Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

9 Years ago today, I was driving my Toyota Tacoma to work on I81 when I hit a patch of ice going over a bridge. The rear wheels slid out to the left and I tried to steer out of it. I didn’t want to slam on the breaks and go spinning out of control. I realized that I was heading towards the guardrail so I did a little mental checklist before I hit:

Seatbelt? Check,

Airbag? Check.

“OK God here I come.” Check.

I hit the rail at 65 miles an hour and the truck flipped over onto its roof and slid one hundred feet before coming to a rest in the snow bank. The air pressure blew out the back window so snow flew everywhere. I ducked instinctively when I felt the vehicle flip and it was a good thing I did. When it came to rest, the ceiling was only three inches from my fingers on the steering wheel. I heard the tires still spinning and realized that the techno CD I was listening to had stopped playing. Since I was an EMT, I knew the dangers of neck injuries and other trauma. I cautiously wiggled my fingers and toes before I moved my neck. I hunched my shoulders and took a deep breath to see if any ribs were broken. (This is all while I was upside down) Then I unclipped my seat belt and flipped/ crawled over to the passenger side which wasn’t as crushed. The airbag never went off. My Mom bought me an emergency hammer that can cut seatbelts and break glass. I stowed it under the driver’s seat, but because everything had flipped over and snow was everywhere, I couldn’t find it. I pulled out my Leatherman and tried to break the window. I slammed the point of the pliers into the glass repeatedly but it wouldn’t break! Since the CD stopped playing, I assumed power was out, but struck by a sudden thought, I tried the button for the window. Whirrrrrr. It rolled open and I crawled out…right into the arms of my coworker who was a certified first responder! But get this. It was her day off. She just happened to be passing moments after my truck slid to a stop. I also knew a few of the EMTs that arrived minutes later. How many injuries did I receive? None. Does God exist? Yes.

To top  off the day, I took my then girlfriend (now wife) out to dinner at Bangkok Thai in Liverpool. During dinner, I showed Joy (our waitress) the above Polaroid and got a free fried ice cream for surviving!

First…I don’t hate Muslims. True, I practice Christianity, but I believe the constitution protects ALL Americans’ right to worship (or not) where and how they will. I just think that placing a mosque, or “Muslim Center” near Ground Zero is a bad idea.

Why?

Reality is much different than how people think something should be. I know that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf  wishes that this Muslim Center will bring people of different faiths together. He hopes to show New Yorkers and the world that not all people who practice Islam are religious extremists bent on slaughtering blue-eyed babies. He intends this center to be a vector of reconciliation. Of healing.

That just won’t happen. The reality in this country is that many people are incensed that this idea is even being considered. The word that jumps to most people’s minds is “betrayal”, not “healing.”

This situation reminds of another time when a religious man with good intentions caused chaos.

In 2003, the bishops of the Episcopal Church elected Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, to the status of Bishop. His intention was to build up the church, and foster of period of openness and understanding. Sound familiar? What ended up happening was almost immediate chaos, a barrage of lawsuits, and people who were on the fence on that particular issue were pulled kicking and screaming onto one side or the other. My point is not that electing a gay bishop was wrong (although that’s an issue for a separate post). My point is that a religious man had good intentions for his actions and wanted to help his faith, where in reality… the opposite happened. The effects of the schism he caused are still being felt today.

I believe this Imam truly has good intentions. There are not going to be any secret terrorist training facilities hidden beneath Ground Zero. But the amount of public outcry at this perceived slight will far outweigh the benefit that he will bring.

Thoughts?

I may be getting a job. Since I left me last job in August, I have been watching my son two days a week and working on the house the rest of the time. Also lazing about a bit. Since my wife had 15 months off while I worked, I don’t feel bad about this.

I had planned on looking for a job after I  finish my degree at OCC in December, but after talking with a friend, I submitted my resume to the place he works. I went in for an impromptu interview last week and got a job offer today. Unfortunately, I have to watch my son these nest two days, so I was unable to act immediately. This may have cost me the job, but the manager said that he has a few other positions open as well and I may still be able to start Monday.

