Friday, August 31, 2012

Living the dream

I was reading a blog post this week by someone I admire.  He was relating how someone he knew said she was living her dream.  Now, she didn't have everything she wanted but the life she had imagined and the life she was living were lined up.  There were goals ahead of her but she was confident that she could reach them.

In some ways I am living the dream.  I have lots of freedom and plenty of free time.  I have a loving and supportive wife.  I meet friends for coffee.  I have taken trips to scenic parts of the country recently.  I like the books that I have been reading.  The technology that I get to interact with daily is very stimulating.  I live somewhere that is peaceful, quiet, and green.  I am exercising regularly and feel in excellent health.  Now, I don't have all the money I would like and I am missing some structure and purpose but I do have a lot of the elements of a successful life right now.

Is it possible to live the dream and not have all your goals completed?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Companies that I admire

Earlier this week, I was meeting with my career coach.  We sat down and reviewed my Networking Brief.  At the end of the page, we are suppose to list companies that we admire and wished to work for.  On my list I sprinkled in Apple, Amazon, and Google.  He advised me to remove those companies as they are not around here.  That left me with local companies that don't create the same passion or admiration in me.  I struggled with this advice and it kept me up at night.  I don't know how I would ever land work with one of these internationally know companies.  It doesn't seem possible or even likely.  I am not even sure if they would have me.  But there are definite things about them that I like.  Elegant, powerful tools is what Apple makes and the company is debt free.  Apple has had strong leadership with a dynamic CEO.  They recently surpassed Microsoft in market net worth.  Amazon is number one in customer service and consumer admiration.  I shop there because of the low prices and product reviews.  They make it so easy.  Google is my search engine of choice.  I also use their blog, email, and landing page.  All these companies are number one is their field, they are doing dynamic things, and they are worth billions of dollars.

Sure, these companies are not around here.  Yet I admire them and I thought that was the question.  Maybe their company culture is something that I could replicate around here.  It is not that I seriously thought I could find someone who could refer me to someone within one of those companies.  The idea was that these organizations were ones that I like and that says something about me.

Do you dream of working for a Apple, Amazon, or Google?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All caught up

When one is between opportunities there is a lot of free time.  I like my freedom.  Don't get me wrong.  But after a while, you get caught up.  I have my resume and LinkedIn profile update.  The house is picked up and some projects are done.  Those books I have been meaning to get to, I have read.  The events I wanted to see, I have gone to.  People I haven't seen for years, I have talked to.  It is a strange thing, but I feel like I have spent enough time on my own life.  I am ready to move onto someone elses problems.

What problems do you have that I could solve for you?  How can I increase your sales, help you reach your next bonus, or help you solve your problems?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

168 hours

Each week we all receive the same 168 hours.  No one is different in this regard.  The time we have is a gift and how we use it determines our success, our eternity, and our relationships.  Right off the top, most of us sleep for 8 hours a day, so 56 hours are removed immediately.  That leaves 112 hours.  I figure an hour and a half a day is used for eating and preparing.  That maybe a little low but another 11 hours are gone just to survive.  We probably take a shower everyday, brush our teeth, shave, and change into fresh clothes.  I estimate that takes another 4 hours.  If you do anything to take care of your soul, like reading inspirational material or gathering with other like-minded people, that may take another 7 hours.  Exercise may take another 5 hours per week.  People have jobs which can be forty hours or more plus the commute can take another hour in the day so there is another 45 hours gone.  Now we are down to about forty hours.  You may use some time to socialize, to read, to do housework, and to shop.  Once those are complete, there maybe twenty hours left for your benefit.  How are you using that little sliver of time each week to improve the world, to better your community, to bless your family, or to build something of value?

Do you budget your weekly 168 hours?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hiding blogs in blogger

I follow several blogs in Googles Blogger.  It is usually a daily stop where I can click to read some good content.  My intent is to read things in the morning that feed my mind with light, wisdom, and ideas.

There are several blogs that I have in my list that have not provided an update in months.  After sleeping on it, I decided that I really did want to delete those dead blogs.  However, there is not that option.  Hiding the blogs is the only option.  Why does Google do that?  Some of those blogs are really stand-a-lone websites and not related to Google.  I just find it odd.  To me, I should be able to decide for myself what is in my list of blogs and what gets deleted.  By hiding blogs I am no longer interested in following, I feel like something is left undone.  It doesn't feel clean.

Do you know of a way to delete a blog from your reading list in Blogger?

