Tech Support (is fun).

At my last job, one of my tasks that didn’t exactly fall in my job description was being tech support for the rest of the staff. No one ever asked me to do it. I did it partly because there was a void there, but also because I enjoyed it. Every now and then, I would schedule a full “tech” day just to focus on certain things that needed my attention. I did troubleshooting, network maintenance, software upgrades, projector installs, new computer setups, and whatever else needed to be done. I remember looking forward to my days that were set aside for tech work. Working on computers all day doesn’t really feel like work to me. I actually like it.

A few days ago, my friend Dan and I started building a web site for a mutual friend. We had sat down a few weeks ago to talk about what the site needed to be like, but now we finally got all the hosting and domain details set so we could get started. I brewed some tasty coffee, and then we got started at 9pm. We had the site basically set up by about 1am (it’s a pretty basic site). There was still a lot of content that needed to be added and some design tweaks that needed touching up, but the first big part of the job was done. And you know what? It was a blast and I learned a ton.

In a perfect world, I suppose everyone would have jobs that they love and that feel more like play than work. There is something great about being productive and having fun while your at it. It’s even better when you get to help someone out in the process. The things I have to work on certainly aren’t all fun, but in those moments when work and play coincide, it’s a gift. I hope you get a chance to be productive doing something you love today!

Daily Blogging?

I just sorta threw this out there at the end of my post about momentum:  What if I blog every day in May?  On one hand, I like the idea of writing everyday.  I think it will force me to look for things each day worth writing about .  It might cause me to reflect a little deeper about everyday realities and current news events.  On the other hand, I wonder what the heck I will write about!  Certain days will be no problem.  I might see something really cool, or maybe just have something on my mind worth writing about.   But what about those days that, well… are just normal.  When nothing special happens either in my life or the news and nothing in particular comes to mind;  What then?

Over the next week or so, I will be trying to brainstorm ideas for those days.  I want to get a list of things to write about so that I have a bit of a “bucket” to pull from once I get into the thick of everyday posting.  The blog is going to look a bit different, though.  Up to this point, all my posts have been directly tied to my experiment with embrace and refrain.  I am going to need to go outside of those boundaries into some uncharted territory (for me).   I am excited to see how this goes.  Here are a few things that pop into my head in terms of categories:

  • Sports:  I love sports and the NFL draft is coming up this week!  I am a big DETROIT sports fan, so I might post about the Lions draft and maybe about the early MLB season with the Tigers.
  • Learning Web Development / WordPress:  Over the last 8 months, I have been learning as much as I can about web development and WordPress.
  • My new profession… adventures of a stay at home dad.
  • My experiences as a Youth Pastor:  Before my recent switch, I worked in youth ministry for 12 years.  There might be something in those 12 years worth writing about…
  • Apps, iPad, Apple, etc:  I’m an Apple fanboy… what can I say?
  • Embrace / Refrain Updates:  I continue to work on all 3 of my first 3 months practices at lesser levels.
  • Things I’m thankful for:  My wife writes a daily list of 5 things she is thankful for.  It’s a pretty cool thing to do.
  • Politics:  Nope…  not going there.
  • Photos:  My own quirky version of Instagram!

Well… that’s not a bad list for starters.

Get Off the Couch – Exercise in Review

Well, just a few days late, here it is… my exercise log for March:

  • March 1:  3 Mile Bike
  • March 2:  1.75 Mile Run
  • March 3:  1.75 Mile Run
  • March 4:  Push-ups, Crunches
  • March 6:  2 Mile Bike, 2 Mile Run
  • March 7:  2 Mile Jog/Walk, 6 Mile Bike
  • March 12:  2 Mile Run
  • March 14:  2 Mile Run
  • March 15:  2 Mile Run
  • March 16:  Push-ups, Crunches
  • March 17:  3 Mile Run
  • March 18:  1 Mile Run, Push-ups, Crunches
  • March 19:  2 Mile Run, Push-ups, Crunches
  • March 20:  1.5 Mile Run
  • March 22:  4 Mile Bike
  • March 23:  2 Mile Run
  • March 24:  3.1 Mile Run (My own little 5K)
  • March 25:  10-15 Mile Bike
  • March 26:  6 Mile Bike
  • March 28:  2 Mile Run
  • March 30:  2 Mile Run
  • March 31:  2 Mile Run

