Sunday, July 20, 2008

AOM: Banned From Vegas

Kimberlee and I have a fascination with the card game Speed. We enjoy the game and we are both naturally competitive. Tonight we tried to play, but Ms. Mollee kept wanting to get in on the action. She recently had her 'special' lady surgery and so she has been cooped up for a couple of days. All of that energy poured out when we started to shuffle the deck.

She then proceeded to migrate different sets of cards to different parts of the living room. She was quite proud of her stash.

After all was said and done she told me to pick a card. I am still amazed that she knew that I had chosen the 3 of hearts.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

AOM: What Is Your Greatest Fear?

My buddy Philip suggested that I start a series a while back, and today that series begins. The Adventures of Mollee is all about my young dog and seeing things from her perspective. Today's post focuses on the deep feelings inside of us that make us shake and become restless. What do you worry about that keeps you up late at night.

Is it a natural disaster?
How about being attacked?
Or do you have everything riding on a hot stock?

For Mollee, none of these ever phase her. She is a beacon to the Monks of this world. Food, shelter, family; these are all secure. Her deepest dread is by far the monstrous bath!

I let her secret out. If you ever need to secret information out of her, just threaten a good soaking and she will become putty in your hands.

After she escapes the vile trenches, she still has to deal with a blocked door and oh so powerful hair dryer.

But our meticulous work is not enough. Oh no, she has much higher standards. Mollee takes this job into her own hands and makes sure to remove every drop of water.

After all is said and done, we get an extremely disgruntled yet good smelling puppy and she gets to give us the evil eye while lounging on her throne.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes

Dallas - Fort Worth is abuzz right now with sports talk. It was last year too, but the subject has changed. Within a year, the Rangers have leapfrogged past the Mavericks into #2 in this sports town. It is 1 week from Cowboys training camp and I haven't heard too much talk about it other than station promos. Last year, training camp talk started in June. One year ago today I had half my fantasy football draft list done; this year I have no clue about that league. What a great time this is. The Cowboys are preseason NFC favorites and the Rangers are showing us a glimpse of a fun future. What makes this even more fun is that the guys involved are fun to root for. We aren't looking at overpaid ringers on the Rangers, we are looking are young talents trying to prove themselves. Its a great time to be a sports fan and I am just soaking up every minute of it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Church Golf Scramble

Saturday a group of maybe 50 or so guys played in a scramble (best ball) at Sherrill Park Course 2. I had a blast. Playing with people who are fun to be around in general makes the day much more relaxing and enjoyable. This is my 3rd outing with this group and I can't wait for the next. Some highlights from our team:
  • Mark somehow teeing off with a 5-iron and hitting it 300 yards. Then his dad out-driving him...
  • Actually using my drives in the round. That is definitely a first.
  • Russell driving the ball through a parking lot and inadvertently cutting the dogleg left.
  • Me hitting a 3-wood recovery shot that barely skimmed a dune and somehow landed in perfect position.
  • Tom being the solid player that saved us several times.
  • Russell sticking his approach shot on 18 less than 2 feet from the pin. Thus clinching our solid 68.
  • The chocolate milkshake at Country Burger after being in 102 degree heat for 7 hours.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why I am glad that I went to Harding University

I hear certain people's views of Harding University, my alma mater, and figured that I should throw mine into the pot. I also know many people who have never heard of it, so here goes. I attended from 2000-2004 and am a proud alumnus.

Why did I originally go to Harding?
This is a fairly simple one to answer. I wanted to go to a Christian university (church of Christ affiliated) so that I could find a good wife. Second, because of biases from my early schooling, I did not want to go to ACU. Therefore, I chose Harding because I liked the campus the best.

