I have not been to the MidWest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, but my wife has mentioned going for the last few years. We/[she] have been recently disappointed with the local (Indianapolis – IAHE). I have heard that they have great speakers and a HUGE Exhibit Hall. Even though it is further away, it appears to be very AFFORDABLE REGISTRATION. Plus, it could be a mini-vacation, away from home (bonus for the Mrs.).

Psalm 2

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Key points:

  • Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 created during Carter Administration.
  • Under the Clinton Administration, the Democrat Congress poured fire on it by enacting the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.
  • This created the environment for predatory lending by Wall Street and was guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie.
  • Banks were sued if they did not make loans to low-income, minority consumers.
  • John McCain warned Congress about these problems (So did Ron Paul).
  • Congress did not listen.
  • Media did not report.
  • Why would they? Home prices were skyrocketing because of the flood of buyers (re: demand) into market compared to the limited supply of homes.
  • Low-income consumers begain to default on their loans they could not afford.
  • Banks began to foreclose.
  • Housing prices began to tank. The Market began to get nervous.
  • Congress did NOTHING.
  • A veritable snowball of foreclosures continued. Housing prices bottomed out.
  • Fannie/Freddie and Wall Street fat cats jumped ship with “golden parachutes” (one as much as $25 million) because of “accounting inaccuracies.”
  • Henry Paulson firmly plucks a number out of the air (or some other orafice) and tells Congress it will cost $700 Billion to fix this mess.
  • The House does not pass the “Bailout Bill.”
  • The Market dives 777 points.
  • The Senate, ignoring the Constitution, takes a tabled bill about mental health and adds approximately $700 Billion to it with some provisions to bailout the economy. It passes.
  • The House, which narrowly defeated the bill just four days earlier, decides it is a better idea to pass the aformentioned un-Constitutional Bill sent from the Senate, with an additional $110 Billion of bacon attached. (Apparently in the current economic climate of thousands of foreclosures, repossessions, lay-offs and unenployment, not to mention and expensive two-pronged war in the Middle East, it is way more palatable to foist over $810 Billion on the taxpayers of the US and not just $700 Billion). Good idea.
  • With the Bush Administration, Treasury Secretary, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Democratic Leadership, Republican Leadership and the Mainstream Media (MSM) telling us we “need” this bailout bill, or we will be living in a recession/depression until the next ice age, the Dow drops another 157 points on the great news!
  • The President signs the bill into Law.

Mark my words, the bailout will cost us a lot more than $700 billion.

Not just money.

Short term, this may look good. The market will ralley, Obama will be our next president and there will be a chicken in every pot.

Long term (this means more than 4 years to politicians), this will be bad.

The House voted it down on Monday, but now it smelled right? What changed?

Any congressman who voted for this, should be fired.

Sen. Luger: FIRED.

Sen. Bayh: FIRED.

Sen. Obama: FIRED.

Sen. McCain: FIRED.

Any Representative who switched, should be fired, find out who should be fired here.

I now thow my fedora into the ring of productivity.

I have been following David Seah’s blog for some time now, and have been intrigued by his sweet suite of productivity tools, called The Printable CEO Series:

These are all very cool tools that make goal setting, project planning and task execution orderly and fun. Yes, I said “fun.” He has made the process of getting things done (GTD) into a sorta’ game where you track your progress by awarding points to each item, then reward yourself after “winning.” I highly recommend that you skip on over and either download his free forms or even purchase some of the pre-printed merchandise.

It appears to be a great system (I have not used it…yet, just admiring it). One comment that I have is that there appears to be excellent big-picture, 10,000 ft-view (re: annul/quarterly/monthly) tools: compact calendar, concrete goal tracker, and excellent minutae, 100 ft-view (daily/hourly) tools: emergent task planner, emergent task timer, task order up, task progress tracker), but a lack of the mid-range, 1,000 ft-view (weekly) tools. This is probably because my lack of understanding or lack of digging in deep and using them, but nevertheless, I give you the:

The Weekly Project Planner (PDF)

With all accolades to Mr. Seah, I offer my draft of a weekly project view/review tool that might integrate with The Portable CEO Series. My version is loosely based on the above, albeit not as graphically sexy, but hopefully the utility will show itself.

It is divided up into three sections:

  1. Projects Area: allows for 6 simultaneous projects per week (don’t kid yourself, we are all trying to get things done, any more than six and your are crazy). Each project gets a prioritized box (1-6), in that box you write the ‘big idea’ and/or goal that needs resolved this week. Use David’s tools to break that goal into small tasks.
  2. Project Calendar: a 7-day, simple box calendar where you can write project-related deadlines and appointments for this week. This is not a place to keep lunch dates and non-project activities, this is a weekly dashboard for the top project events of the week.
  3. Project Scribbles: is a memo/doodle/scribble area for brainstorming the weekly project plan(s).

