The Saturday Bulletin, v.1

The weekend before last, all the leaves seemed to fall at once. So even though it's the first day of winter and 70 degrees in Dallas, the trees are almost bare so it feels a little more Christmas-y.

The weekend before last, all the leaves seemed to fall at once. So even though it's the first day of winter and 70 degrees in Dallas, the trees are almost bare so it feels a little more Christmas-y.

I'm starting a new weekly-ish roundup of interesting news! In the future they will come (usually) on Saturdays. Here is the first edition:

This morning I read an interesting article about a chocolate company in Brooklyn that seems to have deceived (and likely still deceiving) customers about the origins and methods used to make their chocolate. A Dallas blogger, Scott (who also investigated the now-defunct Noka chocolates), researched their public statements, tasted many bars of chocolate over the years, and interviewed many in the chocolate industry to cast probable doubt on many of the Mast Brothers' secretive chocolate-making practices. It seems that while they are indisputable marketing and images geniuses, their chocolate is probably not what they say it is.

I need to get back into a better morning routine. When I was writing my book, I started around 7-8 every day and had a rule not to check email or social media until after 10am, when I had usually written 3-5 pages. It really helped me get a better start to the day. This article from Medium reminded me that checking my email first thing in the morning isn't the most productive thing I could be doing. I'm going to try making a hot beverage and toast and then intentionally sitting down and working for a few hours before I check email.

I came across this NYTimes article about what it takes to get an airplane ready to fly overseas. The article mentioned the amount of each beverage they load on board, and I noticed that the plane was carrying almost as much tomato juice as beer. I was astonished that so many people wanted tomato juice, so I set off to find out if it was just more popular than I realized, or if people flying to Tokyo preferred it. I discovered from Newsweek that tomato juice tastes different in the air, as it's far less acidy than on the ground. But many other tastes are different at high altitude as well, or because of all the noise that we hear on planes.

I've been following the conversations about race in America for the past year, starting with Ferguson and the 1,152+ people killed by police in 2015. It's been an ugly season, especially with Trump calling for deportation of Mexicans and Muslims and internment camps for those who we're afraid of. It's easy to get consumed by fear - fear of change, fear of losing power, fear of our neighbors.

But when I give in to fear, and I not trusting God. God doesn't tell us to trust in the next favorable Supreme Court decision. He doesn't tell us to trust our political leaders. He tells us to trust him.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding"  Proverbs 3:5

My friend Hoyoung has been talking up Pocket, a free app that I finally decided to try. It allows me to easily save articles for further reading or to share later. I've been looking for something like this for a while.

Did you know that Amazon has a trade-in service? I was researching the best way to trade in books at my local Half Price Books, where I discovered that Amazon will buy back books and movies for store credit (and cellphones and video games). They pay per item, and for books the ISBN has to match exactly what they want, but I thought it was a far better deal than HPB where you have to accept their offer for all of your books - not item by item. Amazon will give you a shipping label to print and will return any items they don't accept. For everything they don't take, you can still drop it off at HPB, where the internet experts recommend bringing them in small batches to get the best rate.

I can't wait for my friend Amy Young's book, Looming Transitions: Starting and finishing well in cross-cultural service, coming out January 16th! I wish I had had a book like this before I went overseas. 

I started this bulletin because I recently took the StrengthsFinder test and discovered that my top strength is "input." My first though was that's a boring strength, but then I remembered all the time I spend reading the news, my Twitter feed, and Wikipedia articles. I love learning new things, and I love sharing information. In their helpful follow-up email, they included some "ideas for action:"

  • Devise a system to store and easily locate information (see Pocket above)
  • Identify situations in which you can share the information you have collected with other people. 
  • Remember that you must be more than just a collector of information. At some point, you'll need to leverage this knowledge and turn it into action. (still working on this.)

Quote of the week:

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word "patience" means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us....Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her womb.”  - Henri Nouwen, Eternal Seasons

Merry Christmas everyone!!