Impromptu Worship

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it’s true that worship can happen anytime and anywhere people gather together in His name.

This evening when I got home from work, my little girl was feeling rather cranky (my wife and mother-in-law believe she’s colicky) and – as my wife had to be up way before I did, I volunteered to hold her and try to console her as best I could as my wife tried to get some rest.

After helping with a few things, I finally got dressed for bed and took my beautiful daughter in my arms and sat down on the bed with her, wondering how I could console in the inconsolable. I hugged her to me, belly-to-belly, trying to think of ways I could keep her calm so my wife – who is a very light sleeper and whom has probably awoken to the tapping of me writing this post (through one closed door in another room entirely) – could get the rest she needs (she’s a school bus driver).

As I sat there, I kept coming back to Bobby McFarin’s ‘Don’t Worry/Be Happy’ song, which got me thinking of Christ’s teaching on worry (and how we shouldn’t, I’m fairly certain Mr. McFarin’s song was in no small part influenced by Christ and this particular teaching), so I started talking to my daughter, letting her know she had nothing to worry about. Explaining to her how much she’s loved, and the more I talked the more I focused on G-d and His love for us, and while that seemed to have some affect on Ms. Sassypants’ mood (Ms. Sassypants is my nickname for Rebecca), she still wasn’t entirely in the mood for a chill evening. After exhausting what little I had to say on the subject of worry, trust, and love that I thought she might on some level understand, I broke out in to song. Worship is more like it. One of my favorite hymns, and my go-to for whenever I need to feel better, is Amazing Grace and so I started singing it, but I couldn’t remember all the lyrics (and my half-baked attempts only seemed to frustrate my daughter) so I got up, grabbed my phone, and did what any other reasonable parent would do: I googled the lyrics for the 4 original verses and was not disappointed. Of course, however, one cannot simply begin and end worship with just one song. I had to move on to It Is Well (With My Soul), Unfortunately I do not know the meter of that song so well and I had to retire my own attempts and rely on YouTube to supply me with something worthy of our private worship session (once again, I was not disappointed). We did one more song (Just a Little Talk With Jesus) done by a bass quartet (which, this video was a bit more comedic than worshipful, but I think still was nicely done and suited our purpose just fine).

Thank G-d for giving me this time with my daughter. I needed it as much as she did (and, of course, since I laid her down in her bassinet, she’s now cranky again, c’est la vie!)

Long Time Coming

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It has been over two years since I last posted a blog entry here. Life has been busy (and I’ve been rather lazy, so there’s that). Since the last time I posted an entry I’ve pretty much given up being an electrician. My left arm and hand just won’t allow for that type of work anymore, however I have gone back to school and am studying for CompTIA’s A+, Network+, Sec+ and Linux+ certifications and the MS 70-680, though I do believe I may specialize in Linux system administration.

My lovely wife and I discovered we were going to have a child this past November and she was born (a bit early) on 30 June 2018 @ 1420h CDT. You can go visit my Facebook page for pictures if you’d like.

I’m actually here to chat a bit about the latter, in case you’re wondering.

Solving Problems That Don’t Exist

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Politicians, for all that can be said about them, are not infallible. In the last 20 years (and probably further back) I have noticed something about them, at least in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. Depending on what you support, a politician is either an infallible, godlike being whom must be obeyed for the greater good, or they are vile dogs who don’t know a thing and only got there because of money (which is funny, because any particular faction is as likely to be as well funded as the other, from similar sources). What if I told you, neither side is correct? In the U.S. we have a defacto two-party system (something a bit of research will flesh out as being antithetical to the Founding Father’s intent) not because there are only two choices – talk about your fallacies in action – but because the public allows themselves to become polarized to one of a small subset of charismatic figures belonging to one of two polarizing forces (though if the truth be told, they are pretty much the same now with no appreciable difference in final goals, only in the journey to get there). Very few people, statistically speaking, actually find themselves not buying into the whole charade. However, within that group all too many of them act in similarly outlandish, polarizing behaviors and thus no one takes them seriously.

All too often, those in power are looked upon as if they hold some sort of special power, experience, or wisdom to which the rest of us non-professional politicians (aka mortals) do not have and can never hope to attain, except in rare circumstances. The sad reality of the situation is that most of the politicians at the state and federal level are only there for one thing, more money. Whether in their pocket or in their district (you know, so they can be re elected, not because what they do actually provides any tangible good to the public at large). They are also looked upon as being beholden to their constituents instead of legal documents they are supposed to be upholding. In the case of state representatives that may not hold quite as true as it does for the federal level ones (though states do have constitutions which are supposed to be only second to the U.S. Constitution, they are more easily amended and designed outright to be more malleable in terms of what a state rep is supposed to do for the electorate).