Edit:  August 31, 2012.  I found a way to quit following a blog.  Go to Google Reader and click on Blogger dashboard.  There will be a new tab listing all the blogs you are set up to follow.  To the right, there is a hyperlink called "Settings".  Click on that.  There will be another hyperlink "Stop following this site."  Click on that and there will be a pop-up message asking if you are sure.  Click "Stop Following" and the blog will be removed from the list of blogs you want to follow.  

Pretty simple but buried.

Friday, August 24, 2012


I think Apple dropped the ball when they named the iPod Touch.  A better name in my mind would have been the iTouch.  It is easier to say, it is one word, and it describes the product.  By naming it the iTouch and dropping the iPod from the name they would have created a whole new product segment.  Which I think accurately reflects their offerings.  An iPod Touch is so much more than a music player.  It is a mini computer you can hold in your hand.  There are apps to use.  There is a camera.  You can access the internet and read email.  I do a lot of listening through my iPod Touch but that is not the entire story.  I think a name can have an impact on a product and Apple should have named it the iTouch.  In fact, I don't think it is too late.

What do you think about renaming the iPod Touch to the iTouch?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

15 minutes

I am trying something new.  Each day I set the timer for 15 minutes and sit or lie down.  Currently I am doing this after lunch in the early afternoon.  The idea is to rest, to gather myself, and to come up with ideas.  So far, I have only done this a few times but I have added it to my daily to-do list.  I find it hard to do nothing.  Though I maybe doing "nothing" I still find myself thinking, praying, talking to myself, and fidgeting.  Ideas do not come to me readily but I am hoping this exercise will help my sub conscience get smart new ideas to my conscience.  It is a new concept or at least a new practice for me.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Do you sit for ideas during the day?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Do a complete job

The scenario has played through my head more than once.  I get caught in a wild shoot-up where a nut loses it and uses his gun to bring his misery to others.  I would like to think that I could get off a few words about Jesus being my Savior.  Or I would like to be able to take quick action that disables the gunman and rescues others.  I guess my one hope is that if I am going to get shot, the man does a complete job.  I don't want to be disabled or a vegetable.  I would rather be snuffed out quickly.  Lingering for weeks in the hospital before I expire doesn't seem appealing to me.  Get it done and take me out if you need too.  I am ready to go.  Just don't do a half job.

Have you thought about getting caught up in one of these mass shootings?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New blog

My goal for this blog has been to express who I am, to let others in on my world, and to leave "bread crumbs" around the internet for people to find.  I have attempted to blog five days a week and have been doing that since the later half of last year.  In all this time, I have received one unsolicited comment from someone I don't know.  My metrics indicate that the views of my blog are at most one or two per post.  My only follower is my wife and I am not sure if she even reads my posts.

So I think I will continue on this habit until the end of the year.  After that I would like to start another blog.  That blog ideally will be of a topic that I can write about and in the process establish myself as an expert.  At the moment I don't know the name of the blog or the topic.  I am just getting the sense that what I am doing now is not having much benefit and will need to close soon.  It also feels that what I am doing is starting to run in circles and I maybe repeating myself.

Initially, I had taken the Seth Godin challenge to blog every day.  He said it was the best way to ship an imperfect product to the world and to get feedback.  I thought it was a good idea at the time and still do.

It has been helpful to write out my thoughts and experiences.  Committing to blogging daily has been a good discipline and a way to keep myself accountable.  When I write, it puts my feelings on the electronic page and I am able to verbalize them much better by having typed them out.  Otherwise, I am not always able to express what I think off the cuff.

Any thoughts on what topic I could write about?

Monday, August 20, 2012


Last week I was listening to a podcast where the host was relating how he was discontinuing his Facebook account.  One of his reasons was that being on FB never changed the world.  He also saw it as strange that people are communicating with classmates from grade school.  Without FB that would never happen.

It is funny that he dumped Facebook the very week I committed myself to posting once daily.  I had not been using the social media site on a regular basis and thought that maybe I needed to ramp it up to increase my exposure there.  I also like the idea that posting on-line leaves "bread crumbs" for those who are trying to find something about you.  As I am in the midst of a job hunt, I want people to find good things about me.

His comments did give me permission to take some people out of my news feed.  There is one man I am friends with who I worked with in the past.  When we worked together we were never on the same team and we only said "hi" in the hallways.  Even though I enjoy the words this man posts, he puts something up maybe eight to ten times.  Way too much in my opinion.  People should only be posting two to three times a day on any given media outlet.

