End of year musings.

It’s that time of year when we all sit down and have a think about what this last year has been like and what the year to come promises. Last things first: I’d be lying through my teeth if I told you I had any idea what next week is going to look like, much less trying to figure the entire year to come. My business– expedited freight– is on a “fireman’s schedule”. The bell rings, you go. The bell doesn’t ring, you sit and watch television. Since this business is entirely dependent on waiting for the next call– right now I sit and wait.

About this year past: I’m doing better– marginally– this year than I did this time last year. Last year I was 2,500 dollars below zero, sometimes having to ask the company to forward me gas money so I could do the run they were asking me to do. Today my account is above zero as often as not, and I can actually afford to breathe a little for the moment. I have a couple of “breakdown issues” to attend to, but nothing financially crippling just yet anyway.

Upon reflecting on my spiritual life, I can only say– thank God I didn’t get what I deserve. Neither did you, if you’re reading this, so don’t go putting on airs.¬† God did give me grace to make it through another year, so let us be thankful for that. He’s been with me through some tight spots, worked with me to set me straight– I seem to need a lot of that– and in general provided both physical sustenance and spiritual support through prayer and through friends in the Church.

General news: Global Warming is nowhere to be seen when you really need it, the NSA got caught spying on us, turns out their friends in Her Majesty’s Secret Service have been in on it too– I dare say the Queen will know about these words written here before you do– the place I used to keep my blog, photos and much of my forum postings– MyOpera– notified us that they will be closing shop come March 1st, and of course we have, here in Illinois, the standard political squabbling in Springfield and in the Rahmulan Empire– Chicago City Hall to those of you unfamiliar with Emperor Rahm’s Imperious demands. It is now legal for a man to marry his boyfriend, but illegal for them to discuss the details of their wedding on hand-held cell phones while driving. I could, with a little research, come up with other goofy stuff, but why??

 

So– see you next year. Which should happen here in the Western ‘Burbs of Chicago in about 6 hours or so.

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Re: Something bothered me— Part two.

In the earlier posting with this similar title, I made mention of the fact that I buy books of a Christian/religious nature at truck stops. I favor the Pilot/Flying J stops for a number of reasons, and amongst other things I do while there I will visit the book stand. Recently, a book I purchased gave me pause because it seemed as though God only speaks to pastors and in any case not much lower than the deacons. That leaves the rest of us with a big problem if that were the case.

Well, since then I’ve had the chance to read quite a bit deeper into that book- “The Sure Cure for Worry” by Kent Crockett– and while it is certainly true that the book is heavily leaning towards God answering prayers and leading ministers, it is written in fact for everybody, and the principles in the book apply to anyone who wants to believe what the Bible says about God and His ability and desire to lead us in life’s challenges.

I wonder– should I write a book?? Maybe. One thing about it, since I’m not a professional minister– I drive a cargo van in expedited freight service– I can just about guarantee that it would be about the rest of us by default. To that end, the idea of getting contributions from “the rest of us” to be included in such a book wouldn’t be a bad idea either. People in all walks of life have need to call on God, and to trust Him when the going gets tough after all.

 

Second item on the agenda: I said earlier that I am not above posting links to other folk’s blogs that I think are worthwhile. With that thought in mind, here are two that I’ve been following:

http://adoptingjames.wordpress.com/

 

http://vincentegoro.wordpress.com/

I get a bit of something out of following these two blogs, maybe you will too.

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Unidentifiable mystery meat.

Otherwise known as spam. I’ve just had a housecleaning, and in the process learned a thing or three about identifying this electronic form of nuisance. What I found was a bunch of comments that had high praise– bordering on the ridiculous– for my blog, even in one case declaring that I must have read his mind and written an e-book about it. Now, right away you have to know something is a little “off” about such comments, since while I hope my blog is good I would have to admit that even my best effort since I started keeping a blog isn’t much better than marginal. I have a couple of followers and I’ve gotten a “like” or two that are legitimate, but by and large the comments have left much to be desired in terms of legitimacy.

On top of the lavish praise for an effort that doesn’t yet justify such praise, I found on clicking the links that every last one of these comments came from a foreign-language site that was trying to sell something. North-Face jackets being sold on French-language sites was most common, followed by a German-language site selling the same thing and a Chinese site selling Blue-Ray devices.

In a strange sort of way I’m actually thankful for this, since it hones my skills as a moderator elsewhere. Being able to recognize spam when you see it is important to keep blogs and forums free of the commercial clutter.

