A P U B L I C AT I O N O F O N M Y O W N N O W M I N I S T R I E S
Young Christian Woman
GET MORE DONE ONLINE 25 Free and Useful Cybertools Large and In Charge Being a Leader Worth Following
These Are Our Choices? Facing Our Election Fears
Does God Really Care if I Drink Pepsi?
w w w. o n m y o w n n o w. c o m
in this Single! Young Christian Woman Apr 2012, Vol. 4 On My Own Now Ministries, Inc., Publisher Donna Lee Schillinger, Editor Donna Lee Schillinger with Daniela Bermudez, Page Design Kimberly M. Schluterman Editorial Support Contributors Dr. J. L. Williams Jeffrey Bridgman, Julie Ann Except where noted, content is copyright 2012 On My Own Now Ministries. Articles may be reprinted with credit to author, Single! and www.OnMyOwnNow.com. On My Own Now Ministries, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with a 501 (c) (3) determination. Your donations aid in our mission to encourage faith, wise life choices and Christ-likeness in young adults during their transition to living on their own. We welcome submissions of original or repurposed articles that are contributed without expectation of compensation. May God repay you. Visit us at www.OnMyOwnNow.com.
issue... Straight Talk from the Proverbs Large and In Charge: Being a Leader Worth Following by Donna Lee Schillinger An Election Year These Are Our Choices? Facing Our Election Fears by J.L.Williams Center Ring Does God Really Care if I Drink Pepsi? by Donna Lee Schillinger Spare Change Shopping for Auto Insurance Driving You Crazy? by Julie Ann The Recap Not Another Dating Book Review by Julie Ann Reby Ray Green Clean this Spring Just What You Need 25 Free and Useful Cybertools to Get More Done Online by Jeffrey Bridgman
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Large and In Charge Being a Leader Worth Following
By Donna Lee Schillinger
Love and faithfulness keep a leader safe; through love her authority is made secure. Proverbs 20:28
ave you ever held a supervisory position? Even if you haven’t, I bet you know a lot about being a good supervisor. Your whole life has been under constant supervision – parents, teachers, pastors, youth leaders, work supervisors and even the police. Have you thought about what it is that causes you to like and respect some authority figures and dislike others? Being “cool” and having a good sense of humor help to make parents, teachers and work supervisors likable, but if you also respect those persons it is probably because they are really good at their job and they treat you with respect. Anyone can be assigned a position of authority, or in the case of a parent, obtain it through childbirth, but it’s something different to actually have authority. You’ve been looking at this issue from the
subordinate side, but soon, if you haven’t already, you will be in authority over others. Before you get there, you should make some promises to yourself about what kind of authority figure you’ll be. Don’t you owe it to yourself to be the kind of person you admire? You don’t want to end up as one of those bosses people are mocking in the break room, do you? Especially if you’re on the college track, you may eventually find yourself in a position of authority over someone older and much more experienced than you. Imagine being supervised by a 12-yearold. Seems absurd, doesn’t it? But that must come close to the bewilderment a 45-year old feels at taking direction from a 22-year old. Even if age isn’t a factor, taking direction from a new supervisor must feel akin to taking driving instruction from a British
straight talk teenager who just got her driver’s license a month ago and has never actually driven on American roads. What can she possibly know about it? Besides young age and inexperience, there may be other unknown obstacles to being accepted as a new supervisor. Maybe everyone really liked the former supervisor and still feels quite loyal to that person. Maybe the people you are supervising were vying for the job you just got and were passed over because they don’t have the necessary education. Maybe the company you work for really bites and people can’t stand their jobs! Even in the best case scenario, as a new supervisor, you are likely to meet with initial resistance. In almost every job I’ve held since my sophomore year of college, I’ve been in a position of authority over at least a couple of people and usually someone older than me. I didn’t go in expecting resistance from my employees, and at times I was largely oblivious to it, but it was there. I know this because time and time again, my employees confessed to me later on that when I first came on the job, they didn’t like me. Was it me? I’d like to think it’s that people don’t like change and a new boss represents change. That’s not to say that I’ve always been the ideal boss. Through trial and error (emphasis on the error), I’ve learned a few things about being in the position of authority. I have a few suggestions I hope you’ll keep in mind when you get your first position of authority. 1. Avoid instituting change within the first month of your new job – and if you have the flexibility to wait longer, wait at least three months. There are two main reasons for this. First, change is what your employees most fear and for you to begin to institute change immediately, you confirm their worst fear and they will likely resist the changes, even if they are good ones. Second, how can you change for the better something you really don’t understand? You may have been told in an interview what needs to change, but if you have the liberty, take the first months on the job to learn how everything is done and to understand the rationale behind it. The real reason employees do what they do could be hard to articulate and may need to be experienced. Try working one or more shifts (or days) in the capacity of the
