What’s Going On Right Now (3/9/12)

Clock Panel by jsklz
Image by jsklz

This is the almost Daylight Savings Time edition. Don’t forget to spring your clocks forward Saturday night before bed!

Elevator Speech

Elevator Floor by derekskey
Image by derekskey

Don’t be a “wage slave”– be in business for yourself.

One of the first questions that new acquaintances ask one another is “What do you do?” or “What field are you in?” You need to be able to answer that question with no more than about 20 seconds of description. What is more, you need to answer that question in a way that sounds absolutely fascinating and that almost compels your interlocutor to ask further questions. Now if your answer is nothing more than “Oh, I work at Acme ball bearing company,” you have squandered a potential wealth-producing opportunity. You have told me nothing really interesting about yourself. What do you do for Acme? Are you the chairman? Are you in sales, production, or accounting? Now had you smiled broadly and said, “Oh, I show manufacturers, chiefly the Acme company, how to produce the smoothest, shiniest, hardest little spheres in the whole universe,” you might well have fascinated me. Apart from anything else, people with expressive faces who are really passionate about something are just more fun to interact with. If all you can tell me is that you work for someone else and are at his beck and call, frankly, I’d rather speak with him. He sounds more interesting than you. So, no matter how you serve your fellow humans, think of yourself as doing something fascinating; see yourself in business, rather than merely being something.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin in Thou Shall Prosper {affiliate link}.

How does your morning begin?

Open Bible by Ryk Neethling
Image by Ryk Neethling

Chris Brogan wrote today about “setting your plate” for success. Inspired by his reading of Deepak Chopra, he points out that if you’re checking your iPhone first thing in the morning you’re letting reaction to others’ thoughts/ideas/demands begin your day.

Until today, I’ve been doing this. Telling myself I’m jumping into being productive, I turn off my alarm and turn on my phone in almost the same motion, instantly encountering the ping-ping-ping of incoming emails and Facebook notifications. It is nice to be productive, but what have I done? I’ve let others’ priorities influence the first moments (or hour) of my day.

Now, I don’t have this off-centered approach to my whole life. I follow detailed, prioritized to-do lists to keep my days on track. I use the time when I’m most creative and productive– the evening– to my advantage. I get more done after 4pm than most people do all day (after I’ve already finished a “day’s work”)! I am doing the 3650 Challenge this year and I’ve been reading (or listening to) ten chapters of the Bible during my lunch break. I have prayer and devotional time at night before bed (when normally my brain is much more engaged than first thing in the morning). But how am I beginning my day?

Now that I am freelancing full-time and can get up at a more natural time for me, I’m not groggy and useless first thing in the morning.  So what thoughts should fill my mind? I have been filling it with others’ thoughts. Brogan suggests filling it with  my own. I’d rather fill it with God’s. So this morning I read today’s ten Bible chapters first.

I know this isn’t very mind-blowing (millions of people make quiet time their literal first priority), but this method is new for me. What about you? Whose thoughts should occupy your mind in the morning?

What’s Going On Right Now (2/28/12)

You’re probably aware that 2012 is a leap year. That means you have a whole extra day (tomorrow)! What are you going to do with that “found” time? Make it count for eternity, friends.

Leap by Bex.Walton
Image by Bex.Walton
  • The Front Porch Republic discusses the rising trend of people living alone. I have a roommate now, but I’ve lived alone several times previously and always loved it. Because I’m an introvert, it gave me more time and energy to devote to purposeful causes. I do understand the concerns he raises about making  yourself the center of your own universe, though. I definitely don’t like to think of myself as a dependent being.
  • Carolyn Weber, the author of the lovely memoir Surprised by Oxford {Amazon Affiliate link}, has a lovely blog where she’s doing a series called I Read Dead People. Her latest installment is about Frankenstein, and the thoughts and feelings surrounding her father’s hospitalization.
  • Speaking of hospitalization, here’s a good reminder from the Brazen Careerist blog about the ten health mistakes you’re making because you think you’re too busy. Guilty, guilty, guilty…
  • If you’ve been looking for good photography info, I hope you’re following the Digital Photography School blog in general. Today there was a good basic tutorial on how to choose the right shutter speed. I’ve been shooting in Program mode a lot but I need to experiment more with Aperture or Shutter priority before I make the leap to full Manual. I need to get in some more practice!
  • I could have written this post, but for all of you who’ve been asking since I made the move to full-time freelancing, here’s the Mint.com blog’s take on how to start freelancing. I’ve been doing the prep work for years (I incorporated in March of 2009) and while I still need to learn a bit more about accounting, I’m absolutely loving making the leap (see what I did there?).

100 books in 2011

At the beginning of this year I took the GoodReads challenge and made it my goal to read 100 books. Mission accomplished (with the inclusion of the Bible, which I read through chronologically–something I can’t recommend enough– with my now-roommate Kate)! Not all were worth recommending (in fact, some were terrible), but it’s the end of 2011 and my mind is 100 books richer. 🙂

2012 will be the year of re-reading, starting with the Lord of the Rings and probably continuing to at least War & Peace and probably Atlas Shrugged… and from there, who knows. Anyone want to join me?

