Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

July 7, 2008

Economic Stimulus… what to buy?

Filed under: wealth — theburts @ 8:07 pm

Daniel and I just received our economic stimulus check in the mail. We had previously signed a pledge (started by Ariah) to give away half of it… The idea is to use it to stimulate the economy while helping someone else.

So… what do we buy? Some ideas we have or have gotten from other people..

1. Buy items for Safe Haven or other homeless shelter.

2. Buy supplies for a women’s ministry (one was named that helps women after they’ve been in prison).

3. Buy medical supplies or other needs for our yearly Haiti trip.

4. Buy gift cards to local restaurants and somehow hand them out to people in need.

Any other ideas? Let’s hear your thoughts!

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June 17, 2008

My cousin and family in the news

Filed under: Uncategorized — theburts @ 11:54 am
Tags: , ,

I’m so excited, just read a really cool article about my cousin and her husband, Jennifer and Clifton Green, along with their two children. The article is about their adopted child from Africa and the length Clifton will go to keep his daughter’s hair looking good. A well written and wonderfully sweet article, check it out when you get time. It brings up some great conversation about international adoption and what issues parents should consider. I’m really proud of my cousin and her husband.  :)

Here’s the link:

Perfect braids show depth of dad’s devotion

May 19, 2008

Scott vs. Catfish

Filed under: Uncategorized — theburts @ 8:19 pm

Our dear friend Scott Williams is in town for a couple of weeks to visit. Daniel lived with Scott for about 3 years while in optometry school in Memphis. Yesterday, we went fishing at Josh’s uncle’s pond…caught several bass, a snapping turtle (by accident…or was it, Josh?), and almost a gigantic catfish. You’ve got to see this video!!!

For all of you who know Scott, feel free to leave messages to him in the comments and I’ll make sure to relay them.

PS. Sorry about the long sabbatical away from blogging. Obviously we haven’t blogged much lately, and I won’t promise that’ll change real soon. But, we’re about to get the condo rented out, so normal life (what is that, anyway?) shall resume again. Maybe.

Peace,

Daniel and Amanda

NY Times article on food waste

Filed under: dumpster diving,recycling — theburts @ 2:50 pm
Tags:

Thanks, Jennifer, I hadn’t seen this article yet.

One Country’s Table Scraps, Another Country’s Meal

April 29, 2008

Condo for rent

Filed under: christianity,wealth — theburts @ 9:21 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Much of our lives lately has been consumed by fixing up our condo to rent. Cleaning (at which our two moms are INCREDIBLE), painting, patching, and more…almost every free night after work has been spent there getting it ready to show. Since it’s way too big for Amanda and I to live there (about 2,500 sq ft), and since the market isn’t the best for selling right now, we’ve decided to rent it out. It’s now officially on Craigslist here.

If we can’t find tenants who want to live in this nice part of town and pay this much rent for a big condo, we’re going to move in when our apartment lease is up and live there until we sell it. In the meantime, we’d be searching for a house, or apartment building, or farm, or something…

The last 2 years of my life have been somewhat formative; they have changed me a lot. Everything was easy until I discovered that it was possible to really follow Jesus’ teachings today, even in America where we’re sometimes so distanced from so many of the things Jesus taught about. Back then, I was climbing the job ladder and trying to make more money, I invested in this nice condo to begin building equity, I shopped at TJ Max (yes, even for home decor occasionally!), when I wanted something new I bought it without much hesitation…and then I begin reading about rich America and begin to see how I was buying into the American dream philosophy and too easily accepting what culture taught me was normal. I read things like this quote from St. Basil:

“Who is the greedy person? It’s him who doesn’t content himself with what he has. And who strips? He who steals what belongs to the others. And you think that you are not greedy, and that you do not strip the others? What was granted to you, in order for you to take care of the others, you took it and you made it your own. What do you think? He who strips the clothed is to be called a thief. How should we name him, who is able to dress the naked and doesn’t do it, does he deserve some other name? The bread that you possess belongs to the hungry. The clothes that you store in boxes, belong to the naked. The shoes rotting by you, belong to the bare-foot. The money that you hide belongs to anyone in need. You wrong as many people as you were able to help.” St. Basil (taken from Sojourners magazine)

