Thursday, April 30, 2009


When I was at the Reston Used Book sale for set up last week, it occurred to me that Fire Marshals all over this country are probably struggling with how to set clearances for a population that keeps expanding its girth.  Our aisles between tables are strictly measured, but as soon as most customers bend over, the aisle is impassable.

Another one.  When I was listening to the radio this morning they interviewed a woman in PG County MD who was able to get mortgage counseling.  She said they had an adjustable ARM that was 13% on their second mortgage that they got because they put additions on their house.  She was able to get that changed to 6% by using the services of this counseling service. The idea of this being predatory lending makes me laugh...with pain. There are all kinds of mortgage calculators available that will tell you whether you can afford a loan.  You know how much income you have, how long you're likely to have it, and how much money you want to borrow.  Du-uh! We would love to put an addition on our house but we don't because we know we cannot afford to do so without incurring unconscionable debt!

These two thoughts are linked. We have lived in a state of excess in this country for far too long. Play today, pay...well, if you play your cards right, you'll never have to pay. Some sucker who worked hard for a good education, busts his butt at a job and makes responsible financial decisions for his own family will come along and pay. . . whether he wants to or not. If we choose not to, we need to leave this country and live somewhere else because the government is coming to get the money regardless.

I believe people should be responsible for the consequences of their choices -- from deciding how hard to study in school to deciding how many children they can afford to deciding what kind of debt to incur. I tell my children they can make whatever choices they want to in life as long as they are willing to live with the consequences -- and it is wrong to expect others to take your consequences! People know if they eat too much AND are sedentary, they will be obese which their health will be at risk. People know that if they are just getting by paying their first mortgage, they should certainly not take on a second and hope for the best.



Monday, April 27, 2009

Counter-culture Parenting

I love it that my kids' friends think they were deprived because they never watched Rug Rats. Do you know why they never watched it? Because we thought the cartoons were poorly drawn and the children on it were total jerks.  Who wants their kid modelling after that?

Then people think we're weird because we don't have TV coming into the house.  Sure, we have the actual appliance and we watch movies on it, but no, we don't get any of the prime time, cable or PBS shows. One lady at the gym told me they were missing some really good education on the History channel.  I told her they do something really radical -- they read books to learn about history.  More than one about whatever subject interests them.  It helps them fill in the details that can't be jammed into a 45 minute show. This photo is our daughter doing what she does best -- on a beautiful day outside, she's nose down reading.

We didn't set out to be counter-culture.  We just don't like the "values" promoted in the culture. We've watched what used to be 'way out there' become normal, so what is way out there now is TRULY obscene. Lying is the norm, truth in advertising is an oxymoron. Our non-Christian friends and family don't get it.

But some of our Christian friends worry that we're too permissive because we allow our children to go to public school and we allow them on Facebook and to play on the Wii. We allow them to play with Airsoft Guns and dream about serving their country in the military.  In public school they now choose daily whether to live their faith instead of having it 'thrust upon them.' So far, they're both standing firm (but we do welcome prayers for them!).

We are far from perfect parents, but with God's help, our parenting works for us and for our kids. They are joyful, funny kids. They like to be with us, but with their friends. They're secure enough to interact with the culture and confident enough to be goofy on camera (witness the picture above). If you've met our kids, and think they're obnoxious, let us know!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Starting Over

My earlier blog was so...ick. I can't even think of a word for it. I guess tiresome is the word I'm seeking. So, I'm going to try again with the resolve to only write if I have something to say. Or think I have something to say.

Today's observation is a thought I had at the gym the other day.

Wouldn't it be nice if life was like a VCR?  Just think of it: you exercise to the point where you are at your healthiest and look your best and then press the PAUSE button.  You start talking with a friend about how much fun you had back in grad school and together you push the REWIND so you can enjoy it again. I think I'd disable the FF button. I don't want to know what's in my future. There's already too much on the calendar for the summer!