Thursday, April 22, 2010

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity. - Buddha

I stayed up way too late last night watching Lord Save Us From Your Followers. I highly recommend finding a copy of this and watching it. I did not agree with every thing that was said in this documentary but I think the lessons you can learn from the it are much more important.

The documentary, is about a guy going around the country to learn why people love Jesus or believe in him but do not like Christians. It touches a bit on politics as it often seems to be Christians/Conservative against the Nonbelievers/Liberals. But the last part of the movie was basically about how Christians can gain more respect among people who do not consider themselves Christians. And the answer is to not judge, to simply love and serve.

This message struck a cord in me for many reasons and I would like to share with you what I learned and gained from the movie.

Conservatives and Christians often focus on behaviors that they view as wrong and how society is encouraging those behaviors. We do not believe in abortion and we do not believe that it is okay to be gay nor should the government legislate such behavior. Some Christians even believe and openly preach that those who do such things have a one way ticket to hell. I do not think there is anything wrong with being politically active in such issues. In fact, because of my political and religious beliefs, I think it's important to be actively trying to influence the government on such issues. And I do think that politics and religion are inseparable. But we often forget something important. There are real people behind these issues that we often forget about. And despite what we believe about what they are doing, it is not okay for us to ignore them. I have a few friends who are gay and I am simply thankful they are still willing to be my friend despite my views because I have to often witnessed and heard of friendships being lost over someone being gay. You can disagree with their behavior without disliking them as a person. It is not our place to forget these people, to not serve them if they are in need, and to say they deserved what they got because they sinned. Rather, it is our job to continue to view them as our brothers and sisters, to serve them when they are in need, to love them anyways. And "if we love someone we go out of our way to learn the best of who they are," (quote taken from some random guy in the movie).

This can also be applied to the poor in a few different ways. First, people sometimes look at the homeless and say "the probably got what they deserved." But no matter what they did to get on the streets, it does not mean we should not serve them. If you don't want to hand them money that could go to drugs and alcohol, then buy them a warm meal. You could even get them a change of clothes or perhaps take them to a place where they can clean up and take a hot shower. One group in the movie would go on the streets and serve the homeless at night. The acts of service include hair cuts, washing their hair, talking and listening to them, washing their feet and giving them a new pair of socks to wear.When those being served were asked why they thought these people were doing such kind things for them the answer was often "because they believe in Jesus." More of us could be doing acts of service like that. More of us could be showing that we believe in Jesus (and God) and want to live like he did. He served the poor, the needy, the sick, the hungry, etc. and so should we.

The second way I think this can be applied is that Conservatives often disagree with government welfare programs. We view helping the poor and needy as an individual decision that should not be forced. But how often do we go out of our way to help the poor so the government doesn't have to? How often do we give them a lending hand or simply a hug so they know they are cared about? How often do we judge them instead of serving them? The same service that we often practice to fellow church members should be practiced to people who are not church members as well.

I do not consider myself a hard hearted person who will not give of her time or money. But my husband can attest to the fact that I too often judge others for what they did to get themselves in a hard spot, or for how they are using their time and money to help them better their situation. He taught me the same lesson a few weeks ago, that this movie did. It is not our position to judge them. Everyone (or almost everyone) deserves help on some level, and it is our place to give it if we can. I need to become less judgmental and less lazy and become more willing to serve. I need to seeks ways to serve and stop waiting for the chance to be handed to me.

I am not saying that in every single case service should be rendered, that there are no rules to this matter. That is not the case either. If you can barely feed your own kid, you should maybe consider not give your few dollars away. Maybe you can serve them with your time instead. If you friend needs help to get to the abortion clinic and you don't believe in abortion, it is your right and duty to say no you can not help. But if they end up regretting the decision, months or years down the road, you can listen and help them through their struggles. 

The important lesson, especially for many Christians, is to love those that sin (you can do that without loving  their sin), love those that are different, and love those that you may not think deserve it.

I love the following lines from The Man Nobody Knows by Bruce Barton. I probably quote it too often but I love it and I think it fits perfectly with what I am trying to say.
There are two seas in Palestine.One is fersh and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks.Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters...
The River Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. Men build their houses near to it; and birds build their nests; and every kind of life is hapier because it is there.
The River Jordan flows on south to another sea.
Here no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf, no song of birds, no children's laughter.Travellers choose another route, unless on urgent business.The air hangs heavy above its water and neither beast, nor man, nor fowl will drink.
What makes this mighty difference in these neighbor seas? Not the River Jordan. It empties the same good water into both.Not the soil in which they lie; not the country round about.
This is the difference. The Sea of Galilee recieves but does not keep. For every drop that flows into it, another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure. The other sea is shrewder, hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps.

