A new song for Em.

I thought I would make a quick recording of the song I wrote for Emily on Valentine’s Day. I hadn’t written her a song since the one I used to propose over 7 years ago, so I figured it was time! Enjoy.

You’re the One
copyright 2013 Seth W. Gehrke

Verse 1
You’re the one I always longed for
You’re the one I dreamed about
And right after that first call
My heart had no doubt

verse 2
Our family has sure grown
We’ve got a puppy and a boy
From the cold to California
With you there’s always joy!

You’re the one who will forever
Share in my deepest dreams
I couldn’t ask more than that babe
You’re the one that mends my seams
And I’m still trying to figure out while it spins inside my mind.
How could God bless me so much, with a woman who’s so kind.

We’ve had our ups and our downs
But never have we fallen
Through moldy walls and traffic laws
Our team goes on and on
We laugh about our sleep walking
And are together when we cry
I never could imagine when
The day comes to say goodbye

Verse 3
I’m not quite sure what’s next Love
Put it all in God’s strong hands
I know there will be adventure
I can’t wait to see what’s planned!

Chorus 2x

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This morning I heard a song on the radio (which I’ve probably heard a dozen times) for the “first” time. You know that moment when a thought or line or moment makes an – impact. on your heart.

The line is sings: “His (Jesus) kind of love is reckless for us.” (by Group 1 Crew)

I had never thought of God’s love as reckless, but in the eyes of the world, it definitely is.

Webster defines reckless: marked by lack of proper caution : careless of consequences.

There are many times when we calculate our risk in forgiving or helping or assisting someone based on our time, relationships, money, health, safety and just overall willingness.

Don’t get me wrong, we are not God and we need to be safe, but we forget that even though He is God, He still feels, hurts, loves, creates.

When He loves He goes all-in. He bets everything. He uses no caution, no temporary words or smalltalk to sidestep a confrontation or relationship. That’s reckless.

He sent His only Son to live a human life full of temptation, rejection and foreseeable death. That’s definitely careless of the consequences. That’s reckless. To us.

Not to Him. It was worth it. It’s still worth it. We’re worth it. Not because of what we’ve done, but because we are HIS creation. HIS love. HIS.

It may be difficult at times to imagine loving others fully with reckless abandon. It makes sense, we’re sinful people. But, with the Holy Spirit’s power, we can do our best to love HIM with reckless abandon and through that process let Him challenge us to love others beyond where we are today.

Because He’s worth it.

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The obligatory greeting paragraph and…prayer?

You know that friend or co-worker who gets so into their “stuff” or “work mode” that they remove all personal connection and interaction from their communication?

Hypothetical example… Subject line: copies   Body of text: Can you make those copies of page 17 by 2pm?

I mean, not even a “Hey There!” or something like that. Just slam into the request. It’s even worse when it’s on the phone. But, many of us have gotten used to the lack of personal touch and implied focus on being efficient. I catch myself doing it very often when I’m running to class and have a question to pose to a co-worker as I dash off. You can’t always take the time. I understand that.

We all probably have been in this situation though… You’re writing a private Facebook message to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or have to make a phone call to someone that you know has the answer, but you just haven’t had the opportunity to connect in a while. There is the obligatory “catch up” paragraph or 5min update. Come on, admit it, you’ve written it thinking, “I just need the information, but I don’t want to be a jerk.” It’s because we care. We really DO want to catch up, but at that minute, you’re focused on the task at hand. Maybe the short tidbit can tide us over until we have more time. I think that’s courtesy and we all appreciate it. I know I do.

But should we do it with prayer? I just had a prayer request sent to me a few minutes before this post and I just stopped my work at my computer, jumped right in with the request with God and spilled my guts about it.

Then I paused.

I imagined myself standing in the presence of my almighty, powerful, creator-of-the-universe, loving God and I just jumped in without at least saying, “Hey God…” I felt like I should’ve at least adored Him for His GREATNESS and kindness for even listening to me. Or maybe I should catch up a bit on the things I’ve forgotten to tell Him lately…

Then I remembered a poster that I asked Emily to create for me a couple years ago. It says, “Pray Continually: God is Faithful” and it’s based on 2 verses: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  |   Isaiah 62:6 O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD.

