Apparently, I managed to change my settings recently in a way that did not allow comments to be posted. (I was told by someone that he had commented, but, apparently, his comment was lost in cyberspace.) I believe this problem has been corrected. My apologies to any of you whose comments disappeared.


Here's your sign!

Have you read the e-mail that suggests that stupid people wear a sign so the rest of us will know to expect less-than-average intelligence from them? Well...

...I started working my first retail job about a month ago. The store at which I work closes at 7 p.m. We put the gate at our mall entrance down shortly after 7 and latched it after our last customer left around 7:20. I was cleaning near the front of the store about five minutes later when I heard the gate rattle and looked up to see a couple standing outside, holding a gift box that, presumably, contained an item which they wished to return. "Are you closed?" they asked. No, I thought. We thought that having a gate pulled across the front entrance would really add to the atmosphere of the store and enhance your shopping experience.

The same thing happened with a different person a few minutes later. One of my coworkers got to deal with that one.


Quotes of the Day--Worry

"You might as well go get a t-shirt and a black magic marker and write on it, 'You Can't Trust My God.' And then don't witness to anyone, because nobody's gonna get saved anyway. Who wants to trust a God you can't trust?"

"Worrying is just chucking time right out the window."

Those of you from my alma mater can take a stab at identifying the source (singular) for these quotations. It shouldn't be too difficult.


I just found an old journal of mine from my junior year of high school. It's rather entertaining to see what I thought was important, interesting, and/or amusing when I was 16 and 17 years old. I must admit, though, that I'm glad I wasn't blogging back then and displaying my stupidity and immaturity for the entire world to see. It's bad enough that there's written evidence tucked away in a little spiral-bound notebook in my room!

This does make me wonder: how many people are out there reading my blog and thinking, "What an idiot this 'mel' person is!" What will I think if I go back and read my blog entries in six or seven years? (Will they be archived that long?) Perhaps I'd better be careful what I write. =)

Another thought: reviewing my high school journals will, I think, encourage me to be more patient with any teenagers I deal with. It reminds me that I'm not so far removed from their level of maturity. And that it's only by the grace of God that I have progressed at all.



It makes me laugh to read news stories the day after Christmas. If the press hadn't informed me, I may never have known that the day after Christmas is a big shopping day. Apparently, retailers are slashing prices in an effort to boost sales, and consumers are eagerly using up gift cards and searching for bargains. Also, the day after Christmas is a popular day to return unwanted items. (Ya think???)


Merry Christmas!

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)


Quote of the Day--December 23

I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels.
John Calvin


How often do we actually think about our words? Sins of the tongue are so common, even among Christians, that we often seem to forget that they are sins.


Quote of the Day

"Why is the fastest-growing spectator sport in America watching cars turn left?"

--P.J. O'Rourke, Peace Kills (Atlantic Monthly Press: New York, 2004), p. 82

Duke Power

People are a great source of entertainment, although at times their stupidity is more irritating than entertaining.

The outcry over Duke Power's alleged poor response to the massive power outage resulting from last week's ice storm is an example of this. I am sorry for those who still have no power a week after the storm, but do people really think that Duke Power is intentionally prolonging the situation? There is no logical reason to believe that. How is Duke profiting from the delays in restoring power? Wait, I know--all businesses love negative publicity, right? Besides, Duke is probably enjoying the decreased revenue that must result from customers' not being able to consume their product.

The Greenville News, our favorite left-leaning local newspaper, is asking residents to log onto its website and report whether power has been restored to their homes, their neighborhoods, etc. I suppose that racism will be the next accusation hurled at Duke Power. (I.e., are minority neighborhoods being left in the dark longer than white neighborhoods?)


Winter precipitation

It's snowing!

(Well, sort of... there's a lot of rain and sleet mixed in.)

(Please forgive me for being so excited about this event. I'm a southerner, and frozen precipitation is something of a novelty.)



I received the following via email and, therefore, cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information. But I still thought they were funny, and besides, they're something that I can post that I don't have to write myself.

