Heading to San Francisco for a couple of days

I’m still continually surprised by the life I lead. It’s so awesome, and I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve this beautiful house, or April, or our friends, or my awesome job, etc. etc.

God is good. April and I sat in the front room yesterday morning and just looked out the window at the birds for a while, enjoying the peace and each other’s company, and I want to hold onto that memory forever.

I’m heading to SF to spend a day with our CEO, the head of products (my boss), and the head of product marketing to talk about Adaptavist Learn and plan our next steps.

In other news, I’m down to 200 even.

  • Starting weight: 240
  • Goal weight: 190
  • Current weight: 200.6

For those keeping score, my weight loss has slowed down; that’s only 3 pounds in the last 2 weeks. Now that I’m normal weight, I keep eating non-keto stuff 1-2 times a week, which breaks keto and slows my weight loss. But I feel tons better already, and I still anticipate hitting my goal weight this spring. If I wasn’t going to SF today, I suspect I’d be at 199 by Wednesday. As it is, I’ll probably eat Chinese food and other stuff that will spike me back up and it’ll be another 1-2 weeks.

Oh, one last thing I want to write down so I remember it: last week I volunteered at Campbell Elementary for a STEAM night (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). Kids came and there were 5 rooms with different activities, plus free food for them and their families. Campbell doesn’t have a PTA, so a few area churches have pitched in to fill the role that parents might at other schools.

I don’t know why I was surprised by this, but I was surprised by how nice the teachers were. I guess you have to be pretty nice to survive as an elementary school teacher, but for some reason, my mental image of a teacher is: exhausted, burned out, cynical, bitter. I wonder where that comes from? It certainly wasn’t evident at Campell. I didn’t really do much (signed people in at the front door), but I was happy to contribute and I hope I get another opportunity to volunteer there in the future.

Edit: Oh, also, for future-me, this is the week you got a Helix mattress and it’s going pretty OK. It’s comfy but still kind of smells weird. I think we made the right choice getting it.

Welcome to the new Springfield Blogger’s Association

While the meetups have been happening for longer than I have known they existed (Steve mentioned last night that he had been attending them 6 years ago), the more formalized SGFBlogs is relatively new. Built last year by Sarah Jo Austin, it has served as a blogroll and central point of contact for bloggers in the greater Springfield area. We’ve come full-circle: those who wrote online began meeting in pubs, and those offline meetings are turning back into online connections.

What’s new is that Sarah is formalizing it a bit more. Tonight she presented us with a long list of duties she had been handling herself and, what with Mini Austin on the way, she is looking for help. There wasn’t even a moment of consideration: I really enjoy the community and I think it’s a good cause, so I have volunteered to handle web, email, and RSS stuff.

I’ve written before about my values. I want to write, and I want to be published, and ideally I’d make enough money doing all this to make it my full time job, but all of that is secondary to me. The overriding value for me is community. I’m an avowed introvert, but I love the Internet and the freedom it affords, and I like the nature of the relationships we forge through this magical thing.

The truth is, I don’t know anyone locally who is like me. I had a pretty screwed up youth, have developed a fairly specific taste in games and nerdery, and maintain a personality that befuddles most who know me well (including myself). Part of the teaching at church last Sunday was that we shouldn’t spend all our time around people who are just like us, but I don’t feel like I spend any time around people who are just like me.

Except when I’m online. If anyone from PAX is reading this, you know what I’m talking about 😛

The SGFBlogs community is pretty solid, though. They’re friendly, and nice, and we have a love of blogging in common. With some changes being made at the Association, that will become more pronounced as we become more exclusive. Not much more exclusive, but there will be some requirements for being part of the Association. Members will be expected to attend a couple of meetings a year, and will be expected to actually blog. I know that seems silly, but there are a lot of people signed up who don’t. There are some other stipulations, but the main emphasis of it all is to return focus to the community. That’s what we’re here for, and people who aren’t engaged in that aren’t part of it. That’s fine, it will just be a bit more formalized.

Are you a blogger in Springfield or the surrounding area? Check out SGFBlogs and feel free to comment here with any questions you might have. And if you have suggestions or thoughts, let me know! I’m kind of involved with it now, so they might expect me to bring something to the table eventually 😛

Servant Introduction

You would not have to speak with many servants within the Christian church to find a member dissatisfied with the weight their service has placed upon their shoulders. Churches are notorious for taking everything a volunteer has to offer, wringing them dry, and then scrambling to find an equally gullible replacement when the previous servant could do no more. There isn’t anything malicious, per se, about this behaviour from the churches in question. Rather, it is simply the nature of the work: when one relies on volunteers, one often has a static or growing body of work with a small and potentially diminishing work force. Over time the workers the church has are required to carry a heavier burden than they are capable of.

When we were investigating a new church (Vineyard, by the way, which we have since joined), I was curious how they treated their volunteers. When people volunteer to help lead worship, or to work in the nursery, or to clean up, are they alone in their endeavour and subsequently worked to death? To find this out before we committed ourselves, I volunteered to cook for a Church Painting, where the outside of the building was being redone, to see how people treated and reacted to me.

I think this sort of introduction to a group is the most telling because it really lets one take a look at how