Outrageously Good

 

The Outrageous Life

In the OUTRAGEOUS life Dwayne Morris challenges the reader, and himself as well I believe, to live the outrageous life that God has planned for us instead of settling for any plan we can devise and try to execute on our own. God’s plan is always better and we have to have the faith to trust God that his plan is the best for us. That statement sounds weird but it is how most of us live our lives, thinking we know better than God. This book WILL challenge you – so if you don’t want to be challenged then I suggest you look for something different.

Here are some highlights from my first time through this book.

“In our attempt to make sure our plans are part of His plans, we must seek Him through the pages of His Word and build in time to simply listen in silence.”

“We need a healthy level of fear to keep us dependent more on God and less dependent on ourselves.”

Something I learned or realized for the first time in reading this book, although I have heard and read the story from the Bible many times when Jesus fed the multitude with two fishes and five loaves of bread, is the twelve baskets of food left over was just enough to feed the 12 disciples. I am sure some of them shared theirs with Jesus.

One line that really resonated with me is, “For years, I have felt like I had a book in me…” as I have and still do have this feeling. Maybe this book will challenge to do something outrageous and write it.

If you are looking for a book to challenge you as Gideon was challenged in the Bible to live an Outrageous Life then I highly recommend you purchase the Outrageous life and ‘let God take you from ordinary to outrageous’.

You can also learn more about the author, Dwayne Morris, and connect with him at his web site at MorrisMatters.com .

In case you were not aware you do not have to own a Kindle to read Kindle books. Amazon.com has free Kindle readers you can download to your PC, tablet, or smart phone that allows you to read the books wherever it is most convenient for you.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 10/25/2013

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All Part of the Plan

The Joker in The Dark Knight is portrayed by H...
The Joker in The Dark Knight is portrayed by Heath Ledger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About five years ago The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger as the Joker was the most popular movie around. In my opinion he turned in one of the best acting performances ever as that character. That is one of my favorite movies. I think I paid to see it in the theater 4 times and I haven’t done that for any movie before or since. One of the classic lines from the Joker in that movie was, “It’s all part of the plan.”

That line has come to mind lately in regards to the roll-out of the insurance exchanges required to be set up by Obamacare. The official name of this law is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act but effects of this law are anything but affordable and I have not heard of any patients it has protected. If you have a lot of free time on your hands or insomnia you can read the final bill (H.R.3590 – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) as passed here.

News reports are not good

Much of the news coverage about the implementation of this law is about how the implementation is failing, the health care exchange web sites where people are supposed to go to sign up for the health insurance are not working, are not secure, and once someone creates an account there, if they persist and are able to do so, their private information can be shared with anyone the government chooses and the account cannot be deleted. That is all true.

Opportunity or Tax Penalty?

Then there is the “opportunity” for those who do not have health care to be able to get health care promised by this law which I wrote about earlier (see Opportunity) which is really a requirement or mandate or tax penalty, not an opportunity. This “opportunity” is there for everyone and if you don’t take advantage of this “opportunity” the IRS will assess a penalty on your tax returns next year.

This personal mandate or personal tax penalty is the one the Republicans recently tried to get postponed for a year as well but the President is opposed to that idea because it would not force people to the exchanges in the numbers required by his plan.

Forced participation is required for success

If the younger, healthier citizens do not sign up for health insurance and pay 5-10 times or more than would be required for their normal risk class, if this was really insurance, then the law will fail. The deductibles on these policies are so high the likelihood of these policies actually being used is very small. This forced participation by the young and healthy is required in order to pay for the older and less healthy citizens.

I am not going to try to cover all of the details of this law. That is done now daily by many others, even mainstream media outlets. That is not my goal here. If you do want more information on how you might fare where you live you can find that in this article How Will You Fare in the Obamacare Exchanges?

What I want to point out here is

If that is news to you then you have not been paying attention. This information has been available since before this law was passed. It is just now becoming verifiable since the law was enacted October 1st.

Reality doesn’t match promises

Many have already received letters from their health insurance providers indicating their policy is not being renewed because they are no longer doing business in that state. Some have received letters saying they can keep their policy but the premiums have doubled, tripled, or worse and their deductible will have a similar increase.

Others have received letters from their employers saying they are no longer providing insurance for employees since the employer mandate has been postponed until January 1, 2015 and directing them to the exchanges for their health insurance.

Others have had their hours reduced to less than 30 per week to make them part-time status so the employer is not required to provide them health care coverage even when the employer mandate does take effect. There was much of this done the first half of this year before President Obama postponed the employer mandate for a year.

In case you are not following this, the result is less private health care options to choose from, less health care provided by employers and more people being forced to the Obamacare exchanges to buy insurance that is more expensive, not less as promised, and many are trying to pay for this added expense while working less hours.

Also, in case you missed this year’s tax increase anyone who has a flexible spending account option with their employer the maximum allowed was reduced to $2500 beginning this year so that was a tax increase for anyone who was funding this plan more than that amount prior to this year. I was one of those.

