Tuesday 05/08: Home again

Well, I'm back, and summer 2007 has begun. It's definitely been crazy, and I'm learning quickly that all that sleep I thought I'd catch up on this summer just isn't gonna happen. Last night, we didn't get to bed until around 1:30, and I had to be up again at 3:30 this morning to drive my dad to the airport. Today, we've been driving all over creation getting odds and ends taken care of and I'm guessing that's what I'll be doing tomorrow. I hope to start work Wednesday if I can, but we'll see how it goes. It's definitely going to be a packed summer. Life definitely changes when you leave school. I'm gonna bang out a little "pros and cons of being home again" list for starters here. Next time, I'll write down some goals for the summer (kind of like new year's resolutions but slightly more likely to happen).
- Driving: It's so great to be driving again. I waste too many hours of my life doing this but it sure is fun. I've driven 4 different vehicles for probably close to an hour each over the past two days, between two different states. Oh, the freedom.
- Music: Old music, new music, quiet music, loud music... music is the bridge to memories. This summer will be full of memories and whatever music I listen to through it will be a link back to the memories 10 years from now. It's looking like a lot of 60s and 70s stuff right now, and a couple modern songs in between. You just have to be careful with those sentimental songs - my iTunes decided to play a string of about 5 of them and by the time it got past 'em I was feeling pretty sappy.
- No curfew: Bedtime just comes around whenever you run out of stuff to do at night.
- Wrestling with my bro at 2:30am. Always interesting.
- No scheduled meals... I never thought I'd have trouble remembering to eat but today 2:45 in the afternoon rolled around and I still hadn't really consumed any kind of food for the day. Oops.
- No prayer group. I know it can be frustrating at times when 10:30 comes and I'm busy and don't want to go to prayer group. But it's a great way to shift focus back to God each night shortly before bed so that your day begins and ends with you facing the right direction. Here, it's open, and up to you. As far as flexibility, that's awesome, but the responsibility is huge - it's so easy to keep brushing it off until bedtime (no curfew, remember) comes around and you just feel like hitting the sack. I think Zach and I are going to schedule something in to keep that from happening.
- Waking up at 8:30am to a sharp pain in your left calf and realizing your 8-year-old brother just shot you at point-blank range with an airsoft gun. It broke the skin and the mark is definitely still there. Remember, don't get mad, get even.
- No curfew. Yeah, it's a pro and a con. When I don't have to go to bed, I generally don't, which needless to say does a pretty good job of depriving you of energy the next day. Case in point: as I'm typing this, it's 1:15am. Why, I ask you, why?

Now for a rather drastic change of subject... I need to write some of this out tonight just to figure out what I'm thinking, so feel free to listen in. The catalyst is I Corinthians 13 - the chapter on love. And not the kind that's talked about in those sentimental songs I mentioned earlier... we're talking the real thing, the kind of love that we as Christians are supposed to exemplify. My pastor preached on this yesterday morning and I've had to repeat "love is patient, love is kind..." to myself over and over again this past day. An interesting point he made though is that this isn't a love we can put on ourselves - we can't force ourselves to be longsuffering, patient, or humble; it's against our nature. This kind of love is something only God possesses. If we correctly serve Him to allow His love to be channeled through us, then we can show this love to others. But if we do not, even if I "understand all mysteries and all knowledge," and "have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" (verse 2).

I'm going to have fun this summer. I want to get a lot of things done and really enjoy myself. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. But what's my focus? The past year of my life, really, I've poured myself into other things - friends, relationships, work, projects, school... the list goes on. Are those things important? Sure. Are they priorities? Some of them more than others. It seems I've learned very quickly over the past month or two that a lot of those things aren't supposed to stand as high on the priority list as others. And some of them don't really matter that much in the end anyway. However, something that should have been above all that is God. But God isn't just another thing (Thing) on the list. He shouldn't be set apart, in the sense of "I'm going to do these three things, plus serve God this summer." Serving Him, knowing Him, and loving Him are not separate actions that we can just "do". It's a focus, a passion, a driving force that should be behind, before, alongside and within everything. Without that, everything I do is "sounding brass or a clanging cymbal" - it's just noise, a useless distraction. I want to look back on this summer as one of the best times of my life, but I want to see some lasting effects too so it's not just a meaningless vapor (can you say Ecclesiastes?). So in the words of David (Psalm 115:1, 18): "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory ... we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!"

Posted 01:25 AM by Drew  General 

Wednesday 04/25: Two days left...

Random observation - if you're working out your chest muscles and you push yourself a little too hard, then try to peel an orange a couple hours later, it hurts! I had no idea those muscles were connected to those other muscles. Weird.