Secretly, I would like it if a few of the people I have connected with would drop me.  When I initially set up my account with Facebook I was accepting friends left and right.  Only later did I regret this.  Now I don't feel I can de-friend someone without offending them.  I also have a few of those grade school buddies that I have never seen post high school.  It is silly when you think about it.

Facebook to me is too open.  It is trying to be all things to all people.  An approach I have never liked as anyone and everyone can be a customer.  I like a more targeted audience.  I like a little exclusivity.

My plan is to keep my Facebook account open.  I hope to use it to express who I am and to get a little news from those I care about.

Are you using Facebook?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Get rid of your own trash

I may have posted on this topic already so I apologize if I am going over old ground here.  This week I was out at a relatives place to mow his lawn and to clean up his property.  He is no longer able to live at his mini-farm and is instead at a nursing home.  I genuinely enjoyed getting on the riding mower and trimming the lawn.  I find satisfaction in this activity and I especially like putting my signature on the place by making choices that I think are appropriate.  After lawn maintenance, I knew there would be some things in the house that needed to go to the dump.  Unfortunately, some of those things included old carpeting.  The carpeting was full of sand and cat hair.  It was big and difficult to handle.  What an awful task!  We actually threw the carpeting out of an upstairs window to get it down to the ground without having to carrying it down the stairs.

What had been a fairly enjoyable few hours of being outside taking care of the lawn turned into a filthy task of bringing decrepit things to the land fill.  I really hated the job and it was difficult not to have resentment and bitterness.  My wife realized that we had done enough for one day and if we had stayed longer even deeper resentment would have settled in.  So we left but there is always more garbage to go through.

My message is simple.  Please get rid of your own trash.  Do not leave it to your children or to those who come behind you to pick up and dispose of.  It is not their responsibility and it is not fun to do.  Take a little at a time to the dump but have the goal of leaving as little for your children to sift through as possible.  Those things that you keep hanging on to mean almost nothing to your heirs.  The idea is to bless your children and grand children.  By leaving them a mountain of garbage you are leaving a horrible legacy.

Is there anything you can get rid of today?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

20 things I enjoy

Dan Miller, author of "48 Days to the Work You Love", recently replied to a poster on his website.  "Be clearer on what you already enjoy. Make a list of 20 possibilities, narrow down to 3 or 4 that fit you best, do a little more research, choose the best one and act."  Below I wrote out 20 things I enjoy doing.  This took me a couple of days to do and I even had my wife look it over to see if there was anything major that I was missing.  Some of what I wrote may sound similar to other lines in the list.  Now that I have the list, I put an X next to 3 or 4 that fit me best.  This was tough as everything could have had an X next to it.  I don't mean to over think this but I marked those things that I thought I would enjoy in a work setting.  The other things are just life and are perhaps not something for an occupation.

Exercising by running, biking or swimming.
Attending church, seminars, events, or classes.
Updating and filling in information for my music files in iTunes.  x
Listening to music, podcasts, and stories.
Trimming the trees and shrubs in my backyard.
Balancing my checking account and keeping my other accounts up-to-date.  x
Reading blogs, books, magazines, and on-line articles.
Going to scenic places to enjoy the sights and experiences.  x
Discovering a new restaurant.
Being with my wife and others I care about.
Hiking and bird watching.
Picking up the house.
Keeping my computer software up-to-date.
Finding a deal or bargain on-line.
One-on-one or small-group meaningful conversations.
Keeping the garage and basement clean and free of clutter.
Updating my social media accounts.  x
Replacing or upgrading something on the house.
Meeting new people.
Crossing items off my to-do list.

Do you see any career or small business ideas in this list?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Key elements to satisfaction at work

For me to be happy in my life's work there are several key elements that need to be there.  I need to have my freedom.  I can not be caged like an animal or babysat like a child.  There needs to be profitability so that I can afford a reasonable lifestyle, aggressively save, and generously give.  I need to be around people I respect, admire, and appreciate.  Those I am around need to speak well, care about their appearance, and seek to be real.  I need to have new experiences and opportunities to grow personally.  I can handle routine to some extent but I do like to improve and change for the better.  I do not want to be with people who are lording it over me, who are excessively picky, or who expect me to be someone I am not.  In my work, I need to be out of the spot light and not expected to entertain.  Email would be the primary way of communicating with only a few phone calls or meetings.  Things I care about are nature, doing the right thing, finances, the next generation, and technology.

