Monday, December 31, 2012

Heavy snow December 2012

This past weekend we again had a major snow fall.  Not too many days ago we had our first large snow storm so I am surprised that we are getting hit again so quickly.  The first snow fall resulted in schools and businesses being closed.  Unfortunately, the temperatures dropped rapidly and the streets and pavements were never completely cleared.  As a result, we had icy bumps on our pathways.  Now we are having our second snow storm of the season.  I was not expecting this one to be so long or to have so much accumulation.  The first snow fall was heavy and wet.  This second snow fall has been light and fluffy.  It is definitely easier to shovel.

I have told myself that I no longer want to complain about the weather.  There is a lot to be thankful for when we get rain and snow but there is also not a lot that can be done about the weather.  So why complain about it?

These snow storms have changed the outdoors into a classic winter landscape.  It is very picturesque.  The ground is completely covered in white.  The trees are heavy with snow.

Friday, December 28, 2012

CS Lewis quote on what to write about

"Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else."  This quote from CS Lewis hit me and challenged me.  As you may know I am struggling with this blog.  It does not seem to have a purpose or direction except to share who I am.  I would like to find a topic to focus on and write at length about it.  Yet, I am not finding that idea.  My thoughts for the new year are to cut back on my daily posts and take them down to three times per week.  I hope by doing so I can raise my quality and remove a little stress of getting that post out there each day.  But what really interests me?  Well, my faith, success, nature, relationships, learning.  I have thought about blogging about improving one's life.  That is sort of general but it could be enough of a focus that it could get me started.  As of right now, I have no definite plans.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reviewing my counselors

There was a blog post I read recently that came out of the blue and really got me to wondering.  The author was quoting from Isaiah 30 where the Lord rebukes the people of God for finding counsel in the world and not from Him.  The post motivated me to pray and to consider who I listen to and take advice from.  Even if advice is good and upright, it may not be the advice I need to hear at this time of my life.  I take a lot of advise.  I read blogs and books and listen to radio and podcasts.  Yet, is it helping me?  Well, I have been going backward the last year or so.  When is all this advice, these seeds of goodness, going to spring up and bear fruit?  It is that time of year to look at my counselors and make some hard decisions.

I have gotten rid of the blogs Free Money Finance and Seth Godin's blog.  FMF came to me through Chuck Bently.  FMF is a believer but I don't like how people on his blog make very good money and yet are in debt and living in homes above their means.  FMF also posts a lot on earning cash back from credit cards and I have come to a point where I don't want to put my time into going through those hoops.  I am also putting aside Seth Godin because he is all about marketing and business.  People think he is brilliant and I have been stimulated by his writings.  Yet I am not at a place where I can benefit from his thoughts.

I have decided to unsubscribe from Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership and MacWorld's podcast.  I love Dave and he has some great material.  However, I am not an entrepreneur.  I want freedom and I want to lead well when I get a chance.  But again, he is talking to the business owner which I am not.  I am putting aside MacWorld's podcast because they go in depth about technology that I am not choosing to buy right now.  I will always enjoy Apple products but I don't need to know ever in and out.

I am hoping that now that I have dropped these blogs and podcasts that I will free up time for something better.  Something that will benefit me where I am right now.  Even more, I hope to hear from the Lord.  My life is really His life.  He created me and He paid dearly for my salvation.  I need to listen to Him more than ever and obey.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Do I have to love cars to be successful?

This question has popped into my head now and then.  Occasionally I will hear a man, who is successful, mention that one of his hobbies is cars.  To me when I think about cars I think of expense, insurance, and fixes.  I really don't like those things.  So I have not been a car fan.  I see them more as a necessary evil.  Sure I benefit from cars.  I've been riding in them since I came home from the hospital.  I would even place them as the greatest invention of man, even above the internet.  I mean, I respect cars and their place in our world.  But I don't love them.  I ride in them from point A to point B.  My dad did not have a passion for cars and I guess I have never had a close friend who was really into them.  But I wonder if it would help me to be more successful if I had a love for cars.    

