Month: September 2014

9 Easy-to-Steal Habits of the Super Successful

One of the things that always sparks my interest is the differences in the successful and the unsuccessful.  This blog post at Fast Company on 9 Easy-to-Steal Habits of the Super Successful is one of the better lists I have read showing some of those differences.  As I read this list, I thought of how this is a list that every leader in the church should read as well.

There are a lot of good ones in this list which I won’t cover, but there are a few I do want to point out.

The one that struck me the most in this post is “Lead, Don’t Dictate”.  This is a leadership principle that I hear over and over, and one that I think ever single person who is in any sort of “leadership” role should reflect upon.  Are you leading?  I think there are roles for managers (people that manage processes or people to accomplish a task), and I think there are roles for coaches/mentors (people who help guide others, though they aren’t necessarily in the trenches of the day-to-day job themselves), but this world is sorely short on leaders (people who have a vision and are willing to jump into the battle to lead their team toward that vision).

As I read back on those words, I am not sure I have adequately defined that, and even more so I see how much work I need to do to be a real leader both in my professional career and in my role in my church.  Much to ponder on this one …

Another one that struck me as very important is “Keep Promises, No Matter How Small”.  Wow, this one makes me sick at my stomach.  Why?  I fail at this.  It isn’t that I tell someone something that I don’t intend to do, it is that I forget I have told them that.  This is a real issue for me, and I suspect it is for others too.  What sometimes happens is that I commit to something and I don’t write it down.  Perhaps that commitment is not that important to me, though it is to the person I committed to.  Because I don’t write it down, it escapes me, and I don’t follow through.  Wow, I now see I need to work much harder on this one.

Another one I struggle with is “Take Breaks”.  In fact, I am reminded about this often from people who are around me.  Candidly, I know they are right.  No one is effective if they work all the time without taking a break.  In fact, Stephen Covey said it well with Habit 7 from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

You can renew yourself through relaxation. Or you can totally burn yourself out by overdoing everything. You can pamper yourself mentally and spiritually. Or you can go through life oblivious to your well-being. You can experience vibrant energy. Or you can procrastinate and miss out on the benefits of good health and exercise. You can revitalize yourself and face a new day in peace and harmony. Or you can wake up in the morning full of apathy because your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone.

There are several other good ones in this list, some of which I have adopted (#1 comes to mind immediately) and some of which I still need to work on (#9 comes to mind immediately).  Now the challenge of the day for me, and perhaps others too, is to work on those areas where I am weak, and to strengthen those areas where I am strong, so I can be the best example I can be – the best leader I can be.  This isn’t just about our professional lives either.  As I said in the opening paragraph, this applies to leadership in our churches, and that doesn’t solely mean the pastor.  It means everyone in a position of “leadership” in the church.  It also means our homes, our personal life, and everything we do.  After all, a leader isn’t just a leader in part of their life; leaders are leaders all the time.

iPhone Tips and Tricks

I am always looking for ways to get better use out of my iPhone, but sadly, most of the posts are about useless.  I did run across a really useful post this week with several things I am not using and at least one thing of which I wasn’t already aware: 17 Genius Tricks Every iPad and iPhone User NEEDS To Know.  For example, why didn’t I already know #2?  And though I knew #9, I thought it only worked with two apps!

Speaking of iPhones, the only real complaint I have with my iPhone is battery life!  I am hoping this is much better on the iPhone 6.  Anyhow, there are things you can do to help with this.  While this isn’t the best article I have seen on it, there are a number of good suggestions here on how to improve your iPhone’s battery life.  Numbers 15 & 16 are the best, imho.



The Chicken Chronicles

The ladies have really stepped it up this week.  Their previous record on eggs was 25 a week, and this week they layed seven more, upping that record to 32!  The most interesting thing is the Easter Eggers are hardly laying at all yet.  They are only averaging 2.3 eggs a week per bird, and once they are laying at full capacity this should be around 5 eggs a week per bird.

Oh, I do have an egg pic to share this week.  This is from their record day of SEVEN EGGS!

Seven eggs!  This is the most we have gotten in a single day to this point.

Seven eggs! This is the most we have gotten in a single day to this point.