Do you know of a place with these key elements?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Travels east

I recently took a trip south and east and I really enjoyed it.  There is so much to see in this country and sometimes one has to break out of ones routine and go do something different.  The scenery was better the farther we got from home.  I enjoyed the mountains, the green, and the trees of the east. Plants were allowed to grow right up to the edge of the road.  I liked how there were less road signs and less billboards.  Ironically, people seemed to obey the law just fine and they made good choices despite not having a posting every fifty feet telling them what to do.  There was less litter on the side of the roads perhaps because there was fewer advertisements urging people to buy useless consumer goods.  But also perhaps because inmates were put to work picking up people's junk.  The convenience stores we stopped at were not as clean or of the same quality that I am used to however.  Often times when we pulled over to gas up we would comment to each other that the place should be completed razed and rebuilt, not remodeled, rebuilt.  So that is one area Wisconsin is better at.  Not a big deal, but when you are traveling, it is.  The south east seemed quiet.  People stayed to themselves for the most part.  It was hot but it was the south and the south is suppose to be hot.  They have air conditioning today and I think most people pretty much stayed in doors to stay out of the heat.  I am fine with that but for me I enjoy the heat.  I can move around in it and sweating actually feels good as it cleanses my system.  Personally, I would like to move out of the cold, dark region of Wisconsin to a place with less snow and less winter, where there is beautiful scenery and well kept roads, a place like where I recently visited.

What is your impression of the south east?

Monday, August 13, 2012


I am pro-life.  People have intrinsic value because they are created in the image of God.  They have souls that will live forever.  I think people need to be allowed to live out their entire natural lives.  From conception to old age.  All that can be reasonably done to keep a person alive, should be done to the best of our ability.  When a life is cut short due to someones malicious actions, I think it is an affront to God.

Being pro-life for me goes beyond just humanity.  I am pro-life when it comes to any form of life in nature.  Animals are still God's creation no matter how yucky they may come across to us.  I don't like to see animals abused or I don't like to see nature trampled.  When the outdoors are seen as some sort of open garbage can, I cringe and it troubles me on the inside.  When I see any part of creation treated for less than what it is, it takes glory away from God in my eyes.  It seems like the life He holds together is being disrespected.

I think all life should be respected and honored.  We should hold a reverent and curious view toward it.  We should ask, "what is the purpose of this entity?" and "how can I learn from it?" and "what does it tell me about the One who made it?"

Can you understand my position on being pro-life?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Athletes need to know when to walk away

The recent trade of Peyton Manning from the Indianapolis Colts to the Denver Broncos is not something that gets my heart pumping.  Peyton has had a wonderful career and I think he should have hung it up before even considering playing for another team.  With the Colts, he was highly paid, memorable, and a super bowl champion.  He had a loyal fan base and was very popular.  What he is doing now reminds me of what Brett Farve did late in his career.

Brett Farve also was highly paid, memorable, and a super bowl champion.  It wasn't enough though.  In his late 30's, his career was coming to an end but he couldn't let it go.  The Green Bay Packers wanted him to step away so that new talent could emerge.  Yet Brett looked west and traded to the Minnesota Vikings, a division arch rival.  All the loyalty that the Packer fans showed Brett over the years meant nothing to him.  Personally, I thought it was very low class.  He should have ended his career with the Packers and stepped away from playing for the NFL.

I don't understand these two and their lack of respect for the people who have built them up.  What they have done shows no respect for their original teams.

On the other hand, I like that Michael Phelps has said that he doesn't want to be the guy in his late 30's competing against guys in their early 20's.  This summer will be his last olympics.  To him, it just doesn't seem right to continue.  And he is right.  At some point, athletes need to let it go.  They have worked hard, they have had their moments in the sun, they have gotten the fame, and they have pulled down the big bucks.  Now, walk away and do it with respect for those who have helped you go so far. That is my advice.  Go into broadcasting or coaching.  Start teaching or become a spokesman.  Move into some respectable profession and use your years in athletics as a platform to keep your career going.  But walk away for crying out loud instead of always wanting more.

Do you think athletes need to walk away at some point?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Internet privacy

I am a private person.  I tend to hang out on the edge of groups.  I observe and monitor what is going on around me but I stay out of the thick of things.  I like to be at home and work in my back yard where I can recharge and think about the day.  When I first got onto the internet, I was very careful about having my name out there.  I had an anonymous email address and any comments posted I also did anonymously.  One day that all changed.  I did a search for my name and my address and there it was.  Totally open for the world to see.  People could find me if they wanted to.  Anyone could be on my front door step in 24 hours.  I found that shocking but then that feeling was quickly followed by relief.  Don't I want people to find me and know me?  Today, I use an email address with my full name, blog at a location that shares my name, and post in comment fields using my name.  I want people to know me and to see what value I bring.  I think that is much healthier than trying to skulk around attempting to dodge people.

