Tuesday, December 16, 2008
So what happens when we print so much money and make it so absolutely free and easy to use as possible?
I think that's what got us into this mess in the first place. So why the heck are we doing it again? And what REALLY concerns me, is that the government has been dumping trillions into banks and companies, and the companies are KEEPING this money so they don't fail. The general idea for the bailout was that once the companies had enough cash on hand to stay afloat, they'd start loaning money out again and new house loans would be easy to get, credit card rates would go down, lending restrictions would ease, and the general public could go back to their merry ways of charging everything and getting loans for everything else- spurring spending and economic growth. Well it's not happening. The companies are keeping the money, and the interest rates are only moving downward a little bit, meaning those banks are going to be getting some very large profits on the few loans they do make, to very non-risky folks.
I don't blame em. If I owned a huge bank and the government told me what to do with my cash, to give it to people that can't pay it back, like they did in the 90s, and then it made me go bankrupt, and then the government told me it was my fault and then gave me 50 billion to stay afloat, I probably wouldn't go and take that cash and loan it back out. I'd keep it and pay my employees and keep my branches open and survive the stormy waters. So is it really the bank's fault? Not in my opinion. I'm seeing the government try very very hard, and very many times, to "fix" our economic crises, to pretty much NO EFFECT. The latest figure I've seen is the government's various orgs, the fed, the white house, congress, and so on have pumped over 3 trillion dollars into the economy, yet our stock market is still hovering at about two-thirds of what it was 6 months ago. Why!? Because you can't just print more money to make everything better! You can't just lower an interest rate and toss money out of your window on the way to your congressional meetings! It makes the value of the money MEANINGLESS! If I started giving people coins made out of iron and called them Ochses, and gave them to EVERYONE who wanted them, they would be absolutely WORTHLESS. Just like the US Dollar!
In my minds eye, I see a guy- let's call him Mr. America. He's a smart upstanding guy who makes his decisions by listening to a group of a hundred people that all disagree and get paid under the table by different companies to make bad overall decisions that solely help that company. Because of some of the accumulative bad decisions, Mr. America was sitting in his plush chair that was financed by China, and one of his thousands of loan officers called in some debts, and Mr. America sold his arm to pay just the interest on one of the thousands of loans. So Mr. America has a bloody stump of an arm, and the one hundred decision makers started talking about how to fashion a band-aid. They have over the last six months designed and fashioned about a dozen bandaids of various colors, sizes, and with different cologne on them to make them smell better to everyone who meets Mr. America. In applying these band-aids, they hired the lowest bidders to put them on, and now you see Mr. America has twelve poorly placed bandaids on a bleeding stump of what used to be an arm, smiling gayly at anyone who will look his way. And it smells like twelve mixed colognes covering up dying flesh. The blood is drying around the bandaids and the wound is starting to fester, and Mr. America is going pale, but his hundred decision makers are applying makeup on any visible skin, and are holding meetings to talk about what kind of makeup to apply, and possibly if they should sell his forehead as ad space to help offset the cost, before deciding that they could just use all of Mr. America's friend's money. No big deal, they thought, because it's not their money, is it? Who really cares, especially if you're spending someone elses money.
Have a great Christmas everyone! I hope you aren't charging your purchases :(
Thursday, December 11, 2008
We haven't really decorated for christmas much this year, which surprises me. Rosemary has a love affair with christmas every year, and the past few years it includes coercing me into buying and setting up a tree and helping her set up lights and stuff. That's been surprisingly absent, and with Rosemary at home most all days, I'm curious why the christmas bug hasn't bitten her harder. I know she's been able to let some of it out by doing quite a bit of shopping lately which is great, but the festivity usually lies in decorating, old boring movies, and the music, which we haven't done much of.
We did do our annual ochs candy house, and it turned out about like I expected, except one small difference- usually Mandy and James go head to head because they have different ideas on how the house should look, and just trample on eachother. But this year, after a couple drinks of Baily's, my wife decided to take on James and scraped off half of his roofwork. She got really fiesty and smeared the old roof all over the front yard and tried to replace the roofing with a big custom made wreath, which ended up looking like dribbly poop on a roof, to the heckling of everyone around the table, and then fended off the attacks and recreated what was a pretty good looking wreath decoration and roof after identifying the right tools for the job.
I've never seen my wife go heads up with any of my family... I mean, I do it pretty consistantly, and so does mom, dad, and mandy, but this was a first for Rosemary. And I guess she's learned from the best, because she pretty much won, hands down. Dad even said it was cute (even though he was the one that got crushed in defeat).
I'm not sure if it's an overall positive or negative experience for me. It's just so new, I've never seen that happen before. Half of me felt uneasy and nervous because my wife was trashing my family, and half of me felt really good, because my family needs to be beaten back like a pack of rabid wolves at times (me included). The most interesting part is probably the transformation of Rosemary after two drinks of Bailys, which makes me wonder if I should either hide the stuff forever, or experiment with her and see what happens in other scenarios, too.
The holidays look to be about average for me- make a list of things I want, and get absolutely nothing on that list. At least it makes me refocus on what is important, about my salvation, and the family I now have. :)
Monday, November 24, 2008
This evokes quite a bit of interesting thought in me. Especially with an Obama presidency, where the ability to protect yourself in public places will be revoked, as he has promised (ban of all concealed carrying nationwide).
I've kind of been thinking about preparedness lately. My belief system tells me that man is a flawed creature, that our nature is to sin and cause destruction. Some of the greatest minds alive today have questioned how we will indeed survive the next 100 years. Even non-Christians believe in this. Part of my recreational reading has showed me some interesting ideas that the founding fathers had about Democracy- how it is flawed, and it was only designed to work if righteous men held the positions on our congress. Well I think we've fallen far below that now, and the decline is only accelerating. Leaders who call for no accountability for their actions, and congressmen who are so good at hiding their fraudulent "gifts" from "friends" and anti-american agendas.
Well I think it's time for me and my family to start preparing a disaster kit. Our culture relies so heavily on this government provided infrastructure system set up, the vast majority of Americans would be out of food and necessities like heat, energy, clean water, and so on within a week... meaning, we would need the rescue of our government, or God forbid a different government. I bet half of the citizens wouldn't even know what to do with all the free time they would have if the entire US power grid shut down. Jeeze, no jay leno... what the heck do I do now? haha...
