Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Morning Chuckle

Today I was emptying out my email folder (a tedious task) and ran across this email from my mother in 2004 (yeah I know, I am waaaay behind). She sent the original list and, having a terrible time with my computer during this period, sent the cynical italicized responses. I think it is good for a Monday morning chuckle.

If Only Life Could Be Like A Computer...

If you messed up your life, you could press "Ctrl, Alt, Delete" and start all over!

Unless you have my computer in which case the computer has frozen everything leaving me stuck in the same awful situation in life until somebody had the mercy to unplug me.

To get your daily exercise, just click on "run"! If you needed a break from life, click on suspend.

My computer seems to run forever with out finding the file, which would mean that my poor little legs would just fall off until my computer froze resulting in my impending heart attack.

Hit "any key" to continue life when ready.

Since there is no "any key" on my keyboard, my life would never get back on track and I would end up a piece of crap on the side walk like my computer is about to become if it doesn't start working

To get even with the neighbors, turn up the sound blaster.

Ok you got me I can't think of anything witty for this one...more sound is very good!!

To add/remove someone in your life, click settings and control panel.

In my case I would be removing the things I don't want, yet they seem to still leave traces of themselves eating up hard drive space. And forget adding anything! That is how my hard drive got screwed up in the first place

To improve your appearance, just adjust the display settings.

So I can become Black or glow white? What kind of benefit package is that?

If life gets too noisy, turn off the speakers.

No. Sound is good. But I may one day be able to turn off my hearing aide when I want to tune out my mom

When you loose your car keys, click on find.

And by typing in "keys" it would give me some directory that would lead me to the keys I thought I got rid of when I removed my first car and give me nothing for the one I actually tried adding.

"Help" with the chores is just a click away.

See...this relates because my computer is about as slow as the police and ambulance that I would require if I ever needed help.

Auto insurance wouldn't be necessary. You would use your diskette to recover from a crash. (note: diskettes were these small square plastic thing that held minimal information so you take a file off one computer and put it on another. Same intention as a jump drive.)

Except that I lose those little black things, meaning I would still be screwed just like the auto insurance company does and I would be paying for it later

And, we could click on "SEND NOW" and a Pizza would be on it's way to YOU...

Except when you get a failure notice because you typed in the email address wrong in which case your pizza would get delivered to Botswana.

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Much Can I Bend Before I Break?

Growing up I was an avid fan of comic books. I no longer read them but I happen to remember one storyline particularly vividly. Over years and years one of my favorite superheroes, Batman, had locked up countless of insane villains in a place called Arkham Asylum. In a concerted effort to do away with Batman once and for all, a guy known as Bane orchestrated the mass breakout of all of the prisoners Batman had put away. The city was now overrun with decades worth of the craziest people, some of which also possessed superpowers. Because the police could not handle the load, Batman had to go after each individual.
Batman spent countless sleepless hours re-apprehending each villain often succumbing to hard falls, bruised bones, and general fatigue from all of the fighting. At the end of it all, Bane finally confronts Batman. On any other day, Batman could easily dispose of Bane despite his super strength. But on that particular encounter, Batman was worn down physically and mentally from days of non-stop fighting. After a small tussle, Bane picks Batman up and easily breaks his back over his knee. The greatest super hero was now crippled and defeated. Broken and left for dead.

