Enough Playing the Field, It's Time to Commit

I just read a great archived post by Penelope Trunk, who is one of my favorite bloggers, about the potential benefits of blogging. I got excited when I saw the title because I love blogging. Unfortunately, my biggest weakness is imperative in the successful blogosphere. I don't have a "topic." I've been thinking about this issue for some time, actually. Even as the author of the blog mine feels a bit scattered sometimes.

So I'm looking for a topic. Some of the top contenders thus far are...okay, the two I've thought of.
-Christian spirituality: This seems like a natural fit after 6 years as a pastor. More than ever before, I have a ton of questions about spirituality and I'm increasingly dissatisfied with the answers I've accepted in the past.
-Living debt-free: I like this idea because it's something our family values. Plus, we're living pretty lean to maintain this ideal. It seems like blogging about it might make it feel like it's paying off now, rather than in the future when I'm not paying off today's debt.

That's what I've got so far. Any ideas?


Damn I Wish I Had an Unlimited Data Plan

I just found Qik.com from Robert Scoble's blog. Holy crap, this is awesome! You can stream video live from your phone. I don't know why I'm so enamored with technology like this, but I would do nearly anything to possess it (outside starving my wife and child, which would be the current cost of an unlimited data plan for us.)

Qik allows a person to be anywhere they have phone service and stream video from their phone's camera live to the (now infamous) world wide web. Thanks to this technology, I got to see the Daytrotter studios at SXSW as we as a few other worthless clips of people eating. I'm sure if I were more of the geek I'd love to be I'd know who the people were, but I'm not so i didn't.

If you have an unlimited data plan, you should check this out. If you don't, get one and then check this out. There could be some awesome applications, from a digital journal to cheap, simple broadcasting. Give relatives a glimpse of the grandchildren without the tedious steps of filming on a camera, then capturing it to a hard drive...blah, blah, blah. Who can be bothered with that now that Qik is here? Well, me for now. Though, it really just means that distant grandparents won't see nearly as much of their cherished granddaughter (tear).

Chuck Norris Party

Thanks, Ryan, for this tidbit. Apparently I'm even later to the game than you are.

  1. go to google.com
  2. type in "chuck norris"
  3. hit "i feel lucky."
  4. enjoy.

By the Way, I Passed the 200 Mark

just a tiny celebration for the fact that I've written over 200 blog posts. When I started blogging over a year and a half ago, I hoped I'd make it this far. Now I have. Hooray! I had to take the photo on the sly because I'm in speech class and I don't want to be asked to share what I'm "so happy about."


I Wish I Were Here

This would make for quite a week. I had big plans to follow the action online as there are several notable ways to do so, from blogs to tech cab confessions. Unfortunately, there's a virtual pile of school work to keep me busy all week as well as some side work I need to find time for.

On the bright side, I have a job interview with Geil Enterprises to possibly work in sales. While this prospect is daunting, I think I will be really good at sales, as long as I believe in the product I'm peddling. And so far, I've been very impressed with Geil, notably their A-Maz line of natural, biodegradable cleaning products.

I'm also playing at Sequoia Brewing Company on Saturday at 8pm. I'll be doing the usual mix of originals and covers. Should be fun. Come on out for dinner.


How to Work Through Family Problems

First of all, family problems can only be "worked through."  They cannot be "solved."  The issue probably more about learning to recognize and appreciate what the other person thinks and feels about the contentious issue.

This post is focused on adult family situations.  Using the following tactics with a 2-year-old are less effective, though quite comical as my wife and I have learned.

  1. Listen more than you talk.  You may have heard the adage, "you have two ears and one mouth for a reason."  This is crucial in interpersonal communication, and especially true in conflict resolution.  It will both allow you to genuinely hear what the other person is saying, (provided you're actually listening instead of formulating a really biting comeback) and it will also help the other person to feel that they've been heard.
  2. Affirm the other's thought and feelings.  Remember that you don't have to agree with them, and probably don't, about why they're upset.  The fact is, they are upset for some reason, they attribute that, at least in part, to you, and whether you agree or not, they do feel that way.  Even if you're completely innocent (which none of us ever are) you can at least apologize for the person having gotten that impression from you, or for the fact that they feel bad at all.  An apology goes a long way to making amends.  It also gives power to the other party, and this is key.  This is a conflict RESOLUTION, not a who-is-wronger competition.  In a healthy relationship, both people give relational power to the other.  This is called vulnerability and it is important.  Apologies cool tempers and act as a verbal olive branch to the other person.
  3. Look at yourself from their perspective.  Imagine if you had done to them what they did to you.  (But you would never do such a thing because you're not that...)  Just imagine if the tables were turned.  Now imagine how you would want that person to respond to you, NOT how you think they'd be justified in responding to you.  My brother used to joke that the "golden rule" was "do unto others as they do unto you," instead of the more agonizingly painful and frustrating, "treat others as you wish they'd treat you."  I have some very close friends who I didn't invite to my wedding.  It was not an intentional slight, but the wedding was far away and we had to cut down the guest list and I just somehow thought they wouldn't really care anyway.  When I spoke to them next and told them I got married, they were obviously, and rightfully, hurt that they were not invited.  However, because my friends are people of high character, they didn't spend time making me feel more guilty.  Instead, they treated me with grace.  
These three steps are far from exhaustive, but they'll make a great starting point.  Remember that working through issues is a long and arduous process.  Depending on the issue, it may take months or even years to fully move beyond it.  But by practicing these three simple (but really hard sometimes) behaviors, you'll find that over time conflict resolution will become easier and more productive.  

You'll also find that when you do these things, others will likely follow suit.  Don't expect it right away, but commonly an apology elicits an apology, and when a problem is heard, it gets a little smaller.  Coming from a guy who's screwed up a lot and forgiven a lot, it definitely gets easier over time.