– Antoine de Saint Exupery
I am a wearer of spectacles. I absolutely have to wear them. I’ve worn them for as long as I can remember; perhaps back to 7th grade. I didn’t want to be caught with glasses on back then because I was afraid someone would make fun of me and call me a dork among other emotionally piercing words. To prevent that from happening, I would squint so I could see my surroundings. I noticed that as I grew older and my vision advanced to the stage of bad, I was squinting so hard that my eyes were nearly closed. In fact, if I take off my glasses at this very moment, I should just close my eyes completely. The result is the same.
I’ve thought about this question a time or two: “What if I became blind after being able to see all this time?” Surely it would be devastating. All the things I can see now that I take for granted would be off-limits to me from a visual perspective. I wouldn’t see my wife’s beautiful face and marvel at her dimples when she smiles. I wouldn’t be able to see my daughters as they walk across the stage to receive their degrees. I wouldn’t be able to see my sons do a Ray Lewis or Adrian Peterson on the football field. Wow! I don’t even know if devastating is a strong enough term to describe what being blind would be like.
Let us think for a moment about the wonder of Stevie Wonder. He became blind shortly after his birth. Yet, he is one of the most influential musical geniuses we have come to know. How is that? He created timeless pieces of music that any of us can sing now if the mood struck us. He can’t see the harmonica that he plays so melodically in the song “Isn’t She Lovely?”. You and I can see him do it so effortlessly though. Here is the wonder: “How could he have seen the beauty in the lyrics and music that you and I love so much and he is blind?” I didn’t understand it until Antoine made it clear to me. Mr. Wonder didn’t need physical sight to see those essential things that would make him great. He saw those things with his heart. You and I have just been blessed all these years to witness by sight and by hearing the fruit of Mr. Wonder’s invisible vision.
I want to start a business. I have wanted to start one for years now. I realize that I’ve looked at it the wrong way. With my eyes, I can see the difficulty involved in starting this business. I can see the look on the banker’s face when I go in and ask for a loan to start this business. I can see family and friends snickering in the corner because they believe more in the character I was than the man I’ve become. Hmm! Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing taking off my glasses for a little while. Then I would be forced to recognize those essential things with my heart. How are you looking at your dreams and goals?
“According to the laws of aerodynamics, the bumblebee can’t fly either, but the bumblebee doesn’t know anything about the laws of aerodynamics, so it goes ahead and flies anyway.”
I don’t know much about bumblebees. I do know that when I see more than two or more of them in a general area, one of us has to leave. I leave. And when it comes to aerodynamics, well, I know that it is how the Wright Brothers took on the law of gravity to get their plane into flight. They understood that when a liquid’s flow speed increases, pressure decreases. With that being known, an airplane can fly because the airspeed flowing over the top of the wings is lower than the airspeed beneath the wings allowing its weight to be supported in the air.
Let’s talk about the bumblebees again. Because no one has ever told the bumblebee he can’t fly, he goes on about his business and buzzes anywhere he wants. He flies without fear. He flies with confidence. Don’t you wish you were like the bumblebee? I do. I wish I didn’t know anything about obstacles or failures and other things I let steal away my dreams. Where would we be right now had we not allowed ourselves to be grounded by fear? What’s your gravity? I believe it’s time to learn from the bumblebee. Fly anyway. Won’t you take flight with me?
What a year 2012 was. There are some things that happened last year that I will remember forever. Then, there some things that happened that I have already forgotten. Okay, I lied to you. I haven’t forgotten and it will probably take a little time to forget. But what if I can’t forget? Should I trample on through 2013 and let that one thing I can’t forget control my thoughts and actions? I could probably function and get by with that one thing reminding me that it’s still there; like those little flakes that get stuck in your gum line after eating popcorn.
