Babymoon in Country Victoria

At a recent doctors appointment, Richenda confessed she was feeling tired.  Fiona, our ob/gyn extraordinaire, was on point with her diagnosis and treatment.

“Tired!? Of course you’re tired honey! You’re growing a person. You need to take some time off for baby growing.”

As if doctor’s orders weren’t enough, it’s the middle of a cold and rainy winter here in Melbourne. The Detroiter in me says it’s not that cold, and the Seattleite says it’s not that rainy, but the bit of me that calls Melbourne home says “IT’S FREEZING!” I love our city apartment in the sky, but in the middle of winter it gets pretty grey and dreary among the clouds.

So in search of relaxation, and warm fireplace, we decided a babymoon escape would be in order.

Continue reading Babymoon in Country Victoria

12 New Years Resolutions

2014

The problem with New Years resolutions is that they last AN ENTIRE YEAR. Mid-february, I’m already bored, out of willpower, and looking for another adventure.

So in 2014, instead of one long boring New Years resolution, Richenda and I picked 12 mini-resolutions, each lasting for a month. Some are healthy, some are difficult, and some just downright sexy. 12 resolutions, 12 chances for epic failure. Stay tuned for updates! Continue reading 12 New Years Resolutions

Creative Fridays

"do a lot of work" ira glass

Master storyteller Ira Glass gives this advice to creatives:

“Do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that your will be as good as your ambition”

Today is my first week of a 4-day work week! I’m talkingt Fridays off to (hopefully) do a lot of creative work. I’ve never worked on a documentary, I’ve always wanted to, so what better time than now?

Big thanks to work for the flexibility, and to my wife, friends, family (and commenters) for the encouragement to be risky, chase dreams, and tell stories. And thanks Mr. Ira Glass, for this:

 

Desmond Tutu’s Inspiring Speech: God’s Dreams

Last month a group of us wrote about our dreams.  Then I stumbled on this incredible speech from Desmond Tutu and it brought tears to my eyes; I had to share.

*        *        *

And so God said, ‘I have a dream, I have a dream, that my, my children will come to know that they are family. I have a dream. I have a dream that they will recognize there are no outsiders in this family. That all, they all belong.’

Fantastic. Too many of us think it is, oh well, sentimental stuff. That isn’t it. Some of the most radical political stuff that we are family. All, all, held in an embrace of love that will not let us go. God gives up on no one. All. All rich, poor; tall, short; substantial, not so substantial; beautiful, not so beautiful; clever, stupid. All, all, all, men, women, children; old, young; white, black, red, yellow. All, all, all, all, all, gay, lesbian, so-called straight. All, all, all, all, all.

[applause]

All belong. All. Sharon, Arafat, belong in this family. Bush, Bin Laden, family. Family. Family. It’s explosive stuff really, it’s explosive stuff. Imagine if they really believed it. If, if as you took off with your bombers you realize, hey, I will drop these on my family, my sisters, my brothers. If we accepted this, how in the name of everything that is good, can we justify spending as much as we spend, on what we call budgets, defense budgets. How, how could we possibly?

[applause]

How could we possibly justify it when we know a very small fraction of those budgets would ensure that our sisters and brothers, and children over there…our family would have clean water, enough to eat, decent education, educate, health care. We know this if we are family. No outsiders. All are insiders.

God says, ‘Please, please help me realize this dream.’ And some of God’s best collaborators are the young, because you dream. You dream God’s dream. You dream that it is possible for this world to become a better world … Many of you go out to other parts of the world. Fantastic! Because when you look around, there must be times when God said, ‘Gee, whatever got into me to create that lot?’ When God sees the kind of things we do to one another. God sees the Holocaust. God sees genocide in Rwanda. God sees apartheid. God sees racism. God sees. There’s a whole long list. And God weeps. God weeps to see our inhumanity to one another. God weeps and then, God sees you…as you go out to these poverty stricken places, where you don’t get any publicity. You go and you help and you build schools, and you build clinics, and you help, and you help. And the smile breaks through God’s tears, and God, God begins to smile and says, ‘Yeah, they have vindicated me. They vindicated me. Yea, yea.’ And then, God’s smile is like sunshine breaking through the rain. God smiles and says, ‘Yea, yea, they are helping me to realize my dream. For I have made for this world goodness, love, laughter, joy, compassion, peace, caring, gentleness. Help me. Help me. Help me realize my dream. Help me, help me make this a home that is hospitable to goodness, to laughter, to joy, to peace, to caring. Help me, help me.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

You can read the full text here.

Strength for your Dreams

Today, an eclectic mix of bloggers are reflecting on or publicly admitting our dreams. It’s the web at it’s best: authentic, positive and communal encouragement. Kudos to @LindseyTalerico and @richendag for putting out the challenge.

When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be an artist. I drew pictures and everyone told me how good they were, so obviously, I wanted to be an artist. A painter, perhaps.

I imagine most kids have a go-to answer of what they want to be when they grow up, and usually pretty exciting things too: police officers, astronauts, famous singers and rock stars. College students have bold dreams too. They want to flip the system, invent something, do good and never sell out. No one dreams of becoming a cynical middle manager that commutes too far and just works for the check.

It was a sad day in third grade when I realized I wasn’t the best sketch artist in my class. Paul was. This kid was incredible. He could draw cartoons or portraits or anything he wanted… really fast. Compared to him, my drawings were rubbish. So in third grade I decided I didn’t want to be an artist anymore… a short-lived dream.

