Thursday, June 29, 2006

An Angel In Our Midst...

Please welcome Vladimir Emanuel Diaz.
Born June 26, 2006 at 7:54 p.m. edt
6 lb. .1 oz
19 Inches

Everyone is doing fine. Virtual cigars all around!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New Family Member

Pleased to anounce the arrival of Vladimir Emanuel Diaz to parents Amanda and Vladimir & brother Tyler and sister Sonja at 7:50 p.m. 6-26-06 in Harrisburg Pa.

And yes, pictures will follow.

Love you guys!


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Between You And Me

Cory left this comment regarding my last post:

"It seems to me that there are tons of people that just go to church to complete the jigsaw puzzle of an all-American life, as though church is a country club. You're a white man with a white wife, drive an SUV, conservatively colored and done up, own a ranch home in an upper-mid neighborhood, have two kids and a dog, and the kids are both athletes (the guy football, the girl soccer or field hockey)...blah blah blah, fill in the blanks as you see to. Church, and God, to some is a matter of keeping up with the Joneses."

You are right on the mark, Cory. How ironic that you should label church as a 'country club'. For years I quit going to church and when asked why by friends I would give that exact reason: I didn't want to be a member of a country club. If I wanted that I could join one and have the benefits of the pool and golf course and probably a more friendly, less judgmental class of people.

A wonderful worship leader from England named Matt Redman wrote a song A few years back titled "The Heart of Worship". The whole thing is a prayer where he apologizes to God for making worship something it wasn't supposed to be. He goes on to say that when all the fancy things we do in church are over, when the preaching is done, when all the music fades, it's just him and God. All he wants to do is bring something to God that's worth while, that will bless Him. The main thought is "I'm coming back to the heart of worship because it's all about you, all about you Jesus...I'm sorry, Lord for the thing I've made it when it's all about you".

That's what the problem comes down to with so many of today's christians. We want chruch to be like the rest of the world...we come wanting to know what we are going to get out of it...we come wanting our needs met...we come wanting to be 'fed' spiritually...we come wanting to see and be seen. We have it totally backwards. Worship and church is a very private thing between you and God even though you may be in a building with hundreds of others. We should come to church looking for what we can give back to God first, then look for how we can help and serve other people. We wind up receiving so much more back than we ever give out.

Cory: thanks, brother, for your point. You put it in words that had escaped me. I will be addressing another part of your comment later. Thanks again.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

To Reign In Hell

If I had to rely on the example and testimony of some of the 'christians' at my church I'd probably be an atheist. I can't say I blame my atheist friends if all they see is the poor example that I see: christians that worry more about material things than trying to help others, who want to shout 'look how wonderful I am' to the world, who despise everything and everyone that either isn't up to their so-called standards or doesn't agree with them, who won't have anything to do with a person if they can't get something from them. I believe christians do more harm to their cause and to the spread of the Good News than anything anyone can dream up from any other source. It's not because of these kinds of christians that I believe in God and that Jesus is my savior, it's because of stuff I've experienced in my life and because I've seen the love of true humble servants.

What's the deal? You go to church and you're told by 'christians' that how you look, how you dress, what you drive and where you live matters? You're led to believe that what you do for a living and how much you make matters to God? You're beaten over the head to shape up, stand out, and give so you can be one of the 'chosen'?

EEEEHHH!!! WRONG!!! Sorry, brothers, but from here on out I'm putting you on notice: I'm declaring WAR on you! The devil does more through ONE OF YOU than through ten thousand of what you call the 'non believers'. I don't know what pisses me off more: the fact that you let yourselves be used by the enemy or the fact that you think you're so damn righteous and better than everyone else and don't see what you're shoveling. You know, that's probably what does the most harm...that 'holier than though' attitude. The real world is bad enough...we don't need you being as bad or worse than the world.

I talk to 15 or so people a month that are searching...looking for something...looking for the truth. They know there's more to life than just living, working, and dying and they want to find out about it. The only problem is they run into some dumb christian that feeds them a line of bull saying they have to dress-act-look-talk-behave a certain way, have to do-this-and-don't-do-that in order to get into heaven. DON'T BUY INTO IT!!