Even though the run is secure, we have always locked the ladies in their coop at the end of the day.  I figure that this is an added layer of security if a raccoon or opossum gets into the run during the night.  Well, about a week or so ago we found two birds hanging out below the coop in the run when we went down to let them out in the morning!  These two ladies had presumably suffered all night outside of the coop.  Determined this would never happen again, we have been diligently watching for this at night.  Well, on Saturday night when we went down to shut the door, there were two of the Easter Eggers sleeping on a roosting pole in the run!  Those silly ladies!  We ended up leaving the door open that night, but going forward we will pull that roosting pole out toward the end of the day to prevent this from happening again.

The ladies are getting more brave.  I might have mentioned this last week, but I will say it here again.  In the past, they would stay all together and relatively close to the run when we let them out to stretch their wings and eat some grass.  In fact, let me back up.  In the beginning, we would move them from the run to a dog cage, where they could get fresh grass, but be protected.  As soon as we were confident that they could take care of themselves, we began letting them run in the yard, but what did they do?  They ran to the dog cage!  Finally they got past that, and then they would all hang close to the run together.  Then they started wandering a little further away, but generally together.  Now they are going all over the back yard, and sometimes they are going solo.  It’s nice to see them getting more brave, but it also makes it harder to round them up to go back in the run.

All this typing about them running around the yard is making me long for the proper homestead property even more.  One day …

Happenings Around the Homestead

Wow, the growing season sure is coming to a close quickly.  I noticed our tomatoes are starting to look very ragged, and the popcorn patch is now totally done.  In fact, I cut down the stalks yesterday, and layed them on the ground to start decomposing.  Even though the Cherokee White Flour Corn is not done yet, I also cut two rows of it down yesterday.

I do need to try to get some radishes and lettuce planted.  It is Sunday as I write this, and I may not update this post before I put it on the blog, but by the time this is published I hope to have started some of both to keep through the winter in a make-shift greenhouse.  I did that one year, and we actually ate fresh lettuce all day long, even though there were many days of very cold weather.  As I am typing this, I am convincing myself that I should probably go out and do that today.

Speaking of chores, I need to repot some of my mint.  I have made square foot garden beds out of cinder blocks, and I grow mint in those cinder blocks, but it is obvious some of the mint plants need to be repotted.  I think they are beginnning to look leggy and straggly.  I generally use potting soil to fill the new cinder block holes, and I don’t think I have any right now, so I may or may not get to this over this weekend.

One of the other chores I have this weekend is to measure my garden beds.  I have done this before, but honestly, I have no idea where I documented that.  I’m measuring because I want to make better use of my space next year, particularly for the corn.  Corn is a crop that suffers badly from inbreeding depression, and to prevent that you need at least 200 plants.  If I plant the popcorn at the proper spacing, I think I can do that in one of my garden beds.  The Cherokee White Flour Corn and the Cherokee Gourdseed Corn are a different subject.  It seems for those corns to fourish, they need more space per plant, which I will seek to give them this year.  To do that though, it will mean I may have to expand my garden or I may have to keep ordering some seed every year to ensure I don’t allow inbreeding depression with these plants.

Oh, that reminds me!  Let me show you one of the Cherokee Gourdseed Corn cobs:

Cherokee Gourdseed Corn

Cherokee Gourdseed Corn

Look at those kernels!  It looks nothing like any other corn I have seen, and it is supposed to make some a-maizing 🙂 cornmeal.  It is also supposed to be very easy to shuck, though I might not know that for a few more months.  Who knows though, if I get impatient enough, I might find out in a few weeks.  🙂

Speaking of corn, I am way behind and I am still testing popcorn from last year.  As I type that, I am sure you are wondering what I mean, and I am probably needing to write a post on that sometime.  For now, just know that I am testing my popcorn for poppability and other factors.  I then only save the seed from the best of it, which makes for better popcorn year over year.  At this rate, I will not be done testing 2013’s corn until sometime in October.  I am going to be more concerted in my efforts with this year’s crops though, and I will try to be done testing it by the end of this year.

Wow, this post is already getting a little long and there is so much more to say.  I’ll just have to save that for later.