I Am A Thief

I am a thief, I am a murderer.

Are you a thief too? A murderer too? I am.

6915744965 8f73924568 n I Am A Thief

Cross & Sky Christian Wallpaper Background a GIMP edit of my original (Photo credit: † David Gunter)

My blog is called Peculiar Perspective and this might just be one of those but maybe it shouldn’t be. I have been a Third Day fan for years. I love their music, their ministry, and Mac Powell, the lead singer, just happens to be an Alabama fan so that works for me too.

There are many of their songs I like and could and probably will at some point write about here. However there are none that affect me more at this time of year than one call Thief. They have two versions of this song. The original came out as a live version on their album named Third Day in 1996 and is my favorite version. Third Day Third Day 150x150 I Am A ThiefThey did a studio version for their Chronology Volume 1 Album in 2007 as well. The words are the same. The sound is just a little different. Third Day Chronology Volume One 150x150 I Am A Thief

I suggest you click on one of the links below and watch it and listen to the words. It will move you if you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian I think it can move you too if you watch and listen with an open mind, something that is rare these days but it can still be done.

A New Perspective

I liked this song before I ever really understood it. Let me try to explain. I like Third Day and their music and their “sound” so just for those reasons alone I liked the song. When I first heard it I liked it because it was different. I had never heard a song from perspective of the thief on the cross beside Jesus. I thought that is interesting and something I have never thought of that way, a new perspective.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I really began to understand the gravity of what this song was saying, at least to me. That is when I realized I am that thief on the cross, as well as part of the mob yelling, “Crucify him”, as well as Judas, as well as Peter, when he denied knowing Jesus. If you listen to this or think of this story as the thief got what he deserved that is OK. You are right. However if you don’t also realize that we would all get what we deserve if it wasn’t for what Jesus did by staying on the cross then you are missing the point completely. It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus on the cross. It was His love for YOU and me.

Here are the lyrics for Thief by Third Day.

Thief

I am a thief, I am a murderer,
Walking up this lonely hill.
What have I done? I don’t remember.
No one knows just how I feel;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

It’s been so long, oh, such a long time,
Since I’ve lived with peace and rest.
Now I am here, in my destination,
I guess things work for the best;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

Who is this man? This man beside me,
That they call the King of the Jews.
No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

They laugh at Him in mockery,
They beat Him till he bleeds,
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
And they raise Him, yeah, they raise Him up next to me.

My time has come, and I’m slowly fading,
But I deserve what I receive.
Jesus, when You are in Your kingdom,
Could You please, please remember me.
Well He looks at me still holding on,
And the tears fall from His eyes,
And He says I tell the truth,
Today, yeah, you will live with Me in paradise, woah yeah.

And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah.
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah, yeah
And I know that paradise, paradise is coming soon.

Writer: POWELL, JOHNNY MAC / ANDERSON, SAMUEL TAI / AVERY, BRADLEY B. C. / CARR, DAVID / LEE, MARK D.

Here is a link to a GodTube video of the song with lyrics.

Thief by Third Day (Lyrics) - Live version

Here is a link to a YouTube video of the song with images from The Passsion of the Christ so some of the images are graphic.

Thief by Third Day – Passion of the Christ images – Studio Version

I believe the song speaks for itself but do have a couple of observations.

I am a thief, I am a murderer

We are all sinners. You may not think your sin rises to the level of a thief or murderer, that people who commit those sins are somehow worse sinners than you are. That is not true. God sees all sin, even a “little white lie” as sin. We are all sinners and consequently, we all need forgiveness.

And I know that my time is coming soon

All of our times are coming soon so if you are waiting for the “right time” that time is right now. We are not promised tomorrow so take care of this today.

No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

I believe that somehow you know it is true too but might not want to admit it for fear of what others might think of you. That reminds me of a quote I heard from Zig Ziglar that says, “You wouldn’t be so concerned about what others think of you if you realized how little they did.” Don’t let pride or fear stop you from making a decision that will affect where you spend eternity. You will spend it somewhere. Where you spend it is your choice. My prayer for you is you will choose wisely.