We have gotten far away from holding representatives to the objective, high moral and ethical standards of not only personal behavior but political behavior. Instead we focus on how much tax money is sent back to us in the way of unconstitutional (and therefore nugatory) laws instead of actually fixing the problems government has. What about societal problems? Not the realm of government, for the most part. I am against allowing men in women’s bathrooms, and vice versa, I am against same-sex marriage (but find myself against government involvement in any marriage though that has its pitfalls as well), but I am more against government legislating these behaviors. G-d Almighty has spoken on the issue or marriage and His creation. He has set down his moral codes for us to follow. He has also given us a free-will choice in the whole matter. He has laid down his expectations from us on things ranging from judgment, charity, and faithfulness. He has given us guidance on truth, fiction, reality, sin, and holiness. We have been taught right-from-wrong, and indeed in His word it is shown we know it from the get go. And He also taught on government. From the time Israel demanded a king and G-d – in his infinite mercy, grace, and wisdom – after having tried to dissuade them on the issue relented (against His perfect judgment) and anointed Saul. Sure He wasn’t the first king, but the problems with government back then are the same now (corruption, cronyism, etc.). No, there is indeed nothing new under the sun.

What problems we have in the U.S. – getting back to the topic at hand – stem from both a lack of true accountability and from the whole “I need to make sure I get my piece of the pie, too” mentality that ignores – seemingly willfully – that if our piece of the pie hadn’t been taken in the first place we wouldn’t need it back. This country would be a lot better off if we had the political ethics of our Founding Fathers and a more godly morality.

The government that governs best is that which governs least.

We are so far from that mentality that it will be extremely painful to return there, yet return there we must. Societal ills cannot be legislated away. Prostitution is often touted as the world’s oldest profession, but I daresay being a politician is even older. After all, laws against prostitution (outside of the Biblical prohibitions) probably hit the books long before it was actually an issue. After all, the only thing government is really good at is fixing problems that don’t exist.

Limits on Federal Power

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The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798

In post-revolution America, despite having just earned through bloodshed liberty from tyranny, we were faced with the specter of our newly formed government already running amok with unlimited power as evidenced by the passage of acts at the federal level that created new powers for the new government that was, Constitutionally, outside their purview. Despite, having just ratified the new Constitution and Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments which further spelled out the limitations of the newly minted federal government in terms of the natural rights of its citizens and their free exercise thereof), we find a need for the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1798 essentially nullifying several newly passed acts which expanded – unconstitutionally – federal authority and overreach. This is rather surprising as 8 short years earlier, in 1790, Rhode Island was the last colony to ratify the Constitution. It wasn’t like the document wasn’t fresh in the  collective consciousness. In all fairness, these documents should not have been needed so soon, but goes to show you how power goes to the heads of even the best intentioned of men.

Moreover, the mentioned Resolutions, penned by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, serve as more than acts of nullification of illicitly obtained federal power (which it quite succinctly and rightly does). It serves as an overview of these two men’s views on the courts and the determination of a Constitutional federal act. That is what I would like to discuss with you the most, but I feel that to do so we need to look at each of the charters separately section-by-section and then as a whole. I think only then can we get a feel for what Jefferson’s and Madison’s views were. Let us go alphabetically and start with the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.

The Kentucky Resolution of 1798

1. Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

It is quite clear what Jefferson – the author of the Kentucky Resolutions – thinks of the passage of any act expanding federal powers, especially the Alien and Sedition Acts to which this is a direct response toward. These undelegated powers do not belong at all to the federal government and the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts was one of the first examples of usurpation of States Rights in these matters. This is also – to my knowledge – one of the first uses of nullification (being a power/right not assigned to the federal government it therefore is left to the several states and/or the people therein), however that isn’t germane to this discussion. He argues rightly that if left to itself – that is the Federal government – to decide what other rights it may or may not have is to itself invalidates the Constitution as having any authority over it, relegating it to so much wasted paper and time. He also argues that the States and the people, having been left the bulk of discretionary power in every matter not directly addressed in the Constitution as being the purview of the Federal government, are actually the sole arbiters of those powers. The final argument is a summation of this, “that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers”. Jefferson strongly believed in a limited central government. After all, he and his buddies had fought a long and bloody war over these very things (namely a strong, centralized power that ruled without any consideration to limitation of power or liberty of those it ruled over).


