Saturday, January 30, 2010

Filing System

It's an H&R block commercial gone wrong.

Penmac sent me a postcard saying I could go online and print off my W-2.
(yes, I have worked for Penmac.  
It was repetitve, exhaustive, dirty, assembly line work, 
and I will forever be proud that I "stooped" to such work 
when nothing else was to be had.  
Thank God for temp agencies. :D )

Knowing that I would be tackling my taxes within the next 48 hrs, I decided I would stick it in a safe, easy-to-remember place -- under the TV.

 But last night, whilst filing taxes, I discovered that this vital little bright-yellow postcard was missing.

I searched everywhere, even the trash can.

"Honey, have you seen the yellow post card I stuck under the TV?"

"Oh! This postcard?  Sorry, I'm using it to play whompdoodle on."
(The right side keeps winning, I can't figure out why the right side keeps winning.....)

My wife still wants to know why I would choose to keep an important card under her TV.  

Sigh.  Guess the filing systems of my bachelor days are over

 BTW, I'm using TaxAct for the second year in a row.  Go to their website and its only 17.95 for both State and Federal. No, I don't get paid to tell you this. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Moving things around

Man I'm exhausted.  I probably shouldn't even log onto here when I am so tired, but, eh, that's bloggin' right? The good, the bad and the random.

My lady rearranged the lights while I was at work.  So now we now have  3 floor lamps in the living room.  I know she did it just for me -- she personally likes everything darker.  At night, she prefers no lights whatsoever in the bedroom -- even the glow from the alarm clock is a little much.  And I think she'd run the living room on candles if I'd let her.   (Which does have a very cool effect, I must say)

Me?  I've slept --among some of the more esoteric places -- on asphalt (st louis parking lot), tile (Cape Verde patio), and a table (Biology study session before a final), all in daylight.  Guess it shows that opposites complement each other.

Or that this poor lady has a very weird husband.

"A statesman is a politician that's been dead 10 or 15 years" - Harry S. Truman

My wife and I had a in-depth conversation the other night about American's "debt" to others.  Basically, God has given us so much, what --and in what ways -- should we give back?

Basically, how much are we responsible for changing the world?

I've been mulling over that question for several days now.  And I'm beginning to think each of us carries a bigger responsibility than we typically take on.

In Afica, the roads are littered with garbage.  Everybody just drops their wrappers and wastes whereever they are. It's a very third-world thing.

Or so I thought. 

This afternoon, I watched the big SUV roll their window down and flick a cigarette out of the window.  It rolled along, carried by the wind, and ended up in the gutter.

Two minutes later a car behind me did the same thing.

Suddenly, I realized that the only thing seperating us from a third-world country, is that we have the money for street-sweepers, they don't.

Most of us would agree with Harry Truman's definition of a statesman.

Maybe we forget what a real statesman is. 

Where is that statesman that does put his God first, his family next, and truly seeks to make a difference in the lives of his fellow Americans?

Maybe I can get to be that guy.  It's worth a try.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good at Grudges

I've been learning something.
I'm good at grudges.

You know the old quip?

"Everytime we fight, my wife gets historical."
"You mean hysterical, right?"
"No, she gets historical, she remembers every wrong I've committed since we first met."

And as I began molding my personality into this new relationship with Joanna, I began discovering that I had a amazing "historical" capability  to my grudge holding.

And what one of us doesn't?  

I mean, which one of us doesn't bear the scars of left by a teacher, a principal, a law enforcement officer, a pastor, a dad, a classmate, an employee....
that didn't somehow blatantly mess up our lives up in some way?

Christ said it this way,
"It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!" (Lu 17:1)

And check out the disciples' response: "Lord, Increase our faith." (Lu17:5)

You've gotta remember, these are the same disciples that have seen the dead raised and demons go running.  These powerful acts never elicit this response from them.

But Christ's five-verse sermon on forgiveness does.

I've been needing more faith for this area.

Recently, I've come across a book called The Bait of Satan, by John Bevere.
And God's been using this book in a powerful way to build my faith, and free me from bitterness.

I wish I could buy a copy for every Christian.  I know so many that have been through divorces, and church splits, and abusive relationships.  We can all agree.  They were the victim. The other party royally wronged or even tried to destroy them.

Satan takes those offenses, those wrongs, and finishes destroying that person.

I was fast becoming that person.
For once I've found a peace and a release through this work.  I thank God for it.

(The local library doesn't have it, but CPO seemed to have the lowest price in town. Amazon is a few dollars cheaper)  

Definitely make this one a priority read for 2010.

