Let me say right off the bat, there will be spoilers in this post. This is because I have to write about this short story, or novella, or I really don’t know what this was. A complete story it was not. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
A few weeks ago, I was watching Young Sheldon and the episode centered around Sheldon and his college buddies (professors) started a book club around Isaac Asimov’s writings, and they started with the story Nightfall.
I’d never heard of this title before. Actually, I’ve had little exposure to Asimov directly, other than an ill-fated reading of Nemisis several years ago, which I thought was a little anti-climactic in and of itself.
But, I figured I would give it a go, plus I had Asimov’s Complete Works (which actually turned out to not be so complete after all).
So, let’s discuss why I thought Nightfall was a terrible read (I really hope all his works aren’t like this)….
One thing I know from personal experience is God has a very peculiar way of reaching each of us. Sometimes its through other people. Sometimes it’s through being in and around the natural world and all that he created for us to enjoy and learn from and discover. Still, other times, God will literally – supernaturally – reach out and touch us. Individually. Personally. Even if I can say, intimately. And that touch of God can have rippling affects throughout the rest of our life.
This last approach is often how God reveals himself to me. Maybe it’s out of my own stubbornness (in that there is no other way he can get through to me), or maybe it’s because he created me in such a way that he knows what I will respond to and anticipates what I need before I even know I need it.
God’s funny that way.
As I’m approaching a 2nd video on my newly “launched” Youtube channel (an experiment more than anything else), the topic has come up about prayer and about the promises of God. What we’re supposed to do with these statements God has made in his Word. Are we supposed to ignore them (that’s what most people do, even most Christians)? Are we supposed to capitalize on them and use them as a strong arm to force God into submission (this is what the word-faith movement claims as their right)? I would argue it’s neither of these, but so much more.
So, let’s jump into and explore prayer, especially when I find myself in a season in my life where all I’m doing is praying and talking with God about everything….
Yesterday while on break at work I jumped onto Youtube and ran a quick search for van life. Lately I’ve had some problems with the YouTube algorithm in that it keeps recommending the same videos over and over again, as if I’ve already gone through all videos in that category.
To my surprise, though, this time around I was recommended a new video from a creator I’d never seen before, someone who was apparently living in her van full time, but rather than traveling around the country like most of them do, she was living in the same town and had a regular job and was more homeless than a “professional” van-lifer.
I watched her handful of videos, but then noticed that her postings had abruptly stopped two months ago. I watched the last video and there was no warning, no mention that she would be away from her channel or that she wouldn’t be posting anymore. This is not the first time someone has disappeared on Youtube. In fact, most creators I think end up burning out on the video platform after some time, buckling under the pressure of relentless filming and editing, but I think more just run out of things to say, things to film.
I immediately started to wonder, though, what happened to Toy Owl? Where is she? Is she okay? Did something terrible happen (my mind instinctively goes to catastrophe). So, I thought maybe I would talk about these kinds of abrupt disappearances that I increasingly find are just a part of life if you’re going to watch amateur creators online.
I just can’t shake the question, though, what happened to Toy Owl….
This afternoon I had some outside chores I needed to do, chores which I despise doing for no other reason than I hate the feeling of being outside of my home in town because I constantly have the feeling that someone is watching me, that I’m somehow on display. I recognize intellectually, objectively, that this is simply not the case. In fact, most people are not even home when I’m out doing chores in the middle of the week. They are at work, they are out shopping, they are living their own lives. But, emotionally, psychologically, the feeling is always present every time I go outside.
One way I’ve found to counteract this or at least lessen it is to have my headphones on and to be listening to something else – a lecture, a podcast – anything that will distract me from those imaginary eyes. And that’s what I did today while I was outside working, and the podcast I turned on was one I found on Youtube, Jordan Peterson interviewing Greg Ellis. Now I have no idea who this fella is. But his story was quite reminiscent (at least to a certain degree) to what I went through during my divorce, and some of the outcomes are very similar as well.
So, I thought it might be good to discuss some of the issues covered in the podcast and discuss a little bit about what I went through….
A few posts ago I broke down the approximate costs that would be required if I decided to remodel my house in town before I put it up for sale and if the ROI was worth it to me to do it. In the end (at least at this point) I’ve concluded that it really is not worth the extra year and many, many hours of work during that year and the additional $20,000 to invest in the materials (I would have to do the work myself which is also a problem to be factored in), to only realize an $18,000 profit at best (if everything goes perfectly along the way and I can actually find a buyer who will pay $100k for a house with no foundation and will pay cash – I doubt any lender will give someone a mortgage on a house in this dead beat town). In the end, I’ve decided it would be better to just clean the place up, run a broom through it, take down some of the cobwebs, maybe even plant some grass in the front yard (right now I spray the entire property since I’m not here much anyway to do maintenance), and then throw it up on Craigslist in hopes I can hook a young couple who are smart enough to realize they can buy a small starter house in a sleepy coastal town with just a 30 minute commute, put $20,000 in over the course of just a few years, and either live in it for the rest of their lives or wait 2-5 and catch the market at a peak and sell it for cash and then roll that over into a bigger house down the road.
But, say I’m able to do this and I can sell the house in the next year to a cash buyer and I then can move to the Eden property full time (dependent of course on how this summer and this fall go on getting the property prepared for winter living), there is then the question of what improvements do I want to put into the Eden property.
I figure it would be a good idea to lay these options out as well and that’s what I plan to do with this blog post. So, let’s jump in and see what options are available and what exactly I might want to do with this paradise property in the future….
