Archives for category: I’ve been thinking …

I am hopeful (yet cynical) that we will take this current economic recession and learn to live within our means, not go EVEN farther in debt.  This video takes it even a step farther and encourages us to give but to give less materially and more meaningfully.

[via joshuablankenship]

As many of you know, my grandfather recently died and we (the family) are uncovering many things unknown or long forgotten while sorting their stuff. (On a personal note, special thanks to my mom for all the work she is doing in largely spearheading this thankless and at times heart-wrenching process.)

One thing that was uncovered was this printed poem by John Guy Britton (my grandmother’s father) in 1943. The copyright resides with him and his side of the family, but I wanted to copy it up here as I thought it was appropriate for our times today as well.

A part’s lost from our washer, the darn thing’s made of brass
but we’ll get along without it, Like we’re doing ‘bout the gas

The belt’s off the cleaner, That we use to clean the rooms
But Grandma’s house was always clean, And all she had were brooms

The refrigerator’s on the blink, It used to work real nice
But we’ll go back a few decades, And buy some cakes of ice

And now the oil for heating, Is pretty hard to get
so we’ll use the good old fireplace, And we’ll be warm, I’ll bet

What if we’re cool in other rooms? None of us should care
We’ll go through the trunks of yesteryear, For heavier underwear

And soon I’ll have no tires, I don’t intend to cuss
For when they’re run down to the quick, I’ll just block up the bus

They say they want my bumpers, To keep Hitler on the jump
O.K. – with no gas or tires, My car won’t be there to bump

My suit’s all right but looks so queer, With no cuffs of double flares
I never was a fashion-plate, So I just say, “Who cares?”

My coffee’s flat, so it my tea, And yours is too, no doubt
But I’ll just grin and see how quick, I’ll learn to do without

Now these are the frightful hardships, The Home Front has to suffer
So let us stop and think a bit, Could it be any tougher?

Well, we’re not in concentration camps, Our kids are still well fed
No bombs drop through out roofs at night, While we’re asleep in bed

And all the farmers raise, we get, It’s all for our boys – or home
While the cream of the crop on the other side, Goes to Berlin and Rome

We’re free to enjoy our radios, On short waves or on long
Foreign or domestic, In any Nation’s tongue

Our press is free to criticize, We get unaltered news
And we may vote for whom we wish, we’re not told whom to choose

And we may worship as we please, We can run our Congress down
We may even ride our President, And really ‘go to town’

We should be quite happy too, We have no Himmlers here
No Quislings or Lavals to hate, No Gestapo to fear

So compare your hardships and blessings, with those of across the seas
And the very next time you pity yourself, Just stop – and get down on your knees

J.G. Britton
Lansdowne, PA

Arguably the most recognizable athlete worldwide.  An amazing footballing talent.  Star midfielder and captain for his international team.  Superstar of Manchester United – the reigning title holder of both the EPL and Champions League and the most valuable sports brand in the world.

If I was writing this 6 years ago, everyone would know I was speaking of superstar David Beckham, right before he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid and is now playing for LA Galaxy.  

An eerily similar script is unfolding before our eyes today, with Cristiano Ronaldo, the new Beckham.  Yes, Ronaldo is flirting with the idea of following in Beck’s footsteps even more by moving to Real Madrid.  If you are interested in this, plenty of sports writers are discussing it, check one of them out.  To be honest, I couldn’t care less.  That’s right, I really don’t care.  

What I do care about regarding this situation is the comments that have been made by FIFA head Sepp Blatter.  Blatter said that Ronaldo should be free to pursue a transfer to Real Madrid rather than be kept to the contract that he signed 18 months ago.  Fine that is all well and good.  However the “Mad Blatter” had to continue talking, and in those remarks, he went on to compare poor Ronaldo’s situation to “modern slavery”.  

Yes, slavery.

When asked about Blatter’s comments regarding slavery Ronaldo, the portugese international said, “I agree with the statements of [Blatter] … What he said is correct.  You know what I said, what I want and what I would like.  Now I have to wait and see what happens.”

Wow. Ronaldo who just signed a 5 year contract a mere 18 months ago feels treated like a slave.  A contract that pays him a mere $238,000 per week.  Yes, I said per week, as in there are 52 of them a year.

To compare this spoiled brat to a slave is an insult to slaves.  Ronaldo makes more money than he and his friends and his family could even think of spending.  He lives like a king in a great country.  He works out and plays a sport he loves 40 weeks of the year, and gets 12 weeks of vacation.  

If he doesn’t like it, he can quit, and go into another line of work (unlike slaves).  Now there isn’t another line of work that can offer him the limelight that his ego craves or a ludacris salary like that… so if he is complaining that the team that is paying him so much has requested that he not play for a rival team, that doesn’t seem like it is asking too much.  

Grow up Cristiano.  What little respect I had for you (off the field) has all officially eroded away.  I hope Man U “puts you out to pasture” by trading you to Real Madrid and you rot in the Spanish sun like so many others have.  