I'm telling you [and DARING the 'christians' to disagree with me] that that's not the case. I've been going to church since I was born. I've been a christian for most of my life. The main focus of christianity has nothing to do with what you think someone else is supposed to be doing and everything to do with a very private and personal relationship with God through Jesus that's really no one else in the whole world's business.

Too many christians want to judge the world and the people in it. STOP! DON"T DO IT! You are only judging yourselves! Remember, scripture says you will be judged by the standards you hold others to. [Matthew 7:1-2 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."] I don't want that. I have too hard of a time trying to get my own life right to be worrying about how other people are living theirs. If I want God's mercy and forgiveness I had better be willing to give the same to others!

It's time christians got off their high horses and started looking at the world the right way: go into most of the churches today and I would suspect the pastor is on the right page of the playbook but a fair part of the congregation isn't. Find a place where you know the pastor is preaching the word as God has given it to him and you've found a place you can learn and grow. How can you tell? If the word is exactly what you needed to hear and you think 'wow...has he been reading my mind?' you've found someone preaching God's word and not his.

If you see allot of the congregation turning their nose up at you because you: don't dress like them - don't come every time the door is open - didn't grow up in this church or are a relative new comer - ask too many probing, hard hitting questions that they can't answer - do me a favor and stay a thorn in their side...make them sweat. Nothing makes me happier than to see a christian sweat because someone's made them take ownership of their faith.


Friday, June 16, 2006


Kennith Noal Wright Sr. was born on November 29, 1925 in Lufkin, Texas. He grew up in the deep piney woods of east Texas during the great depression. Although they were very poor, they were, like allot of people back then, a happy close knit family. When he was 9 his only brother was born.

About 1937 the family purchased on finance 50 acres of land just west of Pineland Tx. His mother worked taking in sewing & laundry and his father drove a truck for Piedon Iron and Steel in Houston. In the spring of 1937 tragedy struck: his father died in a crash at the age of 36 while hauling steel girders to be used in the Possum Kingdom Dam being built west of Mineral Wells, Tx. on the Brazos River. This changed his life forever. They moved to Houston so his mom could find better work to support the family. He and his brother both started working after school to help out.

Somehow they did the impossible and managed to grow into handsome young men, the best of the lot. It's no wonder. Their mother had the purest kind of heart. Even though they could barely make ends meet themselves they always had the table set and a spare bed ready for any friend or family member down on their luck. No other young men ever had a truer earthly example of God's love and mercy than what they saw in their mother.

At age 17 he was drafted into the navy and defended his country during WWII aboard the S.S. John Jacob Astor. Just before he shipped out he met the love of his life named, appropriately, Joy. They married after a year and she waited like millions of other women for him to come home. After the war they both began working for the same company his dad had driven for. Shortly afterwards he went to work for Carey Machinery, a manufacturer of off shore drilling equipment, as an area representative.

Soon he was transferred to Houma, Louisiana where he represented his company to the exploding off shore drilling industry. An interesting adventure involving a tug boat, an off shore rig, an engine block, a hurricane, and sinking in the gulf convinced him to seek a new line of work. His father-in-law owned a small grocery store in Dallas and offered to take him in and teach him the grocery trade. In the summer of 1954 they moved. After 5 years of working and saving he found a location in the suburb of Irving, a nice quiet town that did not allow the sale of alcohol thus removing one major headache of the grocery business.

After 15 years of very hard work, of 7 day weeks and 18 hour days, along the way choosing to go the route of the convenience store rather than the super market, he had managed to grow the business to 6 locations all in the same town. By this time his oldest son had moved back from college with his wife. They began a family and he joined in the business with the hopes for even more growth.

On January 2, 1979 he suffered a massive heart attack. The doctors told him this was the end of his working days and he would have to take it easy from then on. 10 days later at the age of 53 he died of another heart attack while still in the hospital.

Besides his love, a home, and a business he left his share of that 50 acres his mother had managed to pay off years earlier through some miracle of finance and dedication.