Why am I glad now that I went to Harding?
This is more complex, and I am glad that it is. In no particular order:
  1. I met great friends. I recently attended the wedding of my suitemate from my freshman stay in Armstrong Hall. Several good friends that date back to that year attended. We had a blast. It says something that we can still get together and have a great time in post-college life. This is just one example of many.
  2. The smaller size allowed the professors to take interest in their students. I still remember going to Dr. Steil's house for his wife's homemade cinnamon rolls. I played Halo at Dr. McCown's house and beat him in ping pong to win the McChallenge. And who in my department doesn't remember Dr. Behel's fish fry! During my first 2 years I had experiences like these while other friends at other universities were stuck with teaching assistants. When the professors are able to really care for you as a person, you are much more apt to both respect them and learn from them.
  3. The education was great for my career. Education is always what you make of it, but I was given a good foundation to build upon. I have never been under-skilled in my computer industry because of training. In fact, the methods taught to me in the CompSci department put me ahead of the curve for quite some time.
  4. The study abroad program. I was privileged to live outside of Florence, Italy for an entire semester in the fall of 2001. I was able to travel the world per say. During this time I gained valuable life skills in terms of knowing how to get around in an unfamiliar place and relate to people that I had hardly anything in common with. I attended a very accommodating church in Florence. I remember going to church both in Sterling, Scotland and sitting next to a guy who grunted something that couldn't be English as well as sitting next to a man at the Omonia church in Athens, Greece who had walked from Iran. Both men praised God and taught me something.
  5. The religious maturity that I gained was invaluable. I had many teachers in our 'required' Bible courses that shaped my thinking. I can think of Neile Prior, Joe Brumfield, Duane Warden, and Ross Cochran. There were others as well in general classes who always encouraged and challenged my faith. My CompSci professors taught me how to be a Christian in the computer industry and had devotionals every Friday morning.
  6. The small town of Searcy. Now many people complain about this, and I certainly did my fair share. But going to college in a small town was a great experience. I come from a very large city and frankly don't always relate to country folk very well. I attended a smaller country church named Pineview and made many great friends with the good people in Pangburn, Arkansas.
  7. Wouldn't you know it, I ended up finding the wife of my dreams at Harding. My high school ambitions were realized.
  8. I got a liberal arts (rather than technical) education. I was forced to learn about history, business, bible, english, and other things that have nothing to do with computer programming. All of those subjects have proven useful in shaping my opinions, shaping my attitude, and giving me perspective in general.
  9. I was forced to learn to deal with people who didn't always agree with me. This is what roommates are for. This believe it or not prepared me for marriage more than a lot of things. It took some of the attention away from the center of the universe, which is of course me.

I am sure that more will come to me, but for now I will leave it at this. I hope that you had at least as great an experience during your college years.

Note: I edited this post about 12 hours after posting it. I did not retract or change any meaning. I instead expanded upon areas that I think deserve more thought. I have also added more than a few links to the post.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Inter-Church Communication

As a long time member of the church of Christ, I can say that one of our tenants or main features is how each and every congregation is independent of the others. We have no church hierarchy and we have no standard of belief other than the Bible. This has allowed the church to both emulate the 'New Testament model' and build leadership in every location.

Unfortunately this has also created self-sufficient environments that can become somewhat isolated from others. The church that I regularly attend is undergoing a remodeling project and is meeting elsewhere in the afternoon. My wife and I decided to attend an extremely close congregation this week that we have passed on the road many times, but never been to. I am astonished to find a very nice group of people that I have never met. Astonished is a strong word, but many people there had never heard of my congregation, and I would guess less than 5 or 10 percent of my congregation had ever heard of them.

It certainly seems like we could get together in a collaborative service effort or even an ice cream social more often and get exposure to more sides of our faith in the same town...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Independence Day

232 years ago today John Adams wrote to his wife:
Yesterday the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps never was nor will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, 'that these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States... Britain has been filled with folly, and America with wisdom.'"
On this day before Independence Day, I thought it would be fitting to look at the sacrifice that was paid by some of the 56 brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence. The following summaries are taken from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence written in 1832 by the Reverend Charles A. Goodrich.

Abraham Clark
Two of his sons were officers in the army and were captured. They were confined on the prison ship Jersey in the harbor of New York. Mr. Clark never complained about his family's condition except for one instance. His son had been put into a dungeon and received only the food squished through a keyhole by the other prisoners. Once the Congress knew of this fact they immediately rectified the situation.

Francis Lewis
In the fall of 1776, his house was plundered by the British. His large library filed with valuable papers was destroyed. His wife was put into captivity for several months and denied a bed or a change of clothes. She was so shaken up by the situation that she died a couple years later.

William Floyd
While attending the Continental Congress, Long Island was taken over by the British and his family was forced to flee across the water to Connecticut. For almost 7 years they had to live as refugees.

Lewis Morris
He owned an estate of over 1000 acres near the city of New York that was totally destroyed. His house was greatly damaged, his fences ruined, and his livestock driven away. His family had to flee and live in exile for the remainder of the war.