I realized that God wants our prayer life to be a continuous conversation. It’s not just at specific times, but it’s at ANY TIME. He’s always there and waiting. Sadly, He may become the friend we haven’t talked to in weeks or even months, but He’s unlike all the other friends who haven’t been keeping up with you. He’s been with you the whole time knowing every thought, worry, joy, experience and wanting to hear about it all.

When you imagine prayer as a time with an amazing friend, then you want to catch up and spend some time talking about life. I wouldn’t call it obligatory, but it’s definitely worth your time! Any time with God is, because He just wants to hear from us. If prayer is a continuous, daily, hourly occurrence, we’re sharing our life and God’s experiencing it all with us, so we can just jump right back into the conversation with anything at anytime. What an wonderful relationship that is.

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Learning between the lines.

I found myself in an interesting situation in the first 2 weeks of school with a young student.

I’m going to call this student Buddy (B).

I guess Buddy decided to start this year off on the wrong foot. I teach preschool-8th grade music and Buddy thought that from day 1, music was a good place to do whatever he wanted. The first day B tested me at least 4 times within the first 10 minutes, but decided he needed to go full out. My kind re-directions and patient day-1 requests were not being followed, so B received the first consequence of the 2012 music classroom. We talked after class about it, but there wasn’t a lot of remorse or willingness to listen. After a very similar experience with the bigger group in choir class the next day, I was sure that I was in for it this year…or B was.

I vented with my wife (also an education major turned graphic designer) about the situation and we talked about some things I could possibly do before or during class to redirect or include him more. I thought about it and had a few ideas, but I couldn’t have planned for the opportunity that would present itself a few days later.

It was during a recess period where I saw Buddy sitting alone in the middle of the playground grass as far as possible from any other student. It was a beautiful day for a little stroll across the playground, so I decided to pull up some lawn next to Buddy. I sat down without saying anything, stretched out my legs, leaned back on my hands and let out a relaxed sigh. This is when I would normally ask something like, “So, how’s it going?” or “I see you’re sitting alone, what’s up?” or even better … “Tell me about how you’re feeling today.” All great psychological/educational questions, right? Get inside that kid’s head! However, I decided to go at it from a different angle, so I said, “Wow. Isn’t it a beautiful day? I love how just about every day in California has blue skies and lots of sunshine. Isn’t it awesome?” B agreed with a slight smile and nod. I continued, “I used to live in Minnesota and it would rain a whole lot more and make things muddy or wet, plus it’d be grey and cloudy for a bunch of days.” B asked if it’d snow too. I said it did and it was really fun for a while, but it got really cold too, which you got used to … most of the time. A younger student came over (“Hank”). I asked Buddy if they had met so I introduced them, but pointed out that B was a really cool guy and they should definitely get to know each other. Hank ran off. Then “Sally” came over to say hi to me. I introduced Buddy to Sally by telling her that Buddy very fun, so maybe they could play a recess game together sometime. She ran off as well. Buddy was just looking at me with this confused/interested look on his face and said, “Do you know what I’m really good at?” At this point, if Buddy had said training Zebras to jump over the moon, I was going to run with it. Buddy said, “Kicking a ball.” I said, “I’d really love to see you boot that ball over there.” Buddy ran over, grabbed it and (I thought – please, please make it a good kick …) sent it sailing! He got a big cheer and of course had to do it a few more times.

This is where it really got cool …

Sally and Hank returned and kind of just hung around us. Kids are still learning how to join in. Buddy jumped right on it and said, “Do you think Hank and Sally want to play?” I said that maybe he should ask them. Buddy went over and invited them to kick the ball around with us and even helped get the ball when they sent it in the wrong direction. The transformation was incredible.

So how did choir go later that afternoon? Buddy was following all requested directions, listening, participating and having a good time. I almost forgot B was there, because my eyes and attention could be used elsewhere and therefore focused on teaching the class. It was great!

