Adios 2011…..

This past year has been good to me and my family. We have had family memories, church membership, a graduation, a beach vacation, first college send off, a promotion, spiritual growth, and financial responsibility. And while we have had some health challenges as well as adjusting as a family of 5 to a family of 4, we have been blessed beyond what we deserve.

I am excited to see what God has in store for our spiritual walks with Him for 2012. May your new year be blessed.

I am too old to wait until midnight to ring in the new year. I will be snoozing away and letting the rest of y’all revel away. Besides, we have 9am church service to get up for on New Year’s Day.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Trash misinterpetation…..

This morning at my normal Friday routine at Wayside Christian Men’s Pavilion I spent time in the kitchen helping prep the lunch and dinner meals while my fellow friends served breakfast. Interestingly, I was prepping a huge tub of salad — washing and cutting lettuce, radishes, and onions while adding packages of croutons. I say interesting because when asked at dinner if I would like a salad with my meal my normal response is “No thanks. I’ve had my salad for the year”. I am not a rabbit; I am a man who prefers charred dead animal flesh to bunny food. But I digress.

While slicing the radishes, one of the drivers who goes out to pick up the daily donations returned with a black trash bag that they normally put the donuts and pastries in. He placed it on one of the kitchen counters as he normally does and headed back out. One of the kitchen worked started to process the bag and opened it….. only to find that it was a bag of trash. The guys immediately started getting on the driver that he made the wrong pickup (which could be understandable given that fact that there is no distinguishing the black trash bag with food from a black trash bag with garbage). When the driver returned, he deflected the harassment with a statement of “That was the bag I was given”. The blaming then worked its way upstream to whoever gave him the bag donation.

What got my attention was a statement one of the kitchen workers said — “That’s what society thinks of homeless people — trash!”.

While there might be some truth to that, I had to smile and verbally disagree with him. I said “Not all of us think homeless folks are folks are equal to trash. That’s why we are here”.

He immediately understood and it afforded a bit of solidarity that we are all a part of God’s creation and, to one of AA’s statements, we should all be doing our part to help others.

The rest of my morning was rounded out serving the second round of breakfast followed by prayer in front of the Louisville abortion clinic. It started my day out nice as I was able to return home and enjoy my last day off work before the New Year and a week going back to work.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

About face…..

This short video is an interesting piece of history. Did you know that the lady in “Roe vs. Wade”, Norma McCorvey actually never had an abortion? EVEN MORE interesting, she now realizes how lost she was back during that time and is a proponent for life.

“However, upon knowing God, I realize that my case which legalized abortion on demand was the biggest mistake of my life. — Norma McCorvey

Amazing how God works.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Two days…..

One cool toy that is out there now that I really like is the miniature remote control helicopter. Technology and manufacturing have gotten to the point where you can pick up a remote control helicopter that will fly indoors for $30-60 bucks. Very cool if you ask me. And while they are challenging to fly, once you get the hang of it, they are a lot of fun.

For Christmas this year, two gifts my son received were at opposite ends of the toy spectrum — the technologically complex and expensive remote control miniature helicopter that I described above and the classic, simple olive drab plastic army men. Below is my quick assessment of their pros and cons.

Miniature RC helicopter
Pros
- technologically advanced
- lots of fun to play with
- high on the cool factor

Cons
- fragile
- expensive ($30-60)

Classic green army men
Pros
- classic and retro
- inexpensive ($1.99)
- old school cool
- batteries not required
- hard to break, durable

Cons
- WWI technology in a drone reliant world
- limited poses
- unable to hold their own against aerial RC helicopter assault

Unfortunately, the miniature RC helicopter being the fragile piece that it is does not stand up to the rigors of 11 year old flight maneuvering. The chopper suffered one too many crashes and, as you can see in the photo below, endured catastrophic failure of its main counterbalance beam. Luckily, the green plastic army men are a bit more rugged for 11 year old male abuse and should get my son through his disappointment of the failed rotary winged bird. We’ll get on the internet to see if said counterbalance beam replacement parts can be procured. Maybe at that time he’ll get more than 48 hours of flying time from the craft.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

My 2012 personal book list…..