I would like to be able to be a safe haven for my friends and family if need be. I'd like to be prepared not just with food and water, but prepared to defend my rights- the last time a large portion of our country's infrastructure went down, cops went door to door unlawfully taking people's guns away from them... while there were armed looters on the loose. Great...
Things have changed greatly since I had a kid. I'd do anything to ensure his future is healthy and safe.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
So, I got this e-mail today from Forbes. 3 years ago, there was a Forbes time capsule project, where you could send yourself something in a certain amount of time. Well I wrote myself a letter, set to expire at 3 years for me to read, where it would e-mail the letter to me. So I got this letter today. And boy was it amazing.
Here is what I wrote myself:
I hope you are doing well. I kind of hope you are married, or on the way- because that would make me excited. :) Right now, I'm sitting in office 2217, building 109, Microsoft West campus. I make
I hope you don't stray from your path. I hope you don't stop writing down your dreams, passions, and goals. You have the potential to be a powerful individual- don't let that fire go.
Mandy and Daniel just started dating last week. I've been playing a little bit of battlefield 2 lately. I shared the scripture proverbs 4:20-27 at youth last wednesday. Make your path straight... Let God guide your destiny and purpose. He always has, and he will always be there. I hope I am still preaching to the choir with this one :) Without Him, there is just a God shaped hole in this heart of mine.
I'm 20 years old. I've been working at microsoft for over a year now... I am working on Account Planning 3.1, and SEF 3.7. I think I am doing great, and Minh thinks I am doing a good job too (and Minh is hard to impress).
Love you bro, see you in 3."
After reading this, Rosemary pointed out my blog from the same period (jeeze it was much more interesting back then, haha). And wow THAT was fun to read. I even have a blog post talking about the Forbes time capsule, hahaha! :) And then all of the craziness that ensued for the 2 months directly after the forbes capsule recording. Basically falling in love and deciding to get married in about an elapsed 2 week period, and then trying to keep it under wraps for the next three months and failing, because I just didn't care who knew because they couldn't stop us. Only delay us for a little while, hehe.
Then I saw the one blog post the day after we really truly fell in love with eachother. What a tear jerker!!! (dec 24th from this archive: http://rickyochs.blogspot.com/2005_12_01_archive.html )
Thursday, October 30, 2008
How to live in God's provision
God promises us in the bible repeatedly to take care of us. Why then, in tough economic times, do we struggle with provision? I have recently gone through this in my life, when we recently had a child. We made the decision to cut back on a lot of things in our life so my wife could be a stay at home mom, sacrificing her salary. We were living happily and in abundance before, and I am glad to say we are also living in that abundance after little Judah has joined our lives. It really comes down to the definition of abundance, and what we do with what God has given us. You see, God provides. He gives us what we have, and how we use it is up to us. Yes, we have signifigantly less money now. Are we any less happy? Absolutely not. Eating out, spending more money, having nicer things does not lead to happiness- what leads to happiness is having eachother, serving God, being a giving family with what we do have. Often times people find themselves in situations of less provision, but instead of restructuring their lives to enjoy what they do have, they continue to live an old lifestyle that is unsupportable by their finances, or is only sustainable for a short time- something our society has taught us to do, with credit cards, the ease of getting loans, and so on. It is perfectly acceptable in this society to rely heavily on credit, instead of on what God has given you.
I'll make this challenge- if you see your finances getting squeezed, or you feel light headed at the prospect of making due with less, find things that bring you happiness, and ask yourself if it's really the money or spending that makes you happy, or the people you are with- the time you spend, the sights you see. Give more. Giving is probably the easiest thing you can do to enjoy your life- it sounds a little backwards, recieving sounds more fun sometimes, but blessing others with what little you have is more rewarding by many multiples, even if all you have to give is hugs and smiles. And, the end all be all of enjoying and using your finances the Godly way: Live within your means.
Have a great month The Edge!
I hope that inspires someone...
Monday, October 27, 2008
Every year, people start asking me what I want for christmas around this time, and here is what I say (every year):
Get me a
This is boring for people who like to buy things, because in some cases, they don't even know what the piece or part does, or they don't have any interest in the hobby, and therefore have no interest in furthering the hobby for me (I thought gifts were about the person getting the gift? hehe)
But the problem is, the only thing I'm really interested in at that time in my life is my current hobby/obsession. I mean, I guess I could fill my "wish list" with a bunch of $10 items that I'd probably never use just so people could get me things that they would feel good about getting me, but I'd have trouble putting those things down on said list, since I just don't want them or have a need for them.
And I don't want "useful" presents... whoever want's a mop or some sheets for christmas is missing it, in my opinion. I want something completely un-usable in real life scenarios, because this proves to usually be the most fun for hobbies or having fun. Because, as most people know, having fun is diametrically opposed to getting something done. (Dishes, anyone?)
There are very few things under $50 that if I want, I don't just go out and buy. This time, there are a few things- some mags for my most recent firearm purchases. But, this still falls into the first catagory above- no one really cares about me furthering my target shooting hobby. So alas I'll probably get by with used garage appliances people had on hand, and the occasional creative gift (usually from my wife or mom) that can be fun and useful at the same time (for some reason, women are good at mixing these two even though it is impossible- see above.)
Well, I guess we'll see how it goes- but, for the last few christmases, I just haven't held out any hope for anything that I haven't bought myself (or for myself on my wife's behalf). I guess it's just that much better when I do get those creative gifts. :)
Friday, October 17, 2008
the thought of having a socialist president, AND democrat majority congress (no checks and balances) makes me really concerned. I mean, part of me thinks that if the majority of our country really wants Obama, then they deserve it. If we've fallen so far that we want the government to babysit us, after we've seen what the government does. Namely, waste our money, bicker over how much they waste, and use their power to line their pockets from special interest groups. Talk about an easy job, that's for sure- who else has aides to do all their paperwork and research, gets tons of cash from companies vying for attention, and gets more than 100 vacation days a year? heh.