position you think needs change. You can learn a lot about rationale by walking in someone else’s shoes. 2. Expect the best out of your employees. Even if you feel their resentment, don’t acknowledge it. I recall once holding a staff meeting and having to dish out some hard pills to swallow. At the end of the meeting, I tried to make light of the situation and said something like, “Okay, I’m leaving now so you can talk bad about me.” Later, I learned that my parting remark had incited more discontent than any of the meeting’s agenda items. These conscientious employees were insulted by my assumption that they were nasty backbiters. Such a misunderstanding! If only I had left the meeting with this remark: “Thanks for your time and I know that you will all do your best to implement these practices, because I’ve come to expect only the best from you.” 3. Last on this short list, but certainly not least, is to respect what you don’t know about your employees. When you come on the job as the new supervisor, you’ll be acutely aware that your employees have no idea how capable you are and you will look forward to them discovering it as time goes by. Well, guess what, they are highly capable too. If you’re supervising a 45-year-old, you’re in charge of a person who has lived more than twice the life you have. Don’t you think that person has accumulated some valuable knowledge and understanding in that other lifetime? Just as we should in every interaction with friends, family and total strangers, we must take mutual respect to the workplace. Your respect of others will garner their respect for you. People don’t respect you for your title or what you can do to them if they are insubordinate. If they care about their job, they have to revere the position, but they don’t have to respect the person in it. They can fully comply with all directives and still resent the heck out of you. The operation may run like clockwork, but you’ll be able to cut the hostility in the air with a knife. Make the air easier to breathe with the only tool that really works to neutralize hostility, resentment and resistance to authority. Shower the people under
from the proverbs Photo by Frank Wouters
you with respect. That doesn’t mean you need to bring donuts every morning. People can tell the difference between gifts and respect. Respect is a feeling and a knowledge that you relate to each other as people first and supervisor/employee second. It is the natural outcome of a relationship based in Christ’s love. And like any other relationship, it takes time to develop. The Message puts it this way: “The mark of a good leader is loyal followers; leadership is nothing without a following” (Proverbs 20:28).
Hold this thought: My employees will respect me because I respect them.
An Election Year by
Dr. J.L. Williams
I Love America
Facing our Fears These Are Our Choices?
(Maybe a Little Too Much)
have to confess, I’m a news junkie! Much to my wife’s chagrin, all I want to do when I am home and have any TV time is to watch news reports and political talk shows. These are only occasionally interrupted by something nonpolitical on National Geographic or Animal Planet. But these days, even nature and animals have been politicized by the right and left! More than usual, I am especially addicted to politics during election years. Perceptions of America When I am overseas, I am always fascinated by the opportunity to view America through the lenses of other countries and cultures – most of which view us very differently than we view ourselves. Depending upon what country I am in, America is variously portrayed as: a Christian nation; a city set on a
hill; the land of opportunity; the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; a military bully; a capitalist exploiter; a colonialist country; or the Great Satan. It seems every American traveling abroad is seen through different eyes than they see themselves. That’s why “political conflict” and “culture shock” are very real issues to which American tourists, military personnel, businessmen and missionaries need to be sensitive. Sadly, most are not, and thus, the concept of the “ugly American” is unnecessarily perpetrated. Obviously, presidential election years in America are watched increasingly closely – especially in this media age of cell phones, computers, iPods and TVs. While most envy our freedoms and democratic process, most only have a superficial understanding of our political process.
Faith and the Public Forum This political year is especially significant because it is supercharged by the “faith factor.” In addition to the economy, jobs, education, energy, foreign affairs – especially the potential of a “nuclear Iran” – religion’s impact on the “social agenda” has become a dominant issue. There is constant debate over how a politician’s personal faith impacts things like traditional marriage, contraceptives, abortion, divorce, gay rights, the environment, etc. In the past, our concept of separation of Church and State has built a firewall between private belief and public performance – a concept that is completely abhorred in Islam. But in this current election process, the issue of faith is being constantly brought to the forefront. How does private character impact public conduct? Republican Religion A popular maxim says: “Politics and religion make strange bed-bellows!” One thing’s for sure, they are in bed together during this election year as never before – especially in the Republican caucuses and primaries. The on-going Republican presidential debates have now surpassed the 19 mark and counting. While it is an opportunity for the candidates to be “vetted,” or thoroughly examined down to the moral, marital and monetary minutia, there is a lot of mud-slinging in the process. To date it has been a very negative campaign fueled by millions of dollars of Super Pac money. Sadly, all of these negative ads have dirtied all of the candidates involved since it is impossible to sling mud without getting morally muddy in the process! As is usually the case, these on-going campaign debates are generating a bit more heat than light. This vetting process has become something of a political demolition derby with each candidate fighting to lead the pack and cross the finish line with their party nomination in hand by winning the necessary 1,144 delegates. The Final Four Already the Republican candidates have been cut in half from an original pack of 8 major contenders. The first four political fatalities were: Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry. Like the NCAA, the Final Four who are still battling it out are Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. While Romney is the presumed front-runner, he has not yet galvanized and energized the political and religious conservatives. This is seen by the fact that a majority of the voters are still in the “undecided” category.
