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Blow Time

Are you a Dave Ramsey fan? Whether you are or not, you must admit that he has some pretty sound advice in the realm of money management, and after doing some thinking lately, it has occurred to me that some of what he teaches may be applied to time management too. Time is money, after all!

You see, for a while now I have had difficulty managing my time, and since I struck out on my own it has become a particular challenge for me. It’s hard to come home after working eight hours straight and get everything done at home that needs to get done–after all, don’t I need a break now? But the breaks swallow my hours whole, and only make me feel guilty later for squandering precious time. The result? Always feeling like I’m behind on life, and having no hope of relaxation while the tasks continue to weigh on my brain.

It’s not an optimal situation or attitude, but a friend of mine gave me some good things to think about recently when he asked if I ever take time off. “Time off?” I said, “you mean from work work?” My paid job is Monday through Friday, so I have Sundays and Saturdays off from that, but while I talked with my friend, I realized that Saturdays and Sundays had merely become “days when I work on things other than my paid job,” and I was really not giving myself any time off to relax. Read More

How to Not Look Like an American Tourist in Europe

My sister on a Belgian parkbench

I don’t really like being a tourist. At least I try to avoid the term, even if I am travelling and taking pictures of commonly visited sights in foreign countries. I guess the main thing is that I want to experience the culture more, speak the language, and get deeper than the superficial experience enjoyed by most other tourists. So when I went to Europe, I naturally wanted to try to blend in as much as I could. I did some preparation before the trip, but much of what I now know I discovered in my travels. If you are planning to go to Europe and you too want to avoid looking like a tourist, this post is for you! Here are some things that I’ve learned: Read More

The Last Mile of the Way

You never know when you’ll see someone for the last time. When Mr. Fred Russell squeezed my hand a month ago at Southern Oaks Assisted Living and said “Now, don’t forget to come back!”, I had no idea that it was the last time we would see each other in this life. Today as I sat among his friends and family at his funeral, I couldn’t help but think of things I wish I could have told him before he left: how much he meant to me, what a great example of Christian love he was, etc. I wish I had taken time to get to know him better鈥攁s it was, I only learned about his younger days when I read his obituary, and realized that he and I had a love of camping in common.

But as much as I will miss brother Fred, and as much as I wish I had done more while he was still here, I am not sad. As the preacher remarked at the funeral, “He was a Christian, and you can’t top that!” Even though he’s finished the last mile of the way, he was faithful in his life, and by the grace of God he will receive his reward, and I will see him again.

Even though we can be certain about our reception after death, life is still uncertain, and no one knows when it will end. I don’t mean to be morbid, but each interaction with a person may be your last. Knowing that, shouldn’t we be more encouraging, more loving, more focused on others? Encouragement is not something that should be put off. Opportunities come and go, and some may make an eternal difference. Also, I believe that every interaction either brings people closer to God or pulls them away, even if in the slightest degree. That’s something I want to try to keep in the forefront of my mind, so that I can try to do better to make sure my life does bring people closer to God.

We only have so much time allotted to us, but opportunities abound. Let’s take advantage of them before they slip away.

Walk in Integrity

鈥淛ohn could hardly believe what just happened, but there was the evidence right in front of him: where before he had just had one copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, now there were two, exactly identical. He picked up the second volume and paged through it, noticing that it contained the exact words that he had just finished reading in the first book鈥攅very line, every page number, every chapter heading was exactly the same! He had bought the first book at a store just the day before, and had finished it that afternoon. And how did he come by this second copy, you ask? Why, he simply uttered Geminio! and it appeared. He tried it again, and there lay on his desk three identical copies of his favourite book. ‘I鈥檒l try once more,’ he whispered, and after saying that magical word, he then had four of the same book.

鈥淵ou can scarcely imagine how overjoyed this boy was at his new discovery. Not only did he learn that he had magical powers, but now he could share with his friends this book that he had found so much delight in! He gave the three surplus copies to his closest friends, Harold, Jean, and Frederick, but it wasn鈥檛 long before all his schoolmates learned of his power in duplication, and had requested copies of their own. But how great was their astonishment when they took their new Harry Potter books home and found that they, too, possessed that same spell-casting ability! Before long these magically-produced books were spreading like an epidemic, and book publishers began wondering if things weren鈥檛 getting a little out of hand鈥︹

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Discontent

From Ailenroc鈥檚 Book, by Cornelia Alexander

A poor stonecutter, at his work one day,
Was grieved to see a rich man pass that way鈥
A rich man, in his costly garments dressed,
His proud heart beating 鈥榥eath a silken vest.
鈥淥, would that I were rich!鈥 the poor man said,
鈥淭hat I might take my ease on silken bed,
Or walk abroad in garments soft and fine,
And menial labor nevermore be mine.鈥
An angel heard him, and, in pity true,
Said: 鈥淭hus it shall be granted unto you.鈥

Joy thrilled his heart. A rich man now was he;
His gloating eyes his grand possessions see.
In 鈥榖roidered, silken robes his limbs he dressed;
On soft and perfumed couch he took his rest;
But鈥攍o!鈥攐n looking forth one balmy day,
He saw the mighty emperor pass that way,
The haughty ruler of a goodly land,
Whose word was law, whose nod a high command;
Slaves ran to wait on him at beck and call,
And held aloft the golden parasol.
鈥淎h!鈥 said the man, and spurned his silken bed,
鈥淚 would that I were emperor, that o鈥檈r my head
That great and golden parasol be spread.鈥
While yet he breathed his bold, aspiring prayer,
鈥淭hy wish is granted,鈥 echoed in the air.
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