Part of me says if I just keep my head down and keep doing a good job at work it won't affect me too much. And hey, America deserves the consequences. But the other half wants me to believe in accountability, smaller government, less spending, less laws instead of more laws, etc...
I don't really have any control it in anyways, so there's not much that fretting about it will help.
I guess the biggest concern is 20 years from now, when our deficit is even bigger with these Obama crazy spending plans, we're past the point of having a valid government, our dollar is worth nothing, and all banks are owned by the government and the stock market is frozen by so many laws designed to stop a recession that we're in a recession because no one can earn money any more. The truth is, 100% of doctorate level economists agreed that the "bailout" plan will NOT work, it will just patch the system for a short duration and delay the crash that it's supposed to stop. Great... So why do we have politicians making financial decisions? Do they have doctorates in economics? Why is Obama's or McCain's economic plan so great? Why don't we let the economists and free market guys deal with the economy, and let the president deal with presidential issues for gosh sakes!?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Couple of new key developments: We've signed Justin Forsett back to the team, and he's supposedly going to be returning kicks. I like this, because I really like forsett- he seemed really eager to show Seattle fans what he can do. It also takes some pressure off of our ailing recievers... heh.
next development: We moved Bumpus back to the practice squad. Kind of a so-so move for me, Bumpus did OK, not great, but lost some easy plays here and there. At least they got rid of Taylor, he was awful.
So, the hawks are 1-4... What's up with that?! Their season is pretty much done, unless our team starts playing like the pro's that they are. If we had a couple of games where we could play at the level we were at last year or the year before, we'd have a shot at this. It just seems like our "all pro" team has forgotten how to be pro. I'd like to see some good football this year, but I'd probably haveto change the channel to get it.
On a positive note, I took Rosemary to the Green Bay game, because she'd never been to a hawk's game before. We sprung for club seats and had some good fun, I partially lost my voice, and we had fun seeing the hits in person (man, Football is much more violent in person). Watching the Green Bay quarterback get hit by a 250 pound guy running at full speed is crazy. :)
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
This entire political process is crazy. I take conservative positions on most everything, and I realize our country is starting to lean a little more to the left, but the stuff I see is mind boggling, with the media very obviously being biased (just think about the recent debates- did gun control ever come up? What about abortion? does anyone even know that Obama supports live birth abortions and taking away our gun rights?)
I'm glad that theres only 30 something days left over. If the CNN/NBC crowd is to be believed, apparently Obama has already won, and he's the best candidate anyway (they keep saying he is better on the economy for some reason... not sure why). But if you look at the independent polls like zogby, etc, he's up by an average of 1-2 percent, well within the margin of error, something most legitimate news sources should be calling a tie right now. Same with the debate- for some reason people really think Obama knocked it out of the park. This REALLY confuses me - I watched the whole debate, and McCain continuously brought up plans and showed great understanding of how things work and ideas to fix things, and he answered most all of the questions, while Obama kept running over his time, interrupting the moderator, trying to rush to his own defense, and failed to answer about half of the questions. I just don't get it... is our country so biased that they don't even see through his rhetoric? I mean, he said a lot of stuff, but had very little substance overall. It seemed pretty clear to me. He is a great public speaker, and it appears he is such a good public speaker that he can make it appear that he is winning a debate when he is clearly not.
I just added a ton of new (read: old) friends from facebook today, and wow is it nostalgic to see some people I haven't thought about or heard from in a very long time. Some people I had crushes on, some people I had intense dislike for, some people I had lots of fun with. I wonder if those people miss the relationships the same way I do? Not that I'd ever want to go back to high school, but the excitement of that time in my life sure was fun. When was the last time I had a lan party?! Life changes, I suppose. :) For the better, if you've seen the latest rediculously cute Judah pictures.
Monday, September 22, 2008
So, my son is now 9 weeks (today) and he slept for 9 1/2 hours last night. He was pretty darn fussy last night, which is hard to deal with when they are unconsolable, but it's an amazing joy when he is in a great mood- he smiles at everything, and it's one of the greatest things to see your son recognize you and smile at you when you come home from work. You can see the excitement in his eyes and face when he sees me after a day of being away, and it's awesome. :)
I think we have tentatively decided we want to buy a house in a couple of years, before we have our second kid. Having two kids in our current place would just be a little too dicey, since there's only two bedrooms. The square footage isn't the problem, it's just the bedroom situation. Another deciding factor is having a yard for the kids to play in. Kids just need a yard. Another factor is definitely the fact that I want a two car garage. Our parking situation has limited me to only one car (two total fo the whole family) and I've always wanted a daily driver/fun commuter car. I just love the idea of driving around an old Honda or a little miata, fun little sporty car that gets 30+ mpg easily, even when you drive it like you're on crack. I had one for a while, a beautiful 89 prelude SI, bought for a grand under value, and then I put a grand into it fixing it up, and it ran BEAUTIFULLY. It was very, very fast, it cornered like it was on rails, even with cheap tires, and it was super reliable.
Most days, I get in my subie, and I just don't drive it like it should be driven. I mean, I commute in stop and go freeway traffic a couple of hours a day. How can I use an AWD rally inspired car in those situations? To even have fun with the thing, you've got to be doing triple the speed limit. It's got so much traction and power, that I can't really stretch it's legs. On the other hand, when I had that little prelude, I could break the front tires loose on almost any turn, slide through the turn, and whip that wheel around, all while only going 20 mph. If I tried that in the scoob, I'd be doing 60, I'd have all 4 loose, and I'd be sliding across three lanes of traffic.
I've kind of started wanting that little scooter of a car in rear wheel drive lately, just to get used to it. I know how to break the wheels loose around a turn in front wheel drive easily. But in the future, I wouldn't be surprised if I had some sort of high performance rear wheel drive car, and it'd be pretty messy if I had no experience in a RWD car, to get into an M3 or something. That's why I mentioned a little miata. Something that is light and maneuverable, but you can still dump the clutch and get those wheels spinnin. :)
In other news... I've picked up playing the piano. The keyboard, more like... I just started a couple of days ago, and I've got all the major chords down already. I just studied some chord theory, and figured out how to create chords based off of theory and went from there. What inspired me was this
It made me remember how much fun it was just to mess around with the keyboard when I was younger. I'd sit there for hours and hours, playing with different sounds and rythms. The guy is a litte different, but he's an absolutely amazing artist. Definitely my style of music, too. I'm kind of hoping that having a keyboard in the house will tug at Rosemary's interest and that she'll pick up some, too, because she has had some lessons (more than I can say).
