Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A girl has to have shoes even if they are going on the wrong foot;)

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"Hailey, open this one first!", says big sister Rachel.

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Beautiful 2nd birthday pose for Hailey!

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The cake and ice cream are over and now it is time for the presents!

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Rachel is the great photographer on this one!

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Rachel, Hailey, and Dad on Hailey's birthday!

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I'm 2 and I'm going solo on blowing out the birthday candles!

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Go on baby girl Hailey, it's ya birthday, it's ya birthday!

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Sisters sharing a hug and birthday moment. Rachel is a great big sister and very helpful too!

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Rachel and Hailey blowing party favors on Hailey's 2nd birthday!

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Hailey tries on her new birthday footwear!

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Needles In Haystacks Have Gotten Organized by Google Print!

I just tried Google Print and it is another great add on to the Google experience.

It searches books that have been scanned by Google for words, phrases, and search items you are looking for.

It also informs you where the books are available for immediate purchase.

I have not gone behind the scenes to see how many books are within the visual database, but just from looking at it so far anyone will be amazed to see how much information has been created on thoughts that you come up with daily.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Unused Gadgets Are Still Up For New Uses

Recently I realized that we have had the capability to create podcasts for a minimum of 2 years. I bought a MP3 player accessory for a Handspring Visor back in 2003.

Converting WAV files to MP3 files has already been possible with RealPlayer or RealProducer for at least the past 7 or 8 years.

I know that we are not the only ones in this position.

What has changed?

Just the willingness for people to search for, download, and play MP3 files as mentioned before.

The earlier dissatisfaction mentioned probably helps too.

So it helps to check around within our own closets, drawers, and cubby holes since the new applications may be possible with technology already laying around our homes.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Happy 15th Wedding Anniversary & More!

Wyteria and I celebrated 15th of holy matrimony on May 26th.

The time has flown and our marriage is ready for a driver's permit;)

We enjoyed the day and our daughters had no clue of the significance of the day.

But children do recognize the lack of such milestones.

Hailey's birthday is next week and the girls enjoy birthdays more than the person whose birthday it is.

Children need a reason to celebrate and everyone should celebrate the children within their lives.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Get Your Hands Out of My Pocket, PayPal!!!

Today we have lowered our opinion of an eBay subsidiary named PayPal which acts as a payment processor, bank, electronic funds transfer, debit card, and overall financial services unit for online auctions and e-commerce ventures.

We recently received a notice that a recent payment (a partial payment at that) accepted via PayPal was being investigated and potentially reversed due to possible fraudulent activity. It was eventually reversed indeed.

So we are limiting any payments received with PayPal to less than $100 and immediately refunding any that exceed $100.

We have also removed 2 of 3 bank accounts that were associated with our PayPal account.

The third one will be removed soon.

The issue is that PayPal no longer offers sellers the security that once a payment is received, it is fully received.

PayPal may be great for buyers, but no payment sent is guaranteed.

Even if you ship an item with all types of confirmation information, there are loopholes that PayPal can still return the money to a buyer's account, and deduct funds from your PayPal account.

There is too much recourse for buyers (then PayPal and eBay consequently) and virtually none for sellers.

We will therefore accept checks, money orders, and a service called CheckFree which transfers money from bank account to bank account.

PayPal will be only used to buy and not sell through if we keep our account at all. Two recent payments that we made were reversed for some unknown reason and you cannot even consider your own payments and purchases complete.

I know that their stock price is going to take a serious hit in the future from the eventual loss of revenue as more sellers switch to alternative payment processing methods due to their policy changes and methods of operating.

I do not know if or when the policies were changed, but the window of opportunity for sellers' protection is now too restrictive.

The worst part of it all is that we were going to receive more funds through PayPal than at any other time in our history of being a PayPal customer.

I now believe that our sharp, sudden growth had reached the limit of effectively using PayPal.

But as large corporations go, they can only perform multiple tasks well for a limited period of time. The juggled balls eventually have to fall and hopefully customers will not be hurt:(

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Do You Get It Yet?

I just received a message a few minutes ago from an editor with Skype about my blog entry on Skype. The message arrived in less time than it would have within any conditions offline.

