Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December Thoughts

It's been a while.

We've been reading through the bible chronologically this year in church. In early December we caught up to the crucifixion. It was unique reading about the Easter story during the Christmas season. It was a unique juxtaposition. I liked it. Easter is the point of Christmas.

For the first time in my adult life I've decorated my home for Christmas. I wish I had more time to enjoy it.

I've been to 7 Christmas parties this season. I'm tired.

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice. It's my favourite day of the year. Each day for the next 6 months is going to have more daylight than the day before. It starts speeding up noticeable in the next month or so. I could use some sun light.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Too Many Friends

Four years ago I could count my friends on one hand. Probably on one finger.
I am very different now. And as I've grown and changed I've made some friends. A lot of friends actually. Maybe too many. I'm still an introvert, but I'm a very outgoing introvert. An introvert needs time alone, but a friend needs time too.

A couple months ago I decided to have a football party at my place. I made up a guest list. I had 66 people on the list. I was actually surprised. I didn't think I really knew that many people, let alone people I would call friends. Granted, some are closer friends than others, but all are people I would be perfectly fine hanging out with, in a group or one on one. Just to make sure I wasn't lumping some extra acquaintances I redid my list. I came up with 77. So, I really tightened up my criteria and scaled it back to 57 invites.

The only reason this is noteworthy is because of what I said at the top. Four years ago I was lonely. I felt alone and unknown. It is absolutely amazing to stand back and take a look at how my life has changed. I've changed too.

Now I just need to figure out how to manage my time. 57 friends is 57 birthdays. Engagements. Weddings. Births. Gatherings. I think I'm beginning to see why I find I have so little time for me.

Its definitely a good problem to have. Four years ago I had all the time in the world and no one to share it with.

And in case you're wondering, 32 people showed up.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Slowly organizing my life. Slowly. Removing clutter. Adding order. Finding a life outside of work.

I am very good at organizing and finding efficiencies. Somehow I have never really turned my focus on my own life. When I took over a division of my company last year it ran over budget for 13 months in a row. The first month I took over we ran over budget by $17. The next month we were under budget and have been for the last 17 months up to now. My division is just about to turn in its most profitable year in the last decade.

I'm turning my focus on my time management.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

First Things First

Necessities of life

That's close to the way I think life should line up. The way my life is right now seems to be more like work, necessities of life, work, family, work, friends, work, recreation, work, God. I need to figure some things out.

There are only 168 hours in a week.
About 56 hours are for sleeping, or trying to sleep.
There are about 21 hours a week for eating and hygiene.
I work about 50 to 60 hours a week.
There's about 10 hours of driving/transportation for work/school/life each week.

That leaves 21 hours a week for everything else. Only 3 hours a day. And out of that remaining time I juggle my hobby job, youth group, church, C&C, sports, friends, family. church, groceries, laundry, etc... It's not enough time for the things that matter. When I actually do the math I can't believe I'm living my life this way. I get cranky often. And I'm not a cranky person. When something important requires my time it's always sleep and God that get cut out of my schedule.

I'm thinking of ways to make changes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another Post On Time

I've been away for a while. Busy. I've been thinking a lot about time, again.

Everything is time. Friends, family, money, children, recreation, fun, whatever.

I've been working a lot. My job is very demanding. It takes a lot of time. It involves early mornings, late nights and weekends. Outside of work, I've been doing life a lot too. Youth group, both junior and senior high, C&C, small group, volleyball, helping friends move, hosting football parties (32 people - That was crazy), and church.

One of the things I've noticed is that the busier I am, the busier I become. I wanted to know why. I think I've figured it out. Work, for work's sake is pointless. We all work to support our lives outside of work (friends, family, fun). We all work to live, not live to work. And I work hard. The more I work, the more I want to live. So, in a weird way the less time I have, the more time I spend. The result is that I don't have much time for myself. It's taken me a couple years to figure that out.

What's the point of spending all my time at work if I can't do what's really important? I think I need to re-evaluate my work/life ratio. I can't cram more work or life into life. I need to cut back on something, and its not life.

