Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What net benefit did slavery create?

One of the interesting things about slavery and its progeny (such as bond servants and abusive share cropping) is that they created a legacy of economic morasses and stagnation. America was not only worse off morally for the slave trade, but the lingering legacy of slavery has made us all poorer as well.

I am not going to address academic or educational affirmative action. Outside of those, in the free market, those companies that have embraced affirmative action have profited economically. That indicates that in corporate entities, efforts to find equality result in workers closer to their most productive placement than proceeding without such efforts.

Discrimination, like slavery, built only a net economic loss, a smaller pie for everyone.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Being Grateful For Everything

I had a chance to talk about gratitude with a friend of mine whom I admire. Both of us have been through things that are hard to be grateful for. It was a good time for me to be thinking about gratitude as I have been feeling very grateful for my life. There are knots in my life's skein that are starting to untangle.

I'm not quite able to encompass everything yet, much like he still has trouble feeling grateful for his marriage, but it is starting to happen. From an eternal perspective, the separation from my daughters is a short moment. Their lives are theirs, as were their deaths.

My life is mine.

I'm grateful for my life. Step by step, day by day, grateful for everything.

Though obviously, more grateful for somethings than others. Today's my anniversary, and I am truly grateful for my dear wife, who is my life.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My house is for sale (at least through Monday)

At least that is the current news. We have one offer coming for the full asking price and another that would involve the full price and no commission payments. We will be looking them over Monday, with some others that we are told are pending. Since we had it listed for less than twenty-four hours when we started getting calls Saturday, that seems like it is moving quickly.

We also have a closing date, the completed inspection and the financing approved on the house we are buying.
Another step forward from linking our wounds and surviving to doing better.

So, for our wedding anniversary, I'm buying my wife a house and she is taking me to a karate work-out. She brought the idea up only about a week ago. Things are moving fast.

I'm even going to the Opera this week as well (
http://www.dallasopera.org/musichall/). We need to get out more, and late in a run when there are lots of inexpensive seats is a great time sometimes.

If you are curious, go to http://adrr.com/house/ for some pictures of the inside of our current house. Since we are in Texas, our house was less than the median house price in the United States. The one we are buying isn't that expensive either. I'm grateful. For many things, I'm grateful. I've a post on that topic coming up soon (it is written, I just need to type it).
Found the MLS listing on-line: http://www.idxre.com/idx/detail.cfm?cid=11419&bid=51&pid=11138366&fspm=1

Hmm, they only added one picture, guess I should toss in a couple external pictures.

Here is one of the back yard, Rachel's fort and all, can't really see the landscaping. I'll note that the potted lime tree seems to hold its leaves better than the lemon tree.

From the front of the house:

The famous polydactyl cat on our back patio.

A different angle on the back yard (the squirrel proof bird feeder and the live oak tree we planted).

The front of our house.

A lot of good history in that house. A great neighborhood and ward.

Maybe I'll have to add a picture of the school down the way.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Prayer and Grief

In recovery, both science and the logic of the heart tell us that in grief, prayer is important. Finding your way through prayer can be hard. Without talking about the form of prayer, this essay is about an approach to prayer.

  1. Honesty. Honesty is essential. God sees it, we can't hide the truth from God, but we can hide the truth from ourselves, which cuts us off from God. Prayer should approach honesty as a foundation. If you have pain, anger, hurt, doubt, or fear, unburden yourself truthfully with God.
  2. Trust. You need to trust in God as a power greater than yourself who can do things for you that you can not do for yourself. Combining faith and honesty is very powerful.
  3. Apply the two tools of honesty and trust to find a place of peace by taking inventory so you can repent and so you can be grateful. Reflecting actively, not passively, is what taking inventory means. Making amends to others and finding gratitude within you are the two places reflection needs to lead you.
  4. Listen. Prayer is a conversation. All good conversationalists listen. The same may well be true of prayer. In listening expect that God may well tell you things that you do not know, expect or understand. Without the trust and humility it takes to listen, prayer can not lead you far.

Did God really mean it when He said ... (with thanks to Suzette Haden Elgin, I'm thinking of adding these in from time to time)

"my ways are not your ways, neither are my thoughts your thoughts"


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Introducing Myself

I was over at Zelophehad’s Daughters and they were celebrating being on-line for a while and both introduced themselves and suggested that their readers introduce themselves.

I actually have an introduction from my website, http://www.adrr.com/ that I put up.

I'm copying it, because it is probably more than enough.

Not all that long ago, a group reviewed this site, ranked it in the top one hundred small firm legal sites and had a strong criticism because the site is not strongly tied to my identity. Often I receive feedback, comments or questions from people reared in the "context is everything" school who feel you can not separate the person from the writing.

So, like all things that end up on my screen too often, this goes into the FAQ. If you feel a need to know more about me, I have a personal philosophy section of this web site (not connected to the dispute resolution section) and a section based on my personal experiences that receives about ten thousand hits a month from people completely uninterested in dispute resolution. I am also a working professional and I teach a little dispute resolution. Links to those of my website are here:

  • Stephen R. Marsh, Attorney at Law:
  • Ethesis:
  • Class materials from the my educational endeavors:
  • Surviving Grief, Loss and Death:
That is more than enough about me.

I'm not big on the "context is everything" school, but it does have a place some times. That's my introduction.

On another topic, I love my daughter's current girl scout troop. The last one had gone a little "Plano" or "mean girls." Seemed silly to me, the people who were the most fixated on money and status probably had household incomes a third to a fourth the size of ours. But they took our efforts to be concerned about costs (which came, somewhat, from helping some of the poorer kids in the group and being aware of the problems money causes) as proof we really were not the right kind of people.

Ok, I'm certain we were not the right kind of people to associate with them. We switched groups.

The current group is wonderful.

Which, I guess, does validate context. If my exposure had just been what the last group had morphed into, I would think of Girl Scouts as the worst of all possible environments. Instead, from what went before and what has gone after, I am more than pleased to support Rachel in it.

Ah, it has been a busy week. Forgive me for not blogging more.

Thinking of context, introductions, etc. I just realized that perhaps I should take a lesson from what a friend of mine and I have been trying to get another friend to do. He is a harpist and vocalist, who plays the harp for weddings, funerals and special occasions, as well as teaches.

We've been trying to get him to introduce himself that way. Every time he does, people are delighted to know that about him.
Heck, I'm going to post a link here for him.

Dallas Texas Harpist who teaches harp and performs at weddings funerals and special occasions.

Maybe I'll learn something from this all about introducing myself.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Thank you for that information

I often write advice posts based on my own mistakes. I had a great one going, but it got too large and my memory promptly dumped the whole thing. Guess I've too many flaws serving me as inspiration.

But one thing that is important to do, and that I'm still learning, is when someone tells you something you already know, don't say "I already knew that" but instead say "Thank you" or "Thank you for sharing that." And don't say "Thank you for sharing that, but I already knew it." Too many times we should just stop with the "Thank you" without adding anything more.

That is something I plan to work on more this coming year, saying "Thank you" without more and without qualifying.