Wretched Impediments

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“See how precious material runs to waste if the light is not trimmed! There is a thief in the candle, and so it takes to guttering and running away, instead of fielding up its substance to be used for the light.

It is sad when a Christian man has some ill habit, or sinister aim. We have seen fine lives wasted through a love of wine. It never came to actual drunkenness, but it lowered the man and spoiled his influence. So is it with a hasty temper, or a proud manner, or a tendency to find fault. How many would be grandly useful but for some wretched impediment!

Worldliness runs away with many a man’s energies; love of amusement makes great gutters in his time; or fondness for feasts and gilded society robs him of his space for service. With some, political heat runs away with the zeal which should have been spent upon religion, and in other cases sheer folly and extravagance cause a terrible waste of energy which belonged to the Lord.

You see there is fire, and there is light; but something extraneous and mischievous is at work, and it needs to be removed. If this is your case, you may well desire the Lord to snuff you, however painful the operation may be. Depend upon it, we have no life-force to spare, and everything which lessens our consecrated energy is a robbery of God.”

~Spurgeon

The Model Garage

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My plans for this winter involved cabinetry and other projects for the dining room and kitchen, but instead, I’ve spent most of my “off” time working on vehicles. Our fleet is getting older, but we’re not yet at the point of replacing vehicles, so there are more frequent repair issues to go along with regular maintenance.

So far (!), I’ve done the following repairs to our vehicles:

Tyler’s 1984 Ford Mustang (Ty did a lot of this work himself)

  • Tune-up (plugs, wires, distributor cap & rotor, fuel and air filters)
  • Oil and filter change
  • Replaced bad throttle position sensor
  • Replaced upper radiator hose due to hole from hitting fan

1995 Ford F-150 4WD Pickup

  • Tune-up (plugs, wires, distributor cap & rotor, air filter, oil & filter)
  • Replaced front brake rotors and disc pads
  • Replaced front ball joints
  • Replaced automatic transmission oil filter
  • Replaced 4WD transfer case shift linkage bracket
  • Replaced six out of seven U-joints
  • Replaced all brake lines on front half of truck (old ones rusted out)
  • Repaired broken driver’s side interior door latch (used an old fence gate hasp as the repair part!)
  • Replaced front fuel tank (old one was rusted out and leaking)
  • Wirebrushed rusty areas, primed and painted (this is a really rusty midwest truck!)

2005 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan

  • Oil & filter change
  • Replaced alternator (bearing going bad)

2000 Volkswagen New Beetle

  • I have $1000 worth of suspension parts waiting to be installed
  • Also have a complete exhaust system (another $1000) ready to install
  • Wheels are out being sandblasted and painted (were getting rusty from the winter salt), and once done, will receive new tires

So, that’s how my winter’s been going. And now it’s time to go take a look at Beth’s van again – it’s started making another noise!

Two for Two

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We now have two invalids around the house, as Tyler managed to wipe out and either crack or badly bruise his tailbone (coccyx) while snowboarding last Friday.

I’m glad I decided to stay home!

“Red Tails” Review

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Red Tails opens with the disclaimer that it is “Inspired by a True Story,” which is pretty true, given that many liberties were taken with the historical events portrayed in the film.

If you can overlook those, along with the somewhat unbelievable flight sequences (visually very exciting, but aircraft simply do not do the kinds of maneuvers repeatedly shown in the film), you’ll find the film to be exciting and dramatic.

Having had the privilege in past years to have talked at length with three members of the Tuskegee Airmen, I found the portrayal in the film to be a bit disappointing – the men I spoke with were incredibly humble, and while they did not gloss over the racial challenges they faced, it was clear that they were fighting as Americans first, for freedom.

The one other touchpoint I have with this group of courageous men is that my great-uncle (Perry Dillman) was a flight instructor at Tuskegee during WWII and trained a number of these men. Uncle Perry related two different occasions where he and his student had to bail out of the T-6 trainer they were flying – in one case because of a mid-air collision. Flight instructors (to this day) are quick to tell you that student pilots exist for only one reason – to kill the instructor!

This is probably not a film for younger folks. The IMDB entry contains a Parental Guidance section that will help you decide. There was quite a bit of distasteful/foul language, and the battle scenes were very intense, but not necessarily gratuitous in what they showed.

While not a documentary by any stretch (though many will treat it as such, unfortunately), it was an exciting film.

A Mild Winter So Far…

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Although we’ve had a few nights down around zero, it’s actually been pretty mild so far this winter (compared to the last two winters, anyway) – the biggest snow we’ve had was about five inches. This is historically more typical, but then we’re also not yet into February!