Start spreading the news...

Laura and I are moving to Long Island, NY. She starts a new job on January 3, at a radio station WBLI. So for the last week we have been checking out apartments. Seeing all my family was a true blessing this holiday season. Right now it is a little stressful figuring out all the details of moving. Jesus once said not to worry because worry doesn't change anything. Good advice.


I love to hear people laugh...

A wise person once said that a merry heart is good medicine and that laughter is good for the bones.

I believe him.


If you have more than one bumper sticker on your car do you lose credibility?

For the second time this week I got behind the same car that touted the driver's personal (extremist) political views on the bumper. The bumper stickers were all about bicyclists/bicycling. The extreme ones said "It doesn't take a war to power my bicycle". Another one had a picture of the bike with the saying, "Zero $ Per Gallon".

The funny thing to me was that his statements were on his car that I am assuming is powered by the war I mean gasoline. He could have been running on bio-diesel but I didn't smell French fries.

I do want to live a life that is conscience of consumption and take steps to conserve where I can. One way that I am conserving oil is by using natural laundry detergent. Seventh Generation brand detergent says this on the label:

"If every household in the U.S. replaced just one bottle of 100 oz. ultra petroleum based liquid laundry detergent with our 100 oz. vegetable based product, we could save 200,000 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 11,400 U.S. homes for a year!"

Another thing I read recently was that if cities and towns would use flashing yellow and red lights at intersections during the overnight hours, it would save a lot of wasted idling at red lights when there is no traffic coming in the opposite direction. Some of the intersections in Greensboro use this technique and I believe there is a push in the local government to use it more.



A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart.


Trying to read...

Nasty weather delayed Laura's flight so I sat down to read the book I brought, Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About America. I already read it once but it is that good I decided to go through it again. As I sat there reading about the author's interpretation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's way of thinking and living (I've been stuck re-reading this because it is confusing me), when this women busts out her cell phone, starts yapping and ruins my concentration. Before she started talking there was other people having conversations that I somehow blocked out. Even the noise of a busy airport was no distraction. This lady, however, was. I don't know if she had an especially annoying voice or there is a phenomena where the brain cannot distinguish someone who appears to be talking to themself as normal.

I did a Google search (which buy the way is a hot stock right now. I personally can't afford it but my sources tell me to start purchasing) - to see if there was some weird phenomena where the brain will not block out something abnormal like a person, appearing to talk to themself, on a cell phone. It could just be that this women uses a louder voice when on her cell. Or maybe this woman was from New York or Jersey.

My search results returned nothing but it wasn't a very rigorous one. I'm going to conclude that it is people being too loud. Oh wait, more evidence is coming in now to support my loud theory - Laura, my lovely wife who happens to be a New Jersey native, is talking (more like shouting) on her phone intruding into my blog time. She's even in another room. Yo! Shut the door!


Gift giving...

Receiving gifts is one of the five "love languages" in Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages. Some (of us) do not jive with the whole giving and receiving of gifts; we are not wired that way. So it can make this time of year stressful and even unenjoyable. Laura loves giving gifts. She takes the time to find the perfect gift for each person. If there is an accesssory that will make it extra special, she will find it. Then she buys the most expensive, highest quality, fancy wrapping paper (I didn't know anyone actually purchased their wrapping paper at Barnes and Noble!!!) and perfectly wraps the gifts. You can't even see the Scotch tape! My only contribution is an index finger so she can tie a bow for the finishing touch (and maybe I will fill out the little taggy thing).

Wisdom tells us that everyone is a friend to someone who gives gifts, and that a gift can open the way into someone's heart. We can make important connections with each other by giving gifts. Consumerism and retail chains do not have to rule the day...we can. This is something for me to keep in mind as I trudge through the mall and swipe the credit card.


Where did the tradition of giving gifts originate anyway? Perhaps from Chris Cringle or St. Nick? Or maybe from the Maji who travelled from the east bearing gifts to "the one who has been born king of the Jews". Consider the action of these "3 Wise Men" this holiday season for they are the ones who got it right.

What gifts can I to give the King in 2006? An important question to reflect on in the midst of holiday busyness and as we celebrate the new year.


An article worth reading...

"When you don't earn something or suffer to get it, do you value it less highly? If you value it less highly, will you bother to know it, understand it, study it? Will you bother truly to become part of it?"

-Peggy Noonan

Sobering and eye opening.

The key is to not get out of shape...

So after a week vacation over Thanksgiving eating lots of good food and desserts (filled with preservatives and non-food like substances) I noticed the scales tipping not in my favor. No problem, I will just hit the YMCA (after a month sabbatical) and get back into it. Well it's not so easy getting back into it.

Our bodies have a way of speaking to us. Whenever my body is sore in the morning, for no apparent reason, I take that as a sign something is wrong. If I get winded running up the stairs of my apartment, there's a problem.