The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named Dead.
There are two kinds of people in this world. There are two seas in Palestine.
I think as the world becomes a darker and darker place, as certain behaviors we may disagree with become more and more common place, and as the government continues to legislate illegally, service and love should become more and more important. In fact, service and love may be the only thing that keeps this country together. We will always be far from perfect. There are people that I am not sure I could ever serve no matter the situation. But I, and you, have to work on becoming more and more perfect. To give more and more and to love more and more. And not to serve because we want to be blessed, because we expect we will be blessed, but to do it because we truly want to serve others.

I did not write this to judge anyone or any Christian church. It is simply what I got from the movie. You, the reader, may not agree with all I have said and that's okay. I would love to hear any thoughts, views, or differences of opinion on this matter. As long as it's done civilly and thoughtfully.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Ultimate Gift

I want to put in a plug for the movie The Ultimate Gift. So it may be a bit cheesy, and the acting may need a bit of help, but it is such a great family friendly film. It is all about the following gifts you can receive in life: work, money, friends, learning, problems, family, laughter, dreams, giving, gratitude, a day, and love. It follows the short journey of one young man as he stumbles upon these gifts while he is working to receive what he thought the ultimate gift was, money.

Anyways, I don't want to give too much of the story line away but like I said above, I highly recommend this film for anybody who is in search for a clean film with a good message. But just to warn you, it is a tear jerker. I cry every time I see it.

Blog Update

I have done a few posts today so don't ignore the one below, though it mainly only applies to those living in Virginia.

Anywa, I have decide to follow all of my friends blog rather than keep you on the sidebar of my blog. So don't think I have forgotten about you or given up on your blog if your name is no longer there. Much love to all of you.

For Anyone In Northern Virginia

Free Burrito Friday April 30 5- 9 pm


Moe's Ashburn, VA (next to five guys!)

44650 Waxpool Rd, Ashburn, Va

Phone:(703) 858-9595


Moe's South Riding

24995 Riding Plaza, Chantilly, VA

Phone:(703)542-5670


Leesburg and Herndon locations also.


JDRF is hosting a FREE BURRITO NIGHT at ALL local area Moe's locations on Friday, April 30 from

5:00 pm - 9:00 pm and we would love for you to join us on the 30th for a FREE BURRITO! All we ask is that you consider making a donation to JDRF while you are there!

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will receive 100% of all donations (dine in or carry out) during the designated hours."

Monday, April 19, 2010

C++

A miracle in the life of my husband. He gave me my first lesson in C++ tonight. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and as church we are counseled to hold Family Home Evenings (FHE) each Monday night. The purpose is to bring families closer together and to give them a chance to bring spiritual topics and matters into their home more often. My husband and I are trying to have FHE each moday night so that it will be a habit once we have kids. Our planned activity had to be canceled due to a long day and lack of energy on the part of my husband. So at the last min. I challenged him to teach me something new on the computer as our activity. We ended up deciding that he would teach me a bit about C++. I plan to continue learning this programming language, despite how scary it looks.

My first lesson ended with a quick programing exercise. After successfully doing it exactly as the book did, I decided to redue it with a few of my own words.

This is yet another example of why I should stop watching 24.
It asks the question "How many programming languages have you used?"
My response "3"
It's response : see above

I promise you I really am not a violent person. I am a tender hearted soul who loves children and rainbows and unicorns.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I May Have Lived Near D.C. My Whole Life But....

I always have to ask where the Washington Monument is and I always get an "are you dumb" look in response because it's always visible from where I am standing.


But when I look at this it doesn't scream to me Washington Monument. Nope! It screams the PENCIL!!!! Ah I have lived here way to long.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Books I Have Finished In The Last Few Months

Dark Assassin :  Ann Perry - This book was pretty good. Interesting enough just a bit long for me and I am still getting used to reading books that focus on a certain time period.

Julie & Julia : Julie Powell  - Don't read. It is enough like the movie that I liked the story line but it has wayyy to much language in it to make it worth reading. Just watch the movie.

