Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Missing Home

11 down 5 to go. If you don't know what I am referring to let me clue you in right quick and in a hurry. I decided back in July'ish this year that the next step in my professional career was to get some certifications. I don't remember who told me this statement but it rings VERY true. If you want to be successful, find someone that is successful and ask them what they did to become successful. So I ask someone whom I have a lot of respect for professionally. I will leave the name out as it doesn't matter but he/her was kind enough to give me a little of their story. After listening I spent sometime researching to try to find what was the best option for me. I came to the understanding that the next step was Microsoft Certifications. The MCSE(Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) is the industry standard so I started searching for classes around Louisville and found a 2 week boot camp to get these certifications. Well long story short the boot camp in Louisville was canceled and I was moved to take the class in Atlanta Ga. Remember me saying 2 weeks? ok just wanted to make sure.

So after much talk with Crystal we decided it was in our family's best interest for me to go ahead with the classes especially considering my work(THANK YOU!) was willing to give me the time off to take them. So i arrived in Atlanta on Dec 4th and will not be back in Louisville until the 20th. That is along time to be away from your family and I am really feeling it on day 11. Crystal is feeling it too and it is apparent that this was a lot harder than either of us thought it was going to be. For me it is so hard because of my schedule that i have maintained since I got here and let me shared that quickly:

5am - 7am : wake up, coffee, study, coffee, study
7am - 8am : breakfast and commute to training center
8am - 5pm'ish : lecture/study time/simulation, lunch
5pm - 6pm : commute to hotel, eat
6pm - 7pm : break(sometimes)
7pm - 11/12/1 : study

So as you can see I have literally ate, sleep, breathed, studied, and tested. The class requires 8 test in a two week period so as you can imagine I am overloaded and tired which only helps the situation. Crystal on the other hand is doing EVERYTHING at home and is pregnant with our second child. Talk about the double wammy and is still working 20 hours a week. She is tired and it is wearing on her too.

Finally I really miss my little boy. I get to see him on skype just about everynight we can but still isn't the same. he even looked at the babysitters computer the other day and said "Da-Da". That about crushed my heart cause I miss him and Crystal so much. It is amazing that sometimes it takes being pulled away from something to realize how much you need it/love it.

I have discovered a lot of things about myself I knew but didn't really "know" through this expedience. A#1 - I love my family! It is far to easy in the normal daily life to take it for granted but being away for 11 days(so far) has made me appreciate Crystal SO much more, respect her for how she loves, cares, and cherishes our family, and LOVE her more. I would die for that woman right now and would kill anyone that hurt her in any way. Same for my son. He is such a joy and it is far to easy to lose sight of that on days where all i want to do is rest and not chase him around telling him no and yes. But I will follow him and cherish every moment of it. Finally I have learned I'm not as bad at this learning thing as I thought. So far I have passed every test and with 4 more to go I don't see anything stopping me. so 11 days down 5 more to go. Can Sunday at 1pm'ish get here soon enough?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


..and I don't mean "authentic" Mexican food you get a taco bell. I mean being authentic as a person, as a man or woman, as a Christian, etc. I had a very interesting conversation with a man at my work today that I highly admire. I will leave his name out as it isn't relevant to this post but the topic is relevant.

He came to my office this morning as ask me what I like so much about my church. As any of my readers have found I reference Sojourn quite a bit. It is hard not to when the place has had such a dramatic impact on my life in the past 2 years. I think I can sum it up with two things.

Number 1 - The first Sunday I went to Sojourn Daniel got up and made a statement to this affect, "We are a church for the over-churched and the under-churched". This statement spoke volumes to me. Sojourn was fresh and new and they didn't just stick to the old models and traditions of church because it was the way it has always been. That isn't to say they don't like tradition but they do want to make sure the tradition isn't just a "tradition" that there is a good relevant reason for it.

Number 2 - Sojourns focus is the gospel. They believe it doesn't just changes non-Christians but it changes Christians too. They believe it an authentic Christian life which includes the reality of hell, the ugliness of sin, our completely fallen selves, and our ever need for a Savior as we couldn't do it ourselves. The people are encouraged to be themselves in community and be AUTHENTIC.

Some people from the older generations want to know how to connect with my generation and the generations younger than me. It is really simply answer(doesn't mean simple in practice) Be authentic! Young people don't believe in the suit and tie Sunday morning where we all come in a sing as robots(that isn't to say that all churches like that aren't relevant as I am using generalizations)and everyone's lives on Sunday morning are all put together nice and tidy. We are pessimist and don't believe that your lives are truly put together but we believe you are simply living a lie(not being authentic). We believe in the Christian faith is something to be rejoiced but it is also messy, ugly, and hard. No single sinners prayer will save someone if they don't truly understand the implications of that prayer. You want to reach a younger generation....Be Authentic!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Football Time 2009

Ok so I looked over my picks from last year(champions and what not) for NCAA and Pro and discovered Im not real good a predictions but they are fun so I am going for them again. Since I'm an unabashed SEC homer I will only predict the SEC and the overall NCAA Champion. This year I think there are probably 5 teams that could end up in the NCAA Championship game(not necessarly the best 5 teams mind you).

SEC East - Florida
SEC West - Ole Miss
SEC Champion - Ole Miss

NCAA Championship - Texas vs USC

My Vols will be improved on the field but still lose 5 going 7-5 this year but being very competitive in every game.