Evangelicals, Mormons and Catholics, Oh My! Regardless of their past political records, present financial status or future campaign stumping, conservative groups like the Tea Party and Evangelical Christians will play a deciding role in who wins first place on the Republican ticket. So like it or not – and liberals don’t like it – Christians and politicians are in bed together! Republicans, in general, and evangelical Christians in particular, have to decide between: • Mitt Romney: a proud and professing Mormon elder • Newt Gingrich: a recent convert to Catholicism • Rick Santorum: a life-long Catholic of deep conviction • Ron Paul: a libertarian who plays his religious cards close to his chest Since Mormons are the 4th largest denomination in America, they represent one of the largest conservative voting blocks. They are generally very pro-family, pro-life, pro-free enterprise, pro-military, pro-America. Politically, then, a good Mormon can be a good governor or president. Certainly a potential government official should not be totally judged by his faith, or lack thereof. But, on the other hand, neither can a political candidate be totally separated from their religious beliefs. These elections remind us again that we are voting for a president, not a preacher, priest or prophet to occupy the White House. My Political Cup of Tea However, both political conservatives and evangelical Christians have to decide which candidate best deserves to claim and carry the mantles of “conservative” and “Christian.” Right now, Mitt, Newt and Rick are vying for both of those titles – with Ron claiming to be the only “true conservative.” The political wars continue. So do the cultural wars. And beneath both of them, the religious wars fuel the other battles. Questions like these continue to be catalytic in people’s thinking and voting: • Are we a Judeo-Christian nation? • Are we an Islamic-Christian nation? • Do the Bible and 10 Commandments have an historical connection with our Constitution and Bill of Rights? • What does separation of Church and State really mean? • Are we now a secular nation void of a religious foundation? • Does a politician’s faith matter in governance? • Is private morality irrelevant to public performance? • Can a Catholic, Mormon, atheist or born-again Christian make an equally good President? While most European nations have answered these
An Election Year questions with a resounding “NO,” they keep being recycled in America during election years. And this year, Romney’s Mormon Faith, Santorum and Gingrich’s Catholic Faith and Paul’s Libertarian “faith” continue to be a factor at the polling booth and ballot box. And many, if not most, evangelical Christians, have a great concern about the strong Mormon faith of Mitt Romney. The question persists: Does Mormonism represent mainline Christianity? Or more pointedly: Is Mormonism a cult? However we answer these, it will be offensive to one side or the other. Pro or Protest Vote? To date, most political pundits keep saying that Romney has not really captured the minds and hearts of the political conservatives and evangelical Christians. As a result, we have seen the socalled “Santorum surge” and “Gingrich gain” in recent weeks. The nagging question is whether their persistent presence and popularity is really a “positive vote” for them – or a “protest vote” against Romney? Only time will tell. And Governor Romney’s Mormon faith will be a deciding factor in that debate. Therefore, to help you make that decision so that you can vote more intelligently, I have updated and reprinted my book on Mormonism. I wrote it back in the early 1970s. For those of you who want to dig more deeply into this subject as you decide how the doctrines of Mormonism should impact your voting, click here for a free copy of my book in PDF format. Democrat Demographics This issue of religion and politics is not just a Republican issue. Democrats face their own version of this politico-religious dynamic. There is still an uncertain religious aura hanging over President Obama. While he has tried, he still has never been able to fully distance himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his fiery spiritual-political-racial-cultural rhetoric that often had strong anti-American overtones. Couple his liberal leftist “Christian” influence with president Obama’s early up-bringing under a Muslim father and subsequent education in Koranic schools – and there is a lingering dark cloud of spiritual suspicion about the reality or sincerity of his professed Christian faith. At this year’s annual National Prayer Breakfast on February 2nd (which I have attended many times), President Obama again spoke openly of “my Christian faith…” and how it has impacted his political positions. But formal and informal polls continue to show that many Americans still fear that he is really a “closet Muslim” who has not fully come clean about his Islamic sympathies. He has made many statements and speeches negating our American and Judeo-
Christian heritage. President Obama has made some very positive statements about Islam. In many of his speeches, he praises Islam and enumerates its virtues and the debt civilization owes that religion. He speaks of Islam as a “revealed religion” from God. He reveres Mohammed as an authentic prophet from God. He always refers to the “Holy Koran” when he speaks of the writings of Mohammed. He calls the morning Muslim call to prayer one of the most beautiful sounds in the world – and can recite it in perfect Arabic. But does this make him a secret Muslim? Not necessarily. Only God knows his heart. However, we do need to carefully look at the “religious fruit” of his life (a topic for a future article which can be read on my journal blog). Conclusion I began this political op-ed with the popular maxim: “Politics and Religion make strange bed-fellows.” Let me end this brief excursion through the current political minefield with another maxim: “Let your conscience be your guide.” In the final analysis, each of us as Americans and Christians must “vote our conscience.” However, if our conscience is going to be a trustworthy guide in the voting booth, it must not be driven by blind passion to any person or party. Our conscience can only be a trustworthy guide when it is historically educated and politically informed. But most of all, it needs to have been educated by the Word of God and sensitized by the Spirit of God. To that end, I trust that e-book on Mormonism will be a helpful resource in your voting. Dr. J. L. Williams is primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables through the nonprofit ministry JL, Patt & Friends (JLPF), which he co-founded with his wife, Patt. JLPF is dedicated to evangelism and edification through the love of Jesus Christ. Their mission statement is: “Leadership Through Partnership.” Williams says of the ministry, “For four decades we have partnered with strategic national leaders with whom God has sovereignly networked us. Our purpose is to do all we can to “encourage, equip and empower” them to be as influential, catalytic and effective as possible as they lead their indigenous churches and ministries. Our special passion is to help reach the unreached, under-reached and out-of-reach people groups of the world, especially in the Two-Thirds World, where there is the highest density of spiritual and physical poverty.”
