Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Thought About Happiness

"Wise men through the ages have stated that we are only really happy when we are true to our deepest convictions. The joy and peace experienced when you refuse to bend before any master, witch doctor, trickster, or bully can only be understood by those brave enough to have done so."
-Robin J. Elliott

Do you think this is true? Is happiness all about living in congruence with our deepest convictions?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Biggest Understatement


I saw this on Naked Pastor and it made me smile . . . things will be different indeed!

Sold!

We found out the good news today: the financing condition has been met and so we have officially sold our rental property! The cool thing is that we were able to actually sell it at our asking price. Although possession isn't until mid-January, it's time to celebrate!

My journey til this point has been rich with memories and new learning experiences. First, I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which gave me a vision for buying real estate (and not blaming things like "I'm a student" from stopping me). Then there was a year and a half of looking at properties, learning how to evaluate them, and trying to convince my dubious wife that this was, in fact, a good idea for us. Still though I hadn't yet mastered my fear and actually bid on a house. I remember how I had started trying to convince my friends about what a good idea buying real estate was and how I planned to do it - and then one of my friends Keith actually went and bought a property - before me! I was so mad at myself I called my realtor and said "You have one month to find us something, I HAVE to get a property ASAP!" Keith's upstaging me helped me to do finally do the hardest part: take action. Soon we had our first property, and we decided to manage it ourselves. I bought two books on landlording and away we went! After many ups and downs (and some interesting experiences with renters), we decided that our property wasn't a great long term investment (it had some issues that would eventually need tending) and now we've sold it. Ah the memories! We feel very thankful. If you want some more of the details about our experience, check them out in these old posts from 2007.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pay Yourself First*

If you read The Richest Man in Babylon, The Wealthy Barber, The Automatic Millionaire, or any other decent book on financial wisdom you will invariably find this advice:

"Pay yourself first."

In other words, put aside a percentage of your money for saving and investing before you pay for life's expenses and luxuries. This money becomes the seed for your future wealth. Combine it with that other great principle:


"Live within your means (spend less then you make)."


and you are setting yourself up for financial prosperity. As long as you save and invest that money wisely (most places say to pay yourself first at least 10%) you will be able to escape the trap of living paycheck to paycheck and grow your money substantially. Also, no matter how poor you are, almost anyone can afford to save 10% of their income. Trimming 10% is usually no problem - try it and I doubt you will not see your life impacted in any significant way.

When Jobina and I first got married we were lucky enough to hear the advice to save 10% of our income every month. Basically we were told to use it as an emergency fund - something to pay for extra surprise expenses. This worked well for us but the problem was that we never invested that money - instead it either saved us when we got into financial trouble (usually through overspending) or we got undisciplined and just spent it on something "nice for ourselves." Instead I wish we would have not only put money away for emergencies/luxuries but also had the knowledge and discipline to save and invest 10% of our income, paying ourselves first. This would have been a great strategy.

As the new year is coming up it will be time to reevaluate our finances and goals for the future . . . and it could be a great opportunity for you to do the same gentle reader! Pick up a copy of one of the previously mentioned books and let it both educate and inspire you to being wiser with your money. Don't use the excuse of your debts, life situation, or low income to not take action. Try this simple exercise:

1. How much money would you save if you saved 10% of your household income for the next 1, 2, or 5 years? Grab your calculator!
2. Ask yourself: "What would it take for me to to be able to save 10% of my current income?" You might need to cut back on some expenses, go without a few things, or consolidate some debt. Realize the truth: after some initial sacrifice it wouldn't be as hard as you thought.
3. Challenge yourself to a 6 month experiment - save 10% of your monthly income by paying yourself first and moving that money into a separate account from your main one.

If you aren't currently paying yourself first and would like to try this experiment (and your mate if applicable enthusiastically agrees), feel free to let me know. Also, pick up one of the books mentioned at the start of my post for inspiration and wisdom. If you try the experiment and it significantly impacts your life in a bad way, let me know and I'll take you out for dinner to try to make it up to you! But I'm not too worried - paying yourself first is one of the wisest ways to manage the financial resources that God has given you. Good luck!

*A few people have commented to me that my post could be interpreted as saying that paying yourself first is more important then even giving back to God - definitely not what I want to say! Giving generously should be your first financial priority, but out of your remaining money paying yourself first is just smart use of your money.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Power of Free Classifieds

When I was in my first year of seminary, my friend Dylan told me about a great deal he got on something. "Wow, where did you find that at such a good price?" I asked. "Used Winnipeg, " he replied, "That place is like crack and I check it out every day." That was my introduction to the wonder of free online classifieds.

Jobina and I have used free online classifieds to do the following:

1. find clients for my practicum (and even now for my counselling practice)
2. find garbage haulers, painters, handymen, and other skilled trades people for my rental property
3. buy a collection of Transformer comics
4. purchase several movies and DVD series
5. bought outdoor equipment like my new mountain bike, a GPS, and (yesterday) a brand new water filtration unit (retail MEC $89 - my price $40)
6. buy and sell furniture
7. drive traffic to our recent Comfree.com online house listing
8. find 3 sets of renters for our rental property
9. buy and sell a vending machine business
10. sell a house we flipped

There's probably more but that's all that comes to mind. We can't remember if we bought our van off of free online classifieds but probably. Jobina and I have literally saved thousands and made thousands of dollars by using these free sites.

There are three main online classifieds that I use:

kijiji.ca (my favorite and very popular with lots of things for sale)
craigslist.ca
usedwinnipeg.com

Once you get used to navigating, searching, and posting these sites become indispensable. There are deals everywhere! And once you learn how to figure out people's level of motivation to sell (desperate=good) you can find some exceptional deals. I often will offer less then half on things - you never know what people will go for unless you ask! We needed to move some junk from our property so we just called people - found someone willing to pick it all up and take it all to the dump for $40. They were there in half an hour, I payed them in cash, and they were gone. Same thing when we needed an electrician for our property the day before our open house. Called him Friday afternoon - he came in Saturday morning. I wanted a painter to paint our rental property and after looking through several ads emailed one and asked for a ballpark quote. He just happened to be between jobs and a little desperate so he offered to paint my 1404 square foot rental for $1500. That was pretty good but I didn't get back to him as I was busy. He emailed me again and dropped the price down to $1000!

