Ecclesiastes 1

As I was finishing up my study of Mark, I kept thinking about Ecclesiastes. My mental state of late has wondered what the meaning of all this stuff we do. I mean, who cares about my basement getting finished or my old car or most anything in the grand scheme of things. It’s a little fatalist and depressing (don’t worry Mom, I’m fine), but that’s where I’ve been. It’s So today I start a study of Ecclesiastes.
I also hope to (once again) recommit myself to more serious study and reading of the scriptures. I said study and reading. My studies will be posted here, but I need to spend other free moments just reading. No note taking, no blogging, just reading. I’ve generally put off my study time until I can be at the computer taking notes no the blog. There’s a place for that, but that kind of time s harder to find. There are little moments where I can just break open the eSword on my phone or the Bible on the side table and read for a few minutes. no expectations but taking it in.
I’ve been trying to do that with my older girls in the morning. I’ve been reading Matthew out loud as they get breakfast. I say try, because getting two middle schoolers up at 6 AM can be challenging. We generally get some reading in at least 2-3 days a week though.
Anyway, that’s where I am.

What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.

Ecclesiastes 1:3-4

This I can relate to lately. What’s the point? Fix things up, they just break again. Gather and gather and you now have more things to look after. Things that begin to break as soon as you get them home. In the end, what does it gain? Life feels particularly short these days. I think it’s the down turn of my body after 40, seeing friends age, seeing my parents age and seeing me now where they were when I was growing up and them where my grandparents were. We’ve both stepped to the next square on the game board and I still feel like I’m back where I was. I wasn’t done there yet. The arc of life feels more real than it used to.
There’s nothing new here, everyone deals with it. I’m not overly depressed about it (I don’t think), but I’m not particularly happy these days either. This too will pass.
Maybe Ecclesiastes isn’t a good book to read under theses circumstances (any thoughts on that?). I’m hoping the conclusions that Solomon reached (which I already know) will bring some contentment to my soul.
Kansas Bob posted the other day that he used to rule the world. Things weer black and white and he thought he was in control with his destiny. Then life happened and he learned it was an illusion. At the end of the post he wrote:

I no longer rule the world but I am content with my place in it.

That’s where I long to get. I understand the first part, but I’ve yet to achieve the second. I’m hoping Solomon will help me.
Ecclesiastes 1:8 – “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” This verse made me think of those who pursue the Bible as the end rather than the means. In other words, they long to know their Bible more than they long to know God. I’ve never had that problem :-D, rather I’ve forgotten too often that the God I strive to know is revealed in the Bible. Knowing the Bible is a means to the end of knowing Him.

Jared’s 95 Theses

The soon-to-be-published Jared at the Gospel Driven Church today launched a 5 day series in which he posts his own 95 theses for the American church, 19 per day. Today’s theme was discipleship and here are a few of them:

5. The American Christian takes for granted the convenience of the availability of God’s revelation in the Holy Scriptures. [salguod: I too often resemble this one, which makes #6 & #7 that much more painful to read.]
14. The Christian in the American Christian ought to affirm and embrace the cost of discipleship, but the American in the American Christian hesitates to deny himself because Self is his highest value.
16. … The American Christian’s schedule and routines reflect he believes his days belong to himself and not to God.

Good stuff. If you’re not a regular reader of Jared’s blog, I suspect this series will be a great intro into why you should be.

Adventures In Upgrading: Template Sets

Subtitle this post “Undo”. Those of you who came by these parts over the weekend saw a fresh new look for Today, we’re back to the old.
I like that template set and will likely return to it, but not only did it break my favorite anti-spam plugin, and with it, commenting, but it reset my archive mapping. What does that mean? That means every page on my site, every entry and every archive (monthly, category, etc) was published to a new location. That meant that every page had a new URL.
I don’t get a lot of traffic nor do I suspect there are a lot of links out there to my site, but I certainly don’t want to break the ones that are. I had not expected that to happen, but looking at the way archive mappings are tied to the archive templates, I guess it should have been expected. One of the things that I looked forward to in MT4.21 was template sets that allow you to change the look and layout of you blog in one simple step. I think that’s problematic if in changing that template set also can potentially change every URL in your site.
I actually plan on changing my page URLs. My site is built with the old style links using the entry ID, the new standard (as used by that template set) uses what’s called the entry basename adn produces a more human readable URL. That takes some planning to make sure that Google and other outside links know how to find the new URL from the old.
So, I had the old database backup from Friday (I use dbsender to get DB backups emailed to me daily) loaded and it’s like the weekend never happened. I’ll try it again later.
I think the DB restore went fine. I also had to delete the new files that the theme create, so it’s possible that I deleted something I needed. Let me know if you find something broken.