feature article by donna
Does God Really Care if I Drink Pepsi?
hat could be wrong with Pepsi? Sugar, caffeine, caramel coloring? In case you haven’t come across it yet on Facebook or email, the conservative Christian community is intermittently flaming about the fact that Pepsi develops products with the aid of a company called Senomyx (that’s pronounced, ironically, sin-o-mix), which is using a controversial human-derived cell in developing food flavorings and additives. It seems, though Snopes. com has only gone so far as to call it “undetermined,” that Senomyx uses human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cultured cells (meaning they are made in a lab) that came originally from the kidneys of an aborted fetus. If you’re reading about this for the first time, you’re probably thinking this is so absurd that it can’t be true; at least, that’s what I thought. After some digging, I have now concluded that it’s so absurd that it must be true. Even so, it’s just the next slip down on the slope of using embryonic stem cells for research of any kind. Last June, CBS News reported that “HEK 293 cells are widely used in pharmaceutical research,” and confirmed that the “cells trace their origins to a single fetal kidney.” However, these cells are not being used in food and beverage products – if you drink Pepsi, you’re not going to be ingesting aborted fetal kidney, like some of these inflammatory e-mails would have us believe. Instead, Senomyx uses the cells to mimic taste receptors, in a way understood only by lab geeks, to predict whether or not a given flavor will satisfy our human craving for sweet and salty. An upcoming Pepsi product may be the first to benefit from HEK 293 cell-based taste research results, and in turn, Senomyx will likely reap product royalties. Curious to try that new Pepsi product? Personally, knowing this much, I’d order water over Pepsi anytime. “It’s the ewww factor,” says Debi Vinnedge , executive director of Children of God for Life, self-proclaimed “world leaders for ethical vaccines, medicines
Photo by Xurble
center ring and consumer products.” nable breath, order a Pepsi. I don’t mean to say that “Ewww.” Yeah, I’m feelin’ it, but I didn’t need the correct response is to give up Pepsi, but I do slanderously hyped up headlines to make me feel mean to clearly say that this information should give it – the truth is enough. However much I appreciate us pause and cause to reflect – and it is precisely this the work of these prolife watchdogs, it aggravates reflection and discussion that seems distressingly me to no end when conservative Christians (let’s be missing from Facebook and the blogosphere. Stop to real, they seem to be the only Christians doing this) consider that Pepsi, as well as Kraft, Coca-Cola and hype the truth (which, hmm, last time I checked Nestle (also associated with Senomyx), may profit made it into a lie) in efforts to rally Christians to from research that would not be possible without action. The press release Children of God for Life the remains of an aborted child. If you call yourself issued on March 5, 2012, for a fine example, anprolife, this should matter to you. If you consider nounced, “Obama agency rules PepsiCo cannibaliz- yourself morally superior to a cannibal, this should ing aborted fetus is ‘ordinary business.’” The Sematter to you. curity Exchange Commission ruled that this matter So what reaction is Christ-like, if spreading hyperwas not one in which bole over the Internet is shareholders should be not? However disturbing, Clearly, using aborted fetal involving themselves all this is actually just – but why not take a more of the same conremains to do anything is sucker punch at Obama, tamination of body and despicable and a sign of our after all, he appointed spirit that is part of living the chair of the SEC, in a sinful world, and degenerate times, but it does didn’t he? And “canshould simply strengthen not give Christians cause or nibalizing” is simply our resolve to live a life inaccurate. justification to sensationalize the set apart, as the Bible Clearly, using aborted urges in II Cor. 7:1, “Let truth and report on par with the fetal remains to do us purify ourselves from anything is despicable everything that conNational Inquirer. and a sign of our detaminates body and spirit, generate times, but it perfecting holiness out of does not give Christians cause or justification to reverence for God.” sensationalize the truth and report on par with the If you are a follower of Christ, you should already National Inquirer. This rampant sensationalism in be well on your way to coming out and being separeporting