Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dave's thoughts

Bogus came up with these and I thought I'd post them since they are pretty clever.

Dave's Definitions: Morning, is after I've slept for more than four hours. Lunch is the second meal of the day no matter the hour of consumption. A long drive is one longer then you have last slept. Ineffable, if you don't understand I couldn't possibly explain it.

Lorem ipsum!!!

Lorem ipsum vim ut utroque mandamus intellegebat, ut eam omittam ancillae sadipscing, per et eius soluta veritus.

This is a quote that has been into one's way and very difficult to put away.

Tom Smith Ford - Lies, Lies, Lies

I was a bit curious what my trade would be selling for so I did a quick search. Knowing my car in and out, I quickly found it. It is selling for $3,500 more then they gave me for it which is a nice little profit considering they cheated me out of $2,500 off our agreed price. For that story, check out this article.

Well, I looked to see how they were advertising it. The car had a lot of features so most of what they said was correct however there were several flat out lies. This doesn't look well for them since they claim to be an upstanding group of people. Minor things would be like saying it had a 3.6 L engine when it was really a 3.8 L. People who would care about that sort of thing would realize this was incorrect but an honest mistake. Their first mistake was claiming it was an automatic. A manual transmission is always less money then an automatic so one way to increase the asking price. Well, after that, I looked closer. They claimed it had a CD changer. Nope, wrong again. Some minor things are no rear mats, no traction control, no Auxiliary Power Outlet, no lockable glove box, and their claimed MPG rating was too high. All those things they claim to be on the car just so they get more hits thus generating more business.

My conclusion is that my first assessment was not incorrect. They are sleazy badgers who will do anything to make a buck... even honor Christ with their lips. Too bad they only talk the talk but fall short when walking the walk. There is a name in the Bible for this type of people. They are called wolves in sheep clothing.

Chick-fil-A BOGO aka keep your receipt day

I found out Chick-fil-A on Capital has a BOGO free promotion going on Friday Feb 8th. Evidently you keep your receipt from the 8th and when you show it to them some time in the future, they will give you what ever you ordered on that receipt. I might be doing all three meals there that day.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Krispy Kreme Challenge - The Results


The race was this weekend and it was a huge success. They capped the sign ups at 3,000 but they still had a full race. It was worth doing but I wouldn't suggest doing it unless you are well. I've been sick for over three weeks now so my body was not ready for running then sugar loading like that. To see more pictures from the race, go to Ashley's blog through the link on the right side of my page. To hear a first hand account of one who completed the challenge, go to Chad's Blog also at the right side of my page.

My Story - Part 1

I've written different versions of this but this particular one came just after perhaps the hardest point in my life to date. I began to seek God and only then was I able to open up my testimony this way.


How many of you have seen the first Lord of the Rings movie? Most people didn’t like this one because there is no resolution at the end. They go through two and a half hours of some hardest challenges Hollywood can put on screen with the technology we have now and they show the credits as they continue in the middle of another challenge. I look at this through a slightly different perspective though. As is often the case in life, Christians don’t know what challenges tomorrow brings but we know that God is in control and has our best interest in mind. Said another way, a Christian’s hope is in the Lord!

Hope, this was something I had when I was young. As a kid, I grew up in the church. My parents taught me from an early age that the mean things I did to my sister or when I lied to them was wrong and it was called sin. I understood that because of sin, we can not be with God when we die because the penalty for even one sin is eternal death in Hell but that Jesus died in our place. I asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins and be a part of my life.

Now I was a stubborn child and I have no idea why but I asked Jesus to leave me and my life. I probably was praying that I could stay up late and the parents said no. For whatever the reason, I immediately knew the gravity of what I had done. If Jesus left, I would not have a savior and would be condemned to Hell. I went to my mother crying, telling her all that had happened. It was then that I learned the first of the two most valuable lessons in my life. She explained that Jesus, who is God, would never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 & Joshua 1:5). I was then able to go to bed safe in the knowledge that Jesus was still there.