If you have questions about how you can accept God’s gift of salvation for you, please visit Peace With God or ask questions in the comments. I will answer with what I know and would love to hear from you.

Until next time…

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 I Am A Thief

Maybe you shouldn’t vote

6306132745 ef51f4a395 n Maybe you shouldnt vote

Voting (Photo credit: League of Women Voters of California)

There has been much discussion about requiring a photo ID in order to verify your identity before you are allowed to cast a vote in an election. If you have been paying attention at least a little bit over the last several years you are aware of this. If not, then maybe you should be paying more attention. Alabama has instituted this requirement as law and it will be enforced during the next election coming up in a couple of months.

Many who oppose this law or requirement use the empty argument that this somehow discriminates against the poor or minorities. As a member of the white male Caucasian minority I do not see any discrimination in this requirement whatsoever. It should have been a requirement from day one in my opinion.

I suppose by this logic it is also discrimination to require a driver’s license to be able to operate a motor vehicle so we should do away with those. It is also a requirement to be able to board a plane so that is discrimination too.

Where is the outrage?

Where are the outcries for these obvious discriminations? You don’t hear any outcry for these because they do not directly relate to votes which either put people in power or keep them in power. Think about it. Is there any other logical reason that explains this claim? If so, please do let me know in the comments. I am always looking to learn something new and this would be a revelation for me.

I believe a photo ID is the bare minimum one should need in order to be able to vote.

Popularity Contest

Most people do not do the necessary research or homework about candidates or issues to be able to make an informed decision when they enter the voting booth. The sad fact is most people vote base on popularity, or how a candidate looks, or a particular party because they have always voted for that party, or the yard sign or billboard they see every day on the way to work, or what a candidate “promised” to give them – “A chicken in every pot.” That is one reason our country does not have the best leaders we could have. We do have what we deserve because of our actions or inactions or laziness in exercising our voting privilege.

We need more requirements, not less

I believe the requirements to vote and select those who make decisions that affect us all should be much more involved to show the person casting a vote at least has some knowledge of the current issues and candidates. I know this will never be enacted, based on the silly arguments and uproar over a simple photo ID, but it would produce a more informed electorate and that would, in turn, provide much more competent leaders and better decisions on the issues that come before them.

This is a test…a test to see if you are paying attention

Why not have 5-15 questions at the top of every ballot that would have to be answered correctly for the ballot to be counted? These questions could be checked by the voting machines and if not correct then that ballot would just be discarded.

The questions could be as simple as:

1. Who is the current President of the United States?

2. Who is the current Vice-President of the United States?

3. Who is the Speaker of the House in the U.S. House of Representatives?

4. Who is the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate?

5. Name one Supreme Court Justice.

6. Name one of the U.S. Senators representing your state.

7. Name your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.

8. Name one of your City Councilmen.

9. Name one of your County Commissioners.

10. Name one of your school board members.

11. Name your mayor.

12. Name your state senator.

13. Name your state representative.

14. How many U.S. Senators are there in Congress?

15. How many state are there in the U.S.?

How would you fare if you had to answer these questions? You might be surprised at how many could not answer any of these questions correctly, yet they still vote.

It might not be easy at first but if you knew you were going to have these questions you would likely do a little homework before you headed to your local polling place, or choose to not go at all. That would be the purpose.

If you don’t care, don’t bother

If you don’t care enough to learn about the candidates and issues before you vote you should not abuse your voting privilege by casting an ignorant vote. This is where the term low-information voter came from. If low-information voters are electing our elected officials then there should be no surprise if poor or self-serving decisions are made more often than not.

These are just examples that could be used. The voter could be required to get a passing grade, 70%, or could be required to get them all correct for their ballot to be valid and counted. As I said before, I know this is not likely to ever happen.

That does not mean it should never happen. This would help eliminate the instances of people voting multiple times in the same election or votes being cast by people who are no longer living, most recently reported in North Carolina regarding the 2012 general election.

