Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am

Casting Crowns
"Praise You in This Storm"
Lifesong (2005)

Am I in a storm? I dunno. I guess so. I haven't felt quite right for weeks now. There's just always something wrong, but I can never quite place my finger on it. I pray, but I'm not getting anywhere; I know He's there - somewhere - but I can't seem to find Him save for fleeting glances here and there. I'm happy on occasion, most notably when I'm doing something fun with the family, but otherwise, I've just been kind of down.

I sat down to work tonight, and I just could not get started. It's been a long, tough day, that I started off with a short night's sleep to get Connor to a massive dental appointment, which basically translated to me being an emotional wreck as I waited in the lobby. The day didn't really get worse from there, which I'd have almost preferred; I always seem to get a release when I bottom out. It just kind of maintained, though, so now I'm in this funk. Holli and I both think I should just do the little I absolutely have to do tonight and then go to bed early, but I can't even do that.

The one thing I really wanted to do tonight was play the guitar, and I did. I've been taking lessons for the past six weeks, and while I'm not anywhere even close to being good yet, I think I might be approaching poor, and mediocre is well in sight. The important part is that I can play something and actually hear what I'm trying to play, and whether or not anyone else can hear it, that's a victory for me.

I'd already practiced today, which means that Holli had long since gotten her fill of CCR for one day (hooray for beginner songs!), but despite that I had every intention of practicing it some more. It's my assignment for the week, and there's a transition passage that's really fun for me because it's right on the bleeding edge of my difficulty curve. I can do it, but just barely, so I feel like I've accomplished something every time I pull it off.

I didn't play it, though. I got it out and I started strumming through "Praise You in This Storm," which is one of my absolute favorite songs. I found a chording (is that even a word, Beth?) that is simple enough for me to play involving C, Em, D, G, and Am, and I've been playing it when I just want to mess around and have fun with the guitar.

So, I sat on the edge of the bed and I started to play. I might have actually touched poor with the quality of my performance, which is a good thing for me. What's more important, though, at least in terms of right now for me, is that I was able to touch Him, at least for a little while. It's like He smiled at me for a minute to remind me that He was still there and let me know that He liked what I was doing.

My guitar is safely tucked away in its bag until tomorrow. Holli is falling asleep on the bed. I am, once again, alone, looking for my Father and unable to find Him. I've talked with Holli quite a bit, and I think that's the point of where the two of us are right now: He's confident enough in us to stop just handing everything to us, so now it's time to make us work for our relationship with Him. I suppose it's good that He trusts me that much, butit's still kind of hard on me; it was nice to get to see Him, though, even if it was just for a moment.

Time to get to work. I've promised a client something by 5 AM, so I'm going to deliver on my promise and then get the crap to bed. Tomorrow holds promise, much as every morrow does.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Larry's Awesome Catchup Lightning Round

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Mark Twain

You know, I've been doing the quote thing for as long as I've been blogging, and this one is way out ahead of any other quote in the race to win the coveted Slappy award for Most Frequently Used Quote. Probably because I take the blogging hiatuses far too often. No particular reason this time. I've been really busy, so if you want to find a culprit, that's probably it.

I will now give the basic rundown on what's going on in Larry's world to at least try to get back into the flow:

  • The guitar playing is coming along well. Transitioning between chords is getting easier and easier, and I can almost play my favorite Phil Wickham song, "Cannons," now. Just have to get the strumming down and iron out a couple of transitions, and I'll be good.
  • I can also almost play "Last Kiss" by Pearl Jam (yeah, I know it's a cover, but it's a Pearl Jam song now) and "Born Again" by Third Day, because they all use the same chords! When you take away all of the mysticism and secrecy around music, it's actually pretty simple. It's almost disappointing in its accessibility to someone as amusical as myself.
  • My iPhone is borked. It won't sync with iTunes, which means I can't download my new GPS app I bought for three bucks.
  • To answer the question some of you are asking: no, the iPhone doesn't come with GPS installed, not in the strictest of interpretations. It does come with a mapping program that can tell you where you are and track your position, which seems like GPS, but it's actually more of a navigation aid. Actual GPS tells you your longitude and latitude and stuff like that. That's what I'm going for.
  • To answer the question others of you are asking: I'm going for that because this week, the Swank family starts Geocaching! Holli finally listened to me when I talked about it and realized that it is, in fact, super ultra awesome cool. That is the bestest type of cool, in case you're wondering.
  • I'm not sure they're doing SBemails on Homestar Runner anymore. They're still making regular updates, but there hasn't been anything new from Strong Bad and his Lappy in a while. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I know for a fact I'd be upset if they hadn't given me 4 Gregs, the spinoff cartoon that nobody except me apparently wanted. But since they've introduced me to all four of the Gregs, I can't really be angry at them. Maybe I'll get some more Tenerence Love next week, too; that would make things peachy keen. The minor H*R characters are almost always my favorites.
  • For those of you keeping track, "peachy keen" is only the third best type of keen.
  • My best friend is trying to talk me into doing a podcast with him. He's pitching "Larry and Matt's Super Awesome Hour!" I'll keep you posted.
  • My Aunt Andy, whose name has either changed since I was little by replacing the "y" with an "i" or whose name I have always spelled incorrectly and just never been corrected about, came to church with us on Saturday. Contrary to her expectations, the roof did not fall in. As I told her there, though, if it had, it would only have been because I helped build things. I happen to think God was very happy to see her there.
  • I cut my hair. Pictures sometime this week, or now if you're on Facebook!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Did you hear about Test?

Holli Swank

This post is a downer, but I needed to write it. Turn away now if you're not interested in feeling a little worse coming out than you did going in. You have been warned.

Most of you reading this probably have no idea who Andrew Martin was. He was a professional wrestler, who spent several successful years in the WWE as Test; a few more of you might recognize the name now. Recently he had bounced around in the business, trying to stick somewhere after failing in his last stint in WWE and going through a drug rehab program. He died in his apartment on Friday, and while I've not seen any details yet, if this turns out to be anything other than a drug overdose, I'll be shocked.

I love professional wrestling. I absolutely love it. Yes, I know that this statement is entirely contrary to the title of this post, but just bear with me for a moment. I love the athleticism and the artistry - yes, I just called pro wrestling art - of what those guys do in the ring. I love the ability that the great ones have to not only pic up a microphone to tell a story, but also to get into a ring and tell the same story with physicality. It's like ballet for guys that aren't secure enough in their manhood to watch ballet, and I'm down with that. I'll take a moonsault over a pirouette any day of the week.

Now I'm going to participate in an exercise that is probably going to make me cry as I sit here in the dark. I've not thought about doing this today, so I'm totally unprepared, and my most sincere apologies here go out to the hereafter if there's anyone that should be here that I forget. I'm going to list professional wrestlers that I enjoyed watching, either as a child or an adult, who are now dead way before their time.

Curt Hennig, aka "Mr. Perfect": As a child of the 80's, being a wrestling fan meant that I grew up on the Hulk Hogan era. Well, Mr. Perfect was one of the great villains of that era, having a narcissistic "I'm better than everyone" persona. In the ring, Curt was one of the greatest performers that I've ever seen. Very few could tell a story within the confines of the ring better than he could. I remember watching a match as a child where Hulk Hogan was defending the belt against Mr. Perfect, who at the time was undefeated in the WWF. My child-brain wondered how Hogan could possibly beat someone who'd never lost. Well, Hogan won, and Hennig made him look like a million dollars.

In 2003, Curtis Michael Hennig died in a hotel room in Florida due to a cocaine overdose. He was 44 years old.

Richard Rood, aka "Ravishing Rick Rude": Richard Rood was one of Curt Hennig's contemporaries, and the two were good friends in real life. In the ring, Rick Rude was one of the all-time great villains. He was a solid worker with one of the best personalities I've ever seen. He was great on the mic, and he could make a crowd hate him - the job of a good heel - as well as anyone. He remained relevant into the boom of the 90s, when his sudden switch from WWF to WCW was one of the huge shots fired in the war between the two companies.

In 1999, Richard Erwin Rood died from an overdose of "mixed medications." He was 41 years old.

David Smith, aka "The British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith": One half of one of the great tag teams of my youth, the British Bulldogs, and a member of the Hart Foundation. Davey Boy was a wall of muscle. He was solid in the ring, and delivered a good interview in his thick, British accent. He was larger than life, though, physically and in character, and that's what made him really stand out.

