Monday, April 30, 2007

Um, Marcian may be wearing sunblock in the future. So much for being Hispanic.

Please keep my right arm in your prayers.

Feeling strangely far from God? Like the relationship isn't what it used to be? Like maybe you were selfish and wanted Him for you instead of wanting Him for Him?

Never underestimate the power of confession.

Cycling lessons

1. The recovery ride is king!!!

2. The Camelbak is your friend.

I've never felt so good on a monday morning after a steady cycling weekend in my life. Maybe this "hydration" thing is really worth its weight in... water.

55 miles, three snakes, a squirell, a lizard, and countless beetles later, I'm feeling about as good as I did on the 60 miler with Mark. And I bet if I was hydrated then, I'd have felt loads better than I did afterward.

Did you hear that Mark? I might consider another "Tour deTorture" to Fort Worth soon...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A few items....

I will make this post short, probably. I have a bit of a headache from my ride. It's heating up here in Texas. But I have learned something from my 35-mile ride today: The CamelBak is your friend.

My observation of the day runs pretty close to what Mr. Hatfield wrote over at Voice of Vision today. Alliances. Compromise. And what to do about it.

On the front end, the act of loving God means putting His wishes, His desires, His commands before your own. And that means to come of out the world, and be separate. No matter WHAT that looks like. If it looks bleak it is because we're viewing it through our fleshly eyes, and not our spiritual eyes. It also means we don't trust God. Simply put.

I read Joshua 22 today, and marveled at the scene there. Here we have a handful of the tribes of Israel separated from their brethren by the Jordan River. And to clear up any misconceptions that they were indeed worshippers of the Lord God, they set up their own monument as a "witness". But word reached the remaining numbers and a delegation was sent over. They were afraid that this other group of their nation was worshiping the idols of the nations who remained in the land the Lord had given them. And do you know what they were prepared to do? They were prepared to destroy the land. And I'm pretty sure people within that land were included. They had been so close and seen the Lord move and work among them that they KNEW that idolatry would invite destruction upon ALL of them.

They would rather cut off and destroy the land than have these tribes worship an idol. They wanted NOTHING to do with these people, and were prepared to take such drastic measures to see that purity was maintained. Is this not the type of zeal we should have for our own lives?

Allying ourselves with those who practice idolatry, who turn from the Living God, this will invite destruction on everyone involved...

One month to go

In exactly a month I will be loading up the rented Jeep and heading out across the American Plains to search for the elusive tornado and all-around mesocyclone. I'm counting down the days, to be sure.

My chase partner, the lovely and EXTREMELY talented Jenna Blum, has informed me that she has the green light from the Boston Globe for a story about chasing for their travel section. She's ALSO pitching us to Travelgirl Magazine, and O Magazine. I may get a by-line this year. And if she's reading this, she's probably thinking "pshha, whatever, I got a stack of 'em over here." *grin* Well, okay, her English would be better than that, even in her head, I'm sure.

I've been stretching the shutter-release-finger, and taking the camera out for a spin. I need to get some rolls developed and weigh the option of taking the battle-tank with me, my rusty trusty, all-manual Pentax K1000. Ohhhh, and then there's the weighty task of reformatting the laptop. Taking everything off that I don't want to delete forever. That's the un-fun part.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wasn't life just better without internet? We were missing something that we didn't even know we were missing. Now I turn on the computer because I'm positive I'm missing something. Or need to know something.

From the Protestant Church in Smyrna

Be sure to read this.

Two things

First of all, I've come to realize that it is not my "job", per se, to convince anyone of anything. It IS my job, however, to just walk in the straight and narrow path. I was told that not everyone was going to agree with me. So why should I be surprised? I should not be following Christ out of the motive that I will somehow revolutionize ANYTHING or convince large masses of people. I should walk in that way because it honors Christ. It exalts my Lord who bought me, and who saw the mess I am in and saved me while I was still in my mess (and loving it).