I’ve been debating whether or not to post this as it is far more personal than I usually choose to share in this public forum, but it has just been on my heart, and I wanted to share with the few that read this little blog…

A couple days ago I got a letter from Jackline (a child I sponsor in Kenya through an amazing organization called Compassion International). The letter was fantastic and heartwarming, but when I got to this line I just stopped and thanked God for my ability to help her.  

“Thank you for the christmas gift [...] I purchased a mattress.  Thank you for your support to my life.”

If anyone has ever thought about sponsoring a child, I strongly recommend it.  I’ve spent some money over the last 12 months:  An iPod Touch, a new iMac, a wii … but by far the best money I’ve spent was on Jackline and I’m thrilled that for the financial cost of a wii and a couple games I can provide the finances for a marked improvement in the quality of life for a child in need.  It is humbling that an extra $20 at Christmas buys her a mattress, a luxury I completely take for granted (in fact I have one in my house that sits unused in a guest bedroom).    

I live a very blessed life, and I thank God for my letters from Jackline as she helps keep me grounded.  I also had to smile as she closed the letter with:

“Many people are now planting their crops during this rainy season.  Are you planing your crops?”

What easy lives we live…

Excellent article from Glenn Beck.  Not sure how much is propaganda, but it is the most straight forward talk about a real issue I have ever heard.  Thanks Glenn.

While I think “Hopping off the corporate bandwagon” by Paul Glavic may over simplify the issue, he sheds some light on a common thread that many of my friends (and myself) have been feeling now for a while. We simply do not have the corporate ambitions of previous generations of Americans (just look at the subtitle of this blog and you’ll notice I’ve felt this urge for a while – “Ambition is the enemy of success”).

My best friend hopped off the corporate train years ago. My roommate just recently downshifted from 40-50 hours to about half that. Even my brother (who is very corporately driven) turned down a HUGE promotion years ago because it would involve excessive travel and his quality of life would suffer.

I would consider myself someone who genuinely enjoys my job right now, however I would consider a 4 day work week (with full benefits), earning 20% less a very attractive proposition…

If government run healthcare were to ever take off here in the US (and I’m quite torn on whether or not I think that would be a good thing) , I would expect that a number of people miserable in their careers would drop them and choose to simplify their life while working 20-30 hours in a coffee shop or bookstore… Something to think about.

[thanks to Joshua Blankship for finding this for me]

As I have written before, I like Huckabee. He is very likable, he seems like a natural leader and inspirer, and in an ideal world, I could see him [like Obama] being a great uniter of our country…

However comments like this are an easy way to simply make yourself unelectable.

“I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards, rather than try to change God’s standards.”

You better be very careful Huckabee. You are walking an amazingly fine line here (possibly even crossing it). Personally, I really liked John Mark Reynolds’ take on this in his article, Is Huckabee Confused About the Proper Role of Christianity and Politics?

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that brings happiness.” – C.H. Spurgeon

“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” – C.H. Spurgeon

Carnegie Mellon University has a wonderful lecture series they invite professors to take part in – “If you had one last lecture to give before you die, what would it be”.  Dr. Randy Paush’s chapter in this lecture series will melt your heart.  Do yourself a favor and carve out 90 minutes and listen to this lecture.   Some parts may be a bit technical, but stick with it, it is worth it.

Dr. Pausch is a Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  The remarkable men and women who take up the teaching profession rarely get the recognition they deserve.  Dr. Pausch is gaining lots of publicity (ABC news, Wall Street Journal, CBS news, etc) due to his attitude regarding his recently diagnosed terminal cancer.

We all have a lot to learn from the humility, humor, and dreams of this man.  Thank you Randy for sharing your life and passion with your kids at CMU (and to a lesser extent, UVA) over the years and the rest of us over the internet. I’m thankful that you found a home at CMU that allowed you to flourish and affect so many lives.

I stumbled upon this article by Brian Kim titled “Top 5 things every extrovert should know about introverts“.  I have no idea about Brian Kim’s credentials, but this article hit the nail on the head from my (admittedly introverted) perspective.  Worth taking a few minutes to read if you want to understand the workings of our sometimes quirky social behavior.

While on this subject, I found an interesting read from USA today a year ago.  “Not all successful CEOs are extroverts” discusses the introvert and extrovert division and how it relates to our business leaders.  While Steve Jobs is on the extroverted end, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and many others find themselves on the introverted side.  

Food for thought:

“They must find it difficult… Those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.” – Gerald Massey

Sarita Hartz (an old friend of mine from JMU) has started up the non-profit organization Zion Project (www.zionproject.org) to help child girl soldiers in war-torn Uganda. Sarita was best friends with one of my close friends and we were both actively involved with IVCF.

I am genuinely glad that she is making a difference with her life… the humbling thought is what did I do today?