Friday, May 30, 2008

There is so much drama in the sky. I absolutely LOVE to bring it out with whatever computer program I can get my hands on -- and that isn't too expensive.

This supercell refused to stop spinning even through its untimely death.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Maybe I just need to change my mind about all of this....

I can't say enough how much I enjoy editing these photos... each one is its own unique surprise.

After struggles within, how blessed is the rest granted by the Lord.


That's Tornado Vortex Signature.

It doesn't hurt to dream...

This is on the Nebraska storm today. Those folks on I-80 are in for a bad time... By the way, it's beautiful out there. You should go have a look some time.

(by the way, there appear to be three TVS on this storm. Can you identify them?)

"Whatever" she says...

Why do we do the things we do and who do we do them for.

I think Chris mentioned that to me once. I rather quickly shot back that I do things for myself because I am a sinner.

Well, how true that is.

Why do I chase storms? What is the pull of them for me? Are they worth chasing? Ought I to be numbered in the convoy of weather-antlered vans screaming down I-70? They are lovely, to be sure. But what is this purpose? To what end do I chase?

I have been mulling this question for the past week as I settle back in to an architect's life here. But not just that, what is my purpose as a Christian? What is my purpose as someone who has no claim to ANYTHING on this earth and who ought to be ready to abandon EVERYTHING for the sake of the gospel of Jesus?

Does this include chasing?

Now more and more is being offered. Now a chance to work on an NBC show. That's when one must look at themselves and ask what the motivation for any of this is. I can enjoy God's creation, but when does this all stop being about my primary duties on earth and start being about piling more and more into my corner for the sake of self-aggrandizing?

So, I'm quietly declining. And I'm more aware of the need to put away hobbies for a while, not knowing how long, in order to accept the mundane in life and do it heartily for the glory of God, not for the glory of myself.

What haunts me is the short-order with which I could put away all that I ought to be doing on this earth for the sake of building myself up more. Saying "no" to even touching the show was hard, though it made perfect sense to me. Doing it was the difficult part. The battle was intense. But I had to stand firm against that temper tantrum my flesh was throwing.

Additionally, my flesh will find a way to glory in ANYTHING that I do. If I say no, it is to my own glory, and if I accept, I can see myself saying it is all for God's glory, though it would be mere lip service, since the ends are completely self-serving. I don't know why I am seeing this all right now, though I shouldn't wish to bury my head in the sand regarding my sin.

But it's going to be all right. I'm going to go back to what I was doing before. I'm going to struggle hard with keeping this vessel on course, and we're going to make it to port whether the sails tear and we lose cargo in the process. I have to.

I'm taking heaven by storm, and only violent men (and women) lay hold of it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Actually, Wednesdays are for Hymns

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.


It is a very real struggle.

I am aware of it, though. That is half the battle. Now, girding myself with the belt of Truth, and swinging the sword of the Spirit, that will compose the other half.

In a way, this post is a bookmark for my mind. I have thought on this topic extensively, yet my time spent doing other things prevents me from meditating on this thought long enough for it to sink into my brain and to become part of my own thought process. A grid through which everything is filtered before I believe its veracity. Meditation on the truths is essential. Time to do that is of primary importance.

More unedited thoughts (on why not to join the AIA)

There’s been a lot of talk about changes in our climate lately... CO2 emissions, dwindling resources, and energy usage are growing concerns in every walk of life.

AIA Architects want to address those concerns. We strongly believe that the time for talk has passed, and now it is time to walk the walk.

Buildings currently account for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions, a fact we simply cannot ignore.
As architects we are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to reduce that footprint. By using sustainable design practices, materials, & techniques, we can play an active role in, well... saving the world.

AIA Architects walk the walk on sustainable design

*Bangs head on keyboard*

Unedited thoughts

I'm looking up architecture firms in Wyoming...

*starts looking for ticks*

Did I catch something?

Wait. I don't like snow.

*closes search window*

Thoughts about the Trip

The American landscape is wide and varied. Its changes are abrupt and unannounced. The hills drop to plains and then rise to hills again. The Rockies jut out of the earth with no great fanfare, their majesty speaks for itself. At one moment, the view is upward upon the buttes; at the next, the view is downward through riven valleys hewn in the rock, cushioned by grass, displaying a flat green expanse below.