Chronic Pain, Charcot Joints, and Me

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New Ailments, Old Problems

It seems none of us can get away from deteriorating health. Once you have a major illness, I’m convinced you don’t ever actually get back to 100%. I just returned from a follow-up with my surgeon, Dr. Herbert Schwartz out of Vanderbilt’s Orthopedic Oncology clinic (Medical Center East, 4th floor). No matter how much I may complain, never let it be said that I’m ungrateful for all that has been done for me. G-d is good and He has a plan, even if I cannot see even the most immediate parts of it, or understand any of it, at this time.

Chronic Pain

Ever since my surgery, I have been dealing with chronic pain issues. Whether from swelling or as a direct result of the surgery itself. I’ve been dealing with pain through medication or just not using my arm. It’s not been going very well. I’m on several prescription painkillers (Ibuprofen, hydrocodone, gabapentin, etc.). This is not an ideal situation for me. I don’t like taking pills but I don’t think there is anything available homeopathically that would be of any help, not for the level of pain I am in during or after a hard day’s work. I can only imagine what it is like for those who have pain from unseen causes (fibromyalgia, MS, etc.). For those of you with whom I may have been not totally believing or sympathetic to what you are going through: I am truly sorry.

Charcot Joint

Charcot joint is an issue usually described in diabetics, and is usually a problem that seems to resolve itself – to a degree – if properly treated. My issue is similar to charcot joint, but isn’t exactly the same. Neuropathic arthropathy is definitely an accurate description of what is happening to my elbow, but diabetes isn’t the cause (as I am not diabetic, der). I have arthritis in my left elbow, and the pain I have in it will only worsen with time. Today I was fitted with a brace to help limit the movement of my elbow in an attempt to control pain in it, but it’s really a poor bandaid for the issue. It is also only one of three options. An artificial elbow joint was one of the other options, one which I immediately dismissed, even before he said that the usually do not last very long. The third one was left unspoken, though I had an idea about what he was thinking by the pained look on his face.

Today did have a silver lining, though. The cancer has not returned and my wife and I had a very late lunch at the Mt. Juliet, TN Olive Garden. The former is always a blessing to find out, and the latter has always been a good experience for us no matter which Olive Garden we dine at. Fabulous service, great food, awesome prices. We will definitely be returning in the future.

Why I Switched From FreeBSD 9.1 to Windows 8.1

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Some Background

First off, let me just say that I love FreeBSD for what it is, my complaints stem from what it isn’t (but that I think it could and should be) versus what I need, especially now. I’ve been using some flavor of Linux, FreeBSd, and Windows since 1995 and I’m fairly comfortable with each – when I have a use for it. However, this post stems mostly from my last foray into the world of Unix and Linux and why I’ll never return as a steady user.

The Story

I returned to the Internet on a regular basis around 2009-ish, and FreeBSD as my choice in operating system due to disillusionment with the supposed ease and compatibility of Ubuntu (I jumped on that ship around version 10.04) followed shortly thereafter. My main attraction is the low cost of entry, as at the time I still refused to pay what I still call the Microsoft Tax. Every Window’s computer I’ve had, I’ve bought it pre-loaded with Windows or managed to get my hand on a copy of a legit install CD to keep via legal means (thrift stores and yard sales). Windows has never worked well enough for me to justify paying the exorbitant amounts of money they wanted for their operating system and – for a time – I was quite happy with tooling around in Linux and Unix land, learning just enough to be dangerous to myself (oh the stories I could tell of epic failures and some really ingenious bits of code) and keep things useful enough to use on a daily basis.

Eventually I wound up with FreeBSD 9.1 (after having tossed around FreeBSD 8.1 some years earlier and moving on to other projects dealing with Linux) on what I thought was a nice laptop (64-bit, 2.1GHz AMD Sempron, 4GB RAM, sub-HD graphics). What better way to enjoy a nice, stable, secure outing on the Internet then with the creme-dela-creme of modern Unix computing? I choose FreeBSD because I like customizing everything I possibly can. I think it’s an OCD thing, and I definitely take it to irrational lengths at times, but hey. I could do it, and I did do it. The laptop I installed it on originally is now back to running it as I work on a more modern release of the brand and model laptop I have FreeBSD on.

Unfortunately I quickly found some things just wouldn’t work, and I’m not talking about the software. FreeBSD 9.0 installed smoothly and slowly, building source code from the base system on up. Even with the hardware issues I had (and will probably have forever more due to a combination of the hardware vendor refusing to release even a binary package and no one willing to build an unofficial but stable kernel module to take care of the problem), I was enjoying my use of FreeBSD. Though I will admit that even I was starting to get bogged down by my own choices. I literally spent a month testing various login managers to see which one I liked the most, then another month making it work mostly flawlessly.

