of our week of girlyness and the beginning of a new year in lives apart in our Other Worlds. How very many words pass between women of many shades of mind boggles mine, and is forever satisfying.

Saturday, September 10

An Un-natural Disaster

I have been thinking for quite a while what to write about Hurricane Katrina…I have had many thoughts and emotions about the storm and its aftermath. And while I will write on the subject, I thought that this article would be a good substitute until I can put my thoughts into words.

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State An Objectivist Review by Robert Tracinski The Intellectual Activist September 2, 2005

It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster. If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild. Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting. But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster. The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong. The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view. The man-made disaster is the welfare state. For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency--indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country. When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11). So what explains the chaos in New Orleans? To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story: "Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on. "The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire.... "Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders. "'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.' " The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows National Guard troops, with rifles and armored vests, riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad. What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to drive away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Super Dome? Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them? My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage last night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.) What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"--the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels--gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or so who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then gave me an additional, crucial fact: early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails--so they just let many of them loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa. There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit--but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals--and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep--on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves. All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters--not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency. No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism. What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. They don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men. But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them. The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages--is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting. Source: TIA Daily -- September 2, 2005

Tuesday, September 6

Labourious Day

Friday night, we found our hotel in the northern outskirts of Dallas. We spent lots of time driving around, waiting for the train, and finding a place to eat. Moments of delightful surprize: discovering Grapevine Lake at sunset, being at the symphony to hear the Chieftains open their pops concert season, and lunch at a main street cafe/bakery in historic Grapevine. One old friend met us downtown for a leisurely evening in West End (where JFKennedy was shot on his tour of the city) and we found riding boots for my birthday present, where I also got a lesson in Western fashion. I have much to learn in the ways of the cowboy!

Tuesday, August 30

Questions on Wisdom

Where is Sheba, that the Queen of Sheba ruled (1 Kings 10)? Do we know her name?

For which of his wives did Solomon write the Song of Songs? Could she be the same woman as described in Proverbs 31?

What is the "Millo" that closes the breach of the city of David (1 Kings 11:27)?

Friday, August 26

I'm Raising the B.S. Flag On This One

Occasionally, I hear something that causes me to go into quite a rage and I have to give myself time to think through the information I have recieved, try to glean some sort of logic from it and proceed. However, in our Post-Modern times it is pretty clear that the whole logic idea has been the "baby thrown out with the bathwater." So, in celebration of stupidity, I have made a list of things I am raising the B.S. flag on:

1. Since there is supposed gender discrimination at our Service Academies we are going to up the number of ladies admitted, make it easier for them to get in, and decrease the number of male applicants. Glad our future Officers will be there because they deserve to be....

2. The price of gas and our dependence upon the Middle East when we have more untapped resources in Texas and Alaska than we know what to do with.

3. Michael "kiddie porn" Jackson being the hit of the evening news while we are AT WAR!

4. Speaking of war... Whatever happened to knowing who the enemy is and going in to kill him? We know who the enemy is, where the enemy is, too bad we are not being allowed to go kill him.

5. A Washington State radio personality being fired for calling the Muslim religion a "Religion of Warfare." All the while, liberal radio personalities constantly bash Christians with no backlash.

6. Letting other Nations dictate our foreign policy.

7. Allowing militant Islam to invade our country, and Liberals to abort babies, all the while Christians are looked down upon and Soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, while called "baby killers", are actually saving them.

Anybody have some Jack, I need a drink....

Thursday, August 25

Talk of the Town

Babies tend to take over the conversation. Two married, unchildrened adults are discussing the kind of Japanese exports that make it to American car lots, and suddenly their talk takes an immediate right onto car seats and remembering that they are inheiriting a new relationship; that of aunt and uncle-hood. Now that the word's officially out, I feel safe to announce the expectation of the McClelland's spring baby. The pleasure of first grandchild status, long lists of names, new photo albums, doll-sized clothes, the whole works!

On a whim

When your schedule gets changed, what do you do? Panic, fight it, cry over it, give it up, throw up the arms in disbelief of your fate....? The answer is: f) all the above. We try to prepare ourselves for "military life" by talking about the possibility of change ahead of time. We take lessons on organizational skills and conduct meetings as a "head's up and encouragement," listen to speeches on spousal significance and family readiness, and On the Importance of Expressing Your Feelings in a world of change. What it comes down to, is that military life is difficult and hard and full of high expectations and deep disappointments; as is every other form of life, all countries and civilians included.

