Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Well you may have noticed that I no longer post about the Confessional Crusaders. Yes I see no point in following their rediculous rhetoric anymore. Its always the same messages and if you follow it you are wasting time that is better spent in the kingdom. Once every so often I might scan the headlines so to have cured my curious fascination with their kind.

Our success at Victory is a testament to God's Word working through the hearts of those that have come to hear his Word whether it was through a community event, a children's event or a worship service. There are so many stories that have brought us from 6 people to 175 worshipping on Xmas eve in just 1 and 3/4ths years. Pastor runs 5-7 small adult bible instruction classes. We have run out of room for growth at the Polonia and already need a new place to worship. The level of individual committment to the church is phenomenal. I can't tell you how gratifying it was to see the amount of involvment from members to make our Xmas eve service so successful. The decorations and the enhancements and 25 people coming to prepare the facility for the service. The music and the video planning and rehearsals and their excellent sound.

All I know if this is the wrong way to be a Lutheran then praise the Lord because our success is only His fault. So no more wading through the murkyness of those who claim to be saving confessionalism. Instead I will focus on showing what confessionalism in action really looks like.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The End of 2008

Well I have been deliquent in posting for the last week and a half. Not for lack of starting a post and then abandoning it though. I have been on vacation for last week and this week as well so I have no excuse. Just have been blue a bit.

The usual hubub has been going on. Actually much more than usual with Zach home. It took approximately 2 days for our house to return to the old days of summer. Zach exploded his crap all over the house, leaves his messes for me to clean up and has a constant stream of friends coming in and out and staying overnight and eating all our food. It's like he never left. He is different though. Definitely more mature. Seems to make better decisions. He takes anything Marine related very seriously. You can tell he wants to succeed in the Marines. Thats a lot more ambition than I have seen him show for most anything in a long time.

He leaves January 19th back to Cali for MCT (Marine Combat Training) for 4 weeks. Then he goes straight to MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) school. It could be in Pensacola, FL or at 29 Palms, near San Diego...he clearly wants FL over Cali. That decision is made in the last week of MCT so we won't know which location for awhile. MOS school starts with a 7 week basic course and then based on your performance in the class you can be sent to a more advanced training at other bases. That advanced training could be from 3 months to 8 months longer.

Zach has optimized every opportunity visiting with friends and having his friends over for parties. Now he has started working at the recruiter's office and assisting him. So he is working 8-5 for right now.

Kt has spent most of her break working. Of course JCP keeps them busy at Xmas time. It's a bit of a bummer for her as working has cramped her social calendar. A quick update on the EZ situation. Due to each of them having a busy schedule (and in my opinion just laziness in coordination and planning of time together) they decided to just be friends. For instance she would work 3-11 on a saturday but of course doing something from 8:00 am to 2:00pm would be impossible...because why? well good luck on figuring out that one. Curently "all boys are stupid and I don't need one until I'm out of High school...well at least for now" So does not stop a large array of flirters from calling and trying to gain her interest.

Ike is busy. He is a mall rat I'd say. He spends a great deal of time there. He also spends a great deal of time texting and talking and visiting with Naomi....his new love. She is a girl from church that he gets along great with. More like as a real friend but now with the added elements of hand holding and occasional kisses. It's still cute to see him wallow through his "first love" My existance has become incredibly embarrassing for him. Ahhh the rough life of being 14.

I have to admit I've been in a funk for the Christmas season. It was so hard to be in any kind of Christmas spirit. I didn't put up one decoration or even find the Xmas box. It was all busyness. For some reason the robbery really bothered/bothers me. I think of that jewelry box and I'm just so pissed. I found some earlings similar to the saphire ones that were stolen for Karen for xmas. They were emeralds though but still very similar. Although K would kill me for spending that much on them it was about the only joy of my Christmas. I don't think K even understands how bad I want to replace all that for her. It really bothers me. Now to all the both of the family members that read this don't think I didn't enjoy being together but maybe I can just say I was distracted. I remember when the kids were young and we'd set up the tree and put the kids to bed and I'd listen to xmas music on the stereo and sit in the dark looking at the xmas tree lights for hours. I wish I could recapture that feeling. I guess add in that it was a really tough year financially and quite a bit transitional and it just made for a stressful year end.

Of course today did not make things better. as my BMW was sitting right in front of my house and zach and I napped in the living room 35 feet away someone went in the car, opened the glove box and rifled through it and finding nothing valuable they took the ashtray...the whole ashtray which had maybe 2-3 dollars of change in it. Next time I'll leave a key and a note saying they had better make sure the car is not found for 30 days. Still I want the general public to stay out of my !@#$@%! stuff!!!

I'm sick of being violated like this. It still wouldn't surprise me if it was the same person we suspect robbed the house. We did find a few more things that were stolen. He took some cheap perfumes from Kt's room that were like 4 dollars. My fathers 45 year old electric hair trimmers that he used to give my brothers crew cuts in the mid 60's (and amazingly I still used on Zachary's hair.) some coin jars...

So they took a shower, used our shampoo, took a towel, perfumes and a hair trimmer...a well groomed thief?

We are definitely looking at upgrading all our security.

I also have a couple of friends struggling with issues and I really would like to just get everyone together and say "hey whatever happened in 2008 is behind us and we can all look forward to creating a happy new year in 2009.. (completely despite the impending inaugaration of obama and subsequent ruin of democracy)" My resolution tomorrow is to not be sad and do what i normally do best which is find the good in all situations. I will not look back on 2008 anymore and i will be optimistic about 2009.

...and I might just keep toasting the new year until I feel that way.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Big Trip

So much time to make up. I have been offline for nearly a week and a half. I left off a week ago Thursday. We have been busy beavers during that time.

Well Zach did complete the crucible with not too much problem. He certainly has an interesting perspective as to whats challenging and what isn't. More on him later.
On Friday the 5th Ike went to the movies with the cute girl from church he met with my assistance. Forthwith we will call her Naomi. They started texting incessantly and still are. They really hit it off and Ike has been unusually chipper although somewhat obsessed about texting her. On Saturday they went to the mall for awhile. Then after we headed to San Diego on Sunday morning they had to go back to texting all week long until we returned this last Saturday from San Diego. Of course it took all of an hour to plan another movie for later Saturday night. Then magically Naomi, the shyest most quiet girl in the world for the last year and a half she has been at our church, was now sitting with ike in church and goofing around with him. So this is where I will go "They're so cute!". This is where the extrovert Ike however can turn into complete 14 year old embarrassment. It is a bit fun to watch his demeanor change when bringing up the subject of a girlfriend. If he wasn't so brown I'm sure his face would turn red.
On that same subject, we are still waiting for EZ to ask Kt out. They hung out the Friday before we left for San Diego and apparently made several attempts to open his mouth and get the words out but fear and trepidation got the worst of him and he chickened out again. We all decided it was very cute. I'm sure it would be so much easier for him to ask her out if he knew how we talk about him being such a cute, shy, teddy bear of a 6'2" 200lb football monster.

Alright. On to San Diego. We had a good trip out there and the contrast of leaving our car at the airport with it being 4 degrees and arriving with it being 70 degrees was extremely gratifying. K's parents arrived a couple of hours after us and we all proceeded up to Escondido to the resort. It really was a great place. I thoroughly enjoyed the stay there. It was up in the deserty hills north of San Diego. After we got there we hunted for a place to eat dinner. We went to a "restaurant row" in San Marcos but not before Karen cut off a cop in her crazy mario andretti fashion trying to follow her lane changing father. Of course as you would expect the cop pulled up next to us at the light on the passenger side where I was sitting and proceeded to yell at me for not using my signals and how his verbal warning was better than a ticket. I should have mustered up my best english accent and told him "Spot on chap I thought I was on the wrong side of the parkway." Well skippy the wonder cop pulled ahead and we went our separate ways but I couldn't help but note that even when I'm a passenger in a car I get yelled at for what it does wrong. Just as our food arrived at the California Miner's restaurant Zach called. I'm guessing he smelled the burgers and knew he should call right then. He bought the call from the DI for $10 for 5 minutes. The DI takes the money and buys new drill belts for the platoon so when they have final drill they look sharper. Its almost like having a bake sale for the Marines.

We spent Monday checking out the resort, doing homework, sitting in the hot tub etc. Tuesday we went to the San Diego Zoo. It was great. 75 degrees and partly sunny as well as being a very nice zoo. I took 150 pictures on my new camera here alone. We had a lot of fun. Wednesday was beach visit day in Oceanside, CA. It was too cold to swim but we walked on the pier and then around the beach. Kt and Ike found sand dollars. More pictures.