In 2002, David Boy Smith died from a heart attack while on vacation in British Columbia. An autopsy revealed that years of anabolic steriod use may have contributed to his death. He was 39 years old.

Owen Hart, aka "The Blue Blazer": Owen Hart was a member of the famous Hart wrestling family, little brother to Bret "The Hitman" Hart. He was as talented as anyone who ever set foot in the wrestling ring, and could tell a story as well as anyone. He was great on the microphone, too, whether playing the little brother trying to climb out of Bret's shadow or as The Blue Blazer, decked out in superhero garb and parodying the caricatures that were wrestling personalities in the 1980s.

In 1999, Owen James Hart died when he fell from the ceiling of the Kemper Arena after a harness cable slipped during preparation for an elaborate ring entrance on pay-per-view. He was 34 years old.

Michael Alfonso, aka "Mike Awesome": I had no idea who Mike Awesome was before watching an ECW PPV view sometime around the turn of the century. I was tuning in to see Tazz - a little ball of hate and judo who was the ECW champion - wrestle against Masato Tanaka, an awesome Japanese talent, and Mike Awesome was inserted into the match as a third competitor. He blew my mind. He was a remarkable physical specimin, and could perform feats of both strength and agility that were amazing for someone of his size. He was one of the best high-flying big men I've ever seen.

In 2007, Michael Lee Alfonso committed suicide at his home. He was 42 years old.

Brian Pillman, aka "Flyin' Brian" and "The Loose Cannon": When I first saw Brian Pillman wrestle, he was in WCW as Flyin' Brian and was teaming with Stunning Steve Austin (later to become the greatest wrestler ever as Stone Cold Steve Austin) as half of the Hollywood Blondes. He was a great flyer, but when injuries took that away from him he started to let his personality do the work for him, and his gravely voice and unpredictable interviews made a name for him.

In 1997, Brian William Pillman died in a hotel room of complications from a previously undetected heart condition. He was 35 years old.

Eddie Guerrero: Eddie Guerrero was one of the best professional wrestlers I've ever seen. Born into a wreslting family, Eddie was as proficient in the art that is pro wrestling as anyone ever has been. He was graceful in the ring, he understood ring psychology, and he had a flamboyant personality and great microphone skills that gave us some of the greatest promos ever.

In 2005, Eduardo Gory Guerrero was found dead of heart failure in a hotel room prior to a pay-per-view. He was 38 years old.

Andrew Martin, aka "Test": Test was a part of the Attitude Era of the late 90s and early oughties in the WWE. He was a tall man and ripped to the gills, so he cut an imposing figure. He played a prominent part in many high profile storylines during his time there, including a long engagement to Stephanie McMahon that ultimately culminated, as all storyline weddings do in wrestling, with a wedding in the ring that was foiled by the bad guys.

On Friday, Andrew James Robert Patrick Martin was found dead in his apartment after a neighbor reported seeing him motionless through a window for hours. He was 33 years old.

Chris Benoit: I come to Benoit last, as had been my intention all along, because you save the best for last - and in the ring, Chris Benoit was the best. There are probably more names I should mention beforehand, but I honestly just can't do anymore. Chris Benoit was the greatest professional wrestler I have ever seen perform in the ring. Nobody could perform in the ring the way that Benoit could. The man was responsible for several of my all-time favorite matches, and had the uncanny ability to make anyone he was wrestling with look good.

One day before my birthday in 2007, Chris Benoit was found dead in his home along with his wife, former professional wrestler Nancy Benoit, and their son. Benoit had murdered both his wife and his son before taking his own life. Examination of his brain showed that it "was so severely damaged it resembled the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient." He was 40 years old.

I have not watched more than an hour of wrestling in total since the death of the Benoit family, and I've enjoyed none of it.

I love professional wrestling. But I hate - and I mean that word with every ounce of the vile connotation that it holds - the wrestling business. I hate that it chews these guys up and spits them out with absolutely no lasting remorse. I hate that when they've outlived their usefulness to the business, it tosses them aside with absolutely zero thought as to helping them get by with the injuries and lasting disability that the business has caused them.