Hey! What about you? Is there something from 2012 that you can’t forget? Since we’re being honest, I recently unpacked some things from the spiritual and emotional baggage that I had stowed away. Some of it was in my mind. Most of it was in my heart. The crazy thing is that I had been carrying it around for 8 years or more. I know! Silly me. Then I had the audacity to bring all that heavy stuff into my marriage. Oh boy! Now that was a battle for me and my wife. She brought her baggage and I brought mine and we would put on a show to see who had the most stuff. Dude! It was a nasty mess. Then we would make up and realize that we are Christians and we aren’t supposed to act like that. By the way, what if we as Christians would really be what we “act” like we are? (That’s another story!) We are fearfully and wonderfully made and we had to rise above all this foolishness. So, we packed up only those things from our past that were near and dear to our hearts and minds. Yes, as you would imagine, we dragged them on to the next argument.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
I’m a Christian. You’re a Christian. Ever wonder why we find ourselves in situations that we don’t expect to encounter as Christians? I didn’t expect to be carrying around baggage from years ago and have the contents of that baggage to affect my life today. I may be overstepping my bounds a little, but, I know you didn’t either. Let’s get out of this mess shall we? Read the verse above again. We may be able to get off to a good start this year.
As I understand it, I am yoked to the baggage I am carrying. And that baggage, well, whatever is in it I am chained to. I am all tangled up. What does yoke mean anyway? To put it simply, it is when two things are connected so that they move together. Another meaning is something that weighs one down to prevent them from being free. Oh no! I have been gallivanting around yoked to malice, envy, deceit and all sorts of other things. No wonder this bag is so heavy. And no wonder I can’t break free from it. I’m chained to it. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! There is power in the Name.
Meditate on Galatians 5:1. Then, you should listen to this song. I promise you it will bless you richly.
- Kings in Chains (brokenbelievers.com)
Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. The weather is just right bringing no abundance of heat or cold. The transition from summer to autumn provides nature lovers an exquisite array of colors of leaves boasting their beauty before falling aimlessly to the ground. The main reason, however, that I like this time of year so much is that my birthday falls in November. Yes, my birthday. It is a time for cards and gifts one month before Christmas. What’s more than that is that I get more cards and gifts for Christmas. Oh how I love the gifts I receive.
This November brings me to 42 years of existence. That’s a short life when I compare it to my grandmother’s age. God has blessed her to be twice my age and upwards of a decade more. My grandparents and yours, our parents and even the two of us have received gifts we don’t even know about. There are gifts that we never opened from our birth day. Indeed, regardless of our ages, God gave us gifts when we were born and some of those gifts we have opened and some remain wrapped and untouched just waiting on the day for those big boxes to be ripped open and change our lives-even someone else’s life for His glory.
Why haven’t we opened those gifts from our birth day? Did God hide them from us? I get it. I know what He’s doing. Maybe we have to be good in order to open those gift boxes he stashed away for us. Or maybe we have to appreciate the gifts we already have and operate in them to our fullest potential before we can open the next gift. Could that be it? It can’t be. Is it because when we see our family and friends and others who work in, live in, and drive in the benefits of operating in their gifts, we want their gifts instead of our own? Our gifts could be better than the gifts of our friends and family but will we ever know? How can we get to those gifts we haven’t opened yet? After all, who gives you a gift on your birthday and not allow you to open it?
That is the difference between God’s gifts and gifts of men. If you gave me a bright new television for my birthday all wrapped up, I’m going to rip off the paper, plug it in and watch it immediately. On my next birthday, you may even get me a nice surround system to hear the hits even clearer on NFL Sunday. Oh, but the gifts I have already opened on my birthday from God is a different story. I have about two or three of them I’m using right now. The problem is that I don’t use them the way I should to fully impact my life and the lives of the members of my family. I don’t use them to impact the lives of others as God intended me to do. So where is His glory? Yes, he gave me gifts but when it comes down to it, my gifts are for His glory. So are the gifts He gave you. In fact, you and I may not directly benefit from the gifts He gave us. The benefits of our gifts may very well be for someone else. I’m not going to complain because I do understand that it’s not for my own glory.
Here’s what I think friends. Until we learn to appreciate the gifts we have already opened and develop and operate in them to their fullest, we won’t get to open another gift from our birth day. Until we can truly rejoice with those close to us who are enjoying the benefits of operating in their God-given gifts, we won’t get to open another gift from our birth day. The truth is that God hasn’t hidden the gifts. We are just too preoccupied to sit down with Him and open them.
