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Thursday, July 31, 2008

San Francisco Vacation - Day 4

What an amazing day! We spent it at the deYoung Museum.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

San Francisco Vacation - Day 3

The Botanical Gardens at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park are amazing!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

San Francisco Vacation - Day 2

Fun at the Golden Gate Park Japanese Gardens.

Monday, July 28, 2008

San Francisco Vacation - Day 1

Some pictures from around the city...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Camping Trip '08

Every year I take my sons camping... just me and the boys doing guy stuff. You know: burping and passing gas at the table, using knives as forks, eating with our hands when we should eat with utensils. Oh yeah... and there's not a while lot of green vegetables around, either.

This year we went back to the campground near Hume Lake Christian Camps. It was a great week. We hiked around, swam in the lake, played Frisbee golf one day, and caught a LOT of fish!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Finding Real Vacation














I just came across THIS ARTICLE on John Eldrige's blog about how to have a real vacation.

Wow.

HT: John Eldridge via Big T-Licious

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vote for Me!

Vote for me this November... please!



HT: Big T-Licious

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The 10 Commandments of Web Design

I ran into a link for THIS ARTICLE from Business Week over on Kem Meyer's blog:
  1. Thou shalt not abuse Flash. The technology can easily be abused—excessive, extemporaneous animations confuse usability and bog down users' Web browsers.
  2. Thou shalt not hide content. Advertisements may be necessary for a site's continued existence, but usability researchers say pop-ups and full-page ads that obscure content hurt functionality—and test a reader's willingness to revisit.
  3. Thou shalt not clutter. The Web may be the greatest archive of all time, but sites that lack a coherent structure make it impossible to wade through information.
  4. Thou shalt not overuse glassy reflections. Some experts say Apple's habit of creating glassy reflections under photos of its products has been far too commonly copied, turning the style element into a cliche.
  5. Thou shalt not name your Web 2.0 company with an unnecessary surplus or dearth of vowels. Cases in point: Flickr, Smibs, and Meebo. These names are memorable but destined to sound dated.
  6. Thou shalt worship at the altar of typography. Designers say that despite the increase in broadband penetration, plain text has gotten a second wind in cutting-edge Web design.
  7. Thou shalt create immersive experiences. Merely looking good doesn't cut it anymore. Sites like Facebook and YouTube draw in users with compelling content and functionality.
  8. Thou shalt be social. Build in elements so users can communicate and interact—not just with you, but with each other.
  9. Thou shalt embrace proven technologies. Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, and their cohorts have become a part of daily life. Sites that can incorporate these elements into their design will connect with users in a meaningful way by providing functionality they're already familiar with.
  10. Thou shalt make content king. Though the slogan is old, it still stands. Aesthetic design can only go so far in making a site successful. Beautiful can't make up for empty.

HT: Business Week via Kem Meyer on Less Clutter & Noise

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

















There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Brutus to Cassius
Julius Caesar Act 4, Scene 3, 218-224
William Shakespeare

Friday, July 18, 2008

How to Maximize your iPhone 3g Battery Life












I found these 10 great tips for extending iPhone 3g battery life for all my iPhone toting friends over at Gizmodo (by the way... these tips also apply to a first generation iPhone running OS 2.0.):

1. Turn down the LCD. The new iPhone's screen is brighter, but you shouldn't be running this thing at full heat if you want to save battery power.

2. Wi-Fi new network scanning off or Wi-Fi off. While you're not checking data for more than a few seconds at a time, I'd turn off Wi-Fi and in general, I'd turn off Wi-Fi scanning. It uses less power than EDGE or 3G but when you're not using your network connection, you might as well shut it down. Change this under Settings -> Wi-Fi. Same goes for Bluetooth.

3. Toggle off 3G till ready. Use 3G for browsing, YouTube, app store purchases when not around a computer, or during important calls. For all other uses, including email, weather checking and Twitter, etc, use EDGE.

4. Turn off Vibrate in Games.

5. Limit use of A-GPS tracking. GPS tracking is still pretty useless after you've gained your bearings, since there isn't a turn by turn navigation mode for driving.

6. Buy Apps and Songs in iTunes.
Buy Apps at your computer and sync them to your iPhone. As an added bonus, you'll be picking up a charge while you're tethered to your computer.

7. Set the Autolock to 1-minute.

8. Use programs with 3D less often.

9. Set Push to Off, and Set Fetch Time. If you seldom update your contacts and calendars, you might even be better off syncing by cable to iTunes, while you pick up a charge.

10. Stay Juiced. If you're at computer or in a car, you should try to use a cigarette adapter or USB cable to pick up a few minutes of charge. Every bit helps!

Read the entire article HERE.