I didn’t exactly reach my goal of exercising every day, but I definitely got out more than I would have if I hadn’t given this embrace a shot.  By the end of the month, I felt pretty comfortable with a 2 mile run, something I couldn’t say at all at the beginning of the month.  For the most part, I struggle with any exercise that is just for the sake of exercising.  I enjoy things like riding a bike along a nice path, mountain biking, playing ultimate frisbee, etc:  doing fun things that also just happen to be exercise.  Unfortunately though, the opportunities I have for those things isn’t enough to keep me in shape (any more).  I did notice though… that as the month went on I began to enjoy my opportunities to exercise a little bit more.  I think if I kept it up for another couple of months, I wouldn’t have to fight against the temptation to be lazy quite as much!   Or maybe not….


As a youth pastor for 9 years, I experienced both positive and negative momentum.  If we had a few student leaders (not by title, but by practice) who were genuinely excited about our group and what we were up to, the group would take off for a period of time.  On the opposite end, if we had some prominent students who were negative about the group, it could really kill any momentum we seemed to have.  I think we often tried to spiritualize those realities when we tried to explain them, but maybe it was just a practical reality of momentum.

This year the Detroit Red Wings were one of the best NHL teams early on in the season (if not THE best).  After several injuries, toward the end of the season they went on a huge slide.  Just before the playoffs they got most of their players back, but they never regained the momentum they had earlier in the season.  They were just ousted from the playoffs after getting dominated by the Nashville Predators 4 games to 1.

It’s not ministry or a professional sport, but apparently small-time blogs are effected by momentum as well.  Early on in this project, I was genuinely excited.  The blog was new, it was fun, and it was something I had wanted to do for some time.  I posted regularly for the first 3 months.  Toward the end of the 3rd month, I had a couple of really busy weeks, followed up by a family vacation.  I lost momentum.  When I got back, it was stinking hard to even open up WordPress and start writing again.

April ended up being a wasted month in terms of the blog.  I tried to salvage it about a week and a half in, but I never really got any traction either with practicing the first 3 months habits or writing about it.  Admittedly, it’s pretty hard to write about something you’re not working on!  Without trying, I ended up refraining from embrace/refrain for April.

When our momentum was down in youth group, we would look hard at some things we could do to get the group excited about our community.  It didn’t always work, but we didn’t just sit around and accept that our groups momentum was going in the wrong direction.  We did something about it.  The Red Wings will definitely be busy in the offseason trying to correct the slide that happened at the end of this season.  They will work hard to change their momentum.  In the bigger picture of life, ministry, work, family, etc;  this blog isn’t that big of a deal.  However, I do want to finish out the experiment that I set out to do at the end of 2011, as I have already seen some great benefits from trying to work on better habits and discipline.  I need to do some work on getting that momentum back.

I think May will be an embrace of blogging. I will try to post as often as possible.  Do I shoot for every day?


Time to Review

My embrace of exercise ended as our family was headed out of town for an awesome vacation near Shenandoah National Park.  As we headed out of town, I not only didn’t have time to write my review of the month (coming later this week), but I could not for the life of me think of something to refrain from for April.

The first three months, whatever it was I was choosing for the month… each one just seemed to fit.  It was something I needed to do.  As this little experiment has evolved from the initial idea through the first three months, it has really become about practicing better habits and focusing on what is most important.  Solitude, not wasting time, and exercise all seemed to fit the bill.  I could not think of anything that  fit for the coming month.

Since I was on vacation, I decided to just let it rest until I got back.  I did however think about it here and there while I was gone.  Here is what I came up with:

I have noticed some great benefits from each embrace and refrain I have practiced thus far.   I wanted to continue each practice on a lesser scale at the end of each month.  However, as I turned my focus to the next project, it was hard to keep up with the previous one!  As I thought about this reality, I decided the rest of April will simply be a time to review and live into the habits I was working on in previous months.  I won’t be taking on a new embrace or refrain, but instead will try to do at least one of the practices from January, February or March each day.

Now that I have settled on this… I am really looking forward to it.  I’ll keep a log and blog about it a couple of times as the month goes on.