AFC East - Patriots
West - Chargers
South - Colts
North - Steelers
Wild Card - Titans
Wild Card - Ravens
Champion - Colts

NFC East - Eagles
West - Cardinals
South - Falcons
North - Bears
Wild Card - Vikings
Wild Card - Seahawks
Champion - Bears

Super Bowl - Colts in the rematch!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ever lost an arguement...

....? A number of months back I was hit with a statement by Daniel Montgomery. I don't recall the context but I know it was in regards to the Old Testament(probably in the first 5 books) as that is what we as a church are walking through this year.

"If you have never lost an argument, Your aren't teachable"

I am still chewing on all the implications of this statement but it has been kicking my butt for sometime as I am not one to lose an argument. I will argue a point to the death to not be wrong. I don't know why i do that but it is obviously something I need to change and I have been working on. Have you ever lost an argument?

Legalism and Christian Liberty

...This post should probably be titled "Legalism vs Christian Liberty" but you can decide for yourself what you think. I have spent a great deal of time in the recent years "re-programming" my heart and mind from my early days in the church. I have spent a lot of my years in the church(I don't use "C"hurch because this is a building not the group of people though some crossover does occur) with the understanding that if I didn't hold steadfast to the "Spiritual Disciplines" and the "Rules" that I wasn't a good Christian. I lived with guilt, fear, and disappointment that I couldn't seem to be good enough.

I became a Christian in 10th grade. After becoming a Christian I was mentored by many people at my local church. One of them basically handed me a list of scriptures and said, "Read and Study". I did read and study and the more I did the more legalistic and judgmental I became. I began to see scripture as a black and white book of rules instead of a living document. Before you jump out of your chair I'm not saying that the meaning of scripture changes but merely that it is not a list of hard fast rules. I became about the rules, they gave me clarity, they gave me power, they gave me control, and they boxed in God to something I could wrap my mind around.

The Change
A couple of years ago I was in a class with a group of men the the church Crystal and I attended at the time. As we discussed the divinity of God a man by the name of Todd, as he so often had the ability to do, laid me out with this statement, "God is God, I am Todd." Now this simple, yet to the point, statement set into motion something in me that has led me to where I am today. No matter how many rules I put in place, no matter how much time I spend in studying theology, no matter how big a box I put God in I am NEVER going to understand everything in this world and the box I place around God will never be big enough. If I did understand everything then I would be God and well we know that to be false.

The Deliverance
Through a series of events God led Crystal and I to Sojourn. We are so thankful for the family of believers that God has placed us with. I have grown more in the past 2 and a half years than in a long time. When the teaching is brought forward I learn, when the community gathers I grow, when conviction is placed at my feet I seem to see it more and I am more repentant than I have been in a long LONG time. Why one might ask? Liberty is the answer! One Sunday Daniel(our teaching pastor) was preaching about Israel wandering in the desert for 40 years because of their unfaithfulness. I had heard this story before but something brought it to new light. Israel wandered because they didn't believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. Instead they boxed him in and suffered for it.

Liberty vs Legalism
I spent a long time chewing on this and discovered this concept applies across the board. Legalism is a box! Legalism is our way of Not believing God is who He says He is. We made him in a list of easy to understand rules and we suffer because of it. Legalism is our way of not believing He will do what He says He will do. We made the things He can do in to a list that we pray asking him to do. Legalism is our way of believing he has not done what He said he has done. We have said the bible doesn't understand our modern culture so these rules have to be in place to help us in this day and time and we suffer for it. Where does liberty come in you might ask. Liberty is the opposite of Legalism. Liberty frees you to see that it isn't about the rule but it is about God. Take the use of "foul" language. In a Legalistic sense swearing is considered something a believer doesn't do. You don't ask questions you just don't do it. Ask why! The journey of the Christian faith is partially filled with asking why. God is big enough for you to ask why but also ask why about the "rules". I'm not saying I walk around cussing like a sailor BUT if I do say a cuss word it isn't something that I feel guilty about or worry that God will look down on me unfavorably because I did. Christ came to free us from our own guilt. We took something as glorious as the 10 commandments which were to help lead to God and made them the 10 commandments of guilt. Christ helped us to see it isn't about the "rules" but about the relationship.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Book Update and Short Review

I am a lazy blogger so I am going to roll two post in to one about my current reading.

After my last review of the book Unchristian I was challenged with a few things that I want to put out. I made a statement that the things posed in the book as problems aren't anything people don't already know. I was challenged in that that the problems wouldn't be problems if people knew them. The truth of the manner I think is we have our heads in the ground(me included) to the problems facing the church today and that is why this book was so shattering for so many people. It made people take their head out of the ground and see that the church does have a problem with addressing our views concerning Homosexuality and our Political involvement.

Since that last review I have finished reading a book my brother-in-law challenged me to read called "Calvinism:A Southern Baptist Dialog". I was unsure about reading this book but I am glad I did. A few points of interest I would put out about this book.

- I really appreciated the general tone of this book. It was very cooperative in nature and really seemed to try bridge the gap in regards to the issue of Calvinism in the SBC. With exception of two authors(one on each side of the debate) This was the general tone.