What are your views on internet privacy?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What can I do for my tribe?

I know I am not the most popular person.  I am not looking to gain a lot of attention for myself.  I don't want to be on stage or in the spot light.  I am not very entertaining.  Being on the edge of the crowd is where I much prefer to be.  My network of friends and acquaintances is modest but growing slightly.  It is my hope that I can serve and better those that are in my tribe.  For those who are in my network, I want them to be thankful and blessed that they know me.  For those outside of my network, I want them to wish they were in.  The numbers of people paying slight attention to my life may not be great but I hope to be of some help to them.

How can I best serve you?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mowing the lawn in North Carolina

Over the weekend, we drove out to North Carolina.  There were a number of things in our house that we needed to bring to a relative out here.  It was a two night, three day trip for us.  On the way we were able to see my sisters family for a short time Friday night.  As we drove east we enjoyed the mountains and trees in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia.  It was a nice drive as the highway system is built quite well in this country and we were able to talk about what we were seeing and experiencing.

Monday is the only full day that we will be here.  We are not looking to be entertained but instead are here to help.  The tasks that fell to me were taking the garbage to the landfill and after that to mow the lawn.  I really enjoyed mowing the lawn.  Sure, it was hot and I was sweating gallons but I was glad to help anyway I could.  When mowing, my mind goes to how I could experience this sense of enjoyment all the time.  Maybe I just need to start a lawn mowing business, go door to door, and offer to mow people's lawns.  It seems so simple but I have never gone door to door to ask for business.  I would like to have this sense of accomplishment and satisfaction all the time though.  Maybe we need to move here and start a company to service people's homes as I think the heat keeps people indoors whereas I actually like it.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Water is something I enjoy being around and I don't think I have realized just how much I have valued it.  Some of my best memories in my formative years involved water.  I remember that every summer camp I went to was on a lake and I remember swimming and playing in the water.  I took swimming lessons at the YMCA throughout the years.  Many of my vacation destinations have involved water.  Bodies of water are points on the map that I want to see and explore.  Water is very comforting and relaxing to me.  It is refreshing and cleansing.  It feels right.  It provides just enough resistance in play and for exercise.  In my life, I hope to involve more and more water.

I grew up with a large track of farm land both in the front of our house across the street and in back of our property.  I did not grow up on a lake or near water.  I do not recall any friends who had homes next to water.  As a result, I have been assuming all this time that having a large amount of acreage would be satisfying because I like to have control and manage how a property looks.  Now, I am not so sure that is really my dream.  I think being on, in, and around water is more satisfying and more accurate with my true desires.

Do you enjoy water?  How have you been able to spend more time in and around water?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

People I like to be around

It is so much easier to be around people that I like and admire.  Work and activities become easier due to trust.  I like people who have a well-kept appearance.  Who bathe and dress modestly.  I like people who speak intelligently and seek to use their words to lift others up.  I like people who try and put forth an effort but who also know when to cap it and leave good enough alone.  I like people who have a "can do" attitude.  I like people who value time with their families but are also looking to broaden their network.  I like people who value their health so much that they say "yes" to exercise and "no" to poisons.  I like people who have a hope that tomorrow is going to be better than today and that they can do something about it.  I like people who share and include others.  I like people who ask good questions and who are understanding.  I like people who can keep it all in perspective.  I like people who can provide insight into life.  I like people who speak the truth.  I like people who are themselves.  I like people who judge a man by his character.  I like people who I can trust.  I like people who are good examples on how to live.

Who do you like to be around?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I care about...

I care about my health.  I care about my family.  I care about God's church's.  I care about the environment.  I care about doing the right thing.  I care about order and efficiency.  I care about personal growth and spiritual growth.  I care about what I say.  I care about words.  I care about freedom.  I care about good stewardship.  I care about kindness.  I care about being my best.  I care about my finances.  I care about keeping things quiet.  I care about technology.  I care about being out of the spotlight.  I care about privacy.  I care about connections.  I care about learning.  I care about honesty.  I care about keeping open spaces open and free of development.  I care about nutritious and delicious food.  I care about lasting long-term relationships.  I care about meeting new people.  I care about following the law.  I care about clean water.  I care about trees.  I care about the needs of orphans and widows.  I care about my conscience.  I care about feeding my mind good and wholesome things.

What do you care about?