Finally Thursday was family day. We headed down to MCRD and ate breakfast on base at a "restaurant". I caught a glimpse of zach practicing their marching and formation on the parade deck for graduation. We met up with the McCorkel's and Laupan's and waited for the Moto Run to begin. We got 3 opportunities to see zach during that....yeah I got pictures. After that we got a little intro to the DI staff and what their training was all about. After that Zach was dismissed for 5 hours of base liberty. We ate lunch at a pretty decent buffet where we observed Zach down voluminous amounts of food. Then he showed us around. The Marine Corps museum was pretty interesting but my family wouldn't let me read all the placards next to each exhibit. After buying some souvenirs and watching Zach eat more food we had to turn him back in. They had to spend their evening packing and preparing for graduation the next day. We had to spend our time crawling through downtown San Diego rush hour traffic but that hot tub was still nice later that evening
Friday we left a little bit earlier for the Morning Colors ceremony. It was cool and particularly because the Secretary of the Navy was there for both that and the graduation ceremony. Thats a pretty cool thing to get such a dignitary for his graduation. The graduation ceremony was very cool. Just seeing 455 men marching in time like that was very impressive. It was a great way to see history. At the end Zach was dismissed and he got his bag from where it was stored and just wanted to high tail it out of there. No lingering around or remeniscing. We took him to eat at subway where we found Mr. Crust avoider now eating every scrap. He says yes maam and no maam to the workers and always stands with his hands behind his back like he's at rest. Lots of subtle diffrences. We went back to the hotel after lunch and Zach modelled all his various uniforms.
When Gma and Gpa S came back we went out for dinner to Red Robin where Zach feasted on a burger and hot wings. He looked happy. Back to the hotel and hot tub time after a very long day. We packed up and got ready to return Saturday morning.
Well we returned alright Saturday morning. After the little snafu of backing into a cement gas pump protector after we filled up the rental car with gas to return the car right next door (It came from nowhere and jumped behind the car) We had to fill out a little form and thankfully the extra insurance rider we purchased for the car was purchased. everything was taken care of and we were only delayed 5 minutes to the airport. Our Flight home was uneventful.
However getting home became eventful. We discovered that our house had been robbed. They took Kt's TV and DVD player, they took $180 of Zach's wish list food he had wanted us to get. It was sitting in gift bags hidden in Kt's closet. They took Ike's 2004 world series ball signed by most of the red sox. They took an xbox and a sub-woofer and all the liquor!!!! They took my beloved ATT Uverse TV/ internet modem (which is worthless without a subscription), They took my laptop and an ancient video camera. Worst of all they took K's jewelry box. This makes me want to cry. Not that it was so valuable and thankfully they missed the two most valuable things that were stored elsewhere but lots of sentimental jewelry from her grandmothers and such. If I could get anything back it would be that. There were a few other small things like coin jars and such.
So that sort of bummed out our return a bit. Ike cheered himself up by going to the movies with Naomi and Zach and Kt went to Wind Lake for the big welcome home party. We were thinking of going but didn't feel very motivated anymore. We sat and found a TV that played VHS tapes and watched the Muppet Christmas carol to cheer us up because our TV and internet was gone with the missing modem box.
Sunday after church I started writing my research paper. Much of my resources and research were on the laptop that was stolen. So I had to recreate a lot of it from memory. I ran down to work to connect to the internet and submit my paper by 12:55 am...5 minutes to spare. I doubt the paper will get a great grade but we'll see. It was pretty good considering the circumstances. Devry has a no excuse policy on deadlines and such. I'll be curious to see what comes of my reconstructed paper.
So its 9 days to Christmas. Well I can tell you I am not ready for that. I'm looking forward to it yet feel grinchy when I'm at home. I don't feel like putting up anything or decorating or any of that. I will try to get the Christmas spirit here right after I don't feel like punching a robbery suspect. I'll probably need another day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Crucible ..almost complete

So in about an hour Zach will be finished with the Crucible. Then he is a Marine. Very cool. At a time like this I will quote the famous philosopher, Rhino the Hamster, from the movie Bolt.

Bolt Easy won't be part of the equation...
Rhino: Promise!
Bolt: I gotta warn ya, going into the belly of the beast - danger at every turn.
Rhino: [getting closer] I eat danger for breakfast!
Bolt: You hungry?
Rhino: [cracks neck] Starving!

Rhino:Anything's possible when your Awwweesome!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Crucible

Well approximately 5 hours ago Zach started "The Crucible". This is a 54 hour final exam so to speak for boot camp. It is an event that has 35 stations that could be a physical fitness station, an obstacle course, a team building course (get this bomb to that side of the river using floating turtles where 4 people must be touching the bomb at all times but never touch anything red or you're dead....that kind of a thing), combat stations (crawl the next 200 yards in the mud under the barbed wire, then go and bayonet the dummy's or small animals if you find one, when you're done with that go bash your friends with a pugil stick or a martial arts choke hold) and other exciting stations. When they complete the stations they will have hiked/jogged/run 30 miles already. They get 4 hours of sleep and 2 rations of food. Then they finish the Crucible with a 10 mile hike up "the Reaper" a largish hill/mountain where when they reach the top they are officially considered Marines. They then go straight to the Warriors breakfast of steak and Eggs. It is definitely one of the most difficult things someone can ever do physically.

I think Zach will do well. His platoon was honor platoon with its strength in the physical conditioning categories. Zach particularly has been relegated to plenty of extra IT ("Incentive Training" its the extra physical conditioning you get to do for whatever infraction a DI can think up)

I was thinking about how being a parent is running the crucible, except it goes on for years. We run obstacle courses through our house every day and particularly around our children. We hike here and there. We engage in combat skills as they grow up. We work on teamwork skills yet if they touch certain things they are dead. We are tired. Get little sleep. Teenagers make your rations scarce. Eventually we all hike up the reaper. We accomplished our goal....We will get our Warrior's breakfast in heaven. I bet you the steak is awesome in heaven.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The DMV and other names for Satan

Well It's December 1st and I guess it's winter now. We got a few inches of snow and a lot of drifting and blowing. It's days like this where I appreciate commuting at 6:30am instead of 8-8:30am. At least it's not too busy on the roads.

What a weird busy week. It was weird because it seems like I was gone from work for so long. I took Wednesday off in addition to Thanksgiving and the day after. A nice break but I know I will be even antsier this week and not interested in working. We leave for San Diego 6:00 am Sunday morning and now with winter arriving today it is none to soon to be in San Diego for a week.

Last Wednesday I tackled the DMV. My longtime nemesis. However much to my dismay, my plan for laying siege to the DMV by sitting in the lobby for hours waiting my turn was thwarted at every turn. My mission was to restore Zach's drivers license and clear up the snafu regarding my own license. But my plan started to fail right when I walked in the door. I got my number right away and started to fill out the required forms and was called to the window before I could even finish filling them out. What kind of treachery was this? Certainly some form of missing documentation would send me back to a lobby fox hole. "Okay Zach's licenses is restored. I see yours was restored but they failed to remove the FPF code blah blah blah...let me do that for you. Oh I noticed they have the wrong SSN on your license. I probably should ask to see your card but I'll just trust you and fix that too. That's it everything is good. Thank you very much" Yes evil I tell you...words of satan. Certainly the photo machine or license printer will fail and I will sit waiting for it. Alas I was handed my new license within 3 minutes. The whole experience lasted 18 minutes. Perhaps a driver's ed test student would pile into my car as I left the parking, I escaped unharmed. I am still one gets a DMV experience like that and walks away with their soul.

Next on the list..The quest for customer service at Target. Kt bought a new camera from Target just before Caitlin's wedding and within 6 weeks it stopped functioning. I went back to Target with no receipt or box but just a register, date, and time of day to lookup the sale. By harassing the electronics manager, who fortunately was available instead of skippy the wonder clerk who was trying to be helpful ...but wasn't, I was able to secure an exchange. Based on the new prices though, I was able to upgrade Kt from an 8 megapixel to a 10 megapixel. Because most any teenager needs to have a camera that can take high def pictures at 12x14 inches. I suppose they could then print posters of themselves standing in front of the bathroom mirror giving a peace sign or sticking their tongues out or maybe both.

I somehow managed to walk out with a nice camera for myself and a really cheap video camera as well. Funny how that happens. I also believe I accidentally kept the broken camera of Kt's. I believe that was supposed to stay behind but she didn't ask for it. So when I got home I realized that the issue with Kt's old camera seemed to be power related. I used the charger to try and charge it but it wouldn't take a charge. I put the battery in the new camera and it wouldn't charge in it either. The new camera ceased to work when I switched the old battery into it as well. When I used the new battery in both of them, they worked just fine. So I bought a new battery for Kt's old camera and voila we have a working camera. This is now Karen's camera. I will not even detail my quest for a battery. It's enough to say that if you need a weird battery just start at Batteries Plus. Don't try 3 other places first just hoping you'll avoid the drive out to Batteries Plus.

So I mentioned that I might have just purchased a camera for myself. We really haven't had a camera in many years. We had a cheap digital camera but it didn't take the best pictures and it sucked the batteries down so fast it was hardly worth using simply because there was no room for the pack mule we needed to carry batteries for us. I got a Kodak 10 megapixel camera with a 10x Zoom lens. This is all very strategic as I intend to zoom in on Zach while he is in formation or during his moto run or at graduation. It has a gabillion much so that I did something extraordinary...I read the manual. It does night vision pics and low light and just lots of things. I took pictures of Ike's head and I could zoom inside his nose and nearly see his brain. I was very happy...BUT

Evil Evil Kodak. They don't sell that camera with a rechargeable battery. It comes with a lithium battery that based on all the gear movement, zooming, and autofocus within this larger camera depletes rather quickly....and this after having already dismissed the pack mule as unnecessary. These batteries are $8 a piece. I bet you any money the DMV is behind this. So my quest for the rechargeable battery and charger commenced. So remember what I said about going straight to Batteries Plus to find your weird batteries? Disregard that...when you need an ion lithium battery charger and rechargeable battery. Go back to that 1st place you went to 5 blocks from your house to get that kind of specialty product. Thank God gas prices are down because no one accounts for the gas prices in their battery costs.

