December 2001 archives

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Monday, December 31, 2001

Resolution

I'm back from my somewhat self-imposed Internet exile. I had wanted to enjoy the holiday season without worrying a whole lot about updating my web site. But I'll be updating more frequently again from now on.

As for resolutions, I only have one this year. Looking back upon resolutions that I've made, I've seen attempts to try to be a better person in one facet or another. But it's been the rare occasion that I've actually kept them.

My resolution this year is very simple. I resolve to live each day for God, to let God be in control of all areas of my life, and to seek His will for my future.

Happy New Year to everyone, and I'll see you all in 2002!

Friday, December 21, 2001

Christmas plans

Today I make the annual pilgrimage to Ozark, Alabama, the starting leg of this year's Christmas-Independence Bowl-New Year's trips. Things on the list to do before the 25th:

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Independence Bowl Preview

The Independence Bowl Preview edition of UA Football Facts is now live.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

A new beginning

I have a confession to make. And it's one that will shock absolutely no one who reads this site.

I have been in a bad state of the heart recently. My writing has reflected it. My tone of speech (for those of you who've seen me during this time) has shown it.

Has it really been all because of one thing? I think so. Why? Another confession must be made. Prepare yourselves; this one may shock you:

I haven't been living like a Christian in the past six months.

I'll step back for a second, and let that sink in. I had to do it for myself when I first realized it, on Friday of last week.

I haven't been living like a Christian in the past six months.

No, wait. That's not strong enough.

I haven't been living like a Christian for a long time.

I can't really give you an exact amount of time, nor do I want to attempt to do so. That's irrelevant; it's the problem, not the timeframe, that's important here. You see, in the past few years, I'd been thinking that I'd been doing the right things mostly. I'd attended the BCM and participated in a lot of the ministry activities, even when I had a lot of academic stuff on my plate. I went to church on Sundays, for the most part. Sometimes I even went on Wednesday nights. I read my Bible, although nowhere near as often as I should have. But more than most at college, I could rationalize. I had a daily devotional e-mailed to me every day; I would read it and often print it out as a physical reminder of a tenet that I needed to work on. I said the right things, both in real life and on this website.

I thought that I was doing enough. I had myself thoroughly convinced.

And now I realize that everything was a sham.

I've been putting on a false face for so many years, and now I'm telling everyone. I'm taking the mask off, and feeling the sunshine on my face for the first time in a long time.

I haven't been living like a Christian in a long time.

A common theme throughout this site has been the idea of living my life for God. I've talked about it specifically in at least three places. But it's something that I keep coming back to because I keep forgetting it.

I've been reading a book ever since that Friday night called Authentic Christianity, by Dr. Ray C. Steadman. In it, the author makes the bold statement that once a Christian comes to that point when "the old natural life begins to reassert itself", one of three things will happen.

  1. The Christian continues his decline to the point where he is finally living no differently than he was before he became a Christian.
  2. The Christian becomes aware of his state, is frightened by the thought of regressing to what he was before, and "casts himself in repentance and frustration upon the Lord anew." This cycle may be repeated many times, until the time comes when it's considered normal Christian behavior to do so.
  3. Most likely, the Chirstian will discover that all you have to do today is maintain the facade of Christianity. Latch onto something, whether it be high moral standards, orthodox behavior, spiritual commitment, or all three. And no one will be any the wiser. In fact, this is the Christianity the world most often sees.

I've found myself somewhere in all those options. I've had those times when I thought that I was making a change for the better. I've thought to myself that I need to make the change. If only I could do something about the situation that I was in, then maybe I would be a better Christian! That is, when I realized that something needed to be changed at all; when I understood that something wasn't right, even though the ministries were being performed and the services attended.

Another way to look at it is the litmus test of life-changing. That is, can I look at my life right now and say, "People know that I'm a Christian by the way I act and the way I speak, even if I haven't said the name of Jesus. And because of that, people want to know why I am the way that I am, and I tell them so." Can I? Absolutely not. Certainly not within the past six months. But even beyond that...did it happen while I strolled the University campus? Maybe so, but if it did, the times were so few and far between as to be mere blips in the memory. Forget the past six months; what happened in those six years for the cause of Christ?

If you think that I'm beating myself up about this, don't worry. Quite the opposite; I've not been this excited about something in a long time. Because I see what the past was now, and because of that, I can see what needs to happen in the future. So what do I need to add to the workload?

Nothing.

That's right, nothing. In fact, I need to stop doing so much.

Specifically, I need to stop worrying about getting a job and my life afterwards. I need to stop wondering and fearing the very real fear that I've had that I'm always going to be alone, without someone to experience life with. I need to stop confining God to planting me in Birmingham when all these interviews that I've had may have been His way of telling me, "I really think you need to go somewhere else." I need to stop trying to guide my own life, and start living the Life that God has promised me. In short, I need to get out of the driver's seat.

I need to stop reacting negatively when things don't seem to go right, and instead remember that age-old promise of God that still rings true. He has a plan for me. He has a plan for me! When I start getting disappointed in the latest interview that hasn't gone well, what am I showing to God? Only that I'm angry because I don't like the plan that He has for me that he will reveal in time. That I think that my way is better than his way.

