It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

My 11-year-old mobo died. Sad day.  And I wasn’t going to replace the board to preserve the old CPU, memory, and graphics card. I was ready for a new toy.

This toy is a beast. A Dell Precision Tower 7910, outfitted with 2 x 8-core Xeons.  128G memory. 500G SSD and a 10T spinning metal drive for slower things.  I’m planning on running a bunch of VMs on this, having them talk, setting up a house wiki, etc.  Much etc.

The first box got lost (lifted?) between the local package delivery service and my house. The nice folks at MET Servers shipped out the new one while still fighting with the shipping company over what happened to the original.  Plus, they got me overnight shipping tossed in! Thanks, Edwar.

Came in this morning, and I took a break from work to unpack it.  Started it up, made sure it worked, and had to power it off because it was distracting me from my regular job.

Since then, I have installed Fedora Server 30, installed the virtualization software (KVM), added and mounted the spinning rust drive (a NewEgg purchase).  I’m keeping the base machine a command-line box.  GUIs will be for the VMs.  So I had to use lynx to download the graphical workstation ISO – and it worked.  I’m still doing my Google research on another PC, but it’s working.

There are benefits to having enthusiastically worked in the computer field for decades.

And I’m having fun.

Bettie and I went to the jewelry store a couple weeks ago – not to buy something new, but to get something fixed. In her engagement ring, one of the prongs that holds the diamond had broken off. It’s fixed now, and we’re thankful that the diamond didn’t get lost. But even if it did, or if the ring was lost or stolen while getting repaired, it would have been sad, but we still would be married. The ring is wonderful, it’s preciousand it is only a symbol.

Then I thought of our country’s flag, the stars and stripes. It’s the same type of thing – the flag is not the country, it’s a symbol of the country. Respect the flag, honor it – but don’t defend the flag with your life.

And you see the direction I’m headed with this – the wafer and the juice we partake of as we celebrate communion are a symbol of Jesus’s body and blood. That’s true, but not the whole of the truth. Mark 14:22-24 says

And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

Jesus never sinned, so He wasn’t lying. I think He meant it in a spiritual way – that *spiritually* it is His body, His blood. And yet it’s more. Philippians 3:10-11 says

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

So there is both the spiritual and physical aspect to communion, both symbol and reality. I don’t understand it all, and I don’t have to. There is a place for mystery. Ephesians 3:20-21 says

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,  to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Let’s pray. Lord God, the wisdom, the knowledge, the love that You have for us – sinners – is still a mystery to me. And yet I know that I am a sinner saved by grace, through the body and blood of Jesus. Thank You for that indescribable gift. In Jesus’ name, amen.

We went to the mall today. Heading back to car, we were gobsmacked.

Apparently somebody thinks that a blind person driving a car should be able to get close enough to this sign in order to touch it.

The mind boggles.

I have written about my weight on here before, but it was always a losing battle (well, yeah/no). I’m happy to celebrate my 60th birthday today by announcing that I have lost over a half-million dollars, assuming that I’m worth my weight in gold.

My company has a contract with Omada to help employees improve their health. I started right around Christmas 2018. The focus is on meal size/healthiness and exercise rather than counting calories or carbs. And it works – in the last year, I’m down 26 pounds. On July 2nd, I dipped below 200 for the first time in (maybe) decades. Hitting that number by the time my birthday hit was a goal I set with my Omada coach Lauren (hi, Lauren!).

There are other benefits, too. My BMI is down from 34 to under 30. My A1C went from the 9 range to 6.4.

The only downside is having to buy new clothes. Jeans, anyway. I am discovering shirts that I haven’t worn for a long time.

And I’m liking it.

There are many ways to read the Bible – straight through, like the church is doing, or reading some from the Old Testament and the New Testament every day, or even chronological – in the sequence it happened. One thing I have heard, though, is that you should always look for Jesus in whatever part of the Bible you’re reading.

So Jesus’ first miracle, turning the water into wine – let’s take a quick look at that.  We have a wedding, and His mother, and there’s Jesus.  Boom!  Found Him.  We’re done!!

But let’s look a little deeper.  Let’s look not just at what happened, but at what it could mean – the symbolism, the story behind the story.

Here’s what happened, on the surface.  While Jesus and His mother were at a wedding, the wedding ran out of wine for the guests. Mary urged Jesus to – essentially – “do something”.  From John 11, verses 6 through 10:

Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

A good miracle – Jesus didn’t do any bad miracles – but what does it mean?  Helping the wedding reception, sure.  Deeper, though, the jars were for purification – for the Jews washing themselves.  Not cleaning up at the end of the day, but for becoming ritually pure. Jesus turned that water into wine – good wine, but still just something to drink.