Monday, June 16, 2014


I used to think that time was the only commodity of which you couldn't get more. I'm adding sleep to the list.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I remembering sitting in a doctor's office years ago as kid. I picked up a Reader's Digest and came across an article about a man who had two giant jars filled with marbles. Each marble represented a day of his life. One jar was for the good days. The other jar was for the wasted days. The goal was to keep track of how well his life was spent. I always thought that would be interesting to do. I guess the goal would be to have more marbles in the good day jar than the wasted day jar. The last year or so, I'm not sure which jar would be winning. I feel like a lot of days were wasted with work. I know work allows me to buy things, give things away, feed myself, etc... but once the necessities are provided for there's more to life than material and money. I don't want to miss out on the things I really want, because I'm doing the things that aren't quite necessary. It's a fine line. I'm trying to figure out which side some of my responsibilities fall on. And work isn't earning a lot of good day marbles at the moment.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


It's been a long time since I didn't have to do anything.

I have a To Do list at work. There's about 20 things on it. I have a To Do list at home. There's about 20 things on it too.

This means that I always have something to do. There's always a deadline coming. There's always something that can't wait until later. It makes it really difficult to enjoy life. There's never any time to relax. Even when I take time for me, it simply means the "To Do" list is hanging over my head, overshadowing what should be a good time. And the longer I put off the list the more things seem collect on it. It feels never ending.

I know a person who doesn't work a lot. She doesn't have a lot either, but when she is done work for the day. She is done. She isn't on call. She doesn't have a To Do list waiting for her at the "office". She doesn't have a To Do list at home, outside the normal things we all have to do like laundry and grocery shopping and the like. Her time is actually her time. When she isn't working, she is living life.

I don't remember what that is like any more. This weekend I was called from work to arrange crews and charters. I have over 7000 pounds of freight to move and all my flights are sold out and I need to arrange more flights for VIPs. And that's just life as I know it. Today I was fielding questions from 2 different staff in 2 different cities while I was at church. It's hard to focus on God or have a day off when work can call you at any given moment.

I am seriously re-evaluating things. All things. This next year I will make some very intentional decisions about career and life and whatnot. I need to know that when I am home, work is done. I need to simplify my life so that I don't have a million things to do when I'm not working. That's a good start for now.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Observations from the wedding reception I went to last night.

Almost all females like dancing.
Almost all males don't like dancing.
Females will make males dance with them against their will.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tiny Units of Happiness

Time to learn some economics. This will be long and educational, but I promise it will be enlightening, contain a song from Hootie and the Blowfish, and it may even make your life a little better.

First, economics is not the study of money, it is the study of incentives. Economists discovered a long time ago that money is not the ultimate motivator they thought it was. Although the $'s play a large role in our society, economists had to find a way to explain why one person would work a job for X number dollars but another would only do the job for X+10 dollars. Shouldn't X motivate different people the same amount? Obviously money was not the sole incentive at play. Economists decided there must be a more base incentive. What makes people do what they do? Happiness! How do you quantify happiness? Economists created the util. In very simple terms, a util really is a tiny unit of happiness. (Surprise: Utils is what I named my blog so many years ago, intentionally leading up to this point.) Economists could now explain why supposed equal incentive did not equally incentivize different people. One person may be just as happy with $100 as another is with $1000. An economist would say their utility is the same. That's enough money talk for now. From this point on I will be talking about utils.

Second, time is a commodity. Everything costs time. The value of time is based on what you do with it. You can use your time to work, to earn money to buy things, to spend on relationships, hobbies, travelling, etc... Going to a movie costs 3 hours of time. One hour to earn the money and two to actually watch it. Buying a rolex watch may cost 50 hours spent at work. Having a child costs 18 years.

Third, all decisions have a cost. Opportunity costs are the things sacrificed at the expense of something else. Examples would include going on a vacation at the expense of buying a new tv, or having a quiet night at home at the expense of going to a friend's party. Buying a rolex may come at the expense of repairing a car or going away for the weekend. Any time a decision is made there is an opportunity cost.

Utils, time and opportunity costs are intimately interconnected.

Putting it all together

In our daily lives we rarely think about our intentions consciously in terms of utils, time and opportunity costs but underneath the surface those are the 3 factors involved in all our decision making. For example, if you want to eat an extra piece of cake (utils), you will either gain weight (negative utils) or need some extra physical activity (negative utils) to burn off the calories. Is there a better use of your time (opportunity cost) than running on a treadmill? The question then becomes, are the utils derived from eating that cake worth more than the cost (negative utils and opportunity cost) of that extra piece of cake? That was just an example but it perfectly illustrates what I am talking about.