I remember Dad as a fairly quiet kind of guy - 6Ft tall, balding, though in his youth he had a full head of black curly hair to go along with pale blue eyes - never a bragger - never a show off - content to go unnoticed in a crowd - never afraid to say 'I love you' - a wicked, dry sense of humor - a teaser and practical joker - admired by everyone - used his position as a business owner to be a servant to God, his family, his community, his employees, and his customers.

No one could have had a better father growing up than I did. No son could have had a better example of what it meant to be a real man than I did.

Happy Father's day, Dad.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

"...the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows..."

"’s a very rough mean place. And no matter how tough you think you are it’ll always bring you to your knees and keep you there. Permanently if you let it. You or nobody ain’t never gonna’ hit as hard as life.

But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep movin’ forward…how much you can take and keep movin' forward. If you know what your worth go out and get what your worth, but you gotta’ be willin’ to take the hit."

Future quote from a hero out of the past...

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Monday, June 12, 2006

On Mother's Day

It was 13 years ago almost this very minute that you left. Some of the details of that day are a blur to me still...I think my mind has blocked them out on purpose. But I still remember the tripple rainbow in the crystal sky. Even though you are gone I feel your presance...just like I feel Dad and Brother sometimes. I know this is part of a gift from God that I can't explain, I just know it's real.

Thanks for the time and effort you put into raising me and Brother. We didn't always show our appreciation like we should have but we always loved you.

I've had to make some decisions the last 13 years about things that you probably would not have made were you here, but I think if I were able to talk to you now you would approve since your point of view has changed. All I know is I was the one left behind and I had to make decisions I could live with. I am very satisfied to say that I can do that...all of them. No one has the right to question what I did or why unless they walked in my shoes.


Nor Iron Bars a Cage

I could handle serving and teaching where I'm at, and have contentedly for quite a while now, as long as I felt I was doing what I was supposed to in the In-Between-Time. I can always tell when it's right. I get that satisfaction and sense of fulfillment, a sense that I'm making a difference and really helping people. Lately it hasn't been feeling quite right. Lately it's feeling like a job...a job you don't a cage.

I feel like I'm on call 24-7. I don't get paid for my services, and I wouldn't have it any other way...but it seems like I'm just spinning my wheels. I'm expected to quit doing one of the main things I'm called to and do others that I don't really feel I should be doing. Also, in the space of 4 years through a regime change I've gone from being too young to be in the mainstream to too old. What to do? Give up? Find another place to serve? If it were only that easy. If that 'still small voice' said it was time to go somewhere else that would be great but it isn't saying that. Fact is that voice has been kind of silent on the subject lately. Guess that's why I'm banging my head against the wall here to see what shakes out.

Sometimes it stinks to have a passion that you can't always engage in during working other words you don't get paid for your passion (RUSS, you know what I'm talking about). Some people are lucky enough that their passion pays the bills: the professional writer, the pro athlete, the minister...their passion is their job. Although I have always been a confirmed computer geek and tech junky (I've talked about my life-saving career change before) computers aren't my reason for living. I have been very fortunate to be able to make a living related to my love for technology and use that to help with life purpose #1 but sometimes #1 gets pretty darn rude with #2 and #3 and demands all my attention. When that happens #1 has to learn that it can't have it all unless it wants to put me in the category of the pro writer-athlete-minister. Then #1 and #3 would be the same and #2 would be allot more understanding. (Here is an explanation of the 3 main purposes of my life

Mind you it's not the One who called me to the first purpose who causes these conflicts, it's the ones associated with #1, some who make their living at their passion but don't want to put in any 'overtime' to get something done and expect me and a host of others like me to pick up their slack. I don't really mind until the conflicts start, then my attitude gets really poor towards all of them and I feel like someone is trying to put me in a cage. I feel I'm a prisoner. That's how I've been feeling the last 2 or 3 years. I've been a prisoner before and I won't do it again. I'll do whatever it takes to break out. If that means fleeing it all and going to the Appointed Place, so be it and hang the rest. A person can only take so much crap from any one source and when you combine 2 or 3 sources, well...

