Monday, December 28, 2009

Hard Learned Truisms

Climb the tree gently, you will need the branches on your way down.
When we disdain the past, we condemn the future.
Everything in life proper is a temporary condition.
I complained about the rent payments, until I met a homeless man.
We are not what, we are who.
Only the artist can know the true meaning of His work.
I hated my job, until I was out of work.
Poverty is not the abscence of something, but the burden of everything.
Karma is the rationale for what we think we can get away with.
Damning your parents is cursing at yourself in the mirror.

The fallacy that we're masters of our own destiny is proven; the smallest of things can change a life.
We have two ears and one mouth, so we're meant to listen twice as much as we speak.
In society proper, we have the right to speak, but only the Lord has the right to be heard.
All roads do not lead to Michigan.
Anything made of metal is a poor investment.
People are our best natural resource.
Ideas are water to dry soil.

A business cannot downsize itself into prosperity.
The day we view learning as unnecessary is the eve of bankruptcy.
The best product won't make up for mediocre service, but the best service will cover a multitude of defects.
Government is the problem to the answer.
A union cannot stand when it's every man for himself.
Better to never give than to give and then take away.
The only ship that can't sail is a partnership.
Incompetence in line employees costs a firm, incompetence in management will sink it.
If you're not giving raises to your employees, don't give them to yourself.
Management is the problem to the answer.
An open door policy will not work with a bolt in the jamb.
Managers must learn to manage themselves, hence the title.
Spreading gossip in the workplace is spreading poison (I will fire people for this offense).
Your job description is what the situation requires.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fixing a Charging System Issue on a 1999 Ford Taurus, Part Deux

The next step was the plastic power steering pulley that had been cracked and broken. Again, there is precious little space and I had to remove the coolant hoses from the overflow tank just to get the pulley removal tool on the pulley. This part is much better experienced than told, but after a few curse words and nearly an hour I had the pulley off. Getting the new one on was fairly straightforward. However, being able to make sure it goes on straight is paramount. Also since the bolt for the installer needs to screw into the pump shaft, it also means that it cannot cross thread or you wreck the pump.

To prevent that, I screwed this bolt in by hand before cranking the pulley and action of the tool onto same. This took another half hour, but once there was resistance, I stopped and checked the alignment with the other pulleys. Not a problem and I hooked the hoses back up and filled the tank back up with antifreeze. What I didn't do on a ten year car was attempt to drain the petcock on the radiator. If this was gummed up or corroded, it would mean replacing a $150 radiator. I would rather waste $5 worth of coolant.

The alternator goes in next. Hook up the 10mm battery terminal first, making sure the wire ends up pointing toward the front of the car. The front bolt goes in first, loosely and then the rear one, loosely. sung them up gently and maybe a quarter turn as you're threading into aluminum. If you strip the threads, it's another trip to the auto parts or hardware store for longer bolts and nuts. No big deal, just inconvenient as all get out.

Hook up the exciter wires, loop the serpentine belt over the alternator, hook up the battery and you're ready to ride. Start the car and check for noise. Unless the belt or pulleys are wet, there should be none. Use a good quality alternator with a lifetime warranty as the one year rebuilds could fail and you'll have to pay again. I prefer the new parts over re-manufactured ones, but in the case of the alternator, this commands a $50 premium over a re-manufactured par. Even the $30 core charge is refundable, minus the sales taxes paid. Not everyone wants this added expense and the re-manufactured will work fine. One the other hand, a water pump is something that's always better new, but that's a whole other story.

There is a lot more to fixing something as simple as an alternator and a lot of other things to take into consideration. However, if you plan ahead and get the proper tools beforehand, not to mention taking your time and a lot of breaks, you'll have a job you only have to do once. God Bless

Fixing a Charging System Issue on a 1999 Ford Taurus...

My parents own, free and clear, a 1999 Ford Taurus sedan that has been in the family nearly seven years. It had about 70,000 when my sister had it and it now has close to 150,000 miles and still running strong. This is the 3.0 liter, overhead valve engine, non-flex fueled. It really hasn't needed much done to it in the time they've owned it, but one thing had finally come to fruition last week.

My dad called up, the battery light was on. This is the symbol that the charging system is out of whack and you should probably take the car in for service. Running a vehicle with a non-functioning charging system makes the battery work harder, causes the engine to misfire and will eventually damage it, along with your exhaust system. As an added bonus, it can cause the catalysts in said system to overheat because raw gasoline is being introduced into same, causing damage to the involved parts up to and including a fire.

Mom and dad parked the car and went in to check it out Christmas Eve. I pulled the battery and charged it, because the alternator (I thought this to be suspect) is not designed to charge the battery, it's mainly there to maintain a charge to run the electrical things, including the ignition, radio, power windows, heater, air-conditioner and in some vehicles even the power steering system is electrical.
Once the battery was found to be good and I looked at the belt, I noticed a chip on the power steering pump pulley next to the alternator. This can fray a belt to the point of failure, but an inspection of the belt showed that to be fine.

What delayed the project was the lack of a serpentine belt tool. Tauruses and in fact many front wheel drive cars have precious little space for tools in front of the motor to release the tensioner. After getting one, I used the 15 mm crows foot adapter on the tool to unlock it. As the belt is really tight even when it's released, you'll need to pack your patience when trying to slip it off the alternator pulley. Another wise thing to do is make a sketch of the belt and the pulleys before you take it off and do it in good light. I replaced this belt when it was dark outside and it was a pain in the neck.

Once the belt was off, I elected to remove the alternator first. First take off the negative battery cable, then remove the clipped in connectors (there are two) from the exciter terminals. The battery terminal is next with a 10mm wrench. The two mounting bolts use a 14mm and 15mm socket wrench, but keep in mind that the one in front only needs to slide out part way as the coolant tank is in the way of removing it completely. I used a medium-sized pry bar to carefully pry the alternator out of its mounts and set it aside. To make putting the new one in easier, I gently tapped the spacer in the forward part of the alternator mount with a ball pein hammer toward the passenger side. Gently is the watchword as you can break off the mounting ear if you get too medieval with it. This would mean replacing the entire mount or having the old one welded (the latter never a good idea as the alignment will likely be off and the alternator will eat up belts forevermore.

In part two, I'll tell you how to replace that pulley and get this back in working order. Wouldn't miss it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fixed the Monitor.

Today, there was one line left on my monitor and I got rid of it by degaussing it once more. The display is as good new with no more lines or distortion. We saved ourselves some green by waiting this thing out.
It would be nice if everything was solvable by waiting, but maybe it is. Even the Lord told us to wait on Him and renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31). Although He said nothing about a computer monitor, but I'll take it.
God is not a prosperity god and we shouldn't give up on our riches in Heaven (New Jerusalem) because times are getting tough here today. I've decided to wait on Him and do what He tells me to do. Right now this is taking care of the precious lives He's trusted with me.
Father God, I commit myself to Your cause. Despite the chiding of friends and family which is sure to come, Your Word will never return void. There is more than enough time to rest in Your arms, drink from the River of Life and eat from the trees of Your blessing. Your grace is enough for me, Father.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoBNngUcOF4

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Enviromentalists Want Us To What?

First of all, this is a rant, if this was an actual emergency, you would have heard warning bells. Maybe this is really the case. However, as I look at our cherished horde of Charmin in the closet, this article got me thinking...

Hey, I'm all about saving the environment and being a good steward. Part of this means being able to fix something and not waste. My monitor being a case in point. Yes it's nearly fixed and has three lines left and counting. Better than dropping $100 on a new one, or even $30 on a used one. Not too shabby, right? Wrong, according to the radical leftist movement disguised as working in the interest of "Mother Earth." (Gag me with a recycled spoon).

In a news article I read today on Gateway Pundit/First Things First this was the intro...

"Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups have pushed manufacturers such as Kimberly-Clark (Cottonelle) and Procter & Gamble (Charmin) to stop using wood from virgin forests to make tissue products."

So now they want to regulate what we use in our restrooms. It's bad enough that we have to use this recycled stuff when we go out. Now the leftists want us to use it in our homes. To be fair, I've used "recycled" toilet paper (Green Forest) and it was like sandpaper. We've also used Angel Soft, Meijer brand and Cottonelle (too soft and way too pricey).

Because I do most of the shopping, I've found that Charmin Basic in the orange wrapper provides the best performance for the best price. With four people using it, we go through a lot of toilet paper and this brand outlasts even the double rolls by competitors. Again, this is the Charmin Basic.

If the leftists get their way and eventually, they will there will be a revolt of monumental proportions. Poland was a communist country and threw off the yoke because of all things, toilet paper shortages. I can cheap out on a lot of things, but not on that. Besides, this attempt to save the environment will be for naught because of the inevitable negative consequences this will cause.

Rather than decreasing paper usage, it will actually increase it. Think about the last time you had to use a public restroom. You had to pull close to 50 feet of the stuff and roll it into a ball to make it work right, not to mention the toilet seat. This isn't bathroom humor, but bathroom seriousness.

Speaking of seriousness, recycling is fine, as long as it's cost effective to do. Studies show that taking the time to recycle trash actually costs more than any benefit realized. The City of Lansing, MI actually tried a mandatory recycling program and charged the residents $77 a year in increased property taxes for the privilege. It managed to lose money until the program began to fall by the wayside. I still see the green recycling containers from time to time, but mostly holding things other than their intended purpose. Nowadays, private companies like Granger and Waste Management do a far better job for less money than the City ever did.