My hope in writing this is that anyone who reads it will not be a low-information voter, that you will take your voting privilege seriously enough to do your homework, learn about the candidates and issues that will be on the ballot and cast an informed vote.

Don’t be a low-information voter! Cast an informed vote or no vote at all!

Until next time…

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 Maybe you shouldnt vote

To write or not to write…Is that even a question?

For me it is not. Writing is how I best express my thoughts. Writing gives me control over the final edit to, hopefully, make the finished product the best I can make it. Writing is the form of communication that works best for me.

That being said, writing is just one form of communication. Others include speaking, body language, listening and sign language. If I had to rank myself on the first four here is how they would rank for me from best to worst – writing, listening, speaking, body language. I know nothing about sign language at all.

Writing

Writing allows me, although I sometimes don’t take advantage, the option to edit, delete, rewrite and add to what I probably thought was pretty good to start with. It allows me to potentially stick my foot in my mouth (replace foot with pen or word processor) less often. I should be able to catch these errors in grammar, spelling and judgment and edit them to make them more palatable for the reader. Do I always do this? Of course not, but with writing I do have that option.

Speaking

When speaking I cannot take back what I said (edit it) so the edit option is not really available. I do have a filter I can use but once words pass the filter and the lips they are out and cannot be un-said. I can try to explain what was said wrong or offensive with more talking but that normally just digs a bigger hole. That is why I will normally not be the most talkative person in any group setting.

75px abraham lincoln head on shoulders photo portrait To write or not to write…Is that even a question?

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln says, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.” That is one of my favorite quotes.

Body Language

I have never been accused of wearing my emotions on my sleeve. I am often accused of not wearing them at all.

Emotions are part of body language but not all body language is expressed by emotions. I do try to pay attention and communicate that to the person speaking. Body language is expressed in many ways such as smiling, nodding, crossing your arms, leaning forward in your seat, or leaning back and reclining. I recognize body language is an important part of communication and it does communicate whether you want it to or not. I do try to make myself aware of this form of communication but I often fail.

Listening

Listening is the least used but most important part of communication from my perspective. If there is no one to listen, the speaker is just talking to themselves. Many speakers don’t really have a problem with this as they enjoy hearing themselves talk but there is really no communication taking place when that happens.

Listening is often thought of as being a passive activity. However, it really is an active activity that you have to consciously focus on and work at to be master it. When involved in a conversation most people are multi-tasking, listening with one ear and thinking of what they are going to say in response to words they haven’t even heard yet. Listening with one ear, trying to think ahead and predict what the speaker is going to say, and then formulating a response all at the same time does not work very well.

Listening also provides people like me topics to write about.

2 Ears 1 Mouth

I am sure you have all heard the saying, God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth so that means He intended for you to listen twice as much as you talk. I think we would all be better off if we put this into practice and really listened to what is being said. If there is silence for a few seconds or even longer before you speak there is nothing wrong with that. It shows you were listening and now you are processing what you heard and formulating a response. This shows respect to the speaker and will have most believing you are the best conversationalist in the room.

Try it the next chance you get. You just might learn something.

Until next time…

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 To write or not to write…Is that even a question?

What is it? Where did it come from? Who wrote it?

What is it? Where did it come from? Who wrote it?

It is only natural for anyone to have questions about the Bible if you have not grown up with it and learned about it in addition to reading it as I did. I will forever be grateful to my parents for affording me that opportunity. I will tell them that when I see them again.

If your primary knowledge of the Bible is what you have read about it or heard someone else say about it then your knowledge of the Bible is weak and probably not accurate and definitely not complete. That last one puts you in the same boat as all of us. None of us have a complete knowledge of all the Bible contains.

I will try to answer some of those questions here today but this is by no means an exhaustive answer to all these questions.

My goal is to give you enough information to make you curious to learn more about its origin, author, and purpose. I recommend you read it on your own because I do not know the message God has for YOU in His Word. That is something YOU have to discover on YOUR own.

