#88. Hiatus

I’m going to be taking a short-term sabbatical from SOS. Have no fear. It won’t be nearly as long as John Piper was M.I.A. Amidst the usual personal responsibilities, there is an unusual amount of professional obligations that all decided to team up and make October this year’s Month of Mayhem.
I’ll still try to post from time to time over the coming weeks, but I hope that this will free up some time to focus on more pressing matters.
So just to be sure I cover all my bases, Happy Columbus Day, Boss’ Day, Mother-In-Law’s Day and Halloween!

#87. How TO Make Friends After College

Friends-tv-show-2

If you have an extra five minutes and you’ve ever thought it was more challenging building strong friendships after college, I encourage you to read Sarah Grace Akerly’s post How Not to Make Friends After College on Faith Village today. If you don’t have an extra five minutes, then I have to say I’m quite honored that you’re still here on Song of Sloman, and I appreciate your loyalty. So for those people short on time, I will give an incredibly brief synopsis of Sarah’s post and then take her idea one step forward.

Sarah’s story:

Sarah found great friends in college. Her friends had a passion for Jesus and were intentional and encouraging. When she graduated, she got a new job in a new city and planned to simply find a new church home connecting with a group of young singles like her, like her college friends. Instead she found herself making endless lists of pros and cons and church hopping week after week. After several weeks of this, Sarah found herself friendless and realized she was the one failing to see the hearts of the people she was meeting. She was the one being judgmental and failing to be vulnerable. Sarah realized her friends from college knew her heart, and she knew theirs, and those relationships took time to develop.

So now Sarah is focusing on being a more open person and investing in peoples lives.

 

So what’s the next step?

My wife and I had nearly identical experiences. We formed deep relationships with our college friends. Several years later we still consider some of these people to be very close friends, but speaking for myself, even my college friends might not have been the ones I had picked for myself. They were band geeks, thespians, madrigal singers, Emo kids and homeschoolers, but God placed us together in the Christian Campus House. We “did life together,” because we lived together, and we formed lasting bonds that I will forever be grateful for.

After college, I too moved to a new city and struggled to find community. I tried out several single men’s small groups, and although I finally settled on one, it never felt like what I was missing. I could blame it on only meeting once a week or that I missed meetings frequently, because I would travel out of town on the weekends, but the truth is that I was unwilling to be transparent and honest about my struggles and failures.

The weekend after we got back from our honeymoon, we made it a priority to dive head first into a multi-generational small group and push ourselves outside of our comfort zone to really engage others and be engaged in return. Six months later we were leading our own group. We’ve spent the past year and a half trying to build the kind of Gospel-centered community the Bible calls us into, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. There have been struggles, and we have often yearned for those rooted relationships we experienced in college, but that only encourages us to be even more diligent to invest in each others lives.

We have a great group that God has put around us, and we are beginning to taste the rewards of our collective pursuit of friendship, but we do not want to grow complacent. We do not want to be satisfied. We desire for God to do incredible things in our midst, so we continue to pray that He would mold us into a group that is open, honest and edifying.

How do you make friends?

 

#86. MyFitnessPal Revisited

Myfitnesspal

Back on July 27th I wrote about a new app I was using called MyFitnessPal. At the time I had been on my new “diet” for only nine days. I had already lost three pounds off of my peak weight, but three pounds can easily be attributed to normal, even daily, fluctuation. Eight weeks and almost twelve pounds later, I am beginning to believe there might actually be something to this whole idea of watching what you eat. (You can even follow my progress over in the right margin of this blog.)

MyFitnessPal isn’t anything special. It’s simply a calorie counter with extensive searchability and an intuitive interface both online and in the app version. I haven’t done anything fancy either, except be cognizant of my food intake and jog for about 30 minutes three times a week. (Confession: I skipped a week of running at the end of August.)

So what’s the secret? It can’t be that easy, or everyone would do it.

Well, just like everything else, there is some discipline involved. This just happens to be the first time I’ve ever been diligent enough to stick with something for an extended duration.

The grand finale? I set my goal to lose one and a half pounds per week. To achieve this, I was allotted only a little over 1,600 calories a day. That seems extreme at first, especially once you realize how many calories are in the typical foods you eat, but once you become conscious about your food choices, it’s not so difficult. I would highly recommend the Slim-Fast shakes that replace your breakfast and lunch meals with a mere 190 calories each, and try to cut out fast-food completely. A double cheesburger, fries and a shake will taste absolutely delicous but will also completely decimate your calories for an entire day.

It’s very rewarding to watch the numbers on the scale get smaller and my clothes begin to fit a little looser. Now that I’m just over half way to my goal weight, I’m even more motivated. It’s like my wife always says, “Plan your work, and work your plan.” (She really does say this all the time. Way more often than it should naturally have the opportunity to show up in conversation.)

Have you ever successfully lost weight? Did you find it again later? What methods worked? Which ones did not?

 

#85. What’s in a Name?

Umr-mst

I graduated from college almost five years ago. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering with an emphasis in Construction Management and a minor in History from the University of Missouri – Rolla. A lot has changed since then. One change occured only a year after I graduated. My alma mater changed her name.

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri S&T for short.

So what’s the big deal? They changed the name to better portray the school’s status as Missouri’s premier technological university. Awesome! They changed the name back in the sixties for a similar reason. Formerly Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (MSM), the school had always been a part of the UM system, including Mizzou in Columbia, UMKC & UMSL, it only made sense to rebrand as UMR especially as the school was becoming know for much more than its mining program.

