Monday, December 31, 2007

Back in the Sandbox

As always, my vacation was way to short and now I'm back in Iraq on lovely ole Camp Victory. I should be back posting regularly after I get my feet back on the ground. Next post will be on the 2nd with my endorsement for President so stay tuned CajunTiger fans =)

Monday, December 24, 2007

GI Adopts Handicapped Iraqi Orphan

I had no intention of doing any political or Iraq posts during my vacation, but I just couldn't let this story go. It brought tears to my eyes as I'm sure it will for some of you. This is the type story the MSM should be showing because this is the American soldier, not the Abu Garibs and other things the media uses to constantly bash the military. If you have a blog or any public forum, please do what you can to get this story out. It is a great story of compassion for this Christmas season.

Hunting With Dad and Merry Christmas

As some of you will remember, last year on one trip home me and my dad did a little skeet shooting. This time I went out with him to his deer lease in hopes of bagging my first deer.

Beautiful sunrise from the deer stand (we were in the stand at 5am before the sun was up...yes...I was still half asleep =)

The stand from the road

The main view. The little bottle is a wildlife scent to mask our human dad knows all the tricks.

The side view...yes that's an apple core...another trick to try and attract the deer.

Wood ducks in the pond

Well, we didn't see any deer on our two hunts, so I wanted to at least shoot a little. We went to the range and set this target at 100 yards. The 10 circle is about 3" diameter and then another inch each one out so all 6 shots were within a 7" diameter. Not too bad for not shooting at a target in several years.

As you can tell, I'm enjoying my vacation with family and friends. Hope everyone is as well. Have a very Merry Christmas and don't forget to take a few minutes to remember the real reason for the season.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

She Said YES...Our Engagment Story

In my post on Friday before leaving Iraq, I said that I wouldn't post much during my two weeks home unless something major happened. Well, something major happened...I'm engaged =)

Some of you know bits and pieces of the story, but for those who don't and to fill in the gaps for the rest, I'll tell the whole story.

Mimi is a graphic artist. Last summer she was hired by a friend to help design some items for his new Cajun restaurant in Texas. She had no idea what Cajun was, so she started Googling Cajun. Link lead to a link that lead to another link and eventually she stumbled upon this blog. She read all my post over a couple of months and then eventually decided to leave a comment. At the same time she also sent me a message on MySpace. We started chatting, but due to me planning on being there for another year at the time, I just look at it as another blog friend. We found out we went to the same church and even new a lot of the same people, but due to it being a very big church we had never crossed paths.

Well, as some of you will remember in a week's time I went from thinking I'd be in Iraq for another year to on my way home in a week. Being I was now coming home, I decided to ask Mimi to dinner. We had our first date on Sept. 5th, 2006 and she chose a sushi restaurant in Vienna. We have been dating ever since.

Around May, God gave me a peace that I could ask her to marry me but also felt that it had to be after her trip to Africa, June-Aug. In June, I got permission from her dad. Earlier I was offered another job in Iraq and we felt peace that I was supposed to take it which meant I would be gone when she got back. The original plan was to come home for leave in October and propose then, but that didn't work out. So, then I changed plans to do it during my leave this month.

I had originally planned to do it the day after I got home (today) at the end of our 10th date from the book, 10 Great Dates Before You Say 'I Do'. In order to keep her guessing as I was pretty sure she was expecting it over these two weeks, I developed a little covert plan to throw her off and make her think it would happen Wednesday. That plan was working great, but due to the nature of the date I had planned for today, I figured she may guess before. So, I decided to change plans again and do it the night I got home.

That presented a challenge in that I didn't have the ring yet. I ordered it before I left, but it was still in the safe at the store. Thankfully the person who helped me is a good friend, so she allowed another friend of mine to pick it up for me. Then he and I developed an excuse to have him meet me at the airport as well. Obviously Mimi was at the airport, so we had previously set up that after a few minutes of welcome homes, I'd say I needed to go to the restroom and he would as well. Once there he handed the ring off to me and I put it in my backpack and headed home.

Mimi didn't plan anything for last night figuring I would be tired from travelling so just had planned for us to have a quiet evening at home. I told her that I would only change one part of the plan in that I wanted to go out to eat.

I took her to the sushi restaurant we had our first date under the auspices that this was the first place we ate together when I came home last year, so I wanted to eat there again. She was happy and sad about that choice because she was planning on a similar surprise to the same restaurant later in the week, but had no idea of what was coming next.

After dinner, we walked out and she started to walk towards the car, but I said let's walk a little first. I walked her down the sidewalk about 20 yards and started telling her about that first night that we met. I had gotten there first and was waiting in the restaurant. I first saw her when she stepped onto the sidewalk right where we were standing. I said I didn't know that at that moment I would be seeing my future wife for the first time and dropped to my knee and asked her to marry me.

