Updates from September, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • ivanildotrindade 11:51 pm on September 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: budgeting, credit card debt, free loaders, stop wasting money,   

    A “Star” without the “Bucks” – unlearn to waste money here! 

    Paying for the use of a debit card? No way! The day the banks start doing that it will be my last day doing business with them. I will try to find a bank that doesn’t charge or go to a cash only system. I am protesting.

    So in the spirit of protest, let me tell you about some of the ways people throw their money down the drain:

    1. New is not always better. Cars, for example, lose most of their value within the first few years. In fact, they say that they cost several thousand dollars less the moment you drive off the dealer’s driveway. So do yourself a favor: only buy new when absolutely necessary. By the way, the same is true for furniture, car seats, even electronic stuff.

    2. Free-loader is only a bad name in the boardrooms of credit card companies. Carrying a credit card balance is always a bad idea. For example, if you have a $1,000 balance on a card charging 18%, you are throwing away $180 every year in interest. Think of all the ice cream sundaes that would buy… just kidding! But seriously, work hard at paying off credit card debit as soon as you can.

    3. Mauricio’s rule. If you are one of those impulsive buyers, you need to change that. Impulsively. If you haven’t compared prices, don’t buy yet. If you are not sure if you have enough in your budget for it, go home and sleep. When in doubt, use my friend Mauricio’s rule: just before he and his wife are ready to buy something, they look at each other and ask, “But is it really necessary?” And most of the time the answer is a resounding “NO!”

    4. ATM does not stand for “Always Taking Money.” A couple of dollars may not be much, but when you go out of your bank’s network, the surcharges keep adding up. Did you know that there are surcharge-free networks, such as Allpoint or Money Pass? Allpoint has one location in Orrville and Money Pass has two in Wooster.

    5. Applebee’s or not to bees. If you are struggling with having enough money, stop going out to dinner until you can afford it. $10, $20 or even $30 per person will hurt you. A $3.00 latte on top of that and you are a star without the bucks. Time to learn to cook, pack your own lunch, brew your own coffee, and fry your own greasy eggs.

    I think that is enough for today. You are already not liking it too much. More tomorrow.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    PS.: I am indebted to Erin Burt, Contributing Editor, Klipinger.com, for ideas for this post. The twisted writing, however, is 100% mine. Ha!

     


     

     
  • ivanildotrindade 10:34 pm on September 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: domineering, group dynamics, myers & briggs, self-criticism   

    I met the female version of myself… and didn’t like it! 

    Rarely have I been allowed a window into my soul quite as powerfully as I did while attending a seminar in Maryland many years ago. I now jokingly call this my “Myers & Briggs moment.” Most of us have one but they may be associated with more pleasant memories than mine. Mine was equivalent to being hit by a tornado.

    I was at this seminar for three days and during that time we were divided into groups. Now, you need to know something about me: ever since my primary school days I did not like working in groups. When the teacher divided us into groups, I was always the one to ask whether I could do the work by myself.

    My reason for disliking group work was twofold: a) I was too much of a perfectionist; b) I absolutely hated the slackers, the ones who did nothing and got the same grade those of us who worked hard got.

    So, the gods of grouping gave me a “gift.” The “gift” came in the form of a contrarian female who drew the same number I did and thus we were in the same group. That was the beginning of the end of all fun and games; the seminar was ruined for me. Well, not really…

    I don’t remember what that female looked like. I have no idea how she dressed or what she munched on during the breaks. But I certainly remember her demeanor. From the time she joined the group, she tried to dominate the group dynamics, the conversation, even the thought process of the participants, and especially the ones of one Ivanildo Trindade.

    We locked horns, had verbal spats, and made a spectacle of ourselves. Nothing loud or impolite; on the contrary, we were sober, deferential, and even respectful to each other. But everyone who was in our group knew that we were like oil and water. I couldn’t believe that this lady could be so full of herself, so intent on being the center of attention, so eager to display the wealth of knowledge that she had undoubtedly acquired over the years. I felt like putting her in her place, but held my tongue the best I could.