So like I said… What’s the problem?

Well, the problem is that a reputation and brand had been built over the past 45 years. Even more troubling is the fact that in today’s age of technology and automatically filtered searches, people and even more importantly computers don’t recognize the university by its new name. People in recruiting and engineering were familiar with the University of Missouri – Rolla, but recruiters fail to recognize MST in a drop-down box, often assuming it’s merely a two-year technical college, and even my boss didn’t notice Missouri S&T as the school that I attended. My parents and brother have even met a person who was very familiar with UMR and works in the admissions department of another institution of higher learning and was unable to identify MST.

So what’s in a name? Simply put… Identity.

A word to the wise… Protect yours. Strive to be known for your integrity, character and conviction, and then fight like heck to defend it.

Do you know something or someone who has ever lost their identity?

 

#84. Jesus Juice

Wine-glass

If there is one thing Jesus loves, it’s definitely sinners, and that pretty much covers everybody. If people were perfect, we wouldn’t need a savior. Actually that’s probably the second thing. Jesus probably loves God the Father even more.

But if there were three things He loved… Well, walking on water was probably pretty sweet too, so that might be number three. Let’s just say top five.

Wine is definitely in the top five of things Jesus likes. He made his own for parties, drank it at meals and even had it for his last supper, but he also made it clear that you should not be a drunkard. “Don’t drink and ride.” I’m pretty sure that was part of his ministry campaign slogan. Horses, donkeys, camels, pigs, sheep, oxen, leviathan. It doesn’t matter what kind of animal it is. If you’ve been drinking, don’t ride it.

Tonight is the first night of Grapefest in Grapevine, TX. The first night is free admission, and we love a great deal, so we’ll spend some time wandering around Main Street. We might eat some food and have a glass of wine with all of the other sinners. It’s what Jesus would do. We’ll definitely listen to some music and check out all the knick-knacks being peddled by the peddlers.

 

Public Service Announcement:

I don’t always drink wine, but when I do, I prefer to do so responsibly. Stay sober my friends.

 

#83. Taking Out The Trash

P321

It’s been a while since I’ve done a product plug here on SOS. I only endorse products that I am passionate about and that I make an extreme conscious effort to use.
So what’s the item that you must rush to the store for right this minute?
Glad ForceFlex Odor Shield Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bags. #BOOM
I know it’s a mouthful and incredibly specific, but greatness demands specificity. Let’s break it down for the slow learners in the class.
1. Glad. Hefty who? If it’s not Glad then neither am I.
2. ForceFlex. The crisscross pattern ensures that you are entrusting your refuse to the bag with the greatest strength, durability and overall structural integrity.
3. Odor Shield. This product employs the magical, stench-decimating-power of Febreeze. Obviously this only adds to the product’s superior awesomeness.
4. Tall Kitchen. This is the tricky part. Everybody’s kitchen is different. My wife and I are plus and minus an inch from six feet respectively, so we like high ceilings. A tall kitchen for tall people. It just makes sense.
5. Drawstring. This is crucial. A lot of the competition rolls out Handle-Tie, Quick-Tie and even the old school Twist-Tie options. Go ahead and try these lesser closure mechanisms. If you have the courage to objectively compare drawstrings with anything else, you’ll thank yourself. You’ll thank me, and you’ll shout it from the rooftops. “I love drawstrings!”
6. Bags. Yeah. That’s right. I said bags. Plural. You get more than one. In fact they come in a variety of counts. 34. 55. 120. The possibilities are endless as long as you want one of those three sizes. Oh! And a bag is something you carry other stuff in. In this case garbage.
I can’t recommend these trash bags enough. They support my trash, and I support them. I suggest you do the same.
How do you take out the trash?

#82. This Day in Twitter History

Historic_twitter

I thought I might do a Twitter version of This Day in History. The following are all tweets circa September 13th of 2011, 2010 and 2009. Enjoy!

 

2011:

Since when does it get dark at 7:30? #DaylightFail

And that’s how you tune an energy model! #BOOM #EasyButton

Those drivers probably thought: That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen an over weight invalid run. Good for him! // #Spent #SparkMe

Passed several guys driving those tiny Mercedes SUVs while running this AM. Thought: That’s the most adorable Benz I’ve ever seen. So cute! 

 

2010*:

#500th tweet! Only took a year & a half. How will life be different at tweet 1000?

@Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips “would have liked to score more points”/// ya think?!?!?

Great discussion on worship & sovereignty w/ @villagechurchtx #homegroup tonight. Blessed by leading this group of people.

Thankful for @mattchandler74 & the terrifying sovereignty of God. Christ in me- The hope of Glory- Be my everything. #worship #vivification

 

2009**:

I’m not sure if Dennis Leary is supposed to be funny or cool, but I hate him.

@pourth hope the float is going well. Btw what’s your new addy in Springfield?

Wife says I’m the “TV remote Nazi”. As long as I’m not watching Kendra or Girls Next Door, that’s fine with me.

 

I’m a big fan of reflecting on the past. Seeing areas that still need work after months and years is beneficial, and seeing how you’ve grown is incredibly encouraging.

Do you evaluate yourself over time? If yes, how so? Do you use performance metrics?

 

*2010 tweets included September 12 & 13.

**2009 tweets included September 10, 12 & 14.