measurables…

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series 2011: A look back A look forward

I will admit.  I’m kind of a stats freak.  I like keeping track of things and seeing changes happen.  Even though that is something I like though, I’m not into blogging for the numbers.  Still, to me, numbers are cool.

With that said,  as I continue my series on “Looking Back, Looking Forward“, this post flows out of what I wrote at the beginning this year:

I plan on posting more frequently here at UnfoldingNeurons.com – I think there is room for more Canadian Tech and Ministry bloggers out there.

What happened:

In 2009 I wrote and published 123 posts.  In 2010 I wrote and published only 46 posts.  So I guess I failed in this task.  Here’s some other 2010 stats (I told you I like numbers!):

  • The month I published the most posts in last year was February.
  • Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday tied for the days of the week that I most often published a post.
  • In 2010, all my posts were commented on 95 times.  Of course, the majority of comments were made on any posts I made related to my Organize Series plugin.

being entrepreneurish…

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series 2011: A look back A look forward

Is that even a word?  If it isn’t, you read it hear first!  Let’s continue the series I started yesterday:

What I wrote last year: As part of paying down our debt I’m going to start trying out different ways of monetizing some of the things I do on the internets.  I’ve already started somewhat by doing some custom work related to my Organize Series Plugin for WordPress but I’m planning on expanding on that by releasing some custom add-on plugins for Organize Series that will not be free.  Along that lines, I’ve been following this discussion on Weblog Tools Collection because it helps me consider how I might go about doing this.  Been thinking about bringing classy ads to my blog too.

What happened:

After a LOT of hard work (much more than I anticipated) and frequent long nights,  OrganizeSeries.com went live in early October.  So far things are going well, not as well as I hoped but nevertheless I’m at least paying for the costs of hosting my websites.  Another great thing that happened along with Organize Series this past year is that I gained some extra freelance work and supplemented my income that way (many thanks to the clients who contacted me and gave me the work!).  Finally, as you’ve noticed probably already – there’s no ads to my blog (yet).

What I learned: Here’s the cool thing.  Organize Series is something I’ve been developing for nearly four years now (before WordPress it was actually a PHPNuke module!!) and I’ve basically honed my skills through working on it.  I love the fact that what had been just a hobby is now turning into a great little business on the side that’s helping my family with some of the financial goals we have.  Organize Series also lead to some great freelance work that I never advertised for or went looking for.  All I had (and still have) is a little option on my contact form for people to express interest in hiring me for development work.

The lesson for me this year is that with a little creativity it is possible to turn a hobby you love doing into something that can bring in an income too.  The bonus, because I love doing web development I VALUE EXCELLENCE in whatever I do, so my clients and Organize Series users can trust that I will work hard for them.

The difficulty of course has been struggling to balance my time with my full-time job (pastoring at a great church in Waterloo), my family, and now my part-time freelancing business and OrganizeSeries.com on the side.  This is something I’ll be continuing to work on in the coming year.

The other lesson is that getting to this level in my development skills and to the point of making money with it did NOT happen over night.  It happened through hard work and learning through lot’s of reading, lot’s of experimenting, and lots of DOING (or in the words of Seth Godin, “shipping it“).  The hard work is WORTH it because it’s something I love to do.  Also, these skills are granting me the ability to do some work for two organizations I really love supporting (more about that in a future post).

So, what hobbies do you have that are making you better at doing something?  Is it something that you can make a little bit of money off of?  Are you doing that now?

The deeper question for my spiritual readers, could it be possible God has given you the love for this activity/hobby because He has something in mind He wants you to use it for?  What are you doing with it?

I don’t like these “year in reviews”….

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series 2011: A look back A look forward

…but I do see the value in them – so I’ll add my own to the mix!  What is the value?

  • Gain appreciation and cultivate gratitude for the great stuff that happened to you in the past year.
  • Reflect on what you can learn from the past year.
  • Plant seeds of motivation for what’s possible in the coming year.

When I started writing out my year in review post for 2010 it began turning into a book.  Not good.  Too much editing.  But then I realized, it’s a review of a whole year, of course it’s going to be longer than my typical post.  So I broke it into a series of posts.

Why would you want to read this? That’s a good question.  I will confess that I’m writing this year in review and look ahead mostly for my own benefit (see points above) but I also believe there will be some value for my readers.  For one thing, it will give you some insight into the mind of a developing leader (and entrepreneur) and more of the things that matter to me.  At the very least it could get you thinking about what matters to you.  So without any more banter, let’s get started shall we.

Merry Christmas 2010

Hey everyone, I hope your day is going well so far!  I love enjoying this time with my family and friends.  To all my readers, have a blessed Christmas and a very HAPPY New Year!

I’ve included for your reading the text of what I shared last night to my church family (modified a bit for the context here).  Enjoy!