My conclusion is to not get out of shape. That would be the wise thing to do. With another holiday coming I forsee more food and lots of couch time watching football. I better try and stay active. Perhaps a couple extra laps around the mall could count as a days worth of exercise? Or go with a lady friend and make a marathon out of it.


Jelly of the Month Club...

Today I received my annual bonus at work. Not only did I get a bonus but Uncle Sam did as well. The government graciously accepted 27% of my Christmas bonus (would "Holiday Bonus" be more politically correct? is "holiday" suppose to be "holyday"? whoa). Enough with the pc business, 27%...it's an outrage!


Wading through religion and politics...

Two of my favorite subjects that at least in the past are a faux pas to discuss or inquire about. I have generally lived by that principle; confrontation really isn't my thing. But there is no fun in keeping silent, plus we will never learn if we do not challenge each other's points of view.

My latest thought is about those who try and bring about God's kingdom through political persuasion and even legislation. Is that the vocation of the church? I think it is overcompensation for the church's waning influence in popular culture. There is an appearance of momentum and political weight by people of faith (mostly from the "religious right" or "moral majority") - okay maybe it is more than just an appearance, there is some legitimacy as proven in the 2004 election. However when I listen to and read the rhetoric from "D's" or "R's" of faith I am disappointed.

I guess I believe that the church shouldn't look to the government to get things done. The church has become small in public life. The current followers of Jesus need to rise up as a community that embodies the words and way of life of the Teacher. We need to be a community that is big again. Not for the sake of political pull or so we can get our way, but so we can experience goodness, grace and truth.

No one political party can encompass my views and convictions. It is impossible. God's kingdom functions and operates in a certain way and the government of the United States in another. They are focused on accomplishing different goals and bringing about certain ends. At times these goals and ends coincide, somes even the means are similar, but I feel the differences will tip the scale (one way or the other).

In our political ideology we must allow for the differences in kingdom and state. As followers of Jesus it is of utmost importance to learn how he wants us to live and be the men and women he has called us to be.


Happy Thanksgiving...

I am thankful for 2005. In it I have learned more about marriage, faith, and love. Hopefully the learning will translate into action and a better quality of life. Funny thing is at the same time I am thankful that 2005 is almost over.

I am thankful for Laura's love and encouragement.

Also I am thankful to be with family this week.


I Find the Current Political Climate Nauseating...

My first question, to myself and whoever else is out there reading, thank you by the way, is am I ignorant to think that politicians really do care about people? Or are they in the tank for themsleves and the special interests/lobbyists that fund their campaigns? How many do you think has sold out? Republican, Democrat, I don't care about parties. My target is any elected official who works in Washington or any state capitol.

Right now all I hear from Democrats is whining and complaining; finger pointing and placing blame. And where's the leadership from the Republicans? It's a damn circus (one of the reasons I stopped watching the news). We, the people, need to figure something out because I don't want a bunch of sell-outs with "D's" and "R's" next to their name determining my future.

I mentioned I stopped watching the news. It is all sensationalism. They must think we are stupid. I was for constantly watching. Now I read and listen to the radio which I turn off every now and then because it is just as ridiculous.

Newt Gingrich has written a book called Winning the Future. I am reading it right now because I heard he may run for president so I want to see what he is going to do. As other candidates throw their names in the hat we should see what they have to say as well. I am anxious to see if they talk in public what they write in their books. Too many go with the flow, say what people want to hear and politically posture themselves to get votes.

What has set me off tonight is what I read in this article by Jim Rice on the Sojourners website. I read Sojourners because of their attention to social justice. Their Democratic rhetoric is disappointing coming from men and women of faith. I want an alternative to viscious politics that is actually quite boring. Instead I get paragraphs like this one:

Since the U.S. occupation of Iraq, 700,000 Iraqis have taken refuge in Jordan, and the country has served as a gateway for Westerners coming to Iraq. (An ad in the Jordan Times while we were there encouraged European companies to position themselves in Jordan, ready to move into Iraq when the time is ripe for rebuilding its devastated infrastructure; after all, Halliburton can't reap ALL the spoils of war.)

He had to throw in a jab about Halliburton? Unfortuanately most of the articles in the site will have similar sarcastic remarks about the current administration or towards views contrary to those held by the Sojourner staff. Why? I am looking to this site for some direction in how to shape my politics and way of life as a follower of Jesus. But as of right now I do not really have much respect for the way they present their message.


Understanding the Scriptures...

Lately I have been thinking about how we read and understand the words of Scripture. A couple of authors have been challenging me - Brian McLaren in his book A New Kind of Christian and Walter Wink in his article "Homosexuality and the Bible". History and context are, I am finding, of the utmost importance. N.T. Wright has given me some great insight in the books The New Testament and the People of God and Jesus and the Victory of God. Consider this from Paul's letter to the church in Rome:

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
These words open a whole new realm of possiblity. One for a greater quality of life. A quality much of my religion has failed to unveil.