The wind is just as abrupt in its vacillation. At one moment, still; at another moment, screaming northward by the jet. The tumbleweeds betray the seemingly calm air. Instead of indicating desolation, they bring a liveliness to the high plains.

And were no one to see it, it would still exist. Because it all gives praise to God. We humans are not necessary in order to glorify God, but we are given the ability to do so! The tumbleweeds have no choice, but we do! They praise and glorify their maker.

Let all the earth praise Him!

Thankful Tuesday

I am thankful that God is a jealous God, jealous for the souls of His children. Jealous for their adoration and praise. Jealous for their time and attention. Jealous for their growth and maturity. Jealous for their discipline and comfort.

Abide with me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

-Henry F. Lyte

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A bit older, a bit wiser, and quite alive

Well, I took an extra week off work so that Jenna and I could get the shots we needed for her redesigned website. Her upcoming book on storm chasing needs graphics. What better than to go out and get them yourself?

The first installment of many late nights are in the gallery. I couldn't resist. We crashed at 4 am this morning. This post will ramble. I beg for your forbearance.

SHORT: Jenna and I cut our teeth on the business end of a triple point.

I must stop here first as even in my mental haze I have to say that having a driver with nerves of steel is crucial for any storm chaser. She bravely backed an SUV up on mounded dirt roads in rural Kansas with steeply falling edges, freshly soaked with rain, listening only to her chase partners about clearances. She bravely took the austere lecture from Kinney about the dangers of chasing on an outbreak day, where mere seconds can make of break you. She bravely drove on a quarter inch spike in the rear tire for hours, and then bravely looked for a safe place to pull off when we blew a tire. She bravely fishtailed in the gravel and mud, and bravely kept driving when the anticipated paved highway refused to meet us as promised. She bravely drove between storms on a grid like a human game of Frogger. If your driver doesn't chicken out on you, freak out, panic, or all of the above, in stressful situations, you have a keeper.

This was the first chase where the conversations in the vehicle took on a serious tone. This was the first chase where the reality of chasing on one's own without good maps, no GPS, no radar and no experience sunk in. But it was the first chase where I finally found my "sea legs", so to speak.

We started out Friday saying goodbye to the tourists who had to be in OKC for their pre=arranged flights. We stopped off in Wichita, KS at 11 am for fuel, lunch, a data stop at the library, and a new tire for our now-punctured spare (just in case). We then headed to Pratt, KS, to call the guys and find out if they had moved their target from Dodge City. They advised us to keep going since it looked good. They were heading up from OKC with a few of the guests who had managed to move their flights around another good chase day and who were willing to chip in just to get another day of chasing in "unofficially". We approached Dodge City at about 2:30 or 3 just as a cell was moving NNE just over Cimmaron. We took 23 north out of town upon the advice of Rich (the now caster) who said it looked healthy on radar. I advised Jenna to stay on the back of the storm even though we couldn't see anything for the rain and haze. As we got closer, we began to see rotation more clearly toward the back side. It was mostly a north mover, but had the most eastward component to it of any of the storms in Kansas at the time, so I knew we'd need an EW option soon if we wanted to catch it without losing it. I advised a paved road that soon turned to dirt (they all do that sooner or later) and led us back north through a veal farm and across the path of a pheasant. I advised continuing north through it to a paved highway another 12 miles or so to the north. But it never materialized. We were not moving fast enough to keep up with the storm with the hailstones and wet gravel, and another storm was forming to our SW and approaching with (what I assumed had the fronts not moved) a mostly NWD component. So we stood at the intersection of dirt road and dirt road and let it pass in front of us. But it was there that I realized what was going on. We were standing at the boundary of the two air masses. The cell looked incredible benign, with high enough bases to rule out tornadoes, mostly because of the low humidity present in their atmosphere of origin. But about a mile in front of us (which, at few hundred feet overhead, looks deceptively close) they began to morph as the rapid shear interacted with the increased humidity level and created monster supercells right in front of our eyes. Literally. All of a sudden, the forward flank downdraft (FFD) began to grow darker, and the rear flank downdraft (RFD) began to form as the rotation of the storm pulled a curtain of newly created rain around the tail end of the storm in front of our eyes. This is called "occlusion" and is an indication that a lowering wall cloud may begin to form. A fully occluded storm may have a tornado embedded in it, but these storms cycled rapidly with partial occlusion, and the rotation re-forming just south of the occlusion and then another RFD forming behind it with another lowering. It was like a carousel, as Jenna, my incredibly verbally gifted partner, likened it to a day before. This was the moment the conversation grew serious as we contemplated ditches and the homestead behind us on the road as the land around us was flat in all directions with no structures within sight. All roads had been previously soaked by large rain and hail cores, and no one had any desire to push. But the storm maintained its northward movement and left us to stare in awe at its lowerings and funnels before we moved back west to 23, only a mile away. We raced back south past law enforcement, stopping briefly to examine hailstones on the ground and talk with the locals about the weather. I wondered if they ever get nervous about seeing large convoys of SUVs with antennae and weather instruments on them.

