Friday, July 30, 2010

what's so amazing about grace?

it's waking up every morning, knowing that the air you're about to breathe is a gift from God.
it's taking one step at a time, understanding that God's path for me is anointed and ordained.
it's seeing four walls around me and a roof over my head and suddenly realizing my perspective of life is not like those less-fortunate.
it's going to work and realizing that I am one of the lucky ones able to provide for my family.
it's having food in front of me three times a day, but understanding that it's only my Savior that sustains me.
it's looking into the eyes of my beautiful wife knowing I never should have done this well!
it's seeing my friends who have been infected with this grace line up one after the other, ready to serve for the greater good of God's kingdom.
it's being completely humbled by looking my sin straight in the face, knowing that what I deserve is eternity in Hell.
it's understanding that the beauty God put in nature and on this earth is only a glimpse of what He is truly capable of.
it's watching my son being born, seeing how perfect he is in every way, knowing that I have done absolutely nothing to deserve to be a part of this miracle.
it's looking in his baby eyes every day that reminds me that if God's grace is for me, then it is for everyone. I don't deserve any blessing I have ever received on this earth, but I will let it be known that it is only by His grace I am blessed at all.
I love you Jesus.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

wait 'til next year boys.

Last week, the Tigers were a flawed team that still had a chance in a forgiving division.
This week, they're just a flawed team.
Their lineup, minus Magglio OrdonezCarlos Guillen and Brandon Inge, isn't close to being good enough. Their rotation, beyond aceJustin Verlander, isn't close to being consistent enough. Their bullpen, after losing Bobby Seay and Zach Miner this spring and Joel Zumaya at midseason, isn't close to being deep enough and experienced enough to make up for the other problems.
Yes, it's true, the Tigers are still just three games out of first place. But it's also true that Matt Garza's Monday night no-hitter tells you a lot more about where the Tigers are right now than the standings do.
And that's why, after being one of the more active teams in the weeks leading up to this Saturday's non-waiver deadline, the Tigers could end up being one of the quieter teams at the deadline itself. That's why, if the Tigers make a move at all -- and sources said they're still looking hard -- it will almost definitely be made with at least one eye on 2011.
That's why, despite being a team that always likes to go for it right now, the Tigers of this July should be a team that's all about next year.
The rest of this year could be painful to watch, but the payoff in 2011 could make up for it. The Tigers already figured to be one of teams with the most money to spend this winter, and now that Ordonez's $15 million vesting option won't kick in, they'll have even more.
With Miguel Cabrera in the middle of their lineup, Verlander atop their rotation, Jose Valverde at the end of the bullpen and perhaps $60 million to fill out the roster, the Tigers could turn themselves into a division favorite -- or more than that -- by next spring.
The players they don't trade away this week could be the ones who help them win next year. Or, they could be the trading chips needed next July, when the right move really could help.
Remember, the Tigers were always focused on 2011 and beyond, because so many bad contracts come off their books after 2010. They went into this year thinking that they'd have a chance if everything fell just right, but that they'd also have set themselves up to be a potential powerhouse team next year.
So for three months, enough went right that the Tigers stayed in the race. For three months, they looked good enough to think that maybe a July trade could make the difference -- this year.
The Tigers looked at starting pitchers like Dan Haren. They looked at relievers like Scott Downs. They looked at hitters like Adam Dunn and Mike Lowell.
They were everywhere, and they seemed to be in (at least to some extent) on everyone.
And that was fine, as long as not much more went wrong.
Well, you know what, more did go wrong. Ordonez broke his leg, and Guillen was hurt, too. A lineup that was already weak now looks like Cabrera and a bunch of kids and fringe players.
Would the Tigers have won, even with a healthy Ordonez, and even with a helpful trade at the deadline?
We'll never know, but it's pretty clear that they won't win now, and that general manager Dave Dombrowski couldn't make enough moves to fill all the holes, even if he wanted to.
It could be that the Ordonez injury helps the Tigers long-term. It could be what keeps them from dealing for a rental player who may or may not have helped, while at the same time giving them more money to spend for when they'll have a much better chance of winning.
The Tigers like Ordonez, and they may well try to re-sign him. But it won't be for anything close to $15 million, because 37-year-old outfielders who hit 12 home runs in 84 games (as Ordonez has this year) command less than half that in today's market.
In any case, that decision will come later. The decision to be made this week is much simpler.
If the Tigers can make a move that helps them in 2011, go ahead and do it. If they can't, forget it.
And if it means there are more nights in the coming weeks where the Tigers look as bad as they did against Garza on Monday, so be it.
There's a real chance that the coming years will make up for it.

