Last Round Of World Mandate Photos


I shot several hundred frames, but I think I'm done posting pictures until next year. :-) Here's the last round.

More From World Mandate 2009

One of my favorite speaker shots (though I know he's not speaking, but he is reflecting on what he's about to say):


I posted some more photos here on Thinklings.

World Mandate 2009 Photos

I posted a few photos from my church's annual missions conference here. I plan to post a few more soon.


We're having a girl!

My Schedule These Days

I've always thought of this blog as a sort of journal; as such, it'll probably bore the life out of anyone who reads this to hear about my schedule, but the reality is I'm actually going to write out my typical weekly schedule for myself, so that I can look at it years from now to see what I was doing at this point in my life. If you'd rather not be bored, simply ignore this post. :-)

Monday through Friday:
6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. -- try to get up
6:30 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. -- shower, prayer, scripture reading, breakfast
8:10 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. -- drive to work
6:30 p.m. (on average) -- arrive home from work

After work schedule for Monday through Friday:
6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. -- dinner, hang with family, et cetera, (during 24 season, Brandi and I will spend an hour watching 24 on Monday nights, and Brandi will also be leading a Nancy Leigh DeMoss bible study on Monday evenings)
9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. -- get ready for bed
9:30 p.m. to ??? -- read in bed and then fall asleep

6:30 p.m. -- quick dinner
7 p.m. -- Lifegroup
9:15 p.m. -- home from LG, and getting ready for bed
9:30 p.m. to ??? -- read in bed and then fall asleep

5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. -- meeting
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. -- go home, hang with family, read, eat dinner, et cetera (we'll probably watch Lost somewhere in here during the season)
9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. -- get ready for bed
9:30 p.m. to ??? -- read in bed and then fall asleep

6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. -- dinner, hang with family, read, et cetera (when we have people over, which happens relatively frequently, we usually do it on Thursday evenings)
9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. -- get ready for bed
9:30 p.m. to ??? -- read in bed and then fall asleep

6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- family burger night (we usually make burgers and homemade french fries; it's awesome)
8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. -- hang with family, et cetera
9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. -- get ready for bed
10 p.m. to ??? -- read in bed and then fall asleep

Brandi and I are pretty militant about our schedule. Even on Friday nights we normally hit the sack by 10 to 11 p.m. Getting enough sleep makes all the difference. Also, with the exception of Lost and 24, we don't watch TV regularly; that habit (or lack of a habit) has also been a big difference maker within our relationship and family structure.

If I feel inspired, I'll post our weekend schedule at some point.

John 3:16


Thinking And Wondering

I remember it used to be popular in the Christian blogosphere to quote entire song lyrics. I don't see that so much anymore.

Anyway, I listened to "(Thinking and Wondering) What I'm Gonna Do" by King's X on my way home from work today. It's fitting.

So would you take me for a ride
and let me know I'm still alive
Oh sometimes I wish I didn't
have an answer or a clue to anything
All this wonderin' and this thinkin'
and wonderin' and this thinkin'
and wonderin' what I'm gonna do
So many reasons to believe
I am so easily deceived

Oh, sometimes I wish I didn't
have an answer or a clue to anything
All this wonderin' and this thinkin'
and wonderin' and this thinkin'
and wonderin' what I'm gonna do

So would you take me for a ride
And let me know I'm still alive
oh, oh sometimes I wish I didn't
have an answer or a clue to anything
All this wonderin' and this thinkin'
and wonderin' and this thinkin
and wonderin' what I'm gonna do

King's Gambit Declined

I finished Paul Hoffman's book, King's Gambit, yesterday evening.


If you're a chess fan, and if you follow modern chess celebrities like Kasparov, you'll probably get a kick out of King's Gambit, but I doubt the average reader will find it very interesting at all.

The book didn't seem to have a strong, central theme. Sure, it's chock-full if interesting, and downright exciting, interviews with colorful, flamboyant, and wacky chess personalities, but the tome tasted more like a so-so pot luck dinner than a filet mignon, or even a double-quarter-pounder meal. At its best King's Gambit is a hodgepodge of chess anecdotes with no real, substantive connecting thread between the chapters (with the exception of a good dose of father bashing; man, this guy's got an Eldredgian Wound like you'd never believe).