    At this point, if I told you that I would later call that lady a gift and not a “gift,” you wouldn’t believe me. But that’s exactly what happened. After a couple of days, we took the famous Myers & Briggs assessment. As the facilitator was explaining how to read the results, I inadvertently peaked at the woman’s letters summarizing the findings of her personality, which were written on the first page. I don’t remember the exact letters, but I remember the shock as I realized that her letters were an exact match of the ones of one Ivanildo Trindade!

    I thought, “No! That can’t be!” Then I thought, “Yes, I found the female version of myself and I don’t like it.” I was disturbed, “So, it that how I conduct myself?” “Is this how people see me?” And it was that little window into my soul that helped me to start working on becoming better, with God’s help. And if you don’t like the version you now see, just be happy you didn’t meet me 16 years ago!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:58 pm on September 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , shaima jastaina,   

    Driving While Female 

    I am outraged. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women can be guilty of this unique crime: DWF (Driving While Female). Both local and foreign women are are banned from driving there. Though there is no specific law, religious tradition dictates it. They say that giving more freedom to women would make them more vulnerable to sins. Really? What about men? Driving wouldn’t have the same effect on them? Oh wait, men are the ones making these decisions and apparently they want to keep their women subjugated forever.

    Two days ago King Abdullah made a speech announcing that women will be allowed to vote in the municipal elections of 2015. After that Shaima Jastaina was sentenced by the courts to 10 lashes for driving a car back in June. Pronto the King pardoned the woman and she will not be publicly humiliated in this painful manner. What is going on here? Is the King playing a tug-of-war with the moldy mullahs of Saudi Arabia?

    What is it about men and religion that when they mix, sometimes, this spells trouble for women? And why is the most conservative Islamic country in the world so hard on women anyway? I am telling you, if I were a Muslim, I would be deeply troubled by this. I would be on the streets protesting and I would probably be encouraging my wife to drive in defiance to a this tradition (actually, she wouldn’t need my encouragement!). No matter how they to masquerade it, this practice is nothing but blatant discrimination against women.

    I made a statement a couple of days ago that shocked some of my peers. I said that if you want to reach the family in our part of the world, you should reach the women. Surprise, surprise. Why didn’t I say men? I wish I could say without equivocation that I have full confidence that as the men go so goes society. I believe women are more influential. They are the ones on the forefront of the education of their children, they are the ones who are most in touch with the pulse of their communities and they are the force behind churches and other volunteer organizations.

    In my church women are the bulk of the volunteers that make the church alive. They teach Bible studies, lead choirs, affinity groups, and are the key people behind every crucial ministry (except, of course, the top leadership tier). In addition to all that, many women are the sole reason that men even come to church. I have met guys who have been “dragged” by their wives and girlfriends to any number of things — from Valentine banquets to Bible reading groups. I have also met guys who wandered away from God for many years and became at worst abusive and at best distant from the women they once loved. But these dear women persevered in praying for their men and with time they saw them come back first to God then to their love lost and recovered. Many women have the gift of “staying.” In fact, some of them should leave when they keep on staying — for their own sanity and physical integrity.

    Of course, I am not saying abandon the men.  I am just saying that the way I see it, when it comes to influencing families in our world of Wayne County today, it is the women who have the edge whether we like it or not.

    And that’s the reason I honor the courage of women like 30-year-old Shaima Jastaina. Because of women like her Saudi Arabia may yet be saved from total irrelevance and obscurity. Or we may just have to wait until all the old men die off…

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 9:17 pm on September 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , greed, little people, road through bolivia, TIPNIS   

    322 Million U.S. dollars to destroy an indigenous population 

    Chances are you will never travel here, the nature preserve Territorio Indigena Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure, TIPNIS, where more than 15,000 indigenous people live in a national park meant to preserve their way of life and their surroundings. But soon you may be able to get there faster, if the government of Evo Morales, the Bolivian President, prevails in its attempt to build a road that will connect Brazil to ports in Chile and Peru, going right through this natural preserve in Bolivia.

    Ironically, Evo Morales is an Aymara Indian who was elected in 2009 in a landslide, largely because of the support of the indigenous population in Bolivia. Now his support for this road is costing him the support of many native groups. He says that this road is essential to the economic growth of Bolivia. Brazil, which is funding and building the road, is saying that the road is fundamental to Bolivia’s integration with the rest of the region and all the other coca growers are nodding their heads. Yes, though Evo Morales is the democratically elected President of Bolivia, he is still the head of a coca growers trade union in Bolivia.