I think there is some irony that the very cheap video camera came with a battery recharger and rechargeable battery. A little bit of ingenuity thought up by some worker in china who makes 50 cents an hour no doubt. and the the whole video cam cost 50% of the camera. Actually I'm sure Kodak thought of this using the Printer sales methodology which states, "sell the printers cheap and gouge them on the ink cartridges." but they just are going for a corner on the ion lithium battery market.

So that pretty much covered Wednesday.

Thursday we went to K's parents for Thanksgiving. We picked up my Mom on the way and brought her too. It was an excellent meal and afterwards we played Wii for awhile. If you want high definition pictures of this, I got em. Even my mom took some turns playing M&M Kart. I was almost as surprised as the first time I heard my Mom swear... which did not scar me at all that fine spring day of May 16th, 1981 at 5:33pm in the kitchen of the house in Lake Mills. We left Karen at her parents to help out baking more cookies and HAHAHA they made her do her homework. We picked up Ike's friend Nick on the way home to stay overnight.

Black Friday began before I went to bed on Thursday. I stayed awake Thursday night to make sure Kt got up for work at 3:30am at JCP. I decided that black Friday I would stay home and avoid all travel. I know that Black Friday is a creation of the DMV and I do not want to push my luck. Instead I slept until 11:30 and woke up minutes before Kt got home from work. HAHAHAHA that felt good. She did not share my amusement. I then cleaned the house up a bit because Kt was having over the next boyfriend prospect. I wanted to make sure the interview went smoothly. So EZ, as I call him so creatively as those are his initials, so far seems like a good catch. He is polite, pleases and thank yous, looks you in the eye, and is not afraid to interact. He did call me Mr. Niedfeldt though and that always freaks me out. Mr. Niedfeldt was my father. He actually likes chapel at school. Goes to church. Is on the honor role with a 3.8, is 1st team all conference line backer, can break small children in half with his bare hands, and has a firm hand shake. He actually went out and played Frisbee in the park with Kt, went for a walk, and actually was willing to not just veg on a couch at out house. I'm scared that he's so nice and good and such that someone as wild as Kt might be too much for him. Well apparently word has spread via the football team network from the football banquet this weekend that he is now going out with Kt. This is unusual because normally this type of information travels fastest through the OMG network (This is the network where teenage girls transmit information faster than the speed of sound to large numbers of other teenage girls by starting conversations with "OMG, can you believe what so and so....."). Kt is still awaiting the formal request for long-term wooing privileges, but they do seem imminent. She is going to make sure this relationship starts out on the right foot. Something about not clubbing the boys over the head and dragging them off.

I found EZ's presence very useful in removing the remnants of the Big screen TV. Its sort of nice having the strongest Wisco student in the house to help lift out the heavy base of the old TV. I had bashed apart the TV console with my 40lb drive shaft from my original 1972 Toyota corolla. That bar has been the greatest tool ever. What duct tape can put together this bar can rip apart. Plus even the strongest kid at wisco who could crush me, had a chance to see what a 500lb TV looks like after being bashed by a large iron pole...particularly if you mention that this is what the last boy who didn't take care of Kt looked like after offending me and my 1972 drive shaft.

Did I mention the quest for the fuses? No of course not. Well in starting the cleaning of the basement on Friday night, I noticed that in a hole in the wall was stuffed the CD jacket of my "Best of the GoGo's" album. I pulled it out to discover it was covering a broken outlet. Who would think to use a paper CD jacket to cover a broken electrical fire causing outlet? I think the better way to start a house fire would be to use an album cover of a band I can't stand like Led Zepplin or Sting...but not the GoGo's...jeez. Upon wiggling the outlet to assess its brokenness, it promptly shorted and blew a fuse....or so I thought. I ran to Menard's just before closing and bought a replacement fuse for the apparent affected circuit as it was written in pencil on the fuse box 58 years ago. I got back to discover that my fuse box had inserts for "safety" and I now had the wrong type of fuse....alas it was too late to go back to Menards. I did manage to get the fuse insert out and try my new fuse...still nothing. I guess I go to Menards in the morning and get the proper fuses AND a new insert. Around 2am I notice that the house is getting frosty. So it turns out that the circuit I blew was the very common living room lamp, Kt's bedroom, the stove, 4 outlets in the basement and furnace circuit. I put an extra blanket on Kt and on my bed and laced my blankets with catnip to assure an adequate covering of cats.

Saturday morning I got to Menard's early and I decided to buy every fuse I could need to replace the whole deal. I also got a new insert for the touchy socket I had tried to fix the night before. When I got home I discovered that my electrical system was probably designed by the DMV. Every new electrical requirement added to the house in 60 years got a new electrical box holding exactly one circuit breaker. So inserting the fuses in all of the 7 electrical boxes was much like unlocking the sequence of a full stargate in my basement. It turns out that 3 fuses had blown and their unique combination is what made everything wacky. After nearly electrocuting myself twice getting the new insert into the socket it didn't fit right and didn't make an electrical connection. I ripped it out again and after getting most everything but Kt's room back power wise, I decided to just put in the fuse I had bought the night before. Voila! it worked. I was the fuse master and I have the electrical burns to prove it. I did replace the outlet, but I am still deciding which CD jacket to use as an outlet cover. I'm thinking my "Wham's Greatest Hit" cover. BTW there is a functioning stargate in my basement now. I'm submitting my electrical system to Nicolas cage to be considered in the next series "National Treasure: The Basement of secrets"

So I spent the rest of Saturday cleaning up the basement and building a small 5 foot wall to section off my office from the rest of the basement. I took out Zach's dresser of electronic components and put it in the garage. There is a lot more open space down there now. It's almost pleasant to sit in now. I got my sound system restored and found that I could blast Xmas music to cover an almost two block radius. Very cool to be able to do yet things rattle off the tables and walls in the house so its probably not good to do that often. With great power comes great responsibility.

Saturday night I ate dinner with the McCorkel's, who are Ricky's parents. That is Zach's best friend with whom he is in the same platoon at Boot Camp. We compared child war stories. It was nice that there were no surprises. I was waiting for..."Yeah I remember when Zach blew up our gazebo..." or something like that. Took an hour to get a large pizza at a new restaurant in Muskego..not cool...we wanted free beer to make up for our pain and suffering. There was no free beer.

Sunday was a "fun" day. Church was awesome. for me personally it was one of the best services we have ever had. Mostly because of the sermon but all around just a good service. Ike was too chicken to ask for the phone number of a cute girl at church. She has only been coming to church for a year and half now. So I went up and got it for him. He ended up talking to her all day long. After church, I came home...I was supposed to have not procrastinated and should have started my 10 page paper for class before this. That apparently did not happen and I had indeed procrastinated. Sooo of course the minute I got home I started right in on killing the fruit flys once and for all.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. They were still everywhere and PETA approved humanitarian trapping of fruit flys in the oven and baking them just was not enough. I found just the right type of raid for flying insects. It was a nice fogging mist and I blasted them all. Within 1 minute I had hundreds of fruit fly carcasses all over. There was a rogue here and there but I will get them in their due time. Basically it took care of the problem. Chemical warfare is where its at. Threat eliminated. I have no doubt they were from the DMV.

Now that I could study in the peace of a fruit fly free home, I got right on that paper. well and started laundry, cleaned the floors, and the cleaned the kitchen from the toxic cloud I had created there. Now, back to that paper. well except I needed to go get Karen from Delafield and then make dinner. Okay...the paper...I cranked it out and submitted it at 12:51am...9 minutes to spare oooo yeah. I also did two postings in those 9 minutes to cap off a perfect week of discussions as well. JIT education...that's me..Master of Fuses and Masters of Science.

So now the long week of work before we leave for San Diego. Can't wait for it to be done. at least there are some basketball games to see to help pass the time. Zach starts the crucible in about 15 hours. Then its 54 hours with 4 hours sleep and 2 rations of food. I will guess that the entire time what will get Zach through the entire ordeal is the warrior's breakfast at the end of the Crucible. Zach will be home on the 13th and doesn't return to San Diego until Jan 19th. He will be working as a recruiter's assistant during that time.

okay that's it...just watch out for the DMV.

Friday, November 28, 2008

video of Z at picture day

This video was put up of Z's platoon. His platoon took Honor Platoon, which means they scored the most out of all the various testing, drill and physical fitness competitions. Very cool. Zach is 2nd from the left in the 2nd row from the top. This video was taken actually about 6 weeks ago but it only goes up the friday of week 10. He should look even meaner by now. His best friend ricky is 6th from the right in the 3rd row. His other good friend Steve is in the top row 5th from the right.

got a call from Z on tuesday and Wednesday. He sounded pretty much the same except for a scratchy voice from constantly yelling. he was sucking on a cough drop as it seems everyone does there. All we did was talk travel arrangements as we only got 4 minutes each call.