What is it?

The Bible has been described as…

  • The best-selling book of all time
  • A book of fairy tales and fables
  • A history book
  • Not relevant for today’s world

Can I share a few facts with you about this book? 350px holy bible 300x216 What is it? Where did it come from? Who wrote it?

I use the letters in BIBLE to help me remember these facts.

The first B stands for Books. The Bible not just one book. It is a collection of 66 books, all about the same subject – Jesus.

I stands for Inspired. All of these 66 books were inspired by God. It is not just the writers’ opinions. These are actually God’s words that He inspired the writers to write down for future generations. I like to think of it as God saying, “Moses or Paul or David, Take a letter!”

The second B stands for By. As I mentioned earlier the Bible was inspired by God and written by men. All throughout history God has chosen to use men to achieve His purposes. He does not need men but chooses to use men.

L stands for Love, Life, and Letters. The 66 books that make up the Bible are actually 66 love letters from God to us. As mentioned earlier they all point to Jesus who is Life.

E stands for Eternal. We all have eternal life. The question that each of us must answer is where will we spend eternity. The Bible helps us by giving us the answer as to how we can spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus.

Does that make sense to you or make you curious to see what is contained in this book instead of hearing someone else tell you what is in it? If so, find yours if you have one, get an electronic version for your e-reader or read it online at http://www.biblehub.com.

If you are curious and have never read it before why not try it now? Are you afraid of what you might find?

If you know all of this and this is just a refresher or reminder for you why not read it again this year. Every time the Bible is read you will see something different you did not see before based on your life at the time or the knowledge you have gained since your last reading.

There are numerous plans available today so if your excuse in the past was I don’t have a plan to follow or it is too confusing or I don’t have time those are just as described, excuses.

What I do know and can state without any doubt is God loves you and wants you to know and love Him. The way you do this is through reading his love letter to you, the Bible. What do you have to lose? What could you gain? It is up to you. If you are looking for God you will find Him. He has not moved.

Until next time…

 What is it? Where did it come from? Who wrote it?

Doing wrong anyway

The internet stopped working a few minutes ago. As much as we have come to depend on the internet that might seem like an issue and if it continues for an extended period of time it might be. However, since I cannot waste time there now I decided to write so I am treating this as a blessing in disguise.

What about you? Are you dependent or even addicted to the internet and all its many bells, whistles, and distractions? How does this occurrence, if it does happen to you from time to time as well, affect you?

I know that I spend too much time “on the internet” browsing Facebook, twitter, checking email so this is just one more reminder to me that I need to limit the time I spend there just as I need to limit the time I watch TV, another time vacuum.

I know I am much more productive when I leave the TV off, close my browser, or at least the Facebook and twitter tabs and shut down my email program so why don’t I do it?

This reminds me of Paul in Romans where he describes the internal battle going on inside of him between knowing what is right to do and what is wrong but doing wrong anyway. His battle is much larger in that it is the one we all face between good and evil but I do see similarities.

The scripture I referred to is Romans 7:15-20 which says, For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

If you want a picture of this passage and you have seen The Lord of the Rings, think Smeagol/Gollum

7584125246 efe4925813 n Doing wrong anyway

Gollum (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

and how his personality changes between good and evil. I believe that paints a very vivid picture of this battle we all face.

So why do I not do the good I want? I know it is the best thing to do and will help me achieve so much more and be much more productive in whatever I am doing. I have heard the studies that the higher one rises in leadership the less TV they watch. There is a direct correlation. The internet is different but not that much. There are a lot of good activities and information available on the internet. There are good reasons to spend some time there to keep up with friends, news, and issues that are important to me. But, as in most things, too much is not good. It is bad.

I don’t have any grand illusions that me writing this will magically solve this issue for me. I suspect I will still wrestle with it as Paul was wrestling with not doing what he knew was right. It is not really a sin or is it? Is not being a good steward of my time a sin? We all get the same 24 hours each day.

