Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Millionaire Next Door

The Millionaire Next Door was my weekend read. I was expecting to learn something about financial planning, but the book said I was on the right track and to me most of what they said was just common sense to me. They said you should have a net worth, not counting what you inherited, of 1/10 your age times your yearly income. Using my husband's age (since he's older) we comfortably make that standard--which I think is good since I computed it on our present income and he just got a substantial raise. Surprisingly enough, in looking at net worth, it seems that what you spend is more important than what you make. In other words, there are plenty of high-income people with low net worths--they spend it as fast if not faster than they make it. The basic thesis of the book is live beneath your means, save your money, budget, invest for the long term in things you know and don't teach your kids to spend too much money. If you are interested, the book in now on my bookmooch list.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mathetes Awards

The description of the award from the originating website reads:Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. I'd like to take the opportunity to award five other bloggers with this award and badge for acting in the role of a disciple of Christ. These five all share the message in their own creative ways, and I admire them all for what they do.In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to. As you pass it on, I just ask that you mention and provide links for (1)the originator of the award (Dan King of management by God), (2) the person that awarded it to you (Michelle of Deo Gratia) and then (3) name and sites of the five that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ. If you know of other deserving recipients of this award, and would like to start a new string, then please post a link to where you've started in in the comments to this post. I would love for many deserving bloggers to be blessed with this recognition.

Ok, I copied everything above from Michelle's site and just edited it. I don't have a lengthy list of blogs I read regularly, but let's see who I can name:
Renee
Elena
Toni
Janette

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fall Reading Challange


I saw this on Michele's blog and thought I'd play too.

1. The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen

2. The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn

3. Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin

4. The How To Book of the Mass by Michael Debruiel

5. The Englisher by Beverly Lewis

6. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley

7. Founding Mothers by Linda Grant De Pauw

8. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis

9. Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum by Chantal Sicile-Kira

10. Crescent & Star Turkey Between Two Worlds by Stephen Kinzer

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Judge Not....

It seems to me that some of non-Christians' (or non-practicing Christians') favorite Bible verses are those about not judging--take the plank out of your own eye etc. In other words, they like to say what amounts to "How dare you say that what I'm doing is wrong". Is that what Jesus really meant when He said not to judge? I don't think so. He says time and again that we are to avoid sin, and in order to avoid sin, you have to be able to name it, to identify it. The fact that it makes you feel good, the fact that everyone does it, the fact that it would cause you pain to avoid it; none of these change a sinful action into a non-sinful one--nor does the fact that I"ve never been in a position to want to commit that sin.

Free Music

I don't have an I-Pod. I play CD's on my computer, the few that I have. I have a box of albums in the garage, and keep saying that one day I'll get a new needle for the record player so I can play them. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not the world's biggist music fan, nor do I know anything about who is cool today. However, I did buy my daughter an mp3 player (less than $30.00) for her birthday and then went looking for music to put on it. I looked at Napster and Rhapsody, but from what I could tell, they wanted a monthy subscription fee and the music wouldn't work anymore if you quit paying it--which didn't seem like a good deal to me. I found Wal-Mart.com that allowed downloads for $0.88 each and that did seem like a good deal so I gave her a spending limit and told her to have fun--and she was able to find songs she liked. This week I found what to me seems like an even better deal--SpiralFrog. You can go there and download all the songs you want at no cost. The only hitch is that you have to come back to the site monthly to renew your membership. Things I've read about it say that they don't have as many songs as some of the other sites, so maybe it won't meet everyone's needs, but I was able to finds some of the things (ok, sappy oldies) I wanted. The site is ad-supported but I didn't find the ads intrusive (though I wouldn't be surprised if they become more intrusive as time goes on). Check it out, the music is not pirated, the artists are paid and they do have a big variety of music.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Keep Saying Yes

If you've been reading this for a while, you know that in January (yes, nine months ago) I started Weight Watchers. I followed the plan pretty closely and lost weight easily for several months. I now weigh about forty pounds less than I did then. Unfortunately I still have at least 10 pounds to go, and really, I'd like to lose another 20-30. However, I'm sick of watching everything that goes into my mouth. I've said before that if I preferred salad and exercise to dessert and web-surfing, I wouldn't have a weight problem.