I want to be able to watch wrestling. I want to be able to enjoy it again, and mark out like I did when I watched Mrs. Foley's baby boy, Mick Foley, get tossed off the top of a cage through the announcing table. Then I close my eyes, see all the old heroes from my youth dead long before they should be, and I can't in any way justify supporting it. Maybe if they change the way the wrestlers are treated: ease up the schedule so they're not killing themselves with somas, ease up the physical requirements so they're not killing themselves with steroids, and ease up the in-ring requirements so they're not killing themselves with concussions and broken necks. Maybe when they stop treating these guys like cattle by pretending they're "independent contractors" and actually provide medical care for them. Maybe when they've got pension and benefits for after they've stepped out of the ring. Maybe I could enjoy it then.

Here's the rub, though. That's never going to happen, because the minute it does, the wrestling business goes under. It stops being profitable at that point because of the cost, and businesses that aren't profitable fail. So here I sit, desperately wanting to support an art form that I love, but unable to do so because I refuse to have a hand in killing anyone else the way I helped kill the guys on this list by cheering them on as they destroyed themselves.

Vaya con Dios, Test.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I'm With You, Mike

I don't like it. It's all coming down.

Mike Holmes

I'm sure that most of you probably don't know who Mike Holmes is. In light of this, you can educate yourself here. For those of you who don't want to click the link and read, though, here's the short version:

He's a contractor from Canada. He has a show on some Discovery network or another, I beilieve, that Holli and I used to watch all the time. The premise of the show is that someone got, in some fashion, screwed over by a contractor that was either dishonest, incompetent, or both, and then Mike would come in to clean up the mess for them. He'd shock himself on wires that were left hot, punch holes in drywall and rip it off with his bare hands (no lie), and invariably end up ripping out everything the other contractor did and redoing it from scratch.

Why did he do this? First off, because he's a businessman and it's lucrative; he made a television show that he sold to a major cable network off of this practice. Second, because he's philanthropic; he wants to help these people - most of whom are out thousands upon thousands of dollars with literally nothing to show for it - and because of the income from the TV show he was often times able to help at a fraction of the cost of the work he ended up doing. Finally, though, he did it because he honestly seemed to despise the other contractors - the incompentent and dishonest ones, because they gave him and his profession a bad name.

I am Mike Holmes. Except I'm a web dork instead of a contractor. And I can't punch holes in drywall because I'm not awesome like that. The burning anger raging deep inside over dishonest and incompetent people making me look bad, though? Check. Said anger flaring up every time I have to clean up behind another web guy who screwed one of my clients over? Double check. Camera crew following me around to sell the whole thing as reality TV? Well, we're still working on that one.

In other news, after posting about letting God guide the business earlier this week, I had a new client call me out of the blue today needing to get some work done. There's a meeting scheduled for Monday, and I just so happened to have this afternoon free to do a mockup to show them. I pretty much give up at trying to do business myself at this point. God's going to do what He wants. I basically work for Him. I wonder if the state would let me get away with listing Him as the CEO ...

In yet other news, Connor turned seven today. That is, in technical terms, imbefrickingpossible. My little boy, my middle child, cannot be seven. He got Lego Star Wars for the Wii from his grandma today, and we were playing it before he went off for dinner with different grandparents. He's running around beating the crap out of the Gammorean guards in Jabba's palace as Chewbacca, and I'm sitting there as Luke, nunchuk in hand, wondering aloud: "How do I make these stupid blocks build something?" It's comical how old I've become.

In still more news, I'm all alone tonight. Erin is with Grandma Margaret. Connor is having dinner for his birthday with Pappy and DeeDee. Holli and Brianna - and I assure you that I am not making any of this up - dressed up like one another and went out to a Girl Scout event where they will "rock out," discuss current issues facing girls, learn about proper skin care, and let the mommys learn what it's like to be a girl in the oughties while the girls learn what I was like to be a girl in the eighties and ninetys.

I'm just kind of playing guitar. Well, I was. My left hand started to hurt and I got frustrated by almost playing the riff to "I Alone" for the bajillionth time, so I stopped and started this post. Alright, I'm done.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Faith-Based Business

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV)

I state on my website that I run a faith-based business, but I'm not sure that's a wholly accurate statement. Not because I don't have the best intentions of running a faith-based business, mind you, but rather because I have absoultely no idea what that really looks like from a Biblical perspective. I've never actually sat down and really dug through the Bible and tried to see what His Word tells me I should do as an entrepreneur. So, I'm starting to do just that; I'm looking through this really thorough concordance that Holli and I have over the next several nights - perhaps even weeks - to see what I need to change up.