- The two articles that spoke to the heart of the problem are the two I just referenced in the previous point. They are heated, conflicting, and seemed to be down right un-cooperative in nature. Both articles carried the tone of "I am right, Our church is right, everyone else is wrong". It isn't as simple a issue as these two chapters made it to be which was quite disappointing

- Nothing in the book really shifted my feelings about Calvinism really. It was good to understand that history and context of the issue. I would say the most shattering thing to me was the number of strands of Calvinism and the fact that most SBC Calvinist aren't true John Calvin Calvinist. One illustrations of this is Calvin's belief that Evil could have had no other source that God, and Calvin's belief of salvation was also deeply rooted in his belief about infant baptism. Neither of these things SBC Calvinist believe(if you want the paragraph that this is spoke too I will be happy to find page numbers to give to you).

- Moleism is quite interesting. Im not saying I am believe it but since one article of the book was about it I am going to study more about it at a later time. My brother-in-law basically said it is a form of Armenian-ism. I will study this eventually.

- The two points I got hung up on in the book are these. 1) if SBC calvinist believe God is sovereign over EVERYTHING then explain the fall. Did God cause Adam to fall? 2) How can one believe that God selects who is saved how is that not selecting who isn't(ie double predestination as many referred too). Hyper-calvinist believe in double predestination but most SBC calvinist do not. I simply don't understand that.(that is not me asking for a 5 page dissertation on it but I welcome a short comment).

- I LIKED THIS BOOK AND WOULD RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE. I know that is worth about 2cents and a cup of coffee but from someone who would not affirm all 5 points of SBC calvinism I think that is a good thing. Everyone on both sides so work to cooperate better without letting this become a dividing issue.

Ok to wrap up this post I am going to say that due to some changes in life I am going to have to put my reading plan on hold. I have been given an opportunity to further myself professionally and that is going to require alot of reading and study which means no time for outside reading that I had be doing. I would be happy to post about my studies in IT but I figure discussing Network security combined with VLAN's and MS server 2003 would be boring so this will be my last book review of this year more than likely.

**disclaimer - I have not read calvin's institutes so I cannot speak to ANYTHING in them. I am only speaking to the book and the things wrote about it in the book. If you have a problem with something I wrote then you will need to take it up with the author of the particular article in the book because that is where I got my information from and at this time it is all I have and probably will have to go on for the foreseeable future.**

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

OO high school...

....So it is 5:50am EST and Im up watching a little TV and checking around on Facebook. Early morning is my time and sometimes I like to read on a book or sometimes I search the web for news but today I spent a little time facebooking. I came across alot of photos from my 10 year high school class reunion. Looks like alot of my former classmates had a great time!

Well I did not really have a "big ol" time at my 10 year class reunion. I honestly can't really tell you why I went. Crystal and I stayed about 45 minutes then went to get some dinner as we had babysitting for the night and really just enjoyed being just the two of us. Now I will say it was nice to see a few people from my high school class(Micah good to see you, Kevin wow alot of memories we caught up on, Seth, Candice Im sure I will see you again before 10 years is up) BUT 9 out of 10 people I had not talked to since probably before graduation. Now this is not a "give brandon sympathy" post because quite frankly Im not sure my feelings are hurt. See I didn't have a lot of close friends in Athens High School. I had a very few people from my high school I have actually kept up with. That isn't a knock at anyone of my class as I was just different! I wasn't one of the popular guys, I wasn't a jock, and I wasn't really that smart. I would classify myself as fairly level headed. I was a swimmer and swimming took up all my time. Most of my friends where in Huntsville with my swim club. I actually ended up being the only person in my high school that swam. i went to High School state meet as the only representative of AHS my senior year. So I was considered an odd duck. I had nappy green hair and I smelled of chlorine all the time so I wasn't someone the ladies really went after either.

But I do have one little thing that was quite weird and quite annoying. As Crystal and I started to head to put our drinks in the trash can and leave I was pulled aside by one particular person with whom I had not talked to since BEFORE we graduated. We didn't really talk in high school, we didn't have any classes togethor, matter of fact and I can't tell you we even had a meaningful conversation in all out years of school together. Well said person pulled me aside and seemed really interested in my life now. A little funny. Now I tried my best to be nice but it really was just fake and I am fairly confident in saying said person was putting on a good show too as I don't really think either of REALLY cared about what the other was doing. The problem with this situation wasn't that it happened but that it was pretty much what happened all night long or at least the 45 minutes we stayed.

So why this post. It isn't a piss-and-moan session that I promise and let me tell you why. I turned out pretty good. I have an aweseome God, I went to college on a swimming scholarship, meet the girl of my dreams, got a good job, a home, a dog, and a handsome baby boy! Those of you that know me and have actually kept up with me since high school know that I am glad you are part of my life and I would not be where I am today with out your impact on my life in some form fashion or manner. If you are EVER in Louisville please don't hesitate to let me know as I would love to take you out and enjoy an evening together. Those of you I haven't however lets not be fake. You don't really care what happened to me nor do I care what happened to you and all of that is ok! AHS the 10 year reunion wasn't something I REALLY enjoyed(no fault of the planner at all as she worked REALLY HARD to make this a great night and seems that alot of people really enjoyed it) and I am pretty sure 20 year...well i won't be there.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Unchristian - A brief review

...AND I MEAN BRIEF. I finished this book back in feb 09 so going back i am just remembering a few things off the top of my head.