Saturday mornings are often great moments of revelation for me. These are the mornings that I get to reflect upon a bevy of things that have occurred in my life. I get to spend this time with God and listen to His silence in the patterns of my thoughts. If I had done this in the earlier years of my adulthood, I am certain that I would have walked a much different path than the one I did. Nonetheless, His grace and mercy redirected my steps.
“How can two walk together unless they agree?” That is the verse from Amos 3:3 that I included in a letter I sent to a property owner in an upscale neighborhood in Charleston. I wanted this home some kind of bad. It was the perfect size and the perfect location for my family. However, there was one issue. The price was far beyond what I agreed upon with my wife that we would pay. I attempted to sell her on what I thought would be a successful campaign for this home. I love her and she loves me and she is going to follow me on this because I am the head. Boy was I wrong. She said, “Baby, that sounds good but the price is not what we agreed upon and we can’t do it.” “Oh yes we can!” I said to myself as she went through the list of reasons we shouldn’t settle on this property. Can I be honest with you? I was mad she wouldn’t go in with me on this. When we got off the phone, I was like a little kid walking in the yard kicking rocks because mama wouldn’t let me ride my bike anymore after I fell off it four times.
Here is another honesty check. My wife was right. I guess she knew like mama knew that I had enough of falling off that bicycle after four tries. The fifth one might have caused us both some heartache and pain. Before my wife and I became one, we made some mistakes of our own that we had to learn from the hard way. In fact, we have made some blunders together that came about because we were not equally yoked in spirit or in our thought process. But, oh, how all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. That statement is my wife’s life verse from Romans 8:28. I’ll explain how it worked in just a minute. Hold on.
In the meantime, I was working on another deal with a property management company for a home that was not as nice as the one I truly wanted for my family. It wasn’t as spacious and not in the neighborhood that had the best school district in the area for my little ones. But it could work. It was the right price and we could live comfortably. I had my mind made up and was only a few days away from finalizing everything with the property management company.
Now here is where Romans 8:28 turned everything around. I got a call around 11:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. It was the owner of the property in the upscale neighborhood. Out of his mouth came these words, “Darren, I was talking with my wife about you and your family and we went to God in prayer. The reason I am calling you this morning is that we have decided to let you and your wife have the home for the price that you all want it at.” My dearest reader, if you have ever received a blessing and I know you have, I don’t have to explain to you the feeling that erupted inside of me. My grandmother used to say, “Good God, Almighty!” There are some things about this whole experience that I can only explain by using two words – “But God!”
The owner of this beautiful property that my family and I are moving into is a Pastor. This was unbeknownst to me when this transaction started. When he read the letter that I wrote him that contained “how can two walk together unless they agree”, he went to the Father in prayer. Who can’t appreciate the benefits of the equally yoked? How great it is when brothers and sisters can walk together in unity when it comes to God. Yes, I am still the head of my family. I carry that title with pride whether things are good or whether they are bad. Yet, while I am the head, I have learned not to “go ahead” of my wife when making decisions that affect the welfare of our family. Indeed she is my help meet as we do the things that are of God. Paul told me as a husband to love my wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her in Ephesians 5:25. I’m on it Paul.
Yesterday I read a spiritually intriguing post from Strategic Journey that touched on a few aspects of my life. The post, “Allegory of the Cave” took me on a reflective journey of the cave I once resided and the people I have left behind. As explained by the author, “Being restricted is symbolic to the chains and your situation is symbolic to the cave”.
After watching Strategic Journey’s embedded video, I was eager to read the rest of the story. While the video was enough to demonstrate what “Allegory of the Cave” was all about, the words that followed the video drove the point home. When I read the last line, I was reminded of a question someone asked me more than 7 years ago.
I worked for a rental car company back then and my manager was a fellow named John Boone. At the time, JB (we liked to call him that) was around 25 years old. He and I had totally different backgrounds. However, the one thing we had in common was the desire to succeed. JB had a forward thinking personality and was very ambitious. I admired that about him, but, I wasn’t going to tell him that. After all, I was 8 years older than JB. He was supposed to be admiring me. Well, at least that was my mentality.