That's all for now, folks. We'll see if my facebook link brings any more readers, heh.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
And three of the other teams are teams we've played at the survivor series- one, we played vs and tied, and they went on to get 4th, and the other two did terrible and were destroyed. And the other two teams signed up look like newbie teams, never played in a tourney before.
So, we have a *really* good shot at winning. We feel like we are better than the team we tied out vs last tourney, but we made a mistake to lose it. If we correct our mistakes, I think we're better than them.
Luke can't really afford this tournament unfortunately, but I think Xylem and I will cover him and if we win, we'll just take his winnings. :) If we win the Proto SLGs, I'll just take his probably, since I paid for his last 3 outings and the last tournament and this one. That about covers it, and then I'll just sell the SLGs online and see if I can take that cash and my backup gun, and get a newer nicer pball gun without spending anything. that'd be sweet :)
I'm not sure if there will be pictures of this event like the last one. If there are, I will post them. I'm not as excited about this one, because there are less teams- but I feel thats why we did so well, because we were really amped up. So I need to get amped up! But I'm so busy this week, it'll be hard to spend some time working on my gear and whiteboarding out some strategies.
One of the things I'm doing this week is recording two djembe tracks for Justin Hebert, and a city church special CD. That should be really cool. That, and I've got a monthly thursday night worldwide all hands meeting for work, and band practice for young adults. Busy week... but I'm taking friday and working from home, so hopefully that will give me enough time to clean my gear and amp myself up.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
for anyone that doesn't know, I went to India with Todd Bentley and freshfire, and saw hundreds of miracles before my eyes... as you can read earlier in my blog (January 29th and on)
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
So, Luke and I competed in a Beginner paintball tournament. We picked up a 3rd player to fill out our ranks, his name was Xylem, and we picked him up from the online paintball forums.
22 teams signed up.
We won our first 5 games in a row, lost three, and won two more, for a 7-3 preliminary score. We moved on to semi-finals, got one win, one loss, and one tie, and did not move on to finals. We scored 7th overall I believe, out of the 22 teams. Overall, 13 games, 8 wins, one tie, 4 losses. We beat out some of the top 4 teams, but we fell one game shy of making finals. Overall, I think we did awesome for our very first tournament. We did so well, we want to try and enter the next one. Most of the talent on our team was definitely the guy we picked up, Xylem- he was an AMAZING front player, and we won three of our games within twenty seconds, with him doing a run through and luke following up for the final kill. I kept everyone's heads down fairly well as a back player, allowing them to hit some pretty aggresive spots on the field and make some crucial hits, but it also cost us a game or two. There were a couple games where Luke and I had to close it out as well, but overall, he took out their best player so many times it really made the rest of the games super easy. Luke is picking up on those skills a bit, and I think if we correct a couple of mistakes we made, we can easily place in the top 4 next tournament. I also made a couple of mistakes and played sloppy a couple of games, which cost us some points as well.
But I must say, tournament paintball is wayyy more fun and less painful than regular recreational play. The paintballs are much nicer, and therefore explode a lot better- dissipating that inertial energy a lot better, so the hits don't even really hurt that much. That cheap crappy rec paint hurts a lot more. heh. I got hit from 400 feet away with a cheap paintball two weeks ago, and I've got a welt the size of a baseball, and right next to it is a hit from 50 feet away from three days ago, and it's almost healed.
The tournament made my weekend. We had a BLAST, we did really well, and I'm super jazzed about it, and I can't wait to see what we can do next time! :)
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
it was pretty cool, actually. I didn't do an amazing job or anything, not that I expected to, but I actually held an alright rythm setup for all the songs. Only a couple of laugh out loud mistakes :) It reminds me of when I used to play for the youth group all those years ago... except I used to play every single day back then. Much easier to have control over the rythm and tempo of a group when you're well practiced. I've been playing Djembe for the last 2-3 years, for sunday morning and young adults, a couple times a week, and I've gotten so comfortable on it I really feel like I control the rythm and the group's dynamics a lot more. But on set, I feel like I'm just giving them a steady beat to play to. hehe. That'll change with practice of course.
Friday, April 04, 2008
It's good, and it's at the right time. Promos are handed out once every 3 months, so you haveto get in line and apply once your management decides on a timeline for promo. If it gets denied or delayed, your management will haveto re-apply at a later quarter. This quarter ends end of June, so that's when any promo goes into "effect" and the new monetary rate changes, with the first paycheck reflecting that on july 15th... or, two weeks before my baby's due date. So, the timing is quite nice here, because just when I'll need more cash to pay for diapers and a stay at home (beautiful) mom, I'll have it. Not sure how much, probably not a whole lot more, (budgets are small at this time of year...) but every bit helps. As well as the formal microsoft review period with the regular annual raise/stock award happening in september, which will also be very helpful for supporting a three person one income family. So, I'm doing alright career wise. There are always concerns and ways to improve, of course, but I feel like I could be sitting at a comfortable level 64 or 65 some day, if God leaves me in that place long enough. In addition, this is the first year my annual stock award will actually be worth anything... because every year, you get a new "stock award" but you don't get any of it. You get your stock award 1/5th at a time, for the next five years, starting one year after you get it "awarded" to you. So, I've got two that accumulated over the past two years, which were both fairly insignifigant, but combined it's a nice little extra diaper fund. Combined over 5 years with growing rates, it looks to be a great prospect/extra bonus that will help save for necessary things in our lives. God takes care of us, for sure... it'll be a little hard once Rosie is staying at home, but we'll make do. God is our provider- Jehovah Jireh.
That is all.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Or maybe the story about the YWAM facility. A gunman goes in with over 300 rounds of ammo in his backpack and starts taking people out. Someone that happened to be on the scene with a concealed carry permit took him out, before he even got through 50 of his rounds. How many lives did that save?
