Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reforming Society and Friendship

Last night, our good friends Peter and Shannon invited us over for Thanksgiving leftovers, along with our friends Steve and Jess. I was so excited because, you see, Scott and I went to two Thanksgiving dinners and did not have any turkey. Scott's dad had requested ham, so we had ham on Thursday. Then my uncle requested ham, so we had ham on Friday. I was bummed because I love turkey and it's Thanksgiving!!!

So, at Peter and Shannon's, I got to have turkey. YAY! Plus, I got to spend the evening hanging with friends. We talked about all kinds of things, but here's a quick overview of our discussion:

  • How Christianity today is not reforming culture; it is either forming a sub-culture or conforming to culture
  • The need for chairs at out church instead of pews, and how that is now possible thanks to a sizeable donation
  • How the education system is failing our children - they get to college and don't know how to read or write well, and they lack life skills
  • What to do about a broken bed
  • The state of missions today, and that many people would rather give money than give of their time
  • How crazy our pets are and all the stories to go with this (and how long it's going to take Peter and Shannon to finally get a cat!)
  • How the church is failing our youth by not helping them deal with serious issues such as premarital sex
  • The next activity we are going to do - which is either go to the Texas Roadhouse followed by a movie, or the dinner theater at a local church
Yup, I think that sums it up in nutshell. Basically, we are going to reform society, the church, the education system, all while having tons of fun with our friends!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Total Money Makeover

I recently started reading "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. It was recommended to me by a leader in my business. Jeff said that our company had given it to the top leaders to read, and that he recommended it to everyone. It's a book that contains a lot of common sense, but also a plan for how to pay off debt and secure your financial future.

Last year at this time, I don't know if I would have been ready for this book. But over the past year, I have started to envision becoming financially free. I can truly see paying off car loans, student loans, and eventually our mortgage as well. Last year at this time, this probably would've sounded crazy to me. But I've seen that it can actually happen. I have friends in my business doing it, and I know I will be soon as well.

And I believe anyone can do the same. I definitely agree with Dave on several points. One, debt has become so common that we hardly blink when we take out a loan for something. We Americans tend to buy, buy, buy without thinking about the consequences. 90 days interest free, and we buy it. Bonus points, cash back, new credit card offers... the temptations are everywhere. Dave talks about how important it is that we stop using credit cards and use cash or your debit card instead.

Another point he talks about is paying down debt using the "snowball" method. He basically says to take everything you can and start paying off your smallest debt. Then add that payment to the next highest debt, etc. I am excited to start this and have already figured out how we can get rid of our non-mortgage debt in the next 2-3 years. I don't want to try and summarize his whole program in a few paragraphs, so I recommend you buy the book. I got it off of and actually got an additional discount thanks to my business.

If you decide to get the book, let me know. I'd love to know what you think!

To Write or Not to Write

The other day at work, my supervisor gave me an unexpected compliment. She asked me if I had ever considered writing. She was handing me one of my reports that I have to write on my clients, and noted that I am a good writer. Needless to say, I was flattered, and it made me feel good. You see, I have always enjoyed writing. As strange as it seems, I thrived on writing papers in high school and college. I'd much rather write a paper for two reasons: 1. I learn a lot more by writing than by memorizing facts, spitting them out on a test, and then forgetting them, and 2. I enjoy putting words to paper.

So, back to the discussion with my supervisor. My answer was, yes, I have thought about it. It's one of those dreams I have in the back of my mind. Someday I'll write a book. Someday I'll write articles about travel, politics, or business. Someday I'll write my story. Well, who knows, maybe someday will be sooner rather than later. For now, though, I'll have stick with letting out my writing juices at work and in the blogosphere...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Midnight Madness

Last night we had quite an ordeal here. It was midnight, yes, midnight. I was FINALLY going to bed (so much for going to bed early starting this week). Scott was already sleeping soundly, and I went downstairs to let the dogs out one final time. I let Mia out on the chain and took Moxie on his leash. When we headed back for the door, Mia had wrapped the chain around a tree and couldn't reach the door. So, I unhooked her, ready to open the door and let both dogs in at the same time. That's when the madness started. Mia ran towards the door, and then did a 180 and headed back around the cars toward the backyard. I thought, oh, she's probably just gonna get her pink ball, which she had somehow lost in the grass with it being so dark out. So I took Moxie in and stuck him in his crate, and then went back outside to get Mia.

Back outside, Mia was nowhere to be seen. She wasn't just down on the slope where she had lost her ball. She wasn't in the backyard. Then I heard her - she was off in the woods to the side of our house! I started calling for her, whistling, all the things I usually do, but to no avail. She was on something's trail and wasn't about to come back to me. So I went inside to get some food, because that is a huge motivator. I took the dish and food outside, and starting clinking it around so she could hear. Then I yelled, "Mia, come get some food, come get a treat!" Still nothing.

Soon I started to panic, thinking "What am I gonna do? It's midnight, it's freezing out here, and it's pitch dark!" I ran inside, went upstairs and woke Scott up, telling him what was going on while running back outside. We both were outside before you knew it, and we could still here Mia's tags jingling off in the woods. But we couldn't get her to come back. Then I started walking up the road, because she seemed to be heading through the woods parallel to the road. I kept walking, but at that point we couldn't hear her anymore.

I went back over to Scott and started crying. I just didn't know what to do, and I felt horrible because I was the one who let her loose, albeit accidentally. I stood there praying that God would just make her come back, and that I wouldn't lose my dog. I started thinking I was going to have to get in my car and drive up the road. Just as I was about to head up to get my keys, I heard jingling. Then we saw Mia running towards us from the road. I was so thankful, but angry at the same time. We grabbed her when she was close, hooked her on the leash, and went back inside.

It was finally over, but once inside we told Mia how naughty she had been. It's hard because you don't want to yell at your dog when the finally come to you, but at the same time, you want them to understand how bad it is to leave like that. Anyway, I am just so glad that she returned, and that she didn't get hurt or hit by a car. I finally was able to go to bed - a lot later than planned!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Pink Ball

So we have a pink ball. It's one of those Planet Dog balls for dogs, obviously. We also have a blue one exactly like it. I try to buy 2 of everything now, so that Mia and Moxie won't fight. Ha! The always want whatever the other one has. Anyway, the pink ball has now moved up to the top of Mia's list. She holds it in her mouth, squishes it, drops it and picks it back up, uses her paws to play with it - you get the idea. It's an obsession! She even sleeps with it. If I come downstairs at 5am to use the bathroom, the pink ball is on her dog bed right next to her. If I reach down to pat her, she quickly grabs it so as to keep me from taking it.

It's hilarious when Moxie gets the ball from Mia. Mia is never sure what to do. She doesn't let go of the ball very often, but when she does, Moxie occassionally is quick enough to grab it (he's a little dopey). Then Mia runs after him, and he loves playing keep away, so he just runs and runs and avoids her. He is actually quite good at that, despite being slow at other things. Mia occasionally just grabs the ball right out of his mouth, but usually Moxie gets distracted and drops it, and Mia immediately reclaims her prized possession. Oh, my dogs... they are funny. As long as Mia doesn't swallow this ball like she did the purple one, I'll be happy.