Results for category "Personal"

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Don’t wish me Happy Birthday – Part II

Empower people around the world with $25

Thank you for taking a moment to find out more about “Don’t wish me Happy Birthday” and my 2nd attempt to turn eyeballs into action.

Adult birthdays are often low key events so it makes the friendly flood of well wishers on Facebook that much more enjoyable. For 1 day your birthday event is prominently featured on the top right of your friend’s Facebook streams and this is small attempt to take advantage of that exposure to do something more.

Let’s change the world the a little bit today.

Instead of wishing me Happy Birthday I’m asking you to

Join Kiva

Kiva is a microlending site that turns lots of small donations from people like you and me into loans that help people around the world accomplish their dreams and provide for their families. Its radical and it works!

Narangerel is using the money to buy sheep in Mongolia

Narangerel is using the money to buy sheep in Mongolia

I’ve been a lender at Kiva since 2011 and I’m thrilled to say my donation of $25 has been lent out and repaid 3x. It is a real blessing to see such a paltry sum help people in Peru, Kenya, and currently being used by lady named Narangerel in Mongolia. I wait for the loan to be repaid and then I just pay a small processing fee to fund a new project.

I’m not made of money, we are expecting the arrival of our 2nd child in a couple of weeks and on a single income we have to watch our finances pretty close. I get frustrated by not having the resources to really make a difference in projects I believe in but that is one of the reasons I’m an advocate for Kiva. They take my little bit and turn it in to so much more. We both have a little bit don’t we?

But wait there’s more…

What if I gave you a free $25 to lend?

Done. Just join Kiva using my invite link, we will both be given $25 to loan for FREE.

I’m grateful that Kiva has Donor’s that step up and sponsor promotions to get more people involved in microlending. So thru their generosity I can give you $25 to lend for free. You’ll just pay a very small processing charge $3.75 I think. That covers admin cost and keeps the full $25 headed to the person needing the loan.

That’s it. That is the whole plan.

Pass it On

If you want to wish me Happy Birthday you are more than welcome to do so. I love hearing from friends. If you’d like to help make a difference in the world today I’d be eternally grateful.

After you join (or even if you don’t join) Would you consider helping spread the word about “Don’t wish me a Happy Birthday”? Just send your friends a link to or this blog post.

Thank you – Here’s to another 35 years. God Bless.




Refocus 3.0

For the past 3 years I’ve taken time in December/January to focus on areas that I need to improve my focus or streamline my process. It has both offline and digital components but I thought I might just talk out loud and share a few of the things I’ve implemented in the past and what I’m currently trying.

I can categorize the approach in 3 different buckets:

  1. Attention: What I allow myself to pay attention to online
  2. Reference: Where I save stuff I need to know or possibly reference
  3. How I communicate and produce – Productivity

Here are a few tips I’ve used to improve in these areas.


Value your inbox

Your inbox is valuable real-estate and it’s time for a rate hike.Unsubscribe from about 90% of the email newsletters that hit your inbox. Opt for RSS subscriptions and use gmail filters to help pre-sort them.

Time-shift web reading

Social networks are great for getting lost in a web of interesting stuff. Don’t click thru, throw that link into instapaper to read later. You’ll be amazed when you come back a few days later how many of those links no longer interest you.

Unlike Noise

Facebook makes it very easy to like brand/company pages and you’ll find your feed getting noisy in a hurry. Same rule as the email newsletters, go unlike 90% of the Facebook pages you currently follow.

Trim Who/How you follow people

Finally take some time to trim the people you follow on Twitter or have friended on Facebook. Just quietly unfollow, hide, or use lists to help ensure you are seeing stuff from people that enlighten and encourage.


This category concerns the information you need to know and the websites you use on a regular basis.

Internet Bookmarks

Go thru your browser bookmarks and categorize them into folders or use tags, delete the ones you don’t use. Most modern web browsers will auto-complete the address bar using your bookmarks so this can really speed up your browsing.

For anything that is basically reference material save it to bookmarking site like Diigo.

Digital Brain

Meeting Notes, research, things to remember… whatever it is you need a place to put it. Go get Evernote. Trust me on this. It’s my 2nd brain and I don’t know how I lived without it. Here is how I use Evernote.


Master your email with 3 folders

This may be the greatest trick I’ve ever learned. I manage about 4 active email accounts and I reach Inbox Zero every day with just 3 folders. Action, Archive, and Hold.