1) being that I took three years of stats in college this book was quite interesting to me. One of my stats professors had a saying about stats...."They don't tell stories, they don't answer questions, they are numbers!" I think this is important to remember when reading this book

2) The nature in which the questions had to be ask to gather the research. To garner the information they did the questions had to be rather direct. A draw back to this is it is really hard to get a general feel. They had to address specific issues in the questions.

3) The book doesn't point out anything no one with a brain doesn't already know. We have an image issue in Christianity. Ghandi replied, "Oh, I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."

4) This book tries to claim that it points to an issue, gives statistical evidence to it basis and then provides solutions. You can't get from stats to solutions. Stats are numbers! But even so the solutions are generic and don't really try to address any one issue in a direct front manner. They "beat around the bush". This was a disappointment.

5) I HATE the use of the word "outsider". Because the words saved and unsaved are christian words we can't and or should use them. This might be true but outsider is just as offensive. Why don't we drop labels and just live out the gospel.

Overall the points of the book are quite predictable and generic. I don't disagree with alot of the premise of the book and even some of the solutions/ways to address the problems where ok I didn't come away changed in one way or another by this book. That is a sad fact to me!


....after my last post I felt the need to get away. Get away from religion. Not that I'm renouncing my faith or anything like that but RELIGION. I found myself in a situation that I don't normally get to or enjoy being in. I found myself so wrapped up in the politics of the SBC that I could not see Christ! That is a horrible place to be and it isn't a place I venture very often. Matter of fact it isn't normally religion that takes me away from my focus on Christ but normally worldly things such as family, garden, and music to name a few. So I sat back a few nights ago after reading Crystal's blog about re-gaining her focus and it helped me. I realised I needed to get back to the one goal I was very serious about.....reading! Reading scripture and reading books!

Referencing back to my reading post from a number of months ago I am behind. I finished Unchristian and will post a brief review of it soon but then I feel off the wagon. I started to read 2 different books and for someone like me that was a mistake. I am back to reading one book but the one I picked up was honestly the last one I wanted to read 6 months ago. I have picked up and started reading a book at the request of my Brother-in-Law called "Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialog". Honestly I thought I was through with this topic a year ago when I investigated the scriptures for myself and came to my own belief about salvation. I will save that for another post if anyone actually cares else I will leave it alone. But it is amazing that I started reading this book because the point of the book is how can we put down a lot of the things that divide us and help get us back on track of working together for the Gospel. I am very thankful that God placed my family at Sojourn Community Church because it has helped me to be more open to differing theology. Also it is hard to have an opinion on a matter if you don't know all sides of the issue. So for the first time in as long as I can remember I am approaching a book and The Book with an open heart asking God to teach me and not me going in to it with my own motivation.

Am I always going to be successful at this goal....No! But that doesn't mean that I can't and shouldn't try. Here is my list now and if you have any suggestions I am definitely open

Original list:
Unchristian(reading right now)
Whats so Amazing About Grace
Calvinism - A southern baptist dialog

New list
Unchristian (complete)
Calvinism - A Southern Baptist Dialog (reading)
The Shack(I gotta konw what all these people are screaming about)
(another book - any suggestions and it doesn't have to be religious in nature)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A debate that should be had....

I really REALLY hesitate to write this post but I feel overwhelmed at this point and feel it is necessary to write. Many of you are aware that the Southern Baptist Convention met this past week in Louisville KY. I live in Louisville and work for the Kentucky Baptist Convention so this event held some significance to me and to this area. This year there was a lot of talk/excitement about a motion/resolution called the Great Commission Resurgence. Basically they have in a way piggy backed off of the Conservative Resurgence of the 1980s but with the focus on fulfilling the Great Commission. This is a good thing in concept but like many things a concept is always good but putting the concept in to practice is where the rubber hits the road as they say. Hang with me as I am going to get to the point of this post soon. As a KBC staff employee I am quite proud of many of the ministries and services provided by the state convention. No one can question the impact of Disaster Relief and Youth Evangelism just as an example. Are there things I would change....YES. So for me evaluation is always a good thing and if change comes from it then it isn't a bad thing. I have a saying(and I don't remember where I got it from) but it goes like this...."Sometimes change is good, sometimes change is bad, and sometimes change is just change." The GCR task force has been challenged to make change a good thing and not just change!

Now to the point of this post. If you follow the SBC at all you would be quite aware that alot of things get brought up that don't necessary represent the majority of Southern Baptist. Often as well we can be seen(and rightfully so) that we argue quite a bit among one another. Weather it be on specific theological points such as Calvinism/Armenianism or something as simple as something like what translation of scripture we use. These debates are not bad in and of themselves BUT they have a huge potential to become something horrible and down right dividing for the churches of the SBC. Why does it have to be that way? It doesn't! The biggest strength of the Southern Baptist(excluding missional work) is our cooperation(or at least it should be if it isn't right now). So the debate that needs to take front and center has nothing to do with who is right or wrong with regards to non-essential doctrines and everything to do with how can we all better cooperate to see the expansion of the Kingdom! A personal story might help to clarify what I mean....3 years ago God called Crystal and I to leave our church and placed us in to Sojourn Community Church. Sojourn is an openly Calvinist church and I personally am not. Sojourn Community Church has been nothing but a blessing to Crystal and I and I am truly thankful for a body of believers that isn't afraid to tackle the hard issues yet wrap their arms around you and walk forward in cooperation on Non-Essential doctrine. The point of this story is just that....we are cooperating Oglethorpe for the gospel. I am blessed by the teaching at Sojourn and am VERY grateful for a church that defines what is essential for cooperation. The following is a quote from the Sojourn website that I think is important:

In ESSENTIAL beliefs, we have UNITY.
In NON-ESSENTIAL beliefs, we have DIVERSITY.
In ALL of our beliefs, we promote LOVE.