The rest of the evening was like playing a game of chess many counties wide, and at 45 miles per hour. Storm cells would be there only 15 minutes where previously there had been only sunny bright skies. once the cells hit the warm air, they exploded with anvils that hovered over to the next town. But we had been trained well enough to know where to drive, when to stop, and what to look for. And it payed off. We saw cells growing too close to another healthy cell, and the healthy cell sucking the smaller cell up into itself. One cell had incredibly rotation to it, and even as its final life was being eroded, the bottom had a space-ship look to it. We watched this from the Santa Fe Trails marker before heading to Dodge City for a bathroom break and food.

I am very glad I'm not writing the book. Right now, I am at a loss for words to describe our first chase day out on our own in unfamiliar territory on an outbreak day. We did not see the tornado that our first cell produced, though it did go on to put down something near Ness City. But we have a bit more experience that will help us next year. We have a minimum equipment list. We have a third partner.

I am going to go to bed now and think of how to describe this, but I think it will only be best explained with the pictures which are forthcoming.

Sleep, however, is imminent.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I am trying to relax.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Greetings from Day...

What day is this?

It is Friday. I've been with spotty internet access at best, and am staying at the pinnacle of all Tornado Alley hotels: the La Quinta. It was determined among our chase crew last night over the ham that La Quinta does not only mean "Free hi-speed internet" but also "free hi-speed cockroaches." Thankfully, that was not the case.

This was one of the nicer hotel stays.

I have to hand it to Tempest. We are experiencing a large ridging pattern in the upper air flow over the middle of America. They have brought us down to the bottom of Texas (Eagle Pass, to be specific) to experience the only storm in the country. We watched an LP supercell immigrate across the border from Mexico and followed it through Eagle Pass. We had one report of a sherriff-nado, which clearly did not happen. Our caravan has determined that the public clearly does not know what a tornado actually looks like.

Wednesday we drove through a large hail core in the middle of Texas. Our Jeep Laredo is ready for the auction block. It can now safely carry eggs on its hood and roof at large speeds without their falling off. That is how bad the hail damage is. It is a good thing we have the all-inclusive insurance coverage.

We also saw a lovely sculpted LP supercell that looked like a wet wrung cloth hanging in mid-air. I have photos.

This has been a rather slow week. Again, I have to hand it to Tempest. They brought us to the only supercell in the country (and it wasn't even our country for a portion of it).

Today, we're going to Big Bend National Park for some lightning.

This is KE5UIY signing off.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thankful for the Ridge

Day 1 synopsis:
The Death Ridge has set itself up in Tornado Alley. We're in Chickasha, Oklahoma, at the Best Western, riding it out. Nice weather. Great for sunning one's self at the pool. Great for reading one of the many books brought along.

But that's about all.

I'm thankful for the sunshine, though. And the food and the company. I'm thankful for the time away from work. And home. I'm thankful for the change of pace.

I'm thankful for the time of quiet introspection.

I'm sitting poolside with my copy of The Works of Anne Bradstreet. She's become my mentor. I love her passion for life. For her husband and her children. I love her passion for the Lord. And for life. She had a passion for life that is unparalleled to anything I've ever noticed in anyone before. I'm quite mesmerized with her outlook on life at the moment.

Friday, May 09, 2008

For Your Consideration

Why Doctrine Matters..

especially in a time when it is being abandoned so hastily.

When you used to tell me that you chased tornadoes... deep down I just thought it was a metaphor.

A cup of coffee in my hands.

There is so much to say.