and sharing news about politics, science rate (II Cor. 6:17). This new information just ups the and certain Christians not preaching the right brand ante on a commitment you have already made. Are of good news is hurting the cause of Christ as much you in, or not? (If I may borrow a gambling analogy as anything today. These loud and unreasonable to talk about living holy.) voices garner the attention they are seeking, but is There are a number of ways this “purifying” can this the kind of attention Christ wants to bring to His live itself out, including the boycott of Pepsi prodbride? Where, oh Church of Christ, is your humility, ucts that Children of God for Life and other organimeekness, mercy, purity and peace-seeking? In our zations are calling for. However, is it enough to boyhunger and thirst for righteousness, we are starving cott Pepsi, when Kraft, Coca-Cola and Nestle also all of these other, equally important qualities, and do business with Senomyx? Aren’t we just drawing even undermining the righteousness we crave. a line in the sand to single out Pepsi? Do I not bring And yet the sin of overreacting is minor compared as much guilt on myself by eating Kraft mac and to the sin of not reacting at all. The greater danger cheese as I do by drinking a Pepsi? Or am I misunhere is to say “Ewww,” and in the next unconscioderstanding this whole boycott strategy? Maybe it’s
feature article not about personal accountability and living according to our espoused principles. Maybe it’s just exercising market pressure to get the company to sever its ties with Senomyx. Would that make us all happy; so that then we can go back to guilt-free indulgence in a branded mixture of sugar, caffeine and caramel coloring? Regardless of the motive, I believe a boycott would be effective and that Christians should use their purchasing power to ethical ends. Campbell’s Soup Company was also associated with Senomyx and expediently severed ties with the company. Mmm, Mmm Good for them! Recently, as a result of consumer outrage, Starbucks announced that it will likely cease using beetle extract to give its Strawberry and Crème Frappuccino that pretty pink color. Really? Beetle extract? Who cares! That’s a gourmet meal in parts of Indonesia! May the general population’s discombobulation over beetle extract in frappuccino not shame us! If they can get Starbucks to remove the beetle juice, surely Christian consumers can move Pepsi, Kraft, Coca-Cola and Nestle to adopt ethical research and development standards. So, yes, at a bare minimum, use your consumer power to make the world a better place. But don’t limit yourself to this issue only! Feel free to bring your conscience to all your future purchasing decisions –which, I’ll just jump to the logical conclusion here – may mean you never again purchase new jewelry and only shop the perimeter of the grocery store for organic, free-trade products. Uh oh, living this “set apart” life is starting to sound complicated, isn’t it? It really isn’t so much complicated as it is countercultural, and if you’re not sure whether you’ve been called to a countercultural lifestyle search the scriptures for the answer. Pepsi/Senomyx is today’s flashpoint, but recall, the cells in question were developed in the early 1970s, and have been in continuous, undisputed use in the development of pharmaceuticals ever since. Likely, groups like Children of God for Life were counting on a comestible product development to become something of a foothold on this slippery slope. However, their outrage campaign doesn’t
seem to be spreading past conservative Christian circles. Possibly the disdainful tactics are to blame, but 40 years of continuous HEK 293 cells supports the more likely conclusion: people just don’t care enough – certainly not enough to jump on a “Boycott Pepsi” bandwagon. “Soylent Green,” a 1973 sci-fi movie, depicted a time in the future when food was so scarce that everyone subsisted on Soylent Green, a high-energy plankton cracker made by Soylent Corporation. The movie ends with the protagonist Robert Thorn, a police detective, discovering that the oceans are actually barren of plankton and that Soylent Green is made from human corpses. As I reflect on how inconsequential the news of the Pepsi/Senomyx connection has been, I find myself wondering beyond the ending of that movie to what sort of a response there might have been to Thorn’s pronouncement that Soylent Green was made from human remains. If the month since the Pepsi/Senomyx headlines are any indication, I suspect there might have been a quite a stir at dinner that evening, but no one would have gone hungry.