You two should get a room...

Disturbing news in our society but is it surprising??? Funny that they would have to make a rule. You would think that it was understood?


that's not her style...

today i rode in a maserati. my friend vic works for foreign cars italia and he had a show today at grandover resort. i don't really have the "car gene" but i can definitely say it was a sweet ride.

the title is from a billy joel song


Ah...the weekend...time to recharge...

Today I read a couple articles that were thought provoking. I will post the links below.

*Peggy Noonan's current piece is one I found very interesting. I like how she introduced the subject and then painted the picture of the current social/politcal landscape.

*The United Nations scandal in the "Oil for Food" program hasn't received a lot of press. Several countries (US allies) were beneficiaries of illegal kickbacks from Saddam Hussein. Read comments by one member of the media .

*One of the ways I learn best is by listening to different speakers share their thoughts on a variety of subjects. My opinions are shaped and my views are challenged by hearing others (more knowledgable than me) expand and expound on issues of the day, history, politics and religion. Laura and I have been listening to a friend of ours, JR Woodward, talk on "A Call to Live in Reality" . Today I was able to listen to his fifth talk in a series of eleven on "Eyes Remade for Story."

*My mom gave me a book to read called In Search of Identity by Anwar el-Sadat. He was the President of Egypt. This book is his autobiography. I just finished chapter 3 and hope to share what he says soon.


Random Observations...

I'm not sure if "observations" is the right word. If you think of something else please let me know. I've been thinking about how to be a better steward of what I have and consider how what I buy affects (or is it effects?) those who produce (workers especially) the products I consume. An example would be buying free trade coffee or produce grown without pesticides. Recently I was encouraged to shop at Wal-mart versus brand name stores so that I will save money so I can in turn give more away. But the irony (literary scholars correct me if my use of irony is wrong) in this is I buy from Wal-mart to fight materialism to give to the poor and oppressed when the very products I buy are so affordable because they are produced by the poor and oppressed. It seems like an unavoidable circle of doing the "right" thing prevents any possible solution. ??? And totally unrelated to the above thought is for you ladies. I noticed something each time my wife, Laura, went to a salon to get her hair colored. Now this event happens once every three months (thankfully because I pay for it) and she always looks great. Along with the "coloring" Laura will also get her hair trimmed. It is so insignificant that I don't even notice. Sometimes the stylist will talk her into doing something different with her bangs. This service is not free of charge. It doesn't come along with the color. No it is a significant amount more for a couple snips with the shears. I'm convinced I could do it here in the comfort of my own apartment. I always ask Laura why she gets it cut. And she never really has an answer. Then it dawned on me that it has to be a money making scheme. While the women are getting their hair colored, talk them into some sort of cut and charge 'em out the yang. I'm onto the scheme. I wonder if this is why a majority of women have short hair? I know it is so much easier to manage and take care of but doesn't make sense that there really isn't any money in "long hair." Of course long hair requires more products to keep it looking nice but far less than the monthly cut and style that I see so many women wearing. It's all a ploy by the "big stylist industries." I'm onto you Paul Mitchell.



We just got rid of our cable. Other than not being able to watch football I'm doing okay. It's keeping me away from the news channels (of which I'm junkie) which isn't even news anyway - just sensationalism to get you to watcha and keep watching. It's even in print. Read this headline and then the text. Here' a funny one from t.v.



the art of skillful living...not so much lately.


money isn't everything...

especially when it is someone else's... Thomas Sowell


they are not kids

heard yet another person call an american soldier a child. whether you agree with the premise of the war or not hopefully we can agree that they are not kids.
what a diss.


a kick in the butt...

susie is my blogger accountablity. so a word of wisdom ( i think abe lincoln said this?): a kick in the butt is a step forward. better than a kick in the head! 1st day of fall say good-bye to summer and hello to football. that groaning in the background is laura.


 Posted by Picasa


God sets the lonely in families; He sets the desolate in a homeland.
Psalm 68:6
This is and will be my prayer for New Orleans. Posted by Picasa


work in progress...

the blog is still under construction. i need to fill in some links on the side. thanks to you who have posted. today's thought: how can i see things from a different perspective?


kill your television...

if i could get rid of my television i would. it just doesn't seem practical right now. it would save me $840 a year in cable costs. but i don't see us being televisionless anytime soon. in a small victory, however, i have not turned the t.v. on all week. probably because i have been occupied with the book natural cures they don't want you to know about by kevin trudeau. it is a best seller and kindof controversial. his basic theme is what we are putting into our bodies (food and medicine) is filling our bodies with toxins. we are unaware of this but the government and companies are not. it seems conspiracy theory but i'm digging the book (and the conspiracy theories). i've drastically changed my eating habits (at least for this week). i'm not shopping at big supermarkets or food from large manufacturers. this week has been mostly vegetarian. and i'm digging that too. we'll see how far i go. --- more hymns: be thou my wisdom and thou my true word i ever with thee and thou with me lord thou my great father and i thy true son thou in me dwelling and i with thee one


a blog is like a pet...