Chapter Four of Spiritual Depression dealt with three things, in this order: mind, heart and will. Our doctrine (mind) informs our heart which directs our will. This is what I have been saying recently, and now it has been further explained to me. "Yes, Marcia, daily time in the Word is crucial. It will inform your mind, heart and will. Are you struggling with anything? Look no further than to your own spiritual discipline in the Word." It was a long chapter, abounding with insights. It leads well into Chapter Five "That One Sin", which we will, Lord willing, get into next time.

I finished a marathon of image editing last night for my first wedding. I will reiterate here what I said previously: Do not complain about what your wedding photographer charges; they earn every penny, and then some. If the portfolio recommends the price, pay it. They know what they're doing. You can check the gallery for the images. I may post more later, but that is all I thumbed in my hazy state last night.

So, I'm trading my cell phone for amateur radio, my desktop for a laptop, my CAD for a camera, my office for an SUV, my apartment for a motel room, my Starbucks for truck stop sludge. My digestive system is going to hate me in about ten days. I hope the photos will all be worth it, though.

Praise the Lord.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

One more work day till Christmas!!!

The blessing of the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

I am considering this verse in light of the trip next week. Because right now, I'm downright giddy. I'm excited to be where my heart longs to be. On the plains, my feet on flat land uninterrupted by trees or buildings, under the unending skies.

And I don't understand the blessings, but to be sure, my heart needs to be right about them. To not feel guilty or irresponsible, but to be thankful for this ordained time in my life where I can pursue such untamed skies, where my heart can praise my God for His wonderful works.

Lord, I do not understand, but You said not to lean on my own understanding. You only say to acknowledge You in everything. May my heart and my mind be corrected to follow that command so that my way looks much less confusing next week. And may I pursue everything to the glory of God alone!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Do I receive more joy from chasing, weather, architecture, cycling, photography, etc., than I do from the Lord? And let's not posture and be hypocritical here. This is no light matter...

"It is not great talents God blesses, so much as likeness to Jesus." -- R M M'Cheyne

Men as trees, walking

[Mark 8]
Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.

14And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them.

15And He was giving orders to them, saying, "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."

16They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread.

17And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?


19when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him, "Twelve."

20"When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they said to Him, "Seven."

21And He was saying to them, "Do you not yet understand?"

22And they came to Bethsaida And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him.

23Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?"

24And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around."

25Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.

26And He sent him to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village."

This is Chapter 3 in Spiritual Depression, and this is where I am right now. I see men as trees, walking. I do not see clearly yet, but I am no longer blind. Or am I? I would say that yes, in a way, I am still blind.

I think in such a linear fashion. Blind or not blind. Some things are ones and zeros. Some things occur incrementally. For me, I believe my knowledge and understanding of certain important truths is occurring incrementally.

However, I do understand a few things. First, there is a war being waged within my own soul. Should this have ended at the moment of conversion? No, only in full view of the war did I then find myself on one side or the other. Second, I am dealing largely with pride. Pride is the greatest downfall of anyone, and should be an enemy worth sounding off all alarms for. And I pray that they have all been sounded. Third, I do not see clearly. I do not understand fully. I am quite like the disciples asking if the Lord said what He did because there was only one loaf of bread. Finally, I do understand that humility is essential. It is essential when dealing with pride. It is essential when admitting to the Lord and to others that I do not see. It is essential for joy, otherwise I will depend on my own abilities to bring joy into my life, and that is not possible.

But the bottom line is to know Jesus, to love Jesus first. This can only be had by deep study of the scriptures with the purpose of an intimate knowledge of Him, knowing Him as much as we can as mortals of an infinite Being.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I really hope the pattern is THIS GOOD next week.

Old Projects

Well, in light of the trip coming up in less than a week (can it be?) there are two things on my mind.

The first is that I really hope my riding in the rain this morning, along with the hard riding I've been putting my lungs under lately, does not cause worsening asthma or walking pneumonia. I can be a bit of a hypochondriac; I'll openly admit it. My sensitive trachea is asking for a day off. But I did ride rather hard to avoid being struck by lightning (a personal aversion) and to get out of the "red" radar signature. Yes, I was that dumb. Had I reviewed the radar before going out (who knew?) I would NOT have gone. With those yellow lenses, though, the threatening sky looks deceptively less so. In fact, it can look downright friendly. So, by mile 15, I was just hoping I was not dealing with a gust front or a downburst. And, of course, the lightning. To avoid any more exposure than necessary, I even drove home in my cycling shoes, after which I decided must be illegal.