    So whose interest is he really advocating? Well, this last Sunday it became clear who the police was siding with. Protesters were met with violence by the police and several officials from the Morales government resigned in protest against the police brutality.

    I care about this issue because it is another example of little people who are living quietly somewhere being crushed by the rich and powerful who want to channel their riches cheaper and faster so they can get even more rich faster. In this case, it is not a secret that what will travel through that road is not only soy bean and crude oil. It is also drugs, exploited women and children, indentured servants, and a mass of humanity who will have to move because their way of life will be destroyed by a project whose aim, it is claimed, is to provide them with better opportunities in a global economy. This is the real “Road to Perdition.”

    Brazil should stay out of this and leave it up to the Bolivians to decide. And the Bolivians who are affected by this decision the most should be the ones to be heard first. As it is, they were only an after thought, a footnote, an insignificant paragraph buried inside a shady book. Shame on Evo Morales and shame on the government of Brazil. You came armed with U.S. $322 million, the price tag on the road, to disrupt a small indigenous group whose only sin is to exist on the path between you and your prosperity. I hope you won’t succeed.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:04 pm on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Hostile Schedule Takeover 

    A word to my faithful readers: my schedule has been taken over by other forces beyond me… In the last five days I’ve flown to 4 different cities, driven to one where I was speaking at a church, ran 6.4 miles as part of a relay team at the Akron Marathon, taught a two hour class, debated deep theological issues with my son, attended a retreat, and I am headed to another town early tomorrow morning to continue the retreat that started today. So I am on strike from the blog. For a couple of days only. Will come back soon. Thanks for your patience.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:45 am on September 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , at-risk kids,   

    Running to save lives

    The G.R.O.W. Board just finished running the full marathon in Akron. We finished in 3:47. Please go to http://grow-worldwide.com to make a contribution to help us rescue more children from the evils of sexual exploitation in Thailand. Our home in Thailand has eight children but we want to rescue more. This work is so vitally important and I sure way you can help save a life and lend a future. Please help!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    Posted by Ivanildo C. Trindade via Blackberry

    Update: our G.R.O.W. team finished 199th overall in a field of 1123 teams and we placed 110th in the “mixed” division. Not too bad.

     
  • ivanildotrindade 9:19 pm on September 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , catch up assasin, isis bantley   

    The “ketchup assassin” and other bizzare stories 

    So here is a love story with a twist. A Brazilian woman who suspected her husband was having an affair, hired a former convict to kill the paramour. First question: why didn’t she hire the hit man to kill the husband? Everything was going well until the would be assassin fell in love with the would be executed. What followed was a carefully orchestrated plan to “kill” the victim, collect the money, and go on living with the “dead” woman in a blissful state of love forever. How the world came to know about it? Well, I am not going to spoil it for you. You can read about it here, but I warn you, there is a lot of ketchup involved. Second question: why did he have to kiss his target in front of the woman who gave him the money to kill the lover?

    Meanwhile, you have to feel sorry for Isis Bantley, who in tears had to allow a TSA agent at Atlanta airport get lost in the web of her natural capillary extensions, as he was looking for potential weapons of massive destruction that could be hidden in the 12 year jungle. I smell a lawsuit somewhere… Boy, I hope her hair was at least not smelling bad. It said she was a hairdresser so I think the TSA agent is safe!

    In passing: sometimes I can’t believe the rules about flying. For example, I still keep all my liquids in a Ziploc bag and take it out when I go through security. On the way to Newark, no problem. On the way back, my almost brand new Listerine tooth paste was confiscated. On the way back, it was taken away — .8 ounces above the allowed 3.2 oz limit! On the way from Newark to Philadelphia, since it was a small plane, I had to have my little carry on bag checked. So I took my laptop out and was holding it. The stewardess said I was not allowed to do that, so reluctantly I put it in the overhead bin. On the flight from Philly to Cleveland, same airline, the burly flight attendant, after I carefully placed my laptop in the overhead bin, told me I couldn’t do that. He said it was too late and he didn’t want to do any paperwork in case the computer got damaged. So I gladly put the laptop on my lap. Do you get the idea that sometimes they make up the rules as they go? I hope the pilots are not doing the same!