That is somewhat how I feel right now. I am constantly fighting the tasks that come before me. I am currently working a full 40-hour week at the job that pays the bills. I am putting roughly 10 to 20 hours each week into my future career as I see clients, plan to teach classes, conduct assessments and read so I can get licensed, most of which is not paid time. I volunteer for CharlotteOne and lead the Ministry team which commits me there every single Tuesday in addition to follow-up throughout the week with people who ask for connections or prayer. Bible study meets every Monday at my house. That is my weekly schedule.
I was just somewhat involuntarily commissioned to lead a new class in mid-April. so I need to learn and prep the new material. I have to start thinking about and raising support for my missions trip in July since some more money is due soon. I still have to get in touch with all of my contacts for references on my licensure application. I need to schedule a new crop of assessments. I foolishly embarked on an aggressive 30 things I want to do before 30 list. I have recorded my grandparents giving an oral history of both sides of our family and need to edit those videos so that they can see their life's works before the opportunity expires.
All of this to say I am wearing down and wondering at what point I will be broken. I would not trade any of it and am not the type to give up on anything and certainly not anything that would let others down. But something is going to have to give soon as I find I no longer have enough hours in the day. I feel like Batman. But unlike him, I know my Bane is coming to snap me in half. I just don't know from where or when.
The good thing about the Batman story is that others were ready to step in for him while he recovered. And he did recover. Batman came back from being broken in half to continue his mission. Part of me desires the break to come so I can get to the recovery and bounce back stronger than ever.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Absolute Intolerable Government (AIG)

While for the most part I veer away from discussing specific political policies on here, preferring to speak in more over arching generalities, I cannot ignore this AIG tax because it is a flat out scary precedent. For those of you who need to be caught up to speed real quickly, please follow because this could affect you one day.
Simplified, American International Group, Inc. (AIG) got into some serious financial trouble and to avoid going under, got bailed out with much more than a couple billion dollars by the US government (essentially, we the people, because our taxes are paying for it). Word recently got out that despite their short comings and borrowed money, $165 million was being paid out as bonuses to some of AIG's employees. It was certainly outrageous because no one who dooms a company to financial failure should be given a bonus, but my understanding is that these bonuses were promised before the bailout. There was even a provision in the stimulus bill protecting these bonuses (yeah the same stimulus bill that your Representative signed without reading the whole way through).
Okay, now that you are caught up with the drama and outrage, here is where it gets flat out scary. The government, in an attempt to correct their own error, wants to tax these bonuses at 90%!!! Let me a go a bit more in depth, because if you don't realize what is happening, you should be enlightened. Despite the sheer stupidity of the undeserved bonuses and our taxes that will be paying for it, it is the government's fault for protecting that and allowing those to be guaranteed.
Why I am very very concerned is because the government is REWRITING TAX CODE TO TARGET SPECIFIC PRIVATE CITIZENS. They are not going after AIG as a corporation or criticizing them for paying billions of your tax money to foreign banks (oh, that is a whole other rant). No, they are targeting private citizens on specific money and at an outrageous 90% of the earnings. Why this is scary is because you could be next! I am not trying to fear monger, but with our growing deficit, that money is going to need to paid back. What is to say that the government won't come up with a tax that targets a certain group that you are in? And to what excess? 90% is very excessive. Even though I admittedly did limited research, I am not so sure that this is even constitutional.
I have long been a proponent of the Fair Tax system for reasons like this. The government has too much power over private citizens and it is overstepping their bounds. Rewriting tax code in a matter like this is very serious. As much as I hate AIG right now, I abhor this measure. Do you think it will stop with AIG? I think the government, if they are allowed to get away with this will use it for future taxation policies. Scary future potentially ahead.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where Do You Value Education?

A few days ago the unfortunate news broke that CMS is planning on cutting nearly 500 teacher jobs here in Mecklenburg County. Currently I am not directly affected by the move but at the outset I was outraged at the poor planning. After thinking about it for a day or so, I am even more pissed off. Education is the one area of our society that is already neglected in teacher pay and now we don't even have enough money to pay their already paltry salary? In my opinion, it is a horrible mismanagement of money and terrible budgeting.
As a country, we already boast some of the dumbest and most ignorant kids in the developed world because of overcrowded classrooms, crappy administration and more politicking with our kids futures than I care to discuss. I would love to know what pet projects in out our state and county are taking money away from our teachers. Between the state lottery and the amount of taxes that are taken from us, we should be able to make it work.
I do not know how you begin to justify this idea. The one area you should be trying to grow especially in a recession should be education. We no longer have a farm society that everyone can default to if education does not work out. No, we now have wellfare. And congrats, by making cuts in education, you are growing that now and for the future. Right now there are an influx of professionals who could share their gifts and knowledge with students and could be given jobs or you could pay the teachers better than what they get to attract a higher standard of teacher. Cutting education screws over the future.
I won't have to worry though. As I told one person the other day, at this rate I am bound to homeschool my kids anyways. That way I can guarantee they get the education they deserve and will be smart enough to one day rule over the kids of these dumbasses that cut so many needed teachers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Knowing the Price of Everything But the Value of Nothing.