The Christmas Sweater : Glen Beck - No matter your opinion on Glen Beck, this is a great and very fast read. It has nothing to do with politics.

48 Liberal Lies About American History (That You Probably Learned In School) : Larry Schweikart - I liked this book and it has nothing to do with my Conservative beliefs. I liked it because it made me rethink history and a lot of what I was used to hearing, and made me realize that history could be whatever someone says it is. So dig deep and make sure you know your facts.

The Towering World of Jimmy Choo : Lauren Goldstein Crowe - A very business based book but rather interesting and I feel much more educated about real world things. This isn't for everyone but if you like fashion and/or business, I would recommend this book.

A Fine Night For Dying : Jack Higgins - My first book of his. Not perfect but easy to read and interesting enough.

The Lost Symbol : Dan Brown - A bit repetitive but so interesting and educational and mind blowing. Loveeed!

The Paris Option : Robert Ludlum, Gayle Lynds - I really liked this book. This was my first one by Robert Ludlum so I was a bit unsure of how it would be and if I would get bored or exhausted before I finished reading it. But it had a great story line and was rather addicting.

Common Sense : Thomas Paine  - Quick read and very mind opening. I am glad I finally got around to reading this and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Um...

Because my last post was so heavy and more than half of my small amount of readers won't read it, I thought I would post something very light today.

This famous scene from Pride and Prejudice was totally duable this morning near my apartment complex. Would it be weird to have my husband dress up and react this scene for me?



My husband and I decided last night that with my new haircut (yes I did get it cut yesterday), if I did not have boobs, I would look like a short Matthew Gubler. I even have a sweater similiar to the red one he is wearing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

HAPPY APRIL 15

To celebrate tax day tomorrow, and the large return my hubby and I are suppose to be getting, I am going to write a short post about my views on taxes.

A few years ago I had the view that high taxes were not great but the government, state and national, had things that needed to be paid for and how else were they going to get the needed fnds. Taxes were not great but they were necessary.

In the last few years my views have slowly but surely changed. By recommendation  I read the book Fair Tax. I highly recommend this book whether you think you would be interested in reading about taxes or not. It is an easy read and really makes you think. It is about a proposed tax system based on a sales tax. We would get taxes based on what we purchased. There would be no income tax, death tax, or any other tax, with the exception of state tax.  But if the Fair Tax works as well as many believe it would, it would be likely that states would follow so that they have the same advantage. The benefits to us as individual citizens is that we would have more control over our money. If we were savers, we would have more money to save to put towards a house, retirement, etc. I will not go into depth about this tax at the moment but if you care about your money and income, I highly recommend looking into the Fair Tax.










Next, I did some studying on the history of taxation and Reaganomics. From what I understand, at the becoming of this great nation, there was not really any such thing as an income tax. In fact, there were not many internal taxes at all. A majority of the internal taxes were passed specifically to raise money during war time. The rest of the nation's income came for commerce with other countries. Jefferson got rid of all internal taxes and still managed to reduce the debt without putting a plug on spending. It wasn't until the Civil War that drastic changes occured. That's when internal taxation really began as the North needed money to fight the war (the South did not rely on this method as much for various reasons including a lack of strong government). The internal taxes were not necessarly suppose to be continued after the war was over but they did. And although taxes were not suppose to get much higher (yeah who would have known? There actually used to be a limit on taxes), they did. Technically, U.S. citizens have the right to fight back against such high taxes but nobody really seems to care or notice because high taxes are such a norm now.

The biggest problem facing our nation at the moment is the amount of waste and pork barrel spending that our hard earned money goes to. We would not have to pay so much in taxes if the government was honest, smart, and made good financial choices. If we ran our households like the government we would be on the streets. Just as we are suppose to take care of our families and make smart financial desicions with our money, so should the government.

The next biggest problem is the progressive tax. I know many Americans believe the tax burden on the poor should not be larger than the tax burden on the rich. But you consider the fact that most taxes are paid by the rich and the middle class. Also consider the fact that the more money the rich have, the more they will spend, invest, and give. That means a strong market/economy and a strong economy. We can not burden them to much or there will be no point in making large amounts of money, just as if we burden employers and employees too much there will be no point in running a business or working. For example, I know a lady who will not work because it would put her husband and her in a higher tax bracket so it would improve their over all well being by very little and thus not make it worth her while to work. If we burden employers too much they will leave to other countries where they will not be taxed. Higher taxes in general mean a slower and less strong economy.

