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New Car Purchase Review

26 Nov

New Car Purchase Review

I took my wife shopping for her christmas present this weekend.  This is my review of the experience.

The Pronunciation Poem

15 Oct

I have been using StumbleUpon quite a lot recently and I usually come across a lot of neat things.  This one particular thing I had to share.  The English language is a complex enigma wrapped in a riddle concealed in a mystery.  Words don’t look or sound anything like they should.  This is kind of an illustration of that dealing pronunciation.  Check it out.

I take it you already know
of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
on hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
Well done!  And now you wish, perhaps,
to learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
that looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead -- it's said like bed not bead --
and for goodness' sake don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)

A moth is not the moth in mother,
nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose --
just look them up -- and goose and choose,
and cork and work and card and ward,
and font and front and word and sword,
and do and go and thwart and cart --
come, come I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language?  Man alive.
I'd mastered it when I was five.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2EfRPL/www.infiltec.com/j-prono.htm/

The way things have always been

8 Oct

First off, I want to blame my extended hiatus since my last post on I’ve getting busy and I’d like to apologize for it. I got some inspiration today after a convergence of several things made me want to write again. First off, I have been trying to strike back up my relationship with Jesus Christ. For the longest time I feel like I have been far from Him. Through so much of my adult life, I have kind of just been putting Jesus in the acquaintance circle of my google plus life. It was like I spoke with him on occasion during major events and sometimes I would even stop long enough to try and catch up but me being kind of cold and closed off just kept Him at arms length and sort of shallow. My wife and I had been surviving through our marriage without a strong faith base. That was 100% my fault. God tasked men with being the spiritual leader in their households. If that role was part of my career, I should have been fired within the first month if not sooner. After extended late night conversations with my wife and one of my best friends/the worship leader at my church it came up that my wife had never experienced a true relationship with Jesus. Talk about my shock, surprise and guilt. I felt like the biggest failure on earth. The person I have been married to for over a year and who I am supposed to the closest and most intimate with revealed to me this close personal matter that if I had been doing my job I would have been able to discover and help her with from day 1. I felt like the biggest failure ever. That aside, a weight was lifted as I started watching my wife finally give over to Christ parts of her life that she’s been holding back for years. It was definitely an exciting and motivating experience. At that point I decided that I had to get back to Him. So I started back on a daily “quiet time” and started trying to get back that fire I once experienced. Now that my motivation behind this post is out of the way, let me start on the real idea behind this thing. I was reading in preparation for the small group bible study that I lead today and the story happened to be one I have heard so many times. I feel like I have heard sermon and talk after sermon and talk on The Samaritan Woman at the Well. Today it struck a different chord with me for some reason. Specifically the part after Jesus points out her flaws, she recognizes he’s a profit and then asks him about the ongoing issues between the Jews and the Samaritans. His response is as follows (NIV): “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:19-24 NIV) A while back, my worship leader brought up some scripture regarding the Jews and Samaritans and then explained the history behind it that I never knew. He said the real conflict behind the two people groups was Worship styles. I thought to myself, “this coming from the worship leader, I have a feeling I know where this is going.” In fact, that’s not really where he went at all. He said that the Jews worshipped God by keeping his commandments and learning the truths in the temple in Jerusalem. They were very methodical and by the book. They were wheat you would call in today’s church vernacular “traditional” in their style of worship. They would bring their sacrifices to the temple for atonement from their sins. They believed their way was the right way and the only way. The Samaritans on the other hand were a bit out there by the Jewish standards. Jesus even said “You Samaritans worship what you do not know”. They supposedly worshipped at a mountain where they thought the temple was instructed to be built for God. They were a mixed race with some strange theology and worshipped through Spirit. In today’s terms, they would have been the people who are looked at funny in the traditional churches of today for raising their hands, closing their eyes, maybe even speaking in tongues and really getting in tune with the spirit. Some people are freaked out by this. I used to be one of those people(freaked out by that). I grew up in a church where you couldn’t play loud music because Sundays were a day of rest and you didn’t want to wake God. It was a mentality resistant to change and stuck in the past. I conformed for the longest time until I left my small town upbringing for college and discovered worshipping through the spirit. It was awe inspiring the very first time. I was in a room surrounded by strangers but felt a deep connection to each and every one of them. I felt God’s presence as I belted out songs I had never heard before. Then the word was brought by the pastor and it felt like he was talking directly about my life. I was hooked. I turned away from my daily bible study and scripture memorization I grew up with and exchanged it for this Sunday morning once a week with the holy spirit. I was being fed like I never had before. Soon though, I began to lose all of that and didn’t know why. Looking back on all of that it hit me. I grew up worshipping what I did know and ventured into a land of worshipping that which I did not know. I went from the strict traditions and truth like the Jews and retreated into the land of spirit led worship of the unknown like the Samaritans. Neither is wrong but then again today I learned that neither is complete. Jesus spoke of a time when we would worship in spirit and in truth. That verse never really said anything to me until today. The feeling that the holy spirit provides on Sunday mornings comes from the overflow of the soul filled with truth throughout the week. It’s that easy and that complicated. Alone, each has it’s flaws. Together it is authentic worship with mind, body and spirit of the Creator of the Universe. It means that the hymn singing choir in full formal robes can stand on the same stage as the electric guitarist wearing a black button down, blue jeans and tennis shoes and the God of All things looks down upon both with favor. It means that not only is worship contained on Sunday mornings, but it extends into that personal relationship with His Son. It means that Worship is NOT song selection or instrumentation. It means that worship is our connection to the Lord of All and is a direct reflection of the condition of our hearts and our relationship with his son. It’s just kind of freeing to think about for me. God will use my talents to honor him regardless of if I get a chance to solo or add some fills in to sound like Hillsong as long as my heart remains in pursuit of him. Sorry for the diarrhea of the mind poured onto the page. I’ll try to be more to the point next time. Grace and Peace Out :)

