Wednesday, March 26, 2008

50/50 on my 2008 Predictions :)

I feel like I should turn into John McGaughlin or Bill O'Reilly now because 5 out of the 10 predictions I made have come true - and it's only March! :) This of course could be because they were pretty simple and obvious predictions...

The Five that have come True are...

1. The US Economy is in a recession - Energy prices and the credit crunch continue to spell doom, doom, DOOM on the NYSE and the housing market shows no signs of a recovery anytime soon. And as the dollar continues to drastically weaken and more and more companies are having to be bailed out by the Fed, the question is, where is the bottom, will the economy affect the election (of course), will Americans stop spending money they don't have (no), and will the globalization of the marketplace be the undoing of the affluence of America? I think there are a lot of hard times ahead and people are going to be caught unawares and wake up one morning and the way of life that they have become accustomed to will be gone - kind of like the Biblical famines of old when people were constantly put on the brink of destruction because of crop failures or locust plagues - we need a Joseph who will help us save and put away stores of crops to protect us against the coming famine.

2. The Giants will win the Super Bowl - Turns out they did win the Super Bowl and in the most dramatic of fashions - that was a game to be remembered for the ages.

3. The Bright color trend in clothing will continue - I think I was more than dead-on this one since every single magazine is splashed with pages and pages of bold colors.

4. Into the Wild won't win the Best Picture Oscar - and unfortunately it didn't. But I still think it was the best movie of the 2007 season. I haven't seen "No Country for Old Men", but I don't really want to see a movie about a ruthless serial killer relentlessly pursuing some guy who stole a bunch of drugs from a drug deal gone awry.

5. Signature WoodCrafters, Signature Companies' new consumer-direct business venture will be successful - Luckily, I was correct with this prediction, and thank goodness! To date we have generated great lead responses, which is incredible. Here's hoping that the next three months will bring just as many, if not more, lead responses for our business!

And here's another prediction for 2008 - I unfortunately will not win my company's March Madness pool - dang Duke, Georgetown, and Pittsburgh. Here's hoping that Davidson pulls off two more upsets and makes it into the Final Four - that would be awesome.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Couple Quotes

I love quotes (if you couldn't tell from my sidebar) and I've run into these few the past couple of days and love them and wanted to share them:

"What is the hardest task in the world? To Think." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better." ~ Sydney J. Harris

"I don't have an ego - I just love how awesome I am" ~ $0.99 Taco Bell commercial

And hooray, it is Lost night!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

A "Capitol" Weekend

This weekend was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time and was so encouraging and uplifting.

It all started with an email on Friday, when the Kennedy Center sent me an email stating that it had $20 orchestra seats available for its concert that night. After debating with myself all day, I decided to go ahead and go to the concert and enjoy an evening of classical music on my own instead of sitting at home in my dark house watching some movie or junk on television. I was so glad that I did make that decision, because the concert was sublime. There was a solo cellist performing a Prokofiev concerto, and I have never seen anyone play with that intensity and passion in my life. Prokofiev, being a Russian composer, rifles his works with drama and complexity anyway - the additional breadth of extraordinary musicianship was therefore remarkable. Absolutely incredible.

But I think what was even more incredible, was that after giving that performance, the cellist went on to perform in the next piece with the orchestra. Something about a soloist's willingness to sit within the back rows of the orchestra and play with them in the following piece, spoke to me of this man's humbleness and sheer love of playing beautiful music. It has something to do with the fact that this amazing musician became part of the bigger picture, the bigger sound - stepping outside of himself for the sake of the music - that really spoke to me. It kind of hits on the thing that I was blogging about last week - this feeling that I am supposed to be something more (thanks by the way to everyone for posting your thoughts - very insightful stuff and truthful stuff - I've been clinging to it). This musician is that "something more" but yet, for the sake of playing more music, takes a back seat in the back row, to play with the orchestra and let others shine.

Anyway, on Saturday, I returned to the city with a group of coworkers to sight-see and visit the museums. What a gorgeous day in the city! And it was a good thing too, seeing as we walked our little legs off around the city!! :) I somehow always manage to do that - walk a lot further than I intended, in the worst shoes possible for walking long distances. I also was kind of disappointed in the Natural History Museum - it was like a never-ending fifth-grade diorama scene or an ode to taxidermy - that the cool things that were there got lost in the midst of all the bad displays and bad arrangements of the amazing things that are there. But the beauty in just walking through the city afterwards made up for the cheesiness of the museum. It is also really awesome that there is so much you can do for free in DC (though they make up for the "free" admission by charging outrageous prices on food - the margin they must make on food must be incredible!!). I hope to make it back there soon.

