Category Archives: Life

Photo Journal for January 07, 2015 at 06:37PM

Possibly the single most meaningful, amazing, and beautiful gift I’ve ever received. Thank you so much Uncle Randy!

Photo Journal for January 06, 2015 at 10:10PM

Playing the I hate cars game

For any of my friends who enjoy a car mystery… This is the 2006 Honda Odyssey. Yesterday around 1pm Mary got rear-ended but all seemed to be ok. It’s also colder than sin.

Today, after having kids go in and out of various doors without indecent she went to pick Al up from school. After getting in the van and putting it into reverse or drive the door ajar alarm (constant buzz) would sound until the car was put in park or neutral. It did this until she got home (drove home with the buzz) and left it for me.

When I went to look at it I noticed the same behavior and also noted that none of the door ajar dashboard lights were on. After fiddling with some things (mostly trying to diagnose a pattern), I discovered that if you put the rear doors into manual mode via the driver side dashboard switch the sound went away. Score 1 for the good guys.

Unfortunately, I knew someone wouldn’t consider that a permanent fix so I went looking for another solution. What I found online suggested removing the drivers side #7 fuse labeled “back up”, so I gave that a shot. When you remove that fuse the beeping for doors open/key in the ignition stops and the rear power doors do not work at all. After waiting the prescribed 30-60 seconds I replaced the fuse and the constant buzz in drive/reverse is no longer there, but now the passenger side sliding door does not open automatically (just manually).

So I and apparently Google appear to be out of ideas. That and I’m tired. If any of you can help me w/ a solution that doesn’t require a trip to the mechanic there’s many beers or other beverages of choice in your future.

Q3 charity:water Campaign

My third quarter charity:water campaign is now live! To date you’ve helped raise over $2,500 for clean water and in doing so helped over 300 people! I don’t know about you, but the fact that you can potentially save someone’s life for less then $9 just blows my mind.

Every day, 5,000 kids under the age of 5 die from water-related illnesses.

So, if you would like to help continue to help solve the water crises, please take a moment to consider a small donation. And remember, with charity:water’s 100% model your entire donation helps to serve the people who need it!

Happy Memorial Day

Now go out and enjoy some of those freedoms provided by those who fought and served. And while you’re doing that, take a moment to say “thanks”.

For The Children’s Sake, Put Down That Smartphone #1aDay

It’s not just kids who are overdoing screen time. Parents are often just as guilty of spending too much time checking smartphones and e-mail — and the consequences for their children can be troubling.

While I’m no angel when it comes to my phone I do make a conscious effort to disable just about every type of notification and not look at it when in the middle of talking to someone (unless it’s to check on something they asked about). If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s the people who have every notification turned on then tell you that they don’t even notice it anymore… well the rest of us who are trying to talk to you do – and so do your kids as this article points out.

Read the full article here

You’re Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead) #1aDay

My wife is probably going to hate this article, but I did promise a “clean” article after yesterday’s post.

Read the full article here

Concurrently process for maximum productivity #1aDay

Christopher Penn makes a good argument for the separate concept of concurrent (or parallel processing) over the traditional single vs multi-tasking debate. Of course the key to success in concurrent processing is knowing how to split up the work without getting stuck in analysis paralysis. In that case, I would strongly recommend dropping down to single tasking instead of what most people seem to do.

Read the full article here

Clutterfree with Kids

A few weeks ago I was honored to receive an advanced copy of “Clutterfree with Kids” by Joshua Becker for review. One of the things I appreciate most about Joshua’s writing and articles is that he’s what I consider a “normal” minimalist in that he owns a house, has kids, and has a job. In other words, he’s just like you and me – only he and his family have chosen to live a life of less so that they may appreciate it more. Even better, he rightfully acknowledges that everyone’s brand of minimalism is different.

Regarding the book, I’ll say that if you’ve read one book on minimalism you’ve read them all and this is not a huge exception to the rule, but if you have not this is a great place to start if you consider yourself to be a “normal” person and are interested in how living a life of less can give you more.

I think the key if you’re married is that you have to get your spouse on-board. Otherwise, don’t expect to have a truly “clutterfree” life (not that it’s really even possible with kids). I think the most you can really hope for is a more organized chaos. Making intentional choices like limiting TV or Internet time. Choosing to eat together as a family. Choosing your activities more deliberately. Choosing to travel with less so that you experience more.

To hit on some of the high points, these were a few of my main take-aways…

  • Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it <- Read that again
  • Start with small victories. Don’t tackle the hard things first.
  • Owning less allows us to own higher quality items.
  • Consider the true cost of your purchases – time, maintenance, cleaning
  • Less is different than none.
  • There is more joy to be found in owning less then can ever be found in organizing more.
  • Organizing more never addresses the underlying problem.
  • It is far better to de-own than to declutter.
  • Intentionally or unintentionally we are all minimizing something.
  • Gift giving: take time to let the fads show themselves then purge without concern. Conversely don’t force your ideas on others.
  • Compare downward – many people with less “stuff” are actually happier.

Bottom line, for a couple bucks and a few hours of your time, there are much worse things you could be doing, and on the bright side, it just may change your life. Can’t go wrong with that.

Get the book today

What do you think?

PS: Thanks again Joshua for allowing me to preview the book. I read every word, and it was a good refresher.

Principles, Priorities, and Values – oh my!

Lately I’ve been thinking about the important things to me. What my “principles”, “priorities”, or “values” are. I’m sure I could spout off a number of things, but here are the big ideas that come to mind.

My family is the most important thing in the world to me. I will do anything within my power for my wife and kids. What is the purpose of life without someone or a cause to love?

Goals keep us moving forward. They give us something to strive for. But don’t confuse a want with a goal. Remember, goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

A dream without a plan is only a wish upon a star, but beware analysis paralysis. Use planning to achieve your goals. And remember, plans change. Change with them.

Disciplined Action
This is where you walk the walk. Achieving any goal or carrying out any plan is primarily a matter of disciplined action. It’s making the hard choices. Doing things you don’t want to do. Doing as you say. Being a role-model.

The easiest way to maintain disciplined action is through routine. Routine isn’t a dirty word or meant in a negative way. Some might call it a ritual.

Spontaneity (White Space)
Of course once you have planned your disciplined actions and made them a routine it’s amazing how much time you can find for other things. Once you know where the unmovable objects are it’s easy to find the space between. Remember to keep white space in your schedule. You can’t plan everything and if you try to you will drive yourself and those around you crazy. Schedule your priorities. Don’t schedule your life.