16 Birthdays

Friday was Maria’s birthday. I’ve been part of 16 birthdays with her, hence the title. I’m a little late, but she was out of town so it’s all good. 😀 this is what I wrote in her card.
After 16 birthdays together, I had to stop and think about what I wanted to you to know that I hadn’t already said.
I want you to know that you still thrill and excite me. Your smile and laugh still brighten my world like the sun bursting through the clouds after a long rainy day. That just your touch makes the world right again when everything is all wrong.
You are still the one, the girl of my dreams and I’d be lost without you.
Happy Birthday.

Encourage Your Pastor

Saw this on Jared’s most excellent blog (which will definitely get a link once I get my blogroll issues sorted out) last night. He lists some sad facts on what the burdens of ministry are doing to pastors. They’re leaving the ministry, they feel inadequate, they’re depressed and burdened.
Think about it. They’re the one that gets called when a marriage is in crisis. They’re the one that gets called when a member is sick or dying. They’re the one that gets called when someone doesn’t like what’s going on. They’re the one that gets called when someone is in sin. They have to deal with the demons in the church. They’re the one that deals with all of those messes and more.
How often do you call or email just to encourage? Just to say that you support them and their work? Not because they did something specific that moved or impacted you (by all means, call then too), but just because?
A good friend of mine stepped into the role of minister, temporarily, after theirs resigned. He and another brother decided to fill that role for the short time while they searched for a replacement. A short time turned into about 2 years, I think. Shortly after they finally hired someone new and he could step back, his comment was “I am so grateful for the folks we hired over the years to deal with that mess so I didn’t have to.” A little negative view, sure, but revealing as to what your minister deals with on a regular basis.
In the history of this blog, I’ve been critical of my denomination (I bet they hate me saying that, but that’s what we are) and of my local church fairly often. I’ve been critical of my minister specifically at times as well. What I haven’t done enough of, is tell you how much we are blessed to have Doug Geyer lead us. Is he flawed? Of course, but he’s also humble, determined, and passionate about the church. He doesn’t feed us what we want, he gives us what we need. He points us to God and illuminates His Son to us. He longs to grow and to see us grow. He makes me think and stretches me spiritually. I’m grateful that he’s there.
Your pastor deals with the bad stuff. The least you can do is hold up his arms a bit. Call him. Encourage him.

Adventures In Upgrading: Typekey

I’ve amended my MT 4.21upgrade instructions to include revising the link to your MT installation in your Typekey profile, if you use Typekey. When doing a fresh install, the Typekey token will still be pointed at the old install and Typekey authentication won’t work. Make sure you change it by logging into Typekey and editing your account preferences.
Any other services that interact with your MT installation (like Flickr’s email to blog feature) will need to be updated as well.