Wednesday, August 24

Red Roses

He brought me one to work. I was celebrity for the morning, to have a husband who brings me a flower. It could have been any girl there who got one (they're nearly all married), but there's been no other blooms in plastic cups waiting on the metal table behind those "employee only" doors. He also brought me a tank-sized mug from the St Louis Starbucks; there's room on the sides for 4 different views of the city! I love it--I mean him-- or, I meant all three of them; well, I have a liking for pottery and roses and one broad shouldered man.

Sunday, August 21

Almost Home

He's almost back. Later than planned, because of storms. Weather can change everything; maybe that's why we are so fond of discussing it. Waiting is a tension, to keep occupied in a profitable manner and thereby bring happiness by keeping one's mind occupied with the present concerns of work or projects needing doing. Work is thus man's means of both sanity and insanity--insane if he lets work rule him--sanity if he simply does the job well, and leave it at that.

Meanwhile, I play A&E Pride and Prejudice as an excellent background of pleasant accents in old world conversation.

Saturday, August 20

Flyboy gone Flyin'

On his first and only cross-country this weekend, Eric left me at the coffee house yesterday. I like how he carries himself comfortably in his olive green flight suit. It's not terribly Marine-like, to be at ease in a baggy suit, but no small mercy to have one uniform worth sleeping in.

Wednesday, August 17

Clouds breaking

So the sky cleared today. Did it make us any happier? No, not in mere sunniness, for then came the heat. And we complain of being overheated in the humidity after all the storms. Wretched man that you are, can you never be content in any given condition?!

I got to the commisary for potatoes and bananas, comforting staples in the kitchen. First, I took an Americano by the flight room for mi esposo, who to my great satisfaction was actually there (one never knows--it's a 50-50 chance). It's been a gossipy week at work, and I take pleasure in telling him my side of grievances!

I found a good poem, "for winged vision"--

What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage that we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose garden.
~T. S. Eliot

Monday, August 15

grey day

The sky is overcast. I am cast into a reflective, hollow tunnel. Not hollow, really, for the tunnel becomes inhabited by all the characters of the novels I'm reading, the ideas I'm pondering. I need a new writing stage. Journals, blogs, web sites, magazines; is there any other medium available to an average American?

I took my second riding lesson today. Eric's check ride last week was postponed when his instructor didn't show. Hopefully now it's already on the grade books...History, a sealed deal, old news, the book already read and shelved.

Saturday, August 13

Much Afraid

For the past six years I have not been good enough. At least that is what I have been told. I must be tougher, braver, stronger, harder, faster, smarter; for in my line of work, if I am not, Marines die. When I first reported to the United States Naval Academy for Plebe Summer, I was told that the next six weeks would be the toughest six weeks of my life and that I should look to my left and to my right and take notice of my mates, for at least two out of five of you will not be here at the end. Well, I finished. At the beginning of the Academy academic year, the Commandant told us that the hardest four years of our life stood in front of us and that one-quarter of our buddies would not make it through. Well, I did. I then reported to Marine Corps Base, Quantico for Infantry School. I was told that this was to be the toughest six months of my life, the only thing harder would be "combat and hell." I was then told that for those who make it through here, I could expect to lose at least one of my platoon mates within the year. It was tough, but I made it through. I am now in flight school. Our Commanding Officers tell us that THIS is the toughest school on earth. If we are not good enough, it is out the door we go. We, I, must be the best. Well, now at least I suppose I can look forward to combat... In fact, I think that when I get to Heaven, the Lord will look down upon me and say: "welcome to heaven, the hardest eternity of your life."

The past six years has turned me into someone far more different than I ever imagined. Not in a bad way, but just not as I would have imagined. When I left to report to the Naval Academy the young man who boarded the plane in Nashville never came back.... he disappeared. Over time I became "born again hard", "crazy brave", and the perfect budding Officer. But something was not right. Even though I had been given all of the tools, a piece was still missing.
Today as I write this, God is doing a work in me that I so desperately need. He is assuring me that it is not by my hand that His Will is accomplished, but by His. I am merely a tool, a servant, that is carried upon the shoulders of a God so much greater than even the greatest of Marine Corps Officers.