So– as of right now the only comments showing here are my own, and I wouldn’t mind getting some legitimate comments here. I’ve seen other blogs, am following a couple, so I know what a legitimate comment looks like. If you think my blog is really good– say so. If you think it could use some improvement– it probably could, and a little bit of advice never hurts. Just, please don’t get ridiculous. Lavish praise for a mediocre effort stands out like a sore thumb, and so does trashing a really superb effort.

If I visit your blog and like what I see, I may post a link right here on the front so others can see you too– I’ve already done this with Matt Walsh’s blog because he said something I liked. This is not, in my opinion, spam– it’s the free exchange of links to places we like– so don’t be afraid to post a comment just because I state I’ve already had a rough time. Hey, this is my first couple of weeks on WordPress.com, so of course I’m having “teething troubles” here– but it will work out OK I think.

Til next time.

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Sometimes, it takes faith….

I’ve just been reading another fellow’s blog– I’ll post the link below– written by a man who is taking a considerable leap of faith, leaving the security of a regular job for the irregularity of earning his living by his writings. It’s a well thought out move by the look of it, but a leap of faith none the less. I thought enough of it that, besides writing this post, I’ve also decided to follow his blog and of course it goes without saying that I “liked” it too.

It seems to be a common thing amongst “entrepreneurs” that working the standard nine-to-five isn’t for them, and they take off into the “Great Unknown” on a venture that is by no means guaranteed. You who work regular jobs get a steady paycheck, but it turns out these guys have more fun at what they do than you do. Imagine waking up on Monday morning and looking forward to your day of work. Many of these guys do just that. They may not make enough today to keep the lights on without help, but they dream and work towards the day when their businesses come together and make a decent living, doing what they love to be doing.

I’m not quite in that same class– I’m an independent contractor, driving my van in the expedited business– but in a very real way it’s an act of faith to believe that this day, the “Gray Lady” won’t break down and will get me and my freight there, and me back home again. I have to admit I like this “job”. There’s nothing at all regular about it, I can be called to do a run at any time, I can sit for three or four days between runs, the runs I do get may be long ones or short ones– I get paid by the mile so the length of the run matters–and of course we can’t forget about the weather and what it can do to you. But, I wouldn’t miss this for a chance to work in a cubicle or on a factory floor, not by a longshot.

I admit I have half a dream of someday being able to do like the fellow in the link I’m about to post has done– quitting a regular job to write for a living– but that day is not today. Maybe in the not too distant future, I’ll have enough readers to justify taking such a chance. I can hope, my 58 year old body won’t be able to move freight forever, but writing can be done– physically at least– long after I can’t drive anymore. Actually, my dream these days is to get something that works with my driving job— I like this gig– and the idea of being able to keep doing it for as long as possible has a definite appeal. In the meantime, driving gives me material to write about so maybe it’s all good as they say.

Here’s the promised link, I personally think the young man has something worth saying. Enjoy.

http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/12/20/why-im-leaving-radio-forever/

 

 

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Gee, do ya think maybe I should say something about Duck Dynasty?

Seems everybody else is so I might as well put in my buck-eighty.

First, to get this out of the way, Full Disclosure Time: I’ve never watched Duck Dynasty, in fact I haven’t watched any A&E show in some time. I know what the show is about and who is on it because it’s impossible not to know unless you’ve been living in a cave way back in the woods, the DD stuff is everywhere these days.

So– my quickie thoughts. As a Christian, I agree with the sentiments expressed by the fellow who got suspended from the show. No surprise there, eh?

About the First Amendment stuff: Here it gets murky fast, so bear with this. The GOVERNMENT can’t bar you from speaking your piece on these issues. The FBI can’t storm into A&E’s offices and order them to fire the guy for saying he doesn’t like LGBT types.

After that, though– First Amendment rights become less clear rather fast. Behold the comments section on these blogs. Nobody has the “right” to make a comment that offends– or even that the host blogger simply doesn’t like. Here on this blog, I’m the “benevolent dictator” and I make the final decision about what stands and what gets deleted even before it sees the light of day. That’s a truth about every WordPress.com blog, by the way– your comments are subject to the whims of the host blogger you’re commenting on– get used to that. Further, I have someone over me– the above mentioned WordPress.com– and if I say something that makes life uncomfortable for my host I can expect some sort of action– up to and including having my blog taken down. At this level therefore, First Amendment rights are NOT an absolute. Freedom of the Press is for those who own the presses, not necessarily for those who write angry letters to the editor.