You can read the points that Sojourn says are essential for being a partner(member) and I think is pretty good starting point if not the final destination. So I believe that the debate that needs to be had is one of defining the essentials so we have a frame of reference to base all our debates on so that we can lock arms in the expansion of the Gospel. Isn't that what we should be about?

Friday, May 29, 2009

My attempt .... after reading Cheye Haste blog this morning about her square foot gardening I decided I should post about mine. This is not a "im better than you thing" but merely it is something I am proud of, much like her, and I want to share. My desire to start a garden began a couple years ago with a short conversation Crystal and I had about how little we truly understood what things where like for our parents and grandparent. Both of my grandfathers had been HUGE gardeners. My dad and mom both grew up gardening. My "papa-grew"(my dads dad) would get some much stuff "granny-grew" would can so much food they could feed the whole family(7 kids and 2 adults) for the entire winter. Papa-grew worked as a school teacher, a pastor, and a gardener. This was truly a man who spent his life living out the providers role for his home. The arts of gardening and canning are becoming a lost art to my generation because we go to Kroger and get canned veggys and fruits. So I wanted to learn a little bit about what has been a large part of my family history and an added bonus was it was alot cheaper and as we are coming to find out now a whole lot more tasty. I started last fall with turning over the soil and prepping it for the winter frost. I have worked weekly on it since the final frost of the year up here and I REALLY enjoy it. I am growing in a traditional garden method of rows and mounds and am pretty satisfied at this point with my progress. I enjoy it so much I am thinking about doubling my size from a 10'x15' to 10'x30' next year. Crops this year are: Lettuce, Broccli, White Onion, Cucumber, Squash, Zucchini, Ocra, Green Peppers, Roma Beans, Celebrity Tomatos. Pics below.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mothers-Day isn't just for Moms

Ya know every year mothers day rolls around and it goes just a fast. This year however did take on a new meaning for me as a man. I absolutely adore my wife. I would not/could not be the man I am today without her. She is an absolutely amazing woman or God, Loving wife, and AWESOME mother. Sawyer and I are both so blessed by her. The traditional "mother-day" is a time to reflect on moms and show our thankfulness to mom. Now I didn't get to take Crystal out or buy her a big fancy present(I would have but she had already picked out something she wanted) but I did spend some time in reflection. As I look at the way she handles our family I am consistent amazed at how much this woman can take on. She is a full time mom, works 20 hours a week in marketing, does the laundry, cleans the house, puts food on the table, feeds the baby(Im not blessed with the right equipment for that job being that Im a man) and puts up with me just to name a few. Now no one of these items is overly difficult but you pile them on top of one and another and HOLY COW! All that and she probably doesn't sleep 6 hours a night. Now all of that has made me fall ever more in love with her. The final thing that consistently amazes me is how much of herself she gives vs how much she gets in return. Crystal and I always joked before we had sawyer that we knew then we weren't ready for children because we both were too selfish. When we decided to have children it is because we both came to a point that we became ready to try to take away the selfishness of our lives. Is it easy.....NO but it is worth it....YES. I am amazed every night when after I bathe Sawyer and she feeds him and puts him down she comes in to the living room and just about nearly collapses. She has given everything she has that day to our family. Not just me, not just sawyer, not just work, not just home but to everything. There is nothing left in the tank. She is always absolutely beat and yet she finds energy for me! I won't begin to compare my wife to anyone else because my bias would shine but lets just say i don't know anyone that works harder than Crystal. There might be women that work just as hard but no one works harder.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Being Torn....

...I can't explain how much I love fatherhood. It is the most enjoyable thing I have every had the blessing to be a part of. Sawyer is so much fun and he is learning and growing more every day. BUT one of the things I have learned about myself is that I need and cherish "my" time. When you are newly wed you can spend a lot of time with your wife but you can still get away. Crystal and I have always been pretty good about that. We love each other and love to spend time with one another but we also both cherish our alone time. Well in the first few weeks of sawyer's life I began to get quite grumpy and short. I felt bad and I didn't know why. I have figured out why. I was spending all my time with sawyer when i got home, which isn't a bad thing, and didn't get any time to myself to recharge my own battery. Well since figuring out this fact I have been sure to take time to myself. I get up between 5am and 530am and read and watch tv and drink coffee and just be me. If I don't get that time I can tell. One other thing I do is play some music with a group of guys. It is a BLAST! we get together every Tuesday and just jam for a couple hours. It is a big time of just relaxing and letting the music just flow. BUT this takes away time from sawyer and Crystal. So I am torn! I absolutely love spending time with them but I also need to get away a little to be the best man I can be for them when I am there. anyone else have a situation like this where to be all that you can be you have to get away a little bit?

ps I am formulating a post about some religion/legalism on the look out

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Some times it just pours

Well I'm finally getting around to blogging about crystal and I'sweek. It was one high intensity week. We are both worn out mentally and physically. So let uss take it from the top.