The second lesson I also learned as a child. I had a faith in God that would rival most pastors. I witnessed God’s answering my prayers, sometimes in very unexpected ways. My parents would spread grass seeds each year on our yard and each year, the birds would come. Full of imagination, I would picture myself with them hanging out and petting them like I could my dog. My first faith based prayer started like this. “Jesus, I like the birds. Can I hold one?” I sometimes would chase them but they were too fast for me to catch so I knew it would only be through God that it would happen. Well, after praying that prayer for a few weeks, I was with my father locking up the school gym and he called me inside. A bird had flown into the gym and could not figure out how to get out. This wasn’t just any bird, this was one of our grass seed birds and God had answered my prayer. I would love to share more examples like this of God answering prayer but in the long run, petting a bird, fixing a van, or even having a large turn out in my first college bible study (all of these are stories for another time) is pretty minor to anyone but me. I will say that based on those answered prayers, I knew God cared about me and He takes an active interest in our lives and that is a valuable thing to know. Let me jump to the present where God answered another prayer in an unexpected way.

One of the most often asked questions is why bad things happen to good people. That’s a question I cannot always answer but I can tell you that some of the bad things that happened to me were the things I needed most. I don’t know the exact turning point but I tried to take over my life and live it the way I thought I wanted it to go. I was sucked into a life I did not want by those decisions and I felt trapped. I was in a long term relationship with a woman that was not glorifying to God and was hindering my relationship with Jesus. I knew things were not right but I didn’t know where to go. All I could do was pray that God would draw me back to him some how. As I continued to pray, God began to work a change in my life and as I changed, that brought tension in my relationship with that woman. I was in love and I knew I did not have the strength to leave the relationship so God provided me an out. Last May, the worst thing I could imagine happened. She broke up with me and I was left with out a safety net or an excuse. I prayed again, even harder this time, that God would draw me to him and give me the peace and joy promised to all those who have been saved. It was at that final moment, I was able to write this story up to this point. I did not know at that time I would find a church with members who live the way I desired. I also did not know that I would make friends who I would be closer to and have much more in common then any I left behind when she left. I am able to live the life God has put in me to desire. A good and blessed life and it was all because my God refused to give up on me. I began seeking him but looking back, I can see how God was calling me the whole time.

My question to you is do you have hope in the Lord. Often we put our trust in ourselves, friends, or material things and those things let us down. Perhaps you feel like you are beyond hope. If you think you’ve left God or you are in too deep to change now, I encourage you to make a decision. If you decide that you want to have a relationship with God but don’t know how, pray that God would draw you to Him. That is one prayer, if seriously asked, He will always answer. Philippians 1:6 says "I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Krispy Kreme Challenge

For the official site, click here.

For those of you who are unaware, there is a unique race this weekend appropriately called the Krispy Kreme Challenge. The challenge came from a NCSU college student who bet a few of his friends that they could not run from the Bell Tower at State to the KK establishment two miles away, down a dozen donuts and run back. What started out as a dare has grown to a pretty large race with proceeds going to the NC Children's Hospital.

The number of participants this year is a whopping 2819 the day before the race. Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time so I signed up for it. My previous record of donuts eaten is 4 so this will be a stretch. I hope to have pictures from the event but if you will be there, please let's keep the hurling pictures to a minimum.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Raleigh Screening

The link to sign up for THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES is below
http://www.shakefire.com/screenings/thespiderwickchronicles.html

First time on Shakefire? You have to create a user in order to be eligible.
http://www.shakefire.com/boards/register.php?s=f0412e7345e1facc07c422f39b8e84d4

One of the questions is were you referred by anyone. My screen name is thirdconspiracy if you'd like to answer that question.

Jumper Raleigh Screening

The link to sign up for Jumper is below
http://www.shakefire.com/screenings/jumper.html

First time on Shakefire? You have to create a user in order to be eligible.
http://www.shakefire.com/boards/register.php?s=f0412e7345e1facc07c422f39b8e84d4

One of the questions is were you referred by anyone. My screen name is thirdconspiracy if you'd like to answer that question.