Saturday, before heading into the city, I helped out at the Warrenton Food Bank at the Methodist Church. Apparently Young Life helps out with this every month, but this was my first time doing it. I also almost didn't go and sleep in instead, but a little voice (God) kept telling me to get up and go and work at this thing. I am glad that I did. It is good to be reminded of all the different people that live in Warrenton - that in our little, predominantly white, middle-class suburbia, utopian town, there are real people living in real poverty. Especially after reading the Glass Castle, I am thankful that I got to help people living in these conditions in a very, very, very small way. Most of my volunteer service work is in YL ministry, so it was very beneficial to participate in something outside of YL - as one of my friends said last night, the kingdom is way bigger than just Young Life, and participating in this helps remind me of that truth.

Yesterday was spent in driving around the country observing all the different signs of spring coming to life throughout the landscape. I really cannot wait till it comes! Golf, here I come!!

I also spent the other part of the day in Bracket analysis and research (bracketology) with my dad - I really, really want to win my company's pool this year. I came in third my first year, and then was knocked out last year, so I'm hoping for a much better showing this year. Any advice is much welcome and will be analyzed to the fullest :)! Company pools aside, I am really excited for March Madness - this is one of my absolute favorite times of the year - nothing beats a good college basketball game! Here's hoping some of my low seeds come through for me!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thoughts for a Thursday

There have been a lot of thoughts running through my head these past few days. But I always have problems articulating my thoughts, so I'm going to try to use this post today to sort through some of them.

*Praying in Color
I just finished reading this book (you can see a review of it, if you click on my goodreads link on the side) by Sybil Macbeth and it is wonderful. It has introduced a whole new prayer form to me - prayer in the form of art and in the process of creating a drawing. This really appeals to me because I love art and creating things and I also love the idea of praying in whatever we do. She even includes a chapter of how to "Pray in Color" on the computer. It just is a really, really neat idea and prayer form and I'm excited to really start practicing it. Sybil also a good friend of Phyllis Tickle's, who I know is greatly admired by a lot of my friends.

*The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
I finished reading this book on Tuesday night and it is an amazing memoir. But I think the thing that has stayed with me since reading it is the depth of love that Walls has in relating her story about her family. The things that she and her siblings endured because of her parents' choices and personal battles, could have embittered them and created a wellspring of hate, but that is never apparent in the rendition of the story. What is apparent is the love that Walls had for her siblings, her mother, and most of all, her father - because the events that Walls relates could not have been written without it. That love shouldn't have existed, but it did, and it is an amazing testament to the strength and bonds of familial love - in spite of everything - horrible, awful things that no one should have to endure.

*The Oppressiveness of Getting Older
I know I shouldn't let my age worry me. There are plenty of people who are older than I am, but I can't shake this feeling that I've been living with ever since I turned 26 that things should be different than they are. That my life should look a lot different than it does. Like, what am I doing living in my small, provincial town during my twenties? That I should be in a different job, having a more important title, more important duties and responsibilities, more this, more that. That I should look like I am successful and important and have accomplished all of these world-changing things that I look around and see other people my age doing. That there should be a PhD or MBA after my initials.

Where does this come from? It would be easy to blame my parents and the pressure I feel from them to always go that extra step. But I am the one that gives them that power - I can reject or internalize their words - that is my choice. Or I could blame it on the fact that I was named "Most Likely to Succeed" in High School. The fact is, this is a blatant lie that I am half-believing from Satan. But I am really struggling with trying to see past this lie and be content with the life that I have right now.

I was talking about this feeling the other night with one of my friends and she was relating to me that it doesn't really seem to matter what point or age in life you are in, this feeling that "I should be something else" is always there, lurking under the surface. It is something that we have to constantly fight against and know that our worth doesn't lie in what we do or don't do or haven't done. And I know this in my head - I really do - it just is hard to look past this lie right now and believe it in my heart.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I could write this morning about how stressed I am with all the things that seemingly keep piling up on my desk (quite literally) and how I don't know how to get through it all and how there is so much I want to do, but I forget that I want to do it, and etc, etc, etc - regrets, regrets, and complaints.

But I am not going to do that this morning because on my drive in to work, which is one of the saving graces of my job, I was reminded in so many ways that spring is just around the corner.

From seeing the daffodils starting to burst through the freezing coldness of a harsh winter ground, to the buds sprouting all over the barren trees, it was as if I could feel life beginning again. The start of Daylight Savings Time has given me a new hope, with all the promises of warm weather and beautiful vistas to grace my eyes. With the sun not setting till 7:00pmish last night, I was excited that my days are now longer and that the brightness and light and nourishment of the sun will around for a few hours when I leave the confines of my cube. I love that I can go to the driving range at night now and that baseball is just around the corner because that promises me more time outside, even though here in VA that can quickly mean hot, humid days of a long, long summer.

But today I will be excited that spring is almost here, that warm days are almost upon us, that life is being renewed and that the day of celebration of when life was restored to us is almost here. Winter to me is like a long, long Lent, in which the seemingly never-ending darkness and coldness must be endured with a hard-fought, and oft-tested, patience and forbearance. So I thank God that this time is almost over and that the renewal of life is about to begin once again.