The second is that book idea. I started a brief bibliography after the first year of chasing with Jenna and we hashed out some of the details as I described to her the architecture inherent in severe weather and sculpted clouds. She was mesmerized by the idea. I thought it would be a good idea to start researching everything. But the tests took highest priority. And the list is in a folder now. So, now that there is some room to breathe, I am reconsidering my pursuit of this piece of literature, this visual and written anthology of works regarding the mostly agreed-upon facets of spaces that designers are constantly crying for and touting in their designs that are inherently present in the sky. In all of nature even. For there is nothing new under the sun.

We have Kevin Lynch's Image of the City. We have Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language. I would say that those are two very good places to begin. Now, though, I need to brush up on my writing skills. So, while I am on the road next week, I am bringing a journal along with my camera. I plan to start chronicling the sights and sounds of the prairie, the sky, and their range of temperaments and dispositions.

The greatest obstacle in my mind, the greatest fear, I think, is disregarding the holy in all of this. God alone is the greatest architect, the greatest designer. His glory is inherent in everything. We humans are so easily desensitized to the magnificence of our surroundings. I marveled just the other day at eating a banana. I did nothing to ensure that the necessary nutrients would be present in that banana. They just were. I couldn't do anything to create such a delicious food that would provide my body with the necessary ingredients for health. And we eat foods like that every day without considering the glory of God inherent in such a (seemingly) tiny manifestation. Oh, how foolish we are.

So that is my fear. Forgetting the reason all of it exists. Forgetting the One who displays beauty in all His creation. Because He is beautiful and good.

O Canada

Might not be such a bad place to visit.....

Monday, May 05, 2008

Spiritual Depression

Sunday morning, before the second service let out, I meandered through the hall into the bookstore. I like books, so there is no resisting the urge to just "look" at the titles on the shelf.

Like any prudent person, I look for the clearance books. Ah! $4. That's speaking my language.

Then I moseyed on over to the next shelf and the next, and the next, and so on. My eyes stopped at the Lloyd-Jones literature.

"Spiritual Depression" The title stuck out at me. I remember I had heard of the title, but the cover was unfamiliar. Probably updated. I bought the book because it was $5 cheaper than the Wells book near it. I bought it for reasons other than what it ended up serving.

As I opened the book, the refrain felt all too familiar. Like echoes down the hall of voices that were never quite discernible, but constantly audible, my own soul emerged from behind the eclipse of darkness.

The first chapter dealt with personalities, and said in a rather straightforward manner something like this: "Look. We all have different temperaments. The introverts and the extroverts are all prone to their respective maladies. But the introvert, if he isn't careful, can fall into spiritual depression, while the extrovert may find himself constantly battling the superficial." To be honest, I came to realize that I couldn't be certain which was worse, but that I was certainly the introvert, constantly examining myself and my ways.

Jones assures the reader that this is not a bad thing, self-examination, but that there must be a line drawn. If left looking at ourselves for too long, we can be drawn into a depression that makes us look nothing like the joyful Christians we ought to be.

So many questions and statements in the first chapter alone sounded all too familiar. Where was the joy?

The second chapter starts at the foundation. Salvation and assurance. I again saw the character of myself painted by his pen as one constantly looking to her ways, analyzing her actions, trying to do the right thing. But Jones brings the reader back to Romans chapters 1-4, reminding us that justification is by faith alone, and not by the works of the Law.

This caused me to think for a moment on the fundamentals. The book of Romans, a very thorough letter on doctrine, is in the Bible. It is not meant as an introductory course that one reads once and then moves on to Christianity 201, 301, 401 ad nauseum, never to be returned to again. We do not return to our second grade multiplication tables after we graduate high school. And I think that is how I viewed the fundamentals of the faith. Understand it; move on.

No, I do not think that was a wise view of scripture OR of the fundamentals of the faith. It is wiser to acknowledge my own shortcomings with my memory and my own frailty of soul, and to continue to go back to the fundamentals of Romans, the fundamental doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Indeed, I should be ready to lose my own life over that truth, so why was I finding myself personally waging war within my own soul over such a matter?

"Self," I concluded. "It's time to take yourself down a notch and remind yourself of justification by faith alone."

Isaiah 50:7

For the Lord GOD helps Me,
Therefore, I am not disgraced;
Therefore, I have set My face like flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.

