Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I went upstairs to the bathroom in my mother's bedroom this morning, hoping to relax my muscles with a warm bath, when I noticed these mushrooms growing there. I have no idea how they got there, but I thought it was neat in a weird way. It's probably partly because of the dampness of the environment in there, and maybe a little due to our cleaning abilities. Either way, I still thought it was interesting that they were there. I think they look a little like parasols.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Let Go by Sheila Walsh

I really enjoyed Let Go. This book is written especially for those women who struggle within themselves, especially in thinking that they are not good enough for anything (and let's face it, that's ALL of us at one time or another). Walsh goes through many of the destructive and imprisoning thought patterns that many women face and deconstructs them, mostly by reminding us that our God is a God who delivers and He can and will deliver us, because of His great love and grace toward all of us. Each chapter begins first with inspiring quotes, from varying authors and Scripture, and then with a short vignette that presents a real-life situation that most if not all women will face. This book also points out a lot of the destructive behavior those who may mean well in the Church practice, among ourselves and unbelievers.
One of the chapter-opening sketches, that I think is my favorite, is: "She looked at the dress lying on the bed, and it was all wrong. The style was wrong and the color did nothing for her fair skin. She tried it on, and although it fit, it seemed to hang on her as if mocking her shape. She wished she didn't have to go, but she knew how that would hurt her mother's feelings. Her mother had been so excited to show her the dress. Working on such a small budget, it was a miracle her mom had been able to buy anything at all. She would have to go.
She knew how it would be, for she had lived these kinds of moments before. She would stand at the edge of the crowd and try not to make eye contact with anyone. She might offer to help with the refreshments so that she looked busy, and she would get through it as she had done before.
The dance hall was beautiful, lit up like a Christmas tree. Music called to everyone to find a partner and take to the floor. She kept her eyes on her shoes, which didn't match her dress. She was aware of the sounds of laughter and excitement all around her.
But then everything suddenly hushed. She looked up to see what had happened and there he was. Standing in front of her was a beautiful young man holding out his hand to her.
"I...I can't dance," she said.
"Oh, yes you can," he replied. "You've always been able to dance. You just didn't know it."
Let Go is like a shot of encouragement in the arms of women everywhere. It deals with issues such as unforgiveness, judgementalism, temptation and letting go of the past. Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions and a prayer. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and believe that all women would find at least one of their issues dealt with in this book, and appreciate the stories and personal anecdotes it contains.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My new car!

Friday morning we set out to look at a car I found online at Auto Trader's site, in Alpharetta. We arrived to the car lot a few minutes ahead of my dad. Upon arriving there, we looked to see if we could find the car I'd seen. We located what we thought was it, but it was marked much higher than the online price. We found a salesman, showed him my printout, and were assured that it was the same car; it was marked down online. When my dad arrived, he inspected the car and deemed it worthy of a test drive. After the test drive he still liked it, so we went into the office and settled on a price. We ended up getting it for more than $200 off the price they posted on line, and $3000 less than the sticker price. I was so happy that we were able to get it for that price.
It has been wonderful, for the first time in about 2 years, to be able to back up and park like a normal person. It's wonderful to have air conditioning. It's wonderful to not have to worry about the car breaking and me being stranded somewhere. It's wonderful to not get wet when it's raining outside. It's wonderful to not have a steering wheel that gets sticky when it's humid. It's wonderful to be able to lock my car and open my trunk. It's wonderful to have a radio that gets good reception. It's wonderful to have a rearview mirror. It's wonderful to have a car that doesn't leak anything. The only problem is I can't find a way to get my iPod to play in the car. The cassette adapter I have works a little, but it starts trying to flip the tape back and forth and won't play. I got an FM transmitter, but I didn't like it because there's a lot of static on it, and also because I had to change the station a lot to get it to play at all. Overall I am very pleased, and the car seems to be driving better now that I've driven it some.
I am so thankful and grateful to the Lord for leading us to this car, and for providing me with the resources I used to get it--I used the money from the sale of a stock I was given in an oil company who're drilling for oil in Eretz Israel. I signed up for their newsletter and information because of my deep interest and love for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. I think this illustrates Genesis 12:3-
"I will bless those who bless you, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

All that's wrong with my old car

There are probably more things than I can think of, but here is my list of the car's problems:
The rearview mirror fell off
The rubber that goes between the body and the door fell off, letting cold air/water in
The windows don't always roll up
The air conditioner is broken
The reverse in the transmission is shot, so it doesn't back up
It leaks oil and antifreeze
One of the headlights is out on low
The blinkers don't work
The brake light switch is blown, so they stay on sometimes
The fuel gauge is unreliable
The gear indicator is broken
The fuel pump is bad
The radio antenna is broken off, so reception is spotty
My grandnephew lost the door/trunk key, playing in the garage when he was about 3
There's a problem with the ignition switch, so it has to be jiggled with to turn over sometimes
Needless to say it will be quite liberating to have a car that actually functions in every gear the way it should.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