Personally, when someone tries to force me to use fluorescent bulbs, change or give up toilet paper (something Niel Young ranted about in "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" with Crosby Stills and Nash) or drive a Smart for Two for a family of four, my answer to them is "butt out." If these same people have used this argument for nearly four decades as an excuse to kill babies, then I should be able to use it to defend my right to choose as well. The right to choose Charmin over Green Forest, the right to choose plastic or paper, or the right to choose to raise my family the way I see fit. While this in no way equates with a mother and her legal (but not moral or biblical, much less godly) right to have her unborn baby murdered, it does illustrate the one-sided agenda they practice. In no way is about helping anyone, but establishing governmental control over every aspect of our lives. That is, everyone save those like Albert Gore, who live exorbitantly and decadently, despite buying carbon credits.

Until there's a better alternative, leave me alone with my toilet paper, as this is one of the few things I can splurge on without so much as an ounce of guilt, much less a sheet. Maranatha!

http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2009/12/it-has-begun-green-activists-want-a-ban-on-soft-toilet-paper/

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The True Cost of Car Debt!

In order to remove the splinter from another persons eye, you must first remove the beam from your own. This is a loose interpretation of Luke 6:42 and Matthew 7:3. In this spirit I'm going to give some hard-learned advice that I want to share. Debt is by many, including a mechanic I talked to, a necessary evil when it comes to having a decent car. In fact a lot of people I've talked to believe me to be crazy when it comes to paying cash for one, not to mention have it work right.

I'm not about to argue the advantages of a $2000 car over a $20000 car. This is a situational observation that will have to be determined by your own financial situation in which you yourself must honestly assess. I'm going to give you the facts, give my two cents and let you decide. However I will strongly suggest all through this writing that you are not what you drive.

Today, I received an email from Hyundai Motors with a link to the website. I clicked on it and in particular noticed the Sonata and Azera. The former starting at $18,000 and the latter at nearly $25,000.

I got on the automobile mag website with the Hyundai Azera because I know someone who just a 2009 one through the cash for clunkers program. This person probably earns $25,000 a year before taxes are taken out.

The first year she owns this car, she's going to pay $6,601 in depreciation, $1335 in financing (with tier one credit) $1342 in insurance (probably more because she's younger) probably about $100 in state fees (or more) $1928 in fuel (or more because she drives 40 miles a day to work alone) and another $55 in maintenance costs (this is probably more too). All told, she's paying at least $11358 in the first year for the privilege of owning the smell of a new car. This even though she's only feeling $4757 the first year, depreciation is the biggest expense of any new car and will be paid when she trades it in. By the time her car is five years old, she will have paid $17,640 in depreciation.

Compared to this "sneak thief" of auto ownership, the five year price of nearly $12,000 for fuel is a distant second. This car is going to cost her $42,869 over five years, and this is if she does the maintenance perfectly and doesn't crack it up. This doesn't take into account manufacturing defects with are a reality with any car. These are the pesky things that the manufacturer likes to blame on the customer. I have a laundry list on my own car, and it was two years old when I bought it nearly five years ago. Now I have a seven year old paperweight I can't drive and spent too much money on. I'm probably going to have to sell it for scrap because in good conscience, I cannot sell it to a party as a daily driver. I have a reputation to protect. Such is the school of hard knocks.

My parents get flak for driving "crappy" cars, but considering the alternatives I believe they're a lot better off paying cash for their rides. They avoid the expense of depreciation, increased insurance and financing, which on the Azera, would have them about $25,000 a five year period. Unless the repairs are costing a prohibitive amount, (more than half the value of said vehicle at a time) or the body is eaten with rust, it's a good idea to keep it. If you can't keep it, the solution is to find another ride you can comfortably pay cash for.

In my situation, it's going to cost me at least $3500 to make my ride roadworthy. The engine (another manufacturing defect) has a poor reputation for reliability to say the least. The car is worth nothing even if I fix it because of this reputation (and the fact it's a Chrysler, sorry) and I've have to sink another $6,000 into it when the engine does blow or lose my $3500 in hypothetical repairs. Dave Ramsey once said that you need to buy a car you can afford to push off a cliff (preferably without your family inside) without feeling financial pain. This is arguable because the authorities could fine you for littering, but hey, I get the gist. The other adage he provides is "forget the cheese, I just want out of the trap." In a few weeks, I'm getting rid of the Dodge and buying a garage sale car.

Dave Ramsey is one of those people who is a gift from God as far as I'm concerned. He's someone who's convicted me and I have nothing but praise for it. Thank you Dave and more importantly, thank you Jesus for making sure we all have a means to get where we need to go. Maranatha!

Sources

Dave Ramsey radio program.

http://www.automobilemag.com/am/2009/hyundai/azera/ownership_costs.html

http://www.hyundaiusa.com/vehicle-lineup/sedans.aspx

Friday, December 18, 2009

How to fix an External Hard Drive

I have an external hard drive, in addition to a thumb drive, for back ups on my important papers. While the thumb drive is more reliable, it does not have the space required for all my stuff. Losing my project thesis I got an "A" on would truly bite. Well, I've had issues with the hard drive since the warranty ran out several years ago. It's a USB, or Universal Serial Bus connected device made by Western Digital, a company lacking good technical support.

As always, this is for informative purposes only. You break it, your bad.

You can tell when these things are messing up when an error message pops up in the taskbar on your computer. When you pull up the "My computer" in Windows xp or prior or just "Computer" in Windows Vista (trash) and Windows 7. There will be a similar message with MAC, probably some tree-hugging, dirt loving sentence like "Your component needs to be recycled, be kind to mother earth." Well whatever it is, this should help save the planet (yeah right) and more importantly, your wallet. These hard drives are not cheap. The problem is that they overheat and it's due to a defective design of the case (every one of them I've seen has this problem).

For this operation, you need a blade type screwdriver and some common sense. Handle the hard drive gently or you will wreck it. Unplug the USB or Firewire for you MAC people along with the power cord (if any). If this is a Western Digital like My Book, your job is easy. Simply pry off the cover from the frame with the screwdriver. Easy does it because you want to save the plastic frame the hard drive actually attaches to. You can discard the cover (throw it away) as long as it isn't under warranty, otherwise save it for posterity.

The hard drive itself is secured into the frame with rubber grommets. You can remove it easily, but don't throw the frame away as it protects the hard drive somewhat from shocks and will help keep it ventilated. So take the hard drive out and carefully set it aside. There is a little plastic button that's supposed to be a part of the on/off switch; break it out. Then you can put the hard drive (carefully) back in the frame it's supposed to live in. Attach the leads and as long as you didn't wait too long and cook the hard drive, you're done. Keep it standing up and keep it in a place where it won't get knocked over. It may not look as nice, but it should work if you did it right. Cost $0: Maranatha!

My apologies to Mac people, by the way. I'm a PC and I'm crazy anyway.

Fixing a Monitor

Computer monitors are a dime a dozen nowadays, especially the CRT or Cathode Ray Tube variety. In the olden days, these were everywhere, TV screens, computer monitors and even in at least one or two cars, a Maserati and an Oldsmobile for vehicle information systems and in the case of the Olds Toronado Trofeo', operated heating and air conditioning through a touch screen. This was twenty years ago. Now the venerable CRTs are being phased out with LCD, LED, STP, DIP and even plasma (had to get the humor in there) taking its place.

Now a monitor that used to run almost $200 is next to nothing, at a secondhand store. While the flat screen monitors are nice, they're fragile and expensive (to me they are) and they're a bit temperamental. I had one go out and it was going to cost more to buy the capacitors to fix it than to buy a cheapie CRT that Radio Shack had sitting on their shelf since 2002. I scored that for less than $30 in 2007.

A few days ago, a magnet got next to it and screwed it up. The picture color was all out of kilter and more disturbing was there were no less than fifty vertical lines in the middle of the screen. My wife and I are on a tight budget, so even buying a secondhand monitor is going to be out of the question right now. I looked online for a solution to the problem and found none. Everyone says to basically throw the monitor away. Not wanting to do this I found something that I'm still working on, but has lessened the vertical bars and fixed the colors to like new. Eventually I believe that the lines will be completely gone.

First is to get on to the menu for the monitor itself. There are 6 to 8 buttons besides the on/off switch. With these, and it's difficult to explain, but you'll have to go to the maintenance menu and find the degauss function. Next you need to use it, and multiple times until the screen stops wavering. This will demagnetize the screen enough for you to view it. You will probably want to do this 3 or 4 sessions a day anywhere fro, 5 to 10 times. Once the screen stops wavering with the degauss, let up on it awhile. You can do while while using the computer, but may have some disruptions.

This is going to take patience and at least a week by my reckoning. Most will opt to discard and buy an LCD, but for someone who's unemployed, this may be a godsend. What will happen is the picture will get better and the lines will start to fade top and bottom and soon will disappear one by one, until hopefully they're all gone and you can instant message or loiter Facebook unimpeded. Even if you eventually have to replace the monitor, you have the satisfaction of knowing you beat the system of planned obsolescence that much longer. In the future, it is a good idea to keep any and all magnets away from a CRT monitor. Maranatha!