Stories and Math

In high school I had a friend who got a job. He worked a lot to buy a car. He used his car to go to work. He needed to earn money to make his car payments and keep it running and fueled. He needed his car to be fueled and running so he could go to work. It was a pointless cycle. I didn't really work when I was in school. I didn't have a lot of money but I didn't have a lot of expenses. I did have a lot of free time though. And to me, the utility derived from my free time (riding my bike, watching tv and going to youth group) was worth a lot more than driving a sports car and having to work all the time to support it. My friend found more utils in the car than riding a bike and watching tv and was willing to trade his time for the car.

The reason I mention all this now is that I am still quite easily entertained. I don't need a lot in life and yet I seem to be spending a lot of a precious commodity, time, on things that don't have as much value to me, like work (or too much work). Granted, I need to work to feed myself and whatnot, but something seems out of kilter. I work too much and enjoy life too little. I've been thinking about this a lot lately because I feel like I need to make a change.

This weekend I had a couple storm doors installed at my house. My dad would have done the work himself. I did not do the work myself. I hired someone to buy the doors and install them. I never had to shop for doors or do the physical installation myself. Yes, I realize it could have been cheaper if I did all the work. Dad would have saved the money but lost the weekend. I had a weekend mostly free from work. I had some friends over. I watched a movie. I played some video games. I practiced a routine for the youth group talent show.

I gained more utils by spending my time doing those things than by installing the doors and saving money. Was it worth it? To me, yes. To my dad, probably not. Like I said, we're just different people. And that's the whole reason why economists invented utils. The same thing will provide us with different amounts of "happiness". Sometimes the opportunity costs of those things are greater than one of us is willing to sacrifice. Simply put, we make different choices, even when the options are the same, because of the value (utils and time) associated with our options.

I am very mathematical. I try not to reduce all decisions and behaviour to mathematical formulas, but let me share with you something I have been working on for a while. Below is a numerical representation of how we make decisions in life. I like to call it Life Economics.

In terms of material possessions:
A new car = 1000 hours = 1000 utils
A used car = 300 hours = 500 utils
A new bike = 10 hours = 50 utils

If I was looking for the best return on investment a new bike is the best decision I could make. The utils per hour is 5. In other words I gain the most happiness per unit of time invested. A new car would only provide a utils per hour of 1. This means that although I am happier with a new car, I gain the most happiness in the least amount of time with a new bike. Somewhere in between lies a used car. There are two things to note from this example. First, the opportunity cost. For all practical purposes, the used car does everything the new car does. However, it takes less than 1/3 of the time it would take to get a new car. This means I still have 700 hours to spend on other things. Those other things may also provide me with utils. Those other things are the opportunity cost of buying a new car. Second, there is the law of diminishing returns. If one new bike provides me with 50 utils, why don't I buy 20 bikes? It would only cost me 200 hours and provide me with 1000 utils, right? Wrong. I gain less and less utils for every new bike I buy until soon, another new bike would not add any value to my life. I think after 5 bikes my utils would be maxed out at about 100. That means I could aquire 100 new bikes and never be as happy as I could with one used car.

In life we all attempt to maximize our utils, whether we are conscious of it or not. I hope the preceding has helped you to visualize what you are spending your life on, and maybe ask yourself why.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Proverbs XX

“Guard well your spare moments.  They are like uncut diamonds.  Discard them and their value will never be known.  Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.” – Emerson

Friday, March 7, 2014

Phantom Glasses

I wore glasses for over 20 years. Last year I had laser eye surgery. I've been glasses free for 13 months now. My brain is still getting used to that fact.

After I had the surgery done I would find myself reaching up to adjust my glasses that were no longer there. When I would step into the shower I would try to remove my phantom glasses. The first thing I would do in the morning, once I woke up, was to reach for my glasses on the night stand. (Up until a couple months I still kept them there because I didn't know what I should do with them.) It's still a unique feeling to walk into a warm and humid room from the dry cold outside and not have my vision fog up.