This was just another reminder that people are lifelong projects. They aren’t tasks to be checked off a to-do list. Sometimes I feel like one-off consequences for kids are like giving up on a piece of a major project. If you a project at work and this one piece of it kept giving you trouble, but it had to be a part of the plan, would you push it aside for later when it might not fit with the rest of what you’d accomplished? No, you’d have to develop it, strategize, pivot, get creative and maybe mold it a bit to work where it should.

If teaching had an even bigger relationship component (especially in our education and training), then I think we’d have less behavior issues and the time we have for academics may be slightly less, but much more fruitful, because there will be more attentiveness, engagement and willingness to learn. You’d probably see future payoff in the workplace when people’s team projects succeed because they know how to encourage, be honest without using sarcasm, take criticism constructively while still knowing their self-worth, and be willing to try again without crumbling because of failure. All of these things are developed through intentional relational interaction, before, during and after the instruction of the actual material like math/reading/science/history. There are so many skills learned between, under and around the lines.

As a side note: I can attest to observing and knowing many teachers who are fantastic at this and have made it a core principle in their teaching, because they inherently know it is necessary.

Some teachers may say it’s not their personality, responsibility or that they don’t have the time to add another subject. I would reply that all people desire encouragement, a personal connection and intentionality. Why don’t we weave that into every subject and interaction? We can all do it authentically with our own personal style. And yes, if we’re truly educating future citizens and leaders, it is definitely our responsibility.

Let’s all teach between the lines and help shape all of our children into empathetic, creative, confident, thinking people.

A little related news: check out a new app being developed that can help us as adults encourage and strengthen each other to be even better selves than we already are. http://blog.lift.do/post/25435255834/everything-there-is-to-know-about-lift

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are you dating your food?

the first date.

“Dude! She’s calling! What should I say?”

“Say hello.”

“Uh, uh, hi! Great! How are you? Yes, that’s the place. Did you get the map I texted you? Great! Sounds good. See you soon! Bye!”

“So is it still on?”

“Yep! Dinner in 3 hours…I hope I don’t mess it up!”

I’m sure we’ve all been there.

The first date.

 The unsure, casual conversations at first and finally one of you asks the other to make the big jump to actually get together and do the real thing. You make preparations, you google them, you talk to your friends about their experiences on first dates, you research a good restaurant and maybe you even have an “in” with one of their friends to give you some tips and pointers.

A first date is fresh. new. exciting. and filled with unexpected but highly anticipated results. And the best part…they’re usually immediate! You either walk away pumped for the next one or you’re trying to figure out if you misread something or it really was that bad.

and you’re left with a question…now what?

I’ve come to realize that we treat diets just like first dates and the results aren’t so great.


  Webster’s Dictionary has four sub definitions of the main usage of the word diet:

a : food and drink regularly provided or consumed

b : habitual nourishment

c : the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason

d : a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight <going on a diet>

It’s not until the last definition that you get to the way that most people use the word. The first definition is food and drink regularly provided or consumed.

I love the way Webster’s online dictionary explains the origin of the word even better.

from Greek diaita, literally, manner of living, from diaitasthai to lead one’s life.

 So, a diet, literally, is a manner of living. Why in the world then do we go on a diet?

So, think back to the first date scenario. Now imagine it’s not a date with a person, but a date with a diet. You research, you talk to your friends, you’re kind of nervous, you want it to work out, you’re looking for immediate results (or quickly) and then…you usually get them! Yes! Success!

and just like the first date you say….now what?

the next step.

After the first date, you need to decide if this is something you want. Now I want to stop you right there. If you didn’t want it to begin with, why did you even start? Did you like the idea of a relationship or did you truly desire to change your current relationship status and perhaps…for the long term? Did you feel that? Yep, that tingle at the back of your neck when your brain flashed a scary word…


A second date doesn’t mean marriage, but it means you’re ready to make some changes. So, maybe you can’t go out on the weekly girls shopping on Saturday afternoon or the guys’ poker night on Friday, because you’re choosing to put this new person first. He or she requires time, effort, continuity, your attention and yes, some sacrifice. But isn’t that what you expected?

Wasn’t the first date just the door to a new life that would improve upon the current one? Or weren’t you ready to make room for the slight adjustments that would provide a mountain of benefits in order to- how did Webster say it?- lead one’s life?