-article by Danny Knobbler - CBS sports

Saturday, June 19, 2010

History Says Matt Stafford To Calvin Johnson Will Explode This Year

See that smile?

Maybe he knows what we should all know.

While doing some research on my last article—where I compared how the Detroit Lions added players in their first two years of Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles, and Drew Bledsoe with the New England Patriots among other teams—I stumbled across something that might be exciting to see unfold.

While Dallas and Indy both rebuilt around a No. 1 overall pick at quarterback with Troy Aikman and Manning, both teams had a young wide receiver on the team already with Michael Irvin and Marvin Harrison, respectively.

In both cases, when they paired up with the QB, they formed a Hall of Fame duo, but neither WR had distinguished themselves before they had an entire offseason to work with the quarterback.

Let's look at the Dallas situation first.

Irvin was drafted the year before Aikman and head coach Jimmy Johnson came on board, and had a decent rookie season with 32 receptions for 654 yards and five TDs, while starting 10 games.

He was headed toward another decent season in his second year and Aikman's rookie season, when he was injured after six games and out for the season. His stats were six games, 26 receptions, 378 yards, and two TDs.

That's a pace of around 70 receptions, 1,000 yards, and five TDs. Another decent year but nothing really special.

In that offseason, Irvin was still recovering from injuries and didn't get the chance to work with Aikman in his first full offseason.

In his third and Aikman's second season Irvin ended up with only seven starts and 20 receptions. Kind of a lost season for the duo, maybe the "white house" wasn't the best rehab location for "the playmaker."

After that season things changed dramatically. Irvin and Aikman had an offseason to work together and it showed the next season when they teamed up for 93 receptions, 1,523 yards, eight TDs, and Pro Bowl berths for both.

More importantly, it was a return to the playoffs for Dallas where they beat the Chicago Bears only to be crushed by the Lions.

Crushed by the Lions in the playoffs.

That wasn't a mistake typing it twice, I just liked the way it sounded. Of course, they had a QB and we didn't so things changed a little after that game, but it sure was nice when it happened.

Know what? I don't think you guys will mind so I'm going to say it again.

The Cowboys were destroyed by the Lions with Eric Kramer at QB, and the threat of Barry Sanders behind him, 38-6.

Man that felt good.

Anyway, back to our feature.

Irvin and Aikman never looked back, that 93-reception and 1,523-yard season parlayed into five consecutive Pro Bowls and a Hall of Fame career for Irvin.

Oh yeah, three championships in four years, too.

With the Colts, Marvin Harrison was a two-year veteran with a couple of decent years when they drafted Manning.

With an average of 69 receptions and 851 yards in those two years he was an established NFL wide receiver, but he wasn't making any travel plans to Hawaii at the end of the year.

In Manning's rookie season, Harrison came up with 59 receptions for 775 yards and seven TDs.

Of course, he missed four games with injury.

Is this stuff starting to sound familiar?

Young WRs who were good, but not great before the QB got there.

Both WRs injured during the QB's rookie season?

Are we ringing any bells yet?

So what did Harrison and Manning team up for after they had a full offseason to work together?

How about 115 receptions, 1,663 yards, and 12 TDs.

That was the first of eight consecutive Pro Bowls for Harrison, and what should be a future bust in Canton, Ohio.