A couple days ago I hopped out of bed and went to the kitchen for breakfast. As I walked down the hall I instinctively stopped, realized I didn't put on my glasses, and turned to my room to go get them. It took a second for me to remember I don't need glasses any more. Even after a year I still have some of those old reactions from a different life.

Find a lesson in there somewhere.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I am not the type of person who gives up easily. I set "unattainable" goals and then attain them. While someone is busy saying something is impossible, I'm busy finding a way to do it.

I know a lot of people who are naysayers. They have their role in society. We need people to vet ideas and give them a "sober second thought". However when someone says something can't be done, and then stops right there, they prove them self right. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. I don't don't achieve everything I set out to accomplish. But if I had no goals I would not accomplish anything. An 80% failure rate is better than 0% effort.

Several years ago I wanted to buy another rental property. I went to five banks. The first four told me why it couldn't be done. The fifth told me what I had to do to make it happen. Guess what? It happened. So who was the winner in all this? The banks that said it was impossible or the bank who told me what I had to do to overcome the odds the others thought were insurmountable? Well, I'm on track to pay back the bank that took a chance on me in under 12 years. That bank will have made about $70 000 from me in that time. I think that qualifies as a win for them. And I win too. My cash flow is up. My earnings are up. My retirement plans are ahead of schedule. The thing about those who do, verses those who don't, is that that those who do improve the lives of those around them. Those who don't aren't worth the time and effort.

I like my job. I like my position (mostly). In addition to being a pilot (which I thought was impossible but took a shot at it anyway) I manage a regional airline. My company took a chance on me and put me in a position that could have been given to many other qualified people. (On paper I may not have even been qualified.) The big difference between myself and those other qualified people is that I am a person who believes I can achieve what most feel is impossible. In 2 months I had our office back on budget. It was the first time in over a year. I was given more responsibility. Over the 9 months I have been doing my job we have added 2 aircraft to our scheduled flight division, which I oversee, increased ridership by 15% and revenues by 10%. Our on time performance as measured by the airline standard is hovering around 99%, and our customer satisfaction is through the roof. With everything going my way I looked at other areas that needed help.

I began an initiative to improve the only area our customer's had complaints. The taxi service. Granted, we have nothing to do with taxis but the service the taxis provided harmed the passengers' image of who we are, so I took that challenge on. The drivers were rude. The taxis were late, dirty, unreliable, smelled, etc... (In all fairness, there are very good taxis in the city but they seem to be outnumbered by the bad.) Those in charge told me that the taxi service would never change. That's the way it's always been and that's the way it will always be. I instituted a private car service, much like a limousine service, that has reduced our need for taxis by 90%. Our passengers now travel from the airport in a fleet of Mercedes, with all leather interior and a private driver in uniform. With some clever deal making on my part, we don't pay a single cent for the service, and actually manage to make a small profit from every passenger that uses this service. Keep in mind, those in power told me it could never be done. Not only have I proved them wrong on every level, customer service, quality of transportation, reliability, I managed to make a profit while doing it.

Now I am on the cusp of something monumental, not only for my division, but the company as a whole. And I did it despite a long line of VPs who have been saying it couldn't be done for years now. This Summer I will have pulled off the impossible. I wish I could say more but I can't. I'll just say that I'm about to completely change the market, our market share, the level of customer service and do it all by bringing my division the most profitable year since its inception, with minimal start up costs.

I am curious to see what's next.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


The days are noticeably longer now. Last week it seemed like it was always dark. This week I lost track of time because it is so bright late in the day. It makes me happy.

Here's a good song to start your weekend:

My dad's picking up his Christmas present on Monday:

Someone at work mistook me for 27 years old.
Someone at work thought I was married with kids.
I wonder if that's the "vibe" I put out.

I've got  invisible braces:

I'm going to New York in a couple months:

I manage a regional airline's scheduled flight service. Here's an email I received recently:

Thanks. I have wanted to send a note to your office to express how impressed I was with my flight to ________. From the minute I came through the door and checked in for the flight the service was friendly and amazing, I have been talking you up in our office and will definitely be using your serve more often now....

You guys should be doing training sessions for the big airlines...


Investment Advisor
__________ Securities

I get emails like this from our customers on a regular basis.

