How do you define leadership? I belive leadership to be the ability/skillset to lead a team or individual toward an objective or goals while discipling that same group in the way of Jesus. Before some of you dismiss this text based upon my mention of Jesus, read on and give this a chance. In being a disciple of Christ, I believe that I am to lead others in the same way that Christ leads me. So whether you are a believer in the Gospel of Jesus or not, I would like to think that we can agree that integrity, compassion, caring and accountability are all qualities that we desire in our leaders.

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Our Homestead: A New Beginning

This summer we made a go of starting a few raised garden beds on our property and we loved it. The excitement of watching your seedlings grow into food producing plants is amazingly inspiring. Each day we watered our plants and watched them grow and blossom. Then the bees came and began their work of pollination. Fluttering from flower to flower like preprogrammed drones on fluffy cloud pedestals. Chipmunks suddenly were taking notice of our suburban gardens and yellow finches our sunflowers. What we started as a halfbaked project became a part of our family. Like pets we took to caring for our plants daily. We found ourselves in the yard all of the time either working the garden or observing the wonderous nature adventure it brought. It was just a garden at first but in our hearts we were building a homestead.
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Getting Up in the AM

Each day I get out of bed in almost the same way, dragging my butt. The ritual is the same most days. I get up, iron my clothes, shower, get dresssed, pack my backpack and head out the door. Some days I make coffee, other days I buy coffee. The problem is that I go to bed too late on most nights. For me late is any time after 10pm. Each day is a struggle.
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Rich People Problems

Stuff! I feel like I can never get rid of all the stuff I have. Well the truth is that stuff has value and isn’t completely useless. That is true for many people. We are afraid to throw our stuff out or just part with it, because it actually can still be used by someone… just not us. I find it so very funny that we have websites about minimalism. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly read a lot of those sites. I’m right there with the other readers and bloggers. But let’s be honest, minimalism is a 1st world problem. A “rich” people problem. You won’t hear folks in 3rd world countries talking about how they have too much stuff. Or too many cars or too many articles of clothing. Yet here in America we have TV shows that are dedicated to the opposite of 3rd world reality. Heck we even have shows where food is the talent and the prize. Change the channel and you’ll find a PSA about hunger in some other country.
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The New Internet

Today we use the internet for everything. For that convenience we give up our identities and other information about our activities. Of course you aren’t doing anything wrong, so why should you care? Because “wrong” is determined by someone other than you and a small group at that, not a consensus. So what is “OK” today could be wrong tomorrow and therefore punished. We are tasked today to take back our liberties and build our own decentralized networks. These networks would be encrypted, secure and governed by no one person or group. Rather they would be collective and collaborative. You would be rewarded for participation in the network and charged for use of the network in a decentralized structure. I bet you are wondering how you could be charged and the network to still be decentralized at the same time? I thought the same thing. Read the article here, to understand that concept better.
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Basic Garden Box

Back in April I built a gardenbox. This was not anything special and was actually the first thing I have ever built with wood. The build was simple, but has opened my eyes to other things I could build. The box is 8’x4′ and is about 11.75″ deep. This will hold close to 30 sqft of soil. The bottom of the box will be lined with cardboard. The box will not be anchored to the ground in any way. I am not sure if this is a good or bad decision, but trial and error is the way of the walk.
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New Workbench

This was my first major project since I bought my new tools. This workbench was made from free/reclaimed wood. There is still work to be done such as the bottom shelf and perhaps some hardboard on the top for a nice smooth surface. But for what it is now, I like it alot.
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Cell Phone Bill Vanquished

Phone companies are ridiculous, simply ridiculous. They rope you in, up-sell you and we buy into all the hype. Why wouldn’t we believe that we need to have gaming power to listen to music. Phones change every 6 months, and our eyes are pulled toward shinier and shinier things. Phone plans are far too costly overall. Verizon is the most expensive but the best in reception. I have been paying $160 a month for two Android phones for the past two years. That’s just under $2000 a year to make a phone call and send text message oh and for my data (which I almost never use). When T-Mobile came hard hitting with their $80 & $100 plans, I was tempted. Then I had to factor in the cost of new equipment. T-Mobile offers free streaming music on their plans which could be useful in the car or I could just download a playlist and listen to that. Streaming music wasn’t enough to pull me from Verizon. But $160 a month was killing me. So I took a trip to my local Verizon store to see what they could do to ease the pain.

Before I arrived my wife and I had decided that we could live with 3G data and a pre-paid plan for each line. The plans were $45/ea with 1GB of data. We are both heavily saturated in wifi connectivity all day and never use our data. Our highest data consumption between both phones was 1.89GB once. And that was out of a 3GB plan. Once in store the rep was very responsive. They worked with me to give me some discounts and at the end of my visit my bill was reduced to $81 a month before taxes. I think Verizon is getting hip to the game that other carriers are offering more data for less. Today voice quality is still important, but not as much as data and text messaging. Now with over $60 saved a month, date night has become that much sweeter.

Living by Candle Light

imageRecently our family began to experiment with living by candle light. I had read an article about a couple who had also done the same for about a month and had some interesting discoveries. For our family the draw was calmer evenings and more intentional living. God created the sun, sunset and sunrise. We effectively extend the sun’s daytime hours by using electric light. By using fire light we are able to bring the sunset inside and gradually transition to sleep. Our bodies produce melatonin which helps us sleep. The bright lights we use inside our homes retard that natural process. The result is anxious sleep patterns and lack of sleep in general. Which potentially leads to the use of sleep aids and other drugs. Candle light has proven to be beneficial to our family’s nightly routine, with some adjustments. Continue reading