So I (along with my friend Josh, going along the same path) moved out of this huge condo in Belle Meade to north Nashville, to an area that the city has all but abandoned. In community there, we often discussed owning property, money and finances as they relate to our Christian faith, investing…and I was often challenged to think differently about these topics, or at least see them from a different angle. So now here are some questions that all of this has led to regarding what to do with the property that Amanda and I now own. We chose to live in an apartment instead of buying a home right away, and continue trying to rent the condo to help pay off the mortgage. But now what?

1) We own a large home, 2,500 sq ft could house several people easily…are we being greedy to rent this out rather than working through Safe Haven to house a homeless family in it (like we’d originally planned with another house we were trying to buy pre-wedding)?

Whatever you think, we want to be held accountable on what we’re doing with $1300 a month income. It could be so easy to slip back into a life of self interest…

2) We don’t want to be in debt…we don’t believe that staying in debt is either healthy or what God intends for us. So in that way, paying off a mortgage is a very good thing to do. But we need to be encouraged not to overlook charity in the meantime. If we give all our extra money to the mortgage and none to the poor, we overlook the immediate need of our neighbors even though we still may be using the money for a good cause (getting out of debt). We want to be close to the poor now, not just in either distant acts of charity OR future plans to give lots of money. Yet getting out of debt will allow us to eventually do greater things for those in need. So my question here is: How do we balance these two good things?
A. Paying off loans / getting out of debt, so that we can be freed up to do more for the poor
B. Serving immediate needs of the poor

It’s basically the same as the decision to invest…I can give more money, probably, if I wait and invest it and have a million dollars in 10 or 20 years instead of 200,000 now. So which is the wise and stewardly thing to do? And to this I would disagree that the wisest way would always be to save, invest, and give the larger sum at some point in the future. I just know there has to be some balance to this.

We’d love your input! May the Lord lead us in his footsteps, even through dangerous areas. And, on a lighter note, may he direct our paths, or at least keep us in good humor, as we venture over our heads in condo repairs. :)  Peace.

April 21, 2008

Declaration of Delirium – Upcoming Summer

Filed under: Just for fun — theburts @ 1:25 pm

And the last column of my entire career in humor! This one’s really just as bad as the last. Sorry. I’m not real sure if anyone actually read these columns…but if you did, hope you enjoyed the light hearted break from blogging. Soon, we’ll be back to our regular blogging, random and infrequent as usual.  :)  Peace.



April 20, 2008

Dalai Lama and Creation Care

Filed under: christianity,creation care,Religion and Philosophy — theburts @ 8:36 pm

It’s interesting that I came across this article on the Dalai Lama’s speech…just this morning at church we visited the verse in John where Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” Judi (our pastor) discussed today how that, too often, we might rather say “actually, no one comes to the Father except through our approval…” (speaking as a person, or even a church) I don’t want to be the one who decides who comes to the Father, think I’ll let Jesus keep that job.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I believe that Jesus Christ is who he said he was, and can boldly proclaim that “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” as we do every Sunday. I believe it to be true, just as Jesus said that he himself was “truth.” And I believe that Jesus is the way. Following Jesus as Lord will not guarantee position, friends, riches, comfort, luxury, popularity, fame, or a long life…in fact, many times it has been and will be just the opposite. However, Jesus the son of God, and also the way of life we learn from his life and teachings, is the Way for which I’m willing to lay everything else aside. Through that, I believe, we will truly have life abundantly. Judi did point out that she wasn’t saying that all religions are the same, you just pick and choose whatever feels right to you and all is good.

Simultaneously, I wonder how often God uses folks following a different “way” to carry out his plan. If he can use an ass to talk to Balaam, why can’t he speak through people who don’t believe in his Son? Is it true that acts of selfless love or compassionate serving are from God whether the doer believes in him or not? (as C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, if I remember correctly) And is it just coincidence that non Christians sometimes say things which sound very…well, Christian? I’m no theologian (I love this phrase, it always feels like it excuses any stupidity which might have just slipped from my mouth or fingers), so I’ll not answer and instead just give you this article to mill over. Let me know your thoughts.