Now, that becomes difficult to keep in perspective sometimes when someone is trying to convince you of error that they believe to be true. But I'm convinced we're supposed to be "overcomers" who are overcoming SOMETHING.

Second thing? I'm feeling so spiritually drained. I think I understand now why prayer is so important.

That is all.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

It's Thursday, I guess...

I'm sorry I've been loath to post anything resembling either ruminations or ramifications lately. After work, I'm finding myself either on the bike, or on the computer.

These last divisions of the exam are very time-management-sensitive. This means that I may know how to solve the problem in my head, but if I'm not able to use the program to draw the solution quickly and accurately, I'm already handicapped. This is a program unlike anything I'm using right now to draw, so 8 hours of autopilot on my current CAD software create such a hurdle to overcome with new software. This other software is also not intuitive. You are given a set of tools, and then must learn how to use those tools to your advantage.

In a previous post I mentioned a comment I had found online about the graphic divisions, and how the problems really do require only common sense. It's the computer program that is the most amusing (read: frustrating) part of the exam. If they would let me just solve the problem using a pencil and paper, I'd have a lot less to complain about this morning. I'd also probably have my license by now.

In other news, I'm still going through the Bible using the Unabridged Matthew Henry Commentary. And guess what??? I'm starting chapter 3 today!!!! I challenge anyone to go through this any faster if you want to really understand what is going on in the beginning.

I have learned many things, and have honestly been meaning to post about those things. But the one thing that I have been chewing over is that if God were telling Moses EXACTLY how it went down in the first days, then it appears to me that sin and redemption were a part of the plan before humans were even created. Now, I know this is true because it says so in the New Testament. But to see the tapestry of time being woven in the first days, and to see God look ahead to the redemption of His people (who, by the way, He hasn't even created yet)... WOW.

I used to think He started with one fabric, and then had to move to another. But I see now that that is not the case. He started with the same fabric He will finish with. This should humble us all to know that no amount of striving on our part to achive or work anything that God has already deemed will come to pass (or not) is futile. We need to rest in the contentment of where we are and know that God has seen the end from the beginning.

Anyway, stop worrying, and be good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Market-Driven Analysis

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Do you know what it feels like to be mercilessly teased by NOAA?

Well, I do.

Jazzy, meet Crystal

These are those cute kitty pictures I warned you about.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So what does vegan food look like?

Roughly like this. Split peas pressure-cooked with diced potato and herbs/spices. Boiled quinoa mixed in. High-protein fare, roughly the colour of your grandma's outdated avocado green kitchen appliances. Easily digestible, and portable. Reheating is unnecessary; tastes about the same.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Well, okay.

I guess I DO have something to say today...

I wish I hadn't sold my iPod.

That about sums it up at the moment.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The sound of silence...

I think I just need to keep quiet for a while.

Silence has been overblown to the point where we all think we have something to say. Rather, I ought to be quick to listen, slow to speak.

Often, I find myself talking to the point where I don't know what I'm saying anymore. Not a good place to be. I notice a lot of blogs go on and on about every little detail, and I don't want to be like that.

Otherwise, where's the mystery?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A walk in the park

Friday, April 13, 2007

No trophies today: a chase blog

This is a classic "hook echo" just south of San Antonio. We did not intercept this, but I sure hope no one was hurt. I didn't even see a tornado warning on this storm, and this was a pretty classic cell.

Turned on Mobile Threat Net... This is chasing in the computer age.

A nice break through the clouds... thinks the architect.

This just happens to be how I remember it.

On the side of the road, watching the inflow, feeling the outflow.

On a tornado-warned storm.

This was about as beautiful as it got.

I'm going to go dream about the 17-40L now, thanks.

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Gone Fishing


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Random Entry

On the to-do list for today is finishing up this Fair Housing standard design sheet. I went into our last project and checked blocking for grab bars and realized that we aren't being specific enough about the height requirements (nor are the contractors forward-thinking enough to realize that the blocking should be measured from the projected finished floor, and not the subfloor decking). You'll probably think I'm crazy when I end this paragraph with "but I LOVE my job." God was good to put me here, even though I couldn't see why in the beginning. Okay, okay, God IS good, no matter where He puts me.