I have a long time friend back in California who has always impressed me with his foresight and discipline. In our spending time together, whether playing hoops, watching movies or eating In N Out Burgers, quite often (and usually out of left field) his goals, dreams, targets and milestones would come up in conversation. It struck me that even amongst our immature youth and fun, that not that he had goals (which hopefully we all have to some degree), but that he had a fairly detailed action plan on which to achieve those goals. I had goals too but they were usually achieved by a loose framework in my head, not written down in a detailed plan and shared. I know now that was the reason behind his success — he not only visualized goals like I did, but he developed a detailed plan and wrote it down. He then even went a step further and shared it with folks that were close to him to achieve a sort of accountability.

One goal I am mimicking from him is book reading. I remember a few years ago at the In N Out Burger in Glendale he shared with me over a Double-Double that his goal was to read 20 books. I found that admirable, especially since I have a very bad habit of picking up a book and tearing into the first third to half of it with gusto, only to have the bookmark in the same location weeks or months later as a failure reminder. I identified this as a personal improvement opportunity a few weeks ago and made some lifestyle changes to be more book focused and less TV and computer focused. As a result, I am about 60 pages away from finishing a book I started at the beginning of November. It is my intent to finish that book by the end of this year in preparation for my 2012 personal book list. I plan to take that book completion momentum into the new year and deliberately and persistently read, learn and enjoy from the books I have identified for my list.

This nicely aligns with a quote I posted a few days ago“In five years you will be the same person you are today with the exception of the books you read and the people you meet.”

Note that at least 5 or 6 of these books are the “failure” books with a bookmark part way through them. Also, a couple are re-reads because they are good and I haven’t read them in a decade or two. If you notice, there are 26 books which divides evenly into a year with 52 weeks. I did not actually do that on purpose — it just happened, although it makes perfect sense. I will have an average of 2 weeks per book to accomplish my goal. Additionally, I added this to our family calendar in an effort to #1 – stay on track and #2 – have some form of accountability. I guess by blogging this I also have achieved the same thing. And to top all this reading off, it is also a goal of mine to read through the Bible in entirety in 2012. I am selecting a Bible reading plan to implement along with the list below.

Dan’s 2012 Personal Reading List

  • Financial Peace Revisited – Dave Ramsey – finished 1/02/12
  • QBQ – John Miller – finished 1/03/12
  • The Servant – James Hunter – finished 1/15/12
  • Switch – Chip & Dan Heath – finished 2/25/12
  • Hurt Healer – Tony Nolan – finished 3/19/12
  • Make It Count – John Kotre – dropped from list; to be reassessed
  • One Minute Manager – Ken Blanchard – finished 4/26/12
  • EntreLeadership – Dave Ramsey
  • The Reagan Diaries – Ronald Reagan
  • The Tipping Point – Malcom Gladwell
  • In Praise Of Slowness – Carl Honore
  • Everyone Communicates, Few Connect – John Maxwell
  • Epicenter – Joel Rosenberg
  • Maximum Success – James Waldroop & Timothy Butler
  • The Leadership Challenge – James Kouzes & Barry Posner
  • Jesus, CEO – Laurie Beth Jones
  • The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  • Multipliers – Liz Wiseman
  • The Red Badge Of Courage – Stephan Crane
  • The New Rational Manager – Charles Kepner & Benjamin Tregoe
  • Team Of Rivals – Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Better – Atul Gawande
  • The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande
  • Big Ideas – Alex Hutchinson
  • Decision Points – George Bush
  • 1001 Ways To Reward Employees – Bob Nelson

I want to thank my friend, Suitdragon Billiam for the inspiration and for being a model of discipline and persistence.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Posts that refer to the list or books
Early goal success…..
2012 action…..
Doing quote…..
Moving forward, but falling behind…..

A Dave Ramsey funny…..

