Archives For Life

Tukey Hunt II

Steve —  12.7.2011 — 2 Comments

Turkey Hunt II
I thought it might be a good idea to document the second annual Turkey Hunt – a scavenger hunt meets Geo-caching meets family fun activity I developed last year and decided to continue again this year. I knew that I had to at least maintain the level of complexity to fun ratio that we all had last year, but I was really trying to do better. I’ll let you be the judge…

The participants were my brother and his family and my family – not even my wife was privy to the workings of the Hunt, which meant she could play right along. We also had to do this on Friday night after the Arkansas vs. LSU game (we won’t go into detail on this subject) because Saturday was supposed to be rainy all day. Luckily, I planned for rain.

This year started with three anonymous texts to my wife, brother and his wife. Each with one word each that when you put them together kicked off the Hunt officially. The words were UNDER, WELCOME, MAT. There they found an envelope with a letter stating the Hunt was now underway should they want to play.


Two Truths

Steve —  5.20.2011 — Leave a comment

My friend Matt and I, from time to time, engage in friendly chatter regarding the core truths of the Christian faith. I love it because he is very grounded in his faith and seems to be able to filter out the noise pretty well. Also, he’s pretty much the only one who will actively comment on anything I say online, which wins him an extra cookie in my book.

The last go around was between two topics and it was a very short serve and volley:

Justification = just as if we never sinned & just as if we had always obeyed

Read it again because you might miss the profundity in the brevity. Now read it one more time. Isn’t that wonderful and so absolutely true!

Whenever I see the term “Justification,” I immediately hear the word “Sanctification” in my mind. It’s like when I hear the name “Marsha”, I hear, “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha…” from the Brady Bunch. So, I replied with:

Sanctification = Proof positive that there’s always room for improvement

Now I sometimes say things to gauge the reaction of someone – especially in church circles these days, but this isn’t one of them. I truly believe that our justified lives are one big work in progress that has no ending point this side of heaven.

The point is that everyone around you is some sort of work in progress. And your Christian friends are being worked by the Creator of the Universe, who can be trusted to finish that work. May the Grace and Love of Jesus abound in how we engage those around us.

The Great Turkey Hunt

Steve —  11.29.2010 — 2 Comments

I LOVE puzzles and this year, I decided to spice up the Thanksgiving holiday by creating a modern-day treasure hunt. Everyone was coming to our house and it was all coming together quite nicely.

It all started with a delivery by my neighbor that had a box with a letter and a bag of items inside. He relayed a story of how he came into possession of the box (great job BTW) that was very Indiana Jones/Men in Black-ish. The kids were in awe and as soon as the door was closed, they were in the box.

The letter outlined the game and had one hint on it that led to a map where 12 plastic bottles were hidden. On the back, it had what looked like notes from someone who had been tracking the treasure for some time (ala Myst). Included were GPS coordinates to the bottles and the plan was to walk the neighborhood and find these bottles, but the weather had a different idea as it rained the entire day. So, we loaded up the van and a follow car and headed out.

It was quite a sight to see – me and three little boys running around in the rain looking for little plastic bottles with only the GPS unit guiding the way. After crossing back and forth over the one square mile that made up the playing field, we finally had all 12 bottles in hand. Now it was back home to find out what they contained.

Inside each bottle was a multiple-choice Thanksgiving trivia question and each was marked with a roman numeral from 1 to 12.

I had the best time designing the game and the treasure was worth the effort and we now have a memory that will last a lifetime, which is the point of holidays I have to say. Good luck and post a comment on how you did.

I was turned onto this book by a dear friend who happens to be a psychologist. Our conversation that night was around why people do what they do. I was fresh off some training with some Franklin Covey guys where they used an illustration (Fig. 1) that shows our behaviors are shaped by our beliefs and those behaviors produces results that either reinforce or challenge our beliefs. Belief Behavior ResultsThe point is that if you want to see change in your life, just changing what you “do” won’t produce any sustainable results unless we also change what we believe.

That’s when my friend said I should read Gary Smalley’s book, Change your Heart, Change your Life. He went on to tell me that it was a book about just what the Franklin Covey guys illustrated and was, in part, a personal testimony of this life-change technique in Smalley’s life.