Sad Things Come In Threes

Last July, I wrote about loosing my wife’s cat of 15.5 years. It was hard, but the pain was tempered by the long time she was with us and the understanding that she was sick and hurting and her time had come.
At the time I mentioned in passing that we had 4 cats. What I didn’t write about was that a short time later, my oldest daughter’s cat, Midnight (at left), which was almost 5, was having a hard time finding the litter box. While visibly healthy and happy (well, Midnight wasn’t ever particularly happy. She was a bit like the Oscar the Grouch of cats), she was slowly destroying our carpets, throw rugs and whatever else got left on the floor. We took her to the vet and tried some medication, but it became clear that this wasn’t working out. We took her to the local shelter, hoping she might get adopted, but knowing that once we told them that her litter habits were sporadic, she may not make it.
It was hard on Jessica because she had gotten her when she wasn’t yet weaned. We bottle fed her for the first few weeks. Jess loved Midnight, even though Midnight wasn’t overly affectionate. Though she’s a very strong girl and understood why it had to happen, it was still hard.
That meant we were down to 2 cats, Emily’s Cookey and the hitchhiker, Cally (remind me to tell that story some time). Not too long later, however, we got two new kittens, one for Jess and one for Audrey who hadn’t ever had a pet of her own. Two little black boys, Twitch and Boo. Those two were a riot, chasing each other around and playing. Even when they’d calm down, they’d be together, laying in a chair one’s arm over the other. Twitch, on the right with the white belly and paws, was Jess’ and all-black Boo belonged to Audrey.
Well, wouldn’t you know, on Monday we noticed Boo was throwing up and had slowed down considerably. By this evening when Maria got home, he was quite lethargic. Off to the vet he went.
The prognosis was not good. He was seriously dehydrated and had lost 0.6 of his 3.6 lbs. He either had a virus or an obstruction. IV fluids would be needed right away and a night in the hospital and a lot of money.
It one of those decisions a Dad hates to make. There’s just not money to do what needs to be done, yet it’s so hard to say no. Mom was with him at the vet and she didn’t want to let go, but understood why we should. In the end, after further talking with the vet, a recovery would be very expensive and was, frankly, a long shot. That made the decision a lot easier, but still hard. Sigh.
Audrey was home with me, finishing homework. We hadn’t had supper yet, so I asked her to go to McD’s drive through with me. It was a diversion, as the real mission was to go say goodbye to Boo. In the car, I told her what was happening. We had done all we could, but Boo wasn’t coming back home, but we wanted her to be able to say goodbye. After a lot of tears, I carried my brave little girl into the vet’s and she held her kitty for the last time and said her goodbyes. There were more tears as we left and more at bed time and probably more to come. Even Twitch has been crying out, wondering where his brother and playmate has gone.
Boo only spent a couple of short months with us. There will be a new kitten, but for now we’ll just mourn.


I came across this while taking the family to dinner on Saturday. It was in the Grove City OH O’Charley’s parking lot where there were a bunch of HS kids taking their dates to homecoming. I’m wondering if some lucky girl got to ride in this thing in her frou-frou dress. I quickly grabbed my daughter’s cell phone to record the find (Dad’s phone is so ancient, it has no camera).

Evidently a VW bunny truck wasn’t rare enough for this guy (he obviously had access to one) nor was he content with the all too common Rabbit/Golf to pickup conversion. No, he went the route of a second gen Jetta to pickup conversion. Never see another of those driving around Columbus!
This has all the marks of fine craftsmanship associated with any good car/truck conversion. Note the stylish C pillar extensions (move over Avalanche!), the exquisitely fabricated divider with the large glass opening (not evident in the photos is that it actually had a defroster grid) and the Great Stuff foam sealant for a comfortable, air tight cabin. Also not evident in the photos is the pop riveted body panels that gracefully smooth out the transition between the Jetta body and the VW truck bed extension.
If I had more time and a better camera, I’d have gotten shots of the interior which was mostly stripped if I remember right. The divider is forward of where the rear seat back was, so this is not a 4 or 5 passenger truck in the spirit of a Ridgeline as one might hope, but more like an extended cab. Instead, where the rear seat had been, there was a home made sub woofer box with 2 downward facing 12″ subs held down with clear packing tape stretched across their magnets. I’d be a little concerned that were the full power of those subs be unleashed, not only would they break free from their adhesive backed moorings, perhaps the entire bed would be as well. The impressive looking amps were cleverly laid loose in the passenger foot well, resting against the center console, considerately, to make room for the lady’s feet.
This, my friends, is why the terrorists hate us. Because only in America can a young man, armed with nothing but a pair of old VWs, a pop rivet gun and a can of Great Stuff foam, can create such a work of art, and then use it to transport his date (and some unknown box of, uh, stuff) to the big dance. God bless America.
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