Image by shutterhacks

I’ve told some people about this and several have asked for the list (which I’ve been keeping all along), so here you go…

1) Believing God by R.C. Sproul, Jr.
2) A Chance to Die (Amy Carmichael) by Elisabeth Elliot
3) Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot*
4) The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
5) The Testament by John Grisham
6) Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Rigler
7) Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
8 ) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien*
9) The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
10) In the Company of Others by Jan Karon
11) A. L. T. by Andre Leon Talley
12) Chocolate & Vicodin by Jennette Fulda
13) Born Round by Frank Bruni
14) Poke the Box by Seth Godin
15) Emily Post by Laura Claridge
16) The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis*
17) Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon
18) Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
19) Live Alone and Like It by Marjorie Hillis
20) The King’s Speech by Mark Logue
21) Keep A Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
22) The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
23) The Narnian (C.S. Lewis) by Alan Jacobs
24) Millionaire Women Next Door by Thomas Stanley
25) Common As Air by Lewis Hyde
26) Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis*
27) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis*
28) The Silver Chair  by C.S. Lewis*
29) At Home by Bill Bryson
30) The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis*
31) Assured by God by Burk Parsons
32) God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew*
33) The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis*
34) All By My Selves by Jeff Dunham
35) Bossypants by Tina Fey
36) Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
37) The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis*
38) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle*
39) When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley
40) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery*
41) The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
42) Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriett Reisen
43) Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery*
44) This is A Book by Dimitri Martin
45) Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery*
46) The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel
47) Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery*
48) Familyhood by Paul Reiser
49) Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery*
50) If You Ask Me by Betty White
51) Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery*
52) Made to Crave by Lisa TerKeurst
53) Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery*
54) Snobs by Julian Fellowes
55) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens*
56) Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery*
57) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows
58) Mavericks at Work by William Taylor
59) Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes
60) Christianity & Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen
61) A Praying Life by Paul Miller
62) Addicted to Mediocrity by Franky Schaeffer
63) Half Assed by Jennette Fulda*
64) Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery*
65) The Story of Charlotte’s Web by Michael Sims
66) Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
67) Young, Restless & Reformed by Collin Hansen
68) Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery
69) Good Stuff by Jennifer Grant
70) Emily’s Quest by L.M. Montgomery
71) My Lucky Life in and out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke
72) Further Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
73) Eat Mor Chikin by S. Truett Cathy
74) Radical by David Platt
75) A Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle*
76) A House Like A Lotus by Madeline L’Engle*
77) A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L’Engle*
78) In Christ Alone by Sinclair Ferguson
79) Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
80) The King of Madison Avenue by Kenneth Roman
81) Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
82) Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
83) Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic
84) Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
85) Chore Whore by Heather Howard
86) Be My Guest by Conrad Hilton
87) Suck Your Stomach in and Put Some Color On by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson
88) Einstein in Love by Dennis Overbye
89) Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir
90) Confessions of a Carb Queen by Susan Blech*
91) Diary of a Player by Brad Paisley
92) Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
93) Many Waters by Madeline L’Engle*
94) Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler
95) The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
96) Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper
97) The Flinch by Julian Smith
98) The Organized Heart by Staci Easton
99) Christmastide: Prayers for Advent through the Epiphany for the Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle
100) The Bible *


What’s Going On Right Now (6/8/11)

Summer grass by magnusfranklin
Image by magnusfranklin

Okay, are you ready? There’s little fluff and much substance in this week’s batch of links. I’d love to have some great conversation, in the comments or in person, about these topics…

What’s Going On Right Now (6/2/11)

Am I the only one who wonders how it can be June already?!

Summer freshness! by Axel-D
Image by Axel-D

My iPhone’s browser crashed yesterday and lost some of the links I was saving for today. That’ll teach me not to bookmark ’em 😛

What’s Going On Right Now (5/26/11)

Summer Afternoon by ashoct28
Image by ashoct28
  • “It was too much, really. It’s one thing to titillate progressive theatergoers with scenes of physical abuse and psychological torture and lines like “You’re f—ing f—ed.” But David Mamet had at last gone too far. He’d turned into a f—ing Republican.” Read this fantastic piece on converting David Mamet in the Weekly Standard.
  • I’ve often had to explain why I love LOST so much, and this post does a great job of getting at some of the reasons: The Six Year Journey to WTF?!
  • Did you know the USDA has finally revised their cooking temperature recommendations? You now officially only have to cook whole meat to 145 degrees. Finally I can quit explaining to my non-cooking friends why yes, it really is okay to eat pink pork. 🙂
  • There’s a lot of psychology in sales and marketing, and you need to stay alert, know how to bargain, when, and the real value of your finds. Here’s a great post on when a discount isn’t really a discount.
  • Fabs writes a great post on when saying less is saying more with advice from the great C. S. Lewis himself, who was a succinct, excellent and very prolific writer.
  • The Gospel Coalition blog had a great post on why nostalgia is no solution; in the recent batch of TV shows depicting the 50s and 60s, we must remember that while feminism has done damage, objectification of women wasn’t biblical either.
  • If you’re a new freelancer, Jennette Fulda has pulled together some information and resources from her research as she’s tried to find post-COBRA coverage with a chronic health condition. It’s a good place to kick off your own search and save a little bit of time!

What’s Going On Right Now (5/20/11)

summer... by Robb North
Image by Robb North

Tim Challies writes about date nights and devotions:

But what if we are missing the point? What if the point of devotions is less about learning about God and more about spending time with God? What if it’s less about Bible study and more about building relational intimacy? What would change about our devotions if instead of trying to learn about God, we focused instead on spending time with God, time spent hearing from him through his Word and speaking to him through prayer?

~ ~ ~

Amazon is now selling more Kindle books than print books… hardcover and paperback combined!

For all you photography lovers, here’s the history of Nikon’s first digital camera (in 1988!).

“Even Thor has grown richer through acquaintance with Jesus,” writes Lars Walker in his review of the film.

You’ve already heard the world is ending tomorrow, but have you heard Vladimir Putin is St. Paul? This has been an episode of Really?! With Seth And Amy. 🙂

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides comes out today!