JB asked me a puzzling question one day while we were working. He asked, “Hey Man! What’s your average?” Because I’m not too swift on my feet, I could only think that JB wanted to know my height. I was thinking I should just rattle off my height. However, in order not to make myself feel silly, I asked JB for clarification. JB went on to explain that one’s average is the 5 people they hang around with the most, your circle. Of that group of 5 people, all of them will have the same mentality. They will all do the same things and find a level of complacency within that circle and potentially stay their for the rest of their lives. If the leader of that circle is doing nothing productive, neither is the rest of the circle. Then he asked me again, “So, what is your average?”
Honestly, I don’t think JB was looking for an answer as much as he wanted me to take an inventory of my life and the people that were in it. In hindsight, JB was trying to tell me to change my average. At that point in my life I was in a shackled freedom. Free to go and come as I please, yet still shackled to the floor of the cave that confined me. The chains that latched from my arms and legs to the floor and walls of the cave were lust, fornication, greed, and envy. Ironically, the people that were my average had the same chains that bound them. I definitely needed to change my average or I would have been in that cave forever.
Although I have changed my average, there is one thing I failed to do. I was reminded of this yesterday as I read “Allegory of the Cave”. I didn’t go back to the cave after I was freed to tell my friends about the new journey I have embarked on. Why? Was I afraid they would laugh at me? Would they reject me and my new-found way of life? Perhaps, I would have been afraid that I would miss the pleasures that I enjoyed for so long in that cave and abandon my new journey altogether.
To be certain, I will never let the pleasures of the cave replace the salvation of the life that has been restored to me. Our lives, indeed, are a symbolic representation of being chained to a cave. I’ve traded in my shackled freedom. What will you do?
- Allegory of the Cave – What Are You Doing? (strategicjourney.wordpress.com)
Renters and property owners beware of the scams that are continuing to litter Craigslist. Below are a couple of letters I’ve received from scammers posing as the owners of properties in my area that they obviously have never seen. See my original post on this scam here.
From: Td Yg firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your email.. The house is still available. I decided to rent the house because we are going to spend more time here in Abuja, about 4 years.. Let me start by introducing myself. I must confess that I am very new in this landlord business. However, My name is Barnett M John. I and my wife own the house located at (2988 Nantuckett Avenue, North Charleston SC 29420). Due to my job as a civil engineer, I works for a German company called JULIUS BERGER CONSTRUCTION CO, and now i have been transfer to West Africa to work in a branch in West Africa.I spent less time in the States so I could not get a hold on any Realtor to handle this rent issue, although it was when I knew how long we are going to stay in Africa that I decided to rent out the house. However,the initial plan was to sale out the House. which I tried, but sometimes the agents inflates the prize and it takes longer to sell.The house include the utilities like Heat, A/C in wall/window, Hydro, cable, Garbage Disposal, Fireplace , Fridge, stove, Dishwasher, Dryer, Breakfast Bar, Dining Table and Sofa Set,Refrigerator,Canopied deck overlooking nature.,internet access e.t.c. because of this reason and more we need a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money , but want it to be clean and for you to take it as if it were yours. I hope you will promise me to take very good care of my home, also i will be come once in 4 months for visit to see how you are taking care of the home, and if any thing need to be repair in the home, i can fix it back!
Information about the house below:
The rent is: $900 Security Deposit: $900
This 3 bedroom home
Parking type: Garage – Attached
Pet are also Welcome.
SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE RENT APPLICATION FORM BELOW.
RENT APPLICATION FORM.
Name (First name/ Middle name/Surname ) : __________?
Phone # : __________?
How many proposed occupants : __________?
List all in addition to yourself including approx age : __________?
Present Address : __________?
City/State : __________?
Please describe Breed, size : __________?
Personality of pet : __________?
Preferred move in date : __________?
Intended length of lease: __________?
Earliest possible date of deposit payment: __________?
Length of previous tenancy : __________?
Present occupation : __________?
