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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Plagiarizing is better

Since way back in middle school, I've realized that while I write okay, and have my own original thoughts, there is always someone who writes better and thinks more original than I do. So as often as I felt I could, without being detected by the plagiarizing radar, I would copy and write what others have already written. I'd change some words usually so that it was technically my idea, but in reality it wasn't. I'm not proud of this, but I dont' feel guilty either.

So this trend evolved another step yesterday when I preached Wednesday night service while our Senior Pastor is in Peru. I flat out plagiarized a sermon. I knew I was pressed for time and hadn't prepared well enough for a message, so a CD came my way with another pastor's message on a great topic. I spend a couple hours transcribing it, then making it my own (my own words, my own stories, etc)

Again, I'm not proud of it, but I don't feel guilty either. The saying "the good borrow, the great steal" kind of encouraged me it would be fine.
Funny - maybe sad - thing about it is everyone thouht it was so good to the point I felt they liked it better than what I normally give them. Maybe it's just my repressed guilt condemning me.

So what do you think? If you sat in church and heard a great message to later find out the pastor had plagiarized it off of another pastor would you feel cheated, disappointed, fine with it, could care less, or something else?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

weekly (week-n-a-half) poll

Well my weekly poll has become a week and a half poll. None the less here are the results.

Have you mowed the grass yet?
63% - yes
0% - no
38% don't have grass

Have you laid out yet?
38% - yes
68% - no

Have you played golf (or other outdoor activity)?
88% - yes
13% - no

Have you gone picnicing yet?
38% - yes
68% - no

Do you wish it was snowing?
13% - yes
88% - no

In summary
13% are stupid for wanting snow at all, much less in April.
the same 13% probably hasn't done anything outside yet.
I'm venturing a guess that if I'd asked "are you on prozac and considdered horribly depressed because you haven't seen the sun for over 6 months and your legs are as white as this" 13% would say yes.

Check out this 1/2 weeks poll - I promise to have new polls on Monday like normal.
The poll is about reunions. I'm going to my Fraternity's alumni weekend. Very excited. I get to see old friends and meet the new guys still there. When I started this fraternity 10 years ago, I never dreamed that it would become what it has today. But it's cool because I know it's going to become even better in the next 10 years.

The Tweel

Michelin tires, the same people who invented the radial tire are now introducing the Tweel. Some sort of sci-fi looking tire that doesn't need to inflate, yet has incredible shock absorbancy.
Will this finally end the stupid fad of 22 inch tires with a 21-1/2 inch rim that the center keeps spinning even when you've stopped your car? Uhh, probably not, but it's still pretty cool.

Read more here.

Thanks to my friend Norm Lofting for sending me the article.

Monday, April 25, 2005

House of D

I took some time this morning to peruse blogs like I'd peruse the classified ads (if I lived in a town where the paper actually came out in the morning) Anyway, I came across David Duchovny's blog. We've all heard about celebrity blogs, but I've never taken time to read one. But since Mr. Duchovny is still "Mulder" in my mind, and I miss new episodes of the X-Files, I thought I'd read.

He's promoting a new movie he's directing called House of D. After reading several postings and then watching the trailer, I can't wait to go see the movie when it comes here. It looks like Finding Forrester meets I am Sam.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I'm a Busy Bee

Wow - I feel totally busy, but yet somehow unmotivated. I think the overwhelming wave of work that keeps piling up is quickly killing my motivation.

So far I'm busy with preparing for our Saturday night service, which is starting in 5 weeks - Finish shooting and editing the mother daughter video for mom's day - beginning shooting and editing video testimony videos (4-6 of them) - hiring a new office person - meeting with builders to plan the construction on our church's new building - teaching a communication class for 9 more weeks - prepare for a meeting with the county hospital to propose partnership with our ministry and their programs.

That's just the stuff on my desk that I can see right now. In addition I have the things I've forgotten about or have sticky noted somewhere, the counseling appointments, the sermons to prepare while our pastor is in Peru on missions, the yard to mow and the oil leak on my motorcycle to fix (no it's not a Harley)

So what's up with you this week? Busy or easy week?

Monday, April 18, 2005


Tired of looking at this all day?

Me too I liked this idea better.

(Click the pic for larger image)

I've got Duke in the Flagellant Four, but Coach K doesn't have it anymore so I've got Danneels and Scola in the finals.

Thanks Dan Postma for the link.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Corrupt or Corrap

Back in November a vote took place here in Pleasantville that gave us the choice. Continue with higher property tax rates, or increase sales tax and decrease property tax. Normally, I'd say, who cares, they are going to get their money one way or the other, but since I own two houses here in town, I figure the lower property taxes was the way to go and I voted for the sales tax and it passed.