HT: @michaelhyatt


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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pick Up the Phone

















I just ran across THIS STORY on the To Write Love on Her Arms band web site. Wow. Take the time to read Renee's story and her quote below.

"The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope." (
Renee)

Here's what To Write Love on Her Arms is doing:

For the last year, we've been sending money to the Kristin Brooks Hope Center, which is also known as Hopeline and 1-800-SUICIDE. It's been far from a one-sided relationship. These guys have helped us provide suicide prevention training to our entire team, including all of our volunteers. They have shared everything from ideas and information to struggles and dreams, and they've become friends in the process.

Hopeline was founded by Reese Butler in 1998, after he lost his wife Kristin to suicide. Since that time, the Kristin Brooks Hope Center has provided help to nearly three million callers.

Today, 1-800-SUICIDE is in need of some help of it's own.

PICK UP THE PHONE is a campaign partnership between the communities of To Write Love on Her Arms and PostSecret to provide support for the work of the National Hopeline Network and the Kristin Brooks Hope Center (KBHC).

Over the past decade, the Kristin Brooks Hope Center and 1-800-SUICIDE have helped thousands of people through the Hopeline network. With your support and with the support of TWLOHA and PostSecret, they will be able to continue to provide this assistance, along with the comfort of complete confidentiality.

As a result of the many calls that 1-800-SUICIDE receives every day, and because of a delay in government funding, Hopeline is struggling to pay their phone bill. If this bill is not paid, the government will be allowed to fully take control of 1-800-SUICIDE. Part of what makes Hopeline such a powerful resource is that the calls placed to this number are completely private and confidential. We believe that the responsibility for providing a private and confidential environment in which to find help should remain in the hands of those who had the heart and compassion to begin this work ten years ago.
This post is a port of Watercooler Wednesday hosted by Ethos.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Jedi Gym

I saw this over on Chad's blog. I nearly wet my pants.

Make sure you watch all the way to the end.



HT: *Chad Jarnigan

All Day Energy

















It happens to everyone: every day, you run out of steam, lose juice, or otherwise hit the wall at nearly the exact same time. In fact, it's like clockwork, which actually makes sense, because your body clock is part of the problem - when your internal chronometer is out of whack, you feel wiped out.

Here are some of the reasons and some quick fixes or work-arounds for each power drain.

Problem: The Morning Fog

You would think that if there were one time you'd feel naturally alert and energized, it would be after 8 hours of resting and recharging. Instead, your mind is mush. Why? Blame a phenomenon called "sleep inertia." When you first awaken, the parts of your brain associated with consciousness -- the thalamus and brain stem -- begin firing right away. But the prefrontal cortex, which handles problem solving and complex thought, is like a cold engine -- it needs time to warm up.
  • Solution: Fill it up. Make your morning meal a bowl of instant oatmeal prepared with skim milk. Tufts University researchers recently found that people who ate one packet of instant oatmeal spiked with 1/2 cup of skim milk received a steady glucose infusion, which increased their alertness all morning and improved their ability to process information. And if you aren't already jolting yourself with java, start; a University of Pennsylvania study shows that a dose of caffeine can combat sleep inertia. Just don't let a latte replace a real meal. "It will mask your low blood sugar by temporarily stimulating your brain," says Dan Benardot, Ph.D., R.D., an associate professor of nutrition at Georgia State University. "But you won't have done anything to satisfy the need for energy."

Problem: The Lunchtime Letdown


A high-carbohydrate meal is the surest way to cause your insulin levels to spike - and your concentration to crash. "A high insulin response will rapidly take too much sugar out of your blood," says Benardot. "Then your brain doesn't have enough of its primary fuel, so you become mentally fatigued."
  • Solution: Order a combo meal. If you can't (or won't) limit your lunchtime carbohydrate consumption, work in extra fiber to slow your digestion and the release of insulin. In those instances when you give in to a binge, snack on grapes or an apple afterward; either fruit will help stabilize your blood sugar, says Benardot.

Problem: The Afternoon Slump

Deep down inside, you're conflicted. In one corner, there's your body clock, a.k.a. your circadian clock, which fights to keep you awake until bedtime. In the other corner, there's your homeostatic system, which competes to make you sleepy. And every day, between approximately 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., the homeostatic system tries to score a knockout.
  • Solution: Expose yourself. As in, give yourself a shot of sunlight. The sun's rays will provide a boost to your circadian clock that should solve your afternoon slump. British researchers recently found that when people exercised during their workday - regardless of the duration or intensity of the movement - they were less likely to feel fatigued, and that translated into a 15 percent improvement in job performance.