The other decision I've made is cease my attempts to build the business. If I do something or plan something to build the business and make it happen by my hands, it's going to fail. That's just what the things of man do. So rather than keep flailing away at the wall that I'm trying to tear down to make my business grow, I'm just going to do the job that I've been assigned by now, put my faith in the Lord, and see where He takes FortySixTen Studios.

Quite frankly, He's the reason this business exists in the first place. If He hadn't forced the issue and seen to it that I was fired from Circuit City for being too good at my job, I'd have never gone full time with my previous employer. Had things not gone sour with them in my third year there, I'd have never had the inclination to go out on my own. It wasn't my ambition that brought me to entrepreneurship; it was God slamming doors shut and putting roadblocks up on the path I wanted to take - the easy one - and forcing me down this road by making it the only one avaialble to me. It's only logical, then, that rather than trying to expand my business by my own ambition, I leave it to my Lord's discretion to do it.

At the beginning of this week, I was all fired up to start going back through some books of mine, write up a concrete business plan, and see how I could really push my business beyond the plateau I've come up against. As things stand now, though, it's just time for me to dig in for a while. I have a job that I've been blessed with and that I absolutely love, and I just need to continue to do it to my fullest ability, continue to study what the Word demands of me in my role, and continue to wait for the Lord to do whatever it is that He has in store for my business.

Or maybe it's His business. Maybe that right there is what I've got wrong in this whole thing. Much like I'm just a steward of the money He gives me to tend to in this life, maybe I'm likewise just a steward of FortySixTen Studios. Something to pray about ...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Unintended Side Effects V: Tales from the Balcony

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Juliet Capulet
from William Shakespeare's
Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2

So I worked on the balcony for the first time on Monday night. It was glorious. Glorious.

It was 50 degrees out when I went out, so I wore a light fleece to keep the chill off. When it gets to be 65-70ish, though, I'm clearly not going to need it. I barely need it now. The comfort provided by the temperature is not where the glorious part comes in. What's so fantastic about working out here is that I'm not afraid.

I've talked about how I'm becoming afraid of the dark from working at night here on the blog before. One might speculate that working outside doesn't seem like a good choice, then, but you'd be wrong. I didn't necessarily expect that, mind you, hence the title, but I came out here and found a lot of comfort in working where I'm exposed to God's creation.

First off, there's more light out here than there is inside. There are streetlights all up and down our little apartment complex, which is a huge help. The big thing, though, is the sky. The moon is nearly full - at least that's what the web tells me as I write this, because I can't see it from where I sit - and rather than a black sky I'm treated to one that's this beautiful grey with subtle shades of blue running through it. There are also wispy white clouds dancing across it, so whenever I want to I can just look up and watch them play across the horizon. It's all very comforting. I know that God's always with me and that I have no need to fear, but at the same time, there's a tangible thing for me to look up at and be reminded of His presence by out here. I'm still a baby Christian in a lot of ways, and I need that.

Secondly, life is going on all around me. Leaves are scratching across the ground as the wind tosses them around.. Dogs are barking. I can see cars going by as people travel US 41 or, occasionally, drive through and out of the complex to somewhere that people go at 1:30 in the morning. I hear trains go by somewhere far in the distance from time to time. Some dude just coughed on his own balcony somewhere else in the complex. Something's whistling; it could be a bird. There are apparently a bunch of wind chimes on balconies out here. I've even seen some couples out walking. There is life, and that gives me comfort.

Dude just coughed again. He will never know how much I appreciate his current respiratory difficulties. Unless I yell across the complex, "Thanks for coughing!" of course. Then I'd have to explain because he'd probably think I was being sarcastic, and that would just be awkward. Best to just appreciate him in silence and hope he feels better tomorrow.

One other thing, and I know this is going to sound silly coming from a 31-year-old man, but I'm on a balcony. I've got my little bars up around me, and between that and my elevation it's not like someone could just come up and say "Eff you, Larry!" and then punch me in the face. It makes me feel safe as I confront the darkness. If this was a porch, I doubt I'd be as comfortable.