As I continue to monitor the world of technology, I keep asking myself questions like "why is this so important", "where is this going", "who is going to be afraid of this", "who is going to win or lose with this", and "what is the real benefit of using this".

One answer just came to me a few minutes ago about why podcasting, internet broadcasting of any kind, and other online mediums have become popular.

The answer is really two-fold.

One reason is that the life of most mass mediums that existed before the internet have virtually gotten the life and soul sucked out of them all.

Too many people already know what to expect from tv personalities, entertainers, and other mass communication celebrities.

We know how to sound like a radio personality dj back in the day, weather man, or news reporter etc.

We know how singers, musicians, and dancers plus models on tv are "supposed" to pose, walk, move their hips, and get their message across.

We know how they are supposed to look, talk, get in trouble, and so forth.

Our knowing has led to a sense of boredom with it all.

The only thing remaining for past mediums to yet intrigue us will be to introduce and interview aliens live on the air;)

With all the program directors copying ideas, sweeps runs, sweepstakes, and contests from radio, tv, and newspaper seminars and industry experts to get their local media outlet ratings up in Arbitron, Nielsen, and other rating services, the mere existence of someone with a finger on the pulse of what the consumers really want in REAL-TIME has been given a pink slip and ushered out of the door by security.

The experts are always too far removed from the consumer whether it is an intangible or tangible product being consumed and distributed.

Now that the masses have found an alternative to being served something that proverbially tastes like chicken from a corporate office thousands of miles and hours away, the rush to line up for poverty-served ghoulash is over.

The second reason is that the cost of producing your own media has fallen within the reach of anyone who is remotely interested in doing so.

One of our favorite movies in our household is "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and one of the best scenes surrounds the radio station and recording studio where the group on the run recorded a song under the name "The Soggy Bottom Boys".

Back in the golden age of radio and music buying, only the rich could afford to pay for the sheet music and pianos in order to play the songs heard on the radio.

Now that anyone with a computer and internet connection can create a beat, newsletter, blog, website, mailing list, podcast, and a host of other internet mediums, you can virtually find any medium involving any area of interest and endeavor through search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and a host of others.

A lot of the new media is called diy (stands for do-it-yourself), basement media, and bedroom media.

No one has to pay for lessons (like piano lessons before) to share their thoughts and ideas on anything.

No one has to pay for someone to broadcast their message around the world.

No one has to be forced to endure being a part of a captive audience whether it is as an employee or consumer due to where they live.

So why would one work for menial pay and poor working conditions otherwise? The only reason is that they do not know that a better way exists.

Indeed, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. As the asynchronous warfare in Iraq has proven to us all, there is no such thing as being only on the frontline or bringing up the rear.

You are now in a new world order where you are doing both depending upon the mission, the winds of change, and whether you thought you were previously playing offense or defense.

Everybody is on "special teams" now;)

Most sports matches broadcast on the air now are really determined within the last several minutes of the game.

Now until the end of time, the game of life is within the last few minutes of a high stakes chess match and each player is telling the other "Check!"

The endgame is really on now!


Subscribe to free Podcasts with iPodder!

I knew that there was a better way to obtain podcasts to listen to although I did not know which one to use.

I tried Feed Demon, but it did not work for me.

I downloaded and installed iPodder yesterday and today it downloaded several podcasts with no problem at all.

One trick to get it to work was that I had to change the destination folder where the podcasts were going to be stored on my hard drive.

Once it was changed to a better location, iPodder downloaded the files without any problems at all.

I had bookmarked several pages with podcasts that caught my attention and now I am adding the sites (called feeds) in order to download the podcasts automatically.

The process is supposedly easier for Apple users, but for Windows users iPodder works extremely well.

The last step is to move or copy the mp3 files to your MP3 player. Then you can listen at will.

One last note on podcasts. Once you get in the groove of listening to them, you start to want to hear them more often just like a radio broadcast.

The only thing is that most podcasts are produced on a weekly basis versus a daily basis. Radio stations will have an upper hand since they are already producing shows, broadcasts, and content daily.

Their only issue is whether or not they will want to provide their broadcasts as podcasts. It would make radio fully more portable and allow time-shifting to fully occur (where you do not have to listen or watch a broadcast in real-time).