Now this is where the story makes a very unexpected but in hindsight funny turn. Apparently I did my covert planning way to well because she was COMPLETELY surprised. So much so that she thought I was joking. She even got down on the ground as well and picked me up and said NO and tried to start walking back to the car. She told me after that she thought I was joking around because she had just recently helped a friend buy a ring for his future fiancee and she thought I had taken that ring which is still at my place and was joking around with her.

So I stopped her from walking away because I also sensed she didn't realize what I had just asked her and asked her again. Then it started setting in that I wasn't joking and she asked are you being serious? When I told I was absolutely serious and asked her a THIRD time this time putting the ring on her finger as I asked, she emphatically said YES!

Thanks to everyone for your prayers over these last 15 months and please continue to pray for us that through our engagement and marriage, we model Christ and always seek to serve Him through our relationship.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Heading Home for Christmas!!!

I was in the PX (shopping center) yesterday and the intercom system was playing that American Idol song, "I Going Home." Well it was very well timed because I'M GOING HOME!!! =) I leave sometime tonight and that's all I can say about that. I'll be in DC Saturday afternoon and be there until Thursday when Mimi and I head to LA for a week. Back to DC on the 27th and then leave to come back on the 29th and get back on the 30th.

I'll probably be pretty light on the posts for the next two weeks with the usual caveat, unless something major happens. I'm looking forward to spending time with Mimi, friends and family, so don't plan on being on here that much.

Also, just as a teaser, I'm planning on making the Cajun Tiger presidential endorsement on January 2nd, so stay tuned =)

Moving On Up

My name finally came up for a trailer on Camp Victory!!! That was A LOT faster than I was expecting. Last year it took 6 months while it has only been 3 1/2 this time. I moved in yesterday and just in time before going on leave (more on that in my next post). The trade off is that now I have a roommate. However, that is a trade off I was more than happy to make to only be a 5 minute walk to the office as opposed to a 10 minute drive. We have to share vehicles, so I much rather have the independence to come and go as I please without having to rely or wait on anyone. When I get back from leave I'll post pics of my new digs.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How Many Heisman Winners Have Been Aborted?

A frequent point made by pro-life advocates is that we have no idea who we are killing due to the millions of abortions. We could have killed the person who would have found the cure for AIDS or maybe the next Michelangelo or even the next Heisman Trophy winner. Well, Florida Gator fans are certainly happy that Tim Tebow's mom went against her doctor's advice and didn't abort.

His mom contracted a disease during pregnancy and the doctor said the treatment would cause irreparable harm to the unborn baby and recommended abortion. She refused. Well as many college football fans know if Tim is irreparably harmed, we would hate to see if he wasn't! Now you know why his first line of his acceptance speech was to thank his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because had his parents not had that same faith, he very well may not have been accepting that trophy as he wouldn't even be alive today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Comparative Study of Christian and Islamic History

I just finished reading these two books, Unveiling Islam & Christian Jihad, by the same authors who are brothers, Ergun Caner & Emir Caner, who were raised Muslim and both converted to Christianity. They offer a very unique perspective on both religions.

In Unveiling Islam they give a very accurate history of Islam from Muhammad to the present. It is a very well laid out look at it's history and beliefs. Their biggest goal of the book is to equip Christians with the tools needed to be more effective witnesses to Muslims.

In Christian Jihad they also give a very accurate history of Christianity in reference particularly to the Crusades and the Inquisition. One thing I didn't know that I learned by reading is that Pope Urban II, the pope who called the first Crusade, actually used as a part of his rallying call that if the crusader fought, he was assured salvation whether he died or not. This is where they got the title of the book as they show these two very dark spots on Christian history completely distorted the Bible. Unlike the Koran which actually says if you die in battle you go to paradise, that is absolutely no where in the Bible. Their main goal for this book was to give Christians a precise history of our past shortcomings, especially when the church and the state where too tightly linked for warfare, in hopes that we don't repeat them again due to those events still being a very hard obstacle to overcome in many parts of the world.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Installment #1 - Persecution Watch

Due to a number of satellite and internet issues as well as work reasons, I've been unable to post for a few days. I think everything should be back to normal now.