Jars of Clay has been my music of choice lately and through the words of Much Afraid my heart has made a leap and sung with all of its might. "I'm so much afraid, scared out of my mind/By the demons I've made/Sweet Jesus, you never let me go/Oh, Sweet Jesus, you never let me go." And so they complete the song, as well as my prayer: "So happy to love/Yet so far to go/You lead me on to where I have never been before."

Friday, August 12

Upon the last day of the week

Eric had his 2nd contact Check Ride today. It's a test of all the skills one has learned thus far in the T37. I'm going to find out if he passed by bringing penut butter chocolate cupcakes to the flight room. It makes a game out of the Proverb, a gift opens the door before you into king's palaces--along with the spiders.

I started horse riding lessons yesterday! Tomorrow morning we'll go work on the horse farm, cleaning the barn and whatever else we're told--maybe the mini-mules, too. Then hopefully spend the afternoon in the lake, after a long-awaited lunch of locally smoked BBQ at Turkey Creek.

Wednesday, August 10

on the unadmitted list

Attracted to the author's name, the title, the woodcutting sillouette on the cover, the rough ivory dustjacket, even the introductory on the front flap, so ordinary in it's common occurance: "Jennifer Braverman was once named Juniper Tree Burning, and she hates that name." So, every girl hates her name at some point in life, but who on earth would be named Juniper without a mysteriously strange lineage of parents?

(Yes, I even violated the Rule: don't read a chapter book labeled "A Novel" beneath the title).

The captivating thing about the book is the way its author Goldberry Long weaves Juniper's story back and forth through a ramrod straight timeline, her life lived out like the waves of the sea, pounding, washing up the beach incessantly, churning in whirlpools, lost in stretches of seeming stillness. Written in first person, one enters the mind of Juniper, while reliving all things with her through memories recalled to work out a central wonder: what was it her brother had wanted from her, and what is she looking for in other people, and her reactionary ways against hippie parentage.

Sunday, August 7

On Freedom

We American moderns have taken on the idealogy that to be free implies we can do whetever we, as individuals, deem to be right. We do not have to base what we think to be right on anything substantial. We can base it upon the koran, MTV, the Bible for some, or even just upon on our own whims.
I am afraid that for many, freedom has come to mean that there are not any boundaries, no rules. Indeed, we can act as the typical young child and retort, "it is a free country, I can do what I want."
The freedom that I am writing of today is true freedom, not the freedom we American's love and idealize, but the freedom that comes only from Christ. Galations 5:1- "For Freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Many self proclaimed "free thinkers" would assert that I am trapped by a dogma that demands my fealty and therefore leaves me trapped and enslaved. Not so! In Christ have I truly found freedom. By giving my heart and desires over to my Creator have I been taken into the arms of a strong tower, a mighty gate.
When the enemy comes late in the night with his lies and antiquated tactics my Defense steps into the gap, like a Marine in full battle dress, and shreds the enemy into a bloody pulp of defeat. You see, my victory is already won!
I pity the poor souls who think they are free. For when the enemy comes in the middle of the night and torments their souls and minds, the only comfort these poor "free" souls can turn to is themselves, bad American beer, drugs, and cheap sex. So be free my dear free-thinking radicals. For the next time the enemy comes for you and drives you to your knees as the poor weak human you are, consider where the True freedom lies and in that acknowledgement, become tuly free.

Thursday, August 4

Summer rain

It'a late summer. The air is heavy with heat and the haze of collected moisture. Tractors are ploughing the fields, disking for the 2nd time before the rain. On the way to the base, I pass a little ball field that fills with young families and their children practicing soft ball every evening. On the other side of the road lie brown fields with tufts of grass that refuse to be conquered by the plough. Past the wheat growing grounds, the air fields. Run-ways stretch way out beyond chain link fencing where the round-nose "Tweets" take off and the pointy nosed T38s make smooth descents after their play of 4-plane formations.
A few new girlfriends--"the wives"-- watch from our sunny side of the Plains Pool on base, camped out in white lounge chairs. We watch our husbands or their classmates weave spins up there in the delicately clouded sky. And we read and talk and finally jump in with the float-playing children to cool off in the water.