If you were looking for a grand conclusion that resolves this conundrum I don’t have one to offer. Many of the words and thoughts I post here will not have a solution. They are not designed to. They are designed to share some of my thoughts and feelings and maybe get you to think yourself. This may or may not be an issue for you. I know it is for me. I am going to try to improve and be a better steward of my time. We will all be held accountable one day for what we did with the time God gave us.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please post them in the comments and let me know how you manage this yourself if you have. Do you think this is a sin? Let me know.

Until next time…

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 Doing wrong anyway

Confused Yet Confident

we are enterprise logo Confused Yet ConfidentConfused

It has been 18 days since the announcement the 9th grade would be moving to the high school next year and one week since the school board meeting, and then the post-board meeting. I attended both and am still confused as to why now.

After the shock wore off from the original decision I wanted to wait to learn more of the reasons this decision was made before commenting. The shock was that I had taken Dr. Wright at her word that she was not going to come in and make changes initially until she learned more about the system. In my mind, 43 days on the job seems rather quick to making a decision of this magnitude so I was surprised.

The presentation by Dr. Wright giving reasons for her decision was less than compelling for me as to why this move has to happen this year. There seemed to me to be more reasons to wait and include the 5th, 6th and 7th grade families in this decision making process instead of as an afterthought. Dr. Wright says the only decision made so far is the one decision to move the 9th graders to the high school. When there are so many other decisions that have to be made in order for this one decision to be successful I don’t understand why more of them were not considered and made before the trigger was pulled to move the 9th graders.

I agree with many in Enterprise that moving the 9th graders to the high school is a good decision, but only when the facilities are in place to handle the students and plans are in place for the junior high students, not just because registration is starting now and a decision had to be made.

When the question was asked by Dr. Reese during the post-meeting for anyone to speak up if they can honestly say the advantages of moving now versus waiting and planning this better and moving later outweigh the disadvantages, Dr. Wright did speak up and said, “Only if we have a tornado.”

When Dr. Wright was asked by Dale Stinnett if she knew the capacity of the high school she answered she did not. How can you make a decision to move almost 600 students to the high school if you don’t even know the capacity? Isn’t it reasonable for someone who claims to know capacity planning know the capacity of the high school?

When Dr. Wright began her comments at the post-meeting she said she thought that Enterprise was ready for this move and I believe she truly believed that. I also believe Dr. Wright has not been well served by some providing her this information. I don’t know who the ‘some’ are but it seems they are either pushing an agenda or just saying what they think the superintendent wants to hear. Neither is good.

A question I have not heard asked is how does this move affect any future growth at the high school for new families moving into the area or just moving within the area since it will now be over capacity? I suspect zoning changes will have to be made. Will many who now attend EHS, or their siblings, not be allowed to attend because they live outside the city limits?

The $550,000 question also arises again here. If this issue were resolved I believe the school system could better plan to add a 9th grade wing to the high school as was discussed in a January 2013 working session. I suspect that is one reason Dr. Milner was pushing to have this issue resolved.

Can this decision be slowed down?

Can this decision be reconsidered in light of new information Dr. Wright has now received or could solicit over the next couple of weeks if she chooses to? Certainly it can. Whether it will or not remains to be seen. 

Confident

In spite of my questions and disagreement with the move this year I am confident that the people in the Enterprise City Schools can achieve success in this move if it does happen this year and I will support them in doing so. The people are what make up the school system and if they are sold and buy in to the goal there is no doubt it can be achieved. I am just not sure they, along with many of the affected families have been sold on this goal yet. I would put the teachers, administrators, and support staff of Enterprise City Schools up against any in the country. To borrow a recent PGA campaign, “These guys are good!”

However they are being put into a difficult situation that will test the leadership skills of the principals, administrators and superintendent, as well as the patience and fortitude of all.