In the “real world” I am an independent contractor– IC for short– driving for an expedited freight outfit. If I go into a shipping dock and express my First Amendment rights to shoot off my bazoo about the first thing that enters my head, the customer may call the company and then the dispatcher may inform me that my contract with them has expired, they don’t need me anymore. That’s just the way it is, so of course I have to watch myself and keep it professional in my dealings with the people I see every day.

So– I side withe Duck Dynasty fellow in his beliefs– however, having said that, A&E is within its rights as a corporation to decide who they employ and under what conditions. You, the TV viewer, are entirely within your rights to decide whether you will view A&E ever again, and if so you decide what shows you will watch and why you watch them. For any reason or no reason.

Keep looking up….

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Something that bothered me a bit on the road…

I am an expedited driver in my regular occupation. In the course of my regular business I visit truck stops for gasoline (I drive a Chevy 3/4 ton van) coffee, using the restroom and so on. I occasionally buy books there of a religious nature, given  that I am a Christian this is to be expected of course.

The thing that bothered me was the way some of these Christian books are written. I understand they’re written by ministers for the most part and therefore will have a “professional minister” leaning towards them as a rule, but even then I thought a couple of them went to an extreme. One would think, to read these books, that God only answers the prayers of professional ministers and that the rest of us are filling church pews as much as anything— and that bothered me more than a little. The latest book I picked up was about not worrying because God has everything covered, and once you open the book there are stories of God stepping in and doing miraculous things for people who really need help– and page after page seemed to be about people who either were already in active ministry or were being called by God into active professional ministry.

So, that got me to thinking: What about the rest of us? Most people attending church will never serve on a pastoral committee. Most will never get closer to being a professional minister than you get when you greet new people who visit your church. When you pray as a member of the congregation, do you reasonably expect God to take time from His busy schedule with the professionals to answer you, to guide your steps and so on?? If He only answers the pastors and maybe the deacons but no lower than that, what are the rest of us to do??

Personally, I’ve read enough of scripture and had enough personal experience to know that it isn’t quite the way these books would portray it. I am, as already stated, NOT a professional minister– my profession is along different lines, being that I’m an IC driving for an expedited freight outfit. I know from personal experience that God does answer my decidedly non-professional prayers, one concerning a lost set of keys was answered this very day just a couple of hours ago as a matter of fact.

I think a few comments might not be a bad idea here, maybe you’ve had some personal experience. A little bit of balance showing that this faith isn’t all in the hands of the professional ministry– as much as we need them and God be praised for the good men and women He has called– but is also in our hands– yours and mine– and I especially mean you, the guy who just came to church a week ago and still doesn’t know what all of this “faith” stuff is about.

Special note: I know that some people reading these blogs are atheists. I’ve had dealings with atheists before so a word to those: If you keep it civil I can welcome your comments as well. Once it gets to the point where it’s apparent all you want to do is give Christians a hard time for believing in what you consider to be fairy-tales– I’ll have no more truck with that sort of thing. I watched a couple of atheists destroy a believer’s blog elsewhere with their snide comments, and since this site gives me tools that the other site didn’t have to deal with it I intend to use those tools to good effect. So– keep it civil and decent and I’ll allow the comments. Start name-calling and belittling people who believe differently than you, and your comment will be gone like yesterday. Capiche?

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Another quickie thought.

This is filler as much as anything, talking to myself in order to think out loud (I do that in real life, so– don’t worry overmuch about it).

A few days back another friend suggested that I should post photos on 2liv3.com. Now, I’ve done it and the site isn’t a bad one for sharing photos with friends and family. It is found wanting in one area though and for me it’s critical. Every now and then I get involved in a forum conversation and the desire to post one of my photos comes up. Posting direct from my computer files is not going to happen on the forum in question since it requires the photos to come from a website. 2liv3 has disabled the right-click on their site so there is no way I know to select one photo from the album and share it on a forum. Of course there are other sites that do allow it but I’m thinking I may be spreading myself a little thin. Soooooo…… I see this site has the space– a little bit of storage for reduced-size photos (the original size, if posted, would blow the forum beyond reason). This place has right-click capabilities and that can make this THE place for what I need. Pardon my little bit of ad for this site, but– . I think I’ll give it a shot in the near future and see what can be made of it.

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