TAKE NOTE: YOU CAN ONLY DRIVE BY AND SEE MY PLACE FROM THE OUTSIDE, BUT IF YOU DRIVE BY THE HOME YOU MAY SEE A SIGN THERE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT IT BELONGS TO OUR PREVIOUS AGENT SO YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO CALL THEM BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO THE HOME ANYMORE! IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN RENTING GET THE TENANCY RENT APPLICATION FORM FILLED OUT AND SEND IT BACK TO ME.
ALSO YOU CAN CONTACT ME AT +2348167165653 OR +2347038114086.
Barnett M John
From: Susan Klugman email@example.com
Hello , Thanks for your email and interest in renting my house..Actually I resided in the house with my family before and presently we have moved out due to my transfer to London UK. Presently my house is still available for rent for $1000 monthly rent and $1000 for the security deposit,(rent already includes utilities).You can drive by the house today and take a look at the environment if you like what you see get back to me asap. I will also want to tell you that the neighborhood is secured and the people staying there are good people, i bet you like the neighborhood. I will Attached the rent application form to you as soon as you get back to me. Features and description 8083 Long Shadow Lane, North Charleston SC 29406 4bedroom 2.5bath All appliances included. nice 4 bedroom home that is conveniently located. It’s waiting for a great family to move in. Freshly painted, new carpet, new vinyl flooring through the home. Family room with fireplace, spacious kitchen with refrigerator and dishwasher. Large eat in kitchen area for nice size table. One bedroom is downstairs. Laundry room. 2 nice size bedrooms upstairs plus a master suite. Huge Master Suite has large walk-in closet and Master bath has separate shower and garden tub. Want room outside? Take a look at the large backyard for those big family gatherings. Close to Charleston Air Force Base and the Airport, down town, shopping,… medical offices, and hospital.
The house is available for rent at the moment so you are free to move in as soon as you wish…A Deposit of $1000(which happens to be the security deposit) is required before moving in…Feel free to call me for more information and arrangements on how to get the keys and other necessary documents delivered to you.The house will be available for rent for a period of 3 years or more so you have a choice of deciding how long you intend staying there…
Susan M Klugman +44-793-701-7803
Thanks for your interest in my house. I am a professional piano/music theory teacher, I’m easy going and friendly. I like Music and have deep interests in traveling. I respect every religion and love to hang around with people and i am definitely not a trouble maker and very helpful in nature. I am currently living in Nigerian due to my transfer and I will be here for as long as 6 years, that is why am renting out my house. The house is located at: 409 Pin Oak Drive, Moncks Corner SC 29461
This 4 bedroom and 2 bathrooms residence. Kitchen is bright and cherry with all wood cabinets and plenty of counter space. Open dining room and large living room. All bedrooms are nice sizes. Master bedroom offers two separate closets which allows for plenty of clothes! Garage can be used as extra space, workshop or as, of course, a garage. There is plenty of space for a vegetable garden and a separate fenced area for pets. Some landscaping with perennials and mature bushes and trees. Fresh paint throughout. The Rent is $850 monthly including utilities and $700 for Security deposit.
The house is available for long term and short term lease is acceptable. The building is in a great location situated in the quiet and safe area and offers secure access. internet, cable, laundry in-suite, storage facilities, heat, water, electric and parking is included in the rent and pet are allowed.
I had a Realtor company help me get a tenant, but they were handling things too professionally and were extorting the tenants, so i took the job of their hands and tried doing this my self, but couldn’t find any tenant while I was still in the state as at last week. so as a matter of urgency for my travel, I do not want my home to be misused in my absence, I decided to take the keys and documents along with me. So I hope you will promise me to take very good care of the house always. I really do need to get a very well-behaved person to take occupancy of my house and take good care of it for me. So get back to us as soon as you can so we can send you the application form. Waiting to hear from you soon.
John C Pedersen
Call us for more information: +2347043996769
Robert Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org
Jul 29 (4 days ago)
Thanks for your interest in my apartment
378 Cross Street, Charleston SC 29407
I just moved to Texas on a business contract for a period of six years that is why am looking for a clean and responsible person to stay in my house. I am a Quantity Surveyor who loves to travel a lot from place to place on a contract basis.