The past six months have really opened my eyes to eating. Read more about that journey here.

 I’ve realized that after I changed my eating habits I felt better, my attitude was more positive, I lost weight, I had less body aches and my tastes even changed!

It was incredible. But then Thanksgiving and Christmas happened.

I tried to maintain my healthy eating through it, but realized I still wanted to indulge in those “contraband items.” I gained a little weight back, but worst of it all, I didn’t feel good. And that’s what I missed more than anything. It’s like those loving relationships. Yes, they take work. Yes, they can restrict your “wants” sometimes. But, they make you feel so good.

I still plan to eat Oreos and milk with my son. I’m going to have a s’more at a campfire and I will definitely drink my share of beer and eat ice cream….maybe not at the same time…but you never know!

I do know one thing. I won’t go on another first date.

So, on a day-to-day basis I will choose to have a long-term relationship with quality food, for the good feeling my body receives from it. It’s worth it.I will learn about new ways of preparing veggies so that they taste phenomenal! I’ll choose water and put a lime in it instead of having a soda.

A diet will always be about “losing those extra pounds” until your relationship with food changes. And so far, I’m having a great time getting to know my food in a different way!

It’ll be an exciting new adventure where commitment tastes and feels great.

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lavish: to bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities upon.

1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God.

That is just incredible. Mind blowing. I couldn’t stop thinking about that verse yesterday. Here’s what rolled around my head/heart…

Well I have to first start by saying that, as a teacher, I’ve always told my students I love them. As a teacher in a Christian school, I blessed to be able to say that Christ loves me and so I love them as He called me to do. That love is shown by respecting and encouraging them, and I always let them know I’ll be there for them even after they leave 8th grade if they ever need to talk, share or need some advice. I love having that trust and relationship and many have taken me up on it. I feel honored and blessed to be able to shower them with that love.

Then I had my own child. A new door was opened. I couldn’t have explained until it happened. A new kind of love.

(Most times) you can tell the difference  between an adult interacting with a child they know and then their own child. There is a connection and extra something with their own child. Although, I know this is not always the case and, sadly, some children are left feeling neglected. Those situations break my heart. Even those who have been through that don’t have to worry about that from our Heavenly Father.

I love the NIV translation of this phrase: love the Father has LAVISHED on us. Wow! What does that look like? Feel like? How would you picture an actual person in your life LAVISHING upon you love? I’m not talking about romantic love, that’s easier to picture, but not the right form in this case. The Greek word is agape, which translated can best be described as unconditional love for all. Then He LAVISHES this complete, genuine, wholehearted love all over you. Seeping into your pores, gushing into your ears, filling up your heart to overflowing.

Now go back and imagine that dad loving his little son so immensely you have no doubt it’s his child. Then multiply it by millions. billions. This scripture says that if someone saw God loving us THAT much (LAVISHLY) we should (must) be called the children of God. There would be no doubt.

The fact is: there IS NOT a doubt. God loves you not like His child, but AS His child every single day. That Love came down to earth humbly as child to become complete Love for us on a cross. Let’s remember that this Advent/Christmas Season, and live soaking up and constantly remembering that love everyday of our lives.

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I remember reading a book before our son was born (actually read a number of books!) that said people lie all the time after they first have a kid. Random person: “OH!!! How is (child)?!? Isn’t being a parent awesome?!?!” new parent: “Yeah! It’s great- its going so well.” Except you’re really thinking: “I wish I could figure how to calm my baby at 2am…I’m so tired…am I doing everything right?…I hope I’m not messing him up permanently…”

I have to say that I feel Emily and I are a great team and we felt quite prepared for Will but you still have those questions…and yet you try not to admit them or push through them or whatever.

I knew I’d have hard times but I never thought I’d be pushed to that “brink” so early you know? But after a long week or work day and you get waken up at 1am, he doesn’t want the bottle, the pacifier, to be rocked, and he has a dry diaper…but he KEEPS CRYING!!! What do you do?!?!?