On Monday we received a call from crystal's mom telling me she just saw a close friend of ours father was killed in an tragic accident. I did not know the man but I know his daughter and son in law well so the news was just guy wrenching for us and I can't imagine what it is for them. But I will say before I move on that this event has helped me and crystal to keep the rest of the weeks events in proper perspective.

On Wednesday I was in a meeting when crystal called me. I ignored the first 2 because it is just rude to answer your phone in a meeting but by the third call I knew something was up so I answered. Crystal told me the front door of our house was open. Neither crytal nor I ever go out the front door so we knew something was up. Wanna guess??? If you guessed a break in you guessed right. It is the most violating experience I have ever been a part of. The thieves broke down our back door and stole about $5000 worth of stuff and damages. Doesn't appear to be a professional job as they broke down our back door but where nice enough to unlock the front door and storm door on the way out with our stuff in our pillow cases. The biggest hassle is the hassle of having to change bank accounts and credit cards. But in all we are thankful as it could have been worse. It was just stuff. The blessings of people from my work,our family, and friends has just bee overwhelming. We are ok now and just needing to get a new back door which is all the major damage that was done. They did really make a mess of our house but nothing that couldn't and hasn't already been cleaned up. Thank you to all for your prayers and encouragement!

Finally on Friday we found out that crystal's grandfather has to have heart bypass surgery on Monday. This has been one rough week but God is sufficient and good. We are thankful for the blessing we have received and for the way he is coninually providing for us!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hard to be this productive...... at work I had what we in IT call a non-expected outcome to a solution provided or aka "a screw up". I was working today on an agent(small little program) that would send out a weekly reminder to our building about our accounting reports being updated. This agent was to run once a week and should send out less than 100 emails. A nice, easy programming project....or so I thought. I wrote my agent, changed the program from one that ran against an event(ie a mouse click) to a schedule. There is one final setting to change before creating a simply mail agent and that is to tell it what data source it should run this agent against. YOu have 3 options:1)All documents in the database, 2) All new and modified documents in the database, 3) None. Since I didn't need this agent to run against anything I set it to none.....or so I thought. Apparently when I was starting the programming I missed a small little detail which is when you change the type agent from a script agent to a simple agent the "none" option disappears and the All documents option becomes active. I missed this critical piece of information! So when I saved my new agent that I was so proud of I was greeted about 5 minutes later with my blackberry vibrating and it wasn't stopping. Then I noticed it was still counting up and all the messages coming from my agent that I was so proud of. So as I am working try to figure out what happened I was helped by Troy and Michael to discover that critical change. So what happened was a reminder email was send to every person in the building from me for every email in the inbox of one of our accounting ladies. By the time we stopped the bleeding the agent had sent out some 600+ emails to all 100 people in our building. Doing the math that would be 60,000 emails in about 5-10 minutes. Think you can be that productive?

Monday, March 09, 2009

You be the judge...

The mornings are Sawyer and I's time. After Crystal leaves for work we play a little, I get him dressed, sometimes we sing, sometimes we chew on our lion, and then I get him ready to go to the babysitter. Now once he is packed up and ready to go I load in him the car along with all of my stuff. Then when I get in I general pull out the iPod touch, switch to the songs view and select shuffle. Now I do this because I have a lot of music and a lot of different types of music. Normally the first song that comes up is the artist I stay on in the morning. Sometimes Sawyer sleeps to my music, sometimes he starts talking, and sometimes he screams. NOrmally vie these responses I can tell if I should change it or turn it down if I really want to hear the song. Well this morning the first song that came up was......Free Bird. You heard right....the time honored southern redneck anthem Free Bird. The song that all people all over know that when it starts you pull out the lighter, hold it high and proud, and strike it(Does anyone know why we do this...?) Soon as it came on I said to Sawyer, "Son, this is a classic!" to which he responded to me this morning with an ....."UUAAHHH!" Now this wasn't an cry, it wasn't sad, but it certainly wasn't happy either. Do this mean my son isn't going to respect the classics?? or worse like R&B? Please tell me it isn't so! What do you think?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

men don't need instructions....

Well I gotta tell a story on myself. If you can't laugh at this one there is just something wrong with you. So some of you have children and you understand this but it wasn't something i expected. We started feeding Sawyer rice cereal about 3 -4 weeks ago. We thought that he was getting hungry at night so we started with that. He didn't take to it right away and we didn't really know what we are doing so it took time but starting last week he started taking it well and then over the course of the weekend he took off with it and by Monday night he had taken about 2 1/2 tblspoons. That is a good meal for a little guy. Well we had notices his dirty diapers had slowed down but as we got to thinking we realized that he had not had a dirty since Saturday and it was Tuesday. Poor guy was backed up! So my wife being the loving woman she is bought some apple prun juice to give him to "clean out the pipes" which we tried on Tuesday night. Well he didn't take to it to well but when I got home on Wednesday after work I decided that I would give him a little more. Now two things need to be said here....

1) Crystal had not informed me he had a dirty diaper that morning at the baby sitters house.

2)Now when I decided to get the juice for him i reached in the frige, grabbed the tiny bottle of juice, poured it in his bottle and feed away. Did I read the package....NO. Well Sawyer proceed to take down about 1 oz of apple prun juice by the time Crystal got back from the gym. So I informed her that he had taken about 1 oz. Now much to my surprise I did not get a thank you or a that is nice I got a question....

