“Why do you worry? What possible use does your worrying serve? You are aboard such a large ship that you would be unable to steer even if your Captain placed you at the helm. You would not even be able to adjust the sails, yet you worry as if you were the captain or the helmsman of the vessel. Be quiet, dear soul– God is the Master!
“Do you think all the commotion and the uproar of this life is evidence that God has left His throne? He has not! His mighty steeds rush furiously ahead, and His chariots are the storms themselves. But the horses have bridles, and it is God who holds the reins, guiding the chariots as He wills!
“Our God Jehovah is still the Master! Believe this and you will have peace.”
(Charles Spurgeon, quoted in Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman)
I’ve been spending a good amount of time thinking about “getting the right people on the bus” lately (including figuring out whether I’d like to take opportunities to get on others’ buses or drive my own). Alison Green, Ask A Manager herself, writes about five interview practices to hire superstars.
International Women’s Day was yesterday (I know; ptooie). On the Girls Gone Wise blog, Mary Kassian wrote a post calling all men and talking about how we have to stop feminizing the world. Amen, and worth a read.
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.
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?
Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:12
The biblical heroes of faith call to us from the heights they have won, encouraging us that what man once did, man can do again. They remind us not only of the necessity of faith but also for the patience required for faith’s work to be perfected. May we fear attempting to remove ourselves from the hands of our heavenly Guide, or missing even one lesson of His living discipline due to our discouragement or doubt.
An old village blacksmith once said, “There is only one thing I fear: being thrown onto the scrap heap. You see, in order to strengthen a piece of steel, I must first temper it. I heat it, hammer it, and then quickly plunge it into a bucket of cold water. Very soon I know whether it will accept the tempering process or simply fall to pieces. If, after one or two tests, I see it will not allow itself to be tempered, I throw it onto the scrap heap, only to later sell it to the junkman for a few cents per pound.
“I realize the Lord tests me in the same way: through fire, water, and heavy blows of His hammer. If I am unwilling to withstand the test, or prove to be unfit for His tempering process, I am afraid He may throw me onto the scrap heap.”
When the fire in your life is the hottest, stand still, for “later on… it produces a harvest” (Heb. 12:11) of blessings. Then we will be able to say with Job, “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). selected
Sainthood finds its source in suffering. Remember, it requires eleven tons of pressure on a piano’s strings for it to be tuned. And God will tune you to perfect harmony with heaven’s theme if you will withstand the strain.
Things that hurt and things that mar Shape the man for perfect praise; Shock and strain and ruin are Friendlier than smiling days.
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.
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.
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?).
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?
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 *
Feminists, who I’d almost forgotten are still an organized group, are now holding events called Slutwalk, where women march barely clothed in order to reclaim the word ‘slut’. Makes me wish they weren’t still an organized group.
A recent McKinsey Quarterly survey has found that 30% of employers will stop offering health care coverage to their employees when the full provisions of the “health care reform bill” (aka Obamacare) kick in. That is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg; it’s hard to measure how many employers, especially small businesses, are holding off hiring because they don’t know what it will cost them to do so.
Mark Bittman, the New York Times food writer, has an essay on how cooking gave him purpose. It’s how he cares for his family, and those of you who can’t cook will enjoy seeing his four stages of learning to cook.
I’ve been wanting to re-read The Lord of the Rings for a couple years. It’s not going to be in 2011 since narratives of that magnitude don’t fit well into reading 100 books this year, but in 2012 I’m definitely going to! On Front Porch Republic Mark T. Mitchell discusses the beauty of Tolkien’s quest.