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas day 2012

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

I again receive, by faith, the Son this Christmas.  He was given to me and I want Him to be all that He is within my life.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A solution to the nation's violence

We continue to see mass murder in our country and it really breaks my heart.  When I hear of these deaths I grieve and I pray.  I also think that it doesn't have to be this way.

Allow me to offer a solution to the nation's troubles.

We should teach people to love their neighbor as themselves, to choose life, to do unto others as they would have others do unto them, to respect people because people are a creation of God's, and to know that there will be a day where they will give an account for their life.  People should be instructed to leave room for God to mitigate any necessary revenge, to obey authorities, and follow the laws of the land.  Our books, schools, and universities should teach that the origin of life comes from God, He created all things, and all of existence is in place for His glory.

When these things are emphasized and seriously spoken of I think we will see much less violence and more brotherly love.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Property exploration

It has been over seven years since my wife and I have moved to this location.  A thought popped into my head last week that was interesting.  Have I completely explored this property?  When we looked at this property initially it seemed large.  Like there was a lot to do and plenty of room to stretch out on.  There were trees, bushes, and brushy areas.  Now that we have been here a while, the land has become figuratively smaller.  I pretty much have it explored.  Maybe one corner in the back isn't something I know very much because it is wooded and not something I walk through.  I don't know every plant name on our property but I could guess and could probably come fairly close.  Even the house has been thoroughly examined and explored.  I have seen the attic and I have been in every corner of the basement.  I find this really sad.

In some ways I am glad to know what I have but in other ways I wish there was more space to roam and discover.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Regrets in 2012

One of my biggest regrets from 2012 has to be how long it took me to find something to do for work.  True, if I was working I would have missed some conversations, some events, and some opportunities to travels.  But I think I should have been working way back in January.  

I don't fully know why it took me so long to land.  I don't know if what I am doing now is temporary and more change is coming.  I do know that I enjoy good work, I like having an income, and I feel like I am doing the right thing when I am productive and providing for my family.

It is just a puzzle to me why this took so long.  I applied places, I talked to people, I went to job fairs, I updated and updated again my online work profile.  Having time off to do these things was great but men are made to achieve and accomplish things.  So I list my greatest regret of 2012 as the time it took to land.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Grief over the loss of life in Newtown Connecticut

It is not my habit to keep up with the news.  Due to my hope to keep my thoughts on things more positive and helpful was why I was unaware of the tragic events that happened Friday in Newtown Connecticut.  It wasn't until I was almost ready to go to bed on Friday night that my wife told me of the murders.

My belief is that these children, ages ranging from 5 to 10, are now in heaven.  I base this on the words of Jesus who said "Let the little children come to me".  Jesus ascended to heaven after His time on earth and is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father.  So those children too will be in heaven.

On Saturday, as I had time to myself, I thought of the deaths, the pain, the blood, and the parents who found out their child was among the dead.  I cried.  I wept.  I had a lump in my throat.  I sobbed.  I grieved with the nation.

My prayers where for the parents and for all those affected by such a horrific scene at a school meant for education and betterment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best book of 2012

When I look back at this year, I have to ask myself, "What was the best book you read?"  Let me start by saying it is my goal to read two non-fiction books per month.  I record my books that I read in a spreadsheet so I can keep track of them for moments like these I suppose.  My records indicate that I have read 37 books this year.  I may finish one, two, or three more before December is up.  Most of my reading this year was non-fiction.  However, there were a few fictional books in there.

I think the final candidates would be "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson.  Steve was a mysterious technology executive that I admired from afar but in no way would I want to be near him especially when he was working.  "Start Something That Matters" by Blake Mycoskie.  Blake started a shoe company that gave away a par of shoes to a needy child with every pair of shoes purchased from his website.  I loved the idea of coupling commerce with generosity.  "Quitter" by Jon Acuff.  Jon's book is the only book that I am re-reading this year.  He is also the only author on my list that I have met.  I saw Jon at his Quitter conference in Nashville this year.  "Quiet" by Susan Cain.  Susan hit the nail on the head when it comes to introverts and the contributions we make to society.  I only wish I could remember more of the book.  "Unplanned" by Abby Johnson.  This is a book of transformation.  A total change of heart and thought.  Stories about people making a discovery that is right and true always make my heart sing.