Wednesday, August 3

Redefining ourselves

As C. S. Lewis tells it,
"The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden--that is what the State is there for.
And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time."
--Mere Christianity

I'm reading from a large ivory coloured book, Devotional Classics, an anthology of abridged works including everyone from St. Augustine to Dallas Willard. The editors want to teach one how to read divinely: thoughtfully, with room for the Spirit to remake the heart with his truth. Though I have always abhorred and turned up my nose at abridged and condensed books, an exception had to be granted this one, to see if it were worthy of group discussion and to test the editors claims of personal transformation. And what is it like, according to those living it out long before us, to be a Christian after all? What is the church here for?

Sunday, July 31

Being Driven To the Cross

Have you ever wondered why we can not drive ourselves to the cross? I mean, why is it that the Spirit has to drive us there? The drive itself is never pleasant. Though when we find ourselves at the foot of the Cross, all else fades away and we are once again worshipping God with a humble heart and reverent mind.
Paul writes in II Corinthians of the thorn in the flesh he was given. This thorn, Paul writes, was given to him to keep him from being too elated and to rely on God's grace to accomplish the calling Paul new he had been given. I have found that "being driven to the cross" is not a one time trip. It is a continual journey. A journey entirely dependent upon grace. I am confident about the calling God has laid upon my heart, and when I was young, I foolishly thought that because I had been called, the hard parts of the journey would be spared me. Not so! In fact, I have learned that a servant sent out by his master is the one most likely to be attacked, not the servant who plods along safely on the farm.
So what does this mean for us, the servants? It means that God's grace is sufficient for us, His power is made perfect in our weakness. In fact, the more we are driven to the foot of the cross, the more in tune with His perfect grace we become, the better able we become to live out the lives that God has called us to.
And so, as Paul, I rejoice in my thorn. Let God's power and grace become perfect in me. For as a servant, I can never go without being sent.

Wednesday, July 27

Imagining Heaven

In The Great Divorce, the main character ghost is given the size of Hell:

"And yet all loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies and itchings that it contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of the joy that is felt by the least in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all.

Bad cannot succeed even in being bad as truly as good is good.

If all Hell's miseries together entered the consciousness of yon wee yellow bird on the bough there, they would be swallowed up without a trace, as if one drop of ink had been dropped into that Great Ocean to which your terrestrial Pacific itself is only a molecule."
~C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, July 26

Music mixings

So, everytime we go on a road trip, which is every week when we leave town, we buy a new CD. Eric gets a craving for old favourites: Van Halen/Best of Vol. I and Petra/God Fixation. When I want a real oldie, I go for Sting/All This Time. I'm learning to tolerate Van Halen; E's taking 15 minute doseages of the latest Classical selections on NPR over the radio.
Meanwhile, we have found common ground with forays into the Christian music field. Jeremy Camp/Restored is our latest addition, along with Jars of Clay/who we are instead, and two Caedmon's Call//Chronicles and Share the Well. Our favourite yet remains U2 latest, Atomic Bomb.

Tuesday, July 19

licence to steal

Licence plate collections. It's all the new sport in Enid this week. Our truck (yes, Little Darlin, with the super sensitive alarm system) lost her plate Saturday night and never gave us a peep of alarm. Maybe the theif had her mouth gagged.

Monday, July 18

Chapter 2

Witold compares the work of an architect to that of a child at play. Games were first invented for adults and passed down to the children. Consider Pieter Brueghel the Elder's painting, Children's Games, 1560, in which we see streets full of children playing some 91 games, only one of which is a building game, that of laying bricks for a house. Building houses of cards became popular at least by the mid 18th century, recorded by French painters Chardin and Coypel. In 18th century Holland, the domesticity of home life brought children indoors for quieter play, allowing the use of more time-intensive, focussed play in doll houses and Noah's arks.

Educational toys became popular through the work of Friedrich Froebel, a German would-be architect turned educator. He developed the first kindergartens for young children. The kindergarten curricula consisted of games using geometric shapes and blocks to imitate real life structures and exercise the child's natural creative instincts. Our common nursery playthings such as alphabet blocks, flash cards, and plastic construction sets that we have today were inspired by Froebel's educational tools.