Written by my friend Bryce Baker as a guest post. He needs his own blog because his stuff is fantastic. This really echos my heart.

I have been so humbled this week by the Holy Spirit. It is so incredible to see how God is moving within people. How He brings things together in such a bigger picture that we could have never imagined. He has been moving even within our group of friends. Twice I have noticed friends asking themselves tough questions concerning their relationship with God. I could see in their faces they were yearning for something more. Desiring answers and a better understanding of what God was trying to say. It broke my heart. When I saw this story I immediately was convicted and felt a burden. Every day each of us interacts with guys and girls who, on the outside are happy and normal, but on the inside they are teeter-tottering on righteousness or destruction.

"There was this couple who sold their house to buy an old elegant house in the city. It was their plan to renovate and live in this house that was built in the 1800s. So they started with new plumbing, new addition, and new HVAC system but when the contractor came in, the first thing he did was pull out leveling jacks. He started to level the house and make it square and plumb. Once he had done that he started to notice that doors wouldn't close, windows wouldn't shut, and plumbing sat sideways. What had happened was that slowly over time the house settled. Whoever was living in that house before all those years didn't notice anything because it's not like it settled or changed all at once. Every day a little bit here or a little bit there. However, when they made it level, all of a sudden everything was out of sync. The contractors came in and had to use special tools to level it. You couldn't square up the walls by trusting your eyes or level the floors by your feet. You have to use a tool to compare them to. God has given us a way to level and square our lives. It is the cross and it is His Holy Word."

Our talks in CharlotteONE have been about Love and Loving others. How much do you love your friends? No seriously think about it. How much do you love your friends? Do you love them enough to buy their lunch if they are hungry? Do you love them enough to cheer them up when they are sad? What about saving their relationship with God? Do you want to see them for 15 minutes on this Earth, experience a funny story together, and then let them fall by the way side? That is what we do every day. Satan didn't just fall from Heaven and become an annoyance to God. Satan deliberately turned his back on Him. Satan deliberately is waging war with our Creator and with us. He is trying to take the thing most precious to God, our love, and make it worthless. We know the price of a loaf of bread in a grocery store but we never think about the value that bread has to someone who is truly hungry. We know the price of our souls, the cross, but we never realize how valuable we are to Jesus.

Every day Satan manipulates us in ways we don't recognize. He lies to us making areas in our lives "settle" without us knowing. Little by little over many years we become non-square and unlevel. A good example would be our country over the past 200 years. We don't realize how we've changed at first but years later when we look back we see how far we've strayed from Him. Just as Casting Crowns’ song says, "slow fade." Piece by piece we give our souls away. We accept the sex that perverts our minds and the alcohol that clouds our conscience. We may not lie, cheat, or steal, but we will sure miss time with God on Sunday morning because we had too much to drink on Saturday night. We are all hurting and we are all looking for answers to fill the void within our hearts. Use the tools God gave you to level and square your life and then help square the lives of your friends who you should Love like yourself. Once you do, your sight will no longer be foggy, and your eyes will open to the areas that have "settled." If we all come together and help each other become square and level…then we can be a house that the Holy Spirit can live in. You are responsible for your own soul, but as a Christian, you are responsible for the souls of others.

That is my prayer request this week. That our friends who are questioning right or wrong and those who may not know Him find answers. We can make a big difference in someone’s relationship with God by doing little things to encourage. Pray with me.

My friend James-Michael has also posted this on his blog, which is a frequent read of mine. Check it out!