If you want to attract an honorable lady, be an honorable man.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving in the Country

I don't know what people who don't have the great outdoors ingrained into them do on thanksgiving - wait I take that back. I know what they do. They play the Wii, drink a few beers, cokes and cider, catch up on happenings and sit around the living room until the food appears. At least, that is what my extended family does - cousins and aunts and such.

We normally go down south to have Thanksgiving with our extended family, but this year we weren't able to make it. We couldn't sit at home alone of course, so we planned a full day of fun over at our other families house - other family translated as our best friends down the road.

We knew it would be a fun day, but we didn't really know the extent of it, or what it would entail.
Bro - What more needs be said?

Bows - of course - who wouldn't have Thanksgiving without archery being involved?
The girls were totally interested in archery, but had little to no experience or practice. So, lessons commenced, along with general open-season on anything downrange stupid enough to get pegged by all involved.  

Demonstration fire

You can tell by her face that Jessie and that target must have had a disagreement sometime in the near past... 

She looks a tad happier - she must have settled part of the score with the target

Lisa apparently was on fine terms with the target, and on fine terms with the holes she put in it 

Eggnog Row

Oh Golly  -  I missed! 

During and around the archery was arranged a Pellet Gun competition - I didn't win, but I came close. The competition kinda fizzled out when we found out that the scope on the gun they were using was a tad off.

Matthew snipin'. He had the highest score at the end 

Raspberry Tea and a good seat to watch from 

Yours Truly, with me own shooter

Bro at bat.   Er .... gun. 

Lisa gone lefty

Jess was the bravest and free-handed a few shots

After the shooting of various weaponry for several hours, an impromptu photo shoot cropped up. Us and the girls had never had a really good shot of us all together.

And if any of you have been around on one of our photo shoots, you know that is no easy or quick matter.
Lots of shooting ensued, before and after the desired shot was taken.

Sister Love

Bro : Maybe I should have my hat this way -
Me: I don't know him.....
Photo bomber...

Had to throw this one in - I have seen very few good shots of people with Compound bows, so I am always looking for some, or trying to take them and be in them.
Needless to say, I love this one. 

The Guardians

And this was the reason for the entire shoot - One good shot of all of us together -
We call them 'the girls', they call us 'the boys'
Together, more than friends  -  Family.  

So, we eventually had to close shop and stow away the gear for animals chores, and of course, for dinner.

And when it came to dinner, we did things a tad differently than most rednecks.

I insisted on decking out a touch for Thanksgiving, and everybody else decided to follow suit. We put on our Sunday best, put out the best China and Silver, and had a Thanksgiving dinner in style.

But, despite the fancy clothes and fancy fixin's, it was still a redneck dinner. 

Someone commented halfway through the main meal that we were sitting around a gorgeously decked out table, all in our Sunday best, eating with Silver off of China, discussing the best way to polish off the neighborhood coyotes - hardly becoming of the high-class look we were sporting. 

You can deck out a Redneck, but he's still a redneck. : ) 

So, all in all, I have to say I think it was the best Thanksgiving I have had. Thank God for good times, good food, good friends, and loads of all of them.   

Here's to loads more. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Give Thanks

I know today can be hectic - pie to bake, turkey to roast, deserts to whip together, take that turkey back out of the oven and put the stuffing inside it that should have been in there an hour ago, tables to set.... you know what I am talking about. 

But despite all of that - even if the stuffing isn't ready on time, even if the in-laws showed up late, even if the pie is a tad underdone, just sit back for a second and look around. 

Honestly, you really have a lot to be thankful for.

I don't know the list, but you do. You know all those things that show in little ways that God is there and is caring for you far better than you ever could yourself. Sometimes we forget it in the hustle-bustle hurly-burly lives we live, and need to mentally take a step back and take stock of all we have been blessed with. 

So, this is just a quick reminder - a brief pit stop in the race of life today. 

No matter what, remember God is good, and give thanks.  

And you never know, that pie might taste better half cooked after all.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

God Is Good...

