Free stuff for graduates — and anyone

Free-Stuff FridayTim Challies, as part of his regular Free-Stuff Fridays, is offering a great collection of books that would make a fine gift to a graduate or maybe just a great collection to your personal library. From Crossway Books:

As part of the contest, all you need to do is sign up for a free drawing by midnight tonight. Thanks much to Tim for offering these great books! Go to the link above to sign up.

Jane Eyre audiobook — for only $1.95

jane-eyreThis is something I thought I’d pass along. My wife and daughter, faithful followers of Jane Austen adaptations and all things romantic and such, were captivated by a recent viewing of Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.” Well, actually it was just half of it. One of the discs of the two-disc set was missing.

Of course, this wasn’t satisfying to them so they managed to find the remaining episodes on YouTube. After this, to please the cravings of the women in my house, I went to iTunes to see if I could find the movie. While that was unsuccessful, I did manage to find something that could turn out to be quite a deal. An unabridged version published just last year is being offered for $1.95 at the iTunes Store. Considering that most titles are usually around $10-$15, this is quite a bargain. There are also titles from Jane Austen and Bram Stoker being offered at the $1.95 rate.

The one question you need to ask yourself

It would be good if we asked ourselves whether we needed something to really make us happy or are we just hoping to fill some hole with more stuff.
It would be good if we asked ourselves whether we needed something to really make us happy or are we just hoping to fill some hole with more stuff.

I came by this by way of Neatorama. Its creator made it as an anti-adverstising statement, but I think the sticker statement holds for anything. We are a consumer society and, especially in this country, we don’t always consider the question of whether we actually need something before we get it. As a Christian, I think it speaks to me as a question of whether I am relying on myself or God to satisfy my desires. Do I trust what the Bible says in Psalm 37:4?

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

And what are those desires? I think, if we delight ourselves in God, they are things that please God and bring us more satisfaction in him. Delighting ourselves in God brings us more and more pleasure, not in the earthly sense, but in the sense that we are not feeling like there is a lack in our lives. Think about how many times in your life — and I speak to this out of my own experience — you’ve gotten something you really wanted bad and then found yourself feeling like it wasn’t enough not long afterward. I think we can all picture the scene of the child on Christmas Day who opens all the presents and yet by the end of the day is bored or looking for just one more gift. So, ask yourself, do you need it?

Valuable life lessons courtesy of Sears, Roebuck and Co.

After much urging from my family, I bought a new lawnmower last week at the local Sears store. Like I told Cut the grassmy wife, I’m very comfortable buying electronics, but buying tools and machinery leaves me more uncomfortable. I looked at several stores before we settled on the 625 series Craftsman mower.

My current mower, a Snapper, I bought 13 years ago for $75 from one of my neighbors. He used to go to estate sales and buy lawnmowers and then fix them up. So I don’t know how old this mower really is, but I got a great deal on it and it has run for years. Still, my family hates it because it is loud and is not the easiest to push around the yard. I’m the only one who mows our yard, so I don’t care. But now that the kids are old enough, we decided it was time to get a more family-friendly mower. And now the time has come.

Because I want to use my new mower the right way, I’ve been reading through the owner’s manual. You know, how to use it correctly, maintain it and generally avoid cutting off a needed toe or finger. As I’ve read it, I realize that it is sort of like a bible of lawn mowing. There are things to do and things not to do on the path to happy mowing. Here are some of them that I’ve read:

  • If you feel uneasy on a slope, do not mow it
  • Clear the area of objects such as rocks, toys, wire, bones, sticks, etc. which could be picked up and thrown by the blade. Bones? Maybe cutting the grass isn’t the problem.
  • Be sure the area is clear of other people before mowing. Stop the machine if anyone enters the area. That’s not a great incentive to get that lawn mowed: “I saw someone while I was mowing so I stopped.”
  • Never direct discharged material toward anyone. It’s a lawnmower, not a gun.
  • Never assume that children will remain where you last saw them. So true. That is, unless it’s summer, they’re teenagers and they are watching television.
  • Never run a machine inside a closed area. It’s easy. The lawnmower is for the grass, the vacuum cleaner is for the carpet. Lawnmower outside. Vacuum inside.
  • And finally: Mower blades are sharp and can cut. And you thought this machine was for BENDING the grass.

Unicorns are real?

OK, maybe they’re not real, but then there was this, reported by the Associated Press:

ROME (AP) — A deer with a single horn in the center of its head – much like the fabled, mythical unicorn – has been spotted in a nature preserve in Italy, park officials said Wednesday.

“This is fantasy becoming reality,” Gilberto Tozzi, director of the Center of Natural Sciences in Prato, told The Associated Press. “The unicorn has always been a mythological animal.”

The 1-year-old Roe Deer – nicknamed “Unicorn” – was born in captivity in the research center’s park in the Tuscan town of Prato, near Florence, Tozzi said.

He is believed to have been born with a genetic flaw; his twin has two horns.

Calling it the first time he has seen such a case, Tozzi said such anomalies among deer may have inspired the myth of the unicorn.

The unicorn, a horse-like creature with magical healing powers, has appeared in legends and stories throughout history, from ancient and medieval texts to the adventures of Harry Potter.

A look at the new iPhone

\"iPhone\"OK, so this is not the new iPhone that is supposedly supposed to be released next week. Rather, this is a new iPhone at the Ridgedale Mall Apple Store in Minnetonka, Minn. It was still cool, and my son, Andrew, and I enjoyed killing some time at the store while the rest of our family shopped.

I think Apple stores are the adult equivalent of those playgrounds that are in the center of malls for parents to bring bored children during shopping trips.