Of these five books, I can not pick just one that bested the others.  However, as already noted, I am re-reading "Quitter".  So I will select it as the best book I read in 2012.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Empty house on the street

Where I live there always seems to be a house up for sale.  There has been several times where people have simply moved on and left a house which seems odd to me.  We had a good streak going where I think every house on the block was occupied for like a year.  But now we have another house up for sale just two doors down from me.  The owners apparently left it.  I have looked up the home and it is modestly priced.  From the outside it looks in good shape.  A long drive-way, nice windows, and a good roof.  The people there were a little too active for my tastes.  They and their friends were always zipping down the street with their modified cars.  They had a yippy dog which I do not miss.  I prefer a quiet neighborhood where people are conscientious.

I just find it bizarre that the houses here have such turn-over.  My guess would have been that people would stay for longer periods and not just up and leave.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Respect the salesman

A salesman's value is not always quantifiable.  Helping someone and making him or her feel valued and respected is not always something that can be placed on a spreadsheet and graphed.  Dealing with people so that they get what they want does not mean zero effort was put into the transition.  Sales is a matter of trust and trust builds with time as one proves to be competent.

There isn't always the possibility to add to a sale.  A salesman needs to follow his intuition.  Some people know what they want and don't want advise on what to purchase.  Helping these people quickly through the process is what they are looking for and that in itself is the value brought to the sale.

The purchase has to happen somewhere.  So whether this salesman takes the order or if it is someone else, it has to be done.  Nothing happens until there is a sale.  Seeing the salesman's value takes a bit of thought and understanding as it may not be readily apparent on the surface.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Core values

Someone recently challenged me to write out my core values.  He felt like there should be four to five of them.  The following are my core values.

• Doing things right.  I believe in following the rules as best as possible.  Rules are there to protect us and to keep things fair for everyone.  Doing things right goes beyond following rules.  It also includes doing what is responsible and expected.
•  Keeping things in order.  I am driven to put things away.  Everything should have a place and everything should be in its place.  There is a great need in me to have everything set and tidy.
•  Having freedom.  I have a bit of the wild in me.  I can not be caged.  At least not for long.  I will not get myself into agreements that require me to give up my life's essence, which is time.  I must be able to move about as I will.  The need to come and go as I please means a lot to me.
•  Treating others with respect.  Everyone has value because God created him or her and each have an eternal soul.  I believe in being polite, caring, and kind.
•  Keeping the faith.  My belief in Jesus of the Bible is a core, heartfelt belief that I never want to let go.  He did something for me that I could never do for myself so that I could get something I could never earn.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Garbage pickers

On trash day, we sometimes have garbage pickers that come down the street and inspect what is at the end of our driveways.  They usually have a pick-up or flat-bed truck which has a number of items already piled in there.

I am not into picking through garbage or dumpster diving.  There was one time I found a small gas grill next to a dumpster and it proved useful for many years.  But in general, I am not someone who likes to go through other peoples trash to find a bargain.

The garbage pickers bug me a little.  I think it bothers me that they are evaluating what we have chosen to throw away.  I don't want someone scrutinizing my decisions.  There are somethings that are better off at the trash heap and never seen again.  These people should just let it go.

It also bothers me that the trucks they drive are noisy and could use with a new muffler.  Hearing them start and stop and start and stop is a disturbance.

Usually I am not around when there is trash pick-up.  So lately I have not seen them.  Hopefully, they have stopped driving down our street.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Looking forward to heaven

I am getting to that point in life where departing to heaven is becoming more and more attractive.