"You wired me awake
And hit me with a hand of broken nails
You tied my lead and pulled my chain
To watch my blood begin to boil

But I'm gonna break
I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run"


Friday, June 09, 2006

Promises of Someday

How do you handle it when you can't pursue the #1 purpose in your life...when you've finally been liberated because you discovered this awesome truth just to find out you can't do anything about it?

Let me explain:
I've known for years that I'm not here just to work and make money. The main purpose for my life is to someday go to the part of the world I've been called to and share with others the hope I've found. The very-close 2nd purpose is the welfare of my family. Third is my job. So far 2 has prevented #1 from happening. As long as 2 is unable or unwilling to pursue #1 with me I have to see 2 through to the end even if it means #1 never gets done. A little backwards I know but I committed to the 2nd purpose long before feeling the call to #1...and the caller understands that. Until I am free of purpose 2, or 2 feels the call also, I will serve where I've been planted. I won't force my will on others. The job, #3, isn't a problem. I have it on good authority that as long as I do my best to be faithful to 1 & 2 that 3 will work out. It has so far splendidly and I still look forward to work every day.

In the meantime the desire to follow #1 consumes me "like a burning flame runnng through my veins" consumes me. Every day, day in and day out since July of 1999 the flame has gotten higher and hotter, no ebb, no flow, no wavering, no doubts...EVERY day. This has proved to me that I didn't hear the call wrong. If I had heard wrong the flame would have died by now, 7 years later. This kind of flame burns forever.

So every day I do my bit here for King and family...and burn...


Ride report

Have to put the CB750 (Cycle Beast 750) in the shop tomorrow. We have switched to ethanol in our area and I'm afraid my carbs are the victim. That meant procuring alternate transportation to work today. My trusty 'ole X01 stood waiting.

Not a long commute by any means, just 4.5 miles, but the road here is a steady 4% uphill grade. Except for the 1/4 mile long 10% downhill in one's always a thrill to see if I can hit 40. Only made it to 35 today. I used to commute by bicycle nearly every day until I got the motorcycle. I was pleased that I was only 2 minutes over my old average time. It was a very satisfying ride, traffic tame and not too hot.

The ride home is usually a little faster, except the mean uphill on a 100+ day like today is supposed to be. Will update later.

UPDATE: Got to the bottom of the big hill and a friend stopped and gave me a ride to the top. The rest was easy. Considering temps hovering around 100 I decided not to be too proud.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Song of the Week: The Wanderer

I've been stuck on a late-in-his-career Johnny Cash phase the last few weeks...
This one's about a man's search for God in a post-apocalyptic world

This is my favorite line of the whole song:
...I stopped outside a church house
where the citizens like to sit
they say they want the kingdom
but they don't want God in it...

Before anyone starts ragging on me I have to tell you that as a born-again believer I have the right to hold my fellow believer's feet (including mine) to the fire...we are way too guilty of doing just what the line says.

- U2 with Johnny Cash

I went out walking through the streets paved with gold
lifted some stones
saw the skin and bones
of a city without a soul
I went out walking under an atomic sky
where the ground won't turn
and the rain it burns
like the tears when I said goodbye

Yeah I went with nothing
nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering

I went drifting through the capitals of tin
where men can't walk
or freely talk
and sons turn their fathers in
I stopped outside a church house
where the citizens like to sit
they say they want the kingdom
but they don't want God in it

I went out with nothing
nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering

I went out walking
down that winding road
where no one's trusting no one
and conscience...a too heavy load
I went out riding, down that ol'eight lane
I passed by a thousand signs
looking for my own name

I went with nothing
but the thought you'd be there, too
Looking for you

I went out there in search of experience
to taste and to touch and to feel's as much
as a man can before he repents

I went out searching, looking for one good man
A spirit who would not bend or break
Who could sit at his father's right hand
I went out walking with a bible and a gun
The word of God lay heavy on my heart
I was sure I was the one
Now Jesus, don't you wait up
Jesus, I'll be home soon
Yea I went out for the papers
told her I'd be back by noon

Yeah I left with nothing
but the thought you'd be there too
looking for you...
Yeah I left with nothing
nothing but the thought of you...
I went wandering