Getting excited for the trip. Z starts the crucible on Monday. Thats all for now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

You Can Do Anything....When You're Awesome

So the weeks are quickly slipping by until we go to San Diego. Two weeks from today we will be sitting enjoying ourselves. Three weeks and Zach will be home having already emptied the fridge. This week is his "finals" week. He has finals in Drill (today), Martial Arts Tuesday, Physical fitness Wednesday, written test on Marine history and orders on Thursday, Friday they do repelling from a 6 stroy tower and on Saturday the company Cmmdr's inspection. Sunday they head back to camp pendleton for the Crucible. Their ultmiate test. Well we bought our tickets so everything better go as planned. Amazingly enough we got tickets still for $185 a person. Basically Friday will be the last letter I write to boot camp. That letter will be there for him when he is done with the Crucible and is actually called a Marine.

Here are the Graduation events they have:

Here's a small photogallery that shows pics of a few of the events

So Karen has been swamped this week at work and worked late every night. That stresses her out of course, particularly as it heads into the busy time and she wants everything cleaned up before we leave on vacation. She might be working late for the next couple of weeks. Karen got her promotion....again. I'm very proud of her. Her rise has been phenominal if you consider the "standard" career path here at NM. I'm sure it will continue. However Karen is a perfectionsist and can remember nearly everything she sees and hears. Her work ethic is beyond extreme. So naturally she'll succeed in any work environment. Of course being that kind of person there can be a certain amount of frustration that comes when she doesn't achieve perfection but she is the only one who notices. I now consider myself one step closer to the time I can retire and just be a staff minister. I just need Karen to get that promotion to director and we're good to go.

Ike had his lil crew of folk over Friday night again. At least they went to a movie with a slightly larger crew of girls. I think 4 to 7 ratio probably was ideal. That kept them out of the way for a bit. I bought a big Kerosene heater for the garage. It needs a few hours to get the place heated up but once it does it works ok. I think a couple of electric heaters with fans as assists will make the Garage inhabitable for the teenagers. It has just become so much more pleasant not having their music and spills and stickyness and loudness in the house.

Katie headed to Madison on Friday night to hang out with her cousin. She went with him to the Badger game on Saturday which was her first one. Although the Badgers really didn't deserve to win, they did and the game was exciting.

Karen went to her family cookie day at Kelly's. They made lots of cookies. I just came later with Ike and snitched some cookie dough, some lunch, and then went with all the manly men to watch Bond. Nothing perks up a Saturday afternoon than some random violence. Good movie though. I like the edgier Bond. We returned to Kelly's to check in on that cookie baking and yes indeed the cookie dough was still good...yet the evil looks from Karen indicated that it would soon go bad. I played with emma and lilly for a bit and watched the badger game. Then I had to take Ike to work. Then I went home to do my homework. I had a couple hours of peace and then Kt got home from the game, Karen got home from cookies and then I had to go get Ike from work.
Sunday we had a thanksgiving Potluck at church. OMG the food was so awesome. Too bad we couldn't stay because Kt had her CC banquet where we had a brunch. It was not the same as the food our people put out at Victory. It was another full Sunday too. I hope we can find some place soon to move to soon.

Look at the Turkey Marines..ok they're not Marines but hey did look like they were in formation.

After all that food I tackled some long overdue chores. The garage door has been being opened manually for awhile now because the bracket that the door opener connects to broke. Additionally a roller broke making the manual opening difficult as well. The weather strip at the bottom was dried out and almost gone. So I found a new reinforced bracket for heavy garage doors, I got a new roller and weatherstripping. Now the door opens all nice and smooth and quiet and seals up nice when its closed.

This week on the agenda is the dismantling of the old Big screen. It is pretty much unusable and is just taking space. So I'm going to take it out of the basement but it won't go up the stairs whole. It barely made it in. After that is out of the basement I will rearrange the furniture a bit to create more room. I am also adding a 6 foot wall by my computers and isolating my "office" from the main room a bit. That way my computers are protected from shenanigans in the basement. After some deep cleaning of the floors and basement and a couple layers of wax life should be nice down there.

Last night we saw Bolt. Funny movie. Its redonculous.

I know you are all awaiting news of the Fruit fly percentage. I would say its now at 92% removed. It would seem like they were mounting an offensive buildup of troops again but I fought back in a series of attacks they were not expecting. The battle wages on for total domination.

So happy Thanksgiving everyone. I can't think of a better way to say it than with cake.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Week of Ups and Downs

Probably the biggest downer was that Wisco lost its semi-final game to Reedsberg. Our defense needed to be on their game from play one and they took awhile to warm up. before things got under control again we were down 3 touchdowns. Also too many mistakes and turnovers. Oh well...12 and 1 is still a good record and hey...its better than the packers. Well the packers won. Thats a good thing. The badgers won...thats a good thing.

Oh I was a touch peaved that Ike miscalculated when he worked Saturday and it turned out I had to leave the game early to get him to work on time. grrr.

Friday night while our children were working, Karen and I went to a Casino Night function for her division. Together we won $5200 starting with $500 each. Not a bad haul. If only the cash were real. I have to admit it was a LOT of fun. Although I don't think I have ever drunk 3 vodka gimlets in the course of 3 hours and not been able to notice such a thing, that was certainly the case Friday. Perhaps since the money wasn't real for the gambling the real money I paid for the drinks was used for fake vodka.

So we have nearly conquered the fruit fly problem with an idea from a website submitted by one of the 3 readers of this blog. I put a mashed up banana in a pan in the oven. Let it sit for awhile and eventually a whole lot of fruit flies gravitate to it. Then I close the door and pre heat for a bit. I usually get 2-3 heats per banana pile. I also went and cleaned everything really well with cleaner and bleach etc.. even behind the stove. So for now our house is clean and sterile smelling as well as has 80-85% of the fruit flies gone. I want them entirely gone before we head out to San Diego.

So after a bit of a break there we finally got a letter from Zach. I had been awaiting his Rifle qualification scores as that is a pretty big event in MC Boot Camp. Last week he was a snot and wouldn't tell us his score until it was final but told us his friend's preliminary scores. Well he told us that he qualified as "expert" which is the top ranking. It goes marksman, Sharpshooter, and expert. So that was pretty cool.

He sounds a lot more pumped and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He also sounds proud of his accomplishments so far. He also wanted to hear more/go into more detail on some of the things they did during field training. He said that it really was "basic" training. I guess thats part of it...being trained to know you don't know enough. He wants "The Crucible" to arrive so he can tackle that. That is like a 54 hour "final exam" where they get 4 hours of sleep and like 2 rations of food. They hike about 40 miles throughout the course of it and hit 35 stations where they have to accomplish various tasks whether it be in combat skills, teamwork skills, physical endurance ability, obstacle courses, climbing towers, crawling in mud and all that great stuff. While they are doing these things they blast mortar fire and shouting and sirens over speakers and any other thing to make it stressful. for me that would be Whitney Houston. So the combination of physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation, food deprivation and stressers make it quite the ordeal. Two weeks from tonight he will begin that. When he completes it he becomes a "Marine" Up through then he is a recruit. From that point forward all they do is prepare to move on and get ready for the details of graduation.

That also means 3 weeks from now we will be in San Diego for his graduation. I'm pretty excited and proud. This is the first committment that Zach has tackled and will succeed at. I can't think of a better time to start succeeding although I would have settled for at least a little in High school...

Katie managed to get rid of two boyfriends this week. This is excellent. The first was Chris who she broke up with awhile ago but he is like bi-polar and goes from a suicidal person and desperately pleading for Kt to take him back and being sooo sorry to being a nasty bitter person bent on humiliating Kt. This is usually not a good way to get your girlfriend back however. It took Kt awhile to finally just say "go away" once and for all but she finally did. He flipped a little and was going to do whatever he could to embarass her because she wouldn't take him back. He started his little campaign but stopped a little bit later I think because all the people he tried to bad-mouth kt too either didn't care, already knew her dirty laundry, think he is insane or all of the above. If you read his rants you can see that he lacks stability. Of course it was the election that set him off and his newly found liberal radicalism already learned in two months at UW in the Poli Sci program. as an example...calling the girl you hope to get back as your girlfriend a "racist republican nazi..." is generally regarded as the improper way to woo her back.

The other "boyfriend" was Dexter. he was the boyfriend who was before Chris last spring. After a lil bit he sorta disappeared and faded away and thats when Kt moved on to Chris. However when Kt broke up with Chris she started talking to dexter who came by for a few visits but his resolve was soon broken and he disappeared again (he's the type who in the Navy they'd say he had a girl in every port...each one special in their own way...whenever he might show up). So its not like she really lost anything but at least those two are history...hopefully. Kt does take awhile to take a hint...but who wants to admit you picked two losers in a row. They start out charming but soon change. I'd say that I'd worry about Kt becoming bitter but she is already talking to new boys. She is really looking hard for some guys with integrity though. 7th to 10th times a charm.

I think that covers the week well enough.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Update

Just when I thought the weekend would be quiet and boring it turned out to be filled with little tidbits to keep me busy.

I took Friday off to attend Ike's parent-teacher conference. Ike is doing pretty well and definitely improving. As I have mentioned this school has been like educational boot camp and it is taking Ike some time to catch up and get with the program but it is happening.
After the conference I went to my mother's to fix her new Vonage phone setup. Silly me should have realized that leaving it in a Static IP address setting when her IP address is only leased on a daily basis was not a good idea and I needed to set it for DHCP. Well I changed that setting and it worked perfectly (although I swear the first time it did not work like that). Then we went through all the neat settings.

