Archive for June, 2007

From Hope to Higher Ground is a review of Mike Huckabee’s career as Arkansas Governor and a sort of explanation of his positions on a various issues.  Published in 2007, this book is fairly current on political issues and prepared the way for Huckabee’s eventual presidential candidacy.

To be open and honest I will admit that I like Huckabee and would possibly select him as a potential President. Reading this book didn’t change that position.

I was perhaps a little disappointed with this book.  The subtitle is 12 STOPS to Restoring America’s Greatness, and that really caught my attention, because it isn’t as negative sounding or something like “My 12 Steps to Success.”  But I was disappointed in the content.  Besides the first and last chapters (maybe the last 2) the book really read more like a narrated resume, than a political manifesto.

Drawing on his 10 and a half years as Governor of Arkansas, he details his policy successes at that level.  Although he rarely draws them to experience at the national level.  If you are interested in an autobiographical book about Huckabee, this would be an excellent selection (although I’m doubtful that was his main intent).

Using From Hope to Higher Ground is a little bit of a play on words, since he is from Hope, AK, but he does make it quite clear that his HOPE is more of the religious kind.  This quote clarifies that (pg 34):

Hope motivates differently. More a slow burn than the explosion of fear, hope provides a sustained drive and determination for the long haul. It is the marathon instead of the sprint.  Hope is that deeply rooted conviction that even after a hundred failures at trying to ride a bike, it’s worth it to believe that the 101st attempt will be successful.

Overall Huckabee keeps a positive spin on politics and ends each chapter, and ultimately the book with a challenge to take action, to make a change.  Huckabee’s 12 STOPS are:

  1. STOP Being Cynical
  2. STOP Thinking Horizontally
  3. STOP Cheating our Children
  4. STOP the Culture of Chronic Disease
  5. STOP Abusing Our Planet
  6. STOP the Revenge-Based Criminal Justice System
  7. STOP Robbing the Taxpayers
  8. STOP the Heat and Turn On the Light for Hot Issues
  9. STOP the Loss of America’s Prestige at Home and Abroad
  10. STOP Moving the Landmarks of Liberty
  11. STOP the Loss of Good Jobs and the Erosion of Agriculture
  12. STOP Being a Selfish Citizen

Each chapter ends with a list of 12 actions to take around that topic.  Here is a list of 12 (one from each chapter):

  1. Don’t believe bad reports without documentation
  2. Tip waiters and waitresses generously
  3. Volunteer to help out in at least one school activity a year
  4. Eliminate processed sugar from your diet as much as possible, if not totally
  5. Walk or bike whenever you can
  6. If you know someone whose child has a drug problem, ask them to share their story as parents
  7. Volunteer in a campaign
  8. Read C. Everett Koop and Francis Schaeffer’s Whatever Happened to the Human Race
  9. Eat at International House of Pancakes (just kidding–wanted to make sure you were really reading the list!). [His words not mine]
  10. Monitor your children’s Internet activities
  11. Contribute to a scholarship for a student to attend college
  12. Call an old friend from high school to catch up.

If you are still reading this long book review here is a quote for all the blogosphere to really love!

It will require more than the shouting matches on the cable networks; more than clever monologues on talk radio; more than hours of phoned-in hysteria or blogs of emotional and irrational ravings from people with more time on their hands than information in their heads. (pg 177) (emphasis mine)

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My little sis graduated a few weeks ago from Ohio University’s acclaimed Scribbs College of Communications.
Congrads Meg!!!

Mom and Aunt Jan playing with their cameras and poor Grandpa!

AND TOBY MAC STOPPED BY!!!

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On a rare, cool and rainy day (one of the first in awhile), the Buzzards Roost was far from its normal hot misery! The weather conditions made this an excellent day for PRs and great races.  That is precisely what happened for me.  While I didn’t set a 10K PR, I did set one for the Buzzards Roost course in the countryside surrounding Arcadia.  I ran a 42:22 (6:50) with splits of 6:19, 6:25, 6:54, 7:08, 7:03, 7:07, 1:23. This got me 13th place overall and 1st in my age group (netting a $25 gift card).

The course is exceptionally flat, until about 3.5 miles then it has 3 or 4 moderate size hills, but at that point in a 10K they can be cruel.  The race finishes with a flat last mile.

A rare evening race, starting at 6:30pm, it is usually boiling hot, but the nicer weather made for a great event.  99 participants ran and walked helping raise money for Hamilton Heights Cross Country Team.  Race results are posted here.

Runner’s Forum is a sponsor of the event and gave away gift certificates as door/raffle prizes and for all age group winners.

Expertly organized by Evan Achenbach, I’ve not been disappointed with this race (this is my 3rd year).  Three water stops support the runners, and spectators can watch the runners at the start, 1 mile, and the finish area without moving! Turns were brightly marked with orange paint and finally, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department helps manage traffic at some of the busy intersections.

