Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#18 - American Military History

American military history is fascinating to me. I'm not sure why. I think victory appeals to something inherently true and right in God's character and His sovereignty over the world. After all, Jesus will return in victory over the anti-Christ and Satan.

Revelation 19:14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

And Christ is victorious over sin and death today.
1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I think I've always loved the discipline, camraderie and professionalism of America's military too. Loyalty, valor and courage expressed in the willingness to sacrifice even one's own life for others exemplify the heart of God in the love of Christ.

I recently read American Military History. It is a brief survey of our nation's military. I learned quite a bit of interesting information especially about colonial militias and the Civil War which I know virtually nothing about.

It's not exactly the most exciting read though for military history buffs, I think you will enjoy it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

3 Goal Game, AGAIN!

I'm not sure how he's doing it. But Matt continues to do well in soccer. He had another 3 goals today! The little guy earned all 3 too with some good moves and good shots.
video
We just barely got this goal on film so don't blink, he scores right away.
video
Here's some good effort on defense.
It was chilly this morning. I made sure to bundle up.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Speech meet

Last week, our kids participated in what's called Speech meet. They each gave presentations to judges. Everyone had to recite a poem or Bible verses.
Andrew chose to do Psalm 119:1-12.
Matt did Psalm 23.
video
And Emery did Ephesians 6:1-3. I'm not exactly sure, but I think they were rated on a scale of Superior - being the highest, Excellent - second level and Good - third level. If they made the Superior or Excellent categories, they would go on to district speech meet at another Christian school here in ABQ. Matt got Superior and both Andrew and Emz got Excellent. Though they were quite nervous, the boys and girl did GREAT!
Today was district, and their roles were reversed. Andrew and Emz got Superior while Matt got Excellent. They each got a blue Superior ribbon, a red Excellent ribbon and a purple/pink qualified for district ribbon. They were tickled pink to have 3 ribbons. And they got to eat at McDonalds. They were loving life in their new bean bag chairs too!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Emzy's Tooth #2

In just about 1 week, Emery lost 2 teeth.
My baby girl is growing up! Say it isn't so!
video
This video is so funny in how fast Emery goes from laughing and happy to "ow" then back to laughing and happy and back to "ow." Thankfully it all ended happy. That's the most important part.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#16 - The Art of War

Sun Tzu was a Chinese general who lived several hundred centuries before Christ. His life is somewhat legendary and not much is truly known or verified about him. But he supposedly wrote a book, The Art of War, that sets down military strategy that is still followed by military leaders today.
I had heard about this book for years and finally tracked down a copy to read this year. It was a really short but good read. Here are a few quotes:
  • Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
  • A leader leads by example, not by force.
  • When one treats people with benevolence, justice, and righteoousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.
  • If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
The last one is my favorite. It is so true, especially in the realm of spiritual war. Know your enemy - the sinful flesh, especially. Know how deceitful your heart is, how depraved your mind can be and how cunning your fleshly desires are. Know your proclivity to certain sins. Know your strongest temptations and your heart idols, even the most insignificant one because no idol is insignificant.

Know yourself. Know your true identity in Christ. Know your adoption, your regeneration, your redemption, your justification, your sanctification and your glorification in Christ. Know the precious and magnificent promises that are yours now in Christ.

If you do, you will be transformed and victorious in the battles of life. Unfortunately, too many Christians know neither themselves nor the enemy within and thus succumb to many a temptation. Sun Tzu's military strategy very clearly points to a greater spiritual reality.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Duke City Half Marathon

Today was the day. After training for months, I ran 13.1 miles in the official time of 1:58:57. I just barely beat my goal of 2 hours.
I finished 365th out of 1066 who finished the race. I think there were some 1500 or so that actually ran. In the 35 to 39 year-old age bracket for men, I came in 26 out of 66. All in all, it was a good day.
I really appreciated the support I got from the family. Sandy was a great sponsor, and the kids were supportive too. Running is not my favorite thing, but I do it to "discipline my body" as Paul said in 1 Cor 9:27 so that I may have better spiritual self-control and so that I can have better health.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Balloon Fiesta and the Ulrichs!

This year, I got to experience my first balloon fiesta with our good friends from CA, Frank & Eliza and our good friends from ABQ, the Freys. It was amazing!
I've never seen hot air balloons up close. Nor have I seen hundreds taking off either.
It started bright and early at about 6am or so with only a dozen or so. I guess they go up to test the weather conditions and wind levels at various heights in the sky. When the sky is dark, the gas burners light up the night sky.
After they were up, I guess conditions were good because as dawn came, balloons started going up.
video
And before you knew it, balloons were up left and right. It was hard to keep up with them.
It was amazing to see them fill the sky and practically be on top of you at the same time.
And at the same time, there were all sorts of crazy and funny shaped balloons too, like the Chesire Cat.
The creamland cow.
Hunny bees that smooched.
And my personal favorite - Darth Vader.
video
I even got video of the dark lord rising. He looked especially evil.
It was a great time to share with great friends. What? You didn't know Boba Fett was a great friend?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

#15 - The Heart of Anger

I try and read a parenting book every year. There's a lot of them out there. Some are good, some are bad and some are great. The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo is great.

Call it anger, bitterness or rage and most parents would think they or their children don't have much of a problem with it. But if you realize that frustration, sulking, bad attitudes, disrespect, being ticked off and even giving the silent treatment are all forms of anger, I think everyone has a problem with anger.