I had a moment like that this week and I just felt completely and utterly helpless. To lay it out bare bones: weak. I just found myself hugging him close as he screamed and screamed while I whispered, “Help God, please help us, help God…”

Emily must have heard the screaming through 2 doors and came to me. She suggested just to try another soothing method that I had forgotten in the midst of it all. He began to calm and I told her how weak I felt- she said, “God’s power is made perfect in your weakness.”

That verse from Corinthians meant more at that moment than any other in my life and it’s one of my favorites. I remembered the simple prayer God had laid on my heart minutes before and thanked Him for stirring that trust in me.

When I am weak: He is strong.

I want my children to know that, experience that, live that, and hold fast to that. But most importantly, I want them to see their Dad showing them where his only strength comes from…our loving Savior Jesus Christ.

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How food ate ME.

The last couple months have been a somewhat unnerving journey for me. I’ve been reading a very eye-opening book while attempting to change my relationship with food. These two things weren’t designed to coincide, but alas they did, and have drastically changed me. This whole time I’ve been thinking about the food I’ve been eating, but this morning I realized that my food has been eating me.

First off, I’m not a book reviewer and I get a little cringe at the back of my neck thinking about book reports. Not because I don’t think I can remember the book, finish the assignment or even write well. I just get nervous about trying to hit the true main points or really giving the book its full due in a short summary. I think I just recognize the importance of the entire narrative and just want the person to read the whole thing so they don’t miss any sweet morsel! I also hesitate because I know my bias and personal insights will be reflected alongside the summary and that may invite contradiction or questions from readers. I guess I’m just being honest about a personal issue, but this time it’s so real to me. These are my experiences and I’m willing to share, but until I had gone through it, I probably would’ve judged me too.

Food Ate Away at My OUTLOOK

A little while ago, I began reading this book at the recommendation of a friend. It’s called The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. We were talking about processed food and the nature of our food and she said I had to read it! Isn’t that what they always say? So I decided to dive in and just see. I have to say that I haven’t researched this further so I can’t say with full conviction that everything is completely accurate, so I’m going to give you some of the author’s insights. He wanted to see where our food actually comes from. As people who have the choice to eat anything, we are faced everyday with making a decision. To eat or not to eat: that is the question. Do we really know how our food is grown? What is put into it? Why those choices are placed in front of me in the grocery store? Why are there 92 different choices of cereal?

What I appreciate is that he did his best to report on what he saw and not try and take a side. I also tried to read it with an open mind and just take in the information. I knew I wasn’t going to be converted into a vegetarian by the inhumane feedlots of cows and he wasn’t trying to push me that way. But it was interesting to hear about what he witnessed and researched about how unclean it really can be. They wouldn’t even let him see how they slaughter the cows. Issues such as feeding cows huge quantities of corn in order to fatten them up faster to produce more meat, but having to give them antibiotics to keep them healthy because their bodies were really meant to consume grass. Then realizing that those antibiotics are still in the meat when we eat it.

There are so many things that he noticed and brought to light about our food chain which has become extremely marketed, industrialized, commercialized, regulated and filled with fillers to make our food cheaper with a longer shelf life. Some of these innovations are awesome and help us to feed many more people but a lot of them just seem to fill us full of unnecessary chemicals and unnatural sugars that can lead to many health issues.

I am a food freak now? I wouldn’t say that. Am I going to judge you for eating what you want? Definitely not. Will I refuse food at your house? Nope. Will I make people eating around me feel uncomfortable or press these ideas upon you? Not a chance. Will I attempt to eat as much clean, real food as I can for my own body? Yep.

This book made me realize one huge thing. I am in charge of what I put into my body and it’s the only body I’ll have the rest of my life. My body is not “me” but it carries “me” around and I need it to be in prime shape! So I’m going to invest in it.

So, as I began to learn and eat this way, my relationship with food was slowly eaten and began to be digested and churned into a new outlook and focus. One that, so far, has been very positive!

Food Ate Away My FORM

Not long after I began reading the book, Emily and I decided to change our relationship with food for real. Not just in our outlook but in our daily choices.

We changed the way we formed our menus and my body was transformed.

We decided to take the Whole30 challenge. Check it out.