...All the Time
And all the time...
God is Good.

We say it a lot, and I think most of the time we mean it, but a part of this simple phrase has made me think a lot lately.

It normally goes like this -

Life is normal.
*sweet music in the background*
Crisis strikes.
*Cue scary music*
We panic.
*music rises*
We panic some more.
*music reaches a climactic pitch*
Something resolves and the crisis is eliminated.
*Cue relieved face*

You know what comes next.....

"God is Good," we say with a sigh of relief, wiping our hand across our forehead as we ponder on the narrowness of our escape from tragedy.

So obviously we are thanking God for ending whatever just happened - tire got fixed - person got better - money came in - and we (rightly) are giving God praise for his goodness. Good stuff, and quite proper I think.

But why is that when we say it?

Well obviously, you say, God has been good to us for ending that ____ (fill in blank)

I find myself asking why that is the only time we say it - why is it *after* the crisis, we say God is good to us?

I think that timing speaks volumes about what we believe about how God should be treating us. We give God thanks in plenty with sunny skies, we panic when it all goes catty-hoopus, and then thank God when the clouds leave and the sun comes back.

If you work it out logically, it means that if you only are saying God is good when times are good, that means that you think God is not good when times are not good. Thank God for all the plenty. Hot-Doggidy what is this-  - Hard times? PANIC. WORRY. FRET. Whew, hard times behind - God is good.

Why aren't we thanking God in the hard times - *during* the accident, *during* the sickness?

And I am not talking about looking for the bright side of things and thanking God for that -  that still implies that there is a dark side of things that you are not thanking God for. I am talking about thanking God for the rough, the tough, and the no-fun. The mud on the Church clothes. The rain on the picnic. The lack of funds.

There is a story in WWII, where the only reason that the prisoners in German concentration camps were allowed to read their Bibles in peace, was because of the very lice that they had complained about was keeping the German guards out of their rooms - leaving them to read, study, and worship in absolute peace.

Sometimes those bad times are just what we need, and we need to thank God for them. Why wouldn't we? We shouldn't be thankful for all the good stuff God dishes out, only to be cranky when the mill slows down.

 Really, what have we to complain about?  

 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Flowers need rain *and* shine guys. And both in good portions.

And yes, that verse does say *all* things. Even flat tires. Even broken legs. Even sadness, heartache, misery, and unfair treatment. And even lice. All things.

So next time you land flop in a doozie, stop for a second and thank God for it. Don't try to find some reason why it is good, because that still leaves out thanking God for the bad. Just thank God for it, and move on. Like the verse said, it will work for good.

So, I guess I was wrong.

If you thank God in hard times, in reality, you really are thanking God for the good stuff.

The phrase "It's all good", suddenly has new meaning. Bummer, it so irks me when people say it.  : (

In the long run, if we really look back at our lives, we will find that it is those hard times that produced the best growth in us. God said it's better to go to a funeral than a house of feasting.

God gives us those hard times, because he knows we need them.  

Yeah - I was wrong. I guess bad times, really are good times, and then, no matter what, we come back around to thanking God for the good times.

Imagine that. God must be good.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Makeup: The Good, the Bad, and (of course) the Ugly

This topic came in full swing recently, and I have to admit, it kinda took me off guard. It got brought up once or twice in my circles, then came back in full swing just the other day. As a guy, this topic really doesn't have the potential that it could have for a girl. Hence, it really didn't pick up on my radar. 

I have to admit, my opinions have changed on this topic over the years. I use to think....

Well, I'll get to that in a minute. : ) 

There appears to be two sides to this topic - obviously, but both sides have some valid points I think.

But, with no further ado, here we go.  : )

So, some circles say makeup is taboo. Some say it is legal all the way round. Some layer it on like a clown at a circus gone bad. Some put so little on that you never can tell it's there. Some think that if you wear it at all, or even think about wearing it, you are the epitome of heathen. And of course, like any other topic, there are a lot who believe everything in-between.