Skype Connects The World via Internet Phone Calls

I recently heard on a podcast by This Week in Tech about an internet telephony service named Skype.

Although I had heard of Skype before and had been to their website, I never was motivated to really check the service out.

But after hearing that the podcast was created by a conference call held on Skype, I gave the service another look.

I ordered a digital usb headset from eBay which arrived yesterday. The headset cost was a little under $20. But you can obtain one from a local computer store for about $10. Just make sure that the headset does not require any additional software or a CD if you are using Windows XP.

I had already downloaded and installed the software so after connecting the headset, I was off and running. But due to the time being in the early evening, there was virtually no one to talk to online.

During the installation, the software checked my MS Outlook address book and none of my contacts are subscribers of Skype yet.

There is a search feature within Skype that you can use to search for people worldwide. You can look at the each person's profile and it pretty much looks like Yahoo! Messenger.

But when you add the sound, this service is a totally different animal.

I continued to search for people who were available to chat (called Skype Me) as their status indicated.

Since I could not find anyone in the US to talk to, I paid 10 euros ($12.91) for 10 hours of talking time. The calls could be made to any land line phone (residential, commercial, and/or cell phone) or anywhere worldwide.

All domestic calls are currently free!

I talked to a guy named Nick in Canberra, Australia for several minutes until he lost his dial up connection. Skype works with broadband and dial up accounts.

Nick called me back and we talked some more about the size of our families, the weather, the calls he has made using Skype, and the fact that he was my first call using Skype.

It was a great conversation to have with someone that I completely did not know. Who said that you cannot talk to strangers?

Now I wonder if the headset can be used with other instant messaging services. But I believe that it will be used best for Skype itself as well as to create my own podcasts that are coming soon.

If you decide to check out Skype based on this review, then mention me as the referral source and do not forget to Skype Me!

My Skype user id is wysiwysell.


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Recommended Changes for TiVo

Here is another blog that has quite a few good recommendations for TiVo.

Do You Have My Google?

If you have a Yahoo! account, then you are familiar with My Yahoo!

Google has its own rendition of the personal portal home page now.

I now have both and Gmail has provided unlimited hard drive space versus Yahoo! Mail and seemed easier to use from the very beginning. Yahoo! Mail now seems to have many of the features that Gmail has, but Gmail did a better job of educating the consumer on how to use them effectively.

Need a Gmail account, just let me know!

Only TiVo Users Will Appreciate This;)

A few nights ago my family and I attended the pre-K graduation of our goddaughter.

When we got back home, the Season Passes that were set months ago for "The Apprentice" and "ER" were still programmed in the TiVo even though the modem went bad and had to be eventually replaced.

Never do a full reset unless you have no other choice is the moral of the substory.

The TiVo recorded both programs and my wife got our daughters ready for bed quickly since it was closing in on 10 p.m.

I caught the tail end of "The Apprentice" and pretty much knew that Kendra was going to win and wanted to see how it all went down (another post on my "The Apprentice" thoughts later).

We knew that Noah Wylie's swan song on "ER" was going to be broadcast next.

We were tired of the drive and felt a little drained (spend an evening with 6 little girls and see if you feel otherwise yourself).

Guess what?

We went to bed and watched both shows the next morning without missing a thing;))

We did a rewind to miss the dialogue if someone did not hear a line or to see if a character (the very corporate-coat new chief resident) was in an area that had produced a lot of injured people.

Peace! LOL;)

3 Must Read Articles if You're Considering Joining The TiVo Swarm!

Now that we have rejoined the virus known as TiVo, there are more than just a few ways that we have had to get readjusted to not being dysfunctional tv viewers;)

So I went to Google and searched the web to reintroduce TiVo and its full benefits and capabilities even though I had already been sold on the concept of TiVo last summer.

This recent research was just to make sure that we did not forget something that makes TiVo so special to millions of users.

My research located three articles that anyone remotely interested in TiVo must read to see if they really "get it".