Paul's words in Philippians 1:23 are making more and more sense.  "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better."  The same battles are fought again and again.  The same stories are told and re-told.  The same experiences are done again and again.  There are things I would like to do to make life better but many times, my goals are never realized.

I use to think that a man dying before 30 was tragic and that he didn't live long enough.  Now, I think that amount of time is enough to get right with God and depart.  I am well on the other side of that and I now see that dying young actually keeps a person from a lot of pain and grief.  There are many ways to die and I think about how it will occur to me.  Car accident, heart attack, disease.  I am not sure.  The pain that comes with death I am not looking forward to.  But leaving this earth, with its many problems and ills, sounds better and better all the time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thoughts on "Genius - The Movie"

This weekend I watched "Genius - The Movie".  It is a recent release to the internet and YouTube by Living Waters and author Ray Comfort.

The focus is on John Lennon, the former Beatle member.  John had some controversial words on Jesus and the movie touches on that.  He also had some surprising and refreshing thoughts on evolution.

What touched me and brought tears to my eyes was the young people who were interviewed.  They were very flippant on murder for money, stealing, and other sins.  This is the generation that has been raised in front of TV and computers and have not seen the inside of a church or heard of the God who created them and will demand an account one day.

I highly recommend this short film.  See it here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Bible character Lot

There is a Bible character named Lot who never impressed me.  I didn't like most anything he did, yet he is now in heaven, according to the New Testament.  He had many people around him that were sinful but on the inside he was righteous.  He had a faith in God and was a believer.  I never understood him until recently.

Many people around us are going through life doing things that appear normal.  It is easy to get dragged into what they are doing.  But often what they are doing grieves the soul of a believer because there are few neutral things.

I still don't approve of Lot's choices.  It is just that now, I understand better what he went through.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

When Christians sin around me

When I see or hear of another believer sin, it affects me deeply.  I am very grieved and troubled in my spirit.  Here is why.  It is like they despise the sacrifice that Jesus made for them.  They are saying in essence that what Jesus did for them, suffering & dying, has little meaning to them.  And when it has less and less meaning to them, it also becomes less and less real.  That saddens me too.

Please Christians.  Just because God has extended grace and forgiveness, don't think that it cost Him nothing.  It was very real what Jesus went through.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My weaknesses on the DISC profile

After taking the DISC profile, I thought about and spoke about my strengths.  But with all the focus on strengths, it never even occurred to me to give some considerations to my weaknesses.

Thinking about how my lowest score was an "I" helped to make sense of my life.  People don't listen to me or follow me much, if at all.  That is because my influence is very low.  I have never wanted to be an up-front person.  Therefore, I never learned a musical instrument.  I never strived at being a good speech maker.  I never wanted to be a pastor.  My preference is to be in the background, to be behind the scenes, and to go unnoticed.  That is okay with me and it is reflected on my DISC profile.

My other lowest score was "D" or dominant.  It has never been my ambition to lord it over others or sway people or tell a bunch of people what to do.  I don't want that role.  So being a general or a manager of people is something I never went after.

Now, I do like influencing and dominant personalities some times.  I like good leaders and good speakers.  But who they are is not who I am.

So I am learning to put aside hurt feelings when others choose not to follow my lead.  People are responsible for their choices.  I will lead by my example.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What would improve our country

What would improve our country?  More Christians.  That is, more, truly born-again, Spirit filled Christians.  People who love their Bibles and strive to obey God.

We Christians are more calm and relaxed.  We have a truer perspective.  We exhibit kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness.  We are honest, giving, and polite.  We are not causing trouble for law enforcement.  We pray for our leaders and show respect.

If there was one magic pill for this countries division, economic woes, and strife, I believe it would be for this land to have more believers in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I think we make better citizens.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blogger app

Last week I discovered this app I am now writing on.  The Blogger app.  I should have found it earlier but some things take time.

This app is free and you can write and read your own blog. However you can not read other blogs. So it is like a one trick pony. Good at only one thing.

If you are looking to write & read your blog from your iOS devise, this is a good choice for an app to use.