Now, many years later, I can say with content that I’m quite happy in my career path. I don’t especially regret moving away from sketching. But when it comes to my dreams, I can still default to that same reaction: “I can’t dream that big, someone does that better than me” … I find it all too easy to let my dreams be intimidated by other people’s opinions and talent.

Seth Godin writes:

By their nature, dreams are evanescent. They flicker long before they shine brightly. And when they’re flickering, it’s not particularly difficult for a parent or a teacher or a gang of peers to snuff them out.

For me, it’s been the fear of failure and self-doubt that threaten my boldest dreams. I don’t often admit that, but in the spirit of chasing dreams, it’s good to say it, then move on.

*        *        *

At university I studied Mass Media Communications and International Development. They don’t really match, those two. I wavered between dreams of working at an ad agency and the peace corp. Thankfully, an internship at World Vision introduced me to non-profit marketing. The Chicago office ran like a start-up — relaxed, innovative, risky and endlessly encouraging. When my dream became a different role in field video comms at HQ in Seattle, the Chicago team, especially Michael and Lauren, pushed me hard towards risk and pursuing the next step. Every few days, Michael found a way of asking me what I was doing to follow my dreams, and then encouraged me to walk forward.  Without  that encouragement, I probably would’ve never pursued my goals.

That’s the thing about dreams: We have to move past the fear of failure, self-doubt and small thinking and declare them out loud. Private dreams are on their own. Shared dreams can be supported.

2008 video shoot in California with Michael Chitwood and olympic runners Ryan and Sara Hall

*        *        *

My wife Richenda is an inspiration when it comes to chasing dreams. She knows an ounce of action is worth a ton of words, acknowledges risk and calmly proceeds forward. I poke fun at her for publishing things online with spelling errors—she makes fun of me for posting… nothing.

Our honeymoon was an awesomely peaceful time of reflection and dreaming about possibilities and the future. The day after we returned to work, we met for dinner, and Shen confessed that she was ready for a new adventure. She was ready to move on from her current role and start something new. A small part of me feared failure for her. But thankfully, our wedding vows reminded me of the support I promised her as her a husband, a beautiful line (we copied and pasted) in our vows:

“I promise to lend you strength for your dreams”

It’s my favourite lines in our vows, and one of the great privileges for me as a husband to walk beside Richenda and her dreams.

In less than three months, she’s successfully launched her new enterprise ntegrity. It was a short time for such a big dream and I’m beyond proud of her. Not for her success, which I know will come in time, but for her boldness to move forward, and the kindness in which she works with and encourages other people. Dreams beget dreams.

honeymoon dreaming

*        *        *

No so long ago, my dreams were to move to Australia, marry my best friend, and find a job that I love. The big ones. Now that I’ve done those, I’m in honeymoon-dream-phase and everything else is icing on the cake.

So for now, I’ll pursue some more creative gigs on the side. A short film, perhaps. I’ll make it in my style and ignore the YouTube views and comments.

I’ll take more pictures and post them, and never concern myself with comparing my skills (or lack of) to others.

Someday, we’ll move somewhere different, maybe Kenya or Thailand, and I’ll work with an NGO to tell stories as they happen in the field. Instead of flying from the fundraising office, I’ll live somewhere for a while, and spend some time on each story, the time and experience the each story deserves. I believe local offices will soon take the lead in resource and story collection, and I’d like to be a part of that.

Someday soon, I’ll run another marathon.

And in a few years we’ll have kids, and personal career goals will dissolve a bit.

It’s ok for dreams to change, or shrink or disappear when they’re over. The point of dreams isn’t just to accomplish them, but to push us on a journey that we wouldn’t have traversed without the dream cheering us on. Dreams makes life a better story, prevent regrets, and bring a lot more fun.

In the wise words of my friend Michael Chitwood: What’s your dream? And what are you doing to make it happen?

(You can.)

How to Get Rid of Ads on your WordPress Blog

Dedicated to my buddy @LindseyTalerico

WordPress.com is great. It’s easy, free, and simple to use. The only downside are those pesky ads… like this dodgy one that greeted me on Lindsey’s blog.

Yikes. Lucky for you Mrs. Talerico-Hedren, you have options. The simplest way to get rid of ads is to pay $29.97/yr for an ad free site. On your wordpress dashboard choose Upgrades >> No-ads. 

If you’re keen to have more control over you blog and you don’t mind spending around $75/year, you can switch to a self-hosted wordpress site.

You can read about the pro’s and con’s of each here. Switching to self hosted opens up a whole new word of options, plugins, themes. Plugins allow you to easily add photo galleries, social media likes and tweet buttons, google analytics code and more. With a self-hosted wordpress site, you have complete control of how you page looks and functions, and can run your own ads if inclined.

I pay $6/month in hosting through bluehost, and have had no problems.

1. To migrate your blog, sign up for a hosting account at bluehost (or whichever hosting solution you like) and follow directions to either register a new domain or transfer yours

2. Install wordpress software on your site

3. Export your blog content and import the files and attachments.

4. Check to make sure your old posts still have the same link structure. (After I migrated from Squarespace, I manually relinked them using a plugin called “Quick Page/Post Redirect DEV”)

5. Choose a new theme, widgets, plug-ins, and enjoy!

…Alternatively, WordPress offers “guided transfers” for $119.