So I might not ever concealed carry, but I want that right. I want the right to put two into a guy if he tries to kill people. I want to put two into a guy if he tries to take my wife. God knows my wife is attractive enough, she's already been approached by sleezebags countless times.
Most of this thought process changed for me after Rosie got pregnant, to be honest. Before Judah came along, I didn't really care if I died- I'm goin to heaven anyway, right? But now, with a kid's future on the line, with my wife's well being... I wouldn't hesitate to end someone else instead of one of mine.
What's funny is, a LOT of my friends are going through the exact same thought process. About six or seven people I know are doing the same thing- getting their CPL, going practicing, and whatnot. Everyone is scared about losing the right to protect yourself. Everyone is getting very interested in having that option open should the need ever arise. Get this- Democrats in new orleans went around door to door and took everyones weapons. Took away their SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT. What the heck?! Now you just created hundreds of defenseless households, while thousands of people are going around with rifles stealing, killing, pillaging, and raping. Great, yeah, you really helped things out. :/ You think, this day and age, where our society is becoming even more violent than in the past 30 years, we're going to let go of the right to bear arms? The very right to oppose our government if the need ever arises? The right to protect our families?
Heck no. Over my dead body.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I think it's going to be one of the funnest things in my life.
I have images of playing legos with him, teaching him how to build things, eventually teaching him how to build models, how to build an RC car, how to shoot... man, I just see such a fun time. :)
You know, a son gets his affirmation from his father. A son's entire world revolves around the two most important relationships he has- mommy and daddy. I believe a big part of why the world is the way it is today, is because there are fathers out there that don't understand the relationship between a father and a son. The encouragement that needs to happen, the teaching of values, the bond created. A son gets his moral compass from his father, his financial understanding, his respect for women, his understanding of what Godliness really is.
I have memories of my Dad taking me aside and talking about finances with me. When I wanted something really bad, he would talk to me about saving up my money to purchase it. He also taught me how loans worked, by helping me purchase things I really desired, but carrying a loan with me, teaching me about monthly payments, how my $20 a month payment was due on the 1st of every month, and how normally people charge interest, and what that means. It taught me a ton about being responsible with money, what it's like to have debt, to be responsible to pay it off or pay consequences, etc.
You hear stories about guys that just do crazy things- with women, with guns, with money, and it's basically because they just didn't know how to do it right. Their learnings in those areas were self taught and perverse, instead of being taught by a father with those values intact. The love of the father leads us and guides us, and this is a small experience of that. I can't wait to raise my kid in the most godly way possible, to see him learn and grow, make mistakes and pick himself back up, because it's what you do when you fall.
I feel like I know what it's like to have a dad, and also to not have a dad. There was a time where there was a pretty big hole there... and the difference was huge. I understand where I would be if that hole had continued on to this day. I would not be married, I would not be going to church. I would be depressed, I would be emotionally closed down. I probably wouldn't be employed by a great company, I would probably be living in an appartment somewhere with a girlfriend. Funny, how that sounds like the vast majority of people my age. The only difference? A dad.
A mom, is a whole different conversation. :) Maybe you'll haveto read Rosie's blog to see if she's got anything to say about the mom dynamic- she's had interesting experiences there. I just know that, being a dad is making me focus on my experiences with dad's. Mostly mine. Mom, don't feel left out. :)
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Enough about really boring work stuff.
I've got a baby boy growing in my wife's belly. It's awesome. I can't wait to be a father. Life sure will change quite a bit once the baby is here... I'm excited to be the best father I can be. I'm sure gonna have fun with a boy... man, we'll go build stuff, play paintball, drive cars, oh the fun! :)
Monday, March 17, 2008
The reason we needed to get away, is because we haven't had an honest to goodness vacation in a while. Work has been pretty angst inducing for the both of us- moreso lately, with me taking on a new project run by a bunch of fools, reminiscent of my early career here at Microsoft. Funny, because this team is actually the old group I used to work with when I was first hired on. Their ways of doing software are still the same. It's strange, that when I work with this division on software products here at Microsoft, they always include lots of overtime, harrying political battles, timelines that are unrealistic and boatloads of errors because of it all. Most of which I hit, due to my role in software development- most all issues are hit when the software in question is being built.
When we were driving back into town, as soon as we hit Federal Way, my phone was already ringing. It was my boss, asking me to look after the india vendors and make sure that all the work that was done over the weekend was still on track. Of course... weekend work. That's part of the reason we got away. It would have been the fifth weekend in a row marred by the ugly prospect of working through most of my free time, had I not been out of cell range.
The weekend was incredibly relaxing, just doing nothing, driving around on the beach, eating sandwiches with lots of spicy mustard and Dr. Peppers galore. But this monday morning, before I even walk through the doors, the weight has already returned. Everything just seems to be an emergency with this team, and it always falls on my shoulders- because it's my job to get stuff done. Most other people at Microsoft have job titles like "Program Manager" or "Product Manager" or "Development Manager" and so on, meaning they don't really get anything done- they just kick and scream when something is broken. They are very good at underhandedly getting things done, but most of it just includes making others pull favors to get crap fixed over the weekend and wasting other people's time, because of their lack of skills in managing issues in an effective way.
This is all marred by the fact that my mom's health is in question. It's kind of given a green tinge to everything, almost like you're living in an alternate world, a la matrix. I'm not necessarily worried of the illness or survival rates- what really gets to me, is that it's my mom. The woman who held me close for all of the years where my heart was lost to even myself. My mom, who was the only individual that tried to connect to me emotionally throughout my child hood. She would even pretend she didn't see me sleeping on her bedroom floor, just so Dad wouldn't tell me to go back to my own room- just so I could be in her presence.
I've changed a lot over the years, but this entire issue is just bringing back to me my heart of my youth. For some reason, I don't really cry very much any more. But when I think of my mom, my throat constricts and my breathing becomes labored, as I know she is the one who gave me life inside. Who taught me what it meant to get hurt, and keep loving anyway- because Jesus did.
If ever I become a great author, I think I will dedicate my first book to my mom, who taught me how to harness my heart, instead of letting it run free and destroy itself.
I hope I get a promotion out of this crappy project at work. If only the team would quit blaming me for their poor planning...