Friday, July 15

Reading Mr Rybczynski

In his book, The Most Beautiful House in the World, Witold Rybczynski desires to build a boat. He raises the question: what distinguishes buildings from architecture? Why, in other words, do we make comments such as "my old boat shed out back is no piece of architecture," implying that some buildings are merely useful and others are both useful and ornamental? What is it that makes a court house a work of art that we go visit simply to see the architecture? Are we using the term 'architecture' to describe a certain kind of building having aesthetic appeal?
We are aesthetic creatures, being "sensitive to beauty." In the attempt to tell about our favourite, most awe-inspiring, beautiful man-made living structures, we have fallen into the Ruskin trap of definition. He liked to catagorize some buildings as vernacular and unworthy of our notice, and others as superior works of art, worthy study as Architecture.
Witold challenges such catagorization as mere bias of feeling, the effect that a particular building has upon the onlooker. We need instead to wonder what is the cause of the building's effect upon us. We might begin to ask of all of man's architectural endeavors: how does this building reflect the mind and intent of its builder?

Monday, July 11

Red Sunset

The best thing about a humid day in the middle of summer is that it's nightfall and nearly done. Unexpected reward somes, however, in the form of the fire ball sun. Tonight, the last threads of cloud lingered on the western horizon, where the chariot of Apollo disappears behind the low, level sod of the plowed Oklahoma fields. Our nights here are bright well into bedtime, when good student aviators ought to be asleep. Morning awaits; little bombers wait to be flown out of their bunks into the hazy blue light of day to test the patience and perseverance in the hand of a man.

The Problem with White

Is that it must be bleached. Which doubles the trouble of washing--one more ingredient. Clean sheets and towels give comfort to our civilization, a thing in common we share the pleasure of experiencing. Well, I've been called into work and must leave an unfinished thought to your patience.

Sunday, June 12

What is it I really do?

I enjoy reading and hearing about the stories of missionaries that have answered the Lord's call to minister to the world and serve all of His people. At times I wish we could focus more on our own spiritual issues here in the United States before we send all of our most devoted servants overseas, but I know that is not the way God has commanded us to serve. The point is, it is encouraging to hear about the folks God has called to minister to far away lands.
Someone once told me that I should be a military chaplain so that I could minister to those who are away from home and touch their lives in a spiritual manner. My response was, "I do not have to be a chaplain to do that." The more I mature as a Marine Officer, the more I realize that I am a missionary. I am first and foremost a pastor/father to my Marines. They look to me for guidance on everything from finance and relationships to spiritual issues. My job demands that I love them as I would a son. Additionally, when I am in a far off land, who do you think I am an ambassador for? Of course, Christ and the United States. Yes, I am trained to kill our Nation's enemies, and I gladfully do that, but when the battle is over their must be one who is still standing and can serve those terribly scarred by the battle.
What is more, all who claim Christ as Lord can be "missionaries", whether it is at UT, the office, or at home. Who ever said God only calls a "few good men", He has called us all!

Sunday, June 5

A Good Book

Sunday Morning is my time to catch up the latest bits of news, blogs, and readings of my favorite thinkers. (Before service of course...) This morning I was looking at the summer reading lists of a few folks and felt suddenly sorry for myself. Among their lists were the descriptions of how they were planning on reading them, i.e., on the porch, in a hammock, in the local coffee shop, etc. How I wish I could join them!
My summer reading has, and will, consist of weaponry, tactics, and aircraft systems. I can tell you anything you want to know about the T-37, but I am afraid I will be a bit behind on the latest discussion of Chesterton. I am reading a book by Ravi Zacharias two pages at a time before I pass out at night, however, so I guess that is something.
And so, my dream of growing older does not neccessarly fit in with the dreams of my peers. I do not wish for a giant house in the right neighborhood, nor do I dream about the great vacations that await. I simply look forward to sitting on my back porch, or the local coffee shop and reading a great book.