This is something I had planned to do this weekend, but due to reasons mentioned above was unable. I hope to make it a regular addition at the least weekly. After reading the books, The Costly Call and being challenged by a Christian brother, I've been convicted a lot lately to pray for Christians who are facing major persecution for just being Christians and to share their plight to inspire others to hopefully do the same. Here is my first one:

SUDAN (Compass) A suicide bomber detonated a grenade after approaching 34 youth holding a church meeting in Upper Nile State in September. Five young people were killed and 20 were injured in the blast.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Installment #12 - Great Iraq News

As nearly everyone is now admitting, even Murtha and the MSM, the surge has brought down the violence in Iraq. Next thing the Dems are complaining about though is governance. As President Bush has maintained, security had to come first then the government would have the ability to focus on governance issues. Looks like that is now starting to happen as well according to this release: Sunni, Shia and Kurds are all meeting together discussing reconciliation and the security for the event is handled completely by Iraqi forces. Sounds like great progress to me and less ammunition for the Dems to use in claiming civil war! Now maybe if they would pass a Approps bill that gives the troops the money they need to finish the job instead of continuing to try and score political points with their base by passing bills that will never see the light of day, we can make even more progress here and go home.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

God's Sense of Humor

I love how nearly every time there is a big vote or big speech on global warming there is snow and record cold that day. Here are a few posts I have done on that very phenomenon: GW Rally - Temperature 10 Degrees Below Normal, Ice Storm Shuts Down GW Hearing, Al Gore Gives GW Speech in NYC on Coldest Day in 100 Years. Now today a Senate committee is supposed to have a "historic" vote on global warming and DC forecast is giving 100% chance of snow. Gotta love God's sense of humor =)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

News Article or Campaign Promotion?

Ok...time for a little quiz. I'm going to quote a few lines from a document and you get to decide if the quotes come from a news article or a campaign promotion. The document was written after the hostage incident at the Clinton campaign office on Friday was resolved.

When the hostages had been released and their alleged captor arrested, a regal-looking Hillary Rodham Clinton strolled out of her Washington home, the picture of calm in the face of crisis.

The image, broadcast just as the network news began, conveyed the message a thousand town hall meetings and campaign commercials strive for—namely, that the Democratic presidential contender can face disorder in a most orderly manner.

Along with taking charge while giving the professionals free rein, Clinton offered up a third dimension to her crisis character: humanity. She said she felt "grave concern" when she first heard the news of the hostage-taking.

"It affected me not only because they were my staff members and volunteers, but as a mother, it was just a horrible sense of bewilderment, confusion, outrage, frustration, anger, everything at the same time," Clinton said.

It was a thawing moment for a stoic figure who once snapped that she opted for professional life instead of staying home to bake cookies.

She buttressed it with one final message. Clinton sought to use the sad moment as a national teaching opportunity, another skill often employed by presidents. (emphasis added)

Ok, so what do you think? Is this a campaign piece from her campaign trying to promote her candidacy or is it an extremely biased news report? Of course you already know the answer. This has got to be one of the most biased "news" articles I have ever read. The "reporter" may as well just have written a mailer for the Clinton campaign and it would have sounded exactly the same. All she did was stay out of the way and let the law enforcement do their job and then she held a press conference. It wasn't like she was one of the hostages. She was 100s of miles away in complete safety. And people wonder why conservatives think the MSM is biased???

Also Blogging: Mike's America

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's Official!!! LSU Going to BCS Championship Game!!!

Looks like my predictions of how it should be were pretty close. Here is the official 2007 Bowl Schedule. And here is the breakdown for the BCS games and my thoughts and predictions:

Orange: Va Tech vs Kansas - I absolutely disagree with this one and think Mizzou has every right to be upset. Kansas lost to Mizzou, is ranked lower than Mizzou, didn't play in the conference championship and had a absolutely cupcake schedule with only three teams on their schedule with winning records and one top 25 team, Mizzou. VA Tech will slaughter Kansas.

Fiesta: OU vs WV - should be a good match up with both QBs healthy but I think OU will easily defeat them.

Rose: USC vs Illinois - I didn't think the Illini would be eligible or I would have predicted this game and left Az St out of my earlier predictions. This will be an interesting matchup. Both teams have played excellent in the last weeks, but with a month off, you never know. I'll take USC but a lot closer than everyone will be predicting.

Sugar: Georgia vs Hawaii - Hawaii will be given a very rude awakening to a real conference.

Championship: LSU vs Ohio St. - well ya'll know my prediction for this one =) If LSU plays to their potential and with hopefully Dorsey back at full strength and Doucet, I honestly don't think this will even be close. GEAUX TIGERS!!!

BCS Bowl Predictions

ESPN is having selection Sunday at 7pm eastern (yes I'm staying up to watch!), so I figured I'd give my predictions before they do. I have two sets of predictions. The first is how I think it should be, and the second is how I think it will be because the SEC always gets messed over.