Hoffman must have received inspiration from J.C. Hallman's, The Chess Artist, because he tried his darndest to emulate Hallman's knack for storytelling. While Hoffman is no slouch, he's not quite a J.C. Hallman.

If you're a chess fiend, pick up King's Gambit, it's a worthy read. If not, don't bother.


A Different World

I just played a chess game on the Free Internet Chess Server against a computer programmer from Israel.

Here's a snippet from our conversation:

ThinklingsBird: never been to your part of the world.

alexanka: i guess now is not a good time to visit

ThinklingsBird: is it "safe" where you live?

alexanka: "safe". I am a bit north from tel-aviv. they still don't have rockets to rich my region. :-(

He was a nice guy. What a tough situation to have to live in.


I like the little ESV Scripture of the Day on my sidebar. Today it says:

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
-- Romans 6:22

Here's that passage in my beloved NKJV:

But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
-- Romans 6:22

And, although it's not inspired Scripture, here's a snippet from 1 Clement:

And giving heed to His words, you stored them up diligently in your hearts, and kept His sufferings before your eyes. Thus a profound and rich peace was given to all, together with an insatiable desire to do good, and an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit fell upon everyone as well.
-- 1 Clement 2:1 & 2

I like the phrase in 1 Clement, "an insatiable desire to do good." To me, that's a concise, yet effective, way to describe the Holy Spirit at work in a believer.

I also take note of the order of things in the aforementioned passages. First comes being set free from sin and being slaves of God (or giving heed to His words, et cetera), then comes the fruit to sanctification/holiness, and, ultimately, eternal life.

Billy Jewel

A couple of weeks ago at our annual convivial gathering of Thinklings, Bill hooked me up with a nice Amazon Gift Card (well, actually, it was a printout, so I guess it was a Gift Paper). I promptly ordered a mind-blowing magic trick that I had been salivating over for months, and today it finally arrived!

This trick will undoubtedly be the most convincing illusion I've ever performed, and I owe it all to Billboy.

My Stack

In the tradition of Jared's annual "Haul" post, I offer this photo of my Christmas books:


Homeward Bound: Random Thoughts On Wrapping Up Our Vacation

I just lost two games in a row on the Free Internet Chess Server. Bummer. Aside from stubbing my toe in that regard, Brandi and I will certainly enjoy our last day-and-a-half here in Houston/Katy at my parent's place.

I spent some of the afternoon watching my children play in the backyard while I sat by the swimming pool, smoked my pipe, and read a bit of 1 Clement from my newly-acquired copy of The Apostolic Fathers. It's amazing how tobacco, moving water, the sound of your children playing, and a good book can all work in tandem to soothe the proverbial soul.

Thanks to my brother, Sha, the kids now have a shiny, new Nintendo DS. Daniel especially is a video game fiend, or at least he'd like to be. We try to limit his play, otherwise he'd literally eat with that thing in his hand. For the most part, our kids don't consume much media, and we'd like to keep it that way. They have an innate love for books, and their weekly trip to the library is often the highlight of their week. Like any kid, they'd love to have unfettered access to TV, the Internet, and video games (just like any kid would love to have candy 24/7), but we've found that by putting hedges around their media use, they've grown to love old fashioned things like coloring, reading, and even the lost art of playing outside.

The past two weeks have been fun. We've had several large family gatherings. I've spent time with my best friends. And I've had the opportunity to play a decent amount of chess and read quite a bit. Alas, we'll head home tomorrow and get back to our day-to-day routine.

January looks to be a busy month. In addition to a wedding I'll be shooting our church's annual missions conference and Brandi will be starting an Antioch-endorsed women's study by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Hopefully I'll pick up my guitar lessons again and, as usual, spend as much time as possible reading (I got a stack of books for Christmas).


By The Way

Props to Billboy for hooking me up with my old Blogger theme. In case you all have wondered, I'm still, obviously, on Bloo, but now I'm running my former Blogger theme which features the banner photo that I shot last year at a small outdoor chapel in Trinity, Texas.

Thanks, Bill.