I won’t get into all of the details, you can read up about it, but it’s a 30 day reset.
This is to challenge the way you look at food and to focus primarily on good, clean, real, whole food. Veggies, Fruit, Meat, Natural Spices, Good Fats, etc.

The first few days I really missed some of the things I was accustomed to eating, but I wanted to rid myself of those cravings and then reintroduce them later when I wasn’t ridden with an overwhelming desire just to have them. I wanted to choose to put them in my body without the additional pull. As I began to eat this way, which took much more planning, prep and cooking, I grew to really enjoy it. Not just the process but the food, it was so good! My tastebuds began to draw out so many more natural flavors that I hadn’t noticed in plain veggies and fruits when I had previously covered them with sweeteners, sauces or toppings. Amazing the flavors God naturally put into our foods! Wow. I began craving these over other processed foods and it felt so good. My body felt clean and whole. It’s hard to explain without actually living it. The impetus for this challenge was not weight loss, but I lost over 10 pounds in 30 days and I was eating…A LOT! I was only hungry a few times, but then I ate what I needed. My body was just using all the good stuff and losing the unnecessary stuff. It was incredible.

So where do I go from here?

Having eaten away at my presuppositions, my blind acceptance, my trust in what’s in food and what I actually consume has really shaken my whole relationship with food. I didn’t think 30 days would do it, but it certainly has. Reading the book just added to the overhaul and I’m still left trying to put together the pieces left over. I’ve not only shed pounds, but I’ve shed desires and addictions to things our commercialized food world wants us to buy. Not because it’s good for us, but because it makes them money. I want to eat real food with real benefits for my body. I plan to continue making healthy choices and standing up for my body. Feeling this good may take more time, maybe some more research, cooking/preparation and perhaps a little explanation, but it’s totally worth it.

You can’t directly choose how many taxes you pay, how much gasoline costs, if it will rain or not, but you have complete control over what you put into your body.

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My Top 3 Idea/ToDo Apps

Ok. I’ll admit. I’m a list guy. I’m a post-it guy. All OVER the place. It’s really an issue. Emily laughs about it now, but there was certainly an initiation phase into Seth’s land of lists and post-its. She’s probably stronger because of it. Love you babe!

The problem is that I have all of these dreams, innovations, entrepreneurial ideas, useful projects, creations, plans, TODOs, etc constantly flowing through my brain. So…

In college I would have notebooks full of ideas and future plans, but it was hugely unorganized and how would I ever find a random idea in there? I’d also use post-its for stuff I’d need to do right then. I even dabbled with the infamous Palm Pilot organizer. The only problem is that 8 years before “the cloud” I was imagining something like “the cloud.” The Palm Pilot was great, but it was just a notebook. If I didn’t have it with me- I didn’t have it! Plus it wasn’t really that searchable.

Then came the email-catch all phase. Who else does this? I can’t be the only one. I’d email myself all of my ideas and dreams and plans when they popped in. I’d even email myself to take out the garbage that evening, because I knew I’d forget, but I’d check my email before I went to bed! Does anyone know the problem with this? Yep- cloggage. Major cloggage. A log jam of log jam clogs in my inbox. I get enough email, but then I have 35-40 emails from MYSELF about things that are…ideas. What do I do with these!?!

Here is my current solution: I realized my thoughts “mental tornadoes” could be placed into 3 general categories.


1. Evernote Websites/Creations/Lesson Plans/physical things that have been found or accomplished but need to be recalled again or improved upon and would be useful for future applications. This is where I take pictures of my music classroom before or after an awesome lesson so that I can save the pic of the setup, a description and tags pertaining to that concept/lesson/grade/activity. Then I can search those later in the future when I return to that concept again. You can do the same thing with websites (like Delicious). I’ll open the app on my phone, take a pic of a possible project at Lowe’s, tag it, describe it, set the geo-location of where I am, and be able to get it later. Then I can access it online anywhere or from a direct mac or iphone app. Another option to make a voice memo note and tag and describe that as well. Love it.

