Friday, July 15, 2005

By Popular Demand

You asked for it, you got it. Here's me and my Sweetie!

Monday, July 11, 2005

RA 6h 3m 17.14s, D 17deg 15m 17.79s

If you go to this website and put in the above coordinates, the output will be several "plates" from which you can extract the image of a star. The picture shown here is a sample of one of those images. This star (I _think_ it's the one in the center of the picture), formerly known as #02131700154 is now known as "The Marry Me Star."

On Saturday, July 9th, at roughly 3PM, VNB changed from "Very Nice Boyfriend" to "Very Nice Betrothed" when he asked me to marry him and I said, "YES!!!!"

VNB and I will be married (in sha'allah) on February 11, 2006 at First Baptist Laurel - 7 months from today!!! So mark your calendars now!

As a friend of mine at church said yesterday, I went from Iraq to "a rock" when he put this ring on my finger.

I'm getting married!!!

Friday, July 08, 2005

I Remembered!

So I remembered two more books I've thought of writing:

"Medicine Head" of the Soul

I don't know about the rest of you, but there has been at least one time in my life when I just felt disconnected, spiritually. It was similar to when I take cold/sinus medicine, except without the sniffles and coughs. My brain was still there with all of its knowledge, but the rest of me felt far away. I think this one was supposed to be auto-biographical, following my journey back. I even started it once, but I think that was lost with the great hard drive crash of '04. It's still a great name, but I'm not sure I could write this one anymore.

The Theology/Philosophy of C.S. Lewis' "Space Trilogy"
I've been a fan of C.S. Lewis' writing ever since I first read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when I was a child. Sometime during my early teens, I read his "Space Trilogy" (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength). At that time, I enjoyed the story in the first, followed the story in the second, and was completely lost in the third. I read it again sometime in high school and still enjoyed the story in the first, enjoyed the story in the second, and started to follow the third. Sometime in college, I noticed that the second book had a _lot_ of philosophical discussions in it. I'm not sure if I glossed over those parts before, or what, but I honestly didn't remember them being there. I read them again after college and noticed that the first wasn't just a story - there was a lot more to it too. And the third is completely different from the first two, but at the same time completely inter-related. If for no other reason than my own curiosity, I'd like to do something of a scholarly look at the philosophy and theology espoused by the books.

It'll be at least a few weeks before I start on that one though because I need to write my "scholarly paper" for school. In fact, I'm avoiding that as I type, so I should get to it.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?

So my little brother, Link, got the lead part in some play that "maybe" you've heard about. It's Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliette." Hopefully it comes as no shock to anyone that the lead role he got was of Romeo, not Juliette. Anyway, if you happen to be passing through Cookeville, TN over the next few days, you might want to try to catch him. Info, and a picture of Link looking very higlighted, can be found here.

Changes to Common Sense (the blog, that is)

Because of my previous location and job, my blog wasn't publicly available (i.e., it wasn't advertised by, nor did I have my blogspot profile publicly available). Basically, the only way you'd know about it was if I (or someone I'd told) told you about it.

Well, I don't live there anymore, and I don't do that job anymore, so I've just made some changes. They won't affect anyone that I know of, but now, maybe some bored person will stumble onto my blog and find it interesting.

So if that's you, then welcome and I hope you enjoy it! :)

Also, if you're interested, my little sister has a blog now too. To prevent anyone from Googling her name and finding out all about her, I'll name her Eliana...since that's her elf name anyway. I may add a "cast of characters" to the sidebar here soon just so you'll know who I'm talking about. (Heh...and so I'll remember too!) Anyway, Eliana's site is on and here's the link. Expect much talk of Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, and Elves (although probably not the Santa or Keebler kind - you know...the _real_ ones).

Books I Hope to Write Someday

I've had some of these titles in the back of my head for years and years now (although some are a "little" more recent). I've even started writing some of them from time to time...but my biggest problem is that, while I seem to be great with titles, what I really have to say seems to only take up a few pages. But here they are. If you're a writer and you steal one...well...dedicate it to me or something. That is, unless I've got a book deal and my version is like two weeks away from coming out. Then I might be mad.