This is my new office. Any night that it's feasible for me to be working out here, I'm going to be working out here. This is so much better than working in the bedroom that it's almost not worth the comparison. This balcony is going to make leaving this place difficult when the time comes; hopefully we won't have to worry about that for another couple of years or so, though.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Be Still

Be still, and know that I am God;

Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

I've been having a rough few days. I hadn't quite been able to put my finger on exactly what was going on, mind you, but I knew that something was wrong with me. Tonight, I figured it out. I had my priorities kinda wacky.

Typically, I list my priorities like this: Christian, father, web geek. "Faith, Family, Finance," as a great mentor of mine would call them. Well, to start off, I was given a gentle reminder that those priorities aren't correct in the first place, but we'll discuss that in a minute. The big, glaring problem is that the "web geek" priority had been coming first, and that cannot happen. More specifically, things aren't going to go well when that happens.

I've been worrying about work and about getting things done and flailing away at this big wall in front of me with my little, man-sized fists and getting absolutely nowhere. Because I was getting nowhere, I started flailing even harder; I'm stupid like that sometimes. I'd been ignoring my Bible study, not spending time with my family in quantities that are acceptable, and generally just having a miserable existence.

Tonight, I put that right. I was working and flailing again, and I realized that I needed to go back and do a couple of episodes of the Daily Audio Bible to catch up. So, I started listening while I was working, which doesn't work. I can do one or the other, but not both. I paused the DAB, wrote a couple of quick e-mails before I forgot what I was going to say, and then took my iPhone out onto the balcony and started listening to God's word.

A couple of things happened here when I allowed myself to be still for a moment. First off, He spoke to me through my favorite verse: the first episode I listened to contained Psalm 46 - you know, my business' namesake. I was reminded that sometimes I just need to slow down and listen to Him. As I did so, I also had the error in my priorities pointed out to me, and now I can get things squared away.

The first step to fixing things is to put work back where it belongs; on the bottom of the stack. I love my job and I am tasked with doing my job well - serving my clients as if I were serving God Himself. At the same time, though, it always needs to be the least of my concerns. My first two priorities, as Jesus lists them, are (in order) to love God and to love people. Be a web dork is down on the list somewhere under those two.

So, that's been slid back down into its appropriate spot. I took some time out of my worknight tonight to sit and commune with my Lord, which was awesome. I'm also reorganizing my priorities a little more, so they look something like this now: Love God (which does not necessarily include doing things for the church), love my family and everyone in my sphere of influence, and then everything else. Eric preached on this a while back, and I think the reality of it really just started to sink in for me today.

Tomorrow, I write about how awesome it is to work on the balcony. Actually, I think I'll do it now while I'm on the balcony and it's all right in front of me. It's not getting posted until tomorrow night, though, so you'll have to wait. Nyaaah.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Frick Yeah!


Beth Sabelhaus

Wii Fit says I'm not obese anymore! I'm only overweight! I am so happy that now we do the Dance of Joy! Yeah! Yeah!

Seriously, you have no idea how excited I am about this. I weighed in at 213.8 pounds today from a starting point of like 245 pounds in November. I don't ever remember being this light. I have this odd dream that someday my weight might be brought to you by the number 1 - that would be righteous.

That's not to say it's without its pitfalls, mind you. Here's what a typical day of eating looks like for me:

  • Breakfast: Slimfast
  • Snack: 1/2 cup of cottage cheese
  • Lunch (dinner for the rest of the family): something between 500-700 calories - this is my big meal for the day
  • Dinner: Slimfast and a salad
  • Snack 2: 10 little cubes of colby cheese
  • Snack 3: Some oatmeal
You can substitute Sun Chips or some tuna salad for any of the snacks there, but you get the general idea. It's not a robust diet. It keeps me alive and full of energy, though, so it works.

Lets hear it for just being overweight! Yeah!

Unintended Side Effects IV: Mo' Unintended, Mo' Problems


Erin Swank
When I asked her if she was ready to go back to bed just now

I write a lot about the bad parts of working at night. Well, this isn't one of those posts. So if you were in the mood for some she-dogging (hooray for obscure game references!), you're not going to get it from me tonight.