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
So, at the last crusade. We pull up, and notice how packed out the crowd is compared to previous nights. Later, we found out that there were around 110,000 people there. As Todd was preaching, people were being miraculously healed in the crowd- there was a young girl, maybe in her teens, that was crippled and blind, completely healed. She was walking back and forth across the stage, and learning how to ununciate. A tumor melted off. Another blind saw. He kept going through praise reports, and it was making the very large crowd very hungry for God, and one of the fences started swaying under the pressure. The security guards could not keep the people away, so both staircases up to the platform were mobbed. All the guys went below before this, and were waiting at the fences with interpreters to start praying. While we were waiting, people were crying out for a touch from us- just a touch. It was a humbling experience, to know that God had anointed us so heavily, and their faith was so great, that there was no way they could not be healed. We finally got started with prayer at around 11:30 or so, and the fences swayed under the pressure as I reached my hands over and started praying. There were so many thousands, that I did not have time to check for healing after every prayer. The only super obvious instantaneous healings were the ones I can write as testimonies, even though I know that the vast majority were healed, by the spirit. One of the old deaf guys I prayed for- I pulled my hands away, and this look of pure bliss came over his face, and I shouted to God and kept praying for people. By that time, Rosie had fought her way through the crowd and made it to the fence, (lots of people had gotten past and were tugging on our clothes to turn around and pray, too) and started helping ease the crowd a bit- most of the women wouldn't come down off the platform. She was praying for a little boy that was deaf, and she plugged his ears with her fingers, and prayed "I cast out the deaf and dumb spirit---" and the boy looked up with shock of a new experience, and Rosie ended her prayer and moved on. She says, the look on the boy's face was priceless.
We had to leave before we could finish- a lot of people were still there begging for prayer. As they told us we had to leave immediately, as I was walking out, I was surrounded by people and stopped several times. I would pray and bless, quickly, as many as I could- partly because their faith shook me, partly because I needed them to move away. :)
Today, we went to a very, very poor village, where the houses are made of leaves and twigs. We brought fifteen thousand dollars worth of rice, and handed one bag out to each family, which would feed them for a month. It was great to focus on what Jesus preached- taking care of the poor. It's not all about the miracles and the wonders- it's about loving these people with food, as well. We're about to have our final meeting, and recap. Tomorrow morning, we get on the bus back to hyderabad, where we have a few hours before we hop on a plane, for the travel home (which only takes a few hours by a watch, but is actually over 35 hours... ugh)
We love you guys. We can't wait to come home, we are excited to see you all and share with you our experiences. We just want a red robin cheeseburger, a milkshake, and to smell some air that doesnt smell like poo baking on a sidewalk or a pile of trash fermenting over months. And maybe a soft bed and Bailey. The smell is starting to wear us down...
Thank you for your prayers and support. We love you all very much.
OW. We just got done with the third crusade(please share this e-mail with everyone you can). God moved through Rosemary and I more than I have ever seen in my life. It was the greatest single evening of miracles I have ever seen. We didn't even watch the stage or what Todd was doing, we were so busy praying for people. I must have prayed for over 400 guys. Here are some of the things that happened(all conversation was through an interpreter):
A deaf man, totally, in both ears- I prayed for him, and we tested his hearing from behind him, and he got this confused look on his face- and I asked if he could hear, and he said yes. I raised up his hands and told him to shout "Jesu Cristo" which is Jesus Christ in their own language. Since he used to be deaf, he couldn't really ununciate it very well, but he immediately started walking away, completely healed, with a crazy smile on his face.
Another deaf man, in both ears. I prayed for him, and tested his hearing- he said he could hear, just a little bit. I prayed again, and he said he could hear fully.Another deaf man, in one ear. I prayed for him, and his ear popped open.
A man with so much pain in his shoulders, he could not raise them. I prayed for him, and asked if he felt anything- and he said the pain lessened. I asked him to raise his hands, and he said no- it will hurt too much. I told him to raise his hands in faith, and his hands immediately shot up over his head, and he started bobbling his head crazily (the indian way of nodding/saying yes) and he said there was no pain, he was completely healed.
Lots and lots and lots of people came up for "body pain" and most were completely healed
A man with a tumor under his right breast. I prayed for it, and asked him how he felt. He felt his tumor, and told me it was getting smaller. The spirit told me, that it would be gone by morning, so I told him that, and he believed it and walked off.
Another deaf man, when prayed for, could start hearing, but just a little. The spirit also told me that his hearing would slowly come back and it would be healed by morning. I told him that, and he walked off.
A man with thick glasses, he could not see far distances. I prayed for him, and asked him to test his sight. He looked up at the stage, and focused, and he saw the todd bentley sign clearly, and bobbled his head and shook my hand and walked off.
A man that said he was paralyzed in his arm and down came to me. His hand was balled up into a weird shape, and I prayed for it. After the prayer, I asked him to move his fingers, and he did so. He could fully open his hands, but he still seemed to be complaining, and pointing at the crook of his arm. I prayed for that, and he started to pump his arm back and forth. He still seemed to be insistant on more prayer, but I had to move on (there were about 80,000 people there we think- we will verify that number later) because we were being mobbed- People were pushing up crippled on the stage and kicking and shoving to get to us.
Lots and lots of younger men with migraines and trouble reading and deaf and dumb spirits- the curse of dumbness, holding them back from achieving a new level of excellence and moving into the job market. One of the men with a migraine that had been there for 6 months had all of the pain leave his body. Lots of the guys wanted blessing for their education. I loved seeing their passion for trying to overcome their poverty stricken nation and the spirit of laziness that permeates this country.
A few people I prayed for did not get healed, and a few people had partial healings (and some of those, the spirit told me they would be healed in time). But for the most part, the first hour of prayer, pretty much every single person was healed of their affliction. The corporate anointing of healing was on that place, and on Rosie and I. We asked Todd for an impartation earlier in the day, in the middle of the lobby- we were so hungry for the anointing, and it made such a huge difference. That man has so much anointing, it's crazy.