Priolo begins the book by describing the issues related to having angry kids. He makes a very important point - we need to use biblical terminology in order to properly understand and deal with problems according to God's design. Next, Priolo addresses parents. In order to help your child, you must stop exasperating your child or creating situations that tempt him/her to anger. And of course, you can only help your child as much as you are able to set an example.

"Question: What is the first rule for teaching a parakeet how to talk?
Answer: You must have a larger vocabulary than the parakeet.
Question: What is the first rule for disciplining children?
Answer: You must have more discipline than the child."

Priolo is exceedingly practical. He gives great illustrations, examples and advice. He deals with biblical communication, suggestions on questions to ask and journaling to understand what is going on in your thoughts and feelings. But he connects all of this practical methodology with core sound doctrine. He shows you how to deal with the heart of sin that is the source of all this sinful behavior.

His chapters on Disrespect and Manipulation are pure gold.

I highly recommend this book if you have a child who is disrespectful, rebellious or just plain angry when he doesn't get his way. It is probably most appopriate for children who are about 8 or older as it has exercises for the child which require reading, writing and self-evaluation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2 for 1 special

Guess who lost her first tooth tonight? And big bro wanted his out too. I was surprised to come home to both Emery and Matt begging me to pull out a tooth each.
video
Emery went first. As I like to do, I tie the tooth with thread. In the past with Andrew, he would pull them out himself. But Emery wanted me to do it. Unfortunately, the thread broke! I guess the thread was too old. This was the first time that ever happened. Then we got newer thread and tried again. Broke again!
video
The 3rd time we got dental floss. That did the trick.
video
Then it was Matt's turn. This was old hat to him. He tried to pull the tooth out on his own but couldn't get a good enough grip so I got the dental floss out again.
By the end of the night, we had 2 happy campers and not even one tear was lost.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Balloon Fiesta

Until we moved to ABQ, we had never even heard of the Balloon Fiesta. For those of you non-Albuquerqians, I think it's the largest gathering of hot air balloons in the US and possibly the world. No joke.
I had heard cool things about it and was interested to see what it was all about. It started last weekend. So Sun morning, we got up before church to check it out on a hill overlooking the city. We only had a little bit of time so we didn't get to see the hundreds of balloons that would fill the sky.
But we managed to find some that were going up right near our house.
video
It was VERY cool to see them up close and going up.
The balloon fiesta has been going on all week. In fact, every morning when I take the kids to school, there are dozens of balloons if not hundreds (depending on the time and weather conditions) going up all over the city. And we haven't even seen the special shaped ones yet. This morning, the wind was blowing them right over our house.
The boys and girl (and me!) are loving it. It is definitely a super cool week. And we haven't even gone down to the balloon park where the majority of the balloons are on the field for up close viewing.
video
This one flew right over our house. You can hear the gas burners blowing. So far it's been an amazing week. And the special shaped balloons are coming out soon - I hear there's a Darth Vader one!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Denver

A few weeks ago, Sandy and I went to the Peacemaker Conference in Denver. This was our first time at a Peacemaker conference, and it was our first time in Denver.
We stopped at Colorado Springs on the way up. It was a very beautiful city.
We happened to drive by Focus on the Family headquarters and spontaneously stopped in for a visit. I'm not a huge fan, but I appreciate the direction the ministry has been taking recently. I was impressed with the campus though, very nice.
In Denver, we spent some time at the Botanical Gardens. I have just one word for the place - FABULOUS!
We love gardens and have been to quite a few in several cities and states. This one was exceptional.
Beautiful landscapes, wildflowers, all types of gardens and ponds and other features. This place had excellent variety and quality.
If you're ever in Denver, you must stop here. It's well worth a visit. And it's quite large so plan to spend several hours.
We had a great time in Colorado.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

3rd Quarter Update

Can you believe it's fall already? I'm loving the crisp and cool mornings. I'm surprised at how warm the days still are here in ABQ though. It's still pretty hot! But I'll take it. I don't enjoy winter. As October came, so did my 3rd quarter update. Click here to catch the past one.

1. Read through the Bible
  • I'm about to finish Jeremiah. I know a lot of people don't love Jeremiah, but I have been really blessed to meditate upon God's love and forgiveness and grace even when the Israelites were in the midst of horrendous idolatry that caused the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon. Despite all of the sin and evil and wickedness, God was ready to forgive if they would repent. He is so good.
  • I am a couple days behind on my reading schedule but I imagine I will finish on track this year. I am already considering increasing my reading schedule to maybe 2 times through the Bible next year and possibly more the year after that.
2. Memorize Philippians 1 & 2
  • I just completed up to 2:18 today and started working on the next section. 12 verses to go and about 12 weeks to go. I think I am on track. I need to get moving as I started preaching through Philippians last week. I want to memorize what I preach before I preach it.
3. Run the Duke City Half-Marathon in under 2 hours
  • So far so good. I'm 2 1/2 weeks away. I run my last long run of 13 miles on Saturday. According to my pace runs and extrapolations, I should finish in about 1:50 to 1:55. So we're right on track. I'm starting to get tired of running all the drills and exercises. I don't mind the running, but the sprints and fartlek type stuff is getting old.
4. Read 20 books
  • I managed to get ahead on this one. I think I did a lot of reading last month though I'm a bit behind on book summaries. I have 4 to do. I think I will easily finish my goal of 20 as I am at 18 now and am in process on several others. Wa-hoo! I have at least 1 goal where I'm ahead.