    Well, I have more to share but I am running as part of a five-person relay team in the Akron Marathon tomorrow. I have to wake up at 4:00 a.m., which I haven’t done in decades. Doing that will might prove to be a lot harder than running a little over 10K in about one hour. We are raising funds for G.R.O.W. to rescue more children out of the evils of the sex trade in Thailand. Please go to our website and help!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 12:55 am on September 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , heroine addction, , movement day, new york city   

    “Heroine is the only thing that keeps me from killing myself” 

    I walked 11 blocks on 5th Ave only to discover I was in the wrong place for my break out session at Movement Day in NYC today. I walked another 10 blocks, realizing I was going to be late for lunch, which was being served at the session. I began to hurry thinking I needed to get something to eat before going to the meeting point where we would start our trip to the airport in Newark.

    As I walked something on the sidewalk caught my attention — a young lady carrying a sign that read “living off compassion, please help.” She looked unkempt, distant, like a ghost or maybe a vampire (if I knew what they looked like). Her entire demeanor was disturbing. If there was a soul behind the shell of her body, I could not tell. I hesitated: Is she crazy? Maybe violent? Disturbed?

    There I was, literally only a few steps from the church where we were having this big conference about helping the poor, and disadvantaged in our cities, and especially New York City.  The irony was screaming at my face. Do I need to do something?

    I still passed by her, my heart heavy, but immediately turned around. She gave me a quick glance then looked away. I walked passed by her again, now in the opposite direction, still unsure of what I was going to do. Then I turned again in her direction, lowered myself, and said, “Have you had anything to eat?” She said, “No.” I said, “I would like to get you lunch. Where can we go to get it?” She said, “Well, I’m vegan, that’s okay.” I said, “I am sure there is a place here that sells something you can eat. I will be glad to treat you.” She said, “Are you sure?” I said, “100% sure.” She offered, “There is a Chipotle a couple of blocks away.” I thought, “Yes, Chipotle. God exists after all!”

    We walked to Chipotle, the line was as long as the questions I wanted to ask Rex, this new girl I had just met on 5th Avenue amidst signature stores, fashionable people and expensive buildings.

    I started making small talk but soon realized there would be no small talk with Rex. She told me that two years ago she gave up her apartment and a job in NYC to travel in a van to California with two friends. She lived in San Francisco, scraping by and begging by — no income, no home to speak of, no one to call on for help. Finally, two months ago, she returned to NYC — older but not wiser, broken but not mended, humbled but not changed. She is a wreck. Not even her mom will accept her in her old house.

    Rex is only 23, only a couple of years younger than my younger daughter. She believes her life has no value, she sees no beauty in herself and is convinced that everything she ever tries turns into a mess (she used another word for it). What is more, she is covered in shame for all the embarrassment she has caused her family. There will be no prep talk with Rex either. She doesn’t even believe God cares. At night, she goes to an abandoned house with other homeless friends, and there they try to mimic a semblance of an existence until they get kicked out to another ignominious location.

    But, as she repeated twice, “I have my own mattress,” as if this were the last thing she had to bring back the scraps of how things once were or perhaps ought to be. She is severely depressed and knows she must do something about it but doesn’t know where to start. Or rather, she knows but the steps are too painful to take. “If I go to a church, they will tell me to go to a shelter. And I will NEVER go to a shelter.” “Look at me. I am a mess, I can’t apply to a job anywhere.”  “I know I need God but there are certain things I don’t think I can give up.”

    You see, Rex is a Heroine addict and has been one since High School. She said heroine makes her happy. “It is the only thing that keeps me from killing myself,” she said, without hesitation. I told her about my friend whom I buried a couple of years ago. The first day I met him he told me, “I am 33 years old. My dad introduced me to cocaine when I was 13. He overdosed when he was 50. If I don’t get this under control, I will die before I hit 50.” Two years later he was dead. Rex didn’t even flinch. She said, “That’s probably what is going to happen to me.”