Earlier today, we took the bus an hour out of town to an orphanege for retarted children that were abandoned. We purchased some toys for the kids, and went through and prayed for them and just talked to them. there was also a section of that orphanege for abandonded older folks, and we prayed for them and talked with them. Harvey and I were walking through one room praying for people, and an old indian guy rolled over, and in a totally american accent said, "Hey, how are you doing?" Harvey and I both turned to look, shocked. Then he saw a mostly empty water bottle in my hand and asked me for fresh water, and I poured the last of my water into his cup. He didn't really say anything else, but it was just such a shocker... haha.
After that, we went to a small village, where we only had about 1hr and 15 minutes to minister. We went to a school and met a classroom of kids, and then walked through the streets and found an interpreter, and our little team of five people led two families to Christ. The first family was devout hindu, and the second family was a polytheist- believed in all of the indian gods. We explained to them, Jesus is the only living God, and the only one that loves them. It was powerful and anointed, and we blessed them. When we got back on the bus to go, our videographer was doing an interview with a woman who had to sell herself several times to have enough money to take care of her kids- they were doing some research into the sex slave trade. Some people blessed her, so she wouldn't haveto sell herself anymore, and then we talked with a local pastor that was combatting the slave trade in his village. We blessed him heavily, because he was buying women's freedom.
So that was our day. Please pray for us. We are casting ourselves at Jesus' feet asking for His presence and relationship, His anointing, His blood. I find that when I ask for Jesus to break my heart, that is when I have the most serious encounters with Him, and all day I was asking for that, to make the crusade the most powerful thing possible. And it was. And tomorrow night, they are expecting quite a few more people... The rioting that happened on the second night was a little worrisome, but tonight was a little better- and God will protect us for the last night. :)
Here are Rosemary's testimonies from the healing crusade:
Every single deaf person I prayed for was healed- about 7 or 8.A totally blind lady recieved her sight- as soon as she opened her eyes, she looked around frantically, and she told everyone the number of fingers the interpreter was holding up multiple times.
A tumor was on a womans stomach, I felt it. After praying, she said it was getting smaller, and I searched for it again and could not find it and/or it was soft like regular tissue.
I prayed for a LOT of people and kept going without checking to see if they were healed, because I was up further in the crowd and surrounded. Thankfully I had a couple of interpreters come and keep everyone away from me, but there was too many people to check each one for healing.
Ricky & Rosemary
Thank you for your continued prayers. We will be needing them, especially for the upcoming 2 more nights of crusades. We are doing crusades every day late into the night, and we need prayers for our physical strength and for souls to completely fill the stadium. Last night's crusade went well. It was the first one, so the stadium was not very full, but there were between 8 and 14 thousand people, and many received Christ. Once word gets out that there are miracles, signs and wonders happening, the multitudes gather. We saw many deaf people receive their sight and speak for the first time. It's a sight that just makes your heart melt. Ricky and I both prayed for crowds of people on the ground.
Tonight there were about 45 thousand people! That was really exciting. Ricky and I were designated as catchers on the stage for the night, and so we got to see some really cool miracles take place. Many deaf people could hear, and there were a couple cripples that were able to walk. One guy walked back and forth across the stage over and over because he was so happy that he was healed. We also witnessed one of the most amazing alter calls that we could have imagined. It's makes your spine tingle to see 40 thousand people waving their hands to receive salvation. I will never forget that.
For our outreach today, we went to a small village going door to door to pray with people. They were all so open to the gospel. We handed out candy to the kids, and gave many households some money. That is were most of the money that was donated to us is going. Most of the people are so hospitable and would invite us into their homes (one room houses) and tell us what they were needing prayer for. We saw some healing, and we prayed with quite a few more for salvation. The strange thing is explaining that Jesus is the only God. They are so open to the idea of Jesus as their healer, but when you try to explain that he is the only one, and that they need to leave behind all their other gods, it is a foreign concept to them. They are so used to worshipping many gods, that Jesus is just one more. We hope that we were able to communicate that to them well.
There are already so many stories that we have to tell, but we can't sit here and type them all out. We are excited to get back and tell our church and families about all the awesome things that are going on here. Once again, thank you for your prayers.
I love you, Dad. Tell Mom and Luke that I love them too. And you'll have to grill me the biggest piece of cow that you can find when we get back. :)Rosemary & Ricky
We had quite an eventful day today. First thing in the morning, during prayer, we finally got to see Todd and hear him talk about where he's been and his vision for this trip; the crusades in particular. He was able to lay hands on everyone and do an impartation for the gifts of faith and healing, which Ricky and I were very excited about that. I was slain in the spirit for the first time as well. It was the best way to start the day.
After breakfast, it was back to the women's conference again for the morning service. We jumped and danced a lot with the kids, and now our legs are really sore. I got some good pictures of Ricky and Harvey both with the kids, jumping around like fools. They had a blast.
For an afternoon outreach, we went to a prison, which is not nearly as bad as it sounds. I was expecting smelly concrete rooms that were dark and dingy, but we got just the opposite. First, after letting in an entire group of foreigners in without searching anyone, we were led out to a well maintained courtyard where all the inmates were sitting quietly. They were all well behaved and very respectful of us. We had a short service and led pretty much everyone to Christ. I am guestimating that there were over 300 men there in the courtyard that prayed the prayer, and then three deaf ears were opened as well. One man who was completely deaf, and a second who was deaf in just one ear. They wanted to continue a healing service, but we had to leave and the guards escorted us out.
Todd preached at the evening service of the women's conference and did quite a few miracles on stage. A few people with broken bones or hip pain, and then one woman who was partially blind got her sight back. I have pictures of that. One woman who came up had been having trouble walking because of an accident she was in 3 years ago. She was healed, and left the stage smiling and praising God. The first woman was was healed, Todd picked out of the crowd before the sermon even started, and he told her that she had a heart problem. It was an irregular heartbeat. Immediately the woman started crying, and Todd began to cast the sickness out of her, and she began to shake, and then convulse, and then scream, and then she just passed out, but was completely healed afterwards. There were alot of other healings as well, but we'll just have to tell you about them.
Anyway, as of tomorrow, right now we have nothing planned. We are going to try to sleep in, and hopefully see some more of the town. Oh, and today we bought two little Indian girl outfits for our baby. They are so cute!
Thank you all for your prayers. We love you!