When I got home Ike's peeps were already showing up for what we seems to be shaping up as a weekly gathering. It will be a long 6 years if that is the case. Ike definitely is changing his social scene. He has sort of left his St. Paul, Muskego class in the dust. Those kids were all good kids but I can see that Ike is a lot less frustrated and quite a bit happier with his new crowd. They are mostly freshmen either at Wisco or one from New Berlin Eisenhower so they are all his age. He also hangs out with two other separate groups of friends at different times. There is a group of girls and some guys from the 8th grade at Greenfield Middle School and there is most of the 8th grade class at St. Paul's, Franklin. He is getting pretty handy at getting around town on his bike to visit them all. They all serve different purposes. The Franklin crowd is his crowd for hanging out at the Wisco football games and during football season. The Greenfield crowd are for going to Southridge with or hanging out in summer. The freshmen are the core group and they are for hanging out on weekends. I think that Ike is happy with this crowd because they share a common interest in the same music, girls, myspace, video games,the mall, and preening themselves. Additionally the kids all have a certain amount of independence and are not so limited on their activities. They can spontaneously go to the mall when they want, sleep over at each others houses, stay up till all hours of the night, ride their bikes around the city, take the bus, etc..

My job is to drive them around when they are not all on bikes apparently. This cold rainy weekend was such a time. I took Nick home saturday morning . I took Ike and Joey to joey's house (they went to the mall). then I picked Ike and joey up to go to the Wisco game. Then I took them back to joey's. Then Karen and I actually got a chance to eat dinner and were going to go to the mall but then Ike called and wanted to go to the mall with joey so they could talk to Rosa (the cashier at hot topic that joey was flirting with on the first trip to the mall that day) So Karen and I picked them up and brought them to the mall. Of course they were too cool to leave with us, so they went to Rosa's house just down the road from the mall and I went and picked them up an hour and a half later and took joey home. That was Saturday.

While at the mall Karen and I walked around JCPenney looking at clothes for Karen with their uber big sale. We were coming up with ways to make Kt's life more interesting at cleanup time like putting all the hangers opposite each other every other one or tying all the sleeves of the shirts together in a long chain. Instead we went to Juniors and found Kt and then pointed out all the messed up stuff which she appreciated soooo much. When I finally did get home I worked on some homework. I think Karen set up a facebook for herself.

Sunday I was the big man in charge for church. Pastor and Sarah were jetting off to Phoenix to study the inner workings of Crosswalk Church in AZ. They are a chruch that started off much like ours and is about 3 years older than us. They have 350 members already and have already provided a lot of guidance. Pastor and Sarah were doing lots of research on outreach programs and worship styles. So I opened up church and set up things. I briefed the Sem student who was filling in for Pastor. He did very well and seemed very comfortable. Seemed pretty natural at the whole leading a service thing and it went as smooth as if he had been doing it forever. I did notice his hand shaking at times though at the beginning of the service. We had another large crowd. We had better find a new worship home soon. It would be interesting to be a church in a rented facility that had to go to two services.

Sunday afternoon I took a little nap to make my nagging headache go away but after that I finished up an 8 page paper that was due. I also typed up a project proposal. a fun day of typing for sure. I also managed to make dinner in there and do some laundry and wash the dishes. We have this darn fruit fly problem that is annoying and I don't know how to get rid of them. It started out with one lonely banana but now they are all over the house and they are multiplying. Maybe I need a bug bomb or something.

Oo I forgot to mention that Wisco won round 3 for the state playoffs against Greendale. It was a close back and forth game and either team could've won but Wisco stepped up when they needed to and won 33-27. I don't think the next game willbe as competitive. It was a verycold and wet game with it being about 35 degrees and misting/raining. I had blankets and such. Ike seemed rather clothed with girls that I think he stayed pretty warm. I never had a coat like that when I was 14.

I guess that covers it. Have a good week.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Good Perspective

Pastor Ben forwarded this Quiz. Take a minute to complete the following “True/False” test…

  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus will still be King.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our responsibilities as Christians will not have changed one iota.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the greatest agent for social change in America will still be winning the hearts and minds of men and women through the gospel, not legislation.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my primary citizenship will still be in this order – (1) the Kingdom of God, (2) America, not vice-versa.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the tomb will still be empty.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our children will still be more concerned with whether or not we spend time with them than with who is President.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my neighbor will still be my neighbor, and loving him/her will still be the second greatest commandment. (Do you know the first?)
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my retirement will still not match my treasure in Heaven.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, “Jesus Is Lord” will still be the greatest truth in the Universe.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, we will still know that God is in control.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God Help Us All!!!

I would say there is hardly one thing Greg Jackson and I agree on but this one topic. I think this picture he had on his blog just about says it all.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend 11/2/2008

It was a busy little weekend. Ike had off all last week and Kt has off last Thursday and Friday as well as Monday. Kt left on Thursday after lunching with a Dr. friend from NML who was kindly sharing advice for medical school and such. She went to Madison to stay with her grandparents and get a haircut, pester her Grandfather, eat good food, etc.. On saturday she headed up to Wisconsin Rapids for the State Cross Country meet. Wisco girls took 5th. Not as good as last year but still a great finish. After the meet she followed the team down to the WI Dells to stay at the Wilderness and squeal I imagine. She finally got back home a few hours ago after snagging another good meal off Gpa and gma on the way back through Madison. She traveled almost 300 miles without smashing the car or anything.

Ike had friends over Friday night. Good lord were they loud for just 3 other guys. they really are a diverse group of odd ducks. All very different yet they all hang out together.

Saturday Karen went on an outing with her Mom, Sister-in-law, and Aunt to Ten Chimneys. Its an old estate that was home to some ancient actors/directors. Then they went out for dinner. Ike and I went to the Wisco game where in a reformation spirit we kicked Catholic Memorial's butt. Ike went off to hang out with girls and I'm not sure he saw much of the game. It was good though. They will play Greendale this next weekend at Greendale. Rematch of last year. After the game I took Ike to work. Of course that still sounds very strange but so far it works out well. About 10 hours only on Saturdays and Sundays. The clientele can sometimes be "interesting" and he is definitely learning those important customer service skills.

Today was church, podcast preparation, and homework day. I turned in all my homework for week one. As cynical as I am, it was actually interesting.

Well this week Ike is back at school and its back to the routine. Next week his Basketball team starts.

Got a letter from Zach. He is doing a lot better. He still focuses on food and what he would like to eat and rating all the food he does get. He cracks me up. He feels he is doing well. He thinks he can achieve the sharpshooter designation. Well if he made it, it already happened on Friday. We just won't get a letter until the middle of the week if we're lucky to tell us the results. His platoon is doing well too which is good but he noted that they get a lot of scrutiny because of it. Well it only makes him stronger.

Reformation Sunday

Today in Bible study we studied Acts 17 where Paul preaches in Athens. After reading this it is apparent that Paul was the first "Church Growther". He went to Athens and:

Went to the market place and talked to anyone who would listen.
  • That my folks is evangelism. He was teaching the Word outside of church the unbelievers. A crusader would have no part in this. The Word is only present in a church, with a traditional service and communion offered.
He went to the Ariopagus (sp?) to speak to the intellectual leaders of the day.
  • That is like a WELS pastor walking giving a talk to UC Berkely or UW Madison. A hot bed of stoicism and epicureanism so we learned. Funny but those two philosophies are alive and well today. Its pretty shameful that Paul would ever give a talk outside his Lutheran church, hey?

He was contemporary:

  • When he spoke, as usual, he used a style that spoke to the people in that community and that appealed to their intellectual interests. He noted that they had an altar to an unknown God and indicated he had the answers as to whom that God was. Without ever once mentioning the name of Jesus he told them the gospel. He appealed to their natural knowledge of the law to establish the creator God's existence. He quoted two famous poets of the day to show that even their own poets and philosophers spoke of an Almighty God.
  • So far in Paul's travels he adjusts his approach and message based on whether he was addressing jews or greeks. This is just an exemplary case.

He created an opportunity to speak the Word again.

  • Paul was invited back to discuss more about what he had said. He did not fully reveal all of God's truths yet some believed and started following him right away. It was baby steps in a bastian of humanism.

Last week we talked about his travels in Thessalonica and Berea. Before that his mission in Philippi with Lydia and crew. Everything was non-traditional. Even the messages he spoke when he went to the traditional Synagogue was not like they had heard before which is evidenced by how the traditional jews often tried to stone paul, arrest Paul, etc...

You cannot study Acts and ephesians and believe the legalism that falls out of the mouths of crusaders. Although their intentions are good they simply lost true Lutheranism in an attempt to create a Lutheran canon church. The more I study both the Bible and the confessions my pity for them increases.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend - 10-26-2008

Well its a cold dreary night outside but it was still a great weekend I guess. Let's back up a little to see why.

Thursday Kt had her last CC meet of the season. She did pretty well. Her time was 20 seconds better than the last meet and her place was just a couple off from last year. A fine end to the season. Now if she could keep up the fortitude during the off season.