I am thinking about the need to be an effective witness. Can I be that at work? What does it take? Some days, it takes setting my face like flint. Sometimes, I feel myself growing obstinate against the tide that runs pretty strongly here. But what about love? What about grace? How do I work to show that as well?

Now that the tests are over, I am beginning to see a new challenge dawn before me. The challenge of stemming the urge to live for myself, and to live to God and for others. The challenge to give up my rights as Christ did. The challenge of resting in the salvation of my God, and of resisting sin. The challenge of looking inward only as far as I can repent. Should there be anything that interrupts my inward gaze and carries my attention off to a self-involved trance, I must immediately return my gaze to Christ, seeing that all that I find within myself must be judged by that perfect holy standard.

Auf, but this requires resolve.

How would you like to live in Greenland? I love looking at this fellow's pictures.

A godly man shows his love to the Word written:

(a) By diligently reading it. The noble Bereans "searched the Scriptures daily" (Acts 17:11). Apollos was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:12). The Word is our Magna Carta for heaven; we should be daily reading over this charter. The Word shows what is truth and what is error. It is the field where the pearl of price is hidden. How we should dig for this pearl! A godly man's heart is the library to hold the Word of God; it dwells richly in him (Col. 3:16). It is reported of Melanchthon that when he was young, he always carried the Bible with him and read it greedily. The Word has a double work: to teach us and to judge us. Those who will not be taught by the Word shall be judged by the Word. Oh, let us make ourselves familiar with the Scripture! What if it should be as in the times of Diocletian, who commanded by proclamation that the Bible be burned? Or as in Queen Mary's days, when it spelled death to have a Bible in English? By diligent conversing with Scripture, we may carry a Bible in our heads.

(b) By frequently meditating on it: "It is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:97). A pious soul meditates on the truth and holiness of the Word. He not only has a few transient thoughts, but leaves his mind steeping in the Scripture. By meditation, he sucks from this sweet flower and ruminates on holy truths in his mind.

(c) By delighting in it. It is his recreation: "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." (Jer 15:16) Never did a man take such delight in a dish that he loved as the prophet did in the Word. And indeed, how can a saint choose but take great pleasure in the Word? All that he ever hopes to be worth is contained in it. Does not a son take pleasure in reading his father's will and testament, in which he bequeaths his estate to him?

(d) By hiding it: "Your word I have hidden in my heart" (Psa 119:11) - as one hides a treasure so that it should not be stolen. The Word is the jewel; the heart is the cabinet where it must be locked up. Many hide the Word in their memory, but not in their heart. And why would David enclose the Word in his heart? "That I might not sin against you." As a man would carry an antidote about him when he comes near an infected place, so a godly man carries the Word in his heart as a spiritual antidote to preserve him from the infection of sin. Why have so many been poisoned with error, others with moral vice, but because they have not hidden the Word as a holy antidote in their heart?

(e) By defending it. A wise man will not let his land be taken from him but will defend his title. David looked upon the Word as his land of inheritance: "Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart." (Psa 119:111) And do you think he will let his inheritance be wrested out of his hands? A godly man will not only dispute for the Word but die for it: "I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God." (Rev 6:9)

(f) By preferring it above things most precious: (1) Above food: "I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food." (Job. 23:12). (2) Above riches: "The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver." (Psa. 119:72). (3) Above worldly honour. Memorable is the story of King Edward the Sixth. On the day of his coronation, when they presented three swords before him, signifying to him that he was monarch of three kingdoms, the king said, "There is still one sword missing." On being asked what that was, he answered, "The Holy Bible, which is the 'sword of the Spirit' and is to be preferred before these ensigns of royalty."

(f) By talking about it: "My tongue shall speak of your word." (Psa. 119:172). As a covetous man talks of his rich purchase, so a godly man speaks of the Word. What a treasure it is, how full of beauty and sweetness! Those whose mouths the devil has gagged, who never speak of God's Word, indicate that they never reaped any good from it.

(g) By conforming to it. The Word is his compass, by which he sets his life, the balance in which he weighs his actions. He copies out the Word in his daily walk: "I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7). St Paul kept the doctrine of faith, and lived the life of faith.

Question: Why is a godly man a lover of the Word?

Answer: Because of the excellence of the Word.