Friday, May 13

Marine Theology

" I have a Bayonet in my left hand, the Bible in my right. One will save you today, the other tomorrow. You have to know how to use both tools." Major General Nash

Sunday, May 8

Conventional Wisdom

Later this week the final announcements for the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list come out. Here in Enid, OK, home of Vance AFB, everyone is waiting with apprehension. And well they should. Vance brings in around $182M worth of revenue to this small town on the Oklahoma plains.
The closures are coming about due to Def. Sec. Rumsfield's plan to "streamline" the military and "make it a leaner, meaner force." What I do not understand is why he is doing this while we are a nation at war. In fact, this is just not any war, but a war that is expected to continue for decades. With other enemies that we have our eye on but have not engaged yet, there will be no rest for quite some time to come.
The Marines, for example, are experiencing a 7 month tour over to the Middle East, and a 7 month time at home, which by the way, includes time needed to work up for your deployment. This does not include all of the smaller peacekeeping missions the U.S. has become so concerned about over the past decades.
I understand and respect the initiative on the part of the government to cut back on their spending in order to curb our national debt. But is it wise to cut back the military when we are at war? One of the government's jobs is to provide for the common defense; I would gather from our recent decisions that it is the government's job to provide for the common welfare. Let the American people eat cake...the rest will take care of itself.
Finally, if we are so concerned about the common welfare, why not consider the economic impact our military bases have on the local communities. It seems to me that more is being done for the American people in the way of providing $182M to the local economy in the way of jobs, infratructure, etc than welfare has ever been able to do. Sounds like we are killing two birds with one stone...but hey, so much for conventional wisdom.

Tuesday, April 26

Another Look at Homeland Security

I have been following the progress of the Minuteman project. If you have not heard about them, they are a group of average Americans who are concerned about the number of illegal immigrants that are crossing our borders every day. The Minutemen do not actually attempt to stop the illegals, they simply report them to the Border Patrol and assist in detering them by simply being there.
This is very exciting to me. Here are every day Americans who have jobs, lives, and external pressures and yet they are sacrificing those primary concerns to fill a gap that they see needs to be filled. They are not relying upon the Federal Government to fill the void, but are instead doing it themselves.
What really intrigues me however, is how the Minutemen have been accepted by our Government. President Bush does not seem very pleased according to his last statement regarding the issue. "I do not agree with what they are doing, nor do I condone their actions" he states. Here is a group that is not looking for a handout, they are not looking for Federal funding, they simply want to keep our borders safe. They sound like fine Americans to me.
The real kicker is that they appear to be doing a better job than the Federal Government. So far, in the month of April, the Minutemen have successfully stopped more illegals than the Border Patrol did ALL of last year. Wow! Another point, the TSA is continuing to put tremendous pressure on General Aviation, a facet of society that is made up primarily of extremely Conservative Americans. The intent of the TSA is to not allow any non-citizens to obtain a pilots license that may be used to fly an aircraft into a building. Good intent, but where is our threat really coming from? I think that the evidence points not to General Aviation, but to our sieve like borders. Maybe we should try to stop the source rather than take away the freedoms of our fellow countymen.

Friday, April 22

The Eric Scherrer Scholarship For Children Who Choose To Disobey Their Parents

Michael Moore, the filmaker responsible for Fareneit 911, has started a scholarship at California State University- San Marcos for students who "have done the most to fight for issues of student rights by standing up to the Administration," according to an AP news release Wednesday. Evidently, Mr. Moore is unhappy with the school's administration since they would not allow him to speak at a school sponsored gathering. The Cal State president, Karen Hynes, revoked Mr. Moore's invitation stating that "the school is not allowed to spend state money on partisan political activity."
Now, I understand that modern thought allows for everyone to do as they feel and that if any authority were to get in your way it is your perogative to rebel against it...But, I am sure that if I were to offer a reward to any individual who "causes discomfort, bodily harm, or adverse psychological effects" to Mr. Moore simply because I did not like the way he portrayed my country in his movie, he might be upset at me. But why should he? I am doing it because it makes me feel good and the only one who should judge me is myself...and I find myself not guilty. Folks....listen to what he is saying...
The lesson here is that in an age of relativism it is ok to thumb your nose up at authority. Do whatever you feel is right. I am sure that every parent out there who has ever had to deal with a child (young or old) would agree with Mr. Moore: life is better when your child is allowed to protest in rebellion your most common request.

Wednesday, April 20

Yes, she is a blonde...But I love her!

This evening as Kelly and I were visiting with some friends, we thought that it might be a good idea to reserve a room at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants to celebrate Cinco DeMayo. So, Kelly asks, "what day is Cinco DeMayo?" I answer the "5th of May" sarcastically....she then looked at me as if she had caught me trying to pull her leg..."no it's not" she replied, "Where did you get that date, the back of your head??" :)

Precious isn't it?!

PS: If I do not write any more blogs it is because she has "neutralized me"

Monday, April 18

America's Military Today?