Please comment, or make suggestions to this tool.

Thank you, David, for all of the great work you have done.

In the notion that we can “create” our own “truth” to express our “reality” which has no foundation on immutable, absolute, historical record or usage is exactly where we find ourselves today. We have gone from “…if it is right, then it is right for all…” to “…if it right for me, that is all that matters…”

Instead of a culture built on the Rock, an unshakable foundation, so that we may build high and broad on the shoulders of great men of the past, our postmodern culture is built on sand-not only is this foundation providing no stability at all, but the postmodern builders have torn down any work scabbed together by their humanist precursors.

Apparently “they” have now made another non-word a word (Mrs. foolarch will get a kick out of this):

irregardless: an erroneous word that, etymologically, means the exact opposite of what it is used to express, attested in non-standard writing from 1912, probably a blend of irrespective and regardless. Perhaps inspired by the double negative used as an emphatic.

Postmodern? Sure. Dumbing-down our culture? Yes. Tip-toeing toward Gomorrah? Absolutely.

This is a small example of the “big lie.”

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” This is the epotime of the Postmodern, liberal, humanist culture…but do you know who said it?

Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
and let it come, that we may know it!”
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!

Isaiah 5:18-23

Lord, have mercy.

Today is a momentous day. My two youngest, Pooh (6) and Tigger (5), both culminated their transition to two-wheeler-hood: they are riding bicycles without training wheels.

We capped this day after dinner with our very first all-family bike ride in the neighborhood. They are getting so big and time is ticking away (…enter bump music from dcTalk…)

Riding bikes, wiggly teeth and the fading of the remnants of “baby talk”, they are growing up fast. Our baby will be six this year, Rabbit is ten. There is only limited time to invest in their lives now, before they begin their own families, have their own children and teach them to ride two-wheelers.

If that is all that life is, then we should “…eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” If the good life is nothing more than a Hallmark card with the soft, hazy picture and some sentimental hogwash on the inside it is not worth it. Don’t get me wrong; I love spending time with my children doing fun things like teaching them to ride bikes, play chess or dribble left-handed. But if that is all of the legacy there is to life – teaching them manners, sharing some “warm, fuzzy” experiences and perfecting their jump shot – then that is not enough.

Life is hard. The Dread Pirate Roberts was correct, “Life is pain…and if anyone tells you differently then they are selling you something.” Without an ultimate purpose, why go on? Ah, despair, right?

No.

Without purpose: despair; with purpose, and living out of it: joy.

So, what is the purpose of life?

“The chief end [purpose] of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q/A One.

In this short time I have with my children, I am to invest my time not only in training them to glorify and enjoy God, but doing it myself. Using all of life to disciple them, so that the purpose is both “caught” and “taught.”

The training wheels of the bikes are all off now, but the training wheels of their lives are still firmly in place. They are there for both guidance and protection.

I don’t want to extend the metaphor too far, but call one side “Law” and the other “Gospel.” Along the way, we train them by teaching them the Law of God (also the fact that no one can perfectly keep it and the consequences of not keeping it) as well as the Gospel of Christ (literally “good news”): Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient, keeping the entire Law to the point of death on a roman cross, the innocent willingly paying the penalty of the law-breaker and then being raised to life on the third day removing the sting of death for all who repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is a process, though. First they ride safely in the driveway on the bike with the training wheels, then the wheels come off and they are stretched to apply their training (knowledge and experience) with dad firmly holding on to them and finally they ride on their own – eventually into the cruel world, busy streets and all – taking them places where they have never gone before now having unconsciously mastered what was once consciously difficult.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13,14 (ESV)

Oh, I pray that obedience and discipline will one day be unconsciously mastered by them. But, since I am still struggling on my own wobbly ride, I am beginning to understand a little more about the guarantee given to me and longing a little more for Glory.

My prayer is not that they never have difficulty or even that they never suffer, but that the do all things well (including suffering). My prayer is that they, with their whole lives, “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

Friday evening, April 18, 2008, I took my wife to see Caedmon’s Call live in concert at Grace UMC in Kokomo, In (my hometown). I have been a fan since they released their self-titled album “Caedmon’s Call” in 1997 and have every studio release since.

Spring Tour

The Band

I came to hear the band Before There Was Time to understand their lyrics; truly the music grabs your attentions, but There You Go, it is the lyrics that give you Hope to Carry On.