Cross-posted at Run Central IndianaTeam Cross Runs.

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How do epidemics spread?  What about fashion trends? How should you market an idea? How does any idea spread? According to Malcolm Gladwell, there are three rules:

  1. The Law of the Few
  2. The Stickiness Factor, and
  3. The Power of Context.

Gladwell has done his research on a wide range of topics from graffiti on a subway to HIV/AIDS epidemic, Paul Revere’s Ride to Blues Clues, Airwalk shoes to teenage smoking.  Despite all the research Gladwell has made this “biography of an idea” (pg 7) easy to read, using common language not anthropology jargon.

I’ve not read anyone who takes a complex idea such as epidemic theory and makes it simple to read and understand.  Using terms like Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen, he describes real people who have helped set trends or change the world.  Have you ever heard of William Dawes? I may have but definitely didn’t remember the name.  Did you know he was given the same task as Paul Revere, Revere was much more successful and more famous.  Revere was a Connector and the book explains why and the impact that had on the American Revolution.

The book is filled with many excellent quotes and lots of good information.  Here are a few that help describe the book better:

Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.  (pg 7)

But the world of the Tipping Point is a place where the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more than possibility.  It is — contrary to all our expectations — a certainty. (pgs 13-14)

The Law of the Few looked at the kinds of people who are critical in spreading information. The chapter on Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues looked at the question of Stickiness, suggesting that in order to be capable of sparking epidemics, ideas have to be memorable and move us to action. … the Power of Context … Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur. (pg 139)

I won’t say it is a must read, because some would find the overall topic boring or a waste of time.  But it is a good read if you are interested in learning about how ideas spread or are just generally curious about learning!

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Micah 6:10-16 (The Message)

10-16″Do you expect me to overlook obscene wealth
you’ve piled up by cheating and fraud?
Do you think I’ll tolerate shady deals
and shifty scheming?
I’m tired of the violent rich
bullying their way with bluffs and lies.
I’m fed up. Beginning now, you’re finished.
You’ll pay for your sins down to your last cent.
No matter how much you get, it will never be enough—
hollow stomachs, empty hearts.
No matter how hard you work, you’ll have nothing to show for it—
bankrupt lives, wasted souls.
You’ll plant grass
but never get a lawn.
You’ll make jelly
but never spread it on your bread.
You’ll press apples
but never drink the cider.
You have lived by the standards of your king, Omri,
the decadent lifestyle of the family of Ahab.
Because you’ve slavishly followed their fashions,
I’m forcing you into bankruptcy.
Your way of life will be laughed at, a tasteless joke.
Your lives will be derided as futile and fake.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

That is what I shared last night with about 2o middle/high school students at The Bridge Student Ministries weekly Club gathering. With the pastor in Canada for a week with a father/son outing I shared a little bit of my story with the kids. One thing I have been struck with over the past few weeks/months is a reminder of the importance of transperancy and a willingness to share. Let me say that by transperancy, I mean a willingness to be vulnerable about your life story and experiences. Many of our kids are experincing hurt, heartache, and pain daily in their lives, so sharing some of my own hurt and struggles throughout life is important. However, the overarching theme was HOPE. We have such a great HOPE in Jesus Christ. Below is an exact copy of the outline I used.

PRAYER

ONCE UPON A TIME… HOPE

J/K this is a story about me, my life and who I am. If you were at church Sunday you heard about the importance of taking off the mask. I actually approached Gabe a few weeks ago to share with you about my life. I know many of you struggle with issues that you don’t want anyone to know about. You are tough and can handle it alone. So I share, not for your sympathy or compassion, but so you can see that we all struggle and hopefully you’ll see the hope. That’s what I want to convey, HOPE.

DIVORCE

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16-18So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

CROSIER FIRE/SALVATION

Psalm 34:15-22

15 God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan. 16 God won’t put up with rebels; he’ll cull them from the pack. 17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. 18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. 19 Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time. 20 He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken. 21 The wicked commit slow suicide; they waste their lives hating the good. 22 God pays for each slave’s freedom; no one who runs to him loses out.

STRUGGLE OF PERFECTION

Matthew 11:28-30

28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

COLLEGE/AFRICA

James 1:2-4

2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way

UNEMPLOYMENT

Proverbs 16:1-9

1 Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word. 2 Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; God probes for what is good. 3 Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place. 4 God made everything with a place and purpose; even the wicked are included—but for judgment. 5 God can’t stomach arrogance or pretense; believe me, he’ll put those upstarts in their place. 6 Guilt is banished through love and truth; Fear-of-God deflects evil. 7 When God approves of your life, even your enemies will end up shaking your hand. 8 Far better to be right and poor than to be wrong and rich. 9 We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.