And that is why Reaganomics was successful. And if anybody tells you it wasn't, they are telling you a lie. He deregulated and decreased taxes. This resulted in a higher medium family income, productivity rates increased, unemployment decreased, etc.

Finally, I have been studying the financial situation of many people. I come up to the same conclusion each time. If we did not pay so much in taxes, we would have much more income to put in our savings. My hubby and I can live off of his pay check after taxes. If we did not pay taxes, that would be thousands of dollars that would go directly into our savings. Virginia is a taxoholic state so between it and the federal government, way too much money is taking out. You add to that the cost of housing and the down payment needed, and financies become more than stressful, almost impossible. How are young couples suppose to save up enough money to make a wise fanancial move when buying a house, and to not go into deep dept when their money is dissapearing at high rates each month? If we could save up more each month, that would decrease the time we have to wait to buy the house. That would mean that our money would enter the system much sooner because we could purchase much sooner and we would be much more financially stable. Financially stable people means purchasing power. Purchasing power means strong economy. Sure the government needs money but what good is it if the economy is trashed because nobody has money to move around.

I do not believe that all taxes are bad but what I am saying is that this United States of America's tax system is out of control and needs major adjusments. So instead of wishing you a happy tax day I think I'll tell you how sorry I am that you are being robbed of your money every day of every year and how sorry I am that such a financial burden is being placed on you. And perhaps one day this country will realize that the tax system really does need to change.

(It is time for bed. So sorry if I made any major mistakes because I will not be editing this post).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

This Video Is Making The Rounds. I Am Just Speeding It Along.

Random Thoughts Thursday

Would flying cars really be cool? My husband claims they are totally possible but companies and corporations spend too much money trying to better the cars we already have so no money is put to further developing flying cars. I haven't decided whether I believe him (and this article) or not. Eitherway, I told him everybody could use a flying car and deal with air traffic and I will be the only car still using the road. I can't even begin to imagine how they would teach people to fly, nor how people would let out their air rage (road rage sounds so much better). Your thoughts??

I am secretly, or not so secretly, really excited for 24 to end even though I have a soft stop for this show. My excitment comes from the following reasons:

- I hate living what feels like half of each year of my life around this show.
- Many shows run too long and by the time they go off air they are not good anymore (like the Office...sorry Office fans but when is it going to end?). 24 has been struggling a bit and I think it is a good time for it to end, especially if they want to ever do a movie.
-There is no way this show is healthy for me. All I do is yell "torture her," "I hope Bower kills her before this season ends," or "DIEEE WOMAN DIE."
- The acting is not getting any better. If you can figure out what character causes my yelling and hateful comments, you will know who I think is this seasons worst actress.
- If I watch one more plot on 24 about an atomic bomb or any other sort of weapon of mass destruction, I might cry.
-I am beginning to think all Russians and Muslims are evil and that all politicians have some sort of secret agenda.

But I am sure when I am forced to watch reruns with my husband as he goes through 24 withdrawals I will regret ever wishing it would end.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Weekend

A short hike. Somehow I managed to attrack 3 ticks on this walk. I wonder how many ticks I can get by the end of the summer?


Cherry blossoms.

My cute nephew making faces at Easter dinner.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I've Been Fooled Twice Already And The Day Aint Over Yet

Yesterday I asked my husband if he thought he was loosing weight. He said yes. Then we went to the gym. Then later as we were going to bed he was like "Honey....I weighed myself at the gym and I actually gained 10 pounds." I was in shock and didn't know what to say. First, because we have been working on eating healthier and secondly, because he sure didn't look like he had gained weight. Booohhh April fools.

Then tonight I get home and get on my computer. Before I left today the computer had restarted after having a bit of trouble doing it, mainly because I had so many programs open. Anyways, I get on my computer and nothing was working. I couldn't click on any of my icons or open anything. The clock even said 5:50 and it was past 8:00. So I restarted it, not knowing what else to do. But it still didn't work. I kept calling my husband but he didn't reply because he had his head phones on but after much frustration I got up and got him to come take a look. He proceeds to April fools me again. He had taken a picture of my screen at 5:50, put it as my background, and hid all my real icons. Maybe this is commonly done in geeky computer circles but it sure got me. The good news is that I found out I have all these settings on my computer that I didn't even know about.



But booooo April fools.