Was staring at my face (for the brief 5 seconds I can find between waking up and walking out the door) and laughed at all of the questions I've heard about where I'm from. When I was in college, we used to joke that I was a half-breed. Then maturity and political correctness elbowed their way in. Now I prefer "Woman of Ambiguous Country of Origin." When in grad school, I was among many Indian students and was constantly asked "where are you from?" That's always a difficult question to answer. I'm actually from an apartment just down the street. But I knew that wasn't what they wanted to know. Being in such a racially mixed school, I was amazed at how people tended to find their ethnic group and stay there. Being from the military (and not even having been born in this country) I was very used to being non-committal about my ethnicity (which is about as diverse as you can get, African, Latin American, and European) and never saw skin color or language as a barrier to friendship. Or commonality. But since the Lord changed my heart about sin, and about my job on this planet to point others to Him, I have become even more sensitive about "race divisions" and how absolutely unbiblical those distinctions are.

I received a magazine in the mail the other day from a Christian retailer. Near the back was an advertisement for sunday school curricula made specifically for African-American churches. I wish I still had it with me, but I remember it stating that its primary purpose was to show how people "of color" have had a place throughout Biblical and church history. Should we not be shocked by this? Should we not realize that we are all from one man and one woman? I work with all Vietnamese, and we are all brothers and sisters physically, because we are all related to Adam and Eve. I see them as no different. I consider their language and their food as just something else to try. But I draw hard lines when it comes to sin, because we all have this nature. No ethnicity is superior to another for that very reason. We do things differently, but it is the Holy Spirit in our lives who causes us to love with a greater love.

I'm not one to cause a stir for the sake of causing a stir. I can relate to Frank Turk's recent statement about having the effect of a wrecking ball when we think something is important. I do struggle with love. And grace. And compassion. And I focus on those because they are my areas of weakness. And I pray about it, because I do not want any action on my part to be a very deceiving work of the flesh. But I digress.

The stir I'd like to create, the debate I'd like to start, is whether holding on to these race divisions within the church is something to be perpetuated or encouraged. Why do we feel the need to be "inclusive?" I've never felt excluded from anything (even when I'm working on my tan) because I usually just walk right on in and never expect to be treated differently. And if I am, I usually don't notice it. I'm pretty oblivious to those things, actually.

We should not be specifically inclusive. This means we are overcoming a barrier that ought not be there in the first place. This means overcoming a barrier, and leaving it there. This means overcoming a barrier, and still acknowledging it exists. Looking at someone's skin and thinking that "they wouldn't understand me" is something I've never dealt with personally, but I see it a lot where I live. But within the church, we shouldn't even be recognizing these divisions. We have all sinned. We have all fallen short of God's standard. We should be more concerned about preaching the law that we have all broken, regardless of what we look like, or what language we speak, or what happened in our past, or what went on in the country we are originally from. Christ died for all men, and the act of working to overcome racial barriers is just silly. Christ doesn't make these distinctions, so why do we? Shouldn't we all consider the fact that we are of one "spiritual ethnicity" being that we're all humans? Considering the multitude of ethnic backgrounds I can trace back to, I can't pick one and ride it as some sort of cause. (I actually probably couldn't convince anyone of my claim to any of them, to be honest.)

I don't know, I just read that small paragraph, that small advertisement, no bigger than a quarter, and my heart sank within me. We really do believe that as Christians, as children of the Most High God, as those redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, that we can make these distinctions within our church. We can latch on to multiculturalism in order to point out differences and believe that we ought to "try" to get everyone to "overlook" our differences.

We are not different where it matters, and this just grieves me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Do I?

I was asked a question about how to provide for construction documents in a portfolio for a new job interview. And I reasoned that, well, I had never had to take a job where my construction document skills were under consideration, and that I honestly didn't know.

And she replied "But Marcia, you know EVERYTHING!"

That's the problem, isn't it.