Most people are honest and as long as you use some discernment you are pretty safe. I thought I would just share the good news for anyone who wasn't aware that these sites existed. Use them to promote yourself/your services, find good deals, or advertise the things you want to sell. Just be careful - you can easily get addicted!

ASBO Jesus Friday: Troika



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Move On

One of my clients shared this with me today:

"Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die."

I loved it. It is so true. I believe the original quote is attributed to Debbie Ford:

"Unforgiveness is the poison you drink every day hoping that the other person will die."

Either way the quotes illustrate how unforgiveness is toxic. To one's soul, one's physical body, and all of one's relationships. Eventually the poison works its way into every part of your life, infecting as it goes. Studies have shown that unforgiveness and bitterness literally make you sick, damaging your immune system and lowering your life expectancy. For the sake of Christ, ourselves, and our loved one, may we all let go of the wrongs done against us. It's the only Christian way to live.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Deep Thoughts On Dirty Jobs



I guarantee that you will learn something you never knew before from the above video of Mike Rowe. Rowe is the host of the Discovery show "Dirty Jobs" and is a surprisingly thoughtful speaker. In this TED talk from last December, he talks about people with dirty jobs, questioning one’s assumptions, the nature of hard work, and the "war on work." He also talks about sheep genitals. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Waiting...

For the past couple of weeks Jobina and I have been working on fixing up, cleaning, and finally showing our revenue property. We bought it 4 years ago when I started seminary and it seemed like it might be a good investment. It was both easier and much more difficult to do then I thought and there were many times where we were frustrated and said things like "Let's just get rid of that thing!" But we hung in there and I am proud of us. Tomorrow we hear if our counter offer (to someone's out of town offer) will be accepted. Here's hoping! These are pretty exciting times. I have to admit that I enjoy all of what's involved in buying and selling properties. It's like a sport that pays you money! Of course I say that now when all we're doing is waiting for someone to buy our property and payday to come.

Seriously though - I recommend everyone who owns a property use some of their equity to get at least one more. It's more stable and less risky then stocks and mutual funds (at least around here) and if you get someone to manage your property there are few headaches involved. If you'd like to know how we did it (and how you can do it too) feel free to contact me. After all, if we can do it anyone can! And I'll let you know what ends up happening tomorrow . . .

Monday, December 7, 2009

Colour Blind

As a counselor, I help people identify the unhelpful/irrational/untrue/illogical beliefs that cause them to experience negative emotional and behavioral reactions. Often we use faulty thinking to come to bad conclusions about ourselves, others, and the world that then severely impact our relationships. Depression, anxiety, and a myriad of relationship problems are all directly connected to our human ability to misperceive things.

Anyway, we learn these things from somewhere and one source of irrational beliefs is from our parents. I was reflecting yesterday on my parents and the things I learned from them about people of color. I was kind of amazed to realize that I do not have a single memory of even one derogatory comment they made about someones skin color or race. Not even one! As far as I can remember I don't think they ever mentioned anything about anyone's skin color ever. Of course they may have made some comments and probably they have some biased beliefs that I don't know about, but even if they do - the fact that I can't remember any seems to be unusual. For them it just wasn't an issue and without trying or being intentional at all they passed onto me a fairly helpful belief; people's skin color is a non-issue.

I have spoken to many friends who did not have a similar experience. They grew up hearing comments about people of different races that were subtly or outwardly antagonistic. Racial jokes and stereotypes right up to racial slurring - or worse. As a child listening to such comments you are affected by them - your first beliefs about those different from you are formed. My parents weren't perfect (as all parents aren't) but I'm very thankful and proud of them for not passing on any racial biases to me. It makes me wonder what my kids will learn from me . . . hopefully they will get a similar message.

I realize that not all people may agree that being color blind in terms of race is a good idea. In one of my cross-cultural classes our professor argued that my lack of racial "awareness" was a liability (as I couldn't feel empathy for those who's racial background makes them subjects of discrimination and powerlessness). What do you think? Not sure I fully agree with that. Yet, I still like the idea of basically treating people the same, no matter what their racial background is. By the way, the painting at the top is called "Color Blind" by artist Habib Ayat.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lunchtime First

Today Jobina and I did something we have never done before in the history of our relationship: She stopped by my work and we went out for lunch. I know, I know, it doesn't sound astounding or anything, but this is something that seemed out of our realm of possibility until recently. It was an impromptu date (gasp) in the middle of a workday! Later I went back to my sessions and she went home to do housework . . . but for a brief half hour we were together as a couple. Eating subs, sharing a drink, talking about our day, laughing about the children. It was sweet and simple. I share our little experience (and my surprise at how meaningful and special it was) simply to inspire or encourage any other married people out there to seize such small opportunities when they present themselves. Look out for them, take advantage of them, and savor them.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sad

I have had a hard time wanting to blog anything the last few days. Ramona Reimer, a beautiful person and was one of my most faithful Morweenite staff people when I was a camp director, has passed away. When Jobina told me, I was quiet for a minute as I felt it sink in. Ramona was very special. Her and her husband Earl were what I called my "A1" staff types - super high in competency and character. Ramona was very intensely ministry focused and very teachable - traits that endear you quickly. I was so thankful for not only the ministry that Ramona had with her campers (I remember her as a novice counselor excitedly sharing at staff meeting about her campers coming to Christ ) but her example for other staff as well. She wasn't perfect of course, but I don't ever remember sharing feedback with her that she was not open to. She was courageous and her integrity was at the highest levels. I really admired her. When she and Earl finally got together Jobina and I were very happy for them.