I want to take this topic and work through it as logically as possible, because this topic can be really confusing if you don't understand exactly the worldview behind the statements.

The makeup market nowadays is huge - if anybody ever doubts that, just walk by the makeup isles in Sears of Walmart. Guys, try really hard not to run for about 3 seconds just to let it really set it. Then, by all means, you are allowed to run.

So, what is makeup, after all? What's the point? After all, why do girls make so much fuss about face-paint?
(Sorry, the guy in me slipping out...)

Makeup, on the general scale of things, is made to make people look different - look different than how they naturally are. For movies and the like, this can be extremely handy. This post isn't referring to the use of movie makeup - just makeup for person use.

So, looking different. Makeup is to make yourself look different. Is that good or bad? There is one main theme of argument that runs against wearing makeup, at least, one main one that I have heard. That is, that, obviously, whatever you do speaks about your worldview - you do what you believe. Now, I want to lay this out point by point, so we can see the line of logic flow.

By the way, I am going to try a new way of arguing this time. I saw this *point* style that I found immensely helpful and easy to understand, so if I like the way it turns out, I might use it more often. You'll have to tell me what you think.

Anyway, the logic goes like this.

1. God made you good.
2. God made you look the way he wanted you to look
3. Putting makeup on changes the way you look
4. Putting makeup on makes you not look like the way God made you
5. Since the way God made you was good ....
6. Then makeup is not good since it is not the way God made you

Ok, how was that? Was that helpful?

Oh well, I am going to keep using arguments in that format for this post anyway. : )

So, if you track with those points, they all seem pretty good - right?

Well, the breakdown of the points is actually pretty good - so from 1-5 is actually OK - it is point six - the conclusion - that has problems. The logic and presupposition behind the conclusion something goes like this. (More point logic coming)

1. God made things good
2. When you change things, they are no longer the way God made them
3. Since changing things changes them from the way God made them....
4. Then we shouldn't ever change things since they are no longer the way God made them

That is the line of logic that is really behind the first line of logic - and is as you can see, faulty. Why?

Well, that line of logic says we can never change things in our world - but isn't that exactly what God told us to do? Have dominion? Changing the trees to paper, or houses, or firewood, then becomes taboo. We can't hunt, or eat meat - scratch that - we can't eat period, because we are changing things from the way God made them. We are changing trees to paper, dirt to metal, steak to muscle, and plants to medicine. If we were never allowed to change things, then God would have never given us the dominion mandate, since God would then be telling us to do something that was not allowed. He surely wasn't telling us to merely sit back and stare at the earth he just made - we are to use it, and that requires change.

Now, at this point, the people against makeup throw in an argument right here, saying that, again, we have gone off the good ole' beaten path. Line Logic commencing.

1. God made things good
2. Changing things means (obviously) that they weren't good enough as they were in the first place, hence the change
3. Since God made everything, changing things therefore means that you think God didn't do a good enough job when he made it, or else you would leave it as it was.
4. Therefore, changing things is a sign of discontent, or a snobish 'know better' attitude.

Ok, so that is how they argue. You wouldn't change things if you thought they were good enough in the first place, which means you obviously don't think God did a good enough job.

But again, their lines of logic don't quite line up, but this time it goes astray way back in point two, instead of near the end.

Granted, changing things from one thing to another means that it wasn't good enough as it was - at least, not good enough for a specific purpose.

Let me explain. You chop down a tree and build a house with it, not because you think that God did an amazingly crummy job on building a tree and you are gonna show Him a thing or two, but because you can't use the tree to build your house if it is still standing there in the forest. It wasn't good enough for a specific purpose and you were changing it to be more useful for a specific purpose.  

So changing things doesn't mean necessarily that you think it wasn't good enough. You may think it isn't good enough as it is, but the act of changing it in-and-of-itself doesn't mean you think it is substandard. It is perfectly OK to change things, it is only your attitude behind changing things that makes you either discontent and trying to fix it, or content but using it differently.