What was said about this law before it was passed and denied by its supporters is now being realized and is not very hard to verify. This law was never intended to be successful in providing health care for the long-term. It was just a stepping stone to a single payer system controlled by the U.S. Government. The fact it is failing in implementation now is all part of the plan. The only thing that might be a surprise to the administration is how quickly it seems to be failing.

The real plan in short is to force private insurers out of business, make the implementation of Obamacare as difficult and expensive as possible, and force as many people as possible to the Obamacare exchanges. Then you will see the same politicians who sponsored, promoted and voted for this law begin to say this is not working at all and is hurting the people it was designed to help so we, the government, must now take over the health care system in order to resolve this issue, that they created. There will be nowhere else for people to go since the private health insurance industry will have been decimated.

Let me restate that to make sure I am clear. The same people who wrote this law will be the ones saying the law is not working and they need to fix it. The fix they will say we need is a single payer system run by the federal government. The only question is how long this will take to play out. I am not sure they even know the answer to that but they are watching and will be ready when this law has punished enough people to make them want to accept their solution.

It is insane if you think about it but it happens often in Washington DC. Does anyone remember the housing, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac mortgage crisis of 2008? We the people are paying for these political games both figuratively and literally and will be for many years to come.

Introduce a little anarchy

“Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos.”

That is another memorable phrase from the Joker that I believe describes where we are right now with Obamacare – chaos. Remember who created the chaos when those same people say they have a solution for it. Also remember this law was passed with only Democrats voting for it.

“Those who fail to learn from history and are doomed to repeat it.” Sir Winston Churchill

So when the President and Secretary of HHS continue to say Obamacare is working they are not lying. It is working just as they expected it to. Most people just don’t realize what their expectations were. If you have read this far you cannot use that excuse any more.

Remember when those who passed this law begin to admit it has failed and say they have a solution; it was all part of the plan.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 10/18/2013

 

 

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Unfinished…but Jones is back!

This is a first for me. Not the fact I am writing about a book I have read on my blog, but the fact I am writing about a book I am still reading on my blog. I just reached the 50% point reading The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews on my Kindle and am enjoying the book so much I could not wait to finish the book before sharing some of my thoughts. I want you to get your own copy and enjoy this book too. That makes this an unfinished book review, but Jones is back!

Regardless of how the story ends I am hooked. I know I like this book, have learned from it and my expectation is I will enjoy the second half just as much as the first, so I have no problem with recommending it to others even before I have finished it myself.

The Noticer Returns is a sequel to The Noticer. Our first exposure to Jones, the title character, was during our trip to Tybee Island last May for a family vacation. I had the audio version of the book and had read the first chapter and it looked like it would be an interesting story so we listened to it on the drive. We were taken in at the beginning and, needless to say, (actually that was needless to write wasn’t it?); it held our interest the entire way.

An interesting side note that doesn’t really mean anything – except maybe the fact I noticed it – one block up from the house we were renting was a street named Jones Avenue.

Jones Avenue - Tybee Island, GA

In any case, when I heard that Andy Andrews was working on a sequel and the Jones would indeed be returning I knew I would need to get the book when it was available and see what Jones has been up to lately. Well, the book was released this week and that is what I have been doing.

Even though this is a sequel you do not have to read The Noticer to be able to understand what is going on in The Noticer Returns. I suspect you might want to go back and read it though once you meet Jones and Andy Andrews.

Jones, as mentioned earlier, is The Noticer. He is described as having white hair, blue eyes and wears a t-shirt and jeans. He seems to show up when the characters in the stories need him to show up and help them notice things that were there the whole time. They were just not seeing their situation from the proper perspective.

is a quote from the book. That could be one of the reasons I can identify with Jones. I tend to think my perspective on life is a bit peculiar as evidenced by the name of this blog – Peculiar Perspective.

Another reason I believe I have become a fan of Andy Andrews and his work lately is that he lives here in Alabama, in Orange Beach, and we have spent a lot of time in that area recently. He also writes about the area where he lives.

We vacationed in Gulf Shores last year. Our high school football region changed last year most of our region opponents are now located in the Mobile area so we have traveled to the area often over the past couple of years to watch our son and the Wildcats play football. Two of the areas mentioned in this book, Fairhope and Baldwin County, are two of our region opponents.

If you have never read anything by Andy Andrews you should. You may become a fan of his work like me or you may not but if you don’t pick up one of his books and give it a try you will never know. I believe you will be glad you did if you do. I started with The Traveler’s Gift, then The Final Summit, then The Noticer, and now The Noticer Returns.

Now to some quotes and thoughts from The Noticer Returns. Quotes will be italicized in blue.

“The old man could make me laugh, and he did so quite often; but mostly, he made me think. Not necessarily about a certain thing . . . He made me think in ways I had never considered. Jones had a knack for turning a situation or a deep-seated belief upside down or sideways in such a manner that it became perfectly clear and made total sense. ” 

The old man is Jones and he will make you think or remind you of something deep down you already knew but just haven’t thought of lately or how it might relate to your current situation.

