Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In Iraq at Last

I'm finally here!!!

Total time from arriving at Ft. Bliss in El Paso to arriving at Camp Victory in Baghdad was 55 hours, 19 hours of which was flying time. I definitely learned the military motto of "Hurry and Wait!"

I won't bore you with all the details, but some of the waiting was just plain ridiculous and made no sense whatsoever.

Two guys from the team, JD and Dan, picked me up from the airport and then gave me a brief tour of Victory before taking me back to crash...which I did for 12 hours. JD gave me a bigger tour this morning of all the essential places...DFAC (food), PX (shopping place), Post Office, Bizarre (local merchants), Laundry and the gym.

Then we came to the office (Al Faw Palace). Nancy gave me an overview of our team mission and a brief overview of my duties. It should be a very interesting endeavor.

I took some pics and will take a few more to post as soon as the wireless network in Tent City (my home for the next 6 months) is up and running.

Friday, January 27, 2006

El Paso Pics

The desert from the sky...didn't realize it was full of plants and not just barren desert like it will be in Iraq I'm told.

View of the Franklin Mts from Ft. Bliss

View of the mts from Ranger's Peak looking North

East El Paso

West El Paso and Juarez, Mexico in the distance

My first cactus I've ever seen in real life growing wild.

Definitely not Taco Bell. I ate the taco and gordito...but couldn't finish the enchilada.

Last flying American flag I'll probably see until I return. God Bless Old Glory!!!

There are a few pics of the scenery here in El Paso. Next stop...Kuwait!

Must See TV!

I didn't see this live, but I'm glad I found it. It is a program from last week on 20/20 dealing with public schools. It is extremely eye opening on many levels.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Conservative Cajun

I just wanted to call ya'll attention to the new blog I added to my fav blog list, TheConservativeCajun.

Up until now I've only posted links of people I know personally. However I've been following his blog for a few weeks now and he has a fun site and updates regularly. It's also never a bad thing to have more cajuns in the mix!!!

He just posted a massive list of his beliefs on his site. While I don't agree with all of them, it is a great example of standing up for what you believe in. However if he ever runs for office, his campaign brochure will be 50 pages long ; )

All Systems Go!!!

At 1245 we had our final formation and I received my validation saying I was cleared to go to Iraq!!! I'm just ready to get there and start doing something. I haven't done anything work related in a month. While the down time was nice (minus the obvious), I'm definitely ready to start being productive again.

Tomorrow we have a free day, so I'll try and take some pics of the mountains and the Mexican houses across the border to post. We can't go across the border, so I'm not sure how well they will come out from a couple of miles away.

In our final briefing today, the chaplin was talking about several different topics. During one of them he recommended reading Psalm 91 every morning. It is a very powerful chapter and fits perfectly, especially for the soldiers. Verse 14 sums it up well, "The Lord says, 'I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.'"

Monday, January 23, 2006

One Down...One to Go!

I'm definitely receiving the full experience of being deployed. We had to be at the base for 0445 this morning for formation, we ate MREs for lunch (mine was jambalaya and it was actually pretty good...not dad's ofcourse but definitely way edible). They have these neat warming packs that heat the food.

Today was the first of two big days. Even though I did most of my medical and dental stuff before coming they still have to approve everything before I'm determined deployable.

Today was medical. I had to take four shots to update all the immunizations needed. I got weak and white after as usual =) They offered Anthrax, but I gladly refused being it was voluntary.

However by the end of the day at 1800, I was determined medically deployable. Now on to dental tomorrow. They are letting sleep in a little tomorrow. First formation isn't until 0530 (like my use of military time...trying to fit in =)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Psalm 32

Haman sent me an awesome text today when I was on my way to the airport heading to El Paso for the week.

It was Psalm 32:5. He also suggested I read the entire 32nd chapter. I did as soon as I got on the plane. It could not have been a more perfect recommendation and nailed what has happened the last 5 days.

It shows what a life with deception looks like, vs 3-4, but then vs 5 shows the turn around and the life after shedding light on deception with all the blessing that will follow. King David, when writing this psalm, definitely knew what it was like to be in both positions and the freedom of leaving the deception and moving into the light. I plan on spending several days mining the nuggets from this chapter and making it a cornerstone for this time.

Here it is if you can't look it up right away:

Psalm 32

1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "— and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Major Turning Point

I bought the book "Turning Points"written by my pastor in Baton Rouge, Dino Rizzo, a couple of weeks ago. I've been meaning to read it, but kept putting it off. I highly recommend it for anyone who is going through a struggle or will face a major struggle in their future (that covers everyone).

I finally picked it up last night and read it with a completely different outlook and intensity had I picked up just two days before.

Yesterday, Cheryl's dad called off the engagement. It was due to information I shared with him Monday morning concerning some stuff in my past dealing with sexual addiction that I did not share with him prior to him giving me his permission to propose. He is in no way judging me for my past but instead needing to re-evaluate his decision due to the new information in order to ensure that I'm ready and able to be the spiritual leader Cheryl deserves in a husband.

Thankfully Cheryl and I were both in the middle of a three day fast, so we were way more prepared spiritually to handle this than if we had not been fasting.

The main point is that out of a spirit of fear and embarrassment I kept this part of my past secret from him and others. After sharing it with him, he felt we needed to take a step back to ensure I am completely free of my past and ready to be the spiritual leader for his daughter before he can allow it to go further, if at all.

For the freedom to take place, I have to let this relationship completely die and trust that if it is God's will, then He will resurrect it at the right time in the future. However, first and foremost, I need to ensure that this issue of sexual addiction is defeated once and for all.

