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Monday, July 28, 2003

Yikes...it's been some days

"It's been a while since I wrote here..."

That's a really common opening to most of my various journals...why should this cyber-edition be any different.

It isn't that I haven't written, thankfully...just not here. I'll try to keep that from being a common thing.

I've been playing a lot with my photo-blog at http://ericswyatt.fotopages.com and writing some in my paper/pen (remember those??!?) notebook. That, coupled with Cami's minor (and very successful) surgery has kept me from here...I've posted close to 100 photos now. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, and seeing them all laid out there, is kind of inspiring me to keep at it, even when two rolls of film I got back this weekend weren't of much value.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Wish for the Brightest Star

Songs I've heard a hundred times sometimes "catch me funny"...Bill Mallonee (AKA, Vigilantes of Love) writes songs that continue to evolve for me, long after I've decided "what they mean"...there's a line burried in Crescent Moon off of his solo album, Fetal Position, that struck me this morning...

Life is coming to grips with what you are worth
When God says one thing, and your heart says another
If you wished for the brightest star...
...would you consider the crescent moon?

The chorus regarding the brightest star (what every woman hopes for in a mate) and the crescent moon (which is, at best, a sliver of reflected light from that bright star) which most of us men truely are has been obvious to me from the first listen to this song...but the line before it, which is really much more blunt and obvious, registered with me this morning.

Self-worth is a great lie of Satan. And we are vulnerable from both directions on this one. It's easy to de-value yourself, when God has promised us full brotherhood in His Son. And, it is equally tempting to over-value our ability and power, clinging to the idea that we are good enough, powerful enough, to save ourselves. An inflated, god-like sense of self is an obvious sin, but the greater power may be in the under-valued self. The person who never reaches potential because they don't value their individuality enough to push beyond the mundane and ordinary.

The great mystery is how both of these things can be true. How can I be the most valuable of Creation, yet be utterly unable to redeem myself. One of the things my recent spiritual journey has taught me is that this hinges on how I view these mysteries. If I grab hold of my salvation in Christ, in a head-strong "now I know I'm saved" kind of way, what I'm really doing is grabbing hold of MY ability to find redemption. The reality is, I have to view my position as a Son of God, a brother of the Son, Son of the Father, from the perspective that acknowledges my need for redemption, and confirms that redemption is unattainable by me personally. I can't be good enough. Sinless enough. God-centered enough. A perfect God can only recognize perfection, unless there is a bridge...someone/something to fill the chasm that seperates my failings from perfection.

That bridge itself must be flawless. That bridge is not something I can build or attain strictly on my own.

There is a Royal quality to being a Son of God. There is, in fact, a security, a power, a sense of self that says "you are worth more than that drug/lust/hatred...and you aren't living up to your heritage when you give in to those things". There IS an aspect of communion with God that pulls the weak, the hungry, the perverted, the deprived, the helpless up toward the gloriousness that we were intended for. And yet, it has to be consistently remembered that the inheritance of any glorious aspect of ourself is a gift. It is freely given, and given in order to be used and enjoyed, but it is a GIFT nonetheless.

A true gift, isn't something you can earn, or even something you deserve. A true gift is offered regardless of merit. And something you have to accept in order for it to actually be given.

God, grant me the grace to receive your gifts. Grant me the self-appreciation to recognize my Creation by You, and the ability to honor that through an ever more Godly life.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
Lord, I have faith. Help my faithlessness.
Lord, I hope in you. Help me when I'm hopeless.
Lord, I love. Purge my unloving attitudes.
Lord, Forgive me. Correct me when I'm unforgiving.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

The Photo Effect

It's interesting to dig up some old photos, and sit back to watch the response. My grandfather had been cleaning out some old drawers, and he found tons and tons of negative strips from photos he had taken. Before I got there, he had already thrown some away, but I was able to salvage some of them. Two rolls of film in particular which none of us ever remember seeing the prints from. They appear to be from the Winter of 1974, and possibly the spring of '75. Old fashions, old hairdos, young people who are now much older (about 30 years) and several faces that belonged to loved ones no longer with us.

I scanned the negatives into my computer using the Canon D1250 U2F scanner, which has the ability to scan both regular photos, and also has a specially built negative scanning attachment. I sent some of the pictures to my mom, and posted more of them in my photo-blog.

There are little things I remember, even though I was only two. I remember the white-pearl, black-pearl ring my mom is wearing while brushing my golden-blond hair...details of my grandparent's house that have still not changed...my aunt Marcie in rollers at the family dinner...the old black leather recliner that was "grandpa's chair"...

I'm also going back through dozens of rolls of my own photos to archieve some of the better ones at that photoblog...something I've been "meaning" to do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

SPAM, Delete This Now!

