Rafael Scarfullery's Blog

Read my thoughts and/or quotes from writers that help us become better human beings.

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Location: Charlottesville, VA, United States

Visit my website: http://www.RafaelScarfullery.com.
Watch my music videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/rafaelscarfullery.

My main goal in life is to fulfill my purpose on earth and help to fulfill other people's purposes, too. I want to make a little positive contribution and make the part of my world a more peaceful and loving place. I love music and it's the principal channel through which I carry out the above goals. I'm professionally and thoroughly prepared in several music areas: composition, orchestral/choral conducting, performance (classical guitar and organ), college teaching, and church music.

In my website, www.RafaelScarfullery.com, you can watch my music videos, listen to my CD's and buy them, see samples of my compositions, buy scores for downloading, download free scores, read about my music career, read my thoughts and other people's quotes that help us to become better human beings, and much more. If you'd like, send me your feedback. I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Who are those who really make life worth living? These, according to Jesus:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Let us memorize these verses and live accordingly. Then life will be a blessing, not only to us, but to others.

Friday, March 16, 2007

This afternoon I went to see a piano that is being sold at a thrifty store in Lynchburg, VA. Not Salvation Army or Goodwill, but a small one run by a pastor and his wife. When I finished playing the piano, they asked me to play the guitar and I gladly accepted. I played "Let us take bread together on my knees". Having finished playing, the lady told me that she and her husband sang and played together. Then they set up their instruments and sang a song that he'd composed. It was so beautiful to see this couple singing and playing together! So much eagerness and love! Then they invited me to have some doughnuts. I was struck by the service and work they showed to their customers. Just imagine all businesses run by people like them!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Real Estate at Risk

Nowhere in the world can you buy a house so easily. Just in the USA. I suppose. Sometimes even with no downpayment and even if you don't make enough money to pay the monthly bills. In other countries you must have at least 20% or 30% of the total price of the house as a downpayment and prove that you have sufficient income every month to pay the loan.

Nowhere in the world can you see so many foreclosures. The reason behind this, according to Steven Pearlstein in a Washington Post article from today, is the greed from investment bankers and mortgate brokers. According to him, these are the various kinds of loans we can take:

1. The balloon mortgage: the borrower pays only interest for 10 years before a big lump-sum payment is due.
2. The liar loan: the borrower is asked merely to state his annual income, without presenting any documentation.
3. The option ARM loan: the borrower can pay less than the agreed-upon interest and principal payment, simply by adding to the outstanding balance of the loan.
4. The piggyback loan: a combination of a first and second mortgage eliminates the need for any down payment.
5. The teaser loan: qualifies a borrower for a loan based on an artificially low initial interest rate, even though he or she doesn't have sufficient income to make the monthly payments when the interest rate is reset in two years.
6. The stretch loan: the borrower has to commit more than 50 percent of gross income to make the monthly payments.
7. Even the NINJA loan: No Income, No Job and No Assets.

Why are they doing these? Because they make money by selling the mortgages. It doesn't matter to them if people aren't able to pay the loans.

The Bible admonishes us not to have debts for more than 7 years. Dave Ramsey, founder of Financial Peace University and Christian financial counselor, urges us to avoid the debt trap. He advises buying a house only when we have a good downpayment, enough cash in our emergency and savings funds (3-6 months of salary), and don't have any other big debts. If you'd like to know his Christian and conservative approach, go this website: http://www.daveramsey.com.

Be aware of the buy now, pay later mentality. One never knows what will happen later. The Bible states that the 'borrower is servant to the lender'. So be cautious and only buy if you have enough cash and can pay back on a regular basis. Let us not become slaves.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Is Fast Food killing us?

Some months ago I read the book, Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser. It is a book that we all must read. It gives light on health and food issues that are growing every day because of the popularity of fast food. It seems that we don't like to cook anymore. Is that because we may think that buying raw healthy food and cooking is a waste of time? Or is it because we want everything right away? No waiting time. Period. Give it to me now or forget it!

If we all discover what kind of meat, chemical ingredients, and fats we're eating, and what effects they're making on our health, we would all stop buying fast food. I also watched "Supersize me", a film by Morgan Spurlock, and I was amazed at the further light it shed on this topic. I remember he put cooked french fries that he bought from McDonalds to a test and see how long they last without spoiling. Two months passed and they hadn't spoiled! What chemicals do those french fries have?

Another issue with the fast food chains is obesity. They're making people eat more. That's gluttony! An overindulgence of food and drink! At McDonald's they ask you: Would you like to supersize it? At the buffet restaurants: All you can eat! At parties and social gatherings: Please, help yourselves! At home they tell you: Don't leave any food! It's interesting to know that during early Christianity, sins were classified in order to educate people about our sinful nature. In the classification, gluttony is number two! No wonder when the Catholic church, in order to induce fear, stated that gluttons went to the Purgatory, where they stood between two trees, but couldn't reach or eat their fruits. So gluttons starve there! But meanwhile, here and now, we are getting obese, sick, tired, and hopeless. Thus we live less and have less time to fulfill our purpose on earth.

Let us stop eating fast food and eat instead healthy food such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans, and nuts. Check these websites below. They can help us find better health and eating habits:



Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hope fuels our lives

From the instant we're born, we hope. We hope that we'll continue breathing, eating, and being safe; all this in order to survive. Well, I forgot pleasure, which is the main hope of this entertainment-oriented generation: Are you having fun? Cool! Awesome! Heavy! All these hopes define our lives throughout our life stages and they can stop us from doing the real things that matter: our small contribution to others in the form of goodness, peace, love, sharing, and compassion. These are the things that matter.

Just think this way: Since our birth we're dying and we have a limited amount of years to accomplish our destiny. We then choose one of these paths:

1. Get an education, work or start a business in order to make a living and live well, have a family, buy a house or more, buy and buy things, invest, save the most we can for retirement, retire, and die.


2. Get an education, work or start a business in order to accomplish your destiny, have a family, buy a house, supply needs, give to or start a non-profit organization to help people in need, invest in worthy causes (not Wall Street which is full of greed), save for retirement just in case, not retire (continue working until there is strenght), and die.

We decide which one will direct our lives. Selfish motives? Choose the first one. Unselfish? Choose the second. Let me put it this way: Imagine just the moment before dying. What matters more? Our past hopes are gone. Our deeds are done. We have lived our lives. A sweet and sour feeling sorrounds the selfish: We lived well and had fun, but didn't accomplish my destiny and didn't make the world a better place. Now what's next? On the other side, a sweet feeling is all around the unselfish: We lived happily, enjoyed life, accomplished our destiny and did all possible to make the world a better place. Now we hope to see God in eternity.