This is the most recent song I've learned on guitar:

That's it for now.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ear Candy

Whatever It Takes

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

I went through a bout of depression. I was not the type of person who ever thought I would suffer through something like that. I generally thought people who were depressed were just weak minded. And then it caught me. What was the cure? I can't really say there was a cure. There were things I had to do to make myself better though.

I had to get out of bed (no matter how much I wanted to stay under the covers all day).
I had to eat regular meals (even if I didn't feel hungry most times).
I had to brush my teeth, shower, shave, and get dressed (no matter how much I wanted to stay in my pajamas all day and not face the world).
I had to have a goal for the day (even if it was something simple like doing laundry).
I had to go to bed at a regular time and sleep.

I had to force myself into the mold of a routine that resembled a normal life until I took on the shape of the mold again. That's the abbreviated story of a short span of my life. However, it's a good lesson for anyone wanting to make a change to their lives. You have to do whatever it takes to make the change or you will continue in old patterns.


I've heard it said that if you want something done, give it to a busy person.

That's definitely true of myself. When I get into the "groove" I can take on 10 new projects and still function relatively normally. I am super productive. I remember back when I was finishing my degree in Bible College, I decided to run for city counselor, while I was running 2 different youth groups 150km apart. I just did it. No biggie. But if I have few things on the go, and plenty of free time I tend to become much less productive in terms of input to output. I get lazy.

Right now I am trying to find the best mix. Work keeps me very busy. I spend about 50 to 60 hours a week doing my salaried job. In addition to that I have all my other responsibilities, both income related and things I've committed myself to, like writing up a friend's business plan, helping someone move, playing guitar for worship at C&C, youth group, etc... Three and a half years ago, I wouldn't have had anything besides work fill my schedule. Church wasn't really on the radar. I was very free, but very unproductive and very unfulfilled.

However, I work so that I can live my life outside of work. My extra curriculars need to be a part of who I am or else they just become work too. And soon, all I am doing is work, not life. I know some people who live to work, and I don't want to end up like that. It may have taken me 34 years to figure out, but money is not everything. It seems the biggest decisions I've made in my life the last few years have been to live a better life at the expense of a better income. And, surprisingly, I'm ok with that. I work to live, not the other way around. I have a friend who is a dentist. I have another friend who is a pilot. Both have the opportunity to make a lot of money. One friend works all the time, and focuses on the 2 weeks a year when he gets to blow all his money on a 5 star vacation somewhere warm and exotic. The other friend, doesn't work nearly as much, makes much less than his potential, but has time for friends, family, reading, sleep, music, God, smelling the roses... After much consideration, I realize I want to be like that second friend. I am just trying to figure out how to bridge that gap. I would readily take a reduced salary from work if it meant I could work less. However, that doesn't seem to be an option. That has caused me to re-evaluate a lot of things lately.

My goal is to un-busy my life. I'm not sure how it will all take shape but that is the direction I am heading. There are some things I want to be more involved in, and they require me to be less busy in other areas. There are other things I want to be less involved in, to make room for other things. It will be interesting to see what my life looks like when the dust settles.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Everything I Know About Women: Part 2

Two years ago I wrote the following post as a joke (mostly):

Everything I Know About Women

Seeing as it is 2 years later, and I think I've learned a lot more, I will share a few tidbits of my knowledge with you in honour of Valentine's Day.

Disclaimer: I realize that Not All Women Are Like That. But they are the minuscule minority. The following is generally true.

1 Most women don't know what they want in a guy. They think they do, and they will give you a list of what they are looking for. However, unless you have managed to find one of the only few completely open and transparent women in the world, they will not tell you the whole truth. Partially because they don't want to admit it and partially because they don't actually know. The reason for this is because they have been socialized to not admit what they really want, and purport to want what they are marginally inclined towards.

2 When women say they want a guy who is funny, or a guy who is smart, or a guy who likes kids what they are really saying is they want a hot guy who is funny, or smart, or likes kids.

Quick quiz: Who would women say they are attracted to more?

The first guy has a trail of ex girl-friends but he's trying to change. He doesn't have a steady job, doesn't have an education beyond high school, and doesn't care much for kids. The second guy is honest and sincere. He has a PhD in math, is a Big Brother, hopes to be married and have kids one day. Everyone he works with finds him friendly and funny. (And for the Christian ladies out there, he's also dedicated Christian and sits on his church's board.)

