My daughter cracks me up. She was telling me today that she has a classmate whose mother is pregnant, and the family has been trying to come up with names. Well, she and her friends joined in the fun and promoted two names for consideration: Noah, if it’s a boy, and May Bea if it’s a girl. I know, those names are a bit unusual, and not the sort of thing seventh-grade girls usually recommend, but in this case, there was a specific reason: the classmate’s name is Yesa. I’m pulling for Noah myself.
Archive for April, 2011
I read somewhere recently that most rich people don’t feel rich right now. That conundrum fits a lot of people around here in Silicon Valley because while they make a fantastic salary, housing & gas are really expensive. I know people with six figure salaries who shop at Goodwill out of necessity. When you make that kind of money, shouldn’t you feel comfortable shopping at Macys or Nordstrom’s? I know I never have, but maybe that’s because I’m an engineer (and hence frugal) – things have to make sense to me, and paying too much for clothing makes no sense to me. I’m not that much into fashion, unless brightly colored Hawaiian shirts and shorts or jeans are considered the height of fashion (yes, admittedly rare, but when they do trend – I’ll look like a genius!).
So, are the clothes found at Goodwill mostly gathered from the deceased? Yes, but here’s the thing – they’re dead! They don’t need the clothes, I do, and the price is right. I’ll still look like every other engineer – even ones making a six figure salary – but I will have saved a few bucks.
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. – Walt Disney
People work hard in the US, and really, really hard where I am in Silicon Valley. They work too much! I’ve been there, and I’ve fought against it for many years, but the culture here really is “work is above all else.” Many people at my former job, me included, ate lunch while working, and consistently worked excessively long hours. The majority didn’t take vacation time either, but “donated” those hours back to their employer. How sad! Now that I’m not working, my inclination is to not work at all, but to rest and let God take care of me. This, of course, will only work for a short while. God doesn’t want me to be lazy either. Both extremes are wrong.
31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. 32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.
There are times when God wants us to rest and be alone. It is healthy to do so. God gave us the Sabbath so we can rest in Him, and it has the added benefit of recharging our own batteries as well, if we actually rest! A recent study has also concluded that multiple, two-week-plus vacations during the year, without any ties to work, are necessary to maintain a healthy mind. The Europeans have this one right: most get six weeks off per year (and have more holidays than we do in the US), and many will take the entire month of August off. In the US, most only get two weeks of vacation per year – and then they don’t take it!
Overwork, and lack of vacation will make us tired, but it will also makes us less stable. Our priorities will get out of whack! Wayne Muller writes this (and it sure resonates with me – until recently, I was there!): “Because we don’t rest, we lose our way. Poisoned by the belief that good things come only through unceasing determination and tireless effort… for want of rest our lives are in danger. There are two kinds of “tired.” The dissimilarity is like the difference between puffy spring rain clouds and those that precede a tornado. One is temporary and the other is a chronic inner fatigue that accumulates over months and doesn’t always manifest itself in physical exhaustion. In fact, it’s masked by frenetic activity and compulsive behavior: (a) you can’t relax over a meal or coffee. (b) You keep checking and rechecking your messages and emails. (c) Your nightstand’s piled high with periodicals designed to keep you “ahead of the game.” (d) Taking a day off seems impossible. (e) You don’t take breaks or vacations and you work every holiday. (f) You can’t sleep. (g) Any free time you have is spent in “escapist behavior” like eating, drinking, spending money, or watching TV.
But while you’re busy working hard and looking important, you can lose your ability to hear the voice of the One Who called you to the position initially. Sure God expects you to work hard, but not by endangering your health, your family or your time with Him.”
God wants us to work hard when working, but also to rest and enjoy life. There is a balance. He has also established the priorities we are to follow: God first, spouse second, all else third. Work is in that third category, not the first category. Get it right.
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
Thanks Matt Housel for writing “50 Fascinating Things I’ve Read Lately.” This article is a collection of Matt’s favorite recent quotes. Here are the ones that resonated with me:
“Today, of Americans officially designated as ‘poor,’ 99 percent have electricity, running water, flush toilets, and a refrigerator; 95 percent have a television, 88 percent a telephone, 71 percent a car and 70 percent air conditioning. Cornelius Vanderbilt had none of these.”
“If fertility drops much below 2.1 babies per woman, the population will shrink unless it is offset by higher immigration. For this reason, a demographic cloud hangs over China. It may be ‘the first country to grow old before it grows rich.’ … Its fertility rate is below two and its working-age population will start to decline around 2015.”
“Sudanese people live in unspeakable poverty, yet come to the U.S. and remark on how miserable Americans’ lives are. All we do is work. No time for family, friends, or social gatherings.”
–Adapted from the documentary God Grew Tired of Us
“In school they give you a question and ask you to find an answer. In the real world the answers are everywhere — the Internet, calculators, history books, reference manuals. The trick is asking the right questions.”
–Adapted from speech by Conrad Wolfram
“Small government is better than big government, but size is less important than quality. For example, Sweden’s government spends more than half of gross domestic product while Mexico’s spends only a quarter of its GDP. But Swedish government is efficient and honest while Mexico’s is inefficient and rife with corruption. That’s one reason Sweden is rich and Mexico is poor.”
“The fastest way to become rich is to socialize with the poor; the fastest way to become poor is to socialize with the rich.”
“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”
–John Kenneth Galbraith
“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”
Why do I always seem to finish my Adult Ed classes on the Saturday night before I teach the class on Sunday? I knew I was teaching this class two months ago, but then I waited until last Sunday to begin reading from my sources. I didn’t even start typing until this morning (it’s Saturday evening, by the way). I seem to recall that I used to do this with my college term papers as well, and yet, I never missed a deadline.
I am such a procrastinator! But I also appear to be one who can accurately judge exactly when to start, such that I finish just under the wire… so is that procrastination, or is it a fine example of the economics of time? Am I being efficient?
I can’t really answer that, but I can tell you that objects in my peripheral vision are moving right now, except they aren’t. Too much coffee and too little sleep have put me in some sort of a caffeinated stupor.
I hope, as I proof my work tomorrow morning, that it’s not absolute gibberish. I’m sort of hoping that the Holy Spirit stepped in while I was half asleep typing this and made my “class project” workable, if not downright cogent, despite my efforts.
I’ll let you know after tomorrow morning.