Taming the Tongue

To me, liberalism and idealism are a sign of defective thinking and reasoning. Anyone who knows the bible realizes that human beings cannot govern nor create anything beneficial without Jesus' guiding hand. Even then, because the world is contaminated by sin, this is a monumental challenge. Something as benign as the subject of electric cars is a case in point. This subject polarizes people to no end in a way few material things can. People love their cars (me included), but we must also guard our hearts, and our tongues (or in this case, keyboards) when we voice our opinions concerning such trivial matters (to me is anything outside of Jesus or His work).

I've probably made mention of this before, but it bears mention again,

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in his word, the same is a perfect man and able to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bit in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of the fierce winds, yet they are turned about with a very small helm (rudder), withersoever the governor listeth (wherever the captain wants). Even so the tongue is a little member (part of the body) and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter of a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members (other parts of the body), that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature: and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of the things of the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therwith we bless God, even the Father: and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain yield salt water and fresh. James 3:1-12 KJV

For the King James impaired I added modern explanations in parentheses.

A week or two ago, I left a very innocent comment on a video sharing site which I'm a frequent visitor. The video happened to be about the electric car and in particular what GM did with the EV1, their attempt, at that time at a "zero emissions vehicle." While there's some controversy concerning this, the fact is that General Motors ended the project because it was a money loser for them. However, I never said anything bad except that "You can't carry a family in an EV1." This was fact, not even opinion as a family constitutes two parents and a child or more children. In my case it's a family of four. The EV1 seated two people, a driver and a passenger. No controversy here. It's the same as calling a Corvette a sports car. If I called it a family car, I would be committing a fallacy.

However, one young man went off the deep end toward me and explained that electric cars would have been a lot more utilitarian if government and industry had been working toward dedicating themselves to a better world and not easy money (paraphrased to protect the guilty). The last part of the statement, was "get you head out of your behind." That wasn't what he said, but you get the idea.

I have to confess that I nearly laid into this guy. Rather than tear him apart, which I could have done incredibly easily; I merely stated that in fact, I was stating the facts. I also told him to get over himself (a far cry from what I'm capable of and still very true). He did the unthinkable and apologized to me, but went on to voice his concern about the possibility of me being another "naysayer" to his cause. I let him have it, the argument, that is. "No sense in pushing this further" I thought. I would much rather win this guy for Jesus than the virtues of the internal combustion engine. Maranatha!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just a Tryst...

My son, attend unto my wisdom my wisdom,
and bow thine ear to my understanding.
That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
For the lips of a strange woman drop as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are movable, that thou canst not know them.
Hear me now therfore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
Remove thy way from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:
Lest not give thine honor unto others, and thy years onto the cruel:
Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labors be in the house of a stranger;
And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed.
And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised proof:
And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
Drink waters out of thy own cistern, and running waters out thy own well.
Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe: let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with the bosom of a stranger?
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all goings.
His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall holden with the cords of his sins.
He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly shall he go astray. Proverbs 5

As an unemployed dad of two trying to find a job and taking care of my spouse and two boys, it really pains me when someone who's "made it" in life decides to have a an affair. I'm not trying to be "holier than thou" or being hyper, or hypocritical. What I am pointing out is that God condemns adultery and when someone flouts this, it's a slap in the face to Him.

To translate this chapter in Proverbs for the King James impaired, It means to keep your paws to yourself. If you must have a fling, it better be with your wife. The Lord isn't into punishment, but the law of cause and effect will come into play. You could get sued, catch a venereal disease like Herpes, Gonorrhea, or AIDS (even with a condom, because viruses can and will get between the molecules of the best made latex and they break all the time). What's worse is that the jilted spouse could even take the law into their own hands; and you could die of lead poisoning. Even more so, they end up calling Joey Greco. I rest my case.

Unfortunately, Tiger Woods is finding this out after a tryst with a cocktail waitress. This has already cost him sponsorships and has torpedoed his career, probably forever. You can damage a lot of things and be able to fix or replace them, but a reputation is fragile and irreplaceable. It makes the damage to his Escalade insignificant by comparison. Just a note, I'm not out to defame this person, but to point out in no uncertain terms that God does not mess around. He's no respecter of persons either and while He isn't in the business of punishing anyone, he will allow our mistakes to catch up with us.

I know one fellow who did this who subsequently was left with nothing but two guns, a bag of clothes and an answering machine when his wife left him because of adultery. He has not turned this over to the Lord and still to this day has issues with infidelity. He lost everything and still yet to rebuild his life. He's been through five wives in forty years.

But no one can possibly avoid this sin on their own. The temptation is always there, as many of us have passions ingrained in our DNA. This is why we must turn this over to the Lord, and avoid compromising situations with another woman, or man (I'm talking heterosexual here, ladies too). This could be as simple for some as not going to the bar, ever. The other help will be to keep yourself busy. An idle mind is Satan's workshop and of someone has too much time and money, they're more likely to fail their marriage vows.

This isn't to say that someone unemployed could not do the same thing either. I don't propone class warfare, but the articles concerning the rich and shameless back this up.

Another thing about marriage while I'm at it. The next time you think bad of your spouse, remember the one who married him/her. That person in the mirror, if he/she is a Christian, is also a work in progress. The Lord wants you to honor your wedding vows. After all, your marriage is a representation of the relationship between Jesus and His church. Remember, we're all in this together. Life's short, pray hard.

More Thanks

Lately there's been a lot to write about, depending on the point of view. A lot of challenging stuff has cropped up. On the other hand, a heaping helping of God's propensity to provide (sorry for the alliteration) has manifested itself in a meaningful way.

To start, shortly after Thanksgiving, I was forced to park my car due to safety concerns. Mainly the exhaust was leaking in the passenger compartment and the system is full of cracks. To add to this, the computer is on the fritz, the transmission won't shift and the steering would not stay fixed. I'm looking at $3500 to get this all fixed right and I don't have the money to pour into a used car worth half that.

The good news is that we still have a good running car which is reliable, so we can take my wife to work, go shopping, and take my son to school. It could be a lot worse. Our neighbor doesn't even have a car and was out of T.P. the other day. We have this in abundance and I was more than happy to give some to her. It was nice to help someone else out for a change, even if it was a small favor.

Jose, our older son, got to go on a shopping spree at J.C. Penney this evening and got clothes and toys courtesy of the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce. My hat's off to these people. Thank the Lord for Grand Ledge and all her people with a heart. It isn't that we couldn't get him anything (and we are) but he needed clothes and Christmas was going to be a bit slim pickings this year. God is good!

My wife made mention that she could just cry. I'm pretty stoical about it, but I've cried enough for a long while. Far better to just bask in the Lord's blessing with the knowledge that He's Lord and when it's time to bless someone else, I'm there.

I went to see a re-employment counselor yesterday and she suggested that I try and pursue (cultivate) a plan of action pertinent to my degree. This means being a management consultant. A couple days of soul-searching still leaves me mulling over my options (I praise Jesus I have options) but the job market in Michigan is horrible right now. 50% unemployment in Detroit and my prayers are out to a people who've done so much and been given so little.

Fact is I'm not worried about the car, or the job situation, or the economy. I can only take care of what I can and this includes the boys and my wife. God has entrusted me with them and this is the clarion call right now. Opportunity is very bad for employment in this state, but it has never been better for entrepreneurship, especially for those who want to spurn the evil of debt. Right now, there are grants available for those willing to take this step. However, all in good time. Maranatha!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Morning.

Got the kids up, fed, bathed, dressed and myself same (showered earlier this morning to avoid the black Friday rush (ha ha). Still have a headache, but not physically ill like yesterday from the stress. I've heard of people going into seizures over stuff like this, Lord help them.

This morning, still warmed to the idea of getting the mechanical license (glad I have Firefox, can't spell worth a darn this morning). Grandma told me last night that this is important and that she almost wanted to cry because I've worked so hard most of my life. I guess so, I've shed a few tears myself. Could go and blame this person or that situation, but where would that get me?

I've decided on a name for my new business when it materializes. It's going to incorporate the name of this blog with doing heating and air-conditioning and appliance repair. Again, it would be nice to get hired and receive a paycheck, but job security and employer loyalty are items to wax nostalgic over. The third time I got laid off from my last employer, my sense of loyalty was gone. Obviously, so was theirs (no offense, just stating the facts).

Thus far, the plan is to wait until after the holidays to get this done.Even if I got one now, it would expire on the 31st of December. I'll wait until January to get the ball rolling. I need to find a van to carry all my tools and some materials. I'm rambling and I'm sorry. Maranatha!

Making Plans

I said I was going to talk about the handyman and I am. Now I have nothing against employers, no ifs ands or buts. Right now though it has come to my attention that the powers that be have admitted, tentatively that we are in an economic depression. Who can blame them. Depression is a dirty word, but let's face it, it's a fact of life right now. Forewarned is forearmed and we all need as much information as we can get to help us out. There are six unemployed for every job opening right now nationwide, but Michigan is no doubt worse. Facts are facts, life is tough; we need to get through it.