So, how does that apply over to makeup? Well, lets play it down simply again, since it is easier to argue with and understand there. Makeup changes the way you look - so if makeup in-and-of itself is wrong, then changing how you look is wrong. See that connection?



1. Makeup changes the way you look
2. Makeup is bad
3. Therefore, changing the way you look is bad.

Oh bummer - guys, you are now doomed to never cutting your hair, you are never allowed to shave, or anything ever again that would ever alter you appearance from the way that God made it, or is making it, through natural processes.

But again, that logic is faulty, and again, it goes awry at point two, because it is still assuming that changing the way you look it inherently evil.

More logic lines.

1. Changing the way you look makes you look different that God made you
2. You only change things when you don't like them how they are
3. Therefore you only change the way you look when you are not happy with the way you look.

Wow - I think for once we got all the way through a logic line without botching it, yet at the same time, they still haven't gotten their kill-line in. Their clincher line actually turned around and clinched them - their own point bit them in the rear.

Exactly - you only change things appearance when you aren't happy with the way they look. For instance, you mow the lawn when you don't like the shaggy look. You trim the tree because you don't like the dead limb on that one side. You plant a bush in the corner because you don't like the bare spot.

So what is the matter with that? Isn't that changing your notch of dominion, as you see fit?

The problem is, it seems they get rather hung up on a certain point - they (the no makeup clan) cannot conceive of change without discontent, a connection that I do not think is valid. they say that the only reason you would want to put makeup on is to look different, drop the line of logic there and leave us hanging wondering why on earth looking different is bad.

Well, I don't think it is, honestly. I love the forest, don;t get me wrong, but I am all for cutting a few trees down here and there to build me a log cabin. And don't forget the garage, weapon shop, artist work-space.... you get the point. : )

But, they persist, the issue of makeup really boils down to discontentment. Discontentment is the reason they change the way they look. Discontentment is the real kahuna that is back to break the back of the makeup argument.

Ok, so the argument goes like this (you should start to see where this is going to go)

1. You change things when you are discontent with the way they are.
2. Makeup changes the way things are
3. Discontentment is bad
4. Therefore, makeup is bad.

Boy, those arguments seem a bit repetitive after a while.
This time, the logic goes out right smack dab from point 1. They base their entire argument off of the presupposition that you only put makeup on when you are discontent with your appearance. Or, to put it in a similar analogy, you only change things when you don't like it.

We already we't through that line of logic, and we know it isn't valid, but it does bring up an excellent point.
Discontentment can be a huge factor in not only makeup, but in literally anything. And I mean, anything, and everything.

You can be discontent where you are sitting on the couch reading this - so you will change it and move. You could be discontent with how the yard looks, so you mow it. You could be discontent with how your hair looks, so you dye it, crop it, and tie it in funny knots. You could be discontent with your earthly possessions, so you buy bigger and better stuff. You could be discontent with how much money you have, so you work hard so you can have all the money you like. You could be discontent with how your face looks, so you put makeup on and get a face lift.

And honestly, this is how I grew up thinking - I thought there was a one-one correlation between makeup and discontentment. It still plagues me, even though I have worked through this in my mind. I still have a hard time bending my will to my mind, and sometimes I see someone in a layer of makeup, and my first reaction is to think they are discontent with how they look. I do not think it is a right response, but it is my first response. I am changing my opinions and my preferences, slowly, bit by bit.

So, I throw that out there just to say that this isn't a this-is-the-way-I-was-brought-up thing. I had to work through this by God's grace and some simple reasoning. I had a bias the opposite direction of what my opinion is now, and had to work opposite to my feelings. This can't be taken on a basis of 'we don't like it'. If you don't like it, don't wear it.

Guys, if you wear it, I'll hit you. Just saying.        

Had to throw that it. Be clear, you know. : D *wink*

But that brings up another good point. I'll get back to that in a minute.

But back to discontentment, it could very well be a very prominent reason most people wear makeup. BUT. That does not mean that makeup is automatically tied to discontentment, as we already have shown. It can appear because of it, but one does not always come before another. So, I think makeup is sufficiently in the clear - it can be used for good reasons, outside of discontentment.