The Anatomy Of An Ad Agency

1 Oct

So four years of working my tail end off to get a $30k+ piece of paper that says I have a Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited university and I still haven’t been able to use anything I learned. This economy is so sad. Anyways, all that being said, I have never had the opportunity to work for an ad agency. In school we always talked about what it would be like working with the creatives as an account manager. Then I check out Mad Men on AMC and it made me long for that sweet stress of impending deadlines surrounding the sale of ideas to clients. When trying to explain what I could do with my degree to my parents, I always get a reaction like “there are really people who do that?” BFG down here in Bluffton, SC (basically my back yard) posted this info-graphic this morning from Big Orange Slide. From what I remember in school just dealing with these specific people on projects, its the most accurate portrayal of an agency that I have seen. Check it out!

The Anatomy Of An Ad Agency

Lose/Lose Situation

24 Sep
While hanging around the office a day ago, a coworker and I began a discussion.  It started out as small talk but really went deep into the way things are these days.  One of the topics we talked about, brought way out into a broad generalization, is that people have a need to connect and do good things for others.  In this way someone who has a large amount to be thankful for reaches out to others to share that goodness.  This is why we have charities.
People will always express this in different ways.  Some have no desire to take away from their own personal time and will want to contribute monetarily.  A monetary contribution to a cause or fund does not necessarily mean that the person wants to do it to benefit others.  Many times the monetary contribution is still for personal gain (i.e. tax write-offs).  The people who genuinely give to help others are the ones who truly make a difference for that cause or for the beneficiary’s life.
The other side of the coin involves those people who want to take part in making that change.  These people are true cavaliers in bringing about change.  Whether it’s a doctor who dedicates his medical career to research to find a cure for a disease or a successful businessperson who works hard to put together fund raisers to aid a local charity.  These people are the ones who allow society to advance.  Their hard work is the catalyst by which others may live happy and prosperous lives.
By nature of the beast, a recession is a time when people are less likely to spend money.  This applies everywhere in the food chain from people who choose to shop at discount or big box stores rather than brand name stores to companies looking to lay people off in order to meet year end budget goals.  Nobody wants to spend any extra money.  Where am I going with this you ask?  Those at the top of the line to me seem to be the ones inhibiting change.  When a company cuts back on its workforce it causes the unemployment rate to go up.  The higher the unemployment rate the larger the tax burden that is placed on those who are still employed.  The employees are now not only under the stress of losing their jobs but also have less money to spend on living expenses.
Yes, there is a point to my rant.  Those employees, the people in the middle who have the time to give to make a difference in others lives, when faced with financial trouble no longer have the ability or the will to give back.  If I work every day until I have nothing left to give in order to make ends meet, how can I give back?
A few of the items on my bucket list include coaching a young soccer team, using my public relations and advertising skills to help out a non-profit, and doing something out of the ordinary to make a positive impact on the life of others.  The last one is very broad but it will change when I find out exactly what I can do.  The question still remains, if the economy continues this way and wages stay the same how will people like me ever be able to bring about societal change.  Grand change, a staple promised by a certain current administration, can not be brought about in a large corporate manner.  That kind of change fizzles out fast.  Lasting change is brought about by a small group of individuals dedicated to a task at hand and willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.  Whether it was the small group of men that wrote the documents that started our government and gave us our independence from Britain or the two people that witnessed a tragedy and began Amnesty International, change on a grand scheme begins with passion, ideas, and persistence from a few driven people.
With the world the way it is now, what can be done to allow those individuals (like myself) the opportunity to make a difference and bring about positive lasting change?
Just something to ponder on…..

The Lost Generation of Employees

17 Sep

I truly feel for the current and coming generation of brilliant young minds graduating from colleges and universities all over the US.  If any of them are in my situation, they have a mighty challenge ahead.

Growing up I was always told that the track to a good life was the following:
1. Graduate from High School and get into a reputable college
2. Pick a major/career path that you are passionate about
3. Work hard and graduate from said college
4. Find a job in that career path…

College graduates will have spent four years of their lives gaining life experience, an education, and generally about $30,000 to prepare themselves for a bright future.  The only problem is that irresponsible adults have come in and messed up the world in which we are about to enter.  The financial crisis has put a strain on lending and caused any scholarships that were available to dry up sending those of us trying to finish our education further into debt.  Those of us that have graduated are placed under stricter repayment guidelines with little to no mercy on our student loans.  It sets us up for a one shot plan.  For those of us able to enter the job market and find a decent salary in a stable job are able to survive, but one minor slip up or one layoff causes us to fail immediately.