Only two class days left... we're gonna make it! Calculus II is gonna be tricky right up to the end... but the final's Saturday and then it's all over. First final - General Psychology - is tomorrow - then a few more projects and the full barrage of finals ensues.
So, back to studying... in the mean time, here's a pic I took from the bus on Sunday. Yes, I actually saw this with my own two eyes.

Posted 11:58 PM by Drew  General 

Thursday 04/19: Virginia Tech banner

Just wanted to note the banner that BJU has out for us to sign... We'll be sending this to them tomorrow. VA Tech, our prayers are with you.
Update 4/25: Link to BJU's announcement.

Posted 03:23 PM by Drew  General 

Thursday 04/19: I'm back...

... sorta. I'm not sure if this is gonna last, but if you've got stuff to say and nobody to listen, the obvious solution is to blog.

16 days and the semester's over! I can't believe how much has happened & changed over this school year. It's been an amazing time of crazy challenges, learning and growth. And in just over two weeks, I'll be halfway finished with my degree. Yikes.

I was reading the news today and for the first time read the full text of the Supreme Court's abortion ruling yesterday. Called "the most important decision since Roe v. Wade," the 5-4 ruling upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion, which apparently had been legal (under certain circumstances) up to this point. The full text of the ruling (available on this site) is surprising. What sad state has our country come to if we have been allowing this gruesome, inhumane procedure for years? How can liberals and "pro-choice" women across the country still be fighting to lift a ban on what USA Today calls "infanticide"? The ruling's description of the article serves as a wake-up call with a sickening effect, and Christians should be rejoicing for this decision. More at USA Today.

Posted 02:32 PM by Drew  General 

Sunday 08/13: VBS is over!

Well, VBS is finally over. Yeah, that was a week ago, but in case you couldn't tell, it takes me quite some time to update this thing. Anyway, there are pictures up on my Picasa Web Albums page:
In short, it was a great week. I got less sleep, put more gas in my car, took more pictures, and had more fun than I have all summer long. It has really been a blast. And, it was a ministry, so I don't feel like I've wasted all that time on myself, though, like I said, I really enjoyed it.

Immediately after VBS, everyone went on vacation. Everyone. To give you an idea of how few people were actually left at church, we had just 4 people in the teen group at prayer meeting on Wednesday night, and the Sunday evening service (tonight) had a grand total of 25 in attendance. It has been a little lonely around here, but I've been able to use some of the time I have without the distraction of friends to get things done that I've been putting off all summer. I still have quite a few things left to do before heading back to school on the 25th.

Tech stuff (proceed at your own risk): I ordered a new server at work the other day. It's a Dell PowerEdge 2600: dual Xeon 2.4ghz with 2GB of RAM and 6 SCSI 73GB 15K drives (RAID 5). Beautiful piece of equipment - click here for a picture. It's fun to be able to play with that much power. I loaded it up with SuSE Linux 10.1 and I'll be setting it up as our web and database server this week. Another unrelated tech question: does anybody know how to upgrade the storage space on Picasa Web Albums? I can't seem to figure it out, and I'm using up the included 250MB very quickly.

Well, it's back to Psychology homework for me. This week is crunch time for tying up loose ends before heading back to BJU. The plan is to get all my ducks in a row by the end of this week, so I'll have a week to relax before the trip back, but that never happens, so we'll see...

Posted 09:47 PM by Drew  General 

Monday 07/10: Best Fourth of July fireworks ever

Long time no post... sorry, it's been a busy summer.

NASA outdid every other fireworks show in the country this Independence Day with the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery. Burning 1.5 tons of fuel per second on takeoff, the 120-ton (plus cargo) Shuttle reaches speeds of 4.8 miles per second (that's almost 23 times the speed of sound, folks).

The shuttle has two solid rocket boosters that help propel the craft into orbit. Once the shuttle reaches an altitude of about 28 miles, the boosters separate from the main unit and fall back to earth. Their descent is slowed by a parachute that deploys at about 15,000 feet. But enough with the numbers - my reason for posting was to link to two videos. These videos are from cameras attached to the top and bottom of one of the rocket boosters. The videos cover everything from liftoff to splashdown, which spans about 12 minutes, but if you're patient enough to watch the whole thing(s) you'll see some pretty interesting sights, such as other objects orbiting the earth, the shuttle's smoke trail from the ground out into space, etc.