Sadly after only a few months of marriage, Ramona was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2006 and valiantly fought until a few days ago. She fought well. I heard so many people tell stories of going to visit her to encourage her and instead being encouraged and ministered to themselves! Her faith and spirit were contagious. Ramona was a saint in the truest form of the word.

I won't lie - a part of me struggles with this. I don't like how God allows special people like Ramona to be felled by cancer. I have protesting thoughts and questions. I know all the Christian answers (and believe them) but grief is not about answers, it is about loss and hurt. I know that God is acquainted with such sorrows and that he feels our pain and confusion. I take comfort that Ramona is free of pain and with Christ, yet I grieve for those she has left behind. If you think to, please pray for Earl and Ramona's family. The funeral is this Wednesday. I expect that her memory will continue to inspire others, just as her life did. If you'd like to read more on Ramona's journey, feel free to check out her and Earl's blog here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Conspiracy

Advent Conspiracy '09 (TMP Promo) from TMP Vids on Vimeo.

You may have seen this video (or a derivative) somewhere in the past, but it sums up for me so many of my thoughts and feelings towards Christmas lately - the giving part. May all my fellow Christ followers have a meaningful advent season. . .

Friday, November 27, 2009

Picking Power

There is an old saying:

"You can pick your friend, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose. If you try it will get messy!"

When it comes to interacting with other people we need to remember; we can't make them do what we want them to do. Whenever we try, it gets messy.

I find that most of us need to be reminded of this basic fact, especially as it relates to how we approach our family and friends. You can only change yourself! You may know what is wrong with your family member - and you may even know what to do about it. But until they are convinced that their current behavior is a problem to them and experience a real desire to change, nothing worthwhile is going to happen. If you try to get them to change, and those elements aren't present in them, they won't change. And if you try to force them, they will resist and you will only get frustrated and eventually damage the relationship. . .

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Amusing



(Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting Through To Your Man



Agree or disagree?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Miss Lonelyhearts and the Three Dealbreakers

I was reading the Winnipeg Free Press yesterday and happened upon a column called "Miss Lonelyhearts." It's basically an advice column, one which usually leans to the seedier aspects of relationships but as a relationship counselors I'm often a sucker for reading these kind of things. Anyway, in one of Miss Lonelyhearts' answers to her readers she mentioned something called the three relationship dealbreakers:

1. Infidelity.
2. Addiction.
3. Abuse.

What do you think of this list? Basically I think she was saying that any of these things warrants a person choosing to end a relationship - faith has been broken. Do I agree? Yes and no. From a Biblical perspective I would say that only one of these is mentioned within a marriage context (infidelity). Even then many spouses choose to forgive and their marriages eventually recover (and many are even better then they were before). I would argue that all of them are justification for separation (depending on the severity and circumstances). Although God's heart is for marriage I don't believe He feels that people should remain in the same home under any circumstances - separating with the intention of reuniting is occasionally a necessary and wise way to work for your marriage. There have to be boundaries and consequences for relationship destroying behavior, correct? Separation should truly be a last resort (as it is risky), but is sometimes what is needed to help a spouse "wake up" to how much of a deal breaker their behavior is.

If you are simply dating someone (even long term) breaking up would certainly be warranted over these three dealbreakers. For engaged persons this list is also good - getting married with any of these hanging over your head and undealt with (again depending on the circumstances) is just asking for trouble.

So what do you think? Is this list fair? Would you add or subtract anything?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Terrible Shock

Carl Jung said, ‘To become acquainted with oneself is a terrible shock.’ It’s hard admitting that our lives are full of error and self-deception. But this very admission, though painful, makes possible its opposite– a differentiated life, lived with integrity. Tears of recognition and relief often flow with the dawn of self-awareness.

But while the truth will set you free, remember the psychologist Erich Fromm’s observation of humankind’s attempt to escape from such freedom. The truth is liberating– but only when you have the courage to live it.

-from David Schnarch’s "Passionate Marriage"

I read this today on nakedpastor.com and it kind of stuck in my mind. I too have felt the terrible shock of newfound self-awareness. Sometimes it is beautiful, other times terrifying, and occasionally life changing. Ever had such an experience?

I can think of two times right off the back. Once was Jobina sharing with me something about the way I treated her - something I hadn't wanted to see in myself. Another time was while reading "The Shack" in Belize - and realizing a big part of my heart that I was ignoring. I liked the above quote because it ties the importance of self-awareness with action. Action is essential for self-awareness to be worth anything. As a counselor I help people come to new levels of self-awareness often. Some clients are simply surprised and others feel struck by it. I find that what is most important is not how emotional such awareness makes them, but whether the awareness sparks them towards action or not. All the self-awareness in the world is useless if it doesn't help us to act, to change. My wish for us all is that we will dare to be honest with ourselves and after we have done so, we will act . . . and grow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Greatest Commodity

Money is great (personally, I'm a pretty big fan of it). You can do a lot with it; buy things, influence people, make differences in people's lives. When we got married we put "presentation preferred" on our invitations so people knew that we would prefer monetary gifts. I know lots of people who adore money - in fact their whole existence in built around finding it, spending it, or not losing it. Money is an essential part of life and even if you don't like it, it does make the world go round.

Yet as desireable as money is, it is not nearly the greatest commodity that we possess. So what is then? I would argue that is simply this; time.

Time is the greatest commodity. Everyone, no matter how young or poor only has a certain amount of it. You can't buy more of it, yet you can waste it frivolously. Sometimes people ask "What can you give the person who has everything?" My answer is always the same: time. Time is the most precious thing you can give. I have heard so many people argue that their spouse or kids should know they love them because of how hard they work for them, for the gifts they buy them, for the comfortable living they procure for them. But then their relations object; "But you hardly spend any time with me." Time is our greatest commodity and one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. Manage it well and teach those around you as well. Spend it wisely.



"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."
-Benjamin Franklin


"There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing."
-Brian Tracy

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Playing Nice

"It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling."
-Mark Twain



"One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it. "
-Knute Rockne

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rudeness

"If you are right, but rude, you're wrong."
- Loosely quoted from Rick Warren.