What I'm saying goes for me. With these statistics staring at me and every other person looking for a job, the message is clear. We all have to eat. We all need a place to sleep and the bills aren't going away just because we're not working. Back in the Great Depression (What was so great about it anyway?) people sold apples, cleaned, my grandmother's dad lived in houses and fixed them up for a place to stay. I know of a gentleman who has to live in vacant houses while he's fixing them up (something I could do if I was single and no kids).

My mother considers me to be the smartest person she knows. But trying to run headlong in the rat race may or may not work. I respect that; it's something all of us have to live and deal with lest depression befall you. Many of us have spent a lot of time and money retraining lately seemingly to no avail. Lest I make the mistake of the blind leading the blind, let me say that I've made a lot of mistakes and have no easy answers for all the world's problems. Only Jesus knows this and He's going to be taking the throne soon. Sigh.

However, this is an opportunity for everyone to reevaluate themselves. Hard times always are. I've wanted to be a management consultant and still do. I've done heating and cooling work a total of 11 years. I passed the NATE certification with moderate effort. I've found that getting a mechanical license is $25 for an unlimited amount of exams, $50 toward the construction lien recovery fund and $75 for the license itself. Less money than the $250 or so I spent on the NATE certification.

As much as we probably don't need another aspiring contractor in the ranks, this is something I'm considering. I have no payroll and though I will need a few tools and a van, it is something doable. I have no delusions of grandeur here either, but I know there are a lot of customers in the area that can't afford to pay overhead and go without heat, or have to replace a furnace because the repair bill would be too high. This is something I'm contemplating if I don't find a job soon. Like the character Benny in Total Recall, "I've got X kids to feed." Maranatha!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello, rent is finally paid up (along with court costs) food in the house, life is good. Yeah, I mean that and though today is technically the 26th of November (regardless of what Blogger says, I can't fix my stamp) this is for the day previous. The 25th to be exact. I started the morning with my mom waking me up at 8:30, the baby also got up and I had to take a shower, put on some clean clothes, shaved, etc.

We got the baby dressed and I drove us to McDonald's for breakfast. She bought the breakfast burritos (they were gross, but I managed to hork mine down) and the baby eggs. I bought the hot mochas for mom and I. Then we drove to Wal-Mart. My cupboards were bare, and though I had money for groceries that was earmarked for Meijer, she insisted on Wal-Mart.

Guess what, she helped me with the tab which was an extreme blessing, yet more were to come. Before we even ventured into the store, i had unknowing parked next to a handyman, a brother handyman, who had been doing this for 40 years! He gave me advice about trying to start a business, since the job market in Michigan is in the toilet.

Rather than give me advice about being a handyman, he suggested I go for a mechanical license. More on that later. We went in and looked at toys for the boys, bought groceries (mom, we thank you and God bless you). Even at this point, I was physically ill from the stress of this week and last. However, the Lord was not done and neither was the family.

We got home and put the groceries away. Our freezer, refrigerator and cupboards are full without a single trip to the food bank (been there done that, God bless them too). Mom helped me put a roast together, cleaned up the kitchen, fed the baby and put him to bed.

Last week, I applied at the DHS for some help with the rent, as we were nearly $1800 in the hole and if not paid by the end of this week, would have meant that our stuff was out on the lawn Monday. Add to that another $250 on court costs, this was an insurmountable mountain. Today, we got a letter from the DHS stating there was no help for us. I don't blame them and was disappointed, but knew something would have to come together by Friday. I'm a realist, but not a pessimist.

Although mom and dad and Sarah helped, and we scraped it together, we were still only two thirds of the way there. My mom called and told me grandma and aunt Peggy were going to help us out. I went over there, tearful, mortified and thankful. After a conversation that lifted me out of the stress and probably improved me physically significantly, I went to Meijer to get the money orders made out. Another trip home to fill them out, plus and the envelope and then to the rental office. Whew!

Thanks, everyone. Grandma, Mom, Dad, Sarah, Ramiro, and most of all, Jesus Christ. I also want to thank my brother handyman in the Wal-Mart parking lot with the white Chevy van, the cashier and even those nice people at Wal-mart and Mickey D's. God bless all of you on this day the Lord has made.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Proper Way to Jumpstart a Car!

Today my drive home from St. Johns I stopped at Walmart to pick up some toothpaste for the baby and noticed a Buick Rendezvous with its hood up and another truck with its hood up, with the owner of the latter attempting to jump start the former. I walked in and left Walmart without getting the toothpaste. (I got it at Meijer). The same two vehicles were out there without success. The battery in the disabled car was a no name one bungee corded in the tray (there wasn't even a tray) and a $10 pair of jumper cables joined the batteries together.

In fact,the battery on the disabled car was buried under the fuse panel and the washer bottle and accessible only by remote cables. The cables to the running car were hooked up fine, but those on the disabled cars were hooked suspect. For one thing, the engine mount is not a good place to hook up cables as these are insulated. They had it hooked on the block side, which was not giving a good ground in this case. I took off the $10 cables (which were a smaller gauge, or around than they should be). I got them off and running in less than five minutes...

A starter motor needs a lot of current to crank over, and most bargain cables aren't up to the job. Add to that the improper hook up and the GM cables, hooking them up is going to be an exercise in futility and frustration.

My jumper cables are not the top of the line. I paid about $20 for them in 1987 and they have the GM side terminal clamps molded in. They are a heavier gauge than most of the ones you buy in a department store and have served me well. To tell you the truth I haven't had to use them much, but when I do they come in handy.

The first order of business is to make sure the vehicles are close enough to comfortably hook up the cables, but not touching. If the disabled vehicle is on the highway at the side of the road, better call a wrecker first thing. I know they're expensive, but unless you have extra long cables, the alternative is extremely dangerous. I've nearly ran into some numb-keg trying to turn around on a busy freeway while traffic was screaming by at 70+ miles an hour. A wrecker will have longer, thicker cables; not to mention the pretty light show on top. Ahem.

Assuming that it's safe to do so, the cars are properly parked, transmissions in park and the parking brakes set, separate the ends of the cables. Each will have a black for negative and a bright color for positive. It realy doesn't matter which color you use for which as long as you duplicate the result on the other battery Positive has to hook to positive and negative, well I'll get into that later.

First, the running car, shut it off. Hook the positive cable to the positive temrminal on the battery or remote post. This will be marked with "positive" a "+" sign or the color red. Then take other end of the positive cable and hook it to the "+" side of the battery or remote terminal of the disabled car.

Next, take the negative cable end for the working car and clamp it to the battery (use the battery if at all possible) or at least the remote hookup for same. Do not use any other ground source. Now take the negative cable end for the disabled car and clamp it to the engine block or frame, but not the battery, it may explode!Now start teh working car and wait a minute or two before starting the disabled car.

A word of caution here, batteries give off hydrogen sulfide gas, which is explosive. Wear eye protection and don't smoke. The electrical systems in a modern car are extremely sensitive and improper jumping can really screw things up. Batteries really need to be held securely to the vehicle and not just flopping around because connections can break and the plates inside can shift, not to mention damage to the case. For crying out loud, batteries are expensive, but buying a cheap one is not a good option either.

I like the original equipment ones (especially AC Delco or Motorcraft). Optima batteries are the most durable, but at nearly $200.00 a pop, in this economy, come on, the kids need milk and cereal...
In a pinch, I've bought Meijer ones and had relatively decent luck, but save the receipt. Do expect any battery to last more than four years. After that, they're on borrowed time. This is for entertainment purposes only and I have no control over your all workmanship, or lack thereof. I can't take responsibility for your actions and would call competent personnel when in doubt. God Bless .

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Forgiveness and Responsibilty or Vice Versa

Last week I got an unwelcome surprise at the door. A sheriff's deputy, complete with burnished sidearm, badge and portfolio, came to the door. This was not a good day to begin with, as I was already watching my 20 month old, who was sicker than a dog, now I had this joker at my door.

The order was an eviction as well as a demand for payment. What the H.E. double hockey sticks, we paid our rent. Wrong, it wasn't paid as of July and ironically enough coincided with the time I was laid off from North Winds for the last time.

It was crunch time, I called my mother, whom I hate saddling anyone with this, much less her. Then I called my father-in-law, who wasn't exactly wealthy either, but also was of above average means. The key word was "was," as he explained to me that he'd lost his money in the stock market and just got done paying bills.

We had a lengthy conversation about jobs in Michigan, to which he intimated that there were no jobs in Florida either. Not a shocker there, but hey, I understand. Florida's job market and in fact, economy was dependent on high home prices to bring in the revenue. Once that dried up, they had nowhere to go but up. Kind of reminds me of Michigan lately.

The fact is that I was supposed to pay the rent. I abdicated my responsibility in the name of domestic peace. It's my fault. I don't know how anything will ever be the same again and it won't. Yes, the rent's getting paid this month, but it's going to involve a lot more people than it should have involved. It's going to have a lot more negative consequences than it would have otherwise. This is also going involve an air of forgiveness, trust and responsibility (I meant to say responsibility) that will have to worked at twice as hard to be appreciated half as much. Just because we have the strength to lift a car doesn't mean we should do this every day. This should be a one time, in a lifetime event. Sadly, this doesn't apply to me.