If you answered B, you lied. Although women want to believe that they would choose B, they wouldn't, not if they had a chance with A. Women will try to rationalize this decision by saying that attraction isn't everything in a relationship and that after they get to know Guy B they would choose him. They would be lying. They will go for a string of A's before getting to a B and usually by then its out of desperation, not choice.

3 Women want a man who is taller, stronger, wealthier and more dominant than they are. There can be some compromise on one of two of these qualities if the others over compensate.

4 Women want to be a princess rescued by a prince. They want to feel safe and secure because a man is protecting them. Only half will admit it, but there is a reason why Disney is so successful and old fairy tales are still around. There is a push to change that narrative in today's society but those who pretend they don't want the prince are deceiving themselves.

5 Women want to be a part of something greater than themselves. Usually they want to be brought along on an "adventure" a man is having.

6 Women are meaner than men. They don't resort to physical violence to the extent men do, but prefer psychological warfare and will torment whoever they feel deserves it for a very long time.

7 Women are emotionally driven, unlike men who are factually driven. That's not to say that women can't be factual and men don't have emotions. Everyone has to deal with facts to survive in the real world, but women will default to emotions as a guide or deciding principle much more often then men.

8 Women are extremely jealous of other women and are usually insecure about their looks. Rarely will they admit it. 

9 Women are nurturers. Those who aren't know they are an aberration but usually try to shame others for pointing this out. 

10 Women like flowers because....
        They are pretty. They smell good. If it is a gift from another woman it means that a friend is thinking about them. If it is a gift from a man, it means he's exhibiting his ability to provide resources and he's thinking about her. Of course, if he's guy B, they are creepy and she will give them away or let them die quickly.

If you disagree with the above, you are trying to rationalize away what you know to be true. That should be number 11. Women will try to rationalize the irrational because they don't like what the truth my be. They will usually resort to an outlier or anecdotal exception to discredit what they refuse to accept. I may elaborate on the points I made above. Perhaps, next Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Sabotage is an intentional act to undermine a goal or purpose.

I wonder how many times we sabotage ourselves, intentionally or unintentionally. Years ago I came across Dr. Phil's weight loss book. I only remember one thing from my casual skimming and that was not to sabotage your eating. If you want to lose weight, don't have a gallon of ice cream sitting in your freezer. (As I write this I am quite aware of the 5 gallon commercial tub of Cookies and Cream ice cream crammed in my freezer.) If you want a new job, wear a tie to the interview. Don't show up in ripped jeans. To do so is to sabotage your chances of success.

I think many times I set out to achieve a goal and then do something that decreases my chances of success or don't do something that could increase my chances for success. Results don't magically happen by themselves. Effort must be taken to reach your goals. And sometimes effort requires being cognizant of actions, ideas, or other things that may be sabotaging your progress.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Woman Who Wanted A Baby

A long time ago I knew a woman who wanted a baby. She had been married for quite some time but even after many years of trying for a baby she did not get pregnant. That didn't stop her from preparing for a baby though.

When I say preparing, I don't mean watching those weird baby birthing shows on tv or getting a book of baby names either. She built and decorated a nursery. She bought a crib and stroller and baby toys. It wouldn't have surprised me if she bought diapers too. She had everything she needed for a baby, just in case one magically appeared on her doorstep overnight. That never happened though. And now, short of a miracle, she will never have a baby. It's a sad story. And sadder still is the fact that her house is now a monument and reminder of something that will never happen. Every day she wakes up to see the pieces of a shattered dream, and every night she returns to the rubble of that same dream.

Sometimes I wonder if I am heading down that same direction. Not that I'm trying to get pregnant. I am setting my life up for what I want in the future, but I wonder if it will ever happen. If not, then all my preparations will be for nothing. They will just be a reminder of a goal not achieved. Then I wonder if it's best to not even prepare.

Monday, February 10, 2014


I know some people that can't prioritize. They have no sense of least and most important. Everything is urgent to them. Buying a loaf of bread, paying an overdue bill or attending a wedding are all on equal footing. Their life is hurried and chaotic. My life is becoming that way. I need to step back and set my priorities again.