After her meet was the last regular season game for Wisco FB. We played Oconomowoc with our second string and even some 3rd string and still beat them 42-19. It was neat because the 4 Sgt's from Zach's Recruiting Sub-station did the colorgard for the National Anthem. Here is a picture:

Zach's Recruiter is the short guy on the right. He still could throw me across the room. He is a really great guy. The Marines still have the best dress uniforms ever.

Speaking of Zach. We have gotten a number of letters from him. I think he is feeling the stress a bit now. He is not fond of Camp Pendleton and its deserty red dust. He is still very determined and is doing well with his scores and accomplishments but you can tell his resolve for handling the DI's is under stress. His biggest comment is that "It keeps getting harder and harder..." Well I think things will improve by the end of phase two in two weeks. He has already mentioned the Rifle instructors are more laid back and he likes that. Also this Thursday is halfway day. Well for me at least the time is going fast.

On Saturday I went on an adventure to get my phone fixed. It was cutting out every other second making conversations a bit impossible. I ended up sending my Blackberry back to RIM for a replacement. When the new one comes back K will get it. I got myself an even better phone. A samsung Epic. This phone is awesome. It has Wi-fi, Windows Mobile, Windows Media Player, touch screen and mouse thing as well as a stylus. It syncs up great with work stuff. It has lots of things to figure out and also some tricks to make sure it is not sitting there draining power really fast. It does seem like my pocket will stop dialing people randomly though.

After that Karen and I went to Madison to the Overature Center for the first show of the season. We saw the Broadway show Ave. Q. Very inappropriate. very funny though. We had a fabulous dinner at K's parents.

Today, after church, we went to a large college fair at the Midwest Airlines Center. College is expensive I've determined. I'm all for 1st Lt. Niedfeldt completing college somewhere.

Today I completed my first assignment for my first class of my masters. So far so good.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crusader's Unite!

Blogs are an interesting creature. They are the next "AM Radio Mentality" generator of the 21st Century. I make fun of those whose world view is based upon what they hear from AM Radio Talk show hosts. Even though I may agree with many things of those most conservative talk show types, that is only a place to start investigating the issues at large. Well the issue is similar in the Blogosphere and I believe it is definitely a problem with the Confessional Crusaders.
I took an opportunity to make the lives of the confessional crusaders more interesting and fulfilling the last few days. I had taken some time off for a couple of months during a lull in topics but thought, "Hey what better time to stir up some debate than Reformation time."
However the latest round of bantoring certainly was illuminating about Confessional Crusaders. Here is what I have learned.

1.) The confessional crusaders actually feel as if their position is the same minority position within the WELS as the contemporaries do. The weird part about it is that we each feel that the other group is the dominant group. I guess what that means is that we are two different fringe groups. There is uber confessional, there is contemporary, and there is this massive majority in the middle who might just say "whaaat are you talking about???" If this is the case however, I would contend that that large mass in the middle would be far far far more friendly towards the uber confessionals. They get the hanging chad. I think both groups are disappointed in the apathy of that group in the middle.

2.) I've realized that the scope of the issues is very small yet the Crusaders have manufactured a crisis. This goes back to the "AM Radio mentality". The Crusaders point to the same 1% crowd of churches and pastors and actually believe it represents a tidlewave of Synodical change. It's like believing Ralph Nader is a serious election threat. Actually its probably more like the hype around Global Warming. Sure you can reduce emissions or increase them. You can panic your way into living on bark and berries in the woods but whether its 10 years from now or 100 you'll finally realize there was no threat at all. Same deal for the Crusaders. I wonder if they all have priuses. They're a scared little bunch of people of whom some seem hyped up by some Area 51 type conspiracy theories.

3.)I believe the Crusaders are for some reason or another afraid of Christian Freedom. I can't put my finger on why that is, but they need rules and laws and regulations around the various principles of the Bible so they can go to their Bible Principle Application Matrix and locate the proper answer to all life's situations. You can see that if something is not delineated in Scripture they will pore through Luther's works and hope that Luther had an opinion and wrote on it. If he did, phew we're saved by scripture part II. Their frustration must be similar to the frustration level of the pharisees after they had tried to trick Jesus so many times with a loaded question. Jesus always answered the questions with a principle not an application. I think that if you are not confident in your Christian freedom that the inclination will be towards legalism, rules and ritualism. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing necessarily wrong with anything traditional or ritualistic. What's wrong is prescribing that as the only acceptable application of a loosely defined principle. I actually wonder if they are a bit afraid of the Bible itself. They will often quote an article of a confession but will rarely go into the Word to examine all the scripture that Luther did to write the confession in the first place. I appreciate that the confessions state the doctrine of the Bible but honestly I'd rather see those confessions laid out in scripture. I think you can better appreciate the confession right at the source. I'd say its like depending only on the Cliff notes.

4.) Crusaders blindly believe you cannot have "meat" in a contemporary setting. There is no convincing them that really there may be no difference at all. I'll confess that not every contemporary setting may be the same or offer as much. However when I go to church and have a confession of sin...I had a confession of sin. When I received an absolution, I received and absolution. When a sermon was preached it was a Law and Gospel sermon. I receive the Sacraments. My old church would be so confusing for them as the contemporary service uses all the elements from the other 4 traditional services but changes up some of the songs and adds the multimedia. In a situation like that, based on the differences, that the meat that is lacking in contemporary is just the music style. Thats just not the meat for me. Apparently the truth of the Bible we enjoy in the WELS just can't be presented in any other fashion or it ceases to be truth at all.

5.) So since we contemporaries are all smug in our service style and such we'll just let them prattle on about how our services are like the reformed and evangelicals etc. etc. bad theology is a foregone conclusion etc etc.. I have learned that it is not a point worth winning. Its like listening to my daughter complain about being fat because she is in size 8 jeans.. There is no convincing her she's not...the reality doesn't change..yet winning the point is just not important either. The point is contemporaries are content to be off doing their thing and not caring much about the choices others make. They can be traditional and such. There is no need to convert them or anything. How about they just don't go to a contemporary church and instead go to a traditional church. I will say I'm not in favor of churches replacing their traditional services. A contemporary service should always be an add-on not a replacement. For the mission churches that are all contemporary. Well thats the choice they made to start with so I guess if thats not what you want don't join the mission. I don't understand why they can't leave the 1% society alone.

6.) Crusaders feel that all the mission work and personal growth is done in the service. The service must be traditional because that is the only presentation of the Word so it must be done in its historic way. Anyone in a mission church knows how false this is. It is done by getting out and talking to people. Its having Bible studies with them in their homes. Its getting them into Bible study groups. Its the Bible studies after church. Its the getting into the Word with people as often as possible. It's getting into the community in a visible way so you can even have the first conversation with someone and get them into Bible class. The process takes months or years maybe. Who knows when someone who is searching may actually come to church. We've had people go to months of Bible study before they would come to a service. Its the opportunities to get into the Word. There is more than just the service. This is something you could only show a Crusader. They might say "The kids were running around, the sound guy was drinking coffee, the band was loud, etc..." but often when you suggest they stay for our bible study on Acts, or hit up the Women's bible study or the Men's Breakfast Bible Study, or the Small Group study or the Bible instruction bible study...queue the crickets here... Bring a friend?....still the crickets...

Well I think the Crusaders should unite. Quite honestly I want them to be heard in the synod. Then truly there would be some Bible study going on and it would sorely benefit them. Although the crusaders would show up with their Triglotta and say all the Bible study has been done already so why bother. Ok that was a joke....kinda.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Week in review 10/20/2008

So an uninteresting week. I'm not sure there was too much noteworthy. Ike started his first job on Saturday at the roller rink. Katie worked all weekend. Karen went to Prairie Du Chien with her parents for a two day leaf peeper hike along the bluffs of the Mississippi.

I stayed home and worked on Victory's latest website upgrade. I'm long overdue in putting up a content management system for the Victory website. Well its almost complete and you can look for it this week. I implemented a .NET/C# wiki based technology for collaborative web work among members. It has a lot of sweet functionality. It positively tickles my geek bone. Just wait until I get the WAP (Cell phone internet) part of the site going. I will one day succeed at being the most technologically advanced WELS website. Just wait until I get the silverlight presentations going.

I was excited by the Packers win this weekend. I want Rodgers record to be better than Favre's this year. Wisco won handily but at a possible loss of their QB for the rest of the season. Since The team is ranked 4th in the state overall and 1st in the medium sized schools it might make the ride to the State championship game a little more interesting. However, this years team is a lot more than about one person. It is a team where no small group of superstars stand out but they are rolling over their opponents.

We got some letters from Zach. He still focuses on the blandness of the food, the increasing levels of workouts and "Incentive training", as well as the just general difficulty of it all. His attitude is still positive though as he says despite the hardness he is getting stronger and promises to break Ike apart when he comes home. That is love! He is doing two weeks of rifle work now and I expect he will feel a whole lot better about things.

Here is a good picture of Katie and Ike at least as they were all dressed up for our friends wedding.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Weekend Update

There wasn't too much to report about this weekend but thre was some family items of note. Friday was Kt's "big" meet where Wisco hosts one of the largest CC races in the state (nearly 900 runners) She did very well coming in 4th for the team and bringing her time down by 1:15. Her time is now where it was last season. Of course she only has two races left I believe. She was very happy and I could see her doing well. The thing is she always has those good races inside of her she just needs to know they are there.