This saying was mentioned during a wedding sermon I heard on the weekend and I liked it. A lot. No matter how bad, evil, or "ignorant" someone is, if you become rude in you're response to them, you are automatically in the wrong. Doesn't matter what it is. Nothing justifies you (or I) being rude - ever. As it says about Love in 1st Cor 13, "it is not rude." How much is rudeness a problem for you?

Friday, November 13, 2009

ASBO Jesus Friday: Hasta La Vista





(click to enlarge)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great Attitude

A brief conversation with my Grade 1 Son this morning as we were waiting for the bus:

Me: "So Riker, are you going to have a rockin' day today?"
Riker: "Dad, when do I not have a rockin' day?"

With an attitude like that, I have a feeling he'll go far! He assumes he'll have a good day and so in his own way chooses to. It was a good reminder for me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Living With Our Mistakes



When I was a camp director, I felt like I did a pretty decent job. But one mistake I made haunted me for a long time. It was the last day of camp and we were and we were just about finished the end-of-season clean up of the facility. I was with my assistant director and a group of guys who were taking refuse to the garbage dump. We had a really heavy little trailer loaded up with things but when we got to the gates of the dump they were closed and locked. Our little trailer was quite heavy but some of the guys came up with the bright idea of picking it up and lifting it over the gate. My first instinct was that this was too dangerous but I waffled. We were so close to being done and to wait for someone to track down the key (or to unload the trailer, throw it over, and reload it) seemed like an eternity. Everyone was in a terrible hurry to get it done. My assistant director chimed in "Let's just do it." Against my better judgment I agreed and we tried to lift it over.

The first time we tried I realized the trailer was much heavier then I thought and it scared me to think what could happen. At that moment I wish I had put a stop to it but I didn't. On the second try we just about had it over when something slipped. Suddenly a sharp piece of metal slashed my hand as myself and our maintenance man for the week tried to catch it. I heard a scream and noticed that the maintenance guys fingers were drenched in blood and a few looked half severed. My own hand was dripping blood as well and I felt panic rising in me. A few minutes later the nurse came by (an incredible blessing) and we asked her to patch up our man's hand as best as she could and rush him to the hospital. Then I sat down and promptly passed out (at least that is what I was told, I don't honestly remember).

Back at the camp I was sitting, still in shock over what had happened and getting my hand patched up and I remember feeling a powerful wave of regret and anguish come over me. I felt so terrible for what I had allowed to happen that I was momentarily overwhelmed with the burden of it. My staff person Dayna was there to offer support and encouragement but I could barely hear it. I was already into full-blown blaming and self-loathing. I had made a terrible mistake and someone else had suffered for it.

It took me a couple of months before I fully forgave myself for my lapse in judgment - my failure to stop what my gut told me was too risky an action. When something like that happens to you, you start to beat yourself up. Strange and toxic thoughts get stuck in your mind, things like "I deserved for this to happen," "I'm a failure", or "I'm incompetent." Eventually I had to dispute and challenge these thoughts. With the help of friends and family, I tested these beliefs and found them to be . . . lies. I trusted in God for his grace and chose to forgive myself. I had to accept my imperfection and move on. It was hard work but with it came freedom.

Is that where you are? Are you beating yourself up over some terrible mistake you made? If so, I encourage you not to keep your struggle to yourself. Share it with someone and expose the secret to the light of truth. Everyone makes mistakes, don't hold onto them longer then you need to.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Power of Context

How big is Antarctica? Apparently it's this big. Wow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Smile

Ah life, sometimes it is amusing. Like when your wife calls you in a panic because she forgot her car keys at church and has 10 minutes to get your son to a birthday party. You are out on an epic bike ride with the only other set of keys. It's funny because after much panic she resorts to taking a taxi (and she hates taxis). Later when she comes home she finds that her car keys were sitting on her kitchen counter. Luckily she has a supportive husband who wouldn't think of bugging her about this . . .

I still smile about this every time I think about it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

ASBO Jesus Friday: Dark



(click to enlarge)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Beware the Lazy Marriage!

"The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing,
But the desire of the diligent shall be fully satisfied."
-Proverbs 13:4

There are several things that make for successful, passionate, satisfying marriages. The least sexy factor is what I call the laziness factor. Laziness is like poison for your relationships.

So often when a couple gets together they go out of their way to serve the other person. They put huge amounts of time, energy, and money into the relationship. But sadly, after marriage most couples get lazy. They redirect their attention and priorities off of their spouse. I say cautiously that men may be more prone to this as soon after marriage many will switch their attention and drive to other things like their career. But women do it too (kids, friends, etc) and it just kind of creeps up on you. Suddenly your couple time is spent in front of the TV or maybe you don't even have any couple time at all. Your dating life is in the toilet (along with intimacy) and you start to get bored. Too much of these times and you start to lose hope. Can we ever be close again? Can sex be exciting again? Why can't we have fun anymore?

When I was dating Jobina (my wife) I never in a million years would have imagined that I would have to constantly "work" at our relationship after we got married - I assumed it would be natural just like when we were going out. Sadly true love is not enough. Like most couples we go through periods where only one of us (or neither of us) is investing much in our relationship. These are always the most difficult and least satisfying times in our relationship.

Combating relationship marriage is not a one time deal. It takes constant attention, initiating, and work. Here are a few pointers:

1. Go on dates - at least once a month, preferably more. Why date after getting married? Because its the best way to show the other person that you are still pursuing them, that you still care, that you still want to enjoy life together. Dating gets you out of your routine. It also gives you time alone to talk, catch up, and inquire into each other lives. Regular dating is probably one of the best ways to avoid marital laziness, infidelity, boredom, and depression. What's your excuse? If it's finances, let me ask you: How much would a divorce cost you? Is it babysitters? I've yet to meet a couple who couldn't get access to a babysitter - if they really wanted to. Is it time? Well, then maybe you or your spouse need to drop something. Stop making excuses and get moving! Even a stay-at-home date can be satisfying - as long as it's fun.