Such is the life. The Lord said Himself he would never put more upon us than what we could bear. As human beings, we manage to do this all by ourselves. Look at this mess, this one has cost me dearly. Lord I'm sorry, and I know You forgive and will restore me in due time. I know in my heart that You haven't forsaken me, but wish to teach me what I neglected to learn previously. You are a just God. Truth be told I know you're with me right now, carrying me. Today, I confess my shortcomings in Your name and leave them in Your hands.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Some Cheering Up

Just now between feeding Kingston and trying to get a loaf of bread made, I read a cartoon on Yahoo titled Luann. I've read this comic strip over the years when I'm able as our local paper doesn't have it. The main character, unlike almost all, has aged from a little girl then to a woman of about 38 years of age. Along with this aging has come the signs of the times, which this cartoon is, or should be noted for. The one with her in the Batman shirt in 1989 was the most memorable for me, but only because I, along with the rest of the crowd, was into the Caped Crusader.

Today, the whole motif has been soldiers and army. This is something Doonesbury is well-noted for and there isn't a day that goes by there isn't someone wearing the G.I. battle helm. Luann's strip was no different, with the main character, Luann and two of her friends, one ginger-haired with glasses and another with dark hair. They were sitting off to the side on folding chairs while another one of their friends (Tiffany in the cartoon) is in a circle with some soldiers wounded grievously in combat and obviously disabled as a result.

Luann's dark haired friend noted that Tiffany was sure cheering up the soldiers. To that Luann quipped that "Great, who's gonna cheer us up?" Though no mere sentence can summarize the economic depression we're in (I offer no apologies for telling the truth, this is not a recession by definition.) this comes close.

Well, I'm going to try and cheer us all up. I was handed an eviction notice two days ago and I could stand some cheering up too. The best that I can tell anyone is that Jesus loves us. It isn't some abstract concept of religion or other "magical man in the sky" concept; Jesus died to save us from the clutches of sin and the punishment of being separated from Him in eternal torment in Hell.

To make matters even better, there will be no more inflation, recession, depression, repression, obsession or unemployment in Heaven. There will be no need for banks that fail, cars that break down, cemeteries, hospitals, doctors, glasses, tough actin' Tinactin, Oil of Olay, or Max Factor. We won't be drinking beer on Tuesday because we'll be drinking wine with our bridegroom, Jesus.

There won't be a need for the Internet, mass transit, air bags, food banks or cortisone shots. Most importantly, no more need for the Capitol Area Michigan Works or M.A.R.V.I.N. because our needs will be met before we even realize it. Precious stones and metals will be mere building materials in Heaven. We won't need Trane Clean Effects or a Carrier Indoor Weather System because the weather will be fair and warm, bathed in the light that Jesus Himself provides.

Even today, in our mortal lives, we can and should still depend on Him for our needs. This is what all this economic ruin is really about if we know Him and have the faith He will provide for us. Remember my mention of precious metals being building materials? Okay then Luann, whatever it is in your life that's getting you down, get off that folding chair. The Lord answers "knee mail." Everyone who reads this should do the same today, whatever it is that's bugging you. We don't have to wait until we go to Heaven to experience Jesus' love for us. Amen

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2012 (the Motion Picture)

Like everyone else, I'm going to have to wait until Friday to see the actual movie. Until then, I'm going to have to be satisfied with the trailers like everyone. Truthfully, I've had little interest in seeing such apocalyptic thrillers. From the trailer (the one where the family rushes in a limousine through a surreal landscape of death and destruction to a plane on a disintegrating tarmac) the disaster seems to be the final of finals for humankind and civilization as we know it.

From the context of playing the game on the movie's website, (yes there is a survival game and in spite of myself it is very informative and entertaining, being an urban survivalist at heart) survival depends on everyone going to Nepal, a nation bordering China and India consisting mainly of the Himalayan mountain range. Everest and K2, two of the highest mountains above sea level, live there. It's not someplace (no offense to Nepal) but I'd rather seek asylum in Israel myself.

One of the reoccurring themes is that mankind's love for one another, cooperation as well as a common will to survive, will ensure at least some manage to live on. Another tenet of these modern disaster flicks is that the disaster unites mankind transcendent of individual beliefs. No matter whether it's the misnamed Armageddon, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, Knowing,or any other one of this genre I've failed to make mention of has this theme. The trailer for 2012 makes this all the more obvious on YouTube with "no matter what you believe" or the president in the movie saying "we are one family".

I've been around a while and observed the way people interact in times of crisis. For the most, I've been pleasantly surprised. Despite the happenings in Michigan and the poor economy, people are very giving in both encouragement and materially. For one, if someone needs something and I have it, its theirs. After all. I believe that the lord intended us as human beings for good and despite all the negativity we hear about, we're capable of wonderful things when the Lord is in control of our lives, disasters notwithstanding.

Personally, I don't believe in an end of the world. I just can't see some galactic planetary or interplanetary phenomenon wrecking this sort of disaster on the earth as we know it. Because of this, I do not fear any end of world scenario, no matter how plausible. The Mayans are an extinct people who've made many calendars and while their knowledge was extensive of galactic happenings, it was after all, a part of their pagan religion. One of the theories surrounding their demise was a lack of water. However, they were also very bloodthirsty and cruel, performing human sacrifices at whim. (something very contrary to the Lord). It wouldn't surprise me if the Lord had a hand in removing these people, but I digress.

At any rate, these are not a people I can trust my future to. Earlier, I said that I don't believe in the end of the world. This doesn't mean there won't be some events, just not as depicted by some movie. Make no mistake, even without all the "disasters" people are managing to bring disasters upon themselves without any "help" from God. To leave this on a positive note, The Lord is still in control. Amen!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shower Day!

Yesterday, it was unbelievable with the amount of support to the point I choked back tears. We had our first adoption shower for Kingston yesterday and he got a big boy bed, a toy box, toys and some much-needed clothes. Even Jose, our older boy who we're in the process of adopting, got several toys for his trouble.

What really gets me misty-eyed over this is that the Lord has been so good to us. I've felt so inadequate about not having a job, along with the other temporal concerns that it clouds the fact that victory is already mine. Jesus has already won despite my depression, anger and even disbelief. Jesus has won.

We got three boxes of Lego's for the boys which they've enjoyed together. Kingston also got a toy remote he thinks is a phone. We've now sorted out all the "baby" stuff we're going to donate. The Lord has been good and nothings going to be wasted.
We've been able to survive a "rent" week would have normally been a nightmare. The Lord saw us through that week.

Thank You Lord, for all Your glory and victory, for saving me from the clutches of sin and despair. You haven't made it easy, but You have made it possible and in this life, possible is more than enough. Please grant me solace and patience in Your timing and comfort in Your Word. I do know that I will appreciate my real home all the more when You take Your bride there very soon. For this I praise You, in Your name which is above all names, Amen! Hosanna.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Holloween Day

Sorry no pictures, but the rules prohibiting publishing of Jose's likeness are still in effect. But let me treat you to a Halloween like no other. Beyond ghosts and their ghoul-friends out for candy, or the man in the pig suit with H1-N1 in block letters on the chest, was a rite of passage for our growing family. I remember 3 to 4 hour excursions into the spooky night dressed as a ghost, devil or other unholy being on the quest for treats. My sister and I would come home with half a pillowcase full, not a bad haul for two kids.

Grand Ledge is the place to go trick or treating these days, as the houses are decorated all out and the offerings aren't too bad either. No Black Jacks or Necco Wafers here; I'm talking chocolate and Tootsie Rolls as a staple. Susie and I took Jose and Kingston around the neighborhood, hitting about 40 or so houses and filling up buckets proper with candy. Not a bad haul for two little boys. After 2 hours of walking several miles we went to grandma and grandpa's house to show off their grand babies. Jose wearing a Mario costume (one that everyone took notice of) and Kingston in a Buzz Lightyear one from the Toy Story franchise.

Now that our little ones are back to their former selves for another year and the weekend's come and gone, we've another month to plan another holiday unlike any other we've had before and we'll not have again. Hopefully relishing the time we have with our little ones every step of the way. God Bless.

Fixed the Dodge

Yes, the clunking, clanking, popping Dodge has been rescued. I give full credit to the Lord and an answer to prayer. A nut and bolt combination that I had reused with a prior repair was the final, but not the only culprit. The cost was about $3.00 and a little cleaning up that has made a world of difference. As it happened, the bolt I reused was 12mm, but it had no shoulder (the section with no threads. This caused a loosened condition that made a sound as if the transmission itself was going to fall out. That noise was the too small bolt banging against the ball stud on the ball joint and without taking off the steering knuckle (about a 20 minute job) I would have never found it.

What was funny is that the bolt intended for the ball stud was too small to even grip in the steering knuckle. Even the serrations meant to grip the knuckle wouldn't even touch it, leading to a possible and dangerous separation at a later date. This is because a ball joint/ stud not connected with the steering knuckle at high speed can cause the car to veer unexpectedly, resulting in a crash. I had a tie rod fail on my '77 Olds back in '88. I was only going 25, (thank You Jesus) so it was only an embarrassing wobble. a suspension failure at high speeds is almost always very dangerous, so good quality parts that fit are more than an investment, they're insurance.