Problem: The Pre-workout Conk-Out

It's the catch-22 of exercising in the early evening: You know that working out will leave you energized, but you don't have the energy to work out. In most cases, the problem is simply that you've forgotten a critical piece of exercise equipment: food.
  • Solution: Snack before you sweat. Schedule a small snack roughly an hour and a half before your postwork workout. The ideal mini meal totals 250 calories and consists of 25 to 35 grams (g) carbohydrates, 10 to 15 g protein, and up to 5 g fat. Two handfuls of pretzels and two slices of cheese fits the nutritional bill, as does a Myoplex Lite bar. Then, before you hit the locker room, grab the original energy drink: Gatorade. The simple sugars will cause a fast spike in your blood-sugar level, so you'll have immediate energy. At the same time, you'll be addressing dehydration, another hidden cause of fatigue.

Problem: The Prime-Time Torpor

There's no complicated biochemical reason for being tired now - you worked all day! But it's early, and even if you don't have plans, falling asleep now will only screw up your body clock and leave you feeling more fatigued in the a.m. "Going to bed a couple of hours earlier than you normally do will throw off your rhythms, while consistency can really help you feel alert during the day," says Philip Gehrman, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at the University of the Sciences, in Philadelphia.
  • Solution: Rock yourself awake. First, do not stretch out on the couch or recline in your easy chair. "Underlying sleepiness becomes more apparent when we put ourselves in sleep-conducive positions, such as lying down," says Wright. And instead of turning on the TV, power up your iPod. "To increase the perception of energy, listen to a piece of music that is upbeat and familiar, and use that song to get you going," says Andrea Scheve, director of the University of Pittsburgh medical center music-therapy program. "Even just thinking about it and hearing it in your mind can give you a boost of energy." What you do with this newfound energy is up to you, but if you have a significant other, now actually might be the perfect time to head for bed.

Problem: Shutting It Off


It would be funny if it weren't so frustrating: You spend the entire day fighting fatigue, only to slip into bed, shut your eyes, and suddenly realize that you now have too much energy.

Solution: Shut it off. Fortunately, there's an explanation, and it's pure Pavlov. Do you do anything in bed besides sleep? Maybe read, watch TV, or play Sudoku? "These activities train the brain to associate the bed with excitement," says Kenneth Wright, Ph.D., an assistant professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado. "Some people become so sensitive to this that when they go to bed, all of a sudden their brain's aroused, because normally they're watching a basketball game or reading a favorite book." Which means the fix is what sleep researchers have recommended all along: no books, no Leno, and definitely no laptop when you're under the covers. Sex is fine - it is, after all, nature's perfect sleep aid.

Read the entire Men's Health article HERE.

HT: Men's Health

Patrick Callahan Day

I told you Tony Morgan was the man. He declared yesterday Patrick Callahan Day.

Welcome to everyone who is stopping by.

Any thanks, Tony, for the link love.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Do's and Don'ts










Tony Morgan has a way of sneaking up next to you, smiling, smacking you up-side the head, and then getting you to thank him for it. The boy is good.

Check out his "9 Do's and Don'ts for Ministry Growth":
  1. You don’t need a logo. A new logo isn’t the key to successful ministry. Life change is the key to successful ministry. Only Jesus can change lives. Yes, there are times when you’ll need to update your branding; however, it’s not going to make or break your ministry.
  2. Your fancy flyers won’t help. 80% of the people who show up to a weekend service come with a friend who invites them. That same principle applies to your ministry as well. If people aren’t inviting their friends, that’s likely a ministry problem and not a promotions problem. (Pat's comment: I could not agree more. At best, flyers and whatnot just get you a very little name recognition. Now, if you are passing out flyers or door hangars in a neighborhood, it would be less about the flyers and more about the potential personal invite that might happen as a result).
  3. Put people first. Life change happens most often within the context of relationships. If your ministry isn’t helping people engage in relational connections (inside and outside of the church), then your ministry will not grow.
  4. Lead your ministry. You should focus on that. You aren’t gifted at promotions (even though you think you are). You should let communications professionals focus on that, and stop fighting against the people who are trying to help you. Spend more time doing ministry and less time trying to promote your ministry.
  5. Remember: print is dead. (this coming from someone who writes books). It’s highly likely that whatever you’re printing for your audience will just end up in a trash can. Any business in America relying on print media is dying a slow death. You should always think Web first with an emphasis on interactivity and building relationships. (Pat's comment: I recently broke Rule #2 and made a flyer but did not include a map. An "older" friend couldn't believe I would make a flyer without a map. I tried - unsuccessfully - to explain that today when people want to know where something is they use Google Maps).
  6. Don’t wait on the church to establish online community. That’s your responsibility. Most people you’re trying to reach won’t visit your church’s website, but they will engage with your Web presence on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, your blog, etc.
  7. You probably need to cut programs and events. Less is more. If you have fewer events and less programs, more people will connect with your ministry. Stop confusing them and help them focus on the next appropriate step. (Check this out.)
  8. Grow through volunteers. As much as possible, let staff support ministry and encourage volunteers to be responsible for face-to-face connections with the people you are trying to reach or help. When you take those roles out of the hands of volunteers, you’ve essentially limited the growth of your ministry… and taken away their responsibility to make disciples. (Pat's comment: This is the ethos we are trying to maintain at NewCov).
  9. You are not competing against other ministries. As soon as you sense “your ministry” is competing with another ministry in your church for money, volunteers, space, calendar time, platform promotions, etc., you should resign. You are not a leader. You are, at best, a manager of resources and, at worst, the one holding the entire ministry back from growth and unity.
HT: TonyMorganLive.com via biggiefries