2. Quality time. How much quality time do you and your spouse spend per week together? Willard Harley, a successful marriage counselor says that healthy marriages need at least 10-15 hours a week of quality time (dedicated to giving each other your attention) just to maintain the health they already have! More is needed if a couple is not doing well or is in crisis. I have sat with many couples who have tried to convince me that they simply couldn't find that much time but when they realized their marriage was on the line they were able to sacrifice things and make it happen. Most of the time there is a huge improvement with less fighting, more sex, and more feelings of enjoying each other. How much time do you and your spouse enjoy together each week, without distraction? Quality time together meeting each other's emotional needs (affection, sexual fulfilment, conversation, recreational companionship, etc.) is not a luxury, it is a requirement. Without it, all relationships will begin to get lazy and wither.

3. Money. I know lots of people who will generously give money to their church, the United Way, or even a street person but balk at the idea of spending money on their relationship. Think about it, what other institution do you know that can run successfully without money? That's right, none. Money may seem unromantic as far as being necessary to a marriage but as the Bible says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If you care about your marriage you will put your money behind it. It doesn't matter if you don't have lots to spend (and I realize some people are financially hurting) but really, do you want to be cheap with your most important relationship? Dating, going on romantic vacations, flowers, lingerie, going for cofee, chocolates, cards, retreats, etc all cost money. How much money do you spend on your relationship? Is it in your budget? What do you need to change?

So there you go, three areas we get lazy; dating, quality time, and money. Investing in these areas is not a guarantee to a perfect relationship, but if you are lazy in these areas it will be extremely difficult to have a great marriage. So what are you waiting for? Get on it! You don't want to end up like the people in the picture do you?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Depression Linked To Processed Food?

Back when I did my one month vegetarian experiment I told people that I felt better when I wasn't eating meat. It was hard to explain - yes my stomach felt better and I had more energy but then today when I read this article, I was able to flesh out that feeling better. I think that when I was eating more vegetables I actually felt better in my mind and spirit - more positive. I think that what you eat can really affect your mood and research seems to back it up. Some people are more sensitive to diet then others but if you are struggling with some depression or anxiety, why not try improving things by changing your diet? If you are really crazy add some exercise and discipline yourself to sleep more and I guarantee you will feel a difference. Has changing your diet ever helped you feel better?

Ikea Tech Secret

Ever wonder how IKEA makes their furniture sturdy yet so light? National Geographic went inside an IKEA factory in Poland to find out. The secret is the honeycomb skeleton inside their tabletops:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slowly Wading VS Diving Right In

While I was at church this Sunday I started thinking about the ways people approach change. I liken it to swimming. When I was a kid I used to just dive right in, but when I became a teenager I switched to slowly wading in. Now, as a full grown man I do both: sometimes I dive in and sometimes I slowly wade in. Getting into a pool or lake is the courageous act of changing one's environment . . . and the metaphor works for change in general.

Our church got a new pastor this summer. Pastor Kelly is very charismatic and creative. When he came in he changed a lot of things and quickly! Quick change can produce tension and anxiety and I admit I felt some of these feelings myself. I talked to several people who also felt this way and we had a few families actually leave the church. For a few Sundays it was kind of depressing to look out in the sanctuary and see fewer people. But many of the changes that our new pastor introduced were not just different, but good changes and the new approach while repelling a few has attracted many more. This Sunday we were packed and there was positive energy which was invigorating. The quick change had borne good results.

Rapid change is exciting but carries it with a higher element of risk and a higher element of reward. Sometimes it seems the best way to do things. On the other hand, slow change can also be good - introducing change by slowing wading in to a new experience of things. Neither is more right (or wrong). All I know for sure is that embracing change is essential to growth. One way or another we need to get off the beach and into the water. Some people say "I fear change" but not changing is an illusion - we and our environment are always changing whether you want it to or not.

Most likely you either like quick changes or slow ones. The danger is when you try to universalize your experience - demand or expect that those around you should change the way you do. I sometimes do this with my kids; "Just jump in!" I say and get impatient as I wait for them out in the water. The loving thing to do is simply this; encourage people to change and allow them do it at their own pace, even if their pace is different from yours. Trust me, your relationship will be alot better if you don't impose your own change style upon them.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Surprise


The Return from Iraq - For more of the funniest videos, click here

Parents, your mere presence means more to your children then you will ever know . . .

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Self-Awareness



I like the slow-motion facial expressions the best.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Group Connection Ideas

Our small group met last night, our third meeting so far. We are still kind of in the that stage where everyone is trying to figure out what's happening and what we are going to be about. Even though I have given a vision of "just doing life together" my sense is that most people don't really believe it and want you to prove it. Question: How do you get people to bond, to share, to be vulnerable and real? After all, this desire to know and be known is strong within all us. From my experience as a leader I have found there are a few things that often work:

1. Ask the Magic Question. Just having a sharing time as part of a meeting or get together is usually not enough to get people who are not used to being real with each other to suddenly become so. At some point, someone has to ask what I call the Magic Question: "How are you doing?" If you don't ask this question (or a derivative of it), little will probably happen. This question is magic because it challenges people to share where they really are. We asked this question for the first time last night and I could tell people were uncomfortable with it. There was a long silence and the the person who was going to answer struggled at first to find the words. But after a moment or two he began and shared some real and important things. It was real, it was powerful, it was actual "sharing." Something changed in the room and in the group. "Aha," I thought, "now we are getting somewhere!" Asking the Magic question in a safe environment is the quickest way to create deepness, bonding, and emotional connection between people. Tip: don't make this question a demand, but rather an invitation. Give people an out ("share if you wish or pass if you don't want to").