So, I picked up the eBook for my iPhone and started reading it, but I didn’t read it alone. I invited a friend to read it with me (HINT: accountability technique was just disclosed). In the very first chapter, I was hooked. If the rest of the book delivered on just half of what Smalley claimed to do, I would be a better man for it.

In essence, the book walks you through how to both identify the beliefs that shape negative behavior and how to replace them with Scriptural Truth and in essence transform your life into one that is described as “abundant” by Jesus.

In just a few short weeks, I was indeed thinking and believing things differently as was my reading buddy. We both saw how those new beliefs had an internal and external impact on our lives. I highly recommend this great little book that can help unlock the potential for the life God desires for us all.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that this book contains the techniques and principles needed to kick that nagging behavior that is stealing life from you over and over. It is a must for men and certainly won’t be a waste of time for women.

I saw a post advertising an entire web portal to making sure diversity is achieved in business. I had to stop and think for a second. Is forced diversity really that beneficial? Don’t get me wrong, I think racial profiling in business is not only wrong, it is egregious.

As the head of a multi-racial family, I hope our culture advances beyond even noticing skin color, but for now, it seems, this is still something at the top of mind for some. But I have to wonder just how much headway is gained when you force a business to be diverse in it’s makeup.

From the businesses standpoint, there is extra cost in the form of compliance adherence and that can lead to resentment. For the hired, I wonder how it feels to be hired in large part because of your race and not solely on your ability to do the job better than anyone else. That’s got to produce some doubt and maybe some frustration as well.

Finally – this seems to keep the issue of race near the top of the list in our culture, which I think is counterproductive…but I’m a white male in my thirties…what do I know?

I’m more interested in what you know…am I way off base on this? I’m serious about learning something here.

GearsI am a PC guy – always have been and have no complaints. The one I built for home is the fastest machine I’ve ever had the pleasure of using and is so much fun to use.

I’m also a geek that loves nifty tools. From my iPhone to my Kreg Pocket Hole jig to my MX Revolution mouse and Surface 1030 mousepad – I look for things that are not only cool but help me get the job done more effectively and efficiently.

In addition, I’m an artist and as such, am quite attracted to Apple’s innovative products because they look so darn good and are so well thought out. Apple has mastered the User Experience (UX) game, which is incredibly difficult. In this arena, they have no peers. But fancy looking products and great UX only do it for me for a moment before the geek in me wants more.

You see, it’s not just about how well the tool works, but how well it works with other tools. My iPhone is great, but it is a stand-alone device (albeit a very versatile device) that serves to meet the need of portable connectedness.

When I saw the iPad, I had the same reaction – what a great looking device, but how would it help answer a problem for me better than what I have. The answer was resounding silence, which brings me to the point – integration.

I think the next technological evolutionary step will be to have a unified computing environment that allows you access to your files, apps and web-based content in an unrestricted and uninterrupted manner while moving from one device to another. We see this in the movies all the time. Tony Stark’s (Ironman) house had a very powerful computing system that ran the entire house and no matter where Tony went, he had access. The system became an extension of him in life.

That being Hollywood, I understand it is more science fiction than current day reality; however, it seems like Apple is poised to make that jump. They control the hardware and the sotware and have just enough moxy to try to pull it off, but will they? One thing will have to change – closed systems (think their hyper-critical stance against Flash) will have to be more open because as good as Apple is at the UX, they can’t possibly meet the needs of every aspect of our lives.

Here’s what I think that first step would be. Imagine an iMac in the office, MacBook Pro in the bedroom and an iPad on the living room coffee table. Say, I’m reading a blog post in the office and want to finish it on the couch. I hit a button on the screen to send the content to the iPad, walk into the living room where’s it more comfortable and pick up right where I left off.

Now that’s a simple example, but one that simply isn’t possible today. Once it is, I will be very compelled to take a hard look at partaking of the rotten fruit. For now, it’s just a pile of expensive gadgets – as cool as they are to look at, they simply don’t justify the price and pain to convert.