Awhile back I stumbled onto a short comment by Jerome that really opened up the world of hermitism or what would later be called in the East, “idiorrhythmic” monasticism. It is what the Desert Fathers practiced in the beginning of this way of life, which would be later rejected by “traditional” or “authentic” monasticism in lieu of community based expressions like actual monasteries. Personally, I’ve struggled for a long time with “imposter syndrome” simply because I was not attached to any kind of established order nor took official vows, not to mention I held to a protestant theology (though not necessarily evangelical) which did not help at all.
But Jerome, in his argument against Jovinian, who was a protestant precursor, made a passing comment about him that I found incredibly intriguing. So, let’s take this post to explore just what this early Church Father said about this particular heretic (I mean this in the nicest way), and how it might apply to me and other hermitic religious people in modern day….
A few weeks ago I stumbled onto one of those BookTube girls online and I started watching her videos as she went through her bookshelves, talking about the myriad of books she owned and which ones she liked and which ones she hated and why and why not. All the while she complained about dating and college and the rest of her seemingly perfect life.
Despite this, I did manage to take some of her book recommendations, titles that I simply would never have heard of before. One of those that rose to the top (not exactly sure why) was the book You’ve Reached Sam, which is about a high school girl who’s boyfriend suddenly dies and, in her grief, she calls his number to hear his voice on his voicemail, but instead of getting a recording her dead boyfriend actually picks up.
I immediately got the book (along with around 200+ other titles that formed my new reading list and loaded them up on my new ebook reader (a Likebook P6). I set out to finish this book as soon as I possibly could with the intension of forming a new profusive reading habit that would move reading to the top of my list of daily activities (other than watching Youtube videos or television shows since there doesn’t seem to be enough of those to fill the day with – but there are more than enough books to do so). Just as a note, there will be spoilers in this post so be forewarned.
So, now that I just finished this book, let’s jump in and see what I thought of it…
It’s now been nearly 9 years since I started looking for a house on the coast. At the time I was running a family business and, given my minimalist (live like a college student) lifestyle, I had socked away a nice amount in a 401K I had set up for the business a few years before.
Unfortunately, the idea of trusting the government with that money scared me to death. I could not sleep well knowing that every time Obama didn’t get his way he started threatening to tap retirement savings. It was like his mantra (or maybe I was just overly sensitive).
This, and my conclusion that I wanted to live on the coast, retire on the coast, and ultimately breathe my last breath on the coast, prompted daily searches online, first for bare land and then, as a compromise, cheap land with a small, run down house on it.
Just a few months later, and a lot of looking at potential property, I hit upon the vin diagram where the price was under $50k and the owner would carry (two requirements).
Fast forward to today, and now I have to decide whether or not to just sell it or remodel first and then try to sell. So, with this post, lets look at what it would actually cost (rough estimate) to remodel and what the probability would be for me to get my money back on that secondary investment….
Today I was watching this video on YouTube and was surprised by the very first statement, “I know that the pain of rejection stings.” I immediately responded (yeah, I talk back to YouTube videos all the time), “what if being single is not a rejection but a blessing? What if being married is actually the curse?”
Let’s jump into this and discuss what many in our society and especially in the Christian culture often misunderstand about the states we are called to in this life….
A few years ago, my job was thrown into an upheaval. The director of the company decided it was time for him to retire (he was actually pushed out by the board) and the company began shopping around for someone to replace him.
It was a time when I had no idea if I would have a job from one day to the next, simply because the job I do can realistically be replaced by a relatively inexpensive computer program or the tasks assigned to me could essentially be reassigned to a full time person with the stroke of a pen.
The reason I’m writing this post today, though, two years later, is I just got the word that the individual that had ultimately been given the job as director, well, he died yesterday. Now I didn’t know the man very well, I’ve really only spoke with him two times face to face (I work in the office during off hours and rarely see other employees), and only a half dozen times via email. Of course, its a tragedy when anyone dies, though he was rather ill so it might not be that much of a tragedy if he was suffering. But, I can’t help but find myself back there again, wondering, a little more anxious than I really care to be, about my own job prospects on the near horizon.
So, let’s jump in and see what calculous I’m looking at, how I will fair if I am let go in the future, and what’s next for me in this godforsaken world…
An email came into my inbox the other day from Logos.com, the company that developed the Logos Bible Software. Now, if you follow this blog at all, you know that I’m not really a great admirer of this program, though I do use it as my primary Bible software currently. I would love to use Olivetree or TW5 or some other free or cost effective program, but they just do not have the features that Logos does. Despite this, I don’t think the tool and feature set that Logos does have really justifies the prices they demand.
So, let’s jump in and see if Logos really does provide “bible tools for every budget”….
It does seem a bit odd, doesn’t it? How can I be writing a blog post about what I would want in a wife if I’m focused on the celibate life and am in the process of building a remote hermitage where I plan to spend the rest of my life in solitude?
Well, like most things that have to do with relationships and other people, it’s just a little complicated, right? Actually, if being honest, it’s less complicated than it is improbable. Given the state of the age and culture we are living in, the fact that secular people are having a difficult time finding someone they have a connection with, there is simply no way I would be able to find someone who could meet my expectations.
But, what does Paul say? “That which is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). So, I’m going to take this post to discuss a little bit about what has been going on in my personal life, where I see myself in the future, and what characteristics I would desire in a potential future mate.
Let’s jump into the impossible…..