Of second note, I have been listening to a series from Ligonier Ministries called Handout Church History. It's church history given in about 38 half-hour lectures. I feel like I'm back in school again. And while it isn't an objective list of facts (what I was looking for) it is a very Biblically sound understanding of the importance of each century in the history of the church. This man believes that you HAVE to go back to the Bible in order to understand whether what happened in that century was right or not. He doesn't just give us the facts and let us decide. I'm slowly catching on, though I may have to set aside another 19 hours of my life to listen to it again. It will be worth it.

Did that while finishing a necklace (my current relaxation project) doing dishes, and staying on my legs after abusing them for 90 minutes (+/-) on my bike.

Stayed up too late listening to the Mike Corley Program in syndication.

Forgot to set the alarm.


Monday, April 09, 2007


Just received my study guide for the vignette divisions in the mail. That was fast. At least without it I could justify my procrastination.

Definition of the Day (DOTD)

Tell me this. What is repentance?

Is it this?

Saturday, April 07, 2007


They're supposed to be sighted rarely, but today was my fourth sighting since I started biking out at the park. He was walking down the concrete path, toward me, sounding like he was purring or growling. I got off my bike, turned it around, and then watched him, in case I needed to make a quick getaway.

Bobcats have "terriroty" but they're not known to be aggressive toward humans unless threatened. And there wasn't any need for him to feel threatened if he's walking toward me.

I'm very tempted to just stand there and wait next time.

Boy was he beautiful.

He finally just walked down to the water and sat with his back to me, waiting for dinner.

And apparently they make decent housepets????

Friday, April 06, 2007

Shakin' in my work boots

So, the last of the multiple choice exams is finished. I feel rather confident of this last one, lateral forces. To be honest, I left it until the end because I thought I knew the least about it, and responded appropriately to the level of intimidation it imparted. Boy was I wrong. It was the shortest examination, with the fewest questions, over the least amount of information. Of course, I could just as well receive a "FAIL" notification in the mail. But I won't be able to fix that for another six months, so I'm not even going to bother worrying about retaking an exam that takes only two days to study for. (I'm so not even kidding)

On to the last three portions, which really have me shaking in my boots:

The Graphics Divisions. DUN-DUN-DUNNNNN

I unsuccessfully tried to convince my boss to take them for me. (kidding: I never walk away from a challenge)

I am now going to be required to put all this head knowledge to good use and actualy design something for a change. This is going to be difficult for one schooled in the post-modern generation where we get points for asking questions, not answering them. And regurgitating a bunch of facts that are unrelated to anything. Because the moment we start applying things, we show that we have a greater grasp on the knowledge we've spent so much money to attain. I'm not so sure I'm as familiar with the "applicability" camp.

But then I ran across this statement while researching study guides for this portion (in excess of what I have already accumulated):

The graphics portion of the ARE is a complete joke. Does anyone actually think that this portion of the test is actually based in reality? Learning the archaic program that NCARB provides is one of the most amusing ventures in computers that Ive ever had. I wish real architectural work was this simplified. I think anyone with common sense could pass these graphic divisions.

Okay. *Puts on common sense hat*

Let's do this.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Math at Work

I NEVER thought I'd be applying structural principles at work.

But today I had to look at a brick wall condition, and the potential placement of a lintel and think...


Wow. I guess I really CAN do this architect thing...

But don't sweat it if you haven't had the time to study beam moments on cantilevers. Use this handy tool instead.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Postcards From the Edge

On a personal note, this is where I hope to be this summer.

Less than a quarter of a mile from the base of a tornado.

It's a completely selfish pursuit, and a dangerous one at that. No, no silly Tinman Tornado vehicle. No HiDef recording devices. Just lots of Diet Mountain Dew and bathroom breaks.
And our faithful companion Sven, the NOAA Weather-Bot.
For those of you who have deftly avoided ever watching this video with me (and you know who you are), THIS is the one amazing scene that was worth sitting through the hailstones for.
If you don't believe me, at least look at this.

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