Monday, March 30, 2009

Mortgage/Refinance Recommendation

I am sure so many people out there have had bad, or just onerous loan processes. With rates at all time lows, many of you may be looking at refinancing. I have been through several new home purchases and refinances over the last 25 years, and have been through the good, bad, and ugly.

Well, I just refinanced again with a sub-5% rate. And I have recommendation of a Mortgage Banker to use. I had no prior relationship and only have dealt with this person via email and phone. I found the banker via and I was blessed.

The gentleman is Alan Lacey with Northpointe Bank out of Michigan. He had the best rate/costs and that is why I chose him. What I could not know is how easy he would make the process. I will let my review on Zillow (below) speak for itself. Again, I have nothing to gain by this recommendation. No little gifts or benefits. I have no personal relationship with Alan. So this is as unbiased as it gets. It is solely based on my experience with him.
Alan was awesome. Easiest, most accurate, and most honest loan process I
have been through. He is pleasant, not pushy. He lets the fact that he has the
best product speak for him. He expedites the process, closed us quickly from the
start of the process. Several lenders would not let me lock a rate without
having the appraisal completed. With Alan and Northpointe I locked my rate
within hours of completing the online application. Also, Alan adjusted my
points/rate down automatically when the market changed before closing, a
reduction of $1,875 in closing costs for my loan. I got such a good rate that I
won't be able to use Alan again because I can never afford to let go of this
rate. Alan is a true professional who lets his product and his level of service
secure his long term business. I had some detailed questions about closing costs
a week after the close. He dug in and answered them the same day, even calling
the local title company that did the closing. How many mortgage brokers would do
that? I am telling everyone I know to use Alan and Northpointe.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Midas Touch Has Its Downside

An out-of-the blue, should I say gold, thought by my 8 year old daughter Maria.

"You know that guy who everything he touches turns to gold?"


"Yeah. It has got to be hard to blow your nose into a solid gold klennex."

Her mind just amazes me. She really thinks about cause and effect, but with weird twists. I guess reading Douglas Adams to her at bedtime has had some interesting side effects.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Hometown Favorite Book Signing Jan 23, 2009

Hometown Favorite by Bill Barton and Henry O. Arnold

I plugged this book in a earlier post and back doing the same for my friend Henry Arnold and Facebook friend Bill Barton. They will be hosting a book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Cool Springs on Friday, Jan 23 at 7:00 p.m. Chris Sanders will be joining them for this one. Check out the web site for exact address and phone number:

It is a riviting story and a great message. If you have read the book already or have interest in reading it, be sure to visit the book signing for personally autographed copy including former Titan, Chris Sanders.

Bill Barton travels the world as a business partner with three companies that develop and sell products to nonprofit organizations, small businesses and large retailers. He received his MBA from Baylor University. A sought after speaker, he combines his business experience and passion for the spiritual life to motivate and inspire others. Bill lives in Tennessee with his wife and two sons.

Henry O. Arnold is a professional actor, writer, and director in theatre, film, and television. His original film trilogy, “The Word Made Flesh,” received two first place awards at the Houston International Film Festival and the Columbus International Film Festival. He co-wrote and produced the film “The Second Chance” starring Michael W. Smith distributed by Sony Entertainment. He wrote the screenplay for the first authorized film documentary on evangelist Billy Graham, “God’s Ambassador.” His has written 156 original episodes of the children’s show “Backyard Time” produced and distributed by the United Methodist Publishing House. “Tilly,” his stage play adaptation of Frank Peretti’s story of the same title was published by Lillenas Publishing. He co-wrote and produced the documentary “Kabul-24” for Sea Bourne Pictures based on the story of the capture and escape of eight western aid workers by the Taliban. He is the narrator for the two CD recording of “Jesus in His Own Words,” distributed by Total Content. Recently, he co-produced and wrote the screenplay for the documentary film “The Next Door” winner of the Portraits of Compassion national film contest awarded by the White House Faith-based Community Initiative Project.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas from Thoughts of Man

This man thinks about this angel often.