Click to watch the videos (Windows Media): Aft camera (looking up) | Forward camera (looking down)

Posted 07:41 PM by Drew  General 

Saturday 06/10: Cordless Jump Rope

What has America come to? Today a man was awarded a patent for an invention that introduces laziness to one of the oldest American pastimes: the jump rope. Why jump up and down while trying to dodge a flying tripwire when you can just jump while pretending that the wire's there? That way, everyone's a winner, not just the coordinated.

To paraphrase the article, you might as well pretend you're jumping, too, so you don't get tired out. Then you can pretend jump over a pretend rope, building up pretend coordination and getting pretend exercise. While you're doing this, your friends will see you out in your front yard, just standing there, holding a funny looking handle in each hand. They will see and be inspired to be more athletic, like you...

Read the full article on GlobeAndMail.com: Man awarded patent for cordless jump rope.

Posted 09:44 PM by Drew  General 

Thursday 06/08: Summer is here

Well, it's summer, and I'm back. I've been home for about a month now, and let me tell you, it is great to be home. You never appreciate your friends and family so much as when you haven't seen them in 4 months. So, thanks to all of you for the awesome time we've had so far, and here's to the summer ahead!

It's also nice to be working again so I have at least a little money to spend. I'm still working at JPW, and I'm doing some construction work here and there to keep myself busy. With gas prices the way they are, though, you aren't left with much saving/spending money...

That's about it for now. I have to work on the car a bit this afternoon to see if I can get it to pass inspection this week. Right now, it's looking like it's going to rain, so that may not get done today. What's with all the rain? Isn't this supposed to be summer?

Anyways, I'll leave ya with this video of an awesome cat who has just been introduced to the computer. Good show. Click to watch: Kitten vs FrontRow.

I'm going to try more frequent, short posts instead of long ones once every blue moon. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. We'll see.

Posted 10:21 AM by Drew  General 

Friday 02/03: Day of Prayer

Yesterday was the university campus-wide Day of Prayer. There was a chapel service at 8:15, various prayer sessions at 9 and 10, then a testimony/worship service at 11:00. In the 8:15 service, Dr. Roy Short preached on Psalm 46: "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble." It corresponded with a couple passages I came across in my reading this week:
II Corinthians 12:9-10: And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
John 15:5: I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
The theme verse for the Day of Prayer this semester was I Peter 5:7. In context (5:6-7): Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

In other news, Starbucks coffee was pulled from the snack shop this week. Dr. Jones made an announcement about it in chapel. The initial reason was because of a very controversial cup Starbucks put out back in September, but the final decision was made to remove the coffee from the snack shop due to very bad handling of the issue on Starbucks' part. You can read more about the pull in this article on Jeremy Harper's blog, or read about the controversial cup (which was shipped nationwide) in this Seattle Times article.

My roommate sent me the following link to a Newsweek article about intercollegiate debate at Liberty University. The correction at the end of the article underscores the importance of checking your quotes before you publish: Correction: In the original version of this report, NEWSWEEK misquoted Falwell as referring to "assault ministry." In fact, Falwell was referring to "a salt ministry" -a reference to Matthew 5:13, where Jesus says "Ye are the salt of the earth." We regret the error.You can read the rest of the Newsweek article here.

And finally, a quick website update... recently there have been some spam posts in the comment section of the blog. This afternoon, I installed Blacklist, a PivotBlacklist-based spam filter this afternoon, so it should virtually eliminate electronic graffiti in the future. It nabs certain keywords and URLs commonly used by spammers. It shouldn't catch any legitimate posts, but if for some reason it does, let me know and I'll fine-tune it a little more. Speaking of comments, there haven't been any lately. Post some! :)

Posted 01:21 PM by Drew  General 

Friday 01/27: It's the weekend

The weekend is finally here!

I don't know what it was about this week but it just seemed to drag on forever. I think the ski trip on Tuesday seemed like the beginning of the weekend when in fact the week had just begun. Anyway, the week's over.

The ski trip was a blast. I did a little damage when I tried to take a [small] jump at high speed on a black diamond trail, and ended up landing on my side and getting bruised & scratched up a bit. But other than that, I think I was able to stay on my feet more than ever on this trip. It was definitely worth it.

And yes... I did get around to uploading some pictures. Click here to see them. I almost lost all of them when my camera "crashed" but I was able to recover the pictures with PC Inspector File Recovery. Kudos to whoever made that program.

I came across an interesting quote this week in a Slashdot thread on intelligent design. Read the following, keeping in mind that this guy is an atheist:

when I try to imagine what it would be like to believe in a benevolent god, I think it would be such an amazing thing I don't see how any part of my life would be unaffected. I think that if someone really believed in god it would be obvious without even asking.

Profound, isn't it?

Posted 09:25 PM by Drew  General