Then just this week I find out not only has my sales tax gone up, thanks to my vote, but the assessed value of the house we live in went up to. Up $6800! If I was selling tomorrow, hey that's great, but I'm not so it's not so great. Instead I now get to pay higher sales tax and higher property tax. Everyone on our block just got bumped up. $4900 to our left and $7000 across the street so we're not alone in this.

My thoughts??? Dump the tea in the harbor. Tell me this wasn't some sort of corrupt gig from the beginning. Hey - let's get them to raise sales tax and lower property taxes, but then we'll come back and raise property values across the board so everyone pays higher property taxes too. I'm starting to feel like my Andy of Mayberry life just turned to Dukes of Hazard and this is Boss Hog's latest attempt at getting the farm from the Dukes. If that's the case, at least I get to take Daisy upstairs to bed in my $6800 more expensive house tonight ;)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Kill the Rooster

It was a bitter sweet week as we ate chicken at least once a day, and sometimes twice, yet we never ate the chicken dish we wanted.

Next to our hotel was a little tin shack that contained a family, 4 chickens and one very annoying rooster. The first night we arrived to our hotel we were very tired from all the traveling. When we laid in bed we soon found ourselves listening to a rooster crow. At 2 in the morning... still crowing and finally at 5:30am... still crowing.

After a long night of not much sleep, we all staggered out of bed and out to the balcony overlooking the rooster. Each of us respectfully muttered something violent to the rooster as we went to breakfast where we realized no one slept well because of the stupid bird. - on a side note, is giving a bird the bird kind of strange???

Anyway, this went on every night we were there. Finally we came up with the idea of buying the bird off the family and cooking it for dinner that night. Eating it would surely bring us the satisfaction we never could get in bed. We never did and by the end of the week found that we would be better served by leaving the rooster alone and letting it pester the next group of missionaries arriving the following week which were coming down from the church I grew up in.

Funny thing is, it was the rooster that caused our group to perform well. We had a common enemy and were able to rally around this. It brought us together and solidified the team mentality.

We Formed in the van on the way to the airport.
We Stormed over the sound of the chicken.
We Normed by recognizing our common problems.
We Performed with or newly found team mentality.

Maybe I could consult fortune 500 companies on team dynamics. I'd call the program Killing the Rooster. - hey it's better than choking the chicken!

** interesting coincidence ** literally as I'm typing this, I just got a phone call from a trucking company that has an overstock in chicken in one of it's trucks. It is donating about 110lbs of chicken to our church. It's a good thing I'm not superstitious or I'd really be freaked out right now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

For Granted

In 3rd world countries such as Guatemala, there are obviously things that we as Americans take for granted. Some of the obvious are: running water, water safe to drink, electricity, gas/electric stoves, not having to ride a bus driven by a suicidal-kamikazi driver. But perhaps the one thing that really sticks in my mind is decent praise and worship at church.

On Thursday evening after laboring all day, we loaded up the van and drove out in to the country so I could preach at a little compo (country) church. It was about what I expected... until... until the music started.

The church was adobe, the floor cement. The stage was cinder block with cement poured in it and the windows broken out. The pastor steps up to the microphone and begins to greet everyone in Spanish mixed with his native dialect. My translator spoke only Spanish, so her translation was broken as well. He then had everyone read Psalm 133. They all read it aloud. Then the music starts. It drones on for 10 minutes as everyone sings the same Psalm we all just read. The music stops and the pastor's wife steps on stage and takes the mike and instructs to read another Psalm. The whole church (all 30 who speak spanish) read aloud the Psalm. Then the music starts... the same music. And everyone begins to sing the same Psalm just read to the same tune. This goes on for 10 minutes. Finally after 45 minutes of this ear wrenching drone, we were all hypnotized and they brainwashed us to help take over the world. No, not really, but I guess I can't be so sure.

Anyway, so help you get a full understanding of what an 8 year old playing drums on a toy store electric drum pad mixed with an out of tune guitar mixed with a casio keyboard like you can buy for $29.99 at any Radio Shack, mixed with a tone deaf singer sounds like, I captured about 10 seconds of the experience on video. Check it out here at your own risk. church.MOV

For full effect, just loop it for about half an hour.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Dr. Atkins Move Over

I'm back in the states. After a week of traveling over 4,000 miles round trip and experiencing all kinds of things which I'll take time to share over this week, I have made one conclusion.
Dr. Atkins and Southbeach, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and yes even Anna Nicole Smith of Trim Spa have absolutely nothing on spending a week working 8 hours a day building a school by hand.

Seriously. While in Guatemala I ate like a king. Eggs, toast, honey, cereal and fresh fruit for almost every breakfast. Tortillias, fruit and chicken for lunches. Spaghetti, chicken, fruit, vegetables, cookies, cake were usual for supper. Then don't forget snacks of some kind of high calorie fruit drink that was almost fruit puree in texture, or cream filled fried donuts, cookies, cake and other sweets too. It was always all you can eat and I always did.