Shopping for Auto Insurance
Driving You Crazy? by Julie Ann
couple of months ago I had to embark on a journey that I really wasn’t looking forward to taking. I had to find new auto insurance. It seemed like during almost every television commercial break there was a little green reptile, a gal in a white apron or a scruffy man in a suit named “Mayhem” telling me that their insurance company is the best and would save me thousands in mere minutes. How was I supposed to know which company was really for me with all this noise coming at me? If you find yourself in the same boat, shopping for the best and most cost-effective auto insurance policy is daunting. Here are some tips to help you cut through the hype and get started. Understand Options and Your Needs
The first thing you should do when starting to shop for car insurance is to figure out what your insurance needs actually are and gain a clear understanding of the vocabulary you will encounter. For example, you will probably need to consider if you need comprehensive or collision coverage and, by state law you will definitely need liability coverage. Comprehensive covers everything from animal collisions (1.5 million deer are hit by vehicles each year), to vandalism, to natural disaster damage. Collision coverage is exactly what it sounds
like as well. If your car collides with another car or stationary object your insurance will cover the damage. Liability coverage does not cover your car, but will cover the damage caused to another in the event of an accident. Liability is the minimum coverage needed to legally drive your automobile. There are other types of supplemental coverage as well, including uninsured motorist coverage (most states require this), medical payment coverage and personal injury protection coverage. Once you have an understanding of your options, you should evaluate your needs. For example, if you are “burdened” with a luxury automobile, protect your asset with comprehensive coverage. However, if your car is a clunker worth about $1,000, it wouldn’t make sense to spend half that each year covering it with comprehensive and collision, so you should opt for your state’s minimum required coverage. Often insurance companies will try to sell protection rates higher than state minimum requirements for coverage. Generally speaking, for a young person without many assets, state minimums are the best option. The fear that causes people to opt for higher levels of protection is that they could lose their house, savings and investments to pay for
medical costs in the event of a serious accident. This rarely happens, and for someone without much to lose, it should be even less of a concern. On the flipside, if you’re worried about being the one with medical or repair bills that exceed the state minimums, coupled with the misfortune of being in an accident with someone who only carries the state minimums, there is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage which takes care of anything the other guy’s insurance (or lack thereof) didn’t. One extra coverage that does seem to make good sense is roadside assistance. Don’t double cover yourself if you have this already with your car’s warranty, but if not, it usually only adds a few dollars to the premium and will pay for itself the first time you have a flat, lock yourself out of the car, or break down on the side of the road. Do cost compare with AAA, however, as the latter also offers good travel discounts. Shop Around
Once you know what you need and understand the lingo, you can start shopping around. This can be a little time-consuming, but when you consider that you may be able to save hundreds of dollars by spending an afternoon requesting quotes, it can be a good time investment. Most companies have an online form that you can fill out to generate a quote. Be prepared to answer all kinds of questions about your car, your past/current insurance plan and other personal information. Be aware that these companies will likely contact you after you request a quote, so expect to receive phone calls or e-mails. If you don’t want to do the work yourself, consider going through an insurance broker, an independent agent who has relationships with many insurance companies. Because they have several companies within their scope, they can do the hard work and provide you with the best available rate among the companies they do business with. When I was shopping for insurance, I used a local broker and they were very easy to work with and got me a great rate. Even if you opt for the broker, call at least three of them, as often the big companies like Progressive, Nationwide, and Geico won’t use the same broker. Ask About Discounts
Be sure to ask about discounts for a good driving record, good grades, and bundling insurance coverage
with your home, renter’s or other insurance. Discounts may also apply for paying the entire premium up-front, instead of by the month, or for signing up for an auto-payment system. Some companies may be hesitant to just offer you the discount, so make sure you research the company to know what they offer and don’t be afraid to ask and press the issue. Play with the Numbers
A good way to get insurance costs down is to raise your deductible, the amount of money that will be your responsibility in the event of a claim. A $1000 deductible plan will be less expensive than a $500 deductible plan. Although there is an element of gamble involved, assess your risk with the same type of factors an insurance company would, and if, for example, you don’t drive that much and you have a great record – no accidents – a higher deductible may be a better bet. However, you must have a way to meet that deductible should an accident happen, so higher deductibles are smartest when paired with an emergency fund savings account. Long Term Insurance Planning
Done all this and still not happy with the rate you got? There are steps you can take now to help your insurance rates in the future. First, as you age (and get married), rates usually decrease. After you turn 25, shop out your coverage again, particularly if you’ve been ticket- and accident-free for the last three years. Secondly, maintain good driving habits and those rates will continue to drop as good driver benefits will kick in. Obey all traffic laws, go the speed limit (no tickets!) and practice defensive driving. Also, your credit score can affect your insurance rates (and a whole bunch of others things!), so be sure to maintain good credit. Another thing to consider for future insurance rates is the type of car that you drive. If you are buying a new car, make sure that you factor in the insurance when figuring the long-term costs of the car. Insweb.com provides a list of the most and least expensive cars to insure. While I found the experience quite frustrating at times, in the end it was worth the time, research and aggravation to be insured to my satisfaction and at a cost I could afford. And until my circumstances change or I want to see if I can get a better deal (you should comparison shop every few years), I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the drive.