Crystal ..."Did you add any water to the juice?"
Brandon, ..."No why would I do that?"
Crystal, ... "Because it was concentrate....."

So in summary my son sucked down 1 oz of concentrated apple prun juice. Needless to say I was greeted this morning at 7:40 with a nice smelly surprise. I apparently flushed him out like an oil change on a car.

Monday, February 16, 2009

...just a thought

But as i read the morning news after getting back from my work out I stumbled upon this article. I have never been in favor of embryonic stem cell research and this is why. In my college ethics class one of the things we discussed was "Why go for the path that can lead to questionable moral/ethical practices when it isn't necessary?" When there is no other alternative then we have to deal with the moral/ethical concerns but not when there is another path. We don't need embryonic stem cell to treat diseases because of great minds creatively coming up with new ways to use non-questionable ethical methods. Adult stem cell research is booming right now and mostly because of the restrictions placed on embryonic stem cell research by the previous administration. We are starting to see the fruits of hard working scientist who see that there is another path to cure disease WITHOUT having to destroy embryos. Next step.....get fertility clinics to stop taking more eggs than they are going to implant during IVF! Then the scientific community's arguement that these embryos are going to be destroyed anyways arguement will have no legs because there should be no "left over" embryos.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Sports Update

As many of you know I LOVE sports. especially football. But this is just a quick run down of some national sports news

Swimming - I know what he did but I think we are missing the point. Michael Phelps has been smeared all over the media and probably i some homes for smoking pot and getting a photo of it published. Is what he did wrong .....YES. Is what he did forgivable...YES. People want him to be a role model and I think he should be but a role model is not just a person who does nothing wrong. What better role model is there than someone who makes a mistake, takes responsiblity for the mistake, doesn't piss and moan about it, and accepts the weight of that mistake. If Sawyer was old enough now for me to explain this to him I would tell him to look up to Michael Phelps because thought he did something wrong he has handled himself in the correct way. What if more people in this world acting in the same manner on mistakes...would be a completely different world. Thank you Michael Phelps!

Basketball - Well UK started 5-0 on in SEC play and fell hard to 5-3 and now the Fire Billy websites are rolling strong. Apparently UK fans(the ones that want the coach fired) forget they don't have a great amount of talent. You have Patterson and Meeks! Not many other players are serious threats. It takes time to convert a program from on coach to another. Besides who you going to go get.....You truely think a coach is out there that is going to do better with this talent pool than he has done....I only know one and im sure he isn't going anywhere....Tubby Smith! *just a little jab there*

Football - Well my favorite thing to talk about. How about national signing day in the NCAA. What a ride. My boys in orange didn't do to bad considering 4 out of 8 top commitments under fulmer went else where....and who could blame them. BUT Lane Lane I like this guy. He got good talent and he picked and fight with Meyer. For those out there that don't know Meyer has taken the top of my crap list away from "The Ol Ball Coach". Lane called out Meyer on a "rules violation" that wasn't a rules violation in the least BUT it was simply bad form! Meyer should not have called which the recruit was on a visit to UT. Some people will say that Meyer didn't know that recruit was there.....BULL! Recruits are closely monitored and if Meyer really wanted him he knew exactly where he way. Lane probably shouldn't have called him out in the national public but you know what....I like that he has fire and spunk because that is what it is going to take to compete in the SEC. People said he was goin gto get run over by the likes of Saban, Meyer, Richt, MIles, and Spurrier. Well i think it is safe to say he won't get run over. Couple more years with his passion and recruiting ability I think we are going to be right back to competeing for SEC East titles every year! GO VOLS

Saturday, January 31, 2009

If it walks like a duck....

...and quacks like a duck then guess what....IT IS A DUCK. Now if you read any of my previous post you know that I did not vote for Obama BUT that I was willing to give him a chance. A chance to prove to me that he was going to try to change the culture in Washington. A chance to prove that he can work with both sides of the aisle. A chance to prove that his "moderate" position he ran on after the democratic nomination was the true Obama. Well so far he has struck out on every single thing he has done. My patience is already being put to the test. Now dont here me wrong....I HATED DUBYA. So this is not a "the previous 8 years where great".

So let me present a little of what I call strike outs. Now in fairness not to appear as if I am just ranting...I am also going to put forth some things he COULD have done to "moderate" Washington and prove to the people like me(what I would call the majority of Amercians) that we aren't extreme left or right and what we want is someone who IS in the middle.

Strike 1 - First thing Obama does is to remove the ban that Bush imposed allowing tax dollars to go to out of country family planning organizations. Now for those of my readers who don't know what that means....basically it is Planned Parenthood just without the federal restrictions due to the fact it is out of the country.

Why this is bad - These international parenting organization do preform so VERY good things however they are pro-abortion places. Now this is not the "we are killing innocent babies" arguement however(thought it does apply). What these place have is the ability to do things not regulated by our government because they aren't part of our country. SO one example is this....texas teenager (17 years old)gets herself pregnant, doesn't want parents to know, she drives across the border to Mexico, gets herself an abortion and no one has to know! THIS IS A BAD THING. Instead of giving the parents the option to parent we are saying the government know better for our families than we do. What this also does it take MY tax dollars and put them to work on abortions.