After a week, I actually lost 7lbs. So, my theory is proven correct again. It's not the crazy fad diets that work best or the latest infomercial exercise system that is going to trim your body. Bottom line, it comes down to you have to burn more calories than you take in to loose fat.

So now I just have to figure out how to get out from behind my desk and get back to digging trenches for the foundation with a pick axe and a shovel or mixing 60 loads of cement per day by hand by loading 14 shovels of gravel, 12 of sand a 5 gallon bucket of water and 50lbs of cement.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Harder than it looks!

Fear has set in now.... will I receive nasty comments about "shannoning", what in the world do I write about....this is harder than it looks. I think if this were my own blog it would be easier, because I would write more about my family, the life of a mom, etc., but this is Matt's blog and unless he wants to show pictures of me in high school, you really don't know much about us.

Matt did call Tuesday night. He is having a great time. He is very tired, but I think that is a good thing. He preached on Monday morning for 4 hours and that went well, too. He said they voted and they all want him to stay and teach. SORRY!! He is married to me and I don't feel led to move to Guatemala any time soon. And he gets an award because he sent me a big basket of flowers yesterday. Anyway...

Blogs have been a great thing for my life. I get to know about my friends' lives and how they are without the old-fashioned way of communication. But is that a pathetic statement? Why is it I am so selfish that I don't want to take the time to call or even send an email to my friends, so we can stay in touch and remain friends. When I was growing up my parents had several sets of friends that they are still close with. They got together a lot when I was little and played cards and hung out. I look at society today and we aren't like that anymore. I am the first one to admit this. Friends are essential, and yet developing friendships is hard work and can be tiring. So I just want you all to know how much I love and appreciate you. Most of you who read this are dear to my heart. (that sounds bad, but I do know there are people who read this who I don't know at all) I miss so many of you, but do enjoy your blogs! So thank you! I promise a more interesting (maybe) blog tomorrow. Cheers to friends!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Money and Materialism

This month marks a great time in our financial lives. We pay off our van, which means no car payments!!We have 2 rental houses rented for the first time (we've had one for over a year). We just paid off our church building fund pledge 9 months early, which was about 10% of our monthly income. In other words, our monthly disposable income has increased dramatically. I am so excited!! But oddly enough, I am excited that our savings and investments will increase, not because we can now go buy a lot of new things. But it has made me think of my generation and those younger than me...

We live in a society where very few "young adults" have any sense of saving. Instead, it is all about instant gratification. We want it NOW. People go into debt over dumb things that are totally unnecessary, but that they think they have to have. They look at theri parents and want to be where they are now, not realizing they accumulated things over the years.

Matt and I look at our finances and are excited that we can save so much $ a month, because it means we are setting ourselves up for a good retirement. We don't make a lot of money, but we are smart with what we have and we use our brains. What has gone wrong with society? Does blame lie with our parents, those who have given us everything whenever we have asked, without teaching us the word "no". I have done this with my 7 year old Jake. He has book orders every month, and of course he expects to get something every time. Last month I told him no, and when he assumed it was b/c we didn't have the money, I corrected him and told him I did have the money I just wasn't going to spend it on books this month. The look on his face showed me this is something we need to do more often. Why have we become so materialistic? I like nice things, but not enough to go into debt to get, or to have no savings so we can have those things.

I find this attitude, which is so prevalent, rather disappointing and can only hope and pray my boys will grow up with a different attitude. Is it about what you have or your attitude about it?

Oh the Pressure!!!!!!!!

Good morning everyone! I am venturing into this blog hosting with deep hesitation. What interesting things does a stay at home mom who lives in small town Iowa have to offer? I know many of Matt's readers could care less about my boys and what things they have done lately. But that is my life. I'm not quite as dorky as Matt, probably not as funny, and definitely not as philosophical but I will try to entertain you this week to the best of my ability. Any suggestions?

I will try not to bore you all for the week...TRY...

Matt left Friday night and I have to admit that the first 2 days were not bad. The boys behaved decently and I got all of our bedrooms rearranged and cleaned for spring. It wasn't until I went to church Sunday morning that I really began to miss him. WOW! And then I was outside with the boys and missed his call. Needless to say, it was very sad. I have realized, with him gone, how much time I invest in him and our marriage daily. This is a good thing, but I never knew just how much time we spent with each other. May 28th marks our 11th year of marriage and I can honestly say that we are each other's best friend. Our marriage keeps getting better and better. But we have also made the choice that we take care of each other, even more than the boys. It is hard, especially for women, to make this choice, but it is so necessary. I don't know why, but I just want to encourage all of you to make your marriage a priority, so when your spouse is away you can honestly say you are so lonely for them, that you miss them terribly, and that you cannot wait for them to get home. That is me today.