I am also confident that Dr. Wright will learn from this decision and will move forward as we all do. I do support her leadership and want her to be successful in this position as long as I believe she is making decisions in the best interest of the students and teachers of Enterprise City Schools. Does that mean I will agree with every decision she makes? No. That also does not mean we cannot discuss issues, share information, air our differences when they do exist, and then both move forward on the same team. I think that makes any team stronger when differing views are expressed and considered. It helps you arrive at the best decision.

I do give Dr. Wright a lot of credit for staying, listening, and responding at the post board meeting meeting. She did not have to do that but that shows she does want to learn and hear from the community. That was encouraging to me. I agree with Mrs. Carter when she said she wished this meeting had been held a couple of weeks earlier.

Could this have been handled differently to have gathered more support for this decision or have arrived at a different decision? Yes, it could. I believe even Dr. Wright would agree with that.

Will there ever be unanimous support? No, not likely. There will always be those who disagree with any decision.

Is this the right thing at the right time for Enterprise City Schools? I don’t know.

I do know if this change moves forward now it will be a busy 155 days, or only 111 if you exclude weekends, between now and August 6th for teachers and administrators.

I have learned over the past year or so that questions I have are often shared by many others. That is why I still write on this subject. I wonder if that still holds true for these thoughts and questions. I am sure I will know the answer to that question soon. If you do have a comment, agreement or disagreement and are free to share it, please do. I would love to hear from you.

Until next time…

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 Confused Yet Confident

Have YOU Read It?

In this post, prior posts and probably future posts too you will see me reference the Bible. I don’t do this as any type of authority or Bible scholar. I do believe the Bible is inspired by God and it is His love letter to us. The principles and precepts taught in the Bible are the lens through which I see the world. If I am not quoting or referencing it explicitly it is still there in my thoughts and view of the world. If you don’t share this belief then I would not expect you to understand this perspective. It is really not possible for you to understand.

That does not mean that we cannot have a dialog on this subject or we have to just agree to disagree.

My intent is never to force my beliefs on anyone but when sharing my beliefs I will be honest with you about what I believe. If that is offensive to you then, as mentioned earlier, I would be happy to discuss. I will not apologize for any part of it. However, my suggestion should this ever occur will always be for you to go to the source, the Bible, and read it for yourself and come to your own understanding. It doesn’t matter what your current belief or understanding is right now. Just as I would not expect you to understand the Bible if you haven’t read it, the flip side of that scenario is your arguments based on what you have heard or read about the Bible will not have any credibility until you have read it.

God’s Word – The Bible – is the standard and guidebook we as Christians use as our instruction manual for life.

350px holy bible Have YOU Read It?

English: The Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

Just so there are no misunderstandings this does not mean we are perfect and do not get it wrong…often. There was only one who was perfect, Jesus Christ, and that standard is what we strive for but will never reach. I am a sinner just as you are. My sins have been forgiven and yours can be too but you will have to make that decision to accept the gift of salvation God has given us all. You cannot be “good enough” to earn your salvation. You just have to accept the gift.

That seems too simple for some but God wanted it to be simple so someone as simple and me could understand His plan of salvation for everyone. You see, God does not want anyone to perish or go to Hell. Yes, I do believe in Hell too. However He leaves that choice to accept His gift of salvation up to each of us.

If you have children it is easy to understand. Just as you would not force your children to love and obey you, God has chosen not to force us to love Him. He gives us free will and the ability to make that choice. An excellent way to learn more about this is to read His Word, the Bible.

I challenge you, if you have never done it to give it a shot and see what you learn.

Zig Ziglar said and I paraphrase, it’s not what people don’t understand about the Bible that bothers them. It’s what they do understand. Read it for yourself and see what you understand.

There are numerous Bible translations or versions and Bible reading plans available so there is one that will work for you if you really want to find out for yourself, what this book says. If you have a smartphone or tablet you can get the YouVersion Bible for free on either. With this software you choose from among many different reading plans and you will get a reminder every day reminding you to read. It is what I use for my daily Bible reading and I recommend it to anyone. I may address other tools, versions, and plans in a future post but my prayer and challenge for you is you will be curious enough to pick up a Bible or download a software version and read it for yourself.