Yes, I'm picky. But in a litigious society, picky is good. Nobody wants to hurt someone else because of a mechanical failure and I sure don't. God Bless.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Fix for Michigan

When we're faced with something broken, we're supposed to fix it. This is a cardinal law of the handyman code, or at least it should be. Another part of this "law" is that we use the right parts and techniques for the job, or least use the most beneficial and cost-effective methodology possible. When a vehicle I was working on had two bolts cross-thread into the engine cradle, I had a lot of ways to do it. One way would have been to drop the cradle or hoist the car up, tapping the threads and then having to contend with a broken tap or trying to get the cradle back on the frame.

Either process would have been costly and time consuming and in the case of a broken tap, probably would have sidelined the car an extended amount of time. What I did was run two longer bolts through the cradle and installed a nut on the bottom side. It saved me hours when the weather wasn't cooperating and some money to boot.

Michigan has a similar problem and it's that of needing jobs for the masses. Conventional wisdom has been to throw money at the problem. The ways can be in tax breaks to "new" firms, retraining the workforce to work at different jobs, creating "make work" or just resigning the state to pay people for protracted periods of unemployment.

Inherently, there are serious drawbacks to all of these "solutions" that no one deserving re-election should overlook. Management consulting is a service I am fully capable of offering and I have had some time to analyse these adverse outcomes. Tax breaks are not a sure fire way to retain jobs, as a firm can still elect to move jobs to India. Retraining the workforce is very expensive on a personal and societal level. Individuals financing these costs still have to deal with compromising financial positions and society suffers because of a shortage of key people. Not everyone can be a computer programmer, manager or Internet security specialist. Not everyone has the willingness to commit to retrain. I'm still feeling the effects of retraining and the cost of time and money was daunting.

Make work and paying unemployment compensation are stop gap measures that do not address the root problems associated with unemployment in the first place. A shortage of jobs that people can perform for a living wage is the problem. However, the root of the problem is the lack of a supporting industry or industries that can fuel growth.

Too many manufacturing jobs are going overseas and part of the reason could be that too many features are being demanded by consumers to allow for a profit margin. Right now, I can buy a plain Jane mug made in the U.S.A. or a feature-packed one made in the People's Communist Dictatorship of China.

Shoes are another thing we seldom think about, but depend on more than our cars. I'm literally a pair of shoes away from being disabled every morning due to plantar fascitis, but all the shoes available are made in the Chi Com land with slave labor and are wholly inadequate for arch support. All the while we have people on the bench who could be making some quality footwear, for the common man, woman and child. Coats, hats and mittens are items we need here for six months out of the year, along with boots and other winter wear. Why not make this stuff in Michigan too?

Cars are still a staple industry in the Wolverine State, but too many are out of reach of the average consumer, unless he or she puts him or herself in debt for five to seven years, ouch. The solution is to build a "people's car" for Michigan. One with few frills or options, but one that can be easily retrofitted to customer tastes. Automakers should stick with basics and leave mood lighting (a kitschy 1970s conversion van option) to the aftermarket, which would provide more jobs.

This car should be simple and durable for Michigan's rough climate and able to hold up to road salt and the ever-present potholes with minimal repair costs. As it stands now, there are hundreds of parts to a modern auto and few are less than $50 to $100 when they fail. Cars and trucks that last 20 years elsewhere last five to seven years in Michigan. The less complicated devices hold up best to adverse conditions. Michigan is an adverse condition by default.

Okay, okay, there are a lot of things to iron out, but people should be able to afford what they make or provide a service for. Cars, houses and clothing are things that few of us can do without, yet fewer can afford them. Credit was the answer, but is now a huge problem. Let's make things that don't require a loan to pay for, even on the most modest of means. I know it's a crazy 21st century idea, but it just might work.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Prayer and Some Praise.

Heavenly Father Son and Holy Spirit, You are my God, My Lord, My King.

You and only You are the Most Perfect Master,

Lord of my life and my soul.

The Supreme Potentate of this Earth and all of Your Creation.

You are just, righteous and merciful.

You've blessed someone as unworthy as me.

Though I falter and fall short, You still hold on to and comfort me.

All I know cannot begin to describe You and Your love for me.

I do know that what You've chosen for me was for me to recognize that You and You alone are

the source of peace and prosperity in my life.

While I cannot begin to understand why I must walk through the fire, it must be to trust in You.

I pray that You give me the strength to see this fleeting time through in Your name, Amen.

What I Need!

All the times that I've been wondering

I don't need anything but You.

Seems the way you treat me, honestly,

I don't need anything but You.

Then I look around and You're not there,

You call me back to You.

For even when I don't see You,

carry me.

I don't need anything but You, Lord.

To my life, you bring me, harmony.

Bring the strength to see me through.

When all the walls are closing in on me.

I don't need anything but You.

Jesus when You found me,

Lost and afraid, Yeah.

All You said I needed was You.

And when the time comes for me,

To be with You, Yeah.

I won't need anything but You. Amen!

Revive an Old Computer Keyboard.


Let's face it, keyboards are a dime a dozen. They cost about $15 to $20, but some of the more specialized ones are about $40 to $60 or more, Ouch! Ideally, you're not supposed to eat or drink around these things, but over time crumbs, food and even the oils on your hands will contaminate even the best hardware and render it useless. Because I write a lot, this meant that I would be replacing a keyboard every six to nine months; a year if I was "lucky."
The keyboard above is a Labtech, but any basic unit will be the same. I have one for each computer and the one I just cleaned was so contaminated that the keys stuck. The object is to turn it over and remove the screws holding the two halves together. There were no less than 24 holding this one together. I removed the printed circuit and the circuit board from the half with the buttons and inspected them for moisture or acid (cola) damage warranting a replacement.
None found, remove the silicone insulator from the half and inspect this for cola, oil or dirt. It it's clean, leave it alone and set it aside. The buttons should be removed from the keyboard, but only remove the space bar, enter or return key, backspace, tab, caps lock, windows, control, alt, and \ keys. The rest will be a pain to put back in and it's just unnecessary.
Once all of the electrical stuff is off, take the buttons and keyboard half with the buttons to the sink. One with a sprayer works the best. Use a low-sudsing, mild detergent for dishes and squirt some into the keys and lay the stray buttons into the sink strainer (not the garbage disposal side). Spray water into the keys and allow the crud to wash out where you removed the buttons. Once the suds are out, stop and inspect. Then wash out the backside for a minute. Be sure to use tepid, not hot water. Hot water will ruin the keys. Do not wash in dishwasher as the heat and action of the detergent will make the board brittle, destroying it.
Carefully plug the buttons you removed, taking care to install the metal trapeze-looking hooks into the slots of the bigger ones. An instant or digital photo would be nice at this time, but memory can work too, mine did. Either way, the keyboard needs to be completely dry before socking it back together, lest evil befall you. If the silicone insulator it dirty or sticky, clean this with detergent as well and let it air dry. Once everything is dry; give it at least several hours or overnight, you can put it back together, making sure the cord is threaded the way it was when you took it apart.
The screws may be different lengths, so if there's too much resistance, stop and use a shorter screw. Take your time and once done, plug it in and check it. The results should be a keyboard that's cleaner and easier to use. You'll have saved yourself some money to boot.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

From the King's Town

Kingston means from the king's town in English. Something that means to me that he is a gift from the King of Kings. His mother named him this knowing he was a gift, even though she had to bear the pain of having him taken away. When I see his beautiful brown eyes, wispy blond hair and sometimes pouting face, I also see his mother and the trials she went through to bring him to us.

Kingston was 6 weeks old when we got him well over a year ago, a little pinkish bundle of a human being who had already been in 2 placements. Sasha, his case worker, brought him to us bearing a bag of clothes and a car seat. Who would have thought that a little baby of 9 pounds with tummy problems and colic would grow up into a vivacious, energetic toddler? But he has and I praise the Lord for the time we can still change his diapers and take with us. Not to mention playing with him, giving him a bath and even putting him to bed.

Even as a little baby, Kingston would smile with his toothless grin at the sight of daddy or mommy with an innocence that only a child can display. Now he still smiles with a mischievous grin as he's running off with the remote or phone, but precious he is still. Our adoption has been final for a month and we've got our insurance cards in his name too. Kingston is ours, legally, not just a foster child. Nonetheless, it took the courts nearly a year and a half to put in writing what the Lord already knew. For this, and many other aspects, I have more than enough reason to praise Him today and everyday. Amen!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Little Prayer...

Father God, I am but a child in Your loving arms,
You hold and comfort me with Your Word.
Before I was born, You knew me.
When Your Son Jesus redeemed me, I was but child.

Now 30 years later, I am still a child of yours.
You clear my mind,
sweep away the confusion and hurt.
Because of You, I am a new creature.

You bring the good that now lives in me,
through the Holy Spirit.
Without You, I am worthless.
But You made me worthy, Oh Lord.

I confess Your power, majesty and glory eternal;
that you're Lord in my life.
Through Your stripes, You have healed me from sin and infirmity.
I cannot fight it,

Why would I want to.
Your love is perfect,
Your wisdom also so.
You and You alone are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Amen

Mundane Stuff

Yesterday, I sent in for taking my DANTES tests to finish up my degree and praise the Lord, my transcript request went through for my speech class. Just two tests to satisfy my degree and I can color this done. Maybe even change that prayer request to a company car and suit. Even with just the small victory concerning the transcript and the nice young lady who answered the phone at LCC today was a huge blessing on the Lord's part.