Are we seeing a connection here?

The young QB had that time to build a relationship with the WR and things just explode.

Think this was just two examples?

Check out Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry, if you want a little history lesson. Even Joe Montana and Dwight Clark, though Clark doesn't deserve to be in this discussion of great WRs.

Though the roles were reversed with David Carr and Andre Johnson, it wasn't until they had that offseason together that things clicked.

It's not just WRs though, Bledsoe and the tight end Ben Coates did the same thing—decent in the QB's rookie year, but give them an offseason to work together and things just click.

With the Eagles, tight end Chad Lewis went from 20 total receptions in his first two years to 69 receptions and a Pro Bowl berth in McNabb's second year.

By the way, both Dallas and Indianapolis had tight ends step up in the second year for them, too. Jay Novacek went from a previous career-high of 39 receptions to 59 in Aikman's second year, while Ken Dilger and Marcus Pollard picked it up nicely for Manning.

Another coincidence was both the Colts and Cowboys added a first-round pick running back in year two of the Aikman and Manning eras—hmmm.

But this was suppose to be about how top QB and WR duos have formed, and it's pretty obvious that they need a good offseason's work first.

Neither team made a significant change at the other WR spot to free up their guy. It was simply building that chemistry that did the trick.

Some people are starting to question Calvin Johnson a bit, just how good he is after all. But they were asking the same questions about Irvin and Harrison at one time, and things turned out pretty good for them.

I got a feeling that Johnson will be just fine for the Lions and history says that starts this year.

-Blue in Greer

Saturday, March 13, 2010

my personal wet burrito recipe

I made these from scratch last night and they really turned out good!

take boneless chicken breasts and cut them into small cubes. meanwhile, in a frying pan on medium heat put in vegetable oil, diced onions, crushed red pepper (eliminate this if you don't like it spicy!), about a tablespoon of mild jalapeno tabasco sauce (this is more flavorful than hot, i promise) and basil. when this gets to a simmer, put in the chicken cubes and add salt and pepper. when they are cooked through, put a lid on the pan and cook on low for 30 minutes, stir occasionally.

i added black beans (drained) for the last 10 minutes as well to this mix.
use a strainer to get the chicken, onions and beans separated from the juice. save the juice.

okay, for the red sauce.. simple.... two cans of red enchilada sauce + I mixed in about half of the juice from the chicken mixture and stirred it in. this really adds some good flavor!

inside the burritos i put the chicken/black bean/onions in, then i added cooked white rice and mex-mix shredded cheese. i placed the burritos in a 9x13 (with some non-stick spray), drenched them with the sauce, and put more shredded cheese on top of the sauce. 30 minutes at 400.
once out, i added a bit more shredded cheese and chopped scallions on the top.
my sides were refried beans, spanish rice, sour cream, chopped lettuce and diced tomato!

i know this is really different from any other wet burrito recipe, but i just went with my gut and it turned out really good!! it takes some time to do all of it but it was so worth it!!!
let me know if you try it...

Monday, February 01, 2010

some good thoughts I've heard recently...

When life hits those really dark, painful moments is when CHRIST will bring stability. God can't love you anymore because he loves you fully. God can't be any closer because he's already drawn near. God has not walked away from you, even if you've walked away from Him... He continually pursues you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. You're not alone. FAITH is believing during these dark, painful moments. Jesus IS here, Jesus DOES know, Jesus DOES care Jesus WILL help. To believe all of that does not take away the pain, the suffering, the trials... but what it does do is take away the loneliness, the hopelessness, and the fear. In these situations, not only do you need Jesus, you need people around you who love Jesus that they can love you and encourage you and speak truthfully to you... People who will weep when you weep, rejoice when you rejoice as God does with you... God said in Genesis "it is not good to be alone." The new covenant says we're reconciled to God through Jesus so we're not alone.. we're also reconciled to His people... We're Christians AND the church... this offers love, support, encouragement and hope... we carry each other's burdens (Galatians 6)...