I have let too many "priorities" into my life and only a couple of them are really important. I think I need to start eliminating some of the excess. I am definitely glad the home renos are in the past. But I have C&C and youth group and small group and my training routine and church and my rental properties and my actual job. They are all starting to crowd each other out and they are crowding out other things that I would like to be a part of my life.

Without hesitation, church and youth group are not negotiable. This weekend reaffirmed that for me. If my life is not in service to other people, it is not fulfilling the potential God has given me, and I would not feel like I am fulfilling my purpose. But everything else is up for consideration.

I can't say I've been "Happy" in a long time. I don't think "Happy"ness should be the compass for life. Emotions are fleeting, but they are a barometer that shouldn't be ignored completely. If someone were to ask me if I were happy the last year or so, I don't think I could answer. I haven't been depressed or anything either. I've been busy. That's it. Just busy. I don't like it when even free time and time with friends becomes another commitment I need to fit into my schedule. I haven't had a chance to slow down and smell the flowers, or even consider if smelling the flowers would make me happy. I've gone from one responsibility to another and I haven't had a lot of time for God, myself or others. I've been a robot, either by accident or intention, I haven't decided yet.

Honestly, this retreat has stirred some things up inside of me. The messages (even my own) and the experiences have broken me down on the inside a little bit. I am still working on making my faith my own, and I am still working on ways to serve others. I really care about these kids and I haven't been able to be as committed as I would have liked, even with my better work schedule. It hurts me to get a brief glimpse inside their lives and then let it go because I have too many other things to do. In some ways, knowing that I have an impact in other people's lives, especially children, with my presence and my absence has triggered this urge to reprioritize.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Youth Retreat

This weekend we took the youth group away. It  was an awesome retreat.

I've found in the past that these weekends are where our relationships tend to solidify. This weekend was the same.

First, some background information. My church is big. I don't know everyone. I don't even know of or about everyone. Our youth group is big too. Although I know "of" all the kids, I don't know all the kids. Our youth group isn't as close as other's I've been a part of in the past. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's different. Within our youth group we have small groups that provide a closer bond between each sponsor and the kids that are a part of their individual group. However, within the the youth group as a whole, there's kids who don't even know the names of kids in the other small groups.

The final night of the retreat something happened. Some of us watched a movie, some of us played board games, some others went to bed. Eventually it was just myself and 5 youth left in the main building. We were a collection of unique people who wouldn't normally end up together if left to our own devices or the format of the youth group. We were from different small groups and backgrounds. Some of us were churched, some of us not, and some in between. Some didn't know the other's names. It all started with one girl saying that from this point on we had to be our selves. No pretending. She said that at school she puts on a front but in youth group she was more her self. Now she wanted to be completely real, but only if the rest of us were real too.We started a board game and a conversation. The theme of this weekend was Making Your Faith Your Own. All weekend long the sponsors were sharing their testimonies. This night the remaining youth started sharing their stories with me. We ended up staying up all night long. It was heart breaking to hear some of the things that they are working through. It left me wanting to pray for those kids so much. There's some things I just can't fix. I have to let God take control. And that can be difficult for me to do sometimes.

I'm praying for our kids. I'm praying for the kids I spent the night talking to in particular. They're dealing with things that kids their age shouldn't have to deal with. I'm praying that the relationships that were formed this weekend remain strong throughout the year.

It's difficult for me to explain, but I came out of this weekend changed because of the experience I had that night. I hope it's a God thing. I pray that many good things will come out of this weekend.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Eat Your Vegetables

When I moved out of my parent's home to go to school there were 2 things that I always had on hand. Ice cream and vegetables. I knew that the vegetables were good for me and I should eat them. I also knew that mom wasn't around to stop me from eating as much ice cream as I wanted.

Somewhere along the line I stopped buying ice cream, but I kept eating my vegetables. In all honesty, I prefer ice cream to vegetables. But I know the vegetables are better for me.

In life, you need to eat your vegetables.
A little ice cream is ok every once in a while, but it can't be the main course or bad things happen.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Baking A Cake

My kryptonite is sweets. Cake, cookies, chocolate, pies, ice cream. You get the idea.

Occasionally I bake, but not as often as I would like. There's usually some butter, some eggs, some sugar, a preheated oven and a prescribed length of time. Knowing what is involved in the final project doesn't diminish the final project. I don't eat a cake and think to myself, "Wow, I can really taste the flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and baking powder." (I just got hungry.) Although I know the cake is the product of its ingredients, it is something new and different. There is a synergy that makes it more than the sum of its parts.