During the past few years, my wife and I had gotten used to never worrying about money. She had a teaching job and I was making a much as I could hope for with only a High School diploma. We had saved up quite a chunk for a newly married couple ($25,000) and planned on using this when she took a year off with the baby. This saved us because midway through that time, my position was cut to part time. We basically lived off savings for the rest of the summer. Now she is working again but I am still home. Money is still tight although we have never missed a payment on our mortgage or school loans. I wouldn’t say we argue about it, but we can order anything off the menu at restaurants anymore. We can’t go out to eat at all anymore. Maybe twice a month, max. No movies, only free DVDs from the library.

But now I have a chance at a job. I realize that this is rare in this economy, especially for someone who has no practical experience in the field that this company is in. So when the interviewer asked me what salary I think I should receive, I told him that any dollars/hr is better than no dollars/hr.

This job will be different than anything I have done before. More of a factory position than working at a desk. This is part of what attracts me to it. I enjoy working with my hands and want to be able to leave work at work at the end of the day.

I am looking forward to the sense of security that this will bring to our finances. I would also like to say that I never worried about money because I knew God would take care of our family. There have been a few times we were low on funds and out of the blue, a check would come in the mail from some obscure thing we were not expecting. Like an alumni fund or extra cash from our escrow account. Anyway, I hope to post a positive update soon.

I just read a very eloquent and thoughtful letter from a librarian to a patron asking that the children’s book “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” by Sarah S. Brannen be banned. I feel strongly about reading, freedom of speech, and even gay marriage, so this was a good read for me. The librarian, Jamie Larue, basically states that he will not pull the book from the shelves because of free speech (but the letter is so much more than that). He also makes an important point that if parents feel that a certain issue is wrong, or sensitive to the values they are trying to instill in their children, don’t read that book to them. It’s as simple as that.

This is like parents that get upset when their children start swearing or getting violent from just having played 17 hours of any Grand Theft Auto video game. How can they be upset when they bought it for them, silently endorsing the game by their purchase of it.

So while I may not agree with gay marriage for religious reasons, I certainly agree with the library’s decision to stock this book. Comments?

Here are a few recent coincidences that have happened recently. They deal with me leaving my job I have been at for nearly ten years. They are both musical.

The day came at work when I decided that I needed to resign. It was time to go. I packed up a few of my personal things that had acreted over the years, and typed up my resignation letter.The next day, I planned on telling my boss, but she was in meetings all morning. She returned after lunch and I waited until she was off the phone to go in and meet with her. Our offices are just down the hall from one another, so I could hear when she was free. As was my habit, I listened to Digitally Imported radio on iTunes. I especially like the female vocal trance channel. Just before I went in, the lyrics of the song playing were “It’s going to be a fine night tonight, it’s going to be a good day tomorrow.” This repeated as few times as techno is wont to do, and then the ad cut in, the first line of which was: “I had a great idea at work yesterday!”  Hmmmm.

Two weeks later, the day I left work for the last time, I got into the car and pulled out of the parking lot. The CD I was listening to had continued from where it left off in the middle of a song from that morning. The lyric was: ” Farewell! Farewell. Parting is such sweet sorrow!” (It was metal-core, hence the exclamation points from him yelling)

So coincidence? No. I don’t believe in coincidences. I think it was God hinting to me that I had made the right move. He does that occationally. Like the time I was flying to Australia, and everyone was asleep on the 16 hour flight there. It was 3:00 in the morning and I woke up very thirsty. I was in the middle of a 5 person row, so I would have to wake up at least two people. Just as I was about to unbuckle my belt, a flight attandent showed with with one glass of water on a tray and handed it to me. She was not handing them out to anyone else, there weren’t empty glasses or other people awake, it was just me.  Amazing.

lg310700Here’s proof. I’m reading “The Book of Coffee and Tea” and of course am all excited about coffee now. I have a list of all the best beans in the world and want to try them all. But first I had a bag of Dunkin Donuts whole bean that I had to use first. I know, I know. Definitely not world class coffee. I got it before I read the book. Anyway, I have a french press that my parents gave me when my son was born. But no grinder. So I have this bag of whole beans just sitting there. I tried ye olde mortar and pestle but that took forever. So I decided I needed to buy a grinder but there’s a catch. We joined the Compact this year, which means no buying anything new except for food and safety related things. (there’s other exceptions too but that’s beside the point)