This phrase "get it" appeared in a free DVD that TiVo offered potential customers last year and I could not find the link for the DVD in a recent search for an online friend:(

Within the free DVD, a family appeared and talked about TiVo. One of the family members, who was a young boy about 12 years old, said that he could look into the eyes of someone and could tell if they had TiVo. He could tell if they "get it". The statement is funny but true;)

Check out this 3 part series written by Cece Forrester:

What TiVo People Know: Part I

What TiVo People Know: Part II

What TiVo People Know: Part III -- A Modest Proposal

I am reading and re-reading each article to make sure that I "get it" and "keep it".


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Music of the Late 80s and Early 90s: More Fun, Less Violence!

I am looking at an episode of Classic Soul on TiVo from VH1.

Most of the songs and videos were made in the late 80s to probably 1993 at the latest.

Although the colors were overblown and the clothes a little too Cosbyish, nothing was present to entice one to go out and buy a 9MM and shoot up a party;)

As a matter of fact, there was no need for crystal meth either as the wide range of colors and sounds created their own vibe.

No one had to buy all of the inventory behind a drug counter in order to find peace.

Every feeling and mood as well as need may be within any point in time.

The same needs existed centuries ago and something else met them then just as people are looking to use chemistry to satisfy their needs now.

Hip hop has gotten too violent to listen to much less experience live.

As personal health goes, I weighed less back then;( Now the violent music makes me look for an exit and I'm in the car by myself;D

Thuggish hip hop does not go well with aerobics:)

I'll take GrandMaster Flash and The Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, and Hall & Oates anyday versus trying to get a workout going to the sounds of 50 Cent.

Negative music destroys creativity even when the instrumental version is played.

While the warlike tones, percussive beats, and march cadence of modern hip hop has its place and audience, I have yet to find anyone who has made a good recommendation on when to use it.

No wonder the sales of compilation CDs and other music from previous generations have no end in sight and have taken over the formats of radio stations nonstop.

I do not need anyone else's body parts in my face to make me appreciate who I am and what I am capable of doing.

Thank God there was a party back in the day to create a vibe like we were going to party like it was 1999!

When did gangsters take over the dance floor?

Who gave them the order and the keys?

Setbacks Are Great Set Ups for Greater Success, Really!

Too often emotions run rampant when we receive bad news or what we perceive to be bad news.

Yes, sometimes bad things do occur and our perceptions are totally correct. But many times a door to greater success may be opening and we have to leave our comfort zone in order to fully gain the benefits.

Yesterday, our news of an unexpected suspension being imposed by eBay was a good punch in the nose.

But the reality is in less than 24 hours, a bigger and more efficient door has been opened.

No, we will not become Bill Gates' neighbors anytime soon, but at least we will be able to afford to buy gas;)

Staying within the comfort zone means that we are not diversifying our efforts and our rewards.

Our rewards are limited whenever we exist only within our comfort zones.

One cliche' says not to put all of our eggs in one basket. The real key is whenever a new endeavor is started, we may not have the luxury of being fully diversified.

To diversify in the early stages of anything is dangerous and does not allow the seeds to take root. Malnourishment is the only possible result.

Once success is obtained and we start to run out of room in our embryo, we can begin to diversify as we enter the next level.

Diversifying upon exiting a level means that we are able to divide and conquer not the new territory, but master the territory that we are exiting.

Securing the base is the best lesson that I have learned from military strategist.

Once the base is secured, then new efforts can be undertaken.

Dividing and conquering means that past lessons are going to be fully exploited to receive the maximum benefit.

So the next time a setback seems to pop up, start looking for the door of greater opportunity within the situation.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sent to the Penalty Box by eBay & Delta Sigma Theta

When you get knocked off the internet by a sudden power outage, brown-out, ISP goes down, or anything else that can attributed to weather or technology, it is not too hard to get over it and quickly move on.

But within the information age, there are more simple ways to get booted from a service than ever before within this era of political correctness. Getting over it is not as easy and probably has a higher price tag.

This afternoon our online venture was suspended by eBay as well as a couple of other eBay accounts that were not even closely related to alleged infraction. One account had only purchased items and not sold anything, so I know that it was suspended due to guilt by association.

Here is a little background of what we think happened.

Recently, several auctions and Buy It Now listings were suddenly terminated by eBay after they were contacted by someone that had an e-mail address of the deltasigmatheta.org domain.