Kill the interruptions

Sign off IM, and disable every email notification you have. Give yourself slots in the day to be connected and then click the exit button. Also kill 90% of your smartphone alerts. The beauty of technology is you can work from anywhere you have an internet connection. The beauty of technology is you can also enforce seclusion in the middle of your work day.

Pick 3 things

I’m terrible at this but I’m a work in progress. The idea is to pick 3 big things to accomplish that day. Don’t have 50 items that you constantly defer (pot meet kettle).

Apps and Tools

I currently use the 2doapp to manage my productivity and I also have a Google Calendar called Reminders that does nothing but text/email me alerts of things I need to do at some point in the future.

Where I’m at…

I see much less time spent on Facebook in 2013. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook groups will be where I spend time.

I need to enforce strict TV allowances on a weekly basis so I read more. My friend @savannahb has read about 100 books in 2012 and my pastor has read that many in 3 languages probably. I love to read but I don’t make it a priority. (Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.)

I just declared RSS bankruptcy so I hope to actually use RSS feeds again to discover content in depth from people I value.

…and since I got all my websites redesigned and organized I’m back to trying to write at least once a week.


Leaving Well

I’m currently changing jobs and over the years I’ve seen many Consultants come and go so I’ve been able to see the long-term effect of someone not making wise choices during their exit. Through experience and observation I’ve learned a few things when it comes to changes jobs, especially from a consultants view.

  1. Don’t burn any bridges: Speak well of your clients and employers, accentuate their strengths there is no need to air out your grievances. Just move on, graciously
  2. Go out with class and quietly if possible. Leaving a team is disruptive enough, don’t sew dissension on the way out. Be kind, shake hands and keep your opinions to your yourself.
  3. Most importantly “Do not actively court your current clients”. They may love you and your work but be explicitly clear that your goal is to help those clients transition to other teams that will continue to serve them within the organization. Keep in mind that most of your clients are employers as well and if you even appear to be trying to stab your former employer in the back they will remember that you lacked integrity.
    1. Will you have some clients interested in following you? Yes. But let that be done on their time and their decision. Go the extra mile to help a client and former employer see their concerns up front and perhaps they can resolve it.
    2. Check your ego and think about what the client needs. In time if they aren’t being served by an organization they will find someone else who will address their needs in a timely and effective manner.

The Simplified Rule

Be Nice on the way out.

Be Good to the people who have employed you for so long. Stay above the fray and let there be no accusation of underhanded practices.

Cultivate Skill, Cherish Integrity – The rest will fall into place naturally.

Be Blameless

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. Psalm 37:37


Serenity NOW!

There are a lot of words I’d use to describe myself but serene isn’t one of them. I’ve blogged previously that one of my largest struggles is seeking contentment. I don’t even like typing the word. It might as well be hieroglyphics.

There’s this little prayer that most people are familiar with called the “Serenity Prayer”

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Ugh. Why isn’t there a call to chaotic dissatisfaction? I’ve got that down to an art form.

At the close of the day I’m left looking at my failures and my inadequacy. I should…

be more

Part of me hates being interested in everything. Why do I have to love computer networks, information security, social networks, web design, marketing, psychology, business, economics, politics…

Sure my varied interests and skills have opened many doors but it also feels like I haven’t reached the top of my game in any of them. I know this isn’t entirely accurate but my feelings aren’t very rational most of the time.

have more

I’m not overly materialistic (except lusting for an iPad) but I really thought that by this life stage things would be more controlled financially. Shouldn’t I be looking at my building my nest egg & retirement instead of facing all these bills? I want to run off to BlogWorld & SXSWi but the reality is I’m thankful I had a gift card to Outback for our last date night. My daughter is only 8 weeks old and I’m already worrying about paying for college, a wedding, cars, & clothes.

Ah worrying – that’s something else I do very well

Throw in the feelings that I should be a better husband, father, Christian, handyman, & yard raker and you have the antithesis of contentment.

So what’s the real problem?

Mostly a lack of faith.

God I realize you are the creator of this world, you are all-knowing and understand me better than I know myself but I just don’t think you are capable of running my life. I’m in charge and here’s what I need.

If I’m ever going to reach that point of being okay with who I am and where I’m at in life then I have to be okay with God being in control and trusting Him to know what he’s doing.