One of the blogs that I frequently read (and actually is written by a fellow Ozarkian, believe it or not!), recently commented about his wife:

For if I had spent months charting, graphing and drawing the specs on the perfect woman for myself, when I handed it to God, He simply would have chuckled and said "Carey, son, are you sure this is what you want? Because the woman I have in mind for you, well, you just can't fathom her."

Take that one statement about one aspect of his life and apply it to my whole life -- now you've got the way that I've been thinking for the past who knows how long! Even back in college, all my guiding of all the aspects of my life was just that -- me guiding my life. Paying lip service to the one who has the plan.

God's plan for me is great for four reasons:

  1. It works to His glory.
  2. It is the best course of action for me as well.
  3. It will come to fruition.
  4. Because of the first three, I should have no other alternative to being an optimist about my future! For God is for me! Who can be against me?

It's all so clear, and I'm amazed that it's taken me this long to realize. I've just been so worried about not having anything happen in these six months that I've tried to wrestle with God about my future while avoiding true contact with Him. If I would have honestly searched for God's truth in all these matters, I believe I'd be a lot farther down the line than I am now. I'm not saying that I'd have a job and a house/apartment and a girlfriend and that everything would be "perfect". I'd just have known the simple truth sooner. If I had understood the idea that trusting God in all these matters (how simple is that, and yet how hard!) was the way to go, instead of trusting myself while applying a candy-coated shell of "Christianity" so that no one would be the wiser, who knows where I'd be right now?

As it is, I'm excited. I'm looking forward to the future right now more than I have in a long, long while.

Of course, I still need to do those things I mentioned earlier - go to church and get involved. Have an active prayer life. Read and digest the word of God. Challenge my faith. But it's nothing - nothing without the simple acknowlegement that God is, and should be, in control of my life. He is my Savior for sure; it's time to let Him be Lord of my life again. When I start to get discouraged about the here and now, I should trust God to provide that future that he's promised me. When things inevitably pick up, I should resist the idea of taking back the reins because "I can handle the situation now."

I should live for God, because God should be living for me!

I would appreciate any feedback on all these remarks. This has been the product of a few days' revelation, followed by a stream-of-consciousness outpouring right now. And as a result, I may not have thought some things completely through. But I really think that this is a step in the right direction. Let me know what you think, one way or the other.

And if you got this far, thanks for reading. I'm glad that you care enough about me to get here. :)

Friday, December 14, 2001

Another one down, another one down...

It appears that I won't be working at ComFrame either. I got the latest in a series of ding letters (this one via e-mail) yesterday. Oh, I also forgot to mention the verbal ding I got from the company I temped for a while back.

Couple this with the fact that Regions Bank has never gotten back to me even though it's now December (they promised a response by mid-November), and you've got a depressed unemployed person.

As I stated previously, I've got a second interview with BellSouth. I still haven't heard anything from Command Alkon. I've decided that if both of those fall through, I'm officially going to start looking at colleges again.

I had hoped to get some work experience before making the "big choice" in my life as to my future place of work: the university setting or the "real world". This current recession is just about to make the decision for me.

There are a lot of other things going on in my life that I'm not really wanting to expound on right now. I'm going home this weekend, which will help some. I've got family Christmas get-togethers on both sides of the family this weekend back home.

Monday, December 10, 2001

BellSouth update

I have a second interview with BellSouth next Monday at 9 a.m. here in town. Interestingly, it's for a position different from the one that I originally planned on interviewing one. It's more of an MBA-type position - it's less programming-oriented. It would be out of Atlanta. We'll see...

Sunday, December 9, 2001

An admission and a request

This one's gonna be long. I appreciate your patience.

Some thoughts I had this morning while getting ready for church (I went to early service today) and waiting for service to start, now fleshed out a little bit...

You know, I'm a sad, sad creature. For five months now, I have been living in Birmingham, and I still don't attend any church regularly here. Oh, I've gone to church a few times, but it's been a half-hearted attempt at best. My excuses for not going have been many, and all of them not good. Let's examine them one by one. I realize that the counter-arguments for all of these are trivial, but trust me, it does me good to write them down.

First, the country's in a recession; lots of people don't have jobs right now. Second, my spiritual need far outweighs my financial need right now. Third, people wouldn't know that I didn't have a job unless I explicitly said I didn't, and even then they'd understand, given the current climate.

This is a reason to not join a church here in town. It's not a good reason to attend church at all. I don't necessarily have to join a church right now, but it always does me good to attend church.

Well, first off, this isn't entirely true. At Dawson, where I've been going the times that I have gone, I know Ricky and Tammy (they just aren't in the Sunday school class that I'd be in, and they can't sit with me in church because they're in choir). I also know my friend Sarah Frey (formerly Elmore) from the MBA Program (ditto on the Sunday school class).