Once quickly assumes that this is an official representative of the organization without further clarifying the identity of the sender.

It was not the first time that several pieces of art that were featured within auctions were terminated, but the given reason was the same as it was before and still without a full explanation.

eBay is pretty much like any other service provider and that if you threaten them with a lawsuit, they will quickly fold their hand and not challenge anything that might tempt their stock price to go down. Needless to say, due process goes out the window at this point.

Ironically, my wife is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

When the auction listings were terminated the second time, I asked her what could be the reason that they approached eBay to cancel our listings.

What we proceeded to do was to look at the pieces of art which were cancelled and compare them to others that were not cancelled.

Through our observations, we deduced that the images that had the Greek letters of Delta Sigma Theta appearing within the pieces were the ones that were cancelled.

If this explanation and notice was given to us earlier, the suspension that occurred this afternoon possibly could have been prevented.

But since a detailed explanation was not provided by eBay or the official representative of DST, here we are at a suspended eBay account and a monkey wrench thrown into our business.

But needless to say, I've faced worse and this will not be an exception.

What the suspension forces us to do is to pay all accounts payable to eBay before any other steps can be taken to reinstate the account.

Here is the kicker of it all. When you are doing as much business on eBay as we have done within this year (in the past 3 months especially) and suddenly the goose laying the golden eggs is taken off the farm, so does the probability of paying the bill in full on short notice.

So I am working to reach a quick solution to the cash flow issue and move on.

But I wonder what about the rest of the food chain within this issue.

What is going to happen to the other people who have made more money from us and others who have sold such artwork?

There are the distributors and the artists themselves that will be targeted at some point.

Although we will move on to focus on other pieces of art, the age of political correctness and "this is our intellectual property and we are defending it at all costs" will eventually force Delta Sigma Theta to penalize its own members who primarily were our customers or their relatives and acquaintances.

Who knows where it will all end, but right now we're looking for a pipeline to move other products that have a greater profit margin and customer base than Delta Sigma Theta can ever imagine.

I will definitely remember this if and when my two daughters raise the issue of possibly joining Delta Sigma Theta in the next 14 to 15 years;)

I will definitely say that organization tried to pull the plug on your college funds back in 2005;))

Here's to you Delta Sigma Theta and eBay, thanks for the ride and just like the Governor of California--we will be back.

For other great online deals, just click over to one of the following websites:


The Safari Mall

Finally, I will say that it all happened for a reason and now in the aftermath, we will become stronger!


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Return of TiVo!

I received a belated birthday present today when we finally received the modem replacement kit for our TiVo .

At this very moment, the TiVo unit is loading the data for the next several days or weeks to provide a TV Guide experience unlike any other.

Since we never sent the TiVo unit off to be serviced, we did not lose any of the recorded broadcasts that were on the internal hard drive. It was definitely tempting to totally reset the unit back then and consequently lose the data.

It is amazing to see the recorded television programs that are either no longer aired or dynamically changed somehow.

We had an episode of "ER" where Dr. Carter (Noah Wylie) first met Kem (Thandie Newton) and now he is actually leaving the television show.

Also still on the TiVo's hard drive were dozens of television shows like SpongeBobSquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and other cartoons and such that Rachel and Hailey love.

Several of my then-favorite shows on the now-revamped channel Tech TV (now renamed G4 and I never watch it now) like The Screen Savers and Unscrewed with Martin Sargent are going to be watched at some point again. But now I am enjoying being a paid subscriber for a podcast named This Week in Tech with several of the former personnel and personalities from Tech TV.

In checking the billing records, we had the TiVo service for 6 months and were without it for 6 months. It seems that we had taken our television viewing off life support.

Now that we have rejoined the ranks of being active TiVo customers, I am going to pick up an idea that I was in the process starting (when the service was cancelled) before in helping other current and potential customers to get the maximum benefit out of the product and service.

Since we have experienced what it feels like to be without the service, we know what it takes to get back up and running very quickly without losing a lot of recorded broadcasts as well as what equipment is needed if and whenever there is an equipment failure.