Third Day Cry Out to Jesus

When you are lonely And it feels like the whole world is falling on you just reach out, just cry out to Jesus Cry to Jesus

Psalm 27

1 Light, space, zest— that’s God! So, with him on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing. 2 When vandal hordes ride down ready to eat me alive, Those bullies and toughs fall flat on their faces. 3 When besieged, I’m calm as a baby. When all hell breaks loose, I’m collected and cool. 4 I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet.
5 That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic. 6 God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down. I’m headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof! Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to God. 7-9 Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs: “Be good to me! Answer me!” When my heart whispered, “Seek God,” my whole being replied, “I’m seeking him!” Don’t hide from me now! 9-10 You’ve always been right there for me; don’t turn your back on me now. Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me; you’ve always kept the door open. My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in. 11-12 Point me down your highway, God; direct me along a well-lighted street; show my enemies whose side you’re on. Don’t throw me to the dogs, those liars who are out to get me, filling the air with their threats. 13-14 I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God.

PRAYER

As you may know I’m looking for employment or as I like to say “I’m in transition”. As a result of this I’ve taken to clicking on the “jobs”, “careers”, or “employment” links on random websites just to see what is there. Unfortunately, my MSW won’t help get on at these two places with excellent (excessive?) benefits.

Facebook advertises these benefits before you can even get a chance to see their postings:
Facebook rewards its engineers with great salaries and options packages, plus numerous benefits and perks:

  • Medical, dental and vision plans with no premium for employees
  • 401(k) plan
  • 21 vacation days per year, plus 8 company holidays and 2 floating holidays
  • Complimentary catered breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
  • Complimentary beverages and snacks
  • Dry cleaning and laundry service onsite
  • Free downtown parking permit
  • Subsidized gym membership
  • Catered Friday Happy Hours at the office
  • $600/month housing subsidy if you live within one mile of the office
  • Standard-issue 24″ LCD monitors and your option of 15″ Apple MacBook Pro or IBM ThinkPad
  • Worldwide notoriety by having your face on sample Facebook Flyers

Google is pretty close:
Benefits . . . Beyond the Basics*

Tuition Reimbursement
We’ll help you pursue further education that’s relevant to what you do. You must receive grades of “B” or better. Why a “B” or better? Because we said so. Tuition reimbursement is$8000 per calendar year.
Employee Referral Program
Good people know other good people. Our best employees have been hired through referrals .Google encourages you to recommend candidates for opportunities here and will award you a$2000 bonus if your referral accepts our offer and remains employed for at least 60 days.
Back-Up Child Care
As a California employee, when your regularly scheduled child care falls through Google will provide you with 5 free days of child care per year through Children’s Creative Learning Center (CCLC). 13 Bay Area locations serving ages 6 weeks – 12 years.
Google Child Care Center
Located just five minutes from the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, the Google Child Care Center (Kinderplex) provides full and part time child care for children ages 12 weeks through 6 years. The center offers a high-quality, developmentally appropriate curriculum with low teacher/child ratios. The center is set up to meet and in some cases exceed the accreditation standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – a highly regarded child development organization.
Gift Matching Program
Google matches contributions of up to $3000 per year from eligible employees to non-profit organizations. Bolstering employee contributions to worthy causes with matching gifts doesn’t’just mean helping hundreds of organizations, both locally and globally; it’s also a tangible expression. We want Googlers to get involved – and the company is right behind you.
Adoption Assistance
Google assists our employees by offering financial assistance in the adoption of a child. We’ll reimburse you up to $5000 to use towards legal expenses, adoption agencies or other adoption professional fees. Parental leave and take-out benefit also apply. See Time Away.
Benefits . . . WAY Beyond the Basics*
Food
Hungry? Check out our free lunch and dinner – our gourmet chefs create a wide variety of healthy and delicious meals every day. Got the munchies? Google also offers snacks to help satisfy you in between meals.
On-site Doctor
At Google headquarters in Mountain View, California you have the convenience of seeing a doctor on-site.
Shuttle Service
Google is pleased to provide its Mountain View employees with free shuttles to several San Francisco, East Bay and South Bay locations.
Financial Planning Classes
Google provides objective and conflict-free financial education classes. The courses are comprehensive and cover a variety of financial topics.
Other On-Site Services
At Google headquarters in Mountain View, there’s on-site oil change, car wash, dry cleaning, massage therapy, gym, hair stylist, fitness classes and bike repair.
Other Great Benefits
Ski trip, company movie day, summer picnic, Halloween & holiday party, health fair, quarterly group offsites, credit union, sauna, roller hockey, outdoor volleyball court, discounts for products and local attractions.

Can you believe that craziness?? I’m definintly in the wrong field.