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Waffle House Wedding























Here's the latest from the Gwinnett Daily Post:

As the famous twang of Hank Williams Jr. blasted from an SUV stereo Friday afternoon, about 30 folks socialized, sipped soda and puffed on cigarettes.

No, this wasn't a Fourth of July backyard barbecue. It was the run-up to a wedding.

In a Waffle House parking lot.

The lucky couple, George "Bubba" Mathis and Pamela Christian - both 23 and employees at the Dacula diner located at the Ga. Highway 316/U.S. Highway 29 interchange - wouldn't have it any other way.

"I don't know, it's something different," Mathis said while fixing his tie prior to the ceremony.

For years, the couple tried to marry on their Independence Day anniversary. But the bride was always scheduled to work. Instead of waiting any longer - she got the day off at the last minute; Mathis had to report for the morning shift - the couple of nine years decided to seal the deal at work.

The result was what a NASCAR tailgate might be like if Hank Jr. himself stopped by with all his rowdy friends: Loud and proud - country music, storytelling and plenty of Dale Earnhardt paraphernalia - and not an iota of pretentiousness.

Shortly after exchanging vows under the shade of a tree next to the parking lot, both man and wife let out sighs of relief as they picked up their two little blonde girls and chatted with family and friends. But there was not time to relax - the wedding cake had to be cut inside.

"It's been crazy, madness," the bride said. "Finally, everything worked out."

Standing nearby, the father of the newly minted Mrs. Pamela Mathis, William Christopher, wondered if anyone had videotaped the ceremony. He wants to send it in to CMT.

"I think it's pretty redneck myself," he said, laughing. "But I'm a redneck anyway, so."

The couple plans to honeymoon Monday and Tuesday, but then it's back to work.

The destination?

"I don't know yet," Mathis said.

Don't miss the video HERE (scroll down to the bottom). Only in the South.

HT: This Sort of Amazing Life

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Definition of Bittersweet

Sunday was Randy's last day at NewCov. He has been an integral part of the ministry here for a bunch of years, starting as a youth ministry intern and finishing as the Production Director.

Randy is now the Lighting and Scenic Director at North Point in Alpharetta, GA, and we couldn't be happier for him and this new phase of ministry that God has led him to. We are excited for him, but sad for us. On Sunday, the production team got an idea of what bittersweet actually tastes as we said goodbye to a leader, a friend, and a brother.



This post is a part of Creative Chaos hosted by Ragamuffin Soul.

RSS: Embedded video

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Jesus and the Dinosaurs

From The Beginner's Bible Coloring Book...






























Observations:
  • Nice use of the "we-don't-really-know-but-because-it's-Jesus-I'm-sure-it-happened" theology. Did Jesus ride dinosaurs? I don't know, Johnny, but heck... He's the Lord of Hosts - I'm sure he's ridden a raptor or two in his time (I think he even rode a tiny stegosaurus as a baby).
  • Gotta like the coloring... nice biblical colors, not those heathen Crayola colors. I especially like "flesh of Christ" as a color.
HT: cawleyblog

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon















I was at lunch with my buddy, Scott, and we heard something on TV about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

The trivia game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is based on a variation of the concept of the small world phenomenon and states that any actor can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon.

That got me thinking... how far away was I?

Turns out the answer is 3 steps:

1. My sister.
2. Who is friends with Brian.
3. Who produced Telling Lies in America starring Kevin Bacon (as Billy Magic).

How many steps are you?

This post is a part of Watercooler Wednesday hosted by Ethos.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Baseball Story

For the record: there was no permanent damage.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Quote of the Day


















"A regressive trend plagues most organizations where the most dependent members set the agenda & adaptation is constantly toward weakness not strength thus giving power to the recalcitrant, passive-aggressive of the organization rather than toward the energetic, imaginative and motivated."