This isn't about baking a cake.

I often find myself analysing the "ingredients" in life. I try to figure what is involved in creating the life I see others living. It doesn't make the final product any less special or fulfilling because I know what was involved in making it. In some ways it's even more special when you know that it is more than just the ingredients that went into the final product. For myself, I am not a natural baker. If I didn't know what the ingredients were, I don't think I could stumble into baking a cake, despite my best efforts. So I observe other bakers and learn from their methods and their ingredients. And that's how I learn.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Social Media Masks

According to facebook even more friends are engaged now than 24 hours ago. See my post below.

It amazes me how many people seem to feel the need to post what they are doing on social media. I admit, as a blogger, I do the same thing. But rarely do I feel the need to share that I am buying a new shirt or post a picture of me doing something stupid the moment I do it. It seems as though most social media feeds itself, for no purpose other than to create an "advertisement" promoting the poster. I believe it was Shakespeare who wrote, "Me thinks thou dost post too much." Translated to modern day English: The more you say it (or post it) the less likely it is to be true. A perfect example is the "selfie". People take pictures of themselves to show how beautiful they are, or funny they are, or how great they are, or how much fun they are having, or to boast about their exciting party or vacation, etc... I remember a time when people just did things because they wanted to. Now it seems like people do something just to show other people. And like Shakespeare said, the more you say it, the less likely it is to be true. When I'm having fun, I'm in the moment. The last thing on my mind is that I need to take a picture of it and share it immediately with everyone so they know I am having fun. I propose that those who do are insecure and whatever the picture or post shows, reality is not as the picture makes it appear. I think there's insecurity and a need for affirmation behind most selfies and status updates.

Having said that, I pulled a minor facebook prank just to see who will bite. We'll call it a social experiment. I made a claim that isn't true. Anyone who knows me knows it isn't true. Those who've talked to me in the last couple days knows it can't be true. And yet I've gotten over 10 comments and over 70 "likes" from my lie. What did this prove? Reality and social media are 2 different things. Whether intentional or not, things on social media are not always what they seem. I'd hazard a guess that things are mostly not what they seem. Social media is more a mask for the user than a revelation. Even when we post honest things, our omissions create a false picture others see. I may honestly post all the great things happening in my life, but if I omit all the sad things too, I paint an unbalanced picture of sunshine and mountaintops, while ignoring shadows and valleys. The result is deceptive.

In case you follow me on facebook as well as here, no, I did not go to Hawaii for New Years.
Thanks for all well wishes. I promise everything else I post is true.


So, it's 2014.

I rang in the new year by getting one of the better nights of sleep I've had in quite some time. In bed by 9:30pm. Awake at 7am. I guess I needed it. I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions, or at least not keeping them. I'm still working on my "No Procrastinating" resolution from a few years ago. However, I think this year I will aim at getting a good night's sleep every night.

The secret to keeping any "resolution", be it New Year's related or not, is to make it reasonable, quantifiable and remember the plan is the goal. Saying, "I will lose 50 pounds this year," doesn't meet the requirements. However, "I will cut out desserts and walk for 30 minutes every day to lose 50 pounds" does. The final destination is merely the result of the real goal, to walk and eat less carbs. It's an actual plan that can be enacted, quantified and realistically achieved. Losing 50 pounds is just the byproduct of walking and eating less.

My goals for 2014, not resolutions, are:
-Be in bed by 10pm every night (resulting in better night's sleep)
-Walk/run for 30 minutes every day (resulting in better health and increased energy)
-Eat less desserts, eat more fruits and vegetables (resulting in better health and increased energy)
-Swim 1km every weekend (resulting in better health and increased energy)
-Learn something new every week, like a song, a technical fact, a new word (resulting in increased brain health and character development)
-Share what I've learned with others
-Develop a plan for reducing stress at work (resulting in a better life style)
-Do more of what I like because I like it and less of what I don't like but do just because others want me to do it (resulting in better life stlye)
-Journal daily (resulting in a log of my achievements, or "learning opportunities" and forcing me to be still each day)

That's about it for now. I'll do up a 2013 year in review sometime before mid February.