So, what can you use it for?

Well, before I get to heavy into that I want to point to several references from scripture about decking out in our Sunday best.

Er, um sorry, let me translate. Several points about dressing up in our best clothes for the occasion.
In the Old Testament, God had the Levities put on special clothes, worn only at certain particular times, to enter the Holy of Holy's. God commanded the Levites the rest of the time to wear other special clothes, for the rest of the temple duties. Esther went through a year of 'decking out' before going to see the king. Gold, silver, and other shiny rocks were used commonly for royalty, palaces, and places of worship, inside and outside of God's people. These are all examples, and I am sure there are far more that I can't think of, that show that there is a certain amount of decking out due when approaching royalty, authority, and of course, Deity.

There is something ingrained into the heart of man to put on his best - whether clothes or actions - for the boss - whoever the boss is in the given situation. I don't know what it is, or even understand it, and it doesn't make sense in my pea-sized pate up on these shoulders. But I have to acknowledge that it does exist, and from what I see in scripture, I think it is legitimate.

So why don't guys wear makeup?

Because I think the purpose of makeup is to beautify, and guys, I am sorry, you weren't meant to look beautiful. Girls sorta have the corner on the market when in comes to beauty. We just sorta look ruggedly handsome - maybe - that is actually quite debatable - but certainly not beautiful. I think girls putting on makeup makes them look more beautiful, and adds to their womanly air. I think makeup, used to enhance a woman's appearance and grace, can be used rightly with wonderful results.

Back to the whole point about changing things for a purpose - If girls are decking out for a special occasion, where there is a purpose, and I think a legitimate one, I think it is in the clear If we are decking out merely so we can do barn chores, and work around the house..... then I think we start having issues. There is no reason to be decking out in those circumstances - no big wigs or high haunchos present. It's like putting on your church clothes to go dig a irrigation trench - the two just don't fit together.
Change with a purpose remember. What is the purpose of changing the way we look on a daily basis? If a gal works where the vast public sees her daily, I think a case could be made. If a gal stays home, milks cows, and raises kids all day, yet still puts on her makeup every morning, one starts to wonder as to her motives. Change for the big dog in town coming over for dinner I think is perfectly legitimate.

(*Note*, I am not a big wig - girls, don't ever think you have to deck out when I am around, you won't hurt my feelings - or my eyes - one way or the other)
That was extra.....

So, I think, in the right circumstances, for the right purpose, put on makeup, and do a good job while you're at it - the world will thank you. Or at least, I will.

 There it is - call me what you like, but that is my opinion. And hence why any boy wearing any makeup (besides mud of course - that doesn't count) needs to be slugged - post haste and with gusto if you please. Guys are not meant to look 'pretty' - ever.

So, of course, makeup has to be used within reason, same as anything you do, or else - well, it goes from looking more beautiful to less and less and less beautiful. Fast. I can't tell you the utter sense of *bleagh* that I get from walking by a girl wearing so much makeup she is simply disgusting looking. Believe me, I have seen it. It aint purdy, by a long shot.

Ladies, use it sparingly, you would be surprised how a little goes a long way.....

.....Ooops, don't take that wrong, please don't....So sorry, guy-ness leaking forth...

*ahem* Moving on.

So, you get the point. I am learning to like it - little bits here and there of good taste and a good job are helping tremendously with my appreciation for it.

I do have to say though, I do not like Mascara used in abundance. I think when used heavier than it aught to be (not saying it is bad period) but when used in piles, it has heavy sensual overtones that really grates me. Girls, you may not see it, but it communicates loads to a guy. So please, if using mascara around guys, try to keep it to a dull roar. I think it can be quite nice used in reason. They do say too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing.
That last part was supposed to be encouraging.....  .........   .......   .........

Anyway, there is my gander on the lot. Quite a topic, I have to admit, and takes loads of wading through to even start to find solid ground to start working from, but I think the result is worth it.