Friday night was the Wisco Homecoming game. We beat West Bend West 51-21. It was fun to watch. Wisco really needs to play in a tougher conference. They are all Division 1 schools but they are div 1 schools that suck.

After the game Ike had some friends over. Through his good friend Nick, who is formerly of St. Paul's and now a freshmen at New Berlin Eisenhower, he has also met some additional friends who all go to Wisco as freshmen. They all came over for a homecoming party. It was small but they had fun. A beginning of a new much for the peace and quiet of the departure of Z's friends from our home.

Saturday Ike had Saturday School. He was thrilled of course. After that him and I headed to Fort Atkinson to attend a suprise party for my brother's 25th wedding anniversary. We had fun talking to cousins I hadn't seen in probably 10 years. I gave their children all kinds of great advice. They will be deprogramming them for a few days I'm sure. Ike also kept them entertained. Katie was working on Saturday and then went to help baby sit the twins. Karen was off at book club.

Sunday was truly uneventful unless you count mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, doing laundry and watching parts of the Packer game. Katie had Dexter over , Ike just did homework and was a vidiot all day.

I think that covers our exciting weekend. WOW!


Zach's Next 4 Training Weeks (phase 2)

Week 4

T18,19 and 20
This is swim week, at the end of this week they will be classified by how strong of a swimmer they are. If they are looking to be and AAV crewmen they must qualify at least a 2, if they are going to Recon they must qualify as a 1. Don’t worry about them they will learn how to swim, and they will be able to do it with their weapon and in their Utes and boots. By Wednesday afternoon they will all be at least a 4 which is what they have to be to graduate.

(Each level must be accomplished before moving up to the next level.)

CWS4 - 4th Class: Minimum qualification for enlisted Marines; Re-qualify every year. Qualify in utilities uniform only (no boots).

CWS3 - 3rd Class: Re-qualify every two years.Display personal survival under combat situations and while on maneuvers in full combat gear.

CWS2 - 2nd Class: Re-qualify every three years.Display the ability to assist an exhausted/wounded Marine to safety wearing full combat gear.

CWS1 - 1st Class: Re-qualify every four years.Not accomplished in Boot Camp.Check out this link for more info:

Pugil sticks again some more fun and they will run the bayonet assault course(BAC). The assault course is kind of fun also they run from station to station and take on rubber dummies’ with their weapon and bayonet. Using the training they have learned. How to parry (push away another weapon pointed at them) and thrust; the horizontal but stroke, vertical but stroke and the thrust.

More Marine Corps history, this is an item that will be tested on the practical knowledge test. Now they will also be getting ready for their free bus ride up north. Getting their gear all packed and stacked.

They move north, into phase 2. This is the bus ride up to Edson range. The first time they have been off the depot since they have arrived. They will ride about 40 miles to Camp Pendleton, during this ride the DI tell them to sleep, another first for them is sleeping during the day, which would normally be training time. Once the arrive at the WFTBN( Weapons and Field Training Battalion) they will move into a new house and spend the weekend setting up, getting their gear squared away for the training to come. For most of them this is the most fun they will have in boot camp.

Week 5, 6, 7 (Phase 2)

Well they have made the move north, they spent the weekend setting up the house and getting any other equipment that they will need for this phase of training over the weekend.Their basic daily activities are about the same as they were at the depot, wake up hygiene and get ready for training. They have a chow hall but now they will get to eat some MRE's Meal Ready To Eat is the right name for them but knowing marines they have a whole bunch of other names for them also (Meals Rejected By everybody, or Meals Refusing to Exit!!!! :)

this week is Marksmanship I they are going to spend a lot time on this. Every Marine is a rifleman, and this is where they teach them to be the best in the world. They are going to learn the firing positions, the correct way to align the sites, how to breathe, and how to adjust the sites for their rifle. A lot of this will be done before they ever step foot on a live fire range. Then they will zero their rifle it is a long process for some of them and for others it will be easy, but they will have a coach and the DI's to help them do it.

Week 1 - Grass Week
the recruits will spend all day at the circles 'snapping in' with their PMI (Primary Marksmanship Instructor). He wears the campaign cover as well (Smokey bear), but he is a lot more laid back and allows the recruits to relax a bit so they can learn better. They will also get a zero for their sights this week, so Wednesday they will get to go to the live fire range and actually do a little shooting. Mostly though they will be snapping in a circle, and dry firing, practicing their trigger control, breathing techniques, and shooting positions. They will have the 3 and 5 mile "humps" (that’s marine for hiking with heavy packs), with a full combat load (kevlar helmet, flak jacket, and LBV (load bearing vest)). The 3 mile was pretty easy in my opinion, just like going for a nice walk at a quick pace. The 5 mile is a bit harder because they add hills to this one.

Week 2 - Marksmanship Week
they will spend all day Monday - Thursday out at the rifle range. They will split them up and have half of them pulling down in the pits, while half of them fire, then they will switch out around midday. Thursday will be qual day, and whatever they shoot that day will determine what badge they get. The DIs won’t pressure them much this week because they want them to be able to concentrate on shooting. The 8 mile hike isn’t as hard as the 5 mile only because there are fewer hills. They will probably get a 5-10 minute break on this one too, where they drop packs sit down and drink water. They usually try and do the hikes in the morning too, when it’s not hot yet. Marksmanship week and grass week are probably the easiest 2 weeks of training.

Week 3 - Field Week
Here the recruits will go out to the field and set up hooches where they and a "hoochmate" will sleep. Your recruits will not have this problem, but when I was there, it was February and it was cold and rainy. You have to get undressed (down to shorts and skivvy shirt) before you can hit the rack, and it got real cold real fast. Hygiene out here is also not fun, but it's something they have to learn how to do. Ask them about it when they get back :P They have lots of things to do this week including a night infiltration course, a day assault course, land nav, patrolling, gas chamber and MOPP gear training, and combat marksmanship (yes they will be firing again this week). This is all in preparation for the crucible coming up, where they will be evaluated on all they have learned.

The end of the week will be with a short hump 5 miles. A hump is a hike with all of their equipment on, and the DIs set the pace.

Zach's Boot Camp Days thru Sat 10/11

Week 1

Monday is part of pick up week and they are still being taught in house procedures, forming for chow, and today they will be issued their weapons. Drill during the first weeks is a constant item being taught, the proper way to stand at attention, at ease, and rest. How to march and change directions while standing still and marching.

Training day 1 (T-1)
Interior Guard; they will be taught how to stand a guard post and what general orders are and what the special orders are for the post they are guarding. Interior guard is the guard performed inside of an installation. Like the fire guard they will do every night, or guarding a building. Exterior guard is the guard they perform in the field like an observation post or listing post in a tactical environment. This is taught with a classroom lecture and then some hands on training.

First Aid This is classroom and hands on training, they will be taught CPR, how to stop bleeding set fractured bones, and to identify heat injuries. A long day in the class room for them Drill will make up part of this day also.

Intro to Mcmaps this is the MARINE CORPS MARTIAL ARTS PROGRAM. This is the marines hand to hand fighting, mixed with some martial arts, wrestling. They will be learning how to strike and counter strike, chokes and holds. This training will continue through out boot camp and they will have to demonstrate how to do all of the things they are taught in MCMAPS, one of the graduation requirements.

Marine Corps history this is the first of many classes on Marine Corps history. They will take it from Tunn Tavern where every recruit got a pint for enlisting. . They will learn of famous people like Smedley butler who won 2 medals of Honor and first introduced the bull dog as the official mascot of the Marine Corps. They will learn where the term devil dog came from, and what it means to be a US Marine. The marines have a history older than the nation, and they are very proud of.

Sprints Main event for today is sprints, if you have watched foot ball training camps you know very well what this is, physical training will be done every day, and it will be different each day working on their strength, endurance, flexibility, and cardio. Every free minute that they DI's have they will be teaching them something, 12 weeks may sound like a long time but it is not with all of the training that they have to learn, and perform. So they will be busy, and they will be rushed and they will be put under the stress, and it will be hard, and it will be a challenge. But it will all be worth it for them.

Week 2

Upper strikes are the main for today, Part of the MCMAPS training, again mixed in all of this is drill, they will be evaluated on drill and this is one of the events that give them a few bragging rights, with the other platoons.

Pugil sticks, this is the first introduction to bayonet training, the moves used here in pugil sticks are the same ones used for the bayonet. This is also some competition between squads and each other. They will be suited up with pads and helmet, and practicing one each other. May not sound so good to the parents; but they really like it gives them some time to release some frustrations.

Circuit training is more physical training, going through a course made up of stations. Might be as many as 15 of them at each station they have to do an exercise for a proscribed period of time, push up, then run to the next and do crunches. Very tiring, but really good for them… Bases are a running builder, measured distances that have to be ran at full speed. Like running the bases in baseball. Full speed to a stop; and then full speed again. Really builds the wind.
Obstacle Course, again a lot of physical activity. They will be walked through each of the obstacles every recruit will go through them with the DI’s and the rest of the platoon watching, once they have done this s few time they will go through it at full speed. They may be timed and compete against each other. This works the whole body giving flexibility and agility.

Mcmaps training again. This time how to counter strikes against them, all part of the marine corps hand to hand combat training.