So, my wife watched George Clooney's Hope For Haiti Now broadcast last night.  And then we sat up Youtubing the best performances.  (You've gotta' look up Justin Timberlake.  Probably the best [or dare I say - "the only decent"] performance of his entire career.)

Here's my favorite.  Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, and Kid Rock.  Check it:

Bang Head Here

Years ago when I worked in the warehouse at Sherwinn-Williams on St. Louis street, one of the co-workers printed out a piece of paper labelled "Stress Kit".  It had a large circle in the middle with the instructions for use underneath:

Bang Head Here

He taped it to one of the concrete walls.

It's been one of those weeks.

When I started at Chase, I had hoped to make it a permanent career move.  In the time I've been there, they've shut down one call center (in Canada), changed my job description once, tried out 5 different commission structures, and assigned me to three different managers. 

On top of that, there have been some major (beneficial) changes in credit card legislature that will be in full effect in a matter of weeks.  (Haven't been keeping up with the changes? Oh no. READ THIS!) Basically, the days of banks legally robbing their customers are numbered.  And, well, the bank writes my paycheck.

I can just see myself giving 60 hours a week to a company and ending up on the welfare line.

So, instead of spending an extra twenty hours a week promoting myself in the company, I'm investing it in college, wracking up some more bills and hoping desperately that it will all pay off in some sort of workable nursing degree.

That's not a half-bad plan, until colleges start losing transcripts and other important documents. Applications get denied.  Financial aid falls through.

It's been a frustrating week as I watch one well-laid plan after another crumble before my eyes.

The new baby will be here in months.  My wife needs a bigger place. And a baby bed. (And dresser, and carseat, and diapers)
Heck, she needs me to be around once in awhile.

I find myself singing the Keith Green song "now there ain't no use, banging your head, up against that cold, stone wall..."

And then there's that story of Christ's disciples trying to row across the Sea of Galilee
A storm arises with waves crashing on every side.
They are rowing, sweating, praying for their lives.
And Christ? Well, "...about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them."
And the disciples freaked out, thinking he was a ghost.
"And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered."

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't lay off the rowing, and let Jesus into the boat.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It goes by quickly

"Who would ever think of allowing an untrained man to climb into the cockpit of an airplane and tinker with the gauges?  Or who would allow a novice to service the engines of a modern jet?  Yet we expect men to build strong, loving relationships without any education at all.  Most men don't have the slightest idea how to read the complicated "gauges" of a woman..."

When I was a kid, I had all sorts of plans for how I would behave when I grew up.   I was gonna' workout regularly and have devotions at 5 am. My wife would never have to ask me to take out the trash, and our cars would always be cleaned and waxed, ready to be a carriage for my "Queen" whenever she wished.

One can laugh now.  The cars are salt-crusted.  The wife has to remind me twice before I take the trash out, and I am sturdily working on the mounts for a spare tire around my midsection.  Thankfully the devotions stay pretty current -- although not at 5 am.

But thankfully, I've kept decent notes of my childhood ambitions throughout the years, and I frequently revisit them to glean the best (and most feasible) of the ideas.

One of those was my plan to devote a significant amount of time each year to becoming a better husband.

This was a practice I began to undertake in earnest when I was about 19.  I ran across If Only He Knew by Gary Smalley and was horrified at how many despicable, marriage-ruining traits I owned.  God did a lot to change me at that time through that book, and as a married man, it seemed a fitting time to pick it up again.

So to my friends who are unmarried, I say, pick up some good works, and read from experienced, Godly people who have established Godly marriages before us.  And to those of us men who have "taken the leap", must I remind us that every high-caliber career --whether it be fighter pilot or brain surgeon -- requires "Continuing Education Courses".  Enroll yourselves, men.  Your marriage depends on it.

That's my opinion anyhow.

Wow.  The honey and I just passed our 6 month anniversary. It's scary how fast time flies.

I thinks that's why I've always felt like it was so important to write down goals. Otherwise, it is so easy to wake 3 years down the road and go "What Happened?!"  And, while I don't make as religious a ceremony out of New Year's Eve as I used to, January is still a great time for me to seek God's leading and right down and store physical goals that mirror His Calling in my life. 

The following year, I will pull them out and see how in tune I actually was. The results can really be amazing.  Sometimes it takes three or four years to reach a goal.  Sometimes God starts moving things really fast and a goal is reached supernaturally in half the time.  Many goals have been discarded as having no value -- just my flesh getting in the way.  It's been powerful tool in my life.

Maybe that's why God set my birthday in January.

..Thanks for stopping by.  I think I'll park the bike in a snow bank and hike off into the woods for a change.  Stick around.  Maybe we'll find something cool.