Merry Christmas to all my readers! God bless you all and the Peace of Christ be upon you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Santa Can Save You Money!

My eight year old daughter is wonderful, bright, good at math, and has a heart for God. She demonstrates a non-materialistic and financially aware attitude not often seen in children. A recent conversation demonstrated all of the above.

Maria had seen some kind of toy horse at store that she liked, one that was quite expensive (~$250), and she had expressed interest in this horse. We explained how expensive this was, especially given how much use it was likely to see once the novelty wore off.

A few days ago my wife was inquiring of Maria's Christmas list. Maria provided a short list of modest priced items. Bemused, Anita said, "I noticed you did not mention the horse you said you liked so much."

My very astute and caring daugher replied, "Momma, that is much too expensive. No point in ya'll spending money on that. Let Santa get it!"

Friday, November 28, 2008

Traditional Emotional Pornography

I found the two passages from the book, I Don't Want To Talk About It by Terrence Real, interesting. I decided to post in case anyone else did and to invite discussion; that is if anyone other than JMG reads this blog anymore.

In retun, what men have been promised is an appreciative, saintly wife--a whore in the bedroom, a kitten on the living room couch, a scintillating cocktail companion, and a damn fine cook and homemaker. This is not a mature relationship. It is what I have taken to speak of with couples as traditional emotional pornography.

. . . This vision precludes a few nasty realities, like the negotiation of another's needs, doing things wrong and having to learn how to do them differently, struggling with moments of profound loneliness. Society teaches neither member of the couple how to deal with the raw pain that is a part of any real relationship, because it does not even acknowledge the existence of that pain. Stuffed with such romanticism, neither men nor women learn to vigorously negotiate their differences, because true harmony is seen as obviating difference.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

VU Gets 6th Win; Bowl Eligible After 26 Year Drought

Vanderbilt notched its 6th win of the season by winning 31-24 on the road in Lexington against the UK Wildcats. If not for 2 turnovers, untimely penalties, and two special gaffs, the game would have been a blowout. VU dominated the first half, rarely letting the UK offense on the field and holding them to 3 and outs. UK's 1st first down of the game was on a successful fake punt.

The win makes Vandy Bowl eligible for the first time in 26 years and guarantees at least a .500 record for the first time in the same number of years. I remember this last success well. I was a sophomore for the 1982 season in which we beat UT in the last regular season game for a 8 win season and securing a Hall of Fame bowl bid. I went to the bowl game with several of my friends in which VU lost a close game to Air Force.

Although the SEC has 9 Bowl tie-ins, VU needs 7 wins to lock in a bid in my opinion. It would also secure a better Bowl game. With a miserable UT team coming to Nashville this Saturday, we should get 7 wins if we play hard, protect the ball, and limit our penalties. Our last game is on the road at Wake Forest, a good team. We can win that game if we play with intensity and discipline. VU has a great shot at an 8 win season, and a decent shot at 9 wins if they stay focused and healthy.

Just how good is VU this year? Here are some facts:

* Vandy is 4-3 in SEC play which is the 4th best record in the conference. Only those 4 teams out of 12 have a winning record in SEC play.

* Only Alabama (11-0, 7-0 #1), Florida (9-1, 7-1, #4), and Georgia (9-2, 6-2, #10) have a better conference record.

*Notable teams below VU: LSU, Spurrier's USC Gamecocks, UT (3-7, 1-5), and Auburn. Vandy has wins over USC and Auburn and should knock-off UT this weekend. But they better show up and play hard because UT will.

D.J. Moore, our starting cornerback, and one of the best in the country, had an incredible game. He is multi-talented playing on offensive often and he is our leading kickoff and punt returner. Last night he caught passes for our first two touchdowns, intercepted a pass that lead to a score on the ensuing offensive series, and grabbed another intercepted at the end of the game that killed a game-tying drive by UK and preserved the victory for VU.