The other aspect I'm not so sure on concerns having my resume' professionally written. This is going to be a substantial, but by no means unreasonable expense/investment. Considering the price of a degree, it's more than worth it. Being a management/business consultant was what I went to school for, even being a handyman and all. If the choice was to fix toilets or help a business get back up on its feet, I would probably take the latter.

Regardless, today is a victory to be celebrated and the Lord is to be praised. Amen!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Salt and Light.


Flip flops are not a shoe I wear. They lack support and just don't look good on a 39 year old man. As in life, flip flopping on a position looks good on no one. With this in mind, I'm not about to do this about anything I've written before, even the edgy stuff. It is to put this and my own beliefs, into perspective.


I've been into bible prophesy lately and to a great extent, this is not going to change. However, the focus always should be on the Lord and His work. If He's first in our lives, as Christians, then other things will fall into place. I don't need to know the identities the Antichrist or false prophet to have eternal life. As a pre-tribber, this would not be something in mine not to mention the Lord's game plan.


In fact, as I've written before, anything that takes glory away from the Lord and/or places it on man is probably going to be a falsehood at best. I'm curious about who things work. This is why I'm a handyman, after all. Nevertheless, Christians are supposed to be salt and light in this world. It doesn't matter whether we're bankers, lawyers, teachers, garbage collectors (sanitation engineers) handy people (home service specialists). We are Christians first and foremost; that is our job.


I want people to see the difference in me, even if they can't put a finger on it. I don't have a fish on my car, or carry a King James the size of an attache' to the shopping mall (although I've taken to wearing Christian tee shirts lately). It could be that look of encouragement, or the fact that we've taken a moment out of our busy day to help someone with the door, or given someone some money who's a few dollars short at the register.


We should never have the mindset that just because, well, you know, that what we do here doesn't matter. It matters a whole lot to those who need it the most; including our brothers and sisters. I for one don't even want to find myself so engrossed in what could be that I don't address the here and now right in front of me. As always,


Our Father, who art in heaven,hallowed be thy name.Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. for ever and ever. Amen

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Inundated With Blessings

Not to negate the obvious, but even in a midst of turmoil are the blessings which the Lord bestows upon His people. We just need to acknowledge them and once in a while, go through them. Today, the very act of cleaning out the boys' bedroom is proof that blessings are real and in fact, even exist in the Grace Place. I went through several bags of clothes for Kingston, or newly-adopted son and found some pretty decent clothes which he could be wearing and something that we really should be passing on to other deserving children (aren't they all?).

I was able to move the beds around and correct the issues I've had with trying to move a 30 pound child out of a bed to get him dressed in the morning. That was another blessing that took some work, but it is nonetheless. Finally, Jose has his bed in the corner away from the door so he can sleep and Kingston is within easier reach with minimal disturbance to Jose. Gone is the clutter and it its place is an area where the kids can finally play. Gone are sacks of clothes that Kingston cannot wear anymore and in there place is an area for Jose to put his toys and open his dresser.

Just getting this room cleaned out has made a huge difference in my mood, not to mention a tangible feeling of accomplishment. I'm wondering if there are other challenges in my life that I can fix by "taking charge" and diving into, rather than trying to wait for it to get done. There are problems that I cannot solve. There is no doubt about that. These probably aren't my battles to wage, this much has been revealed to me. No, the fight isn't over and no sane person would want it to be. Being able to take charge of what the Lord has entrusted me with is greater than any power and a feeling that I can do something, anything, to help improve our quality of life in a meaningful, constructive way.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Working Overtime

For several days now, it feels as if the very legions of hell are on the attack. Not only against the bride of Christ, the church, but against all that even appears good. Yesterday, my son and I sold a respectable $95 in popcorn for our pack and collected $13 in donations for the cause of getting him money for camp. Then, out of the blue, a smooth-taking man wearing a factory windbreaker started bashing the product we were selling and pointing out that his was rancid. While he made mention several times that he didn't want to offend, it was clear what this man's mission was. It was to offend and destroy, but it didn't work. By the time it was said and done, most of our inventory was history.

The evil one has likewise done his level best to steal my joy and wreck my testimony. Despite the fact that I'm redeemed by the Lord as one of His, the devil has endeavored to send his agents to ridicule the work the Lord has entrusted me. In defending the trinity of the Lord and the wholeness of all three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a gentleman replied that he wanted me to explain this further, saying that quoting the Bible was not enough. It was discouraging and disheartening that despite the true and infallible Word, that many will still choose to reject Him as their Lord and Savior. They do this at their own peril.

There is another person on YouTube, a young lady who I will not mention her name, has uttered blasphemous words against Jesus and His bride, the church. While part of the charges of this person are true (I believe there are many who believe the Lord is their genie) it is not a picture of a true relationship between the Lord and the church. I cannot repeat the rest of the blasphemy, as this is much too painful and would serve no useful purpose. It does give me clarity of the Antichrist spirit and the times we live in. Despite the futility of finding peace, prosperity and love in this world of this world, there are hordes who have nothing better to do than hang on.

Unlike that, I have nothing left to hang onto here. In fact there is quite a bit in my life that could be nullified and I would never miss it. Such is the futility of temporal, as opposed to spiritual pursuits. I pray for friends, family and enemies that they would come to repentance for their sake. To the unsaved, I pray the Holy Spirit would move upon them the importance of the Lords gift of mercy. After all, being Christian is a matter of timing. Better that we're so while there is still breath in our lungs or before the rapture. Even then, it's still better to before the judgement of the sheep and goats. Admitting "Jesus is Lord" here or at the Great White Throne of Judgement will not save you.

They have been exposed to the Good News repeatedly, but in their arrogance have refused the mercy the Lord offers through His Son, Jesus. Even when they see the Him riding on Faithful and True. Sadly, most will reject His salvation out of pride, wanting to be lord of their own lives. They will willingly accept the world leader, the Antichrist. Ultimately worshipping him and taking his mark to buy and sell, despite the warnings of the angels and saints. The result is eternal damnation through their own choice.

The evil one, the devil, the old serpent, knows that he has but a short time with those already in the church before the Lord snatches them away. While no one but the Father knows the time, even Satan must know it's getting close. This is the reason that Christians ready for this ultimate breakthrough are probably being put through the spiritual wringer right now. I know Satan has worked overtime in my life before the Lord has bestowed His blessings and this not unlike such an event. While I don't know the exact time of the Blessed Hope either, I do know that time is at a premium before Jesus arrives. There is just too much going on in favor of this to doubt any more. Christians have always had to go through their own tribulations throughout the centuries and in no way are any of us exempt, ultimately we are with the winner because of His mercy to us. I fervently look forward to the time I can kneel in person. Maranatha!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jesus: 2 Satan: still zero , Epilogue

No sooner had I published my last post that the lady apologized and I was able to fulfill my promise to Jose and be the Den Leader. Father God, this is another "SEE" moment to rely on you and leave it in your hands rather than in ours. I could have messed this one up royally, but You stepped in. If victory is without You, is not of You, Oh Lord. Amen!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jesus:1 Satan: A BIG FAT ZERO

For weeks and months we were anticipating getting Jose in Cub Scouts. Last night, I found out that I not only missed a parent meeting, but an important fundraising opportunity Sunday of all days. Not only that, I left someone hanging out at Wal-Mart for an hour because I never called. The woman that was supposed to be mentoring me never called me back, despite repeated attempts on my part and no on called me Sunday to ask what happened, so it couldn't have been too big a deal. But the "mentor" thought it was an proceeded to berate me over the phone about it last night.

Not only was I upset, but my wife was more upset and afraid to tell Jose, our 7 year old. I not only drove over to the woman's house in Mulliken, I returned the tote and asked her husband why no one bothered to call me Sunday. His response was that I should have just showed up. I replied that under no circumstances is my son going to be a part of an organization that doesn't show some compassion for it's members. I was going to be a scoutmaster, but this is not what I want to do, forcing little boys to sell stuff for a few moments of fun. This is already too much like a job and the condescending attitude did not help matters either.

The fact is that being stuck an hour at Wal-Mart is not a fate worse than death. It's one of the more pleasurable things available to the populace. Another is that no 5,6 or 7 year old should be expected to slave his childhood away to serve the 'almighty' dollar for a few days of pleasure. In other words, to me it's like being in a job without being paid for it. I've volunteered for another organization like this when I was 13 at Impression 5 and nearly ended up with a criminal conviction because someone thought I was sexually harassing a 7 year old girl. The warning lights and sirens were already on when this lady acted the way she did last night.

Even Jesus said His burden was light and His yoke easy. Satan offers no such perquisites, yet tends to offer some abstract promises for indulging in sin. There is no paid position worth demeaning yourself, let alone a volunteer one. My wife was afraid, again about the ramifications and how Jose was going to react. Thank Jesus that most children are a lot more mature and have more sense than some who profess to be adults. Jose is a very sensible young man for all he's been through. He took it better than I expected. For his sake, and mine, I'm not giving up with finding us some activities. It just means that we're going to have a be a bit more creative.
Thank You Jesus. Satan, you will NOT have my family.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Being Chicken Little or "where are the life jackets?"