I recall sitting in a class during my freshman year hearing a professor tell me some words of encouragement. “You guys have no idea how lucky you are.  The economy as it is continues to improve.  There are more jobs available now than there ever have been before.  Employers are looking for college graduates and older employees are leaving the workforce to enter retirement.  You guys are set up for a bright future”  Those words stuck with me until about the middle of my junior year when the housing market began to flop.  It was then I realized the magnitude of struggle I was about to enter into.

As a graduate of the class of 2009, I was entitled to an unstable economy with little to no job openings.  I was being given the opportunity to take part in the workforce where workers reaching retirement were afraid to retire.  All this because the social security system that had been paid into for so many years was disappearing due to people living longer lives.  I guess advances in health care aren’t always a good thing.  People staying in their jobs meant no openings for the inexperienced.  The job cycle that had been running smoothly for decades had come to a screeching halt.  My graduating class with bachelor degrees and hopes held high were forced to take positions at minimum wage or less for part time hours and no benefits all with a mountain of debt on our back and no hope for advancement.  Those of us that had enough money were able to stay in school to try and ride it out, but everyone else was out of luck.

One of the best metaphors I’ve ever heard that works for this situation talks about flight school.  We grew up with our parents telling us that they believed we could fly.  We went to our grade schools and high schools to learn the basics of physics, aerodynamics, and flight.  We were then sent to an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean to learn how to fly our specific aircraft that we chose to carry us throughout the rest of our days in the air.  Upon our graduation from flight school, we were instructed to hop in our respective planes and fly off into the world.  We were all nervous as we approached the end of the flight deck.  Our wheels cleared the edge of the ship and suddenly the plane began to drop rapidly towards the ocean.  Everything in the plane seemed to be fine and we couldn’t understand why we continued to fall.  As we continued to plummet towards the ocean, our minds ran over what we had learned in school.  Flaps, check.  Fuel, check.  Throttle, check.  The only thing that was missing from the equation was the air around us that had disappeared in an instant and suddenly the entire squadron fell into the ocean.  It was a loss that just seemed to be looked past by the rest of the world.  Although they were struggling to stay up, as long as they continued flying it was all that mattered.

Yes it seems completely negative but I have seen it happen so quickly.  I was the first one out of my class to find a job straight out of college.  It was terrible hours and nowhere near what I graduated with but it was a job.  After 1 month, the company was starting to feel the pressures of the economy and because I was the last one in I was definitely the first to go.  Three job losses later, I am looking for a part time position just so I can continue paying the bills.  I couldn’t have made it as far as I have without two supportive families that have taken care of me every step of the way.  Others who haven’t had that luxury may be in worse situations.

Today I started laughing after thinking to myself that I spent four years of my life and over $30,000 to get a piece of paper that means nothing now.  I am actually considering going to a technical school to learn a trade just so I can find a job that will help me survive.  It’s ridiculous to think that people are actually dealing with this.  A BACHELORS DEGREE DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING ANYMORE!

I pray that those looking for jobs will find something to help them survive and that somehow the economy will change so that employers will actually want to help those in my generation.

Seth the Poet/Songwriter

10 Sep

The final installment of the Old Facebook Notes series.  This, as described below, is about a song I wrote in high school for my 2 member acoustic band that was formed to impress girls.  It was pretty good…

So a long while ago (high school/who knows where all this random HS stuff is coming from) i thought i could be a songwriter. I guess at that point i was just trying to impress girls. Some have probably even heard one of my first songs entitled “girl of my dreams” if you have been around me while playing guitar. Nonetheless, i started wanting to write something deeper. I wanted to write about something i was passionate about. This is by no means professional songwriting ability, but i will say i did a very good job. This was my only song to ever truly get published. Yes, thats right. Published. And not published like in a school newspaper or something. This thing got put in some book full of other kids poems that is now being kept in the library of congress or something like that. Anyways, comment and let me know what you think.

Unsatisfied

Verse 1

While in the dark why are we always wanting light

Why do we seek the shadows when everything’s so bright

Why cant we be satisfied with what He gives

Is it just society or is it the way we live

Verse 2

We get what we want and we devour what we take

But inside we all agree that the feeling is a fake

Reaching for that star thats just too high

Your life becomes a problem you wonder how you can get by

Chorus

Material things take up the brighter part of the day

Constantly workin for money never tryin to be in the way

If he came back now would you be left behind

With that sad sad day replaying in your mind

Verse 3

Do you just go daily and look up to the sky

You ask the Lord the eternal question why

Why am I here and what do I want to do

I bet you never ask the Lord what can I do for You

Chorus 2x

Bridge

Maybe if we tried to analyze our time

The world is gettin a dollar and He is gettin a dime

Chorus

Last 2 Lines of Chorus

Fade Out

Again, not the best, but pretty dagum good for high school, let me know what you think.

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