2. Ask someone to share a testimony. Sharing/hearing a person's life story (especially faithwise) is another way to get people to feel emotionally connected as a group and engaged with each other. Since by our nature most of us are protective about sharing our "stuff" with each other, to hear someone else do so helps us connect with the speaker and with the rest of our group. The other day in church we had a sharing time (unusual for us) and as people shared their victories and struggles you could feel the bonding strengthen in the room. Something very different was felt that day - a new connection with others. Tip: Making time for testimonies in meetings and groups may seem like a less efficient use of time and making it is difficult for many to prioritize it (especially if your meeting is only an hour or so). But I find that intense sharing/testimonies actually increase the productivity of a group over the long run. Ask people who are more authentic to share first - they'll set the mood and be an example for others.

3. Shared intense experiences. The word fellowship means "common sharing" and nothing induces bonding more then doing intense, memory-making activities together. What makes something intense? A few things come to mind: people are out of their comfort zones, emotions are elevated, the task is difficult, it is out of the ordinary, risk is involved in some way. The LiMiT team training I used to do would quickly bond groups because they combined all of these factors. Tip: Don't try to overplan such experiences, instead plan an intense activity that has the potential for good things to happen and then let it go where it will. The trick is that the activity will be in the "sweet spot," not so intense that it terrifies people and turns them against you nor too easy that people are not challenged.

These are just a few of my ideas, but I'd love to hear from you what helped bond your group together and what happened to help people be real and vulnerable with each other. Ever been stuck in a group that just couldn't seem to share? What were your best and worst connection experiences?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alternative To Spanking

My friend Jacquie sent us this forward and I thought there was some real wisdom to be had in it. The topic of spanking children usually brings up strong feelings in people; they either hate it or believe its the most natural thing a parent can do. Whichever way you lean, I hope you can approach this novel parenting approach with an open mind:



Tough Love vs. Spanking - Good Argument
From a mom...
Most people think it improper to spank children, so I have tried other methods to control my kids when they have one of 'those moments'.

One that I found effective is for me to just take the child for a car ride and talk.

Some say it's the vibration from the car, others say it's the time away from any distractions such as TV, Video Games, Computer, IPod, etc.

Either way, my kids usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our car ride together. Eye to eye contact helps a lot too.

I've included a photo below of one of my sessions with my son, in case you would like to use the technique.

Sincerely,

A Friend














This works equally well with

grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Risky Inspiration

Here are a few inspiring thoughts on risk, to go with my last post:


You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.
- Paul Tillich

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.
- Leo F. Buscaglia

Prudence keeps life safe, but does not often make it happy.
- Samuel Johnson

The more chance there is of stubbing your toe, the more chance you have of stepping into success.
- Author Unknown

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
- Robert F. Kennedy

Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.
- Frederick B. Wilcox

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.
- Soren Kierkegaard

Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?
- Frank Scully

Nothing Ventured . . .

When I was about 11 years old I had my first investment idea. I was reading a comic and noticed an ad for "premium collectible comics." The company sold very expensive comics, in fact the most costly ones. On the list for sale was Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider Man. My first thought was "Hmmm . . . that would be a great investment, Spiderman will always be popular" or something like that. I immediately went to my Mom and told her about my idea. I attempted to reason with her but sadly she was unconvinced and didn't give me the money. How much was the ad asking for this comic? $2500. Last night I was surfing a comic price guide site for fun. Prices for a near mint version of Amazing Fantasy #15 today? About $250,000! Oh how I wished I had convinced my Mom that day!

I also think of some of the properties I looked at when I first became interested in using some of my home's equity to buy another one. Some of the houses have more then doubled in value . . . and that was only five years ago! It reminds me that when we risk nothing we are sure to get it. Whether it is investment wise, spiritually, or in the realm of relationships taking risks and facing your fears is the way to growth. Of course you won't "win" with everything you risk, sometimes you will lose it all. Risk wisely, but risk something.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Asbo Jesus Friday: Double Feature


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Can You Be Lovers But Not Friends?

"Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever talk about their friendship. (Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends side by side, absorbed in some common interest.)" –C.S. Lewis

The answer to the question is yes, you can be lovers but not really be friends. I see it all the time. But can you be lovers without being friends long term and still have a great and satisfying relationship? I'm not so sure.

Friendship, knowing each other, sharing common pursuits and interests, sharing in each others lives - these are like the cake that the icing (eros and romance) is built upon. John Gottman who has 30 years of research into couples behind him says the quality of a couple's friendship is one of the most important indicators of whether the relationships will persevere or fail. Sometimes when meeting with a couple who is in peril I will ask them directly: What is their friendship like? Married couples need to put time and energy into knowing and being known, spending time together recreationally, and pursuing life experiences together.

And yet, let's face it, men and women do not usually pursue each other for friendship, they pursue each other for romantic and erotic love. And so both eros (erotic love) and phileo (friendship love) are necessary in order for a relationship to prosper and persevere. Don't settle for one without the other.

Most people are better at one and find the other more challenging. If you are married, look at your own relationship - What are you better at? What do you need to put more into? How are you going to do this (and when)?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Prophecy Fail

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Moral Society Without God?

Can a Godless society be a good society?

That is the question that a new book by Phil Zuckerman called "Society Without God" asks. It sounds like an interesting book. The author asks questions like:

1. Is the belief in (or fear of, depending on your point of view) God necessary to have a "good" society?

2. What would a nation of atheists look like?

3. Would a godless country lead to lawlessness and immorality?

When I have considered these questions in the past I would think something like "Of course a Godless society couldn't be good. Look at the atheistic experiments in Russia and China and how they turned out. This was one of those assumptions that I usually just took as obvious. Oops.

Yet Zuckerman argues that in answer to his questions we actually don't have to wonder - there is a place where the great majority of people are not only not religious but they can't even be bothered about the questions of faith, God, and life's meaning. Zuckerman spent a year studying Denmark and Sweden, the least religious countries in the world and perhaps even in history, and interviewed people about their religious beliefs (technically, the absence of such beliefs). He published his findings last year in his book.