I had already obtained a couple of web domains for the potential service and the one most likely to be used is going to be DVR Concierge.

Welcome back TiVo and boy did we miss ya!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thoughts on Turning 40

Today is my B-day and I'm 40!

I did not have any qualms or reservations about reaching this milestone.

I am truly thankful to God for allowing me to live to see it.

One of the biggest ideas that I have realized is that at 40, you know what you like, what you will do, what you won't do, and what you absolutely refuse to put up with.

40 marks the end of the flesh or spiritual immaturity.

I guess that makes me an old man or I have to remember that I will have no excuse for juvenile behavior unless it is totally intentional;)

I am enjoying every second of this day because we have a rule that whoever birthday it is gets to do whatever they want for 24 hours;)

So I taking the ball and running with it!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Visual Search Engine Results with Grokker

A technology that was once restricted for paying customers has now changed its business model and become a free web-based service

Grokker allows you to see the results of whatever you are searching for and uses the Yahoo! search engine to deliver the results.

I just tried it and had heard of Grokker before, but never had enough curiousity to fully understand its unique difference.

By entering a search term and/or phrase, I saw clusters related to various aspects of the idea I was looking for.

Each result had a box that would pop up to fully explain the website discovered with your search results.

This is cool because you can see the most popular aspects of whatever you are searching for more information on. You can then drill down and get deeper into the concept and/or endeavor based on what aspect you are most interested in.

The rank and popularity of pages are indicated as well.

There is another technology that provides more 3-dimensional search results, but I do not remember its name right now.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Google Acquires Yet Another Company!

I just read that Google has acquired another company for its social networking capabilities via cell phones.

Dodgeball.com is the name of the company and I just signed up with my first and last name.

Since I am already an Orkut member, it will be interesting to see how the two entities are connected within Google.

If you have not already, definitely check out Google Maps for any maps and directions that are needed.

I extensively use Yahoo! Maps and just saw a very cool map on Google's site this evening.

Google also has satellite photos associated with their service and it works although the photo of our Mableton home was off by a few houses.

I could see our house within the photo though. But the street address did not point to our house exactly.

If you would like to receive an invitation for any of the Google services, just leave a comment and I will oblige.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

My Next Book Is On The Horizon!

Shortly after returning from SC, I received an insight from God that is going to be the title, subject, and focus of my next book.

I have already written the bulk of the chapters within the book but it did not have a central theme as it will now.

The new theme gives the book more clarity and makes understanding the biblical concept and principle easier.

Everyone who hears the title, reads the book, and applies the deeper meanings will be able to become a winner faster and even turn around some negative areas that may have existed before.

While it builds upon my first book entitled Every Seed Has The Divine Expectation of Much Fruit, I did not expect this new book to fit within the Every Seeds trilogy that was already planned. Now the trilogy adds another edition for a series of 4 books written and planned.

I know that everything is connected to everything and I was reading an overview and excerpt from a book entitled Freakonomics.

Freakonomics is about how unrelated events are indeed related just as Malcolm Gladwell's books entitled The Tipping Point and his recent book Blink does the same.

One confirmation of the simple but yet complex principle is that it applies to so many endeavors, I had a simple activity that somehow made it become crystal clear for the readers.

The Freakonomics excerpt provided me with the "let me see if this biblical concept can be applied even here" idea and my research indicated that it does to an uncanny degree. Even the exceptions to the rule actually prove the idea to a greater extent.

Once the book is published, I know that many who bet on sports will begin to use it as well unfortunately. But the Word of God is powerful to convict, change, and redefine our understanding.

I researched the various championship teams for the MLB, NBA, and NFL and the biblical law applies to the world of sports as well. No endeavor is exempt from God's Word.

I hope to have the book completed and finished in time for the fall season if not before.

Before I forget to mention it, the title and theme is:

Every Seed Needs Water

Spring Fever Affects Blogs Too

I have been a little lazy in creating blog entries after returning from our recent vacation.

One incentive that I had was that I was not getting any e-mail notices on my cell phone while roaming out of the immediate cell coverage area.

Actually the notices had filled the SIM card while we were roaming and no new notices or messages were getting through.

I cleared all of the messages this morning and hope to get back on track soon as of today;)