So yesterday, we continued to pray and work with the womens conference (after the e-mail update). We must have prayed for over 50 women each- mostly for healing, but we did come across some people that were interested in a new mind and focus- casting out the deaf and dumb spirit. This morning, we again went back to the women's conference. During the prayer time, where we again, each prayed for another 50 or more people (at the very minimum) Rosie had a woman come up to her who she had prayed for yesterday, exclaiming that the wrist that Rosemary had prayed for was healed. The spirit really broke loose, and the worship started back up, but Rosemary was caught up in prayer for the sick in the crowd, so she just stayed down there and the women started dancing with her. :) It was incredible. Harvey and the rest of the team was up on the stage dancing around with the little children. It was so beautiful. So many healings were happening- a lady that had not been able to bend over for 3 years was healed, women with menstrual cycle issues were healed, back pain was healed, a tumor was gone.In the afternoon, we went to the local hospital. It took us a while to get in- this is not a christian country, and the hospital is run by the government, but when we did, the spirit was already there. The boys and girls split up to go to the girls and boys wards, and we saw some pretty crazy things. I prayed for a hindu that must have had a stroke- his entire body was bloated like he had been soaking in a river while dead for three days. I prayed for a guy who had no leg. A guy that smashed his leg in a car accident had his pain go away. We all started breaking up and moving around to the different wards, and Harvey and I came across a room with some very sad sights. A woman with a baby that must have been at least two months premature. She was incredibly downtrodden, just staring at her baby. We prayed for her, we also prayed for a girl that was clawing at her throat, half screaming half moaning. When we prayed, she stopped convulsing, she sat up, started smiling, and she was thanking us so much for the prayer. We got a picture of her :) We lost our interpreter along the way, and a little five year old boy was following us around translating a little for us. We ran across a muslim family that wanted to convert to christianity, but the interpreting issues were hindering us- so we distilled the message down to: "Say: I want Jesus" and when we got him to say that, we immediately started praying for Jesus to fill him. It was amazing! We were so thrilled to see people to eager for Jesus in the ward. Another team of guys saw a man with three or four broken ribs mend themselves and uncave. Harvey and I prayed for a man in a coma, and as we were praying his leg started moving, and we prayed more, and his breathing came more easily. We also saw several cases of tiberculosis, dying people, etc... We really wish we could have spent more time there, but after an hour, we were told we had to leave, the bus was going to leave. We were all fairly dissapointed.
On the bus ride back, we had some fun sharing some stories about how we all got engaged. We found several couples that had eerily similar stories to us- the knowledge of marriage within a very short time, no dating history, God's blessing, very short dating periods, etc. All were extremely blessed and in the same exact boat as us. It was so refreshing.
Tonight we go back to the womans conference. Todd still hasn't come with us to preach or pray yet, but we're hopeful he will start getting engaged. He's been here, but he's been relaxing and preparing for the crusades, we guess. We'd really like to see his impartation in us for that gift of faith and anointing.
Love you guys! No pictures this time, didn't have time to load them onto the computer. Time is short, as always...
Ricky & Rosemary.
Here is an update from india, please forward as appropriate.
We barely made it onto our flight. We were sitting there at the check in counter for two and a half hours. We tried to check in, and it couldn't find our reservations. After speaking with a few different people, the manager came out and personally started working on the issue. An hour after we arrived, she came back out and told us our ticket reservation had been cancelled, and she was working on it. The rest of the team got through just fine, except for the Olynicks, so they and us stayed behind as well with us to wait for the issue to be sorted out. Well, the time ticked by, and still nothing. The team was getting wrestless, calling us quite often to ask if we had gotten through yet, as they were boarding. Then we got another call... they were done boarding. We heard the "last boarding call" call over the loudspeakers for our flight, and we were still sitting at the (now empty) check in gate. The manager rushed out, got our bags checked, and two nice Northwest employees rushed us through security, to the international wing, and out to our plane, minutes before we shoved off. And, we had the nicest seats in coach, for the trouble. :) We weren't really scared or anything, we knew that this was God's trip, and no one really messes with God and wins.
We left the ground at around 1pm home time on the 14th, and arrived in hyderabad about 3am on the 16th. our third day of the trip... and we just got there. We went to a hotel, slept for a couple hours, got up, ate some indian food, and hopped on a charter bus for the 6-7 hour ride to the place we would be doing our ministering: Vijayawada.
The ride was incredible- the first sights and sounds of India were... interesting. It feels almost like Mexico City- except, it never gets any better. There is no "good" part of town. It's all poverty, as far as the eye can see, no end in sight. The smell of fermenting garbage and feces permeates the entire country, from what I've been able to smell. Nowhere is a safe haven from the smell, even the hotel rooms are permeated with it. Looking out the window on the bus was... crazy. Seeing people sleeping in piles of rubble, cows meandering around the street eating the piles of trash, (there was trash everywhere, every street, every corner, every building) and the traffic explained briefly: near death experiences every 5 seconds, flavored with noncaring pedestrians and mopeds. There are no traffic laws here. We almost died on that busride a few hundred times, and it almost turned into a game, where the entire bus would cheer when we made it by another bus with less than inches to spare. The bus driver drove like a nascar driver. But the problem was, so was everyone else. And we were on the bus. haha. Someone got some of it on video, and I'm sure it'll be good :)
So we're in Vijayawada now, arrived last night. The indian food is... well, authentic? And, well, we can only eat about half of it for health reasons. And it's near impossible to carry anything yourself around here- I actually was told no, I cannot carry my own bags to my room. They need their tips... heh.
I'm sitting right now in our hotel room, hearing the constant honking and screeching of Indian traffic, and smelling the acrid smell of trash. But it's all worth it- today was the first day of the womens conference, and already the blind are seeing, the deaf and dumb spirit is loosening it's grip on this nation that is cursed with poverty and pure complacancy that permeates this place. Even the homeless on the side of the road just sit there. No one cleans up, no one tries to get ahead around here. Everyone just does what they can to get by, no more, no less. It's evident in the workmanship of their buildings, the power lines, even the streets. Attached are a few pictures we've taken so far. They will help illustrate the stories above so far. Pray for us. We have yet to see a miracle happen before our eyes, and we've been praying for some crippled hands and some blind eyes.
We're expecting it soon. :)