I was perusing a local bookstore today when I ran across a book by Todd Ensign called America's Military Today. The book is written to outline how off course our military is and to "uncover" the injustices of our uniformed services. Of course, all of this is written by an individual who has never actually served in the Military and whose quotes came from questionable sources as well as Vietnam era war movies.
Let me give you a few examples of Mr. Ensign's "facts". Fact Number One: The Military is full of macho men who have a tendency to be aggressive. Oh, goodness. We would not want men who are actually confident in their abilities to be responsible for protecting our freedoms. What he is actually trying to point out is that women are supposedly not treated with equality. I am a Marine, an Officer in a service particulary noted for machismo, and I have not witnessed any unfair treatment directed towards women. Many female Marines are close friends of mine. Fact Number Two: Men and women in the armed forces are required to attain a certain prescribed fitness level, a level that the public supposedly is not aware of and would be surprised if they knew what it was. I guess the public has no idea that our Military personel are supposed to actually be mean all those Army, Marine, Navy, and Air Force commercials that show fit young people doing strenuous things is true??? And my goodness, I sure do not want fit people responsible for fending off our enemies.
For more of Mr. Ensign's facts, you can read it for yourself. Though, I personally would not bother, for two reasons. 1: It is unfactual 2: What good points he has that could be used to add some new ideas are lost in his overtly liberal slant, anti-Military views, and anti-Bush sentiments.

Sunday, April 17

What a beautiful life

Today I was struck by the beauty of creation. What a beautiful garden God has placed the human race in. While we do live in a world that is fallen and is tainted by the stain of sin, there remains the promise of the New Earth behind every new leaf and bright sunrise.
As keepers of this garden we are tasked with the protection and productivity of it until our Lord comes to make it new. Until that day, the day that the Lord comes and makes all things new and allows the old earth to fall away "me and my household will serve the Lord". We will do so by tending our garden, raising our children to fill the earth, and guarding our shire from the talons of the enemy. Until the day that the victory is consumate, we will gladly fight our battle for Truth.

Sunday, April 10

Liberal Scum

When I read the newspaper or watch the news I always become fed up and find myself getting more and more upset at the (mis) information that is being projected. More and more of late I have been advocating the complete removal of all things Liberal and Socialist in our culture. The picture that comes gleefully to mind is all the liberals lined up in front of the guillotine efficiently being beheaded.
However, this is not what we are called to do as Christians. The answer to our cultural problems is not revolution, but reformation. The American's fight for independence from England has been commonly termed a revolution, but it was not. The Americans sought to remove themselves from under the crown diplomatically at first, and then martially only when given no other options. You will also notice that there was not a mass outcry for the heads of British state, but a cry for freedom from tyranny. This cry was not to be quenched by further bloodshed which could have continued indefinitely, but by submission to the author of all liberty, God Himself. The French created a revolution to solve their problems, and all they ended up doing was create a monster that was greater than the monster they were trying to rid themselves of.
We need to focus on reforming our culture, not revolutionizing it. Through reform we change the hearts and minds of the people. Revolution changes only the people who are in charge. Revolution is temporary whereas reformation is eternal.

Wednesday, April 6

Ahh... Finally

Kelly returned home today from Charlotte, NC where she spent the last ten days celebrating the marriage of Patrick and Kathryn Brown. This trip (ten days) was the longest that she and I have been apart since we married. Though I know we will be seperated for much longer amounts of time, the ten days seemed like a long time. There is no doubt about it, I will need the grace of God to help me leave my wife for my deployments.

Thursday, March 31

'Nuff Said!

Wednesday, March 30

The Real Battle

You know, I always thought that the world could only be changed by military or political might. I now see how wrong I am. World changing comes from within the home and the family. We are programmed to think that nothing important comes directly out of the home. In order to achieve we must move away from our roots and make our own way.
Well, my eyes have been opened and I now see that being a God fearing husband and father is my number one priority. The man who raises his family to understand Truth and spread that Truth to every nook and cranny of their lives will be a greater effect for change than any ruler who ever lived.