Zero Gravity

When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside-down, on almost any surface including glass, and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300 degrees C.

The Russians used a pencil.

Your taxes are due again--enjoy paying them!

Our Constitution

They keep talking about drafting a constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.

The Ten Commandments

The real reason that we can't post the Ten Commandments in a courthouse is that you cannot post "Thou shalt not steal," "Thou shalt not commit adultery," and "Thou shalt not lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.


Five more days!

In just 5 days, I will be a college graduate. (OK, so I don't get the diploma until May, but still... I will have earned it in 5 days! Assuming I pass my required classes, that is.)

Today (well, yesterday now) was my last day of classes as an undergraduate. It's just exams left.

Just to prove what a superficial person I really am, I think I'll list a few things I'm really looking forward to:
  • Wearing jeans in public places (other than ski resorts, ice-skating rinks, rivers, and stables)
  • Wearing flip-flops in public places (in a few months) :-)
  • Wearing sandals without hose to church on Sundays (again, in a few months)
  • Wearing sleeveless attire when it's hot outside
  • Worrying about whether my clothing is modest and appropriate rather than whether it meets the dress code
  • Feeling a little more free to express my views on certain issues without fear of repercussions
  • No longer having that nagging little worry in the back of my mind that something I do or say will be misinterpreted, or that I will thoughtlessly do something stupid, and end up being kicked out
Hmm... do I dare tempt fate by publishing this post with only 5 days of my undergraduate academic career remaining? I think I shall... apparently all the foolishness has not yet been beaten out of me...


Why College Costs So Much

What have I learned in school recently?

Always check the appendices of textbooks for answers to the homework problems given in each chapter.

Ideally, this should be done before the last week of the semester.

And this is what you parents of college students are paying thousands of dollars annually for your children to learn.


"How the Brain Tunes Out Background Noise"

This article from FOXNews.com is interesting.

Special neurons in the brainstem of rats focus exclusively on new, novel sounds and help them ignore predictable and ongoing noises, a new study finds.

The same process likely occurs in humans and may affect our speech and even help us laugh.


The novelty detector neurons seem to act as gatekeepers... preventing information about unimportant sounds from reaching the brain's cortex, where higher processing occurs. This allows people to ignore sounds that don't require attention.

I wish my "novelty detector neurons" had kicked into action a bit more quickly during the Wind Band concert Friday night. Somebody directly behind me sneezed during the 4th piece (of 10) on the program, and proceeded to sniffle (we're talking a big, long SNNNIIIIIFFFFFFF approximately every 3 seconds) for the rest of the concert. The piece during which the sniffling began was a quieter selection, and at times the extraneous noise actually drowned out the music.

If your nose is running that badly, use a Kleenex or your sleeve or something. Or get up and leave the concert so you won't distract those around you. Please.


More on grace...

Acts 11:18 (ESV) -- "And they glorified God, saying, 'Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.'"

I'm no brilliant theologian, but it seems to me that this verse indicates that repentance is a gift. It isn't something we achieve on our own--we can't "work up" the repentance necessary for salvation--but it is something that God graciously grants. Logically, then, this leads to the belief that God chooses to whom He will grant "repentance that leads to life." Therefore, He graciously chooses who will receive the gift of salvation...

... so those who are saved are "chosen by grace."

My first post!

My brother's blog is set up to allow comments only from those who have blogger accounts--so in order to torment him by leaving sarcastic remarks on his blog, I have been forced to get a blogger account. And since I was signing up for an account, I figured I may as well start a blog, too. All important people have blogs, right? :)

Besides, I need a wider variety of activities on which to waste my time. Surfing other people's blogs gets old after a while.

It took me a while to come up with what I thought was an appropriate title. I didn't want to try to be funny, because undoubtedly I would be the only one amused by my "funny" title. I also wanted to be sure to choose something that I wouldn't become tired of.

I decided on "Chosen by Grace." It reflects a truth that God has been impressing on my mind and heart in recent years--that I can do nothing apart from Him. Were it not for His grace, I would have never even sought Him. And His grace isn't just for salvation--it's for living the Christian life as well.