Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why Can't I Have Normal Dreams?

Another bizarre dream last night, still looking for a dreamologist to explain these things to me. Anyways, here's the recap.

I'm driving along in my car, following Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart in their NASCAR cars, apparently during a course. The ground is covered with a good four inches of snow, which makes me wonder 1) why am I driving during a NASCAR race and 2) why are they racing in snow.

Anyways, Jr. and Tony bump each other in front of me, and I just kind of pull over to a stop, rather than try to pass during the ensuing spin outs, not being an actual trained racecar driver or anything. At that point in time, Jr. jumps out of his car and then it catches on fire, for seemingly no reason at all. This prompts Tony Stewart to jump out of his car, pop his trunk (which, amazingly enough, works despite being a NASCAR) and grabs a fire extinguisher, and puts the fire out.

This leads to Tony and Jr. hugging before Tony's car does the same, and Jr. waves his hands through the smoke over his car to pop his trunk, and get his fire extinguisher out, and put the fire out on Tony's car. This leads to me being able to hear the race announcer (Keith Jackson) saying "the team won't like Jr. using his extinguisher to help out Tony Stewart". Not real sure why I could hear that, or why they'd be mad. But whatever.

Apparently at this point in time, I've gotten out of my car, too, perhaps out of fear that it, too, might catch fire for no real reason, though that never happens. I start to look around and notice that we're not really on a track, but rather on a rope bridge. I look down at the water, and it's a thick, dark, black water. Suddenly, I hear some eerie 1950's Sci-Fi music, and turn around, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon is coming at myself, Tony, and Jr.

And that's when I woke up.

I don't even watch NASCAR ...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Still Hate Jose Mesa

Nights like this make me regret being from Cleveland and being an avid sports fan.

(And I know this should probably go in the Sports blog, but it's all emotion, no analysis, so sue me)


I wasn't much of a reader when I was young. At least, not when I got beyond the "very young" stage. I blame Nintendo, mainly, to be honest. Once I had that to compete for my free time, along with living in a big town with three major professional sports teams and a minor league team in the other "big" sports league, reading books for pleasure never seemed to win out.

That's changed recently. I've begun reading for pleasure, spiritual enhancement, community enhancement, job enhancement, and a score of other reasons. I've recently read:

NUTS! is the story of the start of Southwest Airlines, and how they succeeded with unconventional means against stacked odds. Read it as a suggestion from an experienced salesman, as a newly hired commission salesman. Pretty good read. The Little Red Book of Selling is a must read for any new-to-the-job salesman, so I obviously read it for that reason. Running with the Giants is a book I heard about from the pastor at JZ's memorial service (during the service), and deals with leadership and encouragement from Old Testament "giants of faith". A very easy read, and one I'm probably going to do a STE book study on in the next year.

Currently, I'm reading: I Want to Be Left Behind. It's a very dry read, focusing on logic and detail throughout, while exploring the possibility (probability) that Jerry Jenkins and Tim LeHaye have misread prophesy. A very good read so far, but not an easy read. I'd recommend it to anyone wondering if modern scholars might be misinterpreting the return of the Messiah, in the way scholars of the day of Jesus misinterpreted what their Messiah would be.

I've got a pretty long queue list of things I'm waiting to read. I've got a hold in for Sex God the newest book by Rob Bell. Unfortunately, there are still seven people ahead of me on the library waiting list for it. How sad for me, no?

I'm also looking forward to getting my hands on No Perfect People Allowed. Unfortunately, it seems my library doesn't realize this book exists. So, I need to find it another way.

Of course, I'm also looking forward to doing some purely pleasure reading. I really want to read some of the newer Star Wars novels, like the new Legacy series, starting with Betrayal, and I'd also love to read Path of Destruction, a novel about Darth Bane.

And, of course ... I'm always looking for suggestions of books to read in any category I mentioned above, and any other category that could be worthwhile. Got any suggestions?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hidden Blessings

It's really easy to say "God knows what's best for me".

It's a decent bit tougher to live it.

About 18 months ago, when I realized that a career in academia via mathematics was not the life for me, I started to look for jobs. Like, serious looks. Putting out resum├ęs to company after company. A few jobs I thought I could do. A few jobs I knew I was qualified for. A bunch of jobs that would have paid the bills. A career job or two that I really thought I would have enjoyed and thought I was qualified for. I looked at jobs near by. In Findlay, in Ohio, in the Midwest, in the country.

Yet, none of them panned out.

And I doubted myself. I doubted my choices. I doubted a lot of things. I wondered what was wrong with me.

I finally found a job. With Aflac. It's still isn't at the point where I've got a steady paycheck. Rachel and I still struggle to find enough money to pay all the bills every month.

But I wouldn't trade my current situation for any of the jobs I applied for earlier. Definitely not the ones that would have moved me across the country. not for any salary. The friendships I've made are worth far more than any paycheck. If I get one of those jobs last summer and move to Iowa or Arizona or Montana or something like that ... Rachel and I never get involved in Five02/jOURney, which means we miss out on great friendships with awesome people like Ryan, Andrea, Reece, Trevor, Lori, Cathy, Jim, and so on and so forth. I probably never would have gotten as intimately involved with the fraternity as I am now; I probably would have never run for reelection. That means we wouldn't have the awesome friendships we've developed. We wouldn't have had the amazing fun we had this past weekend. We wouldn't have our upcoming trip(s).

I laughed when I was younger when people would insinuate that money couldn't buy happiness. I thought they were nuts. I figured you'd always be able to prioritize around work, and be able to have money and fun. And maybe you can. But I wouldn't be willing to risk it. I'm not trading my joy for anything.

And I do have faith. Faith that a career with Aflac is exactly where God wants me. Faith that it will work out. And that it will lead to Rachel and I having our dreams come true: owning a home, raising a family, traveling, having money to help others, etc.

But in the meantime? I'll gladly trade the uncertainty in my bank account for the character and friendships I've developed.

Thank you, God, for know what was best for me.