Tuesday, March 29

Quite A Precedent

I could expound on this, but I will keep my thoughts streamlined. Why are evangelical Christians acting like such fools over Terry Schiavo? Why are Evangelical Christians using the same tactics that pagans (read Liberals) use to influence a decision? Do we not understand that it is our own failings and sinful nature that has allowed us to degenerate to such a level where we no longer view life, any form of life, as sacred. It is our job as Evangelical Christians to prayerfully change the hearts of those who rule, and through prayer and supplication apply the Gospel to all aspects of this world and take it over for Christ.
I hold myself and all other Evangelical Christians responsible for the death of Mrs. Schiavo, for it has been upon our watch that she has so cruelly died. May God have mercy upon us all.

What a Precedent

As I listen to the arguments over the life of Mrs. Schiavo, I can not help but to get caught up in the emotion surrounding the case. When I see the Police Officers standing in front of the Hospice where Mrs. Schiavo is residing I can not help but feel angry at them for not letting their hearts rule their actions. And what about the Judges? I feel anger toward them for not showing any bit of sympathy or common sense in this case. I too, feel like the rest of the crowd and want to break onto the scene ready to bring food and water to the helpless woman.
But perhaps this is not how we should fight this battle. If we as Christians really want to change the court system and promote the sacred right to life, I am quite sure that shouting in front of a camera is not the correct weapon to use. In doing so, we are no better than the pagans we are fighting against.
Christians should focus instead on changing the hearts of those within the Judicial system. We should work in hopsices where we have direct control and influence over those indivuals who are in need of such care. By asking President Bush to step in, are we not setting a precedent for future Presidents to come? We are blessed that this President would step in to fight for life. What if we set the stage for one who would fight against life? The answer remains, as it always has, that the Gospel is the only answer to our tragic condition. And we must not apply the Gospel just inside the walls of the Church, but must live that Gospel in every aspect of our lives!

Monday, March 28

Ashamed....Of What?

I noticed today that when the U.S. Soccer team competed against Mexico in Mexico Easter Sunday they were greeted with boos, chants of Osama!, Osama!, and refused to stand and continued booing while the National Anthem was played. I suppose that we Americans should stand with our heads drooped in shame at the success we have been able to achieve by the Grace of our Heavenly Father. Heck NO!!
It is understood now that when you travel to locals in Europe; places such as Germany, France, or England....who, correct me if I am wrong, we saved from complete anhilation no less than 60 years ago. And it is Germany who is profiting from the economic strength we gave her...after we rid her of tyranny... soon we forget. When you travel to these supposed friendly nations you are advised to not let on that you are American, lest you feel the wrath that your allies feel towards you for your success...and conviction to uphold a standard for (T)?truth in this modern world.
Well, not me ladies and gentlemen. I am proud to be an American, "where at least I know I am free." We Americans do have an obligation to uphold the standards that we so proudly bear. This does not mean that we should flaunt our position, but we should stand behind it proudly. So the next time you are taunted by a foreign nation, don't let the fear of being a harbinger of justice bring you down. Relish in our God given position and look for further ways to increase the influence we, as the United States of America, have on less fortunate nations.

Saturday, March 26

Crucifiction, Death, and Resurrection, a Marine's View

As I was thinking this morning about the death that Christ died for us, I could not help but feel a great deal of satisfaction in the victory that His death brings to us. The more I thought about the victory aspect of his death, I began to think about the battle that was fought to bring about Christ's victory over death.
Now, as a United States Marine, I am always up for a good fight, especially for God, Country, and Corps. So the vision of Christ descending to Hell and completely destroying death brought me a great deal of joy. I began to imagine Christ showing up at Hell's threshold, the demons looking up in complete astonishment and fear, and then Christ absolutely going to town tearing down every stronghold the Devil ever attempted to claim.
There is such joy in knowing that the victory is already won, all that we have to do is claim the victory, walk in it, and continue to fight the small battles that the devil attempts to thwart us with.
Marines train to fight in order to destroy the enemies will to fight. We do this through a constant forward tempo assisted by fire and maneuver that finally pushes the enemy farther and farther back into his defenses ultimately allowing him to be overrun and thus destroyed. A Marine never has any doubt as to the outcome of the battle, he always knows that the victory is his to claim. We as Christians should walk in the same manner. Our victory is assured, all we are called to do is be as the Marines and close with and destroy the enemy.


Well, here I a member of the 21st Century and able to communicate with the entire world all that I have on my mind...and I have nothing to say. Well, never fear, that will not be the case for long.