Musically, the band’s sound is folksy-pop with smooth harmonies and a kick of rock. (Think Simon & Garfunkel’s “Concert in the Park” performing with a miltia of musicians by the likes of Carole King, Jimmi Hendrix, John Bonham and Neil Peart (at the same time, no less)! This may sound like Trouble, but let me tell you…”This World has nothing…” on these talented musicians.

Become infatuated with the music, but fall deeply in love with their lyrics. Their work is poetic, reformed theology the magnifies the great, Creator, Sustainer and Lover far above the daily grind of everyday. Be Thankful for the true, relevant juxtaposition of our earthen frame with that of the magnificent God; There’s Only One (Holy One) and we are sovereignly formed in the Hands of the Potter to bear the image of Christ. Listen to the words and you will know not only hear Who You Are, but also that There is a Reason for why and how you are.

The Concert

I have been anticipating this event since hearing (three months ago) they would be playing near me. I had never previously seen them in concert; this was my chance. I don’t get to many concerts; my last one was Audio Adrenaline/Mercy Me over one year ago.

Arriving at the church, I noticed quite the variety of concert-goers: I saw elderly women, a bus-load of junior-high youths as well as the expected twenty- and thirty-somethings. I thought maybe we had the incorrect venue or night based on the attendance.

The $12 general admission tickets were an unexpected blessing. The concert went for about three hours and the band played over 25 songs in this small venue (I would guess less than 500 seats max); it felt as if they were playing in my living room. This has to be the best ticket – not just in town – but ANYWHERE; the value (quality and quantity) far excelled the cost or expectations. I would have traded my 40 Acres for these tickets!

Derek Webb, a modern prophet, afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted with his tongue-in-cheek satirical in-your-face style. Nothing was off limits (as expected): fundamentalism, politics, social justice, idolatry, politics, love and hope. It was a fabulous set of songs to Prepare Ye the Way of our hearts to the LORD and our ears to Caedmon’s Call.

Cliff Young, a bare-footed and cap-less Warrior of righteousness, lead the Church (that is, capital “C”) present in worship of the God of Wonders.

Did I mention there were two drummers? There is nothing like double percussion to get you juices flowing and worship the God of The Danse.

The absolute highlight for me had to be the performance of “Hands of the Potter” and “Thankful.” I am so thankful that my redemption and righteousness are not in my hands, that “nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the Cross I cling.” I praise the LORD that there is a reason for why/when/how/what things happen, and that I am in the loving and careful hands of the potter who will do with me what he will to conform me more the the image of His Son.

What began in my mind as a “concert” has become not just a worship experience that evening, but continues to roll through my mind these days following.

Jesus Christ is worthy of our worship.

Sola Scriptura | Sola Fide | Sola Gratia | Sola Christus | Soli Deo Gloria

In the immortal words of Inego:

…let me ‘xplain…no, no…there’s no time for that…let me sum up…

Much has happened with my family since last you left the hero, here is a summary:

  • Eeyore is a Cub Scout (technically Bear Scout) and loves it.
  • Rabbit, Eeyore and Pooh (Tigger was too young) all played Upwards basketball and improved greatly over the season. This was Rabbit’s second season and she improved so much over the previous season!
  • All four children took swimming lessons and competed for an inter-country club swim team. I swam competitively in high school about 1,000 years ago…so this was cool to watch.
  • Woodpeckers have invaded our home! A family of these delightful creatures have pecked three, er, four holes in the side of our home and built a nest in the stud cavity which happens to be just above the headboard of the master bed. Momma must bring fat juicy worms home for breakfast because the crew is very active in the early mornings! Note to self: I need to remedy this…
  • All of the kids are progressing nicely in their mastery of piano.
  • I got my wife Pride & Prejudice (2005) and Sense & Sensibility (1995) as gifts in the last year. At one point, she watch both movies three times each PLUS the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (re: 6 hours long) all within one month! Talk about chick flick central!
  • I also got my wife a Dell Inspiron 1520 Laptop for Christmas and installed a wireless network in our home. Now when she hangs out at Panera and Starbucks, she can be cool and surf the ‘net while sipping her Grande Decaf White Chocolate Mocha. Quite the technophile, she is!
  • Last summer…we mulched!
  • We also picked up a TV show we enjoy: Chuck.
  • We hosted our 9th Annual Superbowl Party and was pleased as punch that Shady Brady and Belli-cheat could not complete their perfect* season.

Alive!

I am alive! It has been forever since I have done anything on this blog. The two loyal readers that I did have are now long gone. Consider this a rebirth of this adventure.

I have been quite busy with a lot of things…family, church, work…life and have neglected this. I want to get back into it because I want to improve my writing. I think what will work for me in the future is not so much long, narrative posts, but short bursts of goodness oozing full of flavor.

Stay tuned…

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