Of this I am certain; God has a message in His Word for YOU but you have to open it and read it to receive it.

Until next time… 

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 Have YOU Read It?

Pizza and Cheesecake

(Pepperoni Pizza and Plain Cheesecake)

How many times have you either been part of a group or the person responsible for feeding a group when pizza was going to be the main course?

If your experience is anything like mine, “too many to count” would be the answer.

350px blondies pepperoni pizza slice Pizza and Cheesecake

A slice of pepperoni pizza from Blondie’s in Berkeley, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Think about some of those times when you asked, “What kind of pizza do you like?” Again if your experience is like mine you will get responses like, “I don’t care”, “Anything but anchovies”, “The works”, “Everything but onions”, etc. Sometimes you will hear “Pepperoni” or “Just cheese” but it is often as an afterthought. These are not the real exciting choices or the big stars.

Sound familiar? Well it does to me.

Pepperoni Pizza

However, I have noticed this over the years, and I have done many years worth of research on this – I have eaten a lot of pizza – that when the pizza arrives it is often the plain pepperoni pizzas that are the first to disappear. Why is that?

If you haven’t noticed this before the next time you have pizza with family or a group pay attention and see if you observe the same thing.

Plain Cheesecake

Similarly, if you are a fan of cheesecake and have ever seen a Cheesecake Factory menu you know there are many different variations other than the plain cheesecake offered. Often the last one chosen in just the original plain cheesecake.

350px plain cheesecake slice Pizza and Cheesecake

Plain cheesecake slice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to admit I have not done as much research on this…yet…but my theory is if you are at a family or group gathering and have a plain cheesecake and some other variation – chocolate, toasted marshmallows s’mores galore, Godiva chocolate, pineapple upside-down cheesecake or any of the hundreds of other variations – the plain cheesecake will be the first to disappear. Why is that?

I Don’t Know

I wish I had some wise answer as to why this phenomenon occurs but I really don’t. For me and my tastes the pepperoni pizza and plain cheesecake are my favorites so I know why I gravitate toward those when they are made available to me and probably why I notice this phenomenon more than others might.

However, why so many others who seemingly do not prefer these plain or basic choices at least in what they say but do end up participating in making them disappear first I really don’t know.

Tortoise and the Hare?

Could this be another variation on the traditional tortoise and the hare fable – slow and steady wins the race or is that a stretch? The multi-faceted pizza and cheesecake selections would definitely be the more glamorous, flashy, ostentatious, or speedy choices representing the hare. Pepperoni pizza and plain cheesecake would certainly be the less glamorous, mundane and slow choices – the tortoise. Yet, in disappearing first the tortoise wins the race again.

What do you think?

I don’t know if that analogy fits or not so I am hoping you can help me out with this quandary and comment with your explanations or reasoning as to why this occurs or if your experience differs from mine please share yours.

Thanks for stopping by and getting a glimpse of what goes on in my head and please help me clear it up if you can.

Until next time…

 Pizza and Cheesecake

Partly Cloudy

enterprise city of progress Partly Cloudy

Enterprise, Alabama – City of Progress

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Mayor’s State of the City luncheon last week. I am grateful for that opportunity to visit with friends both old and new, enjoy a good meal, and learn about the state of Enterprise, The City of Progress, through a presentation by Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell.

In case you were not able to attend or did not see the reports in the Enterprise Ledger Friday and Sunday, the state of Enterprise is very good.

I will not repeat all of the accomplishments of 2013 and goals for 2014 mentioned as that is not my purpose here. Here is a link to the story in the Enterprise Ledger if you want to read it yourself – City looks back, ahead at State of the City Event

Much to be proud of for Enterprise

The citizens of Enterprise as well as Mayor Boswell and the City Council have much to be proud of for their role in making these achievements and progress happen. One item that stood out most to me were the 343 new jobs that will result from new and expanded businesses in Enterprise in 2014. Hopefully, many of these positions will be filled by current residents but there will be new people moving in too.

