The Support

A poem.

God provides the foundation

On which our home is built

A solid base that anchors it

To soft soil or shifting sand

Your strength is the structure

That keeps this delicate form

From blowing, washing away

When the wind and rain come

Your dedication is the frame

That holds up this fragile life

As it reaches toward heaven

Buttressing its soaring wings

And though we need the Lord

Who shelters and protects us

Our home would lie in ruins

If not held together by you


For my wife.

M.G. Edwards

July 2012

Understanding children

Try as I might, sometimes I don’t understand children.  Tonight our toddler really acted up.  He had his mother at wit’s end trying to figure out what he wanted.  He took a late nap and was a bundle of energy the entire evening.  We couldn’t get him to sleep because he was so wound up.  He looked like he wanted mommy to come out and play at 11 o’clock at night.  Daddy just wouldn’t do.  He was really upset, and because he doesn’t say much yet he couldn’t tell us what he wanted.  Mommy was very tired, so she asked daddy to take him out to the living room to play and exhaust the last of his energy.  Our toddler cried and cried and just wanted to go back to mommy.  I thought he was hungry and tried to feed him some food.  He didn’t want it.  I thought he might need some milk but he didn’t want that either.  Finally, I noticed he was looking at his sippy cup.  I finally figured out that he wanted some apple juice mixed with water.  I finally understood what he had been trying to tell us all along.  We just didn’t have a clue.  We were frustrated with him, and he with us.  Once he got his juice he was fine.  He was thirsty after playing so hard and crying all evening.  Juice is what he needed.

You try to be a good parent and listen to your children.  Sometimes you just can’t understand them.  But instead of losing your temper, you just have to try harder to communicate and figure out what they’re trying to tell you.  In a year or so our son will be old enough to put short sentences together and will be able to better tell us what he wants.  He already can convey simple ideas like “car”, “bird,” and “diaper”.  However, he can’t tell us he’s thirsty.  We have to be magicians by figuring it out from his signs and trying to read his mind.  It’s frustrating for us sometimes, but no more so than it is for him.

I never understood why children go through the so-called “Terrible Two’s” (which really start around 1 1/2 years of age).  I now know that it’s because sometimes children at that age have to resort to extreme forms of communication to get their point across–blood-curdling, mind-numbing temper tantrums.  Our son is now in that phase, and I hope for his sake and ours it will pass soon.  In the meantime, I’ll keep working on my listening skills.

Humdrums and investing strategies

I didn’t feel well today.  In fact, our whole family caught a bug brought home by our son last Sunday.  He was sick for a few days, but he’s been doing better since last Wednesday.  On Thursday both my wife and I came down hard with the same illness–probably the stomach flu.  I don’t know if it’s the same infamous flu related to the flu-shot shortage people have been panicking about.  We ate some canned soup that didn’t sit well with us, and we wondered whether we had come down with food poisoning.  It now appears to be a stomach flu because my mother-in-law is also experiencing the same symptoms, and she didn’t eat the soup.  I had an awful night last night and left work a bit early today.  Thank goodness I’m here in VA in training and not working full time in Korea.

I started doing some miscellaneous tasks this week to get ready for our move to Korea.  Just 2 1/2 months away!  I can’t believe how much there is to do.  Moving to another city is one thing; moving overseas is a completely different dynamic.  We set a date of February 11th.  Our pack out will be on the 9th and 10th, so I put in 60 days’ notice at our apartment and requested a furnished apartment on the night of the 9th and 10th.

November’s U.S. jobs report came out today much lower than expected.  The economy added 112,000 new jobs, much lower than expected by analysts, who forecast around 200,000 new jobs.  Still, the overalll U.S. unemployment rate decreased from 5.5% to 5.4%.  These mixed messages are a symptom of what’s really going on in the U.S. economy–the economy is doing fine but not outstanding.  Don’t believe the economic doomsayers or those who always wear rose-colored glasses.  For example, the dollar is now around 1 euro:$1:32, but the dollar is still up against 40 other basket currencies, making it harder for the U.S. to narrow the trade deficit by depreciating the currency.  The economy is improving but not where it should be.  Germany recently announced an unemployment figure of 11%, twice the U.S. figure.  Imagine if the U.S. jobless rate doubled.

The markets took it in stride buoyed by rosy forecasts from Intel, and stocks were up slightly to end the week.  I’ve been chasing a couple of good prospects but I just missed purchasing them on some downward trends.  I bought Blue Nile and, two Internet retailers, this week.  Why these two?  Blue Nile is niche, profitable, recently came down from the IPO stratosphere, and it has an average buy rating. is a small competitor with a much lower P/E ratio, a strong buy consensus, and is on the cusp of profitability.  I’ve also had my eye on a couple of other tech outfits–InfoSpace and an upstart called eBay, but the price just isn’t right.  eBay is very pricey.  I think eBay is a must-have for any portfolio, but the run-up in the last couple of months has made it less attractive.  InfoSpace is a strong buy.  Its current price is around $47 with an analyst consensus price target of $63 and a strong buy average rating it appears to be a good buy.  I had a chunk of change to invest, and I thought about letting it ride on a single stock but ended up splitting it into four portions to invest in four promising tech stocks.  If you’re interested in investing, check out The Motley Fool for some good recommendations.  I didn’t take their advice on my purchase of Google at IPO or DreamWorks Animation, but I do think they have some great recommendations.