His main thesis: “First of all, I argue that society without God is not only possible, but can be quite civil and pleasant. This admittedly polemical aspect of my book is aimed primarily at countering the claims of certain outspoken, conservative Christians who regularly argue that a society without God would be hell on earth: rampant with immorality, full of evil, and teeming with depravity. Well, it isn’t. Denmark and Sweden are remarkably strong, safe, healthy, moral, and prosperous societies…”

Here's an interesting interview with the author:



In his book Zuckerman is careful not to champion the absence of religious belief as preferable for a society, but he argues strongly that when religious belief (or dogma) is absent, society can proceed along nicely. I find his premise refreshing in that he takes a common belief and turns it on its head. Should a Christian society be more "good" then an atheistic one? Absolutely. Is it always the case? Sadly, no. Rather then discourage us or cause doubt in us, I find it challenging. Belief in God, even passionate belief does not always translate into believers being better people. Religion (belief systems) on their own can never do this. Obedience and a Spirit filled relationship with Jesus Christ marked by the fruit of the spirit is much more important. Zuckerman of course oversimplifies some things and ignores other things but I think he does have an important point to make. More on this later, but in the mean time, what do you think of what this guy says?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Creative Help Wanted . . .

After reflecting on my blogging this past month, I'm going to make a change. I've decided to start a relationship blog - one that will be connected to my counselor web site. It will be targeted at those looking for relationship wisdom, tips, ideas, and reflections. It will be for those who are single, dating, engaged, or married. So I'm looking for ideas for a name. Do you have any suggestions?

I am usually pretty creative, but I thought I could use some help on this one. Good, bad, terrible, and humorous suggestions would all be appreciated! Even if I don't use your idea(s) it might spark something in me or someone else reading. Also, if I choose your idea, I will send you a unique and mysterious prize to express my thanks!

Friday, October 16, 2009

ASBO Jesus Friday: Triple Feature

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Random Dating Wisdom

Here is a great dating principle from Cloud and Townsend's book "Boundaries in Dating" (which I highly recommend):

"Don't date anyone who you wouldn't have as a friend."

It seems obvious but people break this relationship rule all the time. I know I was guilty of doing it once and I still shake my head when I think about it! How could someone do this you ask? People often date people with only short term needs in mind; to alleviate loneliness, to build their self esteem, to resolve early childhood conflicts, to relieve boredom, etc. But after the white hot passion of romance waxes and wanes, will be left with a person who you will want to spend time with? If that person isn't someone you would think of as being a friend you will be in trouble. Usually the people we want as friend are those with similar values, with character's we appreciate and enjoy, and whose personalities endear us to them. Yet when we are looking for romantic partners we will sometimes ignore the fact that if we weren't interested in this person romantically we wouldn't be friends with them. And it gets us into terrible trouble sometimes.

If you are single then heed my advice: don't date anyone (or at least date exclusively) anyone who you wouldn't want as a friend. You'll thank me for it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sad News

This morning I woke up to Riker's crying. Sadly, his pet fish Dan (which Riker had less then a week) had passed away during the night and was floating upside down in his fish bowl.

Although I am not in favor of keeping fish as I don't like the idea of small & cramped "cages" for aquatic prisoners, I somehow had to take care of the funeral arrangements. This was because Jobina suddenly had stomach issues at the the thought of a dead fish . . . apparently it caused bile to form in her mouth and this was unpleasant. But I digress.


Anyway, I grabbed a measuring cup from the kitchen and gently I scooped up Dan's remains from his little cage (I mean bowl) and dumped it into the toilet. Then Riker and I both said a few words in remembrance of the little fish. After this was done Riker ceremoniously flushed the toilet and Dan went down to rest in the place where most fish end up.

It was a tender moment for Riker and without looking at me his emotion filled voice said quietly "I'll miss him."

"Yes, we'll all miss him," I replied.

"I'm just so upset . . ." Riker began.

"Yes, you are so sad because . . ." I tried to sympathetically interject with something comforting.

"Because now I have to spend another $5 to get another one!" Riker said bitterly.

I had been expecting a different reaction and to hear that he was thinking from a financial perspective about his loss almost made me chuckle out loud! But I controlled myself. I told Jobina about it afterwards and we both laughed heartily.

Rest in Peace Dan. Know that you will be missed, mostly because you costed so much. Adieu.

On Mysticism - G.K. Chesterton

"Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health;
when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has
always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic.
He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth
and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt
his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe
in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency.
If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other,
he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them.
His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight:
he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better
for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing
as fate, but such a thing as free will also. Thus he believed
that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless
ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth
because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly
this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole
buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this:
that man can understand everything by the help of what he does
not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid,
and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows
one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid."
- G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Simple Test To Predict Success (or Failure)?

Joint Venture coach Robin J. Elliot is a "direct and to the point" style communicator and entrepreneur. You may not like what and how he says things, but I like to contemplate his point of views on things. Here some thoughts on the power of specificity. What do you think? Is he an uncompassionate guy in a suit or does he have a point?

Here’s a simple formula to predict someone’s future choices and actions. This virtual crystal ball has helped me significantly over the years to save time and money and allocate my resources more accurately. Here’s how to do it – quick and easy!

Sit down and do a spot of goal-setting with them, including the creation of an Action Plan. There are really only two responses to this activity. Winners who intend to produce will set very specific, realistic, measurable, time-related, significant goals with an Action Plan to support them. Those who do not intend to produce will set vague, mediocre goals that focus on activity rather than results, and are hard to measure and check.

For example, the Winner writes: “I will make four paid, $2,000 sales by November 1st.” The loser writes: “Contact fifteen new prospects, advertise in the newspaper, ask for referrals from existing customers, read ‘Think and Grow Rich’ again.” You get my drift. How do I know she called fifteen new prospects or read the book, and how does reading the book put money in the bank? Did she really ask for referrals? It’s easy to advertise in the newspaper, but that doesn’t create sales. Also, listen to their words: Winners says things like “I will, I commit, definitely, exactly, certainly, I know.” And they will put themselves on the line, invest, and face the consequences. Losers will use words like, “I guess, I hope, I’ll try, IF, it depends on, maybe, I can’t control the future”, etc. They will deflect blame.