    I shared about the hope of Christ with her. I told her that God loves her and that He sees her as someone who has tremendous value and dignity. She was now fully interactive with me, speaking with animated eyes and asking intelligent questions. She was no longer a ghost, just a girl with an inquisitive mind. She didn’t get the whole thing about Christ — why he had to die, how his death gets rid of our sins. “That’s totally weird to me.”

    I tried my best. I told her she is believing lies the devil fed her. I insisted that she go and get help, supernatural help, to find a church, to look for friends outside the streets, to get into a rehab facility. Above all, I implored her not to give up hope. I said, “God cares so much about you, He sent me to you today to tell you that it you can still turn your life around. He loves you and He wants to restore your life so you can experience joy and fulfillment. It’s not too late, please listen to me.”

    She thanked me, profusely, and even allowed me to get my picture taken with her (above). For one whole hour I interacted with this young lady while church leaders from around the world huddled in small groups across the street, and in other buildings around the area, strategizing about how to help people like Rex who live in mega cities across the globe. I wonder if we would have learned more had we simply walked outside and talked to the homeless — eye-to-eye, heart to heart, human-to-human. But, as one plenary speaker said today, “Sometimes we care more about strategies than we care about people.” How sad (for us and for the likes of Rex).

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:47 pm on September 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Good by nature? Really? 

    I’m in NYC for a couple of days and while checking at my hotel it occurred to me that every day we see little evidences that we may not be as intrinsically good as many out there would have us believe.

    Get this: even though your hotel is pre-paid, they still ask you for a credit card for “incidentals.” What are these “incidentals” after all?

    Okay, phone calls which nobody makes anymore because we all have cell phones. Drinks from the refrigerator maybe? But who pays 4 bucks for a bottle of water? Sure you can order stuff and just sign with the room number, and there is always the possibility someone may get drunk and start breaking stuff, or God forbid, walk out with one of these flat screen TV sets.

    You see, I think “incidentals” is a euphemism for stuff that may go missing or amiss. And why do hotels ask us to provide them with a credit card? Because they don’t trust that we will voluntarily offer to pay for those things.

    Businesses don’t trust our intrinsically good nature. And there you have it — an indirect evidence that something may fundamentally be amiss with our human nature.

    Next time, try to convince the guest service person that whatever “incidentals” you might incur, because you are such a good person, you will take care of everything no questions asked. And be sure to let me know how that worked for you.

    Good night,

    Ivanildo C. Trindade
    P.S. I wonder if that’s why employers make their employees clock in and clock out every day? And what about fingerprinting before you are allowed to work around children? Can you think of some other examples of this kind of thing? You get my point…

    Posted by Ivanildo C. Trindade via Blackberry

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:20 am on September 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , science vs. religion, will durant   

    Will Durant rocks

    “Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.” (Will Durant, my favorite historian, in his massive work The Story of Civilization, Vol. 6, The Reformation — a history of European Civilization from Wyclif to Calvin: 1300-1564, p. 3).

    This guy writes great prose with wit and poise. His dry humour always surprises me and the depth of his thinking stimulates my mind and touches my heart.

    For example, writing about the importance of belief, he says, “A cosmos without known cause or faye is an intellectual prison; we long to believe that the great drama has a just author and a noble end.”

    Talking about the predicament of death, he says, “… we covet survival, and find it hard to conceive that nature should so laboriously produce man, mind, and devotion only to snuff them out in the maturity of their development.”

    Speaking of the limitations of science, he pulls no punches, “Science gives man ever greater powers but ever less significance; it improves his tools and neglects his purposes; it is silent on ultimate origins, values and aims; it gives life and history no meaning or worth that is not canceled by death or omnivorous time.”

    As far as I know, Dr. Durant was not a Christian, and I am not advocating that he is pitching Christianity with the above statements, but these are brutally honest words from someone who was truly wrestling with the meaning and purpose of life. We would do well to think on those things.

    I encourage you to read anything by Will Durant. His “Story of Philosophy still sits next to the Bible on my bedside.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    Posted by Ivanildo C. Trindade via Blackberry

     
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