Solution - Fund these organization, as they do preform good services as well, BUT require them to have to abide by our laws put forth at the federal level. So when a teenager wants an abortion she has to have parental consent. This would have been at least a step in the right direction because the extreme left aren't going to like this nor are the extreme right. This would have been a step towards the middle but instead Obama listened to and pleased those high power donors that got him elected.....but then are we surprised?

Strike 2 - Stimulus Package....Obama has proposed a package that will be a spending and tax cut package however the tax cuts are a smoke screen because they are payroll tax credits and you have to be working to be able to benefit from this.

Why this is bad - I think on the whole this is a good idea but it needs to be modified a little. The extreme left want MORE GOVERNMENT which means more taxes which means less money in my pocket to use how I see fit(ie giving to my church or other organization that help people) They don't want tax cuts because it means that they can't do as much at the federal level(which might I add I think is a good thing becuase I the federal government can't manage the money I give them now much less more). The extreme right ONLY wants tax cuts because it would shrink the governments ability to do more because they would have given back money(this is a smoke screen too because the government doesn't care if they have the money or not but that is a topic for another time). As it is right now the extreme left is getting everything they want because they don't have to give back money, they get more government programs, and keep themselves elected because that is what union labor wants!

Solution - The only true way to stimulate the economy is a combination of true tax cuts and true government spending. Go ahead and create these jobs by spending our tax money BUT don't smoke screen the tax cuts. Go ahead with the payroll tax cut but half it and take the other half and send people checks for the money. This would give the left what they want...more programs and give the right a little slice of what they want which is money back in their pockets. This way you are in the middle and you are stimulating the economy and you aren't playing to your extreme left while showing that there are people in this world who don't agree with MORE government. When you combine the two what you do is do more government for the time being to help get us back on track but with the tax cuts you will have less money in the future to continue these programs without restructuring the federal government which if you don't agree needs to be done you got your head in the ground.

Strike 3 - Increasing the power of organized labor. He has withdrew some of the restrictions placed on organized labor(unions) that the bush administration put in to place to help bring union labor more in line with the world economic line of labor.

Why this is bad - to explain this you have to understand unions and their history. Unions came to be because companies took advantage of their employees to help the bottom line(cutting wages and making work less safe instead of more) and make more profit for management and share holders. I don't think anyone would look at this and say a bad thing at the time. BUT now we have federal regulations in place to regulate safety and wages. WHY should any Tom, Dick, and Harry be paid 100K to screw in a couple of screws in to a car in a GM auto plant. This is not skilled labor and it is not worth 100K for Tom to be paid that much. What this does is undervalue skilled labor and college educated people. So thanks for making my degree worth even less than it is already worth. Also this hurts our competitive edge against foreign companies that DONT have to pay as much for non-skills labor.

Solution - Keep Union restrictions in place BUT force the federal government to put further restrictions on employers to further prevent what caused unions to happen in the first place. You could require a minimal amount of health care to be paid but the company to all full time employees, mandate vacation time be given(more than already given), or even require employers to pay for well checks/physicals on all employees. This would improve our workforce, productivity, and competitive cost with foreign companies.

So far Mr. Obama you have not fulfilled your promises about working to bridge the divide all you are doing is the politics in the same on manner. You are working only for those that funded your campaign and that isn't CHANGE!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Holy CRAP its 2009

Nine years ago it was Y2K and being in the technology field that was like dooms day. But the world didn't end and everything came out A.O.K from all that so here we are.....2009. Alot of people like to look back to the previous year and remember all the things that happened as a way of closing out the year and moving to the next. I have been accused of doing and being many things in my life but sentemental is not one of them and though I have SO much to be thankful for(nearly 5 years of marriage to the woman of my dreams, the birth of my Son, etc..) I am going to post a few things about this coming year. These are NOT resolutions!

"....and here we Go!"

I always try to draw inspiration and challenge from people around me of which I have high amounts of respect. Some of the influential people in my life, Crystal, Mom, Dad, Keith, Jeremy, Bryant to name a few. But in December I had a break through moment. Do you realize the smartest people in the world are readers! People that enjoy reading, learn from reading, get ideas from reading! Most of these people could care less about TV....give them a good book. Me I hate reading. I always figured why use my imagination(that takes work on my part) when I can let the writers of TV shows do that part for me and I can get to the entertaining part by just enjoying it. But in December I was rocked a little on this feeling. Due to a work trip i got an opportunity to witness a very smart man and his library. Gene Parr is a Campus Minister at Morehead State University in Kentucky. This man literally has thousands of books. I don't mean he has a couple book cases full. when you grew up did you watch Beauty and the you remember the library in that story...that is what I mean. Gene is also one of the most enjoyable people to talk to and you can just tell he is a VERY VERY Intelligent God fearing man. I was inspired by this to commit to get past this hatred I had of books. So with my wife sitting in the living room with me I told her my plan. I am going to read 6 books (non-fiction) over the course of the next 12 months. Now for me this is a huge huge goal because i am the worlds slowest reader and combine that with my lack of desire I have is a lofty goal but to this point i am actually getting to a point where I can say I am enjoying and looking forward to my morning time of sipping coffee and reading my book. Hopefully this is going to translate in to me being a smart God fearing man, husband, and father. More details to come later but I will post my reading list, at least as it is right now, and then hopefully this will give me some stuff to blog about as the year goes on....

Unchristian(reading right now)
Whats so Amazing About Grace
Calvinism - A southern baptist dialog
(to be named later)
(to be named later)