Except that at the last supper, in Matthew 14:23 and 24,

Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks He gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”

So at that wedding in Cana, Jesus took something that was external – the water for purification – and turned it into the wine that represented His own blood, that would be shed for the forgiveness of sins.  An internal cleansing.  The change that Jesus did *then* with the water and the wine, He would go on to make that change available for us.  Not external any longer, not legalistic and ritualistic, but internal and life-changing.  *That’s* where Jesus is found. And that’s what we are celebrating now.  Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, Jesus was aware of what He was doing when He changed the water into wine – both the physical action and the meaning.  And He was aware of what He was doing by dying on the cross. Thank you for offering Him as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

I couldn’t find the music I wanted.  I knew that I had tons of albums ripped, and I wanted to play them on my nifty RasPi music player.  That’s good.

I couldn’t find them.  My music?  Nada.  I didn’t panic.  I didn’t think about it, intentionally.  I remembered that I had cleared up some space recently.  I have three disks in my PC, from various iterations of go-faster, and I don’t need three copies of Windows (do you know how many files are in your C:/Windows directory?  twenty-one thousand on mine.  Yikes!).  So I deleted some, recently.  And now I can’t find my music.  That would qualify as bad.

So tonight I used the Everything tool which showed me that I have around eleven thousand MP3s stashed under F:/Users/saubrey/Linux external/music.  Good.

But on the root of F: I have a file named “This is steel and rust.txt”  (vs. “This is silicon.txt” on other drives).  Not so good.  Thinking I’ll copy some files tonight.  That’s good.

We did attend the Mercy Me concert a few weeks ago, and yes, we did dance to Happy Dance.

And I’m happy dancing again – the Raspberry Pi music dealie is working. Digital sound out to the sound bar

Running Volumio, since Rune wouldn’t boot.

And my first song? What else?

My latest goofy thing is a music player connected to our TV’s sound bar, powered by a Raspberry Pi.

Tonight was assembly night.

Boxed:

The Hifiberry is a sound card that puts out digital audio. I’ll be using the RCA connector to the sound bar. Two different SD cards for different OS attempts.

Unboxed:

Assembled:

No power supply yet – that’s being delivered Wednesday. No operating system – leaning toward Rune. No content – I have a lot of ripped CDs, and a lot more to rip, and all to be copied to the 256gb external hard drive.

Hour and a half for assembly. Figure another hour for OS install and adding some tunes. Half hour for connecting and sound bar setup.

Then cranking the music.

I recently started working a side job, doing shopping and delivery for a grocery store. It is working out well so far – not retirement money, but lunch money.

When I’m in the store shopping, or doing the delivery to the customer, I wear a t-shirt over my regular clothes. It helps the store workers know that I’m different, and it advertises the brand to the other shoppers.

It’s interesting, too – I find that I’m consciously smiling more, being more respectful of people, being more careful about my driving.

Then when the delivery is over, I take off the t-shirt, and I’m back to being a regular citizen.

Except – except that this isn’t about being a shopper. Galatians 3:27 says “For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ.”

Christ is not a t-shirt to be added to my outfit. He is not something that is put on and taken off like shoes. And we don’t have a tick box to decide whether we want Christ – the language “we have been clothed with Christ” is different than saying “I decided to put on Christ today”. We are not the ones doing the clothing.

So I have some thinking to do – not just about my side job, not about my 40-hour-a-week job, but about my 24 hour-a-day job, which is to be Christ to a world that needs Him.

As we take the wafer and drink the juice, remembering Christ’s perfect, sinless life, and the undeserved death that paid the price for our sins, let’s realize that being a disciple is not a side job. It’s our only job. Let’s pray.

Father God, we come to You clothed in Christ. We cannot stand in Your presence on our own merits. We are welcomed as brothers and sisters of Christ. What a wonderful gift for us, and what a terrible price for Him. Thank You for this perfect plan. In Jesus’ name, amen.

. . . fruit flies like a banana.  Thanks – I’ll be here all week.

Almost two years since my last update, and now there are seven prior entries. My collection, not my creations.

Oct 17: Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

Nov 17: Youth is a quality, and if you have it, you never lose it

Dec 17: If you start with “Counting in binary 101”, you missed the first four classes

Jan 18: People are like teabags – you find out what they have inside when they are in hot water

Feb 18: Don’t mistake stability for stagnation, activity for progress, or change for innovation.

Mar 18: Knowledge is adding things. Wisdom is taking things away.

Apr 18: I hate eloquence. In fact, I hate all grey animals with large ears.

May 18: The “S” in IoT stands for security.

Jun 18: Acopia – Disease of the day – the inability to cope

Jul 18: Give me the strength to change the things I can, the grace to accept the things I cannot, and a great big bag of money

Aug 18: Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little bit fewer

Sep 18: An expert is someone who has made all the mistakes

Oct 18: If Henry Ford had listened to his customers, he would have made faster horses

Nov 18: Every decision we make increases our momentum in the direction of that decision

Dec 18: The best you can do is tie the record for lowest flyby

Jan 19: It’s never wrong to do what’s right

Feb 19: Be humble or you’ll stumble

Mar 19: Just because you made a promise doesn’t mean I have to keep it for you.

Apr 19: Worrying is not thinking

May 19: Work is a scarce resource that should be used sparingly