Cloverfield

**SPOILER ALERT**
I went to see the movie Cloverfield last weekend. I for one really enjoyed the movie. I tend to watch movies more then most people so it is always refreshing when you see a movie that surprises you. The plot was pretty predictable however the idea was fresh. They took a page out of the Blair Witch Project and did the hand camera thing. Before you write the movie off, let me say that despite purposely using amateur filming quirks on purpose, the cinematography really stood out for me. It was a monster movie but the story wasn't the monster like most Godzilla type movies. They tried that a few years ago and it just didn't work. You really got to know the people doing the filming and it felt like you were on their side as they made good and bad decisions through out the movie.

The entire movie was wrapped up in the first 15 seconds and the rest was just character development. Let me explain that. The movie opens with a statement that this camera was found at the site of the battle formally known as NYC Central Park. Basically you know several things from that.

  1. The City will be destroyed
  2. All characters filming will die
  3. There will be no resolution with the monster

Accepting that, you can with a heavy heart watch what these people would do as they spend what the come to accept as their last hour on this earth. I tend to rate a movie based on my emotional involvement in the movie. I also loved how they timed the clips from what was previously recorded on the film with the events. I could say much more but not with out killing the movie. This movie was great but more then that, I leave you with this thought.

If you had roughly the filming time of a hand camera left to spend on this earth, how would you spend it?

The Ladder Theory

This was a very humorous piece about guys and girls and attraction. Evidently we differ in how we assign how date worth some one is.

Read this and let me know if you think it is true or not.

Who would you hire, Smart Jerk or Dumb friend?

Read this first then let me know your comments.

The Five Love Languages

My sister began reading this book not too long ago. As she is a newly married woman, it can be a good idea to know how to express your love to the one you care about. I was curious what my languages were so I took an online survey to find out. I was somewhat surprised by the results. They are as follows:

1) Acts of Service
2) Physical Touch
3) Words of Affirmation
4) Gifts
5) Quality time

After thinking about it, I determined the deviation from what I thought was because I tend to show love differently then I receive it.

While acts of service remains high of both lists, physical touch would only be high when I show love. I would further break down the list like this.

Show
1) Acts of Service
2) Physical Touch
3) Gifts
3) Words of Affirmation
4) Quality time

Receive
1) Acts of Service
1) Words of Affirmation
2) Gifts
3) Physical Touch
4) Quality time

All of this really doesn't mean that much in the long run as it is important to show love in all areas but it is good to point out the area I need to work on the most is quality time. Maybe it's just a guy thing. You never hear a guy talk about the atmosphere of a restaurant they went on a date to. Then again, since service is apparently something I value, therefore if someone I care about needs to be taken to special places or to do special things, I can work on that as my act of service.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tom Smith Ford - Shady Business

A envelope came from Ford Motor Company yesterday asking about my experience with Tom Smith Ford. I thought the whole thing was past me but all of those distasteful memories were forced back up.

Let me start with the story. I bought a 2004 Ford Mustang back in 04. I bought it from Don Jenkins Ford in FV. When I considered trading my car in for an 08, I started to go there again. I had a pretty good deal worked out with Capital Ford and was going to use that as a starting point at Don Jenkins. Well, I was reminded by several people of Tom Smith's commercials about Jesus being the reason for the Christmas season. He has also on occasion spoken at my grandparent’s church so I figured I would go there. I value a man who has integrity and stands up for what he believes. I went there and despite the pushy atmosphere and badgering they gave me, I decided to work out a deal with them. The total price after tax tags and fees for the car was to be $14,373 (includes trade in and deposit). I agreed and asked them how much a month that would be. The told me and so at that point I shook his hand and said "you've got a deal."

Everything was good until I was switching my loan to my bank. I began to look for the total loan amount and did not find $14,373 anywhere. What they had done was extended the loan to 75 months so the monthly payments would remain the same but increased the total amount of the loan by OVER $2500 more then we agreed upon.