Another highlight that stood out to me was the city maintained a AA credit rating and increased its reserves from $2.8 to $4.2 million.

Clearly Enterprise, The City of Progress, is in a strong economic condition as 2014 begins.

A Conspicuous Omission

The importance of the Enterprise City School System in these achievements was mentioned only in passing. I would think any business or new employee looking at Enterprise as a potential new home does look at the health of the school system, whether they have children or not, to gauge the health of the city.

You might say the school system is not a department of the city so it should not have been mentioned at all. However, the city council appoints and therefore controls the makeup of the school board. In a perfect world after the appointment is made there would be no further influence in the activities of the school board or from school board members in the activities of city government. We do not live in a perfect world.

Still Partly Cloudy

Unfortunately, when you remove the rose-colored glasses of economic achievement there is still a dark cloud that exists in Enterprise and has since June of 2013 when these issues erupted with the resignation of the superintendent of Enterprise City Schools, one of the school board members, and the board attorney. Nothing has been done or changed since that time to give the citizens of Enterprise any expectation or hope that the actions of the Enterprise City School Board will be different in the future.

Quite the contrary, the interim superintendent did nothing to help heal or mend the rift with the citizens of Enterprise by continuing to blame them, as the board did, for these events and limiting speakers at board meetings. Also, many who were associated with or supported the former superintendent still have anxiety over their jobs and some, as recent as the December board meeting, have had these anxieties become reality.

Just so no one needs to try to read between the lines here, there is no rift or disagreement between the school board and the city officials. They are completely in sync. The rift is between these two groups and the citizens of Enterprise.

The board has chosen to ignore the people of Enterprise and do nothing to mend this rift either. They have had over six months to make an effort or gesture to indicate they realize the people did not agree with how the former superintendent was forced out of his job. I have offered several ideas in my blog posts on this issue that are mostly just common sense suggestions anyone could have expressed. No efforts have been attempted.

An Opportunity for City Officials

The current state of the city provides, I believe, a great opportunity for the Mayor and City Council to show they are interested in what is best for both Enterprise City School System and the citizens of Enterprise they represent.

Resolve Bond Repayment Issue Now

One way they could do this is by resolving and putting to rest the issue of bond repayment between the school system and the city now, in 2014.

A simple solution has been suggested multiple times that would remove any risk from the city and possibly provide even more revenues and also eliminate the debt payment from the school system. If the tax revenue stream exceeds the $550,000 then the funds would be there to pay the debt and the school system would not need to pay, what would in effect be simply a cash donation to the city that year. If the tax revenue stream falls below $550,000 then the school system pays the difference between that revenue stream and $550,000 so the debt would still be paid with no drain on the city treasury. The Mayor and City Council have seen and been aware of this solution for some time and have failed to act. Apparently the plan is to postpone resolution of this issue until 2016 and re-election season. It would only take a few hours of the attorneys time to write up this amendment and have both parties sign it and this issue would be resolved.

Should a school board member or the new superintendent choose to speak up and push for this resolution it would certainly make them stand out from “the board” and be an indication someone is listening.

New School Board Appointment

There will also be a new appointment to the school board coming up prior to June of 2014. It may have already been made and just not be public yet. In any case, this is another opportunity for the Mayor and City Council to show whether they will continue the direction of the past or listen to the people they represent and make an appointment that would begin to lead in a new direction.

The only recourse the citizens have is to contact the mayor and their councilman regarding their disappointment with past appointments and make recommendations for future appointments. If they ignore their constituents then the only recourse is electing new city councilmen and mayor at the next election who will listen.

Citizens Are Watching

The state of the City of Progress is very good. Why don’t we make it great and remove the cloud hanging over Enterprise? 

The citizens of Enterprise will be watching.

The way I see it now is still partly cloudy. What do you think?

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Until next time…

Previous posts on this issue referenced in this post are listed below for your convenience and provide more background information if you are interested.

 Partly Cloudy