In closing, I’m pretty sure a large chunk of the problem lies here,

seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well – Matt 6:33

My Dad would call it a priority problem and as usual he’d be right. The entire last part of Matthew chapter 6 hits way too close to home. It’s a call to sorry sacks of mud like me to have enough faith to live for God and let him deal with the rest.

rest… funny word, by one definition it’s the problem and by the other definition it’s the result of the solution.

-Lord, help my lack of faith, grant me contentment & serenity – and make it snappy.


Bucket List

Being a long time tech blogger I’m still getting used to baring my soul here but I was challenged by some friends that recently shared their bucket/life lists.

I wasn’t sure I’d post my list but I really enjoyed taking the time to consider and create my own list. Since their lists inspired me I’ve decided to pay it forward.

My bucket list

1. Find my place in this world where my knowledge of tech & passion for people collides in a brilliant way that provides very well for my family.
2. Go skydiving
3. Learn to sail and go sailing far enough into the ocean that I can see a 360degree horizon
4. Take my daughter to Paris for a week when she turns 16
5. Take my wife to Italy
6. Become master salsa maker
7. Be completely out of debt
8. Go Stormchasing for a month
9. Ride the best 15 rollercoasters in America
10. Learn to play the piano
12. Visit my World Vision sponsored child, a beautiful girl named Talen, in Zimbabwe
13. Visit the Kentucky Derby in style
14. See my daughter and my father walk hand in hand up to the Vietnam Memorial
15. Horseback ride in the snow
16. Learn to really dance. Jazz, Tango, & 2-stepping
17. To write one article on people & the south as well as Paul Greenberg
18. To own the world’s hottest sauce 
19. To have these words be more descriptive of my life- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
20. To be content


Fasting from a world of media

I’m taking action on a personal development task that is way overdue in my life.

For 5 days from sundown tonight to sundown Friday night, I have committed myself to the following:

  • No Twitter – I’m turning off iPhone push notifications and abstaining from using the service in any manner on behalf of myself.
  • No Facebook – No checking in, No browsing, nothing
  • No RSS – I will not read any of my RSS subscriptions for a week and at the end of the week I will mark all items as read. This seems a bit drastic but I am forcing myself to confront the notion of “feeling like I missed something”
  • No TV – My favorite shows will save to DVR and I’ll decide at the end of the week which ones I want to take time to watch. I hope to pair this down to 2-3 shows a week max.
  • Personal & Work Email Only – Nothing tied to any social networks or web services will be read for 1 week. Only the emails necessary for personal communication and taking care of clients will be opened.

This is a pretty drastic fast that I’ve postponed at least 4 times. I’m not backing out this time.

Why am I sharing this?

The Christian principle of fasting encourages us to fast in private but I’m sharing these goals publicly because it forces me to be accountable. It sets this plan on stone. I can’t back out or cheat on my fast without hundreds of friends knowing. Also I wanted people to know why I’ll be off the radar for a few days.

Why am I doing this?

My motivations are both personal and professional.6a00d8341bf6f553ef00e54f5024ef8834-640wi

I’m seeking balance, perspective, discipline, introspection, and quietness. I have issues with that whole “be still and know that I’m God” idea and that is my focus for this week.

Surrendering my will so I can clearly discover His will. His will for my family, my personal development, my career, and my service to Him.

In addition I’m longing to return to a regular habit of reading books. Primarily non-fiction books focused on Faith, business, & personal development. I miss reading and I need to make it a priority.

What do I hope my life looks like after this week?

I don’t want to make too many changes at once because that is a quick path to failure on all fronts. Rather I want to set aside 3-4 weeks to focus on creating better habits

  • Physical Goals: A productive sleep schedule, healthy eating, & exercise. I’m determined to start playing Tennis again next Spring and that means dropping some weight and being in better overall health.
  • Personal Goals: I want to dedicate more time to spiritual growth, introspection, and serving others. I have great vision and ideas and very poor follow through. I want to change that
  • Professional Goals: I want to ensure that all my online activities are in line with some long-term goals. I’ve got a vision for where I want this to lead and I need to hone my efforts in that direction.

This week is set aside for writing down these goals, prioritizing, and creating an action plan. To accomplish this I need some quiet time to reflect and assess.

I doubt I’ll reach any epiphanies this week but this is something that I need to do for me. Wish me luck and I’ll see you online in 5 days. In the meantime if you need to get in contact with me just give me a call 501-859-6075.