Friday, February 27, 2009

Pray for Somalia

So we probably all remember when Clinton and the U.N. tried to give aid to Somalia because of the civil war that it was experiencing in the 90's. What we all might not know, or have shown to us each day is that that civil war is still ongoing, and that Somalia is an impoverished country overrun by different ethnic groups, and run by warlords.

We hear about the different ships that the pirates take over each month. Those cruise ships or tankers, or whatever that are unlucky and unskilled enough to get taken over by somalian pirates usually payoff their captors so that they can continue on their way, and that just prolongs the conflict because it funds the pirates and different warring factions.

May God help these people sort out their problems and give them some sort of national pride to unite on, and help them focus on how to treat their fellow citizens well.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pray for Darfur

Apparently the war in Darfur stems from decades of drought and over-population in the Darfur region of Sudan, with some of the reasoning also being that the Arab-dominated government of Sudan has been treating non-Arabs in the country in a discriminatory fashion.

That has caused some to rebel against the government, which started around 2003-2004 to bomb the villages where the rebels have been believed to be coming from, as well as raping their women, killing most everyone, and burning down the villages.

The war has thus become genocidal in nature, with the tribes being attacked by the government, and only slight rebel efforts to fight back. The UN will not label it as a genocide, despite mass murders and rapes, because the 'intent' of genocide seems to be missing. Some sort of limited peace was reached in late 2006, but the conflict continues.

Please pray for Darfur, that all people can live together in unity and not oppress each other when given the opportunity.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pray for the Congo

As I pray for these conflicts, I will try to go from the conflicts with the highest current casualty or death count to the lowest, so please bear with me if I make a mistake.

Today I am praying for the Congo. The fight is similar as that portrayed in Hotel Rwanda, however this conflict is newer, and stems from an old general leaving the government with some troops to hole up in Eastern Congo, where he tries (or at least says he is trying) to prevent genocide over the ethnic Tutsis there.

There was a brief peace agreement reached in January 2008, but it was shaky because not all of the parties involved in the conflict took part in the agreement, and later the war erupted again. However, recently Laurent Nkunda, the leader of the rebel forces which protect Tutsis was captured (January 2009), so the end of at least the open war may be imminent.

Please pray that the war will end and that both the Tutsis and Hutus can live in peace once it is over.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lent '09

This year for Lent, I'm going to do something different. Normally it is giving up something near and dear to me, so as to be closer to god. I remember giving up chocolate chip cookies (not sure how that applies) in high school, and more recently giving up TV or video games.

Another alternative for Lent is to actively do something to draw you closer to God. While doing devotions and reading the Bible daily are very good goals and something I want to do in life eventually, right now (and I'm talking the actual 40 days of lent) I have to be realistic and say that I honestly do not have the time, and the things taking up my time are all immovable, without a complete and disrupting life change (changing careers, dropping out of school, not finding a job, etc.).

Instead, what I've decided to do for Lent this year is to actively pray for peace, for all of God's children. Normally I'm not even the most peace-prone person, but I believe our country and our world are headed in divisive directions at the moment, and I don't understand it all. I want to try to understand the conflicts of all of the world's peoples, and pray for them to reach a peace in respect to each of those individual conflicts. I think God would want people to live in peace, and out of peace have a foundation for finding common ground in a relationship with him (some may disagree).

So it will be that I will try to learn about the various conflicts on earth (in Afghanistan, Darfur, Somalia, Iraq, Georgia, Chechnya, Israel/Palestine, Congo, etc.), and pray for each of them individually and for us as a race. I will utilize prayer by speaking directly to God, and seek personal peace as well. This is a very different theme for me.

Recent Events

Just got back from a nice weekend with the brother/sister-in-law (Chad and Sarah) and my beautiful nieces' (Addison and Sophie) house. We were there celebrating my niece Sophie's 1st birthday, and she had a fun party Saturday afternoon. The weekend was full of eating, playing Phase 10 & euchre, and talking.

My other brother Brady was also there to celebrate, it's always nice to get a chance to hang out with him as well.

Yesterday, after getting over an upset stomach, Staci and I drove back home to O'Fallon, did our Sunday ritual of grocery shopping, and I finished my homework for this week as she helped do the laundry.

Recent books that I'm reading or have read include Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama, and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I have also just requested The Shack by William Young, because of the endorsement it received by my brother and trying to stay up on things. All of this would not be possible without the invention of CD-based audiobooks, which are my constant companions during my commute. Beyond these, I plan on trying to make it through most of the top 10 books from 2008 recommended by Amazon as soon as I get the chance. I haven't read anything besides school required reading for years, so this is a good change.

All of the rest of my time is spent doing things. I am really into time management these days, and my weeks consist of working, sleeping, job hunt, school, basement, and keeping all of my interpersonal relationships in order. Honestly I can't wait for 3 of these things to be over (school, basement, and the job hunt). Mainly the job hunt though, because then the others will be made easier.

This post has been a bunch of logical statements because right now my mind is in a zone :). I swear my next post will probably make less sense. Have a great Monday!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wazzup NOW?

I know some of you probably expect me to blog about the crappy economy (personal situation), or wet basements (personal situation), or maybe even Obama's stimulus plan for our nation. But I think today I'll take it in a different direction completely.

I saw this article today and it kind of upset me, but not as it might some. I think that parents allowing a child to sample alcohol in the confines of their own home is not so bad as long as it is under a good deal of supervision (i.e. not letting them go drive somewhere, etc). However, in this article, all the mom is getting charged with is giving alcohol to a minor and reckless conduct. Hello, the FREAKING kid killed somebody! That is moronic. I can't believe all this lady is facing is a possible year and jail and some fines. That is definitely coming close to being an accomplice to manslaughter.

Anyways, to touch on wet basements. If you own a Ridgid wet dry vac, and have a LOT of water to vacuum, the pump is TOTALLY worth the $40 it costs to hook it up to a hose. However, the real solution (which costs $7K), may or may not be worth it, dependent upon if you have a job or not.