My wife and I just finished Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University two weeks ago. It has been an amazing journey and has really propelled us to get our finances in even better order than they already were and to ensure we are always good stewards with the blessings God has given us. In fact, back in October I even blogged about my Florida beach vacation souvenir. That beach vacation was our family’s first all cash vacation and this Christmas will be our first all cash Christmas! The Dave Ramsey Financial Peace plan truly works and will positively change your family tree.

But here is the funny story.

BACKGROUND
I am a religious podcast listener of Dave Ramsey’s radio show. He is on every weekday for 3 hours and podcasts one of those hours free (I highly recommend subscribing). On his Friday shows, he will have people call in who have followed all 7 steps (which he gives out freely on his website) and who are now debt free. He will interview them a bit and then they will wrap up the call by having the person, couple or family yell at the top of their lungs — “We’re DEBT-freeeeeeee!!!!!!!”. It is inspiring and really good to know that others out there have done it — not through a secret program that costs hundreds or thousands, but through sheer planning, persistence, determination and sacrifice. I plan on driving down to Nashville with the family and doing my debt free scream at Dave’s Financial Peace Plaza lobby some time in 2018 (all debt including the house which is about all that’s left).

So because of our emphasis this Christmas on not spending money and focusing on the giving, my son has spent the last several weeks making crafts for our family presents. He just now came down to the basement and yelled in front of the family — “I’m CRAFT-free!!!!!!!”

I guess my listening to Dave’s Friday show podcasts in the car are rubbing off.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Boycotting GoDaddy…..

There is a lot of hubbub about legislation that is threatening online internet freedoms — SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act. This is another lamely veiled attempt to control what goes on amongst the internet. While it pretends to be upright and wanting to protect copyrighted material, it’s actual application isn’t very well thought out (imagine that — coming from politicians) and it aims to more control rather than to actually care about the root cause of the issue. But I digress.

Many tech bigwigs such as Google, eBay, Yahoo, etc are against this bluthering legislation for good reason. However, many of them are very upset because one of their own, GoDaddy, is actually supporting SOPA. And there is quite a movement to actually boycott GoDaddy and not do any business with them.

Well, I say “It’s about time! Welcome to the bandwagon. What took you so long?”

You see, this blog used to be hosted by GoDaddy. When I started writing this blog over 7 years ago, I wanted to focus on writing, not the technical aspects of hosting, domain registration, DNS servers and the like. There weren’t too many easy choices back then which led me to GoDaddy. However, that was before the trampy, soft porn advertising that now oozes from what I now refer to as “HoDaddy”. And while my spiritual and family values have strengthened and grown more conservative, HoDaddy’s have become looser than a thrift store turtleneck.

Now please don’t paint me as some sort of prude. I can appreciate a beautiful woman and I know that sex sells. However, to dress down or nudify (is that a word?) women and parade them on a daytime or prime time broadcast during NASCAR or football insinuating nothing other than raunchiness, is crass. It makes the Victoria’s Secret and beer commercials look mild and tame in comparison. I guess to compete with “Jersey Shore” and “Desperate Housewives” this is what we as a society have devolved to. I’m sure others have spoken out about this and I am sure that HoDaddy will be bested and surpassed by someone else soon. But I don’t have to pay into it. And I don’t have to expose my kids to it on daytime TV.

So almost 2 years ago I decided to make my own personal dollars speak for me. I gladly departed HoDaddy and found a web hosting company that aligned with my values and morals. A friend connected me with one of their friends who runs American Discount Web Hosting. Dawn is the owner and not only provides a great value, but also has awesome customer service and practices the values and morals I cherish. She is a great Christian businesswoman and if you have any web needs I highly suggest you give her a call. Especially if you are looking at alternatives to GoDaddy , er, HoDaddy.

As for the rest of y’all technies, while you and I are not doing business with HoDaddy for different reasons, welcome aboard.

Here are some media articles on the topic:

PCWorld article

LifeHacker – Ditch GoDaddy’s SOPA-Loving Butt

LifeHacker’s GoDaddy Jump Ship Checklist

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net