I was at adoration tonite and looking up at the crucifix and it hit me that not only did Jesus not have to get in that position to start with--He could have hidden Thursday nite, told Pilate or Herod what they wanted to hear, or just used his God powers to wipe everyone out--He didn't have to stay on the cross once He got there. As humans we have free will, but our will is often thwarted by the will of others, but in this case He always had free will, He could have come down at any time, but chose not to.

What do the preceding paragraphs have in common? I'm having trouble continuing to say "yes" to what I know I should do, not only with the diet but also some other things in my life. I know I should do them, I want to do them (at least sort of) but it is so much easier and more pleasurable to say "no" rather than "yes". I need to remember that He continued to say "yes" until His last breath.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wanna Buy a New Widget?

If you want to buy a new widget (or computer, or camera or .....) check out Summize.com. Research Buzz turned me on to it. Basically it is a search engine that pulls together product reviews from all over the web so you can easily click from one to the other. I just checked out my digital camera and for the most part, agreed with the reviews I found.

Stuff for the Kids

Printable Center has all sorts of ideas and printable worksheets for kids. My three year old wants to do homework with the big ones (I guess she's figured out that is the best way to get attention in the evening) so here is some I can print. The site also has craft ideas and more. It is covered with ads, but the activities don't have ads on them, that I've seen. Thanks to Research Buzz for the link.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Shunning

My latest Bookmooch finds are books by Beverly Lewis about the Amish. High quality literature they are not, but they are entertaining, easy to read and, if reasonably accurate, give me some insight into a society that has intrigued me since I read Plain Girl as a pre-teen. Lewis' books are series Christian fiction so religion plays a part in them, and the books are part of a set of books which all have the same characters and reference each others plot lines,and though she tried to give enough details about the previous story to make the present one make sense, in my opinion, she doesn't always succeed.

Anyway, this post isn't so much a book review as it is a pondering about the role of the community in helping other members maintain their fidelity to the standards of that community. Like Catholics, according to Lewis, the Amish do not believe in "once saved, always saved" but rather see salvation as a goal to be reached, through the grace of God, by living the life to which God calls us. Lewis sees this as a works-based salvation, and in my experience, her favored characters realize that they have to accept Jesus and are saved by that. I mention this because one thing I've noted in her books about the Amish is that there is almost always a shunned character. In my understanding, if a baptized Amish (they are baptized generally as young adults, after classes to make sure they know what they are doing) persists in sin--including sins such as leaving the Amish lifestyle for a modern one--the community shuns the person. They do not speak to the person, or eat with him/her or otherwise treat him/her like anything but a stranger. If the person is living with other Amish, those people will set a separate table for the one shunned. There are two purposes for the shunning: to keep the person's sin from infecting the community and spreading and to encourage the person to repent and give up his/her sinful choices. In her books, Lewis always shows shunning as hurting the loved ones as much if not more than the ones shunned, and while my memory may fail me, I don't think her characters are ever moved to repentance by it. I wonder though how often it is used in real life, and how well it works.

I say that because to some extent all societies use social pressure to get people to conform to their norms. You don't realize how many "rules" there are until you have an autistic kid who keeps breaking them--and who pays the social cost. Have you ever thought about the fact that you don't walk down the street waving your arms in the air or stretching them over your head? Think of all the fashion rules that even the most unhip among us obey daily--and know when to disobey. In what ways are you allowed to express your displeasure when in public? The penalty for disobeying all these unwritten, and sometimes contradictory rules is social isolation--not a formal shun like the Amish have, but rather the isolation caused by people avoiding the "weirdo". But back to what I was thinking about earlier--to what extent should we use social pressure to get people to behave in a moral manner. Catholics have never shunned to the extent that the Amish do, but my parents have told me that when they were kids, no Catholic would dream of going to a wedding of a Catholic that was held outside a church. Unwed mothers were shunted off to maternity homes and practically forced to put their kids up for adoption. Divorcees were considered to be of questionable character--and don't even go there regarding homosexual behavior. Certain things were held to be right, others wrong and social pressure was used to encourage (or perhaps berate) people into following the religious and moral norms. Today however, the opposite seems to be true. It seems we are all afraid of being judgmental and are all trying to be open, loving people, such that as a society we don't stand up and say "this is wrong and we won't tolerate it" to sinful behaviors, even to the extent that we do to "weird" behaviors. Have we quit shunning sinful behavior because we believe shunning is bad, or because we don't believe the sinful behavior is bad?

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