"The Other Brother"

This was mainly a book of encouragement for people like me - people who, while they did their share of "sinning," didn't do the "big" stuff. That is, stuff that would be a scandal at church like leave the church, have a child out of wedlock, sleep around, get arrested for something, be gay, etc. That's not to say that we're any less in need of salvation since all sins are equally bad in God's eyes...but we've never done anything "really bad" in the eyes of people - just like the "other brother" in the parable Jesus told about the "Prodigal Son." In that story, a rich man has two sons. The younger one decides that he's not going to wait for his father to die - he wants his inheritance _now_! So his dad gives it to him, and he goes off and spends wildly and loses it all in a short amount of time. He becomes destitute and decides that he'd rather be a servant in his father's household than live on the streets, so he goes back. His father sees him coming and instead of making him a servant (as he deserves), he runs out to meet him, cleans him up, and throws him a big party. Needless to say, the "other brother" is kinda upset. Here he was, doing his job the whole time, being "good," while his brother ran off to get into who-knows-what, but _HE_ never got a party.

And we hear sermon after sermon about the Prodigal Son that we just can't relate to since we've never run away to a life of debauchery - we've always stayed "home" and been "good." Our only part in the story is a gruff reminder from the Father that all that is remaining in His household is ours and we can have a party any time we want to, but we should rejoice that the Prodigal Son has returned.

In my own life, this happened when friends who _did_ sleep around always seemed to have boyfriends, while I was always single. And especially when those same friends had babies when I wanted them, while I waited...and waited...and waited...(and still wait!). Here I was, doing things "right," while they "messed up" and got "everything" I wanted.

Now, clearly, my feelings were an exaggeration because a) I was far from "right" most of the time, b) they were just "messing up" in _different_ and more public ways than I was - I was still messing up, and c) they _weren't_ getting "everything" I wanted because, deep down, I "wanted" those things in the "right" way (and, of course, it wasn't truely "everything").

So, the book would be geared towards people who, like me, haven't done anything "majorly wrong," and who take some pride in that, but are kinda irked when they see people who _do_ do "big" stuff wrong get things they want. And it would have three main points, maybe four:
1) We're not as perfect as we think we are.
2) All sins are equal in God's eyes, we're just better at hiding ours maybe (which could be considered worse in some respects than letting our sins be known).
3) As in the story, we're _going_ to get those things we want - we just have to wait until the right time (the Other Brother _did_ get his inheritance too, and in fact, everything his Father still owned belonged to him - he just had to wait).
4) Our focus, instead of being on the "things" that the other people are getting (as the Father in the story points out to the Other Brother), should be on the Father's business. Psalm 34:5 says that if we "delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart" (that's the "Melissa Standard Version, btw - i.e., not a "real" translation of the Bible...just the general gist of the verse however I remember it). While that verse is something of a Catch-22 (if the Lord is our "delight," then our desires will be whatever He wants), He is also our creater and knows us and our desires better than we know ourselves. He knows when that perfect person is going to come along, or that perfect job, or babies, or a house, or whatever it is that you're dreaming of, and He knows exactly how long you're going to need to wait before it all happens. So in the meantime, He prepares us for His Business and so that we'll be ready when we actually _do_ get those "desires of our heart."

Obviously, there's not too much to say about points 1 and 2...and I've basically said a lot of what I want to say for points 3 and 4. Hence the not writing of this book. But it's still a great idea!

"'Twitterpated' with God"
In the movie "Bambi," after he and Thumper have survived the winter together, the springtime comes and the boys find themselves "twitterpated" (in the words of the Owl). Everyone's felt that way (you know, "in love") from time to time - when all you want is to be near the other person, to say their name, to do things that will make them happy, all you can talk about is them and how wonderful they are.

Well, what I just described is what the Christian life really ought to be, except that we'd be "twitterpated" with God rather than another person (although both can happen at once).

The thing is, in a "real" relationship, the feeling "in love" comes and goes - especially after you've been together for a while. Some days you'll see your significant other in ways that are decidedly _not_ "twitterpating." Which is why I think marriage shouldn't be based on being "in love" (but that's a different book :) ). But all of the things we're commanded to as believers really seem to fit this description of being "in love" with God. So what do we need to do to restore the "romance" in our relationship with Him?

And what would Christendom look like if we all felt that way?

Crud....there was at least one more that I can't think of right now. Oh well, I'll post it later. I hope you enjoyed my book ideas!