There was also a few pieces of software I desperately wanted to use on FreeBSD (which worked on Ubuntu), but alas, the company in charge of that still to this day, as far as I know, hasn’t released a native package for FreeBSD and probably never will. Such is the life of a Unix admin, eh?

Of course, that brings me to why I finally switched to Windows 8.1. Aside from my best friend absolutely loving it on his phone and new laptop, aside from the cool ‘Metro’ interface, aside from its ridiculously low price (compared to previous Windows versions on new releases) for the Home version, what did it for me were constant reports of stability and usefulness. It’s slick integration with the Cloud, Microsoft Office 365, and the availability of all of the apps I will ever find useful in my current endeavor as a man of Yah and of business, and the fact all my hardware works, flawlessly, without having to spend several months digging for answers and trying arcane solutions (that still didn’t work). I still don’t like Microsoft, and it was definitely a move of desperation to actually buy a copy of Windows (though through Tiger Direct) and a new harddrive (remember, I still have FreeBSD running, though it hadn’t for almost a year).

Why do I keep FreeBSD around? Because there are some things you cannot learn from Windows, which does almost everything for you. I still also like being able to choose my environment from the picture you see during boot to login manager to desktop environment (or windowing manager if that is your cup of tea, I use WindowMaker myself). I can find software I need to run most applications on FreeBSD, but the more I needed cloud collaboration tools, the less I found FreeBSD useful. I’m sure there were some other flavors of BSD that I could have chosen from, but none of them really suit me. Heck, I still find myself frustrated I cannot even change my boot picture on Windows, but I live with it because the rest of the experience is just fine. I can deal with not having control over my windowing manager, login screen, and the like if it means I can collaborate with my best friend on a book via OneNote (and I can use OneNote on my android tablet, which is a bonus), or sync files via LiveDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive with one copy and three pastes. I can deal with not using open source software if it means my office documents are accessible 24/7 no matter where I am or from what machine I access them from. I can justify the Microsoft tax if it means I can focus on getting work done instead of having to spend hours to find a solution when a good one already exists.

I keep LibreOffice around because I like it’s database editing/creation interface. I keep The GIMP around because even though I do not like the new workflow (yes, it sucks), it is still the best image editor in the world, hands down. There is nothing inherently wrong with open source/copyleft/copyfree software. It’s just that my own needs have dramatically changed from what they were even 3 years ago. In the end, personal computing is about meeting my needs, not the needs or goals of others. I still advocate for open source/copyfree software (and other forms of information) and see a place for them in the ever evolving computing landscape. Even though I have a strong distaste for Ubuntu, what they showed Linux could do if enough people put in a concerted effort was amazing. Easy to install, fairly easy to maintain, my biggest complaint in the end was the quickly growing bloat in the system. It was worse than Windows by the time I stopped using it, and the abandoning of hardware platforms even as young as 5 years old really ticked me off. The draw for Linux has traditionally been it’s low barriers to entry (running on low-end machines as well as high-end hardware) and Ubuntu abandoned that in favor of eye candy and money. Such is their right, I imagine, but as a user it wasn’t in my best interests to continue down that path.

The same is true for FreeBSD. Even with a mid-2000s, low-end machine it felt like I was back in the 90s. Which in some respects is okay. It is stable, secure, and frequently updated. That’s more than can be said for Windows 8.2 (I seem to recall a Department of Homeland Security bulletin warning people away from the latest incarnation of Internet Explorer), however, I have never willingly used IE so it’s not really a concern for me. I sit at home, typing this via Google Chrome.

That, my friends, is why I switched from FreeBSD 9.1 as my primary operating system to Windows 8.1 (now 8.2 if I’m not mistaken) and that is why I most likely will never return to a Linux or Unix platform as my primary. It will always have a place in my home for a file, web, storage, and media server, but as my day-to-day computer use requires more and more collaboration in the cloud and actually using what others are using for compatibility reasons, Windows has found a lasting home on my computer(s).

Why We Don’t Get Healed – Part 2

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The second post in a soon-to-be series of 5 on healing and why we possibly have not experienced in our lives.

walking on water ministries

If you didn’t see the introduction to this post, you can view it here. Once you’ve seen it, let’s get started on listing the ‘clouds’.

1. Lack of Knowledge

Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.” But before you complain that I have taken this out of context, it is explained in even more detail in 2 Peter 1:2, which says, “May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.” I’m sure that we can all agree that healing would fall under God’s grace, and here it shows that God will show us more grace as we grow in knowledge. Lack of knowledge will see us miss out. In Acts 14 v 8-10, Paul is teaching, and when he realises that the person has the faith to be healed, he…

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