the recap Review by Julie Ann
Read All the Dating Books? Here’s NOT Another Dating Book
The Recap on Not Another Dating Book: A Devotional Guide to ALL Your Relationships
was highly skeptical when I began reading Not Another Dating Book, by Renee Fisher, as I fully expected it to be, well, another dating book. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that the title was completely accurate: it is not another dating book. Fisher takes a different approach by writing her book in a devotional format. While the 80 topics are mostly standard fare for dating books – such as being content in singleness, remaining pure, handling break-ups – they are presented as short, easy-to-digest vignettes. Fisher gets straight to the point for each topic and always brings the focus back to God and what the Bible says about relationships, bothwith members of the opposite sex and with God himself. Following each short essay, Fisher offers a prayer and then asks the reader to consider a particular scripture and respond to the scripture
and the particular topic she has just addressed. At the end of each topic, Fisher provides quotes on relationships from singles wrestling through the issues. Interspersed throughout the book are sections where singles have shared their dating disasters. These comical stories add a lighthearted break from the heavy subject matter. Plus, it’s always nice to be reminded that there is always someone out who has had worse dating experiences than you. Fisher puts the greatest focus on our relationship with God. Every topic that she addresses always comes back around to Him. For example, in writing about crushes, she notes that having a crush can be a huge distraction. She encourages the reader to wait upon God’s timing, not to force the crush into a relationship, and to use the opportunity to draw closer to God, knowing that
He will work out His plans for you. The use of scripture through the book was another aspect that I appreciated as the Bible should be our ultimate authority in all relationship issues. Having scripture handy for each topic allows the reader to easily tackle tough issues and address questions from God’s perspective. The interactive short-answer questions make the reader think through his or her own ideas on dating, what he or she is looking for in a prospective partner, and what God wants relationships to look like. This isn’t just a book that you can casually read through and find a magic formula for finding a partner. It’s a book that causes you to think and consider relationships from the biblical worldview. Not Another Dating Book is a great book for those just starting to wade into the waters of the dating world or those who have been swimming in the single waters for a while. Everyone can find insight on the stage of his or her relationship and everyone can use the book to draw closer to God. Note: Between the writing and publishing of this book, the author got married, changing her last name from Johnson to Fisher. Some promotional items, such as the “not another book trailer” have retained her maiden name.
Not Another Dating Book: A Devotional Guide to ALL Your Relationships by Renee Fisher Harvest House Publishers copyright 2012 176 pp. $11.99 ISBN 9780736945356
Reba Ray’s by Reba Ray
This Spring W
hen a friend told me about making her own laundry detergent, I thought she was goin’ granola to the extreme on me, but when she told me how much money she saved by doin’ so, a bell went off. Sounded somethin’ like “Cha-ching!” So I finally rounded up a couple of teenagers who work for pizza and told them to start grating bar soap for my homemade laundry detergent. Twenty minutes later, they had a big ole batch of soap that I put in a empty box from the last detergent I had bought at the store. Those 180-load boxes usually lasted me about two months and cost about $20. This homemade detergent cost me about $30; difference is it’s lasted me since last November! Yep, I’m goin’ on five months now and have a third of the box left! Don’t ask me why, but it only takes a few tablespoons of the homemade stuff to get the clothes clean. And I even like how it smells. Besides just savin’ money, I believe homemade cleaners are better for a body. Did you know that house wives who are exposed to cleanin’ products are two times more likely to develop some types of cancer, includin’ breast cancer? Now that’s a fine howdy-do for keepin’ a clean house! But the fact of the matter is we’ve done the same dang thing to our cleanin’ products since the 1950s as we have our food: made ‘em dern bad for us! Let’s get back to basics and save some money while we’re at it. Here are some recipes of a different kind: downhome healthy concoctin’ for one! Most of this information is from Healthy-
down-home healthy cookin’ for one on a budget Child.org. If I haven’t convinced ya to try some of these recipes, check out their article on a recent study linking 200 household products with asthma and hormone disturbance (hmm, that actually explains a few things!). Get ready by buyin’ a few high quality spray bottles with ounce measurements on them, some castile liquid soap (you can find online (Amazon, Vitacost.com) or in health stores; a gallon of distilled white vinegar; washin’ soda and borax (found in your supermarket’s laundry aisle) and a big box of bakin’ soda. • For Scrubbin’ and Scourin’, Alternative to Scouring Powder: For a “soft scrub,” mix together baking soda and liquid soap until you get a consistency you like. The amounts don’t have to be perfect. Make only as much as you need, as it dries up quickly. • Surface Disinfectants, Alternative to Lysol: Spray surfaces with vinegar and then with 3% hydrogen peroxide (available in drug stores). Keep the liquids in separate spray bottles and use them one at a time. • Glass Cleaner, Alternative to Windex: Put 3 tablespoons vinegar per 1 quart water in a spray bottle. Some recommend using half vinegar and half water. For extra-dirty windows try this: 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap, 3 tablespoons vinegar and 2 cups of water. Shake well, spray on and wipe off with newspaper. Alternately to the alternative, try washin’ yur windows with club soda. • Drain de-clogger, Alternative to Drano: To degrease and deodorize sink and tub drains, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down drain followed by 1 cup vinegar; let bubble for 15 minutes; rinse with hot water. You might have to repeat the whole procedure more than once or leave the baking soda and vinegar to “cook” overnight. • Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Alternative to Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Pour 1 cup of borax and 1/4 cup vinegar into the toilet before bed. In the morning, scrub and flush. • Deodorizer, Alternative to Air Fresheners and Febreze: Vinegar and baking soda are great room fresheners. Vinegar deodorizes, while baking soda absorbs odors. Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon vinegar (or lemon juice)
and 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle and spritz in the air to remove odors. Zeolite, a mineral, also absorbs odor, but good luck finding it in stores and if you search online, be sure to enter “zeolite odor control” because it’s wildly popular as a detox treatment. Zeolite products can also replace yur Carpet Fresh and if you sprinkle some in the litter box, you can buy a lot cheaper kitty litter without smelling the difference. • Furniture Polish, Alternative to Pledge: First off, you should know that only real wood furniture needs an oily polish, everything else can be dusted with a damp cloth just as well. For real wood, polish with a rag lightly coated with olive oil. • Whitenin’ and Sanitizin’ Agent, Alternative to Bleach: Use hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine bleach. • All-purpose disinfectant, Alternative to Pinesol or 409: 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 to 4 cups hot water in a spray bottle. For extra cleaning power, add 1/4 teaspoon liquid soap to the mixture. And finally, I leave you with the concoction that’s cleanin’ my clothes so well. 1 box borax 1 large box baking soda (find it in the laundry section) 1 box washing soda (also found in the laundry section) 1 large tub oxyclean - optional 2 bars Fels Naphtha soap, grated 2 bars Zote soap, grated Mix it all together and use sparingly, about 3 tablespoons for a large load. Dissolve it for a bit in hot water, then change the temp to warm or cold, accordin’ to what yur washin’. This soap doesn’t foam up, so don’t sit there watchin’ it! It’s doin’ its job, I promise.