Circuit training and bases again. This will be a hard week physically for them. Don’t worry they will not have a hard time sleeping. All of this training is getting them ready for the more physically demanding training yet to come.

During all of this time they will be getting other training as well, remember they are being taught how to drill and will spend a lot of time on the parade deck learning how to move as a unit; How to perform the manual of arms correctly. At the end of the third week they will have initial drill competition, this is one of the measuring sticks for the DI’s and the platoons. To see how much they have learned and how well the DI;s have taught them.

Week 3

Confidence Course 1. (Just a little side note for all you parents who might fly into San Diego if you are setting on the right side of the plane as it comes in to land you will see this confidence course, and the repel tower with Marines written on it) But I digress, the confidence course is just that it builds confidence in ones self while they are going through the course, they have high obstacles to negotiate, and low ones that require their full attention and strength. In my day as a DI I liked to go through this as well we had to demonstrate how to do the course and it was a confidence booster for us as well.

Well this day says boots and utes run, this is marine speak for running in your combat boots and utility uniforms. Cammies as they call them. This their combat uniforms.

They are back at it again with the pugil sticks and learning more about how to fight with a weapon with the bayonet attached to it. Again they will be competing against each other and maybe against other platoons. They will like this, I know some of you are wonder how they can like beating up on each other with sticks but they do, ask them on graduation day.

Ability group runs, this is where they devide up the platoon in ability groups, these groups are based on their run times for the initial fitness test. The faster runners will really get worked out but then again they will all be worked out on this run. It is designed to help them get faster in their run time.

SDI inspection. This will be the first real intro to inspections, all of their equipment will be inspected, their racks, foot lockers, wall lockers and their persons will be inspected. At the same time some of their knowledge will be test when they are asked questions about their weapons, how much does it weigh, how far can it shoot. What their general orders are, and they have to know this information off the top of their head not cheat sheets or notes for this test#61514;

Initial drill. They will move onto the parade deck as a platoon with one of the DI’s in charge, the rest of the DI’s will be in the taco stand on the parade deck watching. The battalion drill master is in charge and they will be given a card with all of the movement that the platoon will have to perform and then they will set off to do them. Each movement is graded, at the end the grades will be added up and the platoon with the highest score will have some bragging rights. This competition also counts for honor platoon. Some of the SDI’s might give them phone calls if they win. Phone calls are a reward for doing something above and beyond so if you get one just know that your recruit or his platoon has done very well in the SDI’s eyes….

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Something Has Reached Middle Age

Yes indeed, the BMW has hit middle age as of yesterday. Try and get that out of your American car with NO maintenance from 150,000 to 250,000 miles.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Practical Example of Church Growth vs Traditional

I have often engaged in debate about the use of Christian freedom and such things as using contemporary material in worship. Criticism of these kinds of things generally takes anything that is not traditional and liturgical and in a misguided fashion lumps them in this dubious category of "Church Growth". Just because something is new or modern does not mean it is church growth. The problem with church growth are its motives. CG tends to focus on outward results as reflected in attendance, decisions for Christ, demographics, etc... So with that long introduction to the topic I think this joke sent to me by Cheryl touches on all the high points of debate such as personal ministry vs. the OHM, outcome based faith programs and the pitfalls of traditional worship. I was highly amused:

The Cab Driver Goes to Heaven

A cab driver reaches the Pearly Gates and announces his presence to St. Peter, who looks him up in his Big Book. Upon reading the entry for the cabbie, St. Peter invites him to pick up a silk robe and a golden staff and to proceed into Heaven.

A preacher is next in line behind the cabby and has been watching these proceedings with interest. He announces himself to St. Peter. Upon scanning the preacher's entry in the Big Book, St. Peter furrows his brow and says, "Okay, we'll let you in, but take that cloth robe and wooden staff."

The preacher is astonished and replies, "But I am a man of the cloth. You gave that cab driver a gold staff and a silk robe. Surely I rate higher than a cabbie."

St. Peter responded matter-of-factly: "This is heaven and up here, we are interested in results. When you preached, people slept. When the cabbie drove his taxi, people prayed."

Monday, October 6, 2008

A New Home for Crusaders?

I think I have found a home for those confessional crusaders who are still wringing their hands over contemporary worship. In Zach's letter (actually he wrote his letter in the bulletin) was the bulletin from the "Lutheran Services" held on the MCRD base in San Diego. It was right out of Luther's handbook. They had a nice prcessional and recessional as well as all the liturgy and some classic hymns. The bulletin cover even said "A Mighty Fortress" with a picture of the Wartburg on it. Based on the play book this chaplain did it all exactly right. Just trade in your CW for LBW and join the Marines and you too can be a part of true Lutheranism.

We have been studying Acts for bible study this year at church. Every single week as I read more I have to wonder what the crusaders are crusading for. Every week they sound more and more like the jews in the local synagogues that often wanted to stone Paul or such for their message. I'm not sure how one could read Acts and then Ephesians and still have such a narrow idea of personal ministry.

The First Letter

We got the first letter from Zach. He is doing really well it seems. His letter had a positive tone and his platoon is working hard to be the honor platoon. As you might expect from him he had extensive commentary on the food. It is decent sized helpings and reasonably ok but somewhat bland. He is actually trying to pick healthy food....this of course was a shocker. He even is eating fruit. If Zach can eat fruit the republicans can still win the election. However it would seem that in the time they have to talk amongst themselves, many of them fantasize about Taco Bell, frozen pizza, caffeine and video games. He mentioned how he has 7 seconds to get out of bed and up 5 feet to the line. Now in all the time I've known Z he has barely moved an eye muscle in 7 seconds not to mention get out of bed. So change is underfoot and Z is dealing with it. I was pretty happy to hear that. There is some pride in his accomplishments already. 10 weeks to go.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Great Friends

This last weekend We visited with some of our best friends from NH as we celebrated their daughter's wedding. It was a rainy weekend but thoroughly enjoyable. I can't remember laughing so hard in such a long time. It reminded me of the good old days. The food was endless, the wedding was perfect, and the hilarious conversations never ended. We'll probably be marking that one down as the best weekend of the year. Congratulations to Caitlin and Greg as well. They should get married frequently so we can have more great weekends like this last one.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Zach's Address

Here is Zach's Address:

Niedfeldt, Zachary D.
1st BN Alpha Co. Platoon 1003
39001 Midway Ave.
MCRD San Diego, CA 92140-1003

Rules for sending mail

  • No Packages
  • Plain White evelopes with nothing but the address written on the outside
  • Pictures can be sent but no bigger than 4x6 inches and no porn.
  • no sending of anything other than nice paper letters
  • no perfumes or scented things.
  • Nothing that a drill Instructor could focus on and make his life miserable by highlighting your letter to the whole group.

So There ya go. There is no personal message from Zach yet. Just a form letter with Mom & Dad written on the top and another letter from his Drill Instructor also a form letter with Zach having written in Mr. & Mrs. Timothy Niedfeldt. It was his handwriting so he is indeed alive.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weekend Update

Sort of a strange weekend. It definately felt weird to not have 10-20 teenagers camping in my house at some point during the weekend. It has been so long since we've had a full weekend where Z's crew did not come over and hang out that it was almost disconcerting. The other thing I notice is that the house stays a lot cleaner without Z around. No taco bell wrappers, Mountain Dew cans, socks, shoes, towels, shirts in the living room. No bread, peanut butter, and jelly laying out on the counter. No empty bowls hiding around the house....and no I don't miss any of that.

Friday I went to Kt's CC meet. It was their meet that has all the big prominent state teams at it and Wisco did well. Kt's time drastically improved. It was a very tough course so overall the times were slow. After the meet we headed up to West Bend for the Wisco Football game. Wisco won but it was a wakeup call victory. West Bend East nearly came back to win from being down 33-7 at the half. Their quarterback just passed his way to happyland and our pass coverage was very poor. On the upside we won because they could do little to stop the run.

Saturday Ike had his Football game. Can we say, "2nd verse same as the first..?" This game was a lot like the week before. The first half sucked and the second half they came out and kept them scoreless. However there was a noticeable difference. The offensive line and defensive line are starting to hit more. Ike started at running back this time and he got the 1st 1st down and actually had positive yards. He still got bashed a lot by the defense due to poor blocking but he had some good runs. For awhile he played defense too and got a couple of tackles. Definite improvement for the whole team.

Sunday was church. Ike and Karen went to St. Marcus and Kt and I went to Victory. Ike had to sing for his school at church. Karen mentioned that the music quality, complexity and volume were astounding compared to STP in Muskego. 50-60 Middle schoolers including the boys sang 3 parts , the boys could be heard and even had some bass going on. It was a great spirit to behold from what I heard. The United Voices of Praise Choir was also there.

After church I took on Zach's "Fish Slum". His fish have not had their tank cleaned in ...a really long time. Even the catfish could not keep up with the algae and fish poop. They still have grown a lot larger. Well I got a new filter since the old one broke and cleaned up the tank and redid the rocks and such. Finally we got the fish back in there. His 5 glasscats died by the evening. They are fragile fish and don't adapt to change that well. Taking them from their oxygen depleted green fish poop water and putting them in clean, oxygenated , environment was just too much. All the other fish who are tougher breeds did just fine.

Later that night I watched the Packer attentions soon drifted back to watching the fish...weekend over.