D.J. is a semifinalist for the prestigious Thorpe Award. The award is given to the top defensive back in college football.

A healthy Chris Nickson returned as our starting quarterback and looked much like his early season form in which he was 5-0. He too is an amazing athlete who has been sidetracked last year and this year with nagging shoulder injuries.

GO DORES! I will be cheering you on to win #7 on Saturday.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mission Field: The American Male

See update to this post at the end.

There have been some interesting discussions at Phil Wilson's blog post, Question of the Day: Moral v. Political.

In the context of these posts, I provide a disturbing passage I ran across this morning.

In a country in which 135,000 children take handguns to school each day, in which every fourteen hours a child under the age of five is murdered, and homicide has replaced automobile accidents as the leading cause of death in children under the age of one, few boys escape a firsthand acquaintance with active trauma. Once issues of race and class are considered, the picture grows even bleaker. There are more college-aged black men in prison than in school. And the leading cause of death in black men between eighteen and twenty-five--one young man in four--is murder. More than the childhood diseases we spend millions combating, more than accident or natural disaster, violence is the number one killer of boys and young men.
-- I Don't Want to Talk About It by Terrence Real; Ch. 5 "Perpetrating Masculinity", pg 113. Fireside 1997.

I do find it troublesome that while the so-called moral majority (an arrogant classification in my opinion), and the Christian right, spend much energy and resources fighting abortion and homosexuality, we are not vocal about epidemics that are killing our young men and women and contributing to the very problems we say we want to eradicate. Are we even aware of this epidemic?

I invite discussion from my readers.

Update: found this gem in the same book previously referenced.
Recent studies indicate that boys raised by women . . . do not suffer in their adjustment; they are not appreciably less "masculine"; they do not show signs of psychological impairment. What many boys without fathers inarguably do face is a precipitous drop in their socioeconomic status. When families dissolve, the average standard of living for mothers and children can fall as much as 60 percent, while that of the man usually rises. When we focus on the highly speculative psychological effects of fatherlessness we draw away from concrete political concerns, like the role of increased poverty.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sad Day in the Literary World

Michael Crichton, Author, Dead at 66. Nov. 4, 2008

One of may favorite authors, Michael Crichton, passed away yesterday after a private battle with cancer. He was a very prolific author, screen-writer, and producer. Almost all of his novels, million sellers each, were made into film.

Most people, including the article linked above, claim The Andromeda Strain as his first book. However, the first book was actually A Case of Need written under the pseudonym Jeffery Hudson while he was still in Medical School and published in 1968, winning the Edgar Award in 1969. It was one of his best novels in my opinion. It really covers the abortion issue very well from multiple angles.

He attended Harvard College as an undergraduate, graduating summa cum laude in 1964. Crichton was also initiated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He went on to become the Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellow from 1964 to 1965 and Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1965. He graduated from Harvard Medical School, obtaining an M.D. in 1969, and did post-doctoral fellowship study at the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, from 1969 to 1970. In 1988, he was Visiting Writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [Wikipedia, Michael Crichton web entry, Nov. 5, 2008]

An interesting fact: Crichton was just under 7 ft. tall.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hometown Favorite

Hometown Favorite by Bill Barton and Henry O. Arnold

I highly recommend this book. I could say much about it, but I don't want to give away anything.

It is a riviting story. For Christian readers, it is better than The Shack in my opinion. Much better writing and much less overt from the religious standpoint. I am not trashing The Shack, I just liked this book better, and it can stand alone as a great book outside of a Christian theme.

For those not interested in Christian based reading, it is still a must read. The story will grab you and hold you; Grisham-esque. I have include a video trailer for the book as well as the Amazon link.

Henry O. Arnold is a friend whose family I have known most of my life via Otter Creek. He is a professional actor, writer, and director in theatre, film, and television. He co-wrote and produced the film The Second Chance (starring Michael W. Smith). He wrote the screenplay for God’s Ambassador, the first authorized documentary of evangelist Billy Graham.

Barton-Arnold website