Anyway, one of the best unintended things to come from working at night is that when one of the kids wakes up with a problem, I'm almost always the parent that gets to handle it. I sleep like a rock, so when something would go wrong for one of the kids before, Holli would take care of it because the commotion would invariably fail to wake me up before it woke her up. Considering that I'm now up for half of her slar phase (hooray for obscure movie references!), though, I'm usually awake and ready to take care of any child-related problems when they arise these days.

Like tonight, when Erin randomly woke up and wanted hugs. She came in and whimpered at the door, and I told her to come in. She came in, climbed right up onto my lap, and snuggled in for hugging. We had snuggly time for about five minutes, then I asked her if she wanted to go back to bed. She responded as above - which I'm still not sure if it was affirmative or negative - and then climbed off of me. I took her back to bed, tucked her in, and was thoroughly satisfied about being a daddy.

And she's back. Apparently her tummy hurts. I think she just wants hugs, though, and that's cool. Sometimes you just want to hang out with a four-year-old at 2:24 AM.

In other awesome working at night news, I just realized how cool this summer is going to be. It's going to be 11 PM when I start working, and hopefully about 60 or 70 degrees outside. I will grab my lappy, take it out on the balcony, and work in the outside comfort. I somehow think that will help tremendously with the crushing emptiness I feel at night. I'll let you know how that goes. You know, if it ever warms up.

Global warming my fat, white butt.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bible Study: Psalm 30

When I felt secure, I said,
"I will never be shaken."

O Lord, when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

Psalm 30:6-7 (NIV)

Time for a new feature here on the blog - Bible study. I'm acutely aware of a need in my life for more time with the Bible than what I'm currently taking, so in an effort to correct this, I'm making it a point to try to study a little each day. I already listen to the Daily Audio Bible everyday, but as awesome as it is, it's not the same as actually cracking open the Book, reading slowly, praying, and letting Him open up His Word to you. I think something that will be exceptionally useful in my study is blogging, journaling, whatever you want to call it about what He opens up to me in my study.

Tonight, since I decided that I needed to take tonight to do something other than work for a change, I spent a little quality time with God and the Word after Holli went to bed. With no real official study plan in place, I flipped the Bible open and landed on Psalm 30.


Take the verse I quoted above, and put it into modern context. Think about how secure America was economically just a couple of years ago or even, by way of comparison to today, just six months ago. Look how quickly the economy's gone into a downturn and everyone's started to panic. Man keeps trying and trying to keep his house that he built on the sand standing as the storm comes in, but he can't.

It's amazing how powerless we really are to affect things on a permanent basis. We build, and then He destroys with flood, earthquake, or storm. We raise up governments and economic systems that topple seemingly overnight. Nothing that we do works permanently, but when it works for even a fleeting moment, man gets arrogant. We start to forget that God is the source of all of our blessings as we stand atop the little idols we construct, so sure and secure in our own supposed greatness.

So man's arrogant, and God puts the smack down on us. Not a fun lesson, eh? Well, not if you don't look at it in context. If we step to the verse right before what I quoted (Ps 30:5), though, we see this:

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

God's reproof is always for our own good. He loves us, and his will for us is perfect, even if it's sometimes painful. So when He leads us through tough times like many are facing with the economy right now, it's always for our betterment, as hard as that might be to see.

Often in leading us through trials, He's trying to remind us that He's there and to get us to rely on Him, not on ourselves. He does this not to gain glory for Himself - being God, it all belongs to Him already, anyway - but to protect us from ourselves. What we build with our own hands falls eventually, but what God builds for us lasts for all eternity.

Other times, He just knows better than we do because He can see through time in ways we can't. Six years ago, with two extremely young children in my house, I got fired from my sales job because of a stupid corporate decision to try to cut costs by firing all the best salespeople (who made the most money). Because I got fired, I started down the path that's led me to owning my own business. It seemed so painful at the time, but in retrospect, I can now see His plan in what happened there. Had I not been fired, I wouldn't have my own business right now; rather, I'd be helping to close out the local Circuit City (because I wouldn't have ever quit on my own), wondering what I was going to do next.

God does tear us down. He never does it to be spiteful, though. No matter the reason - be it to bring us closer to Him or to force us down His path - we must always remember that His will for us is perfect and the pain that comes from his reproof, however much it might hurt in the process, is just temporary. Whatever hole grows in us as a result of being torn down will always be filled up far beyond capacity by His love after the fact ... as long as we will let it.