Type of apartment: Its a spacious and lovely 2-bedroom fully furnished house with 1bathroom and utilities included The kitchen is well equipped.
Utilities and Equipments: Kitchen well equipped(microwave oven, Dish washer, blender, Cocktail mixer, Sandwich maker, stove e.t.c), all utilities included such as Internet facilities,Parking space, e.t.c.
Rental fees : $610 per month including electricity and phone bills
Damage deposit : $300
The rent is made very affordable because i am seriously looking for a clean and reliable person to take care of the apartment. Well I am not after the money, what i am after is the welfare of my apartment. I will like you to drive by to the building today to view the exterior of the building for you to get a better view of the building and get back to me so that I can forward you the full interior pictures to you to have an idea how beautiful and spacious the inside looks and we can proceed to the application form.
I look forward to hearing from you.
email@example.com via memberemail.com
Jul 30 (3 days ago)
How are you? Thanks for the interest in my House,my house is still available for rent and is located at :4010 Alpharetta Ct, Charleston SC, 29414,quite and safe I only need someone that can take good care of the house at my absence because right now am not around i just secured a contract in Manchester,united kingdom,of which i will not be back until after 2years. And am here with the house keys and document, i tried to look for managent before i left but couldn’t get any in time. If you know that you have a good reference and a good credential you can email me back to secure and occupy my house at my absent. General house description: 3 bedrooms,2 baths Single family home,2 full,0 partial , Bathrooms Square Footage:2194(Approx) Enter the foyer through double front doors, open floor plan to great room, dining, formal dining, eat in kitchen, office/study and sunroom. Foyer and dining has wood floors. High ceilings in great room, master and sunroom. Kitchen has an island, breakfast bar electric range, microwave, dishwasher and 42″ cabinets, pantry and eat in area. Great room has a fireplace with gas logs and built ins for your TV and display items. Master bedroom has vaulted ceilings, walk in closet and can accommodate a king size bed. Master bath has garden tub, separate shower, vanity with 2 sinks and water closet. One of the other bedrooms has a walk in closet. Office/study has double doors just off great room. Your bight sunroom is ideal for your morning or evening outings. Yes this is a true 2 gar garage, park your cars and have a workshop. Patio for you grill. Privacy fenced yard with a large variety of shrubs and plants.Nice cul-de-sac location.Available for immediate occupancy.Unit also includes it’s own washer/dryer all utitilies included.Yard service included in rent.Tenant must have good credit and proof of employment.Great location.A Must See. Hi-speed Internet access..Pet is permitted with the necessary pet security deposit, etc. Rentals will be required to pay first month $900 and a $700 security deposit prior to occupancy.This is a new listing in a highly desirable location. All email correspondence will be answered.Please walk by first.the house is listed for sale but have discuss it over with my Lawyer so we decide to rent it out now.And the house will be taking off the market as soon as you have been approved.There is also high speed wireless internet access.Pets acceptable (deposit required)full time employment or rental reference needed.Hope you are Okay with the rent fee of $900 per month and a $700 security deposit, get back to me asap because i need a tenant urgently and i can also forward the application form to you, if you are interested. Have a nice day. Best Regard, Raymond
- Beware Of Craigslist Housing Scammers (dchristopherspears.wordpress.com)
- Apartment Scams – Beware! (strategicjourney.wordpress.com)
- craigslist SCAM – for Yuba City Rental – read on (officialmvp.wordpress.com)
- Craigslist rental scam leaves growing rank of victims in Kitsap (kitsapsun.com)
- The Craigslist rental scam crisis (invantory.com)
- Big Island Police Warn of Craigslist Rental Scam (damontucker.com)
- Apartment scam (zompist.wordpress.com)
- Scam on Craigslist targets house renters (click2houston.com)
- Craigslist of Scammers: A site with good intentions, now abandoned (invantory.com)
This is what I see when i think about higher education in this country today:
Remember the housing meltdown ? Tough to forget isn't it. The formula for the housing boom and bust was simple. A lot of easy money being lent to buyers who couldn't afford the money they were borrowing. That money was then spent on homes with the expectation that the price of the home would go up and…