Dalai Lama calls for greater focus on inner contentment and passion

The United States and other wealthy countries need to downscale their lifestyles and try to focus more on inner contentment, the Dalai Lama said today.

There simply aren’t enough natural resources on the planet to support all 6 billion people on Earth imitating Western lifestyles, which consume large amounts of water and electricity. Because there are limitations on external material resources, but not on internal ones, it’s better to seek contentment and peace rather than material things, he said.

The Dalai Lama, the head of the Buddhist church, gave two lectures today at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, one on Buddhist texts and, in the afternoon, a lecture on the environment sponsored by the University of Michigan. Both were attended by more than 7,000 people.

Outside, about 600 to 700 people protested, university officials said, most supporting the Chinese government and the Olympics.

The scene inside Crisler Arena was slightly surreal, as video of one of the world’s religious leaders with his hands folded was projected on an overhead scoreboard, surrounded by ads for Mountain Dew, AT&T and Meijer.

All people need to take responsibility for the environment in their daily lives, doing what small things they can to make a difference, the Dalai Lama said. He said he showers instead of taking baths, which conserves water, and turns out the lights when he leaves a room. “It’s a really serious matter,” he said.

April 18, 2008

Declaration of Delirium – Death by Term Paper

Filed under: Uncategorized — theburts @ 11:57 am

I really didn’t want to post this one. It’s just dumb, politically offensive, ridiculous and somehow I said “wee” instead of “see” at the end. Maybe that’s the funniest part…a mistake that made “one can wisely wee…” But anyway, I’ll excuse myself, again, by stating that I was only a teenager and not yet mentally developed (I’m still working on that second part).  :)  So, without further ado,  here’s the worst of my work as a humor columnist…

(on a side note, my neck is definitely yet slowly improving)

April 17, 2008

Declaration of Delirium – Sluggish Behavior

Filed under: creation care — theburts @ 10:01 am

The week thus far:

  • Most exciting moment – catching 8 bass at Montgomery Bell while camping
  • Most stressful moment – getting ready (still not there) for yard sale Saturday
  • Most painful moment – not really a moment, more like the last four days, the worst crick in the neck I’ve ever had (but it’s finally going away)
  • Most embarrassing moment – because of said crick, I had a lengthy massage during which the massage therapist found two ticks on me. thankfully amanda was there and pulled them off for me. :)  (could this be a “you might be a redneck” joke? …if you’re treated to a massage and they find ticks…?)

Guess that’s enough for now. Here’s another column for you to check out. This is the most serious column of all of them, or at least the last sentence. Though I no longer believe it to be wrong to consume alcohol in moderation, I very much appreciate that I was taught about the dangers of alcohol as a youth. And I am glad that I had the courage to stand up for my beliefs in a creative way, even at the risk of being ridiculed by peers.

Oh, and by the way, this one’s dedicated to our slug loving friend, Mr. Chris!!!   :)

April 15, 2008

Declaration of Delirium – New Year’s Resolutions

Filed under: Just for fun — theburts @ 8:37 am

Here’s the 4th of 7 columns…enjoy it, or something.

On a side note, the camping/fishing trip this weekend was great. Caught 8 delicious bass. :)  The only thing negative about the trip is that, somewhere along the way, I developed a tremendously painful crick in the neck. I took off work yesterday after seeing one patient, and Amanda stayed home from work to help me get in and out of bed (yeah, it was that bad…I could barely move my head without cringing in pain, and absolutely no position was entirely comfortable). I had a wonderful massage by our friend Christina (thanks again!!!) which gave me some range of motion back and made yesterday evening much more comfortable. Still painful this morning, but I’m trying to stay positive that it will wear itself off (especially with the occasional muscle relaxer I’m taking).

So here’s to checking eyeballs when you can’t move your head. :) Cheers!

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