Okay, enough already with the sky is falling stuff. Can't you see that I'm trying to do (insert earthly concerns here)? I have a degree to finish, a life to lead, children to raise, a job to find, a wife to love, family to take care of? All the cares of this world envelope me like one of those mummy sleeping bags, and still the Lord beckons me. Things like fixing the car so I can get Jose to school and Kingston and I to the doctor were real, paramount, pressing issues that had to be done. This was in the interest of not inconveniencing my wife and Jose further than need be. Yes, the car is fixed, but this sickly pales in comparison to what I am about to tell you.

Right now, there is a concern about the United States and her health. No not health care, but the health of the nation. She's barely breathing, and there are way too many of us, Christian or not, who are bound and determined to hold fast. It's like holding on to the Titanic, even though the iceberg has already gashed the hull with water racing over the bulkheads like the compartments of an ice cube tray. I am not here to tell you the sky is falling, but to say the sky has already fallen. It did why we were sleeping, eating, drinking, marrying, buying our homes, cars and living our everyday, moribund lives. The iceberg struck with a whimper and a leak happened over time, now it is a torrent of water licking the last dry vestiges of the deck.

Over the years, I have tried to tell those who will listen not to get too comfortable on that chaise lounge. Since July 4 of this year, I've been blogging about Jesus and more recently, been that virtual guy with the sandwich sign. Not so much that "the end is near" but "the end is here" and it's not from some pandemic or imagined calamity. It's from a disaster nearly 6,000 years in the making by God's errant creation, man. We've already created a world government several years ago when the our sovereignty was signed away in 2003. The stage is set, the only thing left to do are for the props and actors.

We have the capability to implement economic and idealistic oppression on every human being on this earth. The United States is implementing health care reform, which is not out of compassion, but to control her citizens completely. The people the current president surrounds himself with have no reservations about what their beliefs are. All are in favor of abortion on demand (infanticide), deviant sex practices (one of the worst forms of enslavement), and a centralization of authority as well as a propensity to use debt as a weapon.

The EU is poised to become the most powerful entity on the planet, even superseding the mortally wounded United States. Tony Blair is heavily favored to be the president, even though there are doubts in his native Great Britain about his leadership ability. Despite the availability of willing candidates, they do not have the notoriety Blair has. Adding to this is that Blair has extensively championed for Mideast peace since stepping down as prime minister two years ago. He has charities and at 56 years of age, a youthful enthusiasm for the position. I don't want to be one to ring the warning bell, but times are a coming. The time to accept Jesus is now and avoid the horrors of the Tribulation.

The real tragedy is that unlike the Titanic, that even during Tribulation, there are more than enough lifeboats to go around and they are in easy reach. The majority will still hear the Word and fail to accept Jesus' pardon and accept the Mark of the enemy to maintain economic viability. Their fate will one of suffering that will bring a whole new meaning to the phrase "Hell on earth." I've driven people crazy about this stuff by talking and writing about it all the time I'm sure. However, there is a more important cause than trying to save face. Anyone who thinks this is a fairy tale written by some old Jews needs to wake up. These "old Jews" are more current than tomorrows news (borrowed shamelessly from Hal Lindsey) and the Lord will not be mocked. Please, please, accept His precious gift of salvation because we know not the time, but it is getting closer.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Song About 9/11

Bright and early on a Tuesday morning,
spirits of hate struck without a warning
A score of young men with the promise of glory,
target two towers of 100 stories.

All this rage in the name of religion,
don't care 'bout about about the lives we're living,
only believin' the lies of an idol,
something 'bout the promises of killing a rival.

Flesh and steel, blood and bone,
can you ever see the reason
in a world that we call home?
Why would someone take the lives of people they don't know?
Flesh and steel, blood and bone.

Two 'planes hit and two more followed,
tears of loved ones they couldn't swallow.
Got me thinking if it was the end,
seen the courage and the cowardice.

Attacking a people called a has been.
Impotent threats from our own leaders,
Rumors of wars in diverse places.
Hell breaks loose in every nation.

Flesh and steel, blood and bone.
What will ever be the place that we call home.
The hearts of men are colder than the thing that we call stone.
Flesh and steel, blood and bone.

This old world is a gettin' weary.
Lord said Himself
He wouldn't tarry.
Could be the thing
the that the Good Book promised.

Flesh and Steel, Blood and Bone,
We are righteously awaiting
for You to call us home.
There will be no sorrow,
and there be no war,

Flesh and Steel, Blood or Bone.

(Copyright 2010 and I mean it)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Going on a Trip

Last weekend, my wife and I had the rare pleasure of taking both of our boys to a hotel for swimming and playing with other children. It was formerly the Midway and now it's the Days Inn. This whole excursion was for foster families. Even though we were just driving five miles for an overnight, we had to pack diapers, clothes, snacks, toys and by the time my wife and I were done, more than we took on our honeymoon.



In fact, this amounted to several small suitcases, two shopping bags and a duffel as well as my book bag and writing materials (not that there was much time to write, but that was fine with me).



There's a lot of preparation for any trip, even if it's across town. We have to make sure the car has enough fuel, the tires are checked, there's enough clothes, etc. However, there is one trip that every Christian should be preparing for. While we are going to be packing light; probably not even taking the clothes on our backs, there is still a need for making ourselves ready.



Jesus' parable of the wise and foolish virgins points this out (MT 25:1-13). We are to be in a state of readiness for Him to arrive. When He does it will catch many unawares. To me, this means more prayer, more study, more loving and more writing about Him. It includes less criticizing, complaining, and worry. After all, I'm feeling that my next job is not going to be on this earth; it will be with Jesus. Even if this is later proved to be false, it changes nothing about my beliefs. I am finite, the Lord is infinite.



We need to witness and live according to His perfect will. There will be a time when the trumpet will sound and millions will vanish, leaving a world confused and in utter disarray. It will literally be Hell on Earth for those left behind, but even in this time of judgement and wrath, Jesus will still extend His mercy to those who choose Him.




But it is far better to have your spiritual, as opposed to temporal bags packed now, rather than later. Everyone is going to be a Christian, it's only a matter of timing. You can be one now before, rather than after the Church is taken, during the Tribulation, or During the Great White Throne of Judgement. The problem will be that once you become a Christian at the wrong time, it isn't going to save you. Even Chairman Mao, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, John Lennon, Anton Szandor LeVey, unrepentant abortionists and even Satan himself is going to kneel and confess that "Jesus is Lord."

Again, the issue is only timing. My prayer is that as long as you have breath in your lungs and your heart hasn't hardened that there is still hope. Being with Jesus is the best thing, even more so than sliced bread (which is overrated anyway). He loves you and wants you to be with Him despite your shortcomings. If I can, so can you, beloved. My prayers are for you. God bless.

The End of an Era

Not to be pessimistic, but it seems that the glory days, if not the entire significance, of the United States, is over. This is not to count out the Lord and His perfect will always trumps everything, but all through the Bible, He always counts Israel as significant in His eyes. Since the God of the Bible, True Lord of this earth and all of creation, never changes to man's fancy, this must be still the case. His Word is supreme and He could restore this nation in a minute, but all signs point to this not being the case.

Right now, Tony Blair's appointment as president of the European Union is all but a sure thing in the next few weeks. This is unprecedented as the EU has never had a president. All the while, the United States' economy has been systematically and methodically dismantled, despite government spending into the trillions of dollars to "fix" the problem. Right now China and Japan are pushing for a global currency to supplant the U.S. dollar. This is a sentiment echoed by Russia, Iran and other nations as the dollar is headed for a major collapse.

The U.S. Commerce Department no longer has exclusive control over the Internet, as this is being taken over by a world governing body. The U.N. is considering moving their headquarters out of New York City to Babylon in the very near future. All the while, all the resources of the United States cannot rebuild the destroyed World Trade Center and other countries frequently build skyscrapers much larger on a regular basis and in times frames unheard of 40 years ago here. It has taken 8 years to build three floors of the Freedom Tower due to cost overruns and political wrangling. It sends a signal to the world that this is not the place to do business.

While our government squabbles over health care, global warming, the economy and troop buildups in the Middle East, the rest of the world has clear agendas, and little of it concerns, or includes the U.S..

The fact is that collectively, we've turned our back on the Lord. When we at least paid lip service to his Word, we reaped the blessing. Now, through abortionists, we kill 3000 to 4000 babies every single day and are the only nation to allow partial birth abortion. Our presidents have tried to divvy up land in Israel that they have no business messing with. We're on the cusp of allowing homosexual "marriage" throughout the entire country. Pornography, pedophilia and other deviant organizations flourish despite anti-obscenity laws in place. We are worse than Sodom and Gomorrah right now and pine over our has been status.

I'm done praying for America for as nation, but I am praying for revival among her people. The Lord has His perfect plan, and this is to bring people closer to Him. This is opposed to the virulent materialism most of us Americans are used to. In the past, every recession had an end. The economy was able to bounce back. I've lived through no less than six of them, although Michigan's economy has been on the skids for nearly a decade. This one seems different, and may be the impetus that brings us in line with the EU. I'm not looking forward to this in the least, and still pray that this isn't in God's plan, but we shall see. Either way, God wins and as Christians, we win.