Easier than writing lots of individual emails

Archive for January, 2008


I LOVE my mechanic, Brian Clark, owner/operator of Engine Dynamics in Newhall.
I met him in a networking group that I used to attend.  He’s been my mechanic for 3+ years now and I refer all car owners to him.  He’s honest, incredibly knowledgable, kind, accommodating, and will not rip you off.  

I took my car in yesterday for an oil change, to have my rotars checked and to possibly deal with getting new tires.  He gave me a loaner car for the day, and when i picked up my car he had changed the oil (checked all fluid levels), resurfaced the rotars, mounted 4 brand new Yokohama tires.  My bill $495.17.  The tires were $300 (which was about $100 less than anywhere else I’d researched).

When I asked him about my old tires, here’s how the conversation went
Sam-‘How much more time did I have on those other tires?’
Brian-‘Sam, you got every last minute out of those tires.  You got every penny out of them’
Sam-(laughing) ‘That makes me feel so good.  Like I’m stickin it to the man’
Brian-(with one eyebrow raised and shaking his head in awe) ‘Yeah, you were basically riding on slicks.’
Sam ‘Yeah, I was a little cautious in that last storm’ (acted out driving like a granny)
Brian-laughing alot and agreeing

If you need a great mechanic, call Brian.  Tell him I sent ya! 
Engine Dynamics
24135 Railroad Ave.
Newhall, CA



This past weekend I attended a conference called Arts in the One World.  It was co-presented by CalArts and the Interdisciplinary Genocide Study Center in Kigali Rwanda.  The thrust of the conference was  ‘art and it’s role in social justice and how the two should interact’.  There were people from all over the world (mostly really smart, artsy, PhD type people).  

ICU was invited by the Dean of Theatre at Cal Arts, Erik Ehn.  He is one of THE most gracious, kind, mentally powerful and hospitable people I’ve ever met.  He found me on the internet last year and loved what we were doing in ICU and thusly he made efforts to connect with me.  That was over a year ago and we’ve been to 2 of his conferences and conversely, he and his wife attended our Party 4 Peace in September.  I am really honored and thankful to be included and moreover that ICU was asked to present!  We were the only high school represented amongst colleges and institutions from all over the world.

I went to as much of the conference as I could: watched movies on genocide, watched plays on Eastern European socialism, listened to updates on Rwanda (10 years after the genocide), listened to think tank discussions on art/activism/responsibility etc…it was intense and I have about 45 pages of notes.  This post, however, is not to extrapilate on the conference….it’s more to share a consequential pondering. 

On Sunday night, debriefing with a friend who had also gone to the conference, I was asked the sincere question, “Sam, what is your relationship with art?”.  The thought process that ensued was a very revealing one and I was so grateful to be asked a question that forced me down that road.  I sat and thought about my upbringing and my examples and my past with ‘art’.  Through it, I realized a new level of profundity about my grandmother and how her heart beat for God and how she desired to express it in her family, in her work, in her humanitarian efforts….through creative writing, painting, sculpting, drama, speaking, photography…through all the artistic means that God gave her.  As I looked back, I realized that she made it ‘normal’ to 1) see or feel something deeply and to 2) then translate that through an artistic medium so that others could partake in the joy or sorrow of the depth.  She had 11 children (my mom being one of them) and as I look at all my aunts and uncles, there isn’t a single one that doesn’t possess some really evident artistic expression.  I also see it in all the grandkids.  It’s amazing how she quietly shaped something in each of us, something that is deep inside.

Once again, I am humbled by and grateful for God’s mercy to us and that He created us with artistic means to honor, worship and adore Him (and that He gave my family a matriarch to model it). 


Briefly, I had NO idea that my post on Christmas Letter  Pet Peeves would provoke such a response from so many senders of Christmas merriment.  However, it did and now I am left with more responsibility!

So, in honor of tonight’s SAG awards, the cancelled Golden Globes and the pending Oscars, I will be hosting my own award post for the top 10 card/letters of 2007!  However, before I present it to you, the reader, I need help with
1) what the name of the awards post should be (like ‘Oscar’, ‘Dunndie’, etc)
2) I’d like to hear category/award names (‘Best ____’)

Just wanted to let start the marketing campaign that the awards are coming soon (just like the Oscars)…maybe I’ll post them on the same night as the Oscars. 
It’s like the Christian alternative to ‘Halloween’ is ‘Harvest Fest’.  Except different.


Here are some highlights that have happened recently…they make me smile when I think of them

-Overnight supervising of the Habberstad young adults 🙂
-Jessi Gates was in town and therefore I visited the Flowers, the Burns, the Spansels
-closing escrow on Trevino! 
-had THE best meal and service at Dos Lagos Woodranch! 
-Seeing There Will Be Blood (at an Arclight…where has THAT been my whole life?)
-Our pastor going in for chest pain and they ended up preventing a massive heart attack with an angioplasty (left artery was 100% blocked)
-My mom returned from Costa Rica (was there for over a month)
-The rain
-ICU is doing so well; we have a presentation at Cal Arts this weekend!  ICU just raised another $385 just by collecting loose change ‘Change For Change’
-Worship Team had 3 applicants for much needed tech team roles
-I was given a tea that I really really like!
-Sharks are on my mind again…only about 6 moths till shark week!
-starting to get quotes for home projects for possible sale!  I love working with contractors!
-having supplies ready for when you need them: cards, stamps, new toothpaste, etc.

Lots of bright spots…in the big things and the little things


I think we all have times of plenty and times of want.  When your career is based on 100% comission, you seem to find yourself right in between plenty and want quite regularly.

Today, I am cleaning off my desk, cleaning out my wallet, purging my purse…I am in the mood for (and have a bit of time to actually do it) clearing out more ‘stuff’.  As I’m cleaning out my wallet, I am struck with how many gift card remnants I have and of which I have NEVER used.  You know what I mean-the ‘little’ change that’s left on the card after you made the one ‘big’ purchase.  Well, the winds of disregard are about to shift. 
I’ve had the following cards in my wallet for too long, so today I checked all the balances… at least $140 worth of goods and services…

Here are forms of overlooked provision that I’ve been toting around for at least a year…
-Barnes & Noble: $7.53
-Ross $14.07
-Wal-Mart $3.49
-J.Jill $21.64
WolfCReek Grill $5.00
-Staples $28.33
-Marshalls (unknown because you can’t call or check on -line…lame)
2 free car washes
1 free movie ticket from Regal
1 free full body massage

God really does provide, we just have to have the eyes to see.  The way I see it…I just made $140+ cleaning out my wallet! Pretty great pay for an hour!

As Amex asks  ‘What’s in your wallet?’


I miss Steve Irwin.


Just thought you’d like to know (especially for those out there who are writing my biography), as an update to THIS post, that I did, in fact, replace my pillows and pillow cases…and I’m having blissful sleep!  The secret?  Cash and 600 Thread count pillowcases.  That’s right.  If you’re one of those people, such as myself, that grew up on 250 Thread count, never knowing there was something better out there, listen up!  Go buy at least 500+ thread count sheets…you wont’ regret it. 

Around age 24 I learned of this glorious use of fabric and now I think it’s foolish to not buy high threadcount sheets (unless you like the feeling of sleeping on sand paper).  They can be pricey, but look for deals (Ross, Marshalls, TJMaxx, Target, on-line).  I got the 2 king pillowcases (600 thread count) on-sale for $23.99 at Target.  Do it.  Makes all the difference.

Before (really?) and After…enjoy!
sorry-it’s camera phone quality pics

B4 Pillow case1

B4 Pillow Case 2

Affter Pillows and cases