This week I sold some stock I was given and got over $1000 to put toward my new car. I endured two trips to the movies with the brat and company. Mostly I endure this by turning up the volume on my ipod as loud as I can bear it, to block out everything. (This week my artist of choice was Josh Groban.) My parents and I went yesterday to a couple car lots and looked at several possible cars, but alas, none were just right. So the hunt continues as our deadline of school starting nears.
Also for the first time yesterday evening I tried for the first time a white chocolate mocha at Starbucks. I really liked it, and I think if they weren't so expensive I would get them a lot.
Yesterday because of the car hunt I spent a considerable amount of time in the car with my mother. Because of this we talked about what she sees her (and our) future as being. Since I have had seizures since I was 23, she seems to be fearful of me having a real job or any semblance of a real life. She has this idea that I should (and want) to live with her forever, but this is simply not true. I have felt for a long time that the Lord has a special purpose for me, one that somehow involves the nation of Israel, the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. I also have faith that the Lord has something greater in mind for me than to stay here in GA and live with my mother for the rest of her life! I have faith that the Lord wants more for me than for me to work an idiot retail job or work from home online. Neither would be totally terrible, but I am sure that I could do more with what the Lord has given me than that. I feel like He has given me intelligence and knowledge and wisdom and abilities for a reason, and because of that I don't feel right settling for a menial job, either at home or in public. Most of my resources would be totally wasted in those arenas. I am not totally sure what I should be doing, but I feel a real block in my spirit about those areas, at least right now.
I also believe that there is someone out there that the Lord has created for and meant for me. I have been praying for and believing for him for almost 15 years now. I also believe that the Lord has revealed certain things to me about him and our lives together. Some times I feel overwhelming doubt about him and those things, but last night as I was in a caffeine rush from the mocha yet trying to sleep, I decided to remedy this. I decided to take an action of faith when I feel that doubt, especially by making something for him. Today I am doing my best to knit a yarmulke for him. I don't know how it will turn out.
As I say goodbye and good riddance to the old car this week I am going to list all that is wrong with it one day here. Pray for the Lord to lead us to the right car.

Everyday Greatness

Everyday Greatness, with commentary by Stephen R. Covey and compiled by David K. Hatch, is a wonderful and inspiring book. This is a collection of inspiring stories and quotations, some humorous, some serious. It contains stories by many of the great authors, celebrities, athletes, and leaders of our times, as well as everyday people who did extraordinary things in the face of adversity, drawn from Reader's Digest.
The book is broken into seven sections, with an introduction by Covey in which he defines the three choices that lead to everyday greatness: the choice to act, the choice of purpose, and the choice for principles. The sections of the book are Searching for meaning, Taking charge, Starting Within, Creating the Dream, Teaming with Others, Overcoming Adversity, and Blending the Pieces. These are further subdivided into three chapters named for characteristics, such as integrity, simplicity, and perseverance. Each chapter ends with some inspiring quotations about that subject by people such as Will Rogers, Abraham Lincoln, and others.
One good example of a story from this book is found in the section Searching for Meaning, in the chapter Attention.
"How Love Came Back by Tom Anderson
I made a vow to myself on the drive down to the vacation beach cottage. For two weeks I would try to be a loving husband and father. Totally loving. No ifs, ands, or buts.
The idea had come to me as I listened to a commentator on my car's tape player. He was quoting a Biblical passage about husbands being thoughtful of their wives. Then he went on to say, "Love is an act of will. A person can choose to love." To myself, I had to admit that I had been a selfish husband--that our love had been dulled by my own insensitivity. In petty ways, really: chiding Evelyn for her tardiness; insisting on the TV channel I wanted to watch; throwing out day-old newspapers that I knew Evelyn still wanted to read. Well, for two weeks that would all change.
And it did. Right from the moment I kissed Evelyn at the door and said, "That new yellow sweater looks great on you."
"Oh, Tom, you noticed," she said, surprised and pleased. Maybe a little perplexed.
After a long drive, I wanted to sit and read. Evelyn suggested a walk on the beach. I started to refuse, but then I thought, Evelyn's been alone here with the kids all week and now she wants to be alone with me. We walked on the beach while the children flew their kites.
So it went. Two weeks of not calling the Wall Street investment firm where I am a director; a visit to the shell museum, though I usually hate museums (and I enjoyed it); holding my tongue while Evelyn's getting ready made us late for a dinner date. Relaxed and happy, that's how the whole vacation passed. I made a new vow to keep on remembering to choose love.
There was one thing that went wrong with my experiment, however. Evelyn and I still laugh about it today. On the last night at our cottage, preparing for bed, Evelyn stared at me with the saddest expression.
"What's the matter?" I asked her.
"Tom," she said, in a voice filled with distress, "do you know something I don't?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well...that checkup I had several weeks ago...our doctor...did he tell you something about me? Tom, you've been so good to I dying?"
It took a moment for it all to sink in. Then I burst out laughing.
"No, honey," I said, wrapping her in my arms, "you're not dying; I'm just starting to live!"
To this, Covey adds, Tom "chose to love" by setting aside his Wall Street worries and personal interests to focus undivided attention on his family, chiefly Evelyn. What resulted provides further evidence that in focusing on individuals--particularly those we love the most--we often make the most meaningful and lasting impact. In Evelyn's case, she was so surprised by the attention that she was receiving that she thought something must be wrong--even had thoughts that she might be dying. She turned out to be just fine, but there are many people in the world who are dying for a little attention. See if you can find them and cure them of what ails them."
Everyday Greatness is a wonderful and inspiring book. It would be a great gift for anyone, but especially anyone going through a trial such as illness or a recent loss. It would also be a great gift for someone graduating or starting a new venture in life.