Friday, November 28, 2008

My First Black Friday Experience

For a few reasons I've never gone out on Black Friday to shop.  I mean, I might have been out and about, but I have never done my Christmas shopping on Black Friday.  In fact, I usually have 75% of my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving; I've been known to buy a Christmas gift or two around August.

This morning Sarah had to be at Staples at 5:30am (where she works) and is expecting a long hard day.  When we arrived at Staples there was already a line outside the door waiting for the doors to open.  From there I decided to go to Wal-Mart; Sarah said there was a game on sale for half price there that we both wanted (turned out it wasn't what we thought so I didn't get it).  The Wal-Mart parking is right beside its Sams Club, so the park lot is huge (easily 15 acres, but it wouldn't surprise me if someone said it was twice that).  The parking lot was full!  At 5:30-ish AM it was packed.  Cars were going all over waiting for someone to pull out (I was one of them).

Here's a few things I noticed once inside:
  1. There was probably 50 customers to every Wal-Mart employee.
  2. Every section had a crowd and at least two very long lines and many didn't seem to know what the lines were for (a frequent question I kept hearing).
  3. I saw two women grab, what I know is usually, a very expensive item because they thought the item was on sale, but admitted they didn't know how much the item was.
  4. I arrived about 40 minutes after Wal-Mart's sales started and all of their big discount items were already gone.
  5. I was surrounded by people pushing carts stuffed with items stacked higher than me.
  6. A lot of people were upset, angry, and really frustrated, but some seemed to be enjoying them self and didn't let the competition of finding the sale item get to them. 
  7. It took forever just to get around.
  8. Items on the shelves couldn't be clearly seen in many places because of the number of people.
  9. Lots of confusion, even among the employees.
I don't get why people go shopping on Black Friday.  I would rather pay a little more just to avoid crowds like that.

Are the deals that worth it?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Our Nation's First Thanksgiving

On Oct. 3, 1789 our first President, George Washington, made the following proclamation:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Great, awesome book, pretty dang good movie! After being recommended Twilight and seeing that it was coming out as a movie this month, I read the book a couple weeks ago. It took me three, maybe four days to read. Amazing story! Very quickly, it is a love story between a human, Bella, and a vampire, Edward. I am currently in the middle of reading the third of four in the series, and they keep getting better.

Tonight we went to the midnight showing of Twilight. Wonderful! The movie did the book justice and kept true to the most part. Of course there were some differences, but nothing to ruin the movie over. I am quite happy with the result. I highly recommend the book and the movie.

But don't take my word for it...

Sarah Elizabeth

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ready for Christmas

In preparation for our trip to Terry's parents for Christmas, which will be in the mountains of NC, we bought Frodo a coat. He is a chihuahua who lives in Florida, so we know that he will be freezing. I just wanted to share how pimp Frodo is. Enjoy.

Sarah Elizabeth

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Couldn't Be Happier Right Now. . .

Publix and Albertsons (grocery stores) donated tons today to a project I'm working on with the youth for some Thanksgiving benevolence.  And we have another couple wanting to come to our Thursday night small group.

Although, I am missing my wife right now.  She's at work.  Can't wait to tell her the good news!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Baby Back Ribs!

Tonight I cooked ribs for the first time in my life.  I made my own rub based on many of the Kansas rubs I found online. There are TONS of them online, so I took what I liked from a few and put my own twists and turns in it.

I love to experiment and many of those experiments have turned out pretty bad; just ask my mom about chicken I once cooked that turned out purple (I'm not joking).  Some have turned out very good.  This one, by far was the best ever!

I cooked them for our small group Bible study and they were a hit.  They weren't good. . .they were awesome!  Even a girl who pretty much only eats chicken as her meat tried them and loved them.  I'm pretty stoked about it, especially since small group became my guinea-pigs and it could have been a disaster.

They were sweet and very spicy!  Sarah told me this is a meal I "must" cook for her mom and dad when they visit next month.

Now I just need to write down everything I did before I forget.

Next on the menu. . .I want to rework my chili.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Concerning the Election

I was about to make a post and then discovered that my father-in-law had beat me to it.  He said what I was thinking better than I would have.

Just a few points/comments:
Romans 13:1-7
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

1 Peter 2:13-16
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

And just as a special note, these things were written during a time when the predominant government was cruel, had murderers and thieves helping to enforce the law of the land, taxed its subjects to the point that many could barely feed their families, and many other atrocities we're not even close to having to deal with.

If you're not happy with the outcome that doesn't give you an excuse to have a bad attitude. Watch your conduct.

Don't be focused on what you're against as much as you should be focused on what you're for. . .and hopefully those things you are for are a reflection of Christ.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


At Staples we had 3 spirit days last week, the 30, 31, and 1. It reminded me of spirit days back in high school. Thursday was crazy hair day and backwards day. Crazy hair, obvious. Backwards - we wore our uniform backwards. We were able to wear jeans too. I was the only one who managed to wear my jeans backwards, I just had to be careful about bending over all day.

Friday, Halloween, we got to wear a costume. I was a pirate, arrr! It was fun! There were some pretty cool costumes.

Saturday was red, white, and blue day and hat day. I opted out of the hat, but I did wear red, white, and blue. I didn't get a pic of this day. I was so nice to be able to wear something other than the red shirt and black pants. 

Frodo got to enjoy dressing us also. He is so good about wearing stuff. He pulled off a bumble bee rather well I would say.

Sarah Elizabeth

Bad News, Good News, Life

You get a phone call from your son’s teacher today. You find out he’s failing math because he been doing poorly on the tests and isn’t doing all of his homework. The teacher recommends a tutor which you call up and establish appointments with the tutor to meet with your son. . .

Now, your son comes home. You share with him that you’ve learned he’s failing math, he’s now grounded until his grades improve, and twice a week he’ll be meeting with a tutor after school to help him with his homework and study habits.

Do you think the young boy thought the fact that his parent found out he’s failing is good news? What about that he’s now grounded? Or what about the fact that he now has to meet with a tutor who will make sure he learns how to do the math he had been avoiding (which is why he wasn’t turning in all of his homework)? You know the boy is thinking “what does math have to do with anything anyway; math won’t help me get a girl friend!”

Sometimes we make the Good News of Christ seem much like this. Sure, making a young man increase his effort to his studies is a great thing, but a parent can make a child practice discipline in studies. . .on the other hand we can not make anyone come to know Christ.  Yet, the church often seems to follow a set of methods similar to correcting a young man's low grades. We tell them something is seriously wrong in their life (they’re going to hell). Then we take all of their fun away and on top of that we guilt trip them into coming to church 2 or 3 times a week so they can get better at this thing called “being a Christian”. Doesn’t sound like Good News at all. In fact, the Good News sounds like bad news.

This is the world we live in and this is how the church is perceived by many who are outside the church (and even a good number of those inside of it). So many see the church as a place that’s boring, self-punishing, and not relevant to what they perceive they need in life.  They don't see Good News.

I submit for your pondering: 
1. What kind of "News" does your church spread? What is the "real" message of your church?
2. Did you know that love is a great way to open doors to share the bad news and then the Good News of Christ?  Is your church showing the community that you really love them (not "we do things in the community only because we hope this will draw people to our church")?  You want to show people you love them; show it with your money, your time, and your energy. . .and don't expect anything in return.