I have proven my obedience to man by submitting to his will since the beginning. Now I have to become completely obedient to God and learn to follow Him through discernment in order to allow all He has in store for me.

As Dino says in his book, "We have no control over how and when turning points enter our life. We do, however, get to decide what comes out of a turning point and how we react to it. Do we become better or bitter? Are we closer to God or further away? Do we embrace the turning point or do we pass up an opportunity to start a chain reaction that helps people for generations to come?"

Breaking this addiction will have major positive ramifications for the future and will end a long chain of similar behavior or worst in my family.

Another very relevant quote from the book is, "There are really no secrets in life. Everything surfaces eventually, and there is always a price to pay when you are involved in immorality. It is inevitable. You cannot be addicted to sin without it affecting your life. Sooner or later it will have an impact, not only on your life, but also on the lives of others around you. There is nothing you do that will remain a secret."

That quote nails it! Due to sin I thought I could keep private, the consequences are now affecting others. I'm just really glad Cheryl's dad was strong enough to follow the Holy Spirit and not bend to the pressures of the world to not call off the engagement and save any embarrassment this will cause. By doing this now instead of later it will allow freedom to come before the ties of marriage, which would be way more difficult to deal with then.

Sorry that this is such a long post, but this is just me sharing my heart and hurts in order that light will shine through the darkness once and for all!!! Please keep me and Cheryl as well as our families in your prayers that God's will be done through this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

No Agenda Here...Yeah Right!!!

Well I guess the media will again stick their head in the sand and say there is no gay agenda in Hollywood despite the winners at last night's Golden Globes.

Brokeback won best picture, best screenplay and best director. Copolte, a movie about a gay man, garnered best actor for the guy portraying the gay man. The lead actress in Transamerica, a movie about a man who has a sex change to a women, won best actress.

So the top five prizes of the night all go to movies that deal with homosexuality and their hard plight of rejection, but no agenda being pushed, right?

To bad I'll be in Iraq for the Oscars and miss all the unbiased awards for that fun-filled night.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

39 Reasons to Privatize the Postal Service

Here is a great article giving examples of how other countries are ahead of us in creating competition in postal delivery.

Here is a great example, but you should still read the whole article:

Some nations, meanwhile, already have more than a decade of experience with postal deregulation. New Zealand was the first country to launch significant reform, back in 1986, culminating in a fully abolished monopoly by 1998.

"As a result of reform, New Zealand Post has introduced services and has improved its efficiency without government support," wrote Rick Geddes, an economist and the author of Saving the Mail. Not only that, but the real price of mailing a letter fell by almost 30 percent from 1987 to 1995.

Contrast New Zealand to the United States, where, despite new technology -- such as modern reader/sorters that process more than 30,000 pieces of mail per hour -- stamp prices have risen with inflation since 1970.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Iraq Blogs

I've added two new blogs to my links on the right under the headline Iraq Blogs. They are from Nancy and Maureen, two of the people I'll be joining in Iraq in a couple of weeks (looks like I'll be heading out on the 28th as of now).

They are both pretty insightful as to what life is like there and they have lots of great pics. I look forward to adding my two cents once I get there.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

It's All for the Children...Yeah Right!!!

"If we told you that an organization gave away more than $65 million last year to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Amnesty International, AIDS Walk Washington and dozens of other such advocacy groups, you'd probably assume we were describing a liberal philanthropy. In fact, those expenditures have all turned up on the financial disclosure report of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union."

"Under new federal rules pushed through by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, large unions must now disclose in much more detail how they spend members' dues money. Big Labor fought hard (if unsuccessfully) against the new accountability standards, and even a cursory glance at the NEA's recent filings--the first under the new rules--helps explain why. They expose the union as a honey pot for left-wing political causes that have nothing to do with teachers, much less students..."

"Reg Weaver, the union's president, makes $439,000 a year. The NEA has a $58 million payroll for just over 600 employees, more than half of whom draw six-figure salaries. Last year the average teacher made only $48,000, so it seems you're better off working as a union rep than in the classroom. . . . The good news is that for the first time members can find out how their union chieftains did their political thinking for them, by going to Union Reports, where the Labor Department has posted the details."

- Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal, 1/3/05

Speechless Over the Stupidity of These Comments!!!

"Like the victims of the Holocaust, animals are rounded up, trucked hundreds of miles to the kill floor and slaughtered. Comparisons to the Holocaust are not only appropriate but inescapable because, whether we wish to admit it or not, cows, chickens, pigs and turkeys are as capable of feeling loneliness, fear, pain, joy and affection as we are.

"To those who defend the modern-day holocaust on animals by saying that animals are slaughtered for food and give us sustenance, I ask: If the victims of the Holocaust had been eaten, would that have justified the abuse and murder? Did the fact that lampshades, soaps and other 'useful' products were made from their bodies excuse the Holocaust? No. Pain is pain."

Written by: Stephen R. Dujack...a star witness for the Democrats who will be testifying against Sam Alito in his Supreme Court nomination hearings next week. Let the games begin!!!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Great Bowl Games

While I wasn't particularly happy with all the matchups, the games turned out to be pretty good.

Of course the LSU game vs. Miami was AWESOME, 40-3. I never in a million years would have predicted that score.

The Texas win over USC for the National Championship, 41-38 and the Penn St. triple overtime win over FSU, 26-23 were great games as well.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Tired of Driving!!!

After 23 hours of driving yesterday and then 10 more today...I don't think I will drive for the rest of the week!!!

I'll probably be pretty sparse on the posting the next three weeks, so please be patient if you are waiting for a reply.