2. Workflowy Dreams/Thoughts/Planning/Ponderings- for many categories of life/work. My thanks to my buddy Thomas for throwing this idea out a while back! It works great for me. It’s really a very simple, creative way of keeping lists. I think it’s designed for step-based projects and sometimes I used it for that, but mainly I just keep multi-leveled lists here. It’s so intuitive and easy to use. You make a heading like the ones you see on my homepage. Then you click on the dot and it brings you to the sub menu of that main point without seeing all of the other main headings. Then you can have sub-sub menus to further describe detail what each idea entails. This may sound extremely frustrating to some people, but it works amazingly well for my brain’s organization. It’s really easy to go back and scan through your “idea flows” as I call them. Plus I can access it from anywhere as well. No more random notebooks.

3. Wunderlist TODO- anywhere between NOW and 1-2 months out. Definite Actionable items to cross off. I just started using this about 2 weeks ago. I used to use Google Tasks, but I like how much more clean this is. Plus I like how I can check it off, it turns grey, gets crossed out and falls to the bottom of the page. I feel so successful! This is only for TODO. No ideas- just tasks. The app loads quickly on my phone, so it’s just as easy as emailed myself and doesn’t clog up my inbox. I made a sample list for you here. I’ll probably finish that up tonight. You can also create different lists if you have different “jobs” in your life with separate tasks. You can set alarms for your tasks and add details as well. It’s working great so far.

I’d be happy to tell you more about them if you have any questions. I have to end with the best part about all 3…they’re free! So get organized and keep your brain happy. I know it keeps me sane. So, what do you use to stay organized and catalogued? Hit up the comments and let me know about your brain supplements!

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What happens when you cancel Directv?

We’ve been trying to cancel Directv for almost 2 years. That momentous feat was finally accomplished thanks to an awesome customer service rep who was having a good day and let us out of our contract for nothing. zero. zilch. Where have you been all my life?

That actually happened soon after we found this. An idea that challenged participants to kill the tv for 30 days. It’s a pretty hardcore plan and since Directv was being a pain anyway we decided to give it a shot. We didn’t follow all of their specific details (we decided an occasional movie or youtube vid was ok!)- we just decided not to turn on the tv.

This didn’t seem too worrisome at first. I knew I could live without actually seeing who won American Idol, the next House Hunters episode, multiple sports games, or what the evening sitcom characters were doing.

But I did have one big concern…how am I going to relax?!?! That’s what you do…you work hard during the day so that you can have dinner and relax for the evening and watch tv. Duh. That’s what you do! I’m tired. I don’t want to think more in the evening- that’s what the day is for. Now I have to say, my wife and I are pretty busy people and aren’t around a ton in the evening anyway, but if I want TV, it’s there for me! It’s like a safety net of relaxation. Are you with me on this? Ok, maybe it was just my own messed up issue.

So, here’s what happens when you cancel Directv. We turned off the tv…and…

1. We talked with Directv in the middle of the 30 days and they let us go free and clean. I’m not implying some mystical connection here, but it’s pretty crazy.

2. There were a couple days that it crossed my mind, but I really hadn’t given it much thought at all.

3. My speaking vocabulary significantly improved- Emily even mentioned something about it because I’m reading much more.

4. My laptop harddrive is almost full because I found 88 CDs in a storage container I hadn’t listened to or downloaded in the past 5 years. Lots of new music!! With iTunes and an Airport Express connected to the receiver, we have wireless music going constantly in the house! It’s a great replacement for “background” tv noise.

5. I’m playing guitar/piano/saxophone much more and loving it. Playing for me, not just for work! Normally I would’ve just sat down on the couch and decided not to exert the effort to get the things out.

6. Surprisingly I haven’t had that huge desire to need it in the evening like I thought I would. I really do think it bordered on an addiction. I felt like I needed the tv. Now I want to do other things instead. Even when I’m tired, there are so many other things I can do to unwind. I had never even considered it before.

7. I go to bed sooner and wake feeling rested.

8. It’s well over 30 days now and I love it.

I didn’t write this to judge tv-watchers. So if you are a tv-lover, live it up and enjoy it! I just wanted to chronicle my own experience and the things that happened along the way. Maybe you’re in the same place I was 30+ days ago and just want to give it shot for one reason or another. Pull the plug and see what happens. A whole new world may be opened up to you that you didn’t even notice before!

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