*W.E. Morton, Further Investigation of Housewife Cancer Mortality Risk, Women and Health, 1982, 7:43-51; Dr. D.A. Sterling, Comparison of Risk of Chronic Conditions and Cancer Between Homemakers and Otherwise Employed Women, National Center for Health Statistics Conference, Washington, DC, July 15, 1991
Just What You
Q.T. in the Clouds: Doing More Online
ith the proliferation of mobile, on-the-go devices and relatively easy access to the Internet, we’re getting more and more done online. Here are some programs, websites, and apps that let you walk around with your head up in the clouds. Documents Who needs Microsoft Office when you can do it all online? Use Google Docs to work and save your files online. You can share you documents and even have multiple people work on the same file at once. Microsoft also has an alternative called SkyDrive which doubles as online storage for any kind of file, similar to DropBox which provides you 2GB of free storage and even more if you get friends to join. Entertainment Why pay for cable or listen to staticy radio when you can watch TV and movies for free on Hulu, or make your own custom radio station on Pandora, or listen to whatever song you like on Spotify? Screen share The ability to share what’s on your screen doesn’t seem like a big deal, but once you’ve done it there’s no going back. Use join.me or Quick Screen Share, which doesn’t require you to install or signup (you’ll need Java though). For fancier screen-casting and web conferencing, you can give Yugma a try for free. Communicate Jump forward into the future where we have video phones! Oh wait, we’re already there. You can use Skype on your computer to place phone calls, video chat with other users, and even screen share to help your grandma figure out how to use Farmville on Facebook. If you don’t want to use your computer, you could use Rebtel. I use it to call internationally to family for pennies per minute. It gives me a local number that redirects to another number when I call it. Or how about Google Voice? You can get a free phone number through them and set it up to dial any of your phones, depending on who is calling at what time. It can also send you transcriptions of voice mail, transfer calls between phones, and make long distance calls for a low price. If you need to send a Fax, you can send it with GotFreeFax.com.
Create Who needs Microsoft Paint when you could make art online! Make hand-drawn looking sketches with zwibbler, or make fancier art with iScribble. Edit your photos and add some spice at Picnik (soon to be integrated into Google+). Easily create music online with JamStudio.com or for more advanced features, Soundation. Organization Stickynotes are great, but unless you’ve got them stuck to your clothes, they don’t go with you wherever you go. Apps like Remember the Milk or EverNote can help fill that gap. Trello goes one step further, allowing you to share lists of “cards” that can contain files, pictures, links, text or lists with others. You easily shuffle the cards around, organize, color-code and delegate them to people as necessary. Making the Web Better Ever get tired of clutter while browsing the web? Maybe you have too many tabs open? Try Instapaper which allows you to save webpages to read for later, and sync it to your device to even read offline. Or maybe the problem is webpages that are cluttered? Try Readability which takes a website and magically removes all the clutter to give just the content. It’s great for reading articles or blog posts without getting distracted. There’s an app you can download as well as browser add-ons. ViewPure does the same thing for YouTube. Ever wished you could do things like send yourself a text when it’s going to rain? Or send yourself an email when what you’ve been looking for is for sale online? Or save pictures in which you’re tagged on Facebook to DropBox? With IfThisThenThat you can! You can choose triggers from all sorts of different social media services and tie them to actions. Check out their recipes sections for some awesome ideas on how to use this free service. Free Wi-Fi Of course, none of these tools are any good without Internet connection. What to do when you’re away from home? McDonald’s and Starbucks among many other food chains have free Wi-Fi, along with most libraries and many other public places. Find out what’s around you at Wi-Fi free Spot or OpenWiFiSpots.