Jones defined himself as an Inclinational Archaeologist.

When she asked what that was, he said he specialized in “the excavation of thoughts by which living subjects were inclined to do great things.” She had no clue what he meant, of course, but I did. Jones’s conversations were designed to reveal a pattern of decisions that eventually unearthed one’s very thinking.

Jesus taught by asking questions and telling stories. Jones does too.

Skipping back to the prologue, the author makes the statement below that Jones helps the characters in the book to learn by the questions and stories he tells.

Through the years and many hard lessons, I have found that no matter how long it takes or how desperately a person battles or denies, the truth always—always—makes itself known.

I am not going to try to re-tell the stories included in the book. I believe that is best to be read and discovered as you go which is what I am still doing myself. I do recommend you get this book and enjoy the stories and principles shared. Some may be new to you but even if not, we all need to be reminded from time to time of truths we have learned in the past.

The best way I can describe the style of Andy Andrews is he uses his storytelling talent, which reminds me of my favorite storyteller, Walt Disney, to remind or teach basic life principles that can benefit anyone who endeavors to read and learn them, which reminds me of Zig Ziglar, another of my favorites.

For me that puts Andy Andrews in good company. I believe if you choose to pick up a copy of The Noticer Returns you will be intrigued, entertained, will learn something too. That is kind of what I look for in a book. I am finding it and am looking forward to learning more in the second half of this one.

You will likely have a new perspective too. As the subtitle of the book says,

If you would like to see the official book trailer click here.

Postscript: Since this blog post was published I did finish reading the book and I did love the second half just as much as the first, as I expected.

Until next time…

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Opportunity

Opportunity – what does that word mean to you? To me it carries a positive connotation or meaning.

I could have an opportunity to meet someone or someone famous.

I could have an exciting job or career opportunity.

Tonight I will have the opportunity to watch my son play football again.

I have had the opportunity to talk to all three of my daughters this week.

I have the opportunity and good fortune to be married to and share my life with the most unselfish, giving, loving woman I have ever known, the best mother those aforementioned children could have asked for, and my best friend.

I am taking advantage of the opportunity of writing this blog post right now. Whether anyone reads it and comments on it is really irrelevant. This is my opportunity to practice my writing. I do hope that views, reads, comments and shares are by-products or results of some of these posts but that is not the reason I write.

In this country we still have the opportunity to worship as we see fit. Some would say they have the opportunity to not worship at all but I doubt that is true. If you are not worshiping God you are worshiping something. Look at how you spend your time and your money if you are confused. That is what you are worshiping.

I “have to” or I “get to”

A principal I learned from Zig Ziglar is sort of related to this word in that how you look at things or your perspective. Remember I do claim mine is a little peculiar.

You might have a parent or loved one you are caring for now and you say I have to go do such and such for my father, mother, son, daughter, wife, husband, friend – you choose. However, if you can make yourself look into the future when that person is no longer here or needs your help, you will long for those days. So if you look at it from that perspective you would begin to say I get to go and do such and such for whomever.

It is true that you often never realize what you have until it is gone. These are opportunities you never get back or a chance for a do-over so make the best of them.

Disclaimer – Constitutional Conservative 

I do pay attention to current events and do have an opinion that is based on my beliefs which are best described as constitutional conservative. However, as best as I can the following comments are unbiased and just factual common sense.

Why I chose to write about this word today

I had the news on the other day on Tuesday I believe and President Obama was in the Rose Garden at the White House talking about his Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. They are the same thing.

He used the word opportunity when talking about this health care act saying that it gives people who were previously not able to get health insurance the “opportunity” to go online and select a health care plan that is affordable for them. I am just focusing here on one word used – opportunity.

I believe it is being mis-used and is misleading in this context. As is often the case in politics only part of the story is told to show whatever that politician is promoting in its best light. Often, what is intentionally left out is never explained or heard by most.

As I mentioned above opportunity is something positive that one chooses of their own free will today within the laws of the land. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land but the opportunity the President spoke of is more of a threat than an opportunity. Let me explain.

Opportunity or Threat?

You see, what he failed to mention is the flip side of this “opportunity.” If you are one of those who have made a decision that you do not want or need health insurance you are free to make that choice. However, there will be a check box on your IRS Tax forms next year where you will have to check Yes I have insurance or No I don’t. If you indicate you do not have health insurance the IRS will add a penalty to your tax return that you will be required to pay. That penalty will start small but will increase every year and could be up to 1% of your income.

So in reality this “opportunity” is the American people being forced to either buy health insurance or pay an IRS tax penalty. When you look at it as it really is it does look a little different, doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound like an opportunity at all to me.

Webster defines opportunity as “a favorable juncture of circumstances.”

The Affordable Care Act or

Opportunity_01

 

I like Webster’s version better. What about you?

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 10/4/2013

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