Yesterday, I visited an email account that I never use any more. The only reason I keep it active at all, is that it is our MASTER ACCOUNT on our MSN service. Both Cami and I have our own accounts that we use daily, but since those accounts are, apparently, SLAVES to the MASTER account, IT must be maintained, at least until we get the initiative to dump MSN. (We joined several years ago when they gave us $400 of in-store credit at Best Buy to pay the same amount we were paying with AOL. I don't HATE MSN, really, but I don't like it much either.)

Anyway, the point of this is pretty simple, really. I hadn't checked the in-box for that account in 4 months. There were 870+ emails in the inbox. That doesn't include the "obvious spam" that MSN filters out, the word-sensitve filters I've established (including the word, "enlarged"), and the "probable spam" that was sent to the junk mail box (which is dumped every 7 days, but still had over 150 additional emails). Of the 870+ emails that MADE IT into my inbox, there were less than 12 that were from people who didn't know any better than to send mail to an address I've told them (approximately 44 times) not to send to, and/or from mailing lists that I had actually opted in to at some point. Do the math...that's less than 2% of the mail delivered is "wanted".

And all of this from an account that I haven't used in over a year (closer to two), that isn't "out there" on news groups or chat rooms or anything of the kind. Email may be a great communication tool, but the situation with needing filters and de-spam-inators (staring Ahnold) and STILL getting tons of junk pushed at you ALL the time...perhaps this is an arguement FOR the idea pushed in several (similar) hoax emails: charging per email. Why on earth would I even consider it? Because, frankly, email is too cheap. These companies basically pay nothing to send out this email. If it cost them something, maybe they'd think twice about sending me the same email, everyday, for over a month. I get a lot of junk mail in my snail mail, but the cost of mailing to so many people keeps it reasonable.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Third Post Today, Quick Update

There are photos at my FOTOpage now.

Something New, and Possibly Exciting

Shane, who I mentioned before as one of the reasons I've started this, pointed out an awesome site that peaked my interest. I've been taking a lot (as the people at Meijer will attest) of pictures lately. It's my current "creative" hobby, since my song/fiction powers have been zapped by the kryptonite that is writer's block. So this scavenger hunt seemed pretty cool. I suppose I'll give it a shot. While there, I noticed the opportunity to host some of my images at a place called FOTOpage, so I've signed up for both a blog and a FOTOpage in the last two days. I'll post a link to my pictures once I have the photo page thingy working.

I'm suddenly becoming open and available for criticism...imagine...Now if I can find a place to share my fiction that I like...I'll keep you posted (as if there really is a YOU at this point).

Baseball, and Other Thoughts

I'm usually not impressed by most "cool" or "hip" or "trendy" things. I pride myself of requiring substance in the TV I watch, the books I read, even the conversations I have. Even when I'm participating in something for the pure fun or humor of the thing, I like to think there's something deeper at the heart of it; something that makes a connection on some "deeper" level.

One area where I've succumbed to the "bigger, better, now" tendency of our society is the All-Star Homerun Derby. I consider myself a baseball purist, in many ways, though I'm not one to think that things were always "better" in the past. I do find myself, when I think about the problems of today's game, longing for a more simple, fundamental, team oriented approach to the game, but I don't try to pretend that today's players aren't just as talented as their early counterparts.

The focus on the individual, and the homerun, is distressing. The atmosphere is such that a big lug of an outfielder, who's fielding is suspect (at best) and who's ability to come through in clutch situations is miserable, is often considered one of the greats of the game. Granted, Mr. Sosa can hit the ball a mile, and that talent is sometimes greatly appreciated by the starting pitcher, and almost always appreciated by the fans (both in Chicago, and in every park he goes to play). But, Sammy is NOT a great ball player. Great homerun hitter? Yes. But, he's really not a ballplayer. He's the Shaq of MLB. And that's what worries me.

MLB is NOT the NBA. But, the more it BECOMES the NBA, with its thug-star attitudes and glorification of ME, the more it will fade farther and farther from the title of "America's Game".

But, I do enjoy watching the homerun contest prior to the All-STar Game. Its an appropriate forum for the individual to shine. His teammates are not relying on him. The "bad" swings don't count against the 27 outs your team is alotted your team in a real game.

What made last night's derby even better was that the participants were more "all around" players, and yet, the display was almost as amazing as any I've seen from the Sosa/McQuire clones. Albert Pujols was hitting the ball to all fields, piling up point after point, not by jerking the ball straight down the line, but by being a good, consistent hitter. As far as I could tell, not a single ball broke the 500 foot barrier, yet I enjoyed watching last night's derby more than many.

I've been assimilated.

Monday, July 14, 2003

A First Post

I'm not really good at keeping up a journal, and I'm not so sure this will be much different. It's worth a shot though, I suppose.

Inspired by Shane, and some other friends who are an ecclectic bunch of characters, I'll give this blogging thing a try. If you stumble in here, I hope you don't expect to much. No promises.