I could not believe a man who preaches Christianity and integrity would allow his company to do something like that. I called them back and they basically said I signed the paperwork therefore there wasn't much that could be done. At that point they said I was trying to pull something over on them and called me a dishonest person. Can you believe that? Even if they were right, one should never talk to the customer that way. Anyways, anyone who knows me that I enjoy a good deal but telling a lie to get something is not my character. Through out the entire experience I was insulted, belittled, called things and they refused to admit fault on their own. They ended taking off a small amount in the end with out admitting any "wrong" on their part but because they knew I was going to take them to court to have this settled.

What I've learned from the experience.
1) Tom Smith may be a nice guy but his business is as shady as a car dealership can get
2) Always work with old guys as they are less likely to bully and more likely to give you a better deal. Its called referral business and they know word of mouth travels far.
3) Always ask for something itemized and go over it carefully... even if you believe them to be an upstanding Christian. If you work something out while haggling, get it down on paper for leverage if they try to cheat you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Blog

What is the draw for people to want to write in blogs? I had one before but I nixed it because it served no purpose other then take up my time. After much deep though, I've come to the conclusion that a blog is good to keep you honest. If I make a new years resolution, I'm much more likely to keep it if it is posted for all to see.

So on to new years resolutions. I've found most resolutions fall into one of these categories.
  • Spiritual Life
  • Health
  • Work
  • Financial
  • Relationships
  • Fun
With so many to choose from, I can hardly narrow it down to one resolution so I began to make a list. At first my list had things like "Not miss a quiet time with God." The problem with that kind of resolution is you miss it once and that goal is toast. Considering that and knowing I am likely to fail at least once, I decided to change it to the following doable changes.

1) Be deliberate about spending daily time with God
2) Be deliberate to pray about every decision I have to make or anything else that could cause stress
3) Count my blessings often and thank God for them
4) Run a Marathon
5) Start working out
6) Eat healthier
7) Move up in positions or at least take a few interviews
8) Add $6,000 to my savings account by the end of the year
9) Pay off my car in 3 years
10) Pay off my house in 7-10 years
11) Be more open with friends
12) Visit my family more often
13) After May, find an interesting lady to ask out
14) Make at least one snowboarding trip to a decent mountain (at least Snowshoe or better)

So that's 14 resolutions. Seriously, who makes 14 resolutions? I'd say they're more like goals then just New Years resolutions and I've been working on them for a while. New Years just happens to be a good cut on time.

Now these goals are lofty I admit but they are not entirely impossible. I just need a plan of attack.

1) Pretty easy considering BSF requires a daily commitment
2) As I spend more time each day through BSF study or other, this becomes easier but as this next year should hold a lot of big changes, I hope to make this a permanent change.
3) When God says wait, its often hard to count your blessings but doing so will allow you to thank and praise God which is one purpose of Christians. When ever things seem down, I will attempt to make this list at least mentally and on paper if necessary.
4) I'll start with the half marathon this March and see where it goes from there. I ran 7 miles the other day and that about killed me so this may be a bit of a lofty goal.
5) I've got the free gym membership and my brother is a personal trainer so the only thing holding me back is me. I think I might start this in May since right now I'm working on adding distance and I don't need the extra weight to carry.
6) This isn't so easy because I don't have time to cook and eating out healthy isn't cheap or easy. I'll try to cook more and include better foods in my grocery list. I eat what I have so that's what I'll have to do.
7) This can be a nerve racking goal but can be important.
8) I've picked up a part time job that will at first go towards savings till I've added $6,000
9) Next, my part time job will go towards my car
10) Finally my savings will go into a money market that will eventually go as a lump sum towards my house. I won't do this monthly since I get a tax cut from the government
11) Something Thomas is encouraging me to do
12) Just make time to do it. We are all in Harnett or Wake County and get together for every birthday or any other celebration so I should be able to do this almost once a month.
13) To do this, I need to make sure I'm ready to date which means giving God my past interests so I can move on. Also I should become a man women would want to date by taking care of my self and my responsibilities.
14) I've got a trip to Snowshoe planned but if that doesn't work out, I'll probably try to catch one of those cheap skybus tickets and make a weekend out of it.

So there you go. If you do happen to read this at some point, ask me if I'm keeping my goals.