Thomas Watson, taken from A Godly Man's Picture

You're out to sea. The waves are high, and the wind is strong. There is no land. And turning back is not a possibility anymore. Your only means of staying alive is to stay on the boat. And all you can do is hold on at this point.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Back in February, my church hosted a conference, the Sola Conference, In Christ Alone. I ordered the CDs of all of the sessions, and I'm listening to them today as I'm cleaning the place before my trip.

My mind is drifting to the books on my shelf about history, the Reformation, the reformers and Puritans... I'm thinking about the books I'm reading at the moment. And I'm thinking back again about the reason I do this.

If I'm reading these books with any other love in my heart than for the truth of Christ, I am only gathering facts and knowledge that are otherwise useless. Unless I regard Christ highly, adore Him supremely, and love Him wholly, I may as well close the books and use my time for my own personal gain.

There is no middle ground, is there?

But this introspection is not occurring in a vacuum of sorts. It just seems that with the tests over, I feel a bit not myself. I feel like I need to grab a hold of something for a bit of stability. That depressive feeling I used to get after our final jury of the semester, and I'd walk back to a quiet dorm of students who had either gone home for the semester or who were studying for their finals. And there was nothing more to look forward to than packing. No concerted goal. But this is a place I want to explore a bit further. No long term goals. Well, maybe a few, but these goals are never to be arrived at, only to be pursued until the day I die, knowing their attainment will only be grasped when I see Christ face to face.

But that's it.

Maybe I'll work on that book idea with Jenna this summer. Architecture and weather. I've been scoping the internet, and so far, no results have revealed that anyone has tackled my ideas yet. Maybe I'll pursue that in my spare time? Or maybe not. We'll see.

As I was recounting to a friend earlier, I can't remember the last time I had to go out and find something in life. Everything seems to find me. Rather, God orchestrates everything. So maybe it is time to enjoy watching that orchestration and start praising Him for it.

Proverbs 16:9

I just need you to understand something...

Friday, May 02, 2008

It does nothing to read a book if you will not think about it.

My Sven

My faith in the electron was further bolstered last night by the successful connection and transmission on the mobile ham. I do not feel any ill effects from such close proximity to any radio waves, so I think I will not fry any of my companions with my outfit. I drove to Dallas last night to meet up with a fellow chaser, and on the way listened to many interesting conversations, including the Irving RACES storm spotter training (done over the radio), a conversation in Sacramento from a repeater installed on the top of Mt. Shasta, a meeting of Waxahachie hams, and a discussion about successfully disinfecting a vet clinic using a strictly measured 6:1 water to bleach ratio left for at least 10 minutes. I also learned about CTCSS after a bit of frustration (which, in my opinion, should have been on the test).

I think mostly this radio will be for amusement and enjoyment on long trips, though I haven't taken one of those in a long time. I've been doing more flying than driving lately. And I get Sven, the NOAA WeatherBot. Listening to him is like listening to an old friend. He faithfully recounts the hourly weather reports at nearby airports and gives the latest NWS weekly outlooks. I also like hearing him say "strong capping inversion." Really makes my day. :)

I hope this is the extent of my interaction with amateur radio, but if you see me at Texas Towers with a wild look in my eye muttering things like "more power," just hand me the dipole and walk away slowly.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

You mean my secret identity? 'Cause I - I...


However, if I told you how I scooped soup out of a can with a spoon fashioned from a hotel paper cup and a Leatherman, well... then I'd have to kill you.

Yet undiscovered country

On a more personal note, I think I need to stop drinking coffee... the caffeine is quite a negative physical drain. Perhaps maturing enough to get to bed early and in time to sleep long enough for a long bike ride in the morning should be the goal.

Yes, I think so.

Had a nice long talk with Jenna yesterday about the trip, my responsibilities as official contract labor, coinciding with Wednesday night's talk to the college group about taxing contract labor. God is always on time, to be sure.

Now, she and I just have to write up a contract.

And it would appear I can write off my expenses, which means I don't feel too bad about that memory card and external hard drive I just bought.

It would also appear that I am taking things more seriously. Photography isn't just about "what shots I get, I get" but about being responsible enough to back up my data because there is a lot riding on the line, and others are depending upon me. This is new territory. It is uncharted, to say the least. But that is what I love about life. It is all undiscovered country, frontier land, and each day requires a bit of courage and resilience to battle the elements of life.

Yet who supplies all our needs, from the homestead dugout to the new memory cards for the camera? Our God.