Monday, June 23, 2008

I was cleaning my room when...

Last week I was going through my closet, cleaning out random junk and rearranging the good stuff so that it's now somewhat organized. If you're anything like me, when you go through your old piles, you find all sorts of things that were formally lost or forgotten, like the matching pants to my pajama-like suit I bought in Nigeria, or old high school science experiments, pictures, or notes to/from that crush you had way back when (No, I'm not sharing one of those). Well, in one of my folders I found a piece of paper with some words of advice I'd heard from a couple friends at camp a few years back... you know, those good inspiring phrases that you figured you should probably write down and then stash somewhere in vain hopes of finding it again. Well, I found it, and I've been thinking about these three things over the last couple days and thought I'd share them:
  1. Training vs. Trying: In a lot of areas of life we go about just trying to obtain something. We can put forth a ton of effort trying to reach a goal, make a relationship work, connect with God, or get good grades. These aren't bad things, but I think we often have the wrong attitude or an ineffective perspective. Instead of trying, I'm training, I'm growing and learning, and I know I'll make mistakes along the way. It's a broader look at things. So the question I asked myself today was, "What am I training for?"Instead of trying to get good grades, I'm training to be the best engineer I can be; instead of trying to reach God, I'm training to become more like Him. I'm training to be a husband - in wisdom, purity, and leadership. I'm training for after college - understanding my career interests, my passions, and my goals. What are you training for?
  2. Preparing vs. Planning: In our fast paced, instant American culture, we want everything planned ahead perfectly, whether it's figuring out every detail of our life, our business, or the next event that we're organizing. And sometimes it's like I'm living one big to-do list life. Having short and long term goals, to-do lists, or direction in life can be great and necessary things, and I don't think this advice means to be any less driven or motivated to aim high and work toward goals. However, I think there's a certain element of mystery and faith in our plans that's healthy, that keeps us flexible, not set in our ways, thinking outside the box, adventurous. Furthermore, I think we could afford to shift our focus more from planning out our life to preparing for life (developing our attitude, character, skills, etc), with the understanding that things may not always go as expected. The two are not mutually exclusive; you can plan and prepare, it's just that sometimes I need to step back from all the details, trust that things will work out, and live each moment as a way of being thankful for the present and preparing for the future. Check out the song "Faith My Eyes" by Caedmon's Call and Proverbs 16:9.
  3. Living Offensively vs. Defensively: To live defensively is to live with an attitude of "what if." It's dominated by the circumstances and by what other's do and think. To live offensively is to be motivated by love rather than fear (1 John). It's not held back by "what ifs," but decides through wisdom and trust in God.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ughh... politics.

Well, the big election is coming up pretty fast so I figured I should do some research on the top two: McCain and Obama. It's kinda surprising that this is my first real post because I really don't like politics. When I think of politics I'm reminded of a quote that my dad has in his office at work: "A committee takes hours to put into minutes what can be done in seconds." Especially after working with NASA last year I experienced first hand the craziness of bureaucracies and some of the politics involved.

Anyhow, I've posted my excel list comparing McCain and Obama side by side on the right side of this page under "The Sweet Spot" section. Just click on "Compare the Candidates." At the bottom of the spreadsheet I included my references, and anything in blue is my own comment. I only included the issues that were of real interest to me. They are not in any particular order, although there's definitely certain issues that I'm more concerned about than others on the list. Particularly, the environment and renewables (including reduction of foreign dependence) is high on my list. Also, our foreign policy: how we treat other countries and the global issues that we choose to address (like poverty and the Millennium Development Goals). Not only will this help diplomatic relations, but it fights terrorism peacefully, protects our country, and I believe it's just the right, sensible, and inexcusable thing to do. And yeah, I kinda left out health care cuz it's so confusing to me. If anyone can ever find an easy way to explain what's going on with that, let me know! haha.

The only other thing to note right now is that it was interesting going through the candidate's websites. A common complaint about Obama is that he is too vague about how to address the problems. But so far, I've found it to be the opposite; McCain's website describes a lot of promises and hopes, but lacks specifics, whereas Obama's website outlines his plans as well as his goals quite clearly.

Again, I'd love to hear feedback. Please fill in any blanks I'm missing on the spreadsheet or correct anything wrong or unclear. And comment what you think is important. I hope it all makes sense... I wrote it in note form, initially thinking I'd be the only one reading it. So if you're not sure what something means, ask me or google it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The beginning!!!

Hey Everyone! Thanks for checking out my new blog! I'm excited! I've been meaning to set up something like this for awhile now with the intent of sharing ideas, questions, insights, or just randomness and having other people reply with their thoughts. The point is not to be a journal, where I write and you read, but more of an thoughtful conversation, where we build on ideas and include various perspectives.

This means sharing your ideas is soo important! A lot of my posts may be about the Christian faith or at least come from a Christian perspective because it's what I believe and it affects how I approach matters. If you have a different religious background, still post your thoughts, please! Approaching a matter from different angles will give us a well rounded and thorough look at it. We'd probably learn less if everyone had the same view. Although, I will say that the point is to respectfully discuss thoughts, including different perspectives, not to get sidetracked by unnecessary/unrelated arguments about the perspectives themselves.

Oh, and if there are ways I can make the blog better over time (content or technical stuff, i.e. font size, color...) just let me know! Cool, and thanks!