okay so i haven't posted in a while. not that i don't have things to say (visulize laura rolling her eyes in the background). why is there discontent in the blog world when someone takes a day or two off? Even if it's three or four let's give some leeway. although i will claim ignorance to blogger etiquette since i am new to this scene. if i have violated any rules or regulations (written or unwritten) please accecpt (or is it except?) this apology. from a hymn: riches i heed not, nor man's empty praise, thou my inheritance now and always; thou and thou only, first in my heart, high king of heaven my treasure thou art. -be thou my vision


wish i knew what i knew now...

...when i was younger. heard this song in the gym today. reminds me of these words: The glory of young men is their strength, and the beauty of old men is their gray head [suggesting wisdom and experience].



this weekend i was reminded that our actions have consequences. unfortunately as i was driving down friendly ave. my speed exceeded the posted regulatory limit. an officer pulls a "uie" to come after me. i didn't even realize i was going as fast as i was. the cop was miffed at me. not only did i get a ticket but i received a lecture on how i was the fastest car on friendly, that it was residential and that i could loose my license if i was going a couple miles faster. my speed was excessive. i can't deny that. so give me the ticket. but let's forego the lecture. i wanted to ask the cop if he ever in his life ventured over the speed limit. i didn't. i was very polite and apologetic. i maintained respect for the law. the worst part: 150 smackers down the drain.


the latest scam (at least in my book)

so i'm cleaning the apartment to get ready for the in-laws this weekend. there i am down on my hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor and my wife insults me by handing me a swiffer wet jet. do you have one of these items? at first glance they seem ingenius. way cooler than a tradtional mop and definitely easier than scrubbing with a sponge. it even has a trigger to shoot cleaning solution on the floor! whoa. but unfortunately it fails to do any real cleaning. all the swiffer does is push the dirt around, smearing it into the tile. and the scouring pad at the top is lame. you're not going to remove any crusty items with that. if forget what this cleaning device costs (i think $30 with a coupon?) initially and then they nail you on refills. i'm sticking to soap and water, elbow grease and a sponge. mom will be proud.


day trader...

so i bought my first stock the other day. 3.848 shares to be exact. the lucky company is concophilips. i've been watching several stocks over the last few months: toyota, target, dell, nextel and intel. there are two small companies, metwood and new river pharmacueticals, that i also watch. laura has disney and she works for entercom so we have that too. concophilips was the first company i actually researched first and then purchased. ruth's chris steakhouse just went public. i'm trying to set up a scottrade account so i can buy some but my password isn't working for some reason. we love ruth's chris so why not buy it? my only reason is we love the steaks. if you have any stock tips for me send them my way. it's no good to have zeal without knowledge, or to be hasty and miss the way



this post is written in red to represent the front of my body. i was outside reading by the pool yesterday and let's just say things got a little toasty. right now i am suffering from withdrawl. each morning before i leave for work i try and catch 10-15 minutes of the news. it isn't really news, it's more entertainment with news thrown in. well i decided that's a waste of my time (i can find out the news on the internet) so I'm not turning on the tv before work anymore. this morning i've denied the remote and am suffering for it.


thought of the day:

it is better to give than to receive


the intelligent investor...

for years i've been wanting to gain more knowledge of investing. this past year i have read two books on money and investing. The first one is Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach. I read through it quickly learning a lot. I recommend it. The second book was Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. Also quite good. This book was more encouraging and inspiring than giving how-to's of investing. And finally the book I recently purchased through my conservative book club (visualize Laura rolling her eye's in the background) is The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. It was recommended by Warren Buffett. Worried that it might be over my head, I have been pleasantly surprised at the, shall I say, accessability. Today I finished chapter two at Barne's as I sipped my $1.77 cup of coffee. Here's a couple lines that stuck out: Intelligent investing is more a matter of mental approach than it is of technique. A sound mental approach toward stock fluctuations is the touchstone of all successful investment under present day conditions. ...indifference to market fluctuations... ...deal in values, not price movements... What good is it to have money without wisdom? Proverbs

wisdom speaks:

...whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair - every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledgew will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you.



if it were in my power i would get rid of my television. i am a news junkie and need a constant fix whenever i'm in the apartment. when i'm bored i flip channels instead of channeling my creativity to do something constructive.

My first post...

Typically I don't like saying something if it isn't profound and insightful. But for post number 1 why not a frivolous hello to the blogging world. And may the frivolity contiue...