How it should be:
Orange: VA Tech vs WV
Rose: USC vs Mizzou
Fiesta: OU vs Ariz St.
Sugar: Georgia vs Hawaii
Championship: Ohio St. vs LSU

How I think it will be:
Orange: Georgia vs WV
Rose: USC vs Mizzou
Fiesta: OU vs Ariz St
Sugar: LSU vs Hawaii
Championship: Ohio St. vs VA Tech

I think Georgia and Kansas will both be rightfully jumped being neither of them made it to their conference championship game. I think Mizzou, despite having two loses both to OU, deserves a BCS game more than Kansas b/c Kansas shouldn't even be in top 10 as I expressed in previous post. I think Florida should be in a game instead of Ariz St., but due to BCS rules the most you can have is two teams from one conference which leaves Florida out. And finally as LSU should jump VA Tech due to LSU CRUSHING them head to head, being the SEC Champs, and for having the toughest schedule of all the teams. We'll see how close I am. I'm obviously hoping for the way I think it should be.

Who Deserves to Be #2? PLAYOFFS PLEASE!!!

First, wow...what an absolutely insane and fun season. If this season doesn't prove Div I football needs a playoff system then I don't think anything else that can do it. With that said the guessing and haggling will begin as to who will be in the BCS Championship game due to both West Virginia and Missouri losing last night. Ohio St. will definitely be in it even though not sure if they totally deserve it, but who their opponent will be is totally up for grabs now. Here is my two cents and of course I am biased I feel it is still legit in that it should be LSU.

Before last night the top 10 BCS was:
1. Missouri - they got CRUSHED by Oklahoma as I knew they would just like last time. They have only played five top 25 teams and only one that is a legitimate top 10, OU twice. No, Kansas is WAY overrated as proven last weekend and shouldn't be in top 10.

2. West Virginia - they lost last night to unranked Pittsburgh. Granted I think they would have won had thier star QB not gotten hurt, but that's the breaks. They haven't played a top 10 team all season with only 4 top 25 teams.

3. Ohio St. - they will be the new #1 team even though they too have not played one top 10 team and only 4 top 25 teams. They have no conference championship game which should bar any team from the top game but that's for another day.

4. Georgia - they didn't win the SEC Championship, or even the SEC East to make it to the SEC Championship game. How can you play in the National Championship if you didn't even play in your conference's championship game. However, the BCS has already proven you don't have to win your conference to go the the BCS Champ game - '03 Oklahoma. They also have only played 4 top 25 teams and no top 10 teams.

5. Kansas - as I said earlier they shouldn't even be in the top 10 much less this high. Until they played Missouri they had played only 1 top 25 team. Their schedule is a complete joke. Only 3 teams on their schedule are even above .500.

6. Va Tech - they have played two top 10 teams and lost to them both, one being CRUSHED by LSU and a total of 5 top 25 teams.

7. LSU - hands down the toughest schedule playing 7 top 25 teams and 2 top ten teams, beating both of them. Only losses were both in triple overtime. The SEC Champs which is the toughest conference by all measures.

8. USC - Also two top 10 teams but only 4 total top 25. They also have no conference championship game.

9. Oklahoma - Only 3 top 25 teams and one top 10 team in their conference championship game which they crushed so that just shows how weak the other half of their conference is.

10. Florida - Also only 4 top 25 teams and one top 10 team. And also was third in SEC East.

So that means LSU will have to jump three teams, two being idle which is not unprecedented. The hardest to jump will be VA Tech being they played yesterday and won their conference champ game pretty handily. Only argument there would be is that we CRUSHED them head to head. Let the fun begin! GEAUX TIGERS!!!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Costly Call

I've just finished reading both of these absolutely amazing books. They are both a compilation of 20 stories each of first person accounts of the persecution faced when converting to Christianity around the world. The first book is a story of 20 different people raised as Muslims from 18 different countries. The second has 8 stories from former Muslims, 4 from former Hindus, 4 from former Buddhist, and 4 from former Secularist/Communist.

The saddest thing was that the majority of the persecution was a result of their family members who disowned them and then turned them over to authorities. These books chronicle everything from beheadings, to major torture, to abandonment and everything in between. They are two of the most heart wrenching books I have ever read. It will definitely challenge you to pray for those around the world who accept Christ from these backgrounds and in countries that don't allow such freedom.

However, that is not the whole story. The thing that the books and stories have done the most for me is challenge me big time to look at my life and what I'm willing to do in order to tell others of Christ, no matter the cost. Every one of these people never once faltered in sharing Christ despite and often times in the midst of brutal torture. They counted everything as lost except that they had Christ and their lives are a living testimony of that faith.