I had a gift card to Wegmans left over from Christmas, so even if the grinder didn’t qualify as food related, I figured I could use my card and the purchase could still be considered “safe.” When We got to the store, my wife started looking at seeds for our vegetable garden while I went in search of a coffee grinder. They only had two models and one was huge, so I was stuck with only one choice, white, or black. With a french press, you need a course grind and this machine didn’t have any grind settings. You just have to eyeball it. So I decided to wait on buying one.

Later that day, after church, we were over at my parents so they could get their baby fix. I told Mom that I needed to find a good coffee grinder while I was looking at hers, out on the counter.

“Why, doesn’t the one we got for you work anymore?” She said.

“What do you mean?” I asked “You only gave me a French Press, not a grinder.”

She looks at me suddenly and holds up her finger. “Wait a minute!” She says. She bends down and reaches under a kitchen counter and comes up with…a brand new coffee grinder, still in the box! Sweet.

So you may say: coincidence, but I say no. God. The very day that I finally decided to buy one, then held off at the last minute, only to recieve one a few hours later for free… That’s God. So thanks, God, for the coffee grinder…and thanks Mom too. MMmmmm coffee.

This is a song I wrote in ’96. Since abortion seems to be a hot issue right now, I thought I’d publish it here. The song focuses on Vegans and Vegetarians in the hardcore scene who say that they support abortion. This gives a little more backstory on my beliefs regarding murdering babies. As with any inflammatory issue, I expect people to have vastly different opinions on this subject. Please leave your comments, but keep it civil.

No Choice

You say that you are vegan

And protect the animals’ rights

But when asked your views on abortion

You say that you are pro-choice

No choice

You say that you’re vegan and stand up

For animal rights, yet you give the O.K.

To slaughter innocent  human life

Conscious beings immersed in their mother’s

Womb, they have as much right to live

As the animals that you protect

Thousands of cattle

Cannot make up

For one slaughtered

Human life

There is no

Justification

For what

You believe

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Inspired to build wealth

Posted: December 30, 2008 in Books, Christian, Money/ wealth
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I just finished reading a book called, “Rich dad, Poor dad.” This is the forth or fifth book on becoming wealthy I have read. Each one has a different take on what to do and how to do it. I’m not sure why, but this one affected me more than some of the others. And before you say, “But Dan, you’re Christian right? Money is evil. You shouldn’t be trying to make money.”  This is a passage by Russell H. Cornwell in his book Acres of Diamonds.

“We preach covetousness in the pulpit and use the term filthy lucre so extremely that Christians get the idea that it is wicked for any man to have money. Money is power, and you ought to be reasonably ambitious to have it. You ought to because you can do more good with it than without it. Money prints your bible; money builds your churches; money sends out your missionaries; and money pays for your ministers. If you can honestly obtain…riches, it is your Godly duty to do so. It is an awful mistake of these pious people to think that you must be awfully poor to be pious.”

So yeah, I want to make money. I don’t want to work for someone else my entire life. I want to be able to travel and take time to climb some mountains and play outside without having to worry about how I’m going to pay for food or my next mortgage payment. But all that still takes work. I need to read and study a lot more before I make any big moves. I’d like to get into real estate and the stock market. Each one is vastly complicated so I know I need to be smart about it. Maybe I’ll hire some professionals. You’ve got to spend some money to make money right? We’ll see how it all works out. I’ll keep you posted.

Feliz Navidad!

Posted: December 18, 2008 in baby, Christian, Family
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Merry Christmas to all my friends in the blogoshphere! Think of this as your Christmas card from me.

And yes, I said Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays. I don’t want to disrespect other cultures, but I celebrate the birth of Jesus in my house. So enjoy the season. May it be snowy and white, filled with egg nog, snowmen, hot chocolate, and sledding. Baby’s first Christmas will be fun.