When November 1st rolls around, the Winner will either celebrate his success, or he will have to explain why he didn’t attain his four sales, because it will be plain to see whether he succeeded or not. The loser has protected herself by insulating herself from criticism; she will claim that she achieved her goals by reading the book, contacting people, asking for referrals, and advertising, yet she made no sales! So she feels very successful with no sales, while the Winner, who in fact made three sales, determines to do much better next time by applying more self-discipline, something which the loser knows nothing about.

Losers (parasites and moochers) are motivated by being busy, feeling important, impressing others, and teaching others (the blind leading the blind.). Winners (producers and creators) are motivated by results. The way they set goals is the first way to predict their futures. The second way is to listen to what they say after their results are revealed. Losers will make excuses, blame others, the economy, circumstances, their tools, products and services, pricing, the market, you name it. They will be “offended” if confronted with the fact that they failed to produce. Winners will take personal responsibility and resolve to do better by changing their action plan, working harder, honing their skills.

Before you commit time and resources to working with someone, apply this simple formula – it could save you a lot of time and money!

Robin J. Elliott www.DollarMakers.com

Monday, October 12, 2009

Planning For Christmas

The Westman's are doing something different at Christmas this year - we're going to a cabin. Ever since we got married we Westmans have taken turns spending Christmas with our parents at their houses on alternating years. And by spending Christmas I mean actual Christmas, the 24th and 25th of December. We have absolutely loved these times but one thing always seemed missing - it was difficult to establish any holiday traditions of our own. So for a few years now we've played with the idea of doing a Westman Christmas with just our nuclear family. We'd still visit our parents of course and celebrate Christmas with them but we would do it before and after the actual day of Christmas.

Jobina was especially adamant that we needed to celebrate on our own sometime. I'm open to trying new things so I'd agree but when it came to actually telling our parents that we wanted to do Christmas on our own she would have second thoughts. Or as I called it "chickening out."

Sure enough Jobina was having second thoughts again (even though she gone so far as to tell our parents last year that we were considering a Christmas on our own) but I convinced her that we should just do it. And if we were going to do it, we should do it in style! So we called Falcon Trails Resort which is easily our favorite resort to escape to. They usually do three night minimums at Christmas but they had one cabin that ended up being available for two - so we booked it! To me staying in a beautiful cabin on a lake, chopping wood for the fire, enjoying the outdoor hot tub, XC skiing, and sleeping in a cabin is like my perfect Christmas. The kids are excited too - Riker is already planning to go exploring with me and wants us to build a snow fort together. I'm sure it was a little disappointing to our parents but they took it well. We tentatively plan to do a "Westman" family Christmas every three years, alternating with the parents on the other two.

What do you do for Christmas? How do you handle family traditions and expectations? And have you ever gone somewhere exotic/adventurous for Christmas and what was it like?

Friday, October 9, 2009

ASBO Jesus Friday: Teen Pregnancy?

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bromantically Speaking

bromance - the complicated love and affection shown by two straight males.
(Urban Dictionary)


Recently I went out for lunch with someone who I used to minister with. We hadn't seen each other for several years but out of the blue he had emailed me and asked me if we wanted to do lunch. We went to Tony Roma's and basically caught up on each others lives. It was good. At the end, he had to run and then he said "Hey, it was great talking to you again . . . you know I'd really like to be friends. I don't know if you are looking for friends . . . but I'm new to the city . . . you know, maybe we could go to a Bomber game or see a movie?" Suddenly I realized what had happened - I was on a guy date and I hadn't even realized it. Now I was getting an invitation - was I interested in taking this to the next level? I told him I would like that. Then, just like that, he was gone.

I sat there pondering this amusingly. A little while ago Jobina and I rented the movie I Love You Man which is a movie about "bromances" or "man crushes" and the seldom discussed area of intimate (important: non-gay) male friendship. Although the movie is in my opinion way too crude (crude enough for me that I almost didn't get through it and certainly wouldn't rent it again), it did make me think about how one goes about the often awkward process of finding good same-gender friends. Occasionally you meet someone and you are naturally just become inseparable (I had this happen to me a few times in my life) but often it is more like dating - sometime you like the other person more then they like you (and vice versa). You fear rejection and sometimes get nervous. And of course sometimes you just don't know where you stand with your friends - do they really like me or not? And if so, how much? The idea of men going out on dates with each other offends my masculine spirit but I think it is the reality of what often happens.

Anyway, I find the whole subject interesting. . .

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Do You Think Of When You See This Picture?

Honestly, I'm just curious to hear other's impressions. . .



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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review: The Richest Man In Babylon

Book Review: The Richest Man In Babylon by George Clason

I absolutely loved this book! Everything about it was great. First it's written in a witty "King James English" sort of prose. Secondly the book is a collection of stories - each can be read independent of each other and yet all connect with each other as well. Thirdly, the last story is the best one (in my humble opinion). I have heard this book referred to many times as the "classic" on financial wisdom and now I can see why. I can see how the author of The Wealthy Barber and other similar books borrowed liberally from Clason's work. I may even integrate the book into my premarital counselling as the financial stories are so wise and so well put.

The author is a genius. Apparently the book was made from a collection of tracts that banks used to have - little tracts that would tell people how to be wise with their money (not so anymore, eh?). Clason manages to entertain, to put it in a style that engages (the story), and a language that seems authoritative (old English) for a truly excellent literary experience. If your finances aren't doing well, this book might be the trick to turning it around. I give it 4.9 ninja stars out of 5.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"The End Of Poverty?" Trailer



I was very moved when I watched this trailer. Justice! Anyone want to go watch it when it comes out in the end of November?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Only In His Home Town

Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." - Mark 6:4

Ah fate - so interesting. Tomorrow I speak in my my home town, in the church of my youth. Please, if you think to, pray for me! And have a great Sunday . . .