But even in just the realm of a new Sunday school class, it isn't a good argument. It isn't anyone else's fault that I don't know anyone. The problem with this argument, as it pertains to a new church, Sunday school class, etc., is that it's a vicious circle. I don't know anyone, so I don't go, so I don't know anyone, and so on. If I had used this mentality concerning the BCM the part of the freshman year that I went (and trust me, I almost did), I'd never have met so many people who are so close to me now. Introversion is one thing; lack of effort on my part is quite another. No one can get to know me if I don't make myself known.

This is the weakest argument of all. It stems partly from the first argument, partly from introversion, and partly from good old-fashioned vanity. I even considered not going to church today because of a couple of shaving bumps on my face! This is when I had the mental ice-cold water thrown in my face, and when this whole line of thought began.

I've forgotten something very key: being a Christian (part of which is church attendance) is an acknowledgement and even an admission of imperfection. Simply coming to church shows that I realize I need a higher being to lift me from what I am without Him. (Side note: the first guy who greeted me today had a shaving bump just above his lip. I love the way God works.)

Anyone can see that these are all poor excuses. So I'm not going to make them anymore. I might not end up in Birmingham, but until I move off (if I do so), I will be attending church here on Sundays. No excuses. I hold myself accountable to all pressing on... readers from this day forth. I would appreciate any e-mails helping me to stay accountable in this area of my life.

Saturday, December 8, 2001

A couple of vents

First off, all pages on pressing on... except one are now compliant with XHTML 1.0 Strict. The one that's not? The Java solitaire page. Why? Because IE 5 doesn't recognize the <object> tag, and the <applet> tag (which isn't supported in XHTML 1.0 Strict; you're supposed to use <object>) is the only other way to embed a Java applet. (To those of you using IE6 - does this page work?)

Also, a new incensed thought is up.

just wondering

How come you never see a banner ad like this?

You...lose?

Friday, December 7, 2001

I know that I'm about a year behind the times

It's not quite as cool now to have a Amazon wishlist as it was last year. Nevertheless, I decided to make one this year, so if you're interested in getting me a book, here ya go... :)

A special congrats to the December grad!

Today is Ginny's last day of college. Well, except for her final, anyway. I know how it feels...bittersweet.

And I'm more than a little sad about not being named among the people who have influenced you. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2001

And I thought my mom was lucky...

Lucky Couple Wins Six Cars in Eight Days

A splash of style for NN4

I've been working on the site and how it looks in Netscape 4. I've been able to add back some style without making the browser crash.

Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Go me!

I've now finished Christmas shopping for three people, which is three people more than I'm normally done with at this time. Being your typical male and a computer geek, here's my method for when shopping is done:

if (month = 12 && day >= 20)
shop();
else
procrastinate();

Also, I have an interview with BellSouth on Thursday for a potential job here in Birmingham. Wish me luck!

Oh, and there's another insane thought up. I must have let my mind wander recently...

Keeping me awake at night

How do you throw away a garbage can?

Icons for IE

Okay, I found a shareware icon editor tonight and made the official pressing on... site icon! (They're called favicons in Internet Explorer, but in Mozilla/Netscape 6, they're not just for favorites/bookmarks). In IE, you won't see the icon until you bookmark the site, and even then you'll have to either reload the page. (Kinda silly, if you ask me, but oh well...) In Mozilla/NN6, you'll see it right away.

Monday, December 3, 2001

Battle of the commercial animal stars

Just something that randomly popped into my head a long time ago...in a fight between the Energizer Bunny and the Taco Bell Chihuahua, who would win? Between the rabbit's stamina and the dog's craving for grade-D meat, it'd be a pretty tight matchup, if you ask me...

Oh, the insanity!

A new insane thought is now up.

Oh, and I also fixed the solitaire site, because it wasn't initializing the game. It should run fine now.

Saturday, December 1, 2001

Version 8.0!

Welcome to version 8.0 of pressing on!

If you've been here before, you'll think that not a lot has changed. Oh, but it has. It has. Here's the nickel tour.

The theme-swapping function has been much-improved (inspired by this article, and modified to include the image swap as well). Now the page doesn't reload every time you want to change styles. I've defaulted the style to Christmas for now; that's why you see it here even though you may have picked another style earlier. If you change it again, it'll remember the new one from now on. It still doesn't work in Netscape 4, but I didn't leave NN4 users out in the cold; more on that in a second.

I also went ahead and implemented the collapsing menus that I had worked on earlier. To expand/collapse the menus, click on the header of the sections (me, contact, etc.) This also doesn't work in Netscape 4, but all the links are accessible in that browser.

Netscape 4 users, you'll see that I didn't completely abandon you style-wise in this version of the site. It's still very bare-bones compared to what you'd see if you had an updated version of your browser, but it at least has a little color to it. As far as I have tested, I haven't had the browser crash on me yet. But I can't make guarantees. :) I made your default theme a little Christmasy as well. I also provided a link at the top of the site for those who want to jump down to the links for the site's features.

And I believe that the entire site should still validate as XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS-2. Of course, I doubt that anyone but me cares about this, but it's still a good thing overall.

This was a massive undertaking, and pretty much every page on the site was modified, with the exception of the UA Football Facts site and a couple of the tribute pages. I hope that you enjoy the new features. I'm off to bed...I'm a little tired. :)