We all know about Christmas. We all know that it’s commercial thing with a frenzy of gift buying and gift wanting, and “stuff” being exchanged. We all know that it’s a nostalgia thing, with the Christmas plays, the nativity scene, Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, tinsel, decorations, lights and carols, and movies we’ve seen every year. We know that Christmas is a food thing, the chocolates, the turkeys, the stuffing, the oranges, the baked goodies. Oh, the baked goodies.

There are many things we know Christmas for and many things we’ve become familiar with. Familiar. There’s danger in that. The danger of Christmas, the season, the event, is that we get so familiar we lose the wonder of what Christmas really represents. The wonder of the INCARNATION. It’s really not a word you hear too much. But it is a word that captures the wonder of what happened. God coming in flesh on this planet. Tonight, for just a few minutes, I hope to remind you of this wonder. To have you pause in awe at the majesty and significance of what can be robbed by the familiar.

My Daily Workflow

What do you do on a typical work weekday?  My typical work week fluctuates but here’s what I do on a day that I don’t have to travel or have any meetings:

  • When I first wake up my morning routine consists of waking up the kids,  a shower, teeth brush, hair setting, getting dressed, having a big glass of orange juice, and sometimes a bagel.  While I’m enjoying my breakfast and the kids are getting ready for school and my wife is packing their lunch I will try to get through my Bible Reading for the day on my YouVersion Blackberry app (I’m currently doing the M’Cheyne One Year Reading plan)
  • Once the kids get ready (hopefully with no fights) I’ll say good by to my wife and will load everybody into the car (actually a minivan) and drop them off to school on my way to work.  On the 10-12 minute drive to work (depending on traffic) my usual practice (not always, but usually) is to just spend time talking to God and thinking about the day ahead.

It’s 2010 – Here’s to a New Year!

[image from flickr]

..and new decade – wow!  What was I doing 10 years ago?  Hmmm…I think I was doing an all-nighter with some youth in the church I was pastoring in Hanover.  Honestly, I can’t remember… which is probably not a good thing.  I actually caught myself saying to my 6 year old son tonight that in 40 years I will probably be dead.  Note to self: don’t tell your young child at his bedtime that you are going to die someday. It leads to a very long conversation.  Just saying.

I’m really looking forward to 2010 and this next decade.  From a tech point-of-view, the changes that I’ve experienced in the past 10 years are simply astounding! Of course there have been a lot of changes in my personal life as well.  I really can’t imagine what the next 10 years are going to bring!

As far as new years resolutions go, I’ve never really been one to make them – I guess I always think, why should I only resolve things only once a year?  It’s funny, but for me, my year tends to start in September, not January – must be something to do with having kids in school and pastoring a church…

Merry Christmas, Happy New Years and all the fine stuff…

[image from krisdecurtis]

In what is a most time-honored tradition around these sorts, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  This past year has been a very interesting year in my life and I’m looking forward to an even more interesting year.  I wish, like others I could have a nice cute picture of my family up here but in my household we define “Christmas busy” and usually don’t get around to getting our pictures done until late Christmas day.  Maybe I’ll get something up then (probably not).

Enjoy your holidays, don’t freeze, eat carefully, laugh with family, and check out what Christmas is really all about.  Thanks for sticking around unfoldingneurons.com!

Things I like about my country (Happy Canada Day)

Credit to <a href=
Credit to Chris Lancaster

Well today is Canada Day and even though I think I’m a pseudo-American (my birthday is on July 4th) I was born here and am really grateful for my roots in this country.  Here’s some reasons why I’m glad I’m a Canadian.

  • Freedom. Even though there are some trends that are a bit unsettling I still have the freedom to write what I want on this blog and publicly profess my faith.
  • Security. Relatively speaking – I feel pretty safe here.
  • Free Health Care. It has its faults of course and still needs some work (it’s also kind of not free because our taxes pay for it) but I can go to the hospital or my doctor and not worry about how much it’s going to cost me.  That’s nice.
  • Hockey.  Our hockey teams/players rule.  ‘nough said.
  • Travel Perks.  It’s kind of cool that wherever I go in the world people are really receptive to the fact I’m a Canadian.  Just being a resident of Canada gives you a sort of “special recognition” (probaby due to the friendly role Canada plays on the foreign relations scene).

Happy Mother’s Day! (especially to pastor’s wives)

I love my wife and I really do believe that God brought us together!  As I got thinking about mother’s day this year I thought of all the things that Kerryanne does, not only as a mother, but also as a mother who happens to be a pastor’s wife.  Here’s some things:

  • Prays for me (this is a big deal for me!)
  • Helps me pick out what to wear (I am absolutely NO good at matching clothes and dressing appropriately – if you ever see me wearing something bad it’s probably because Ker wasn’t around to help me…)
  • Endures the stares of people when our children are being kids at a time when some think it’s inappropriate (and maintains her cool!)
  • Gets all four of our children fed, dressed, and ready for church on Sunday’s while I have left early to accomplish what I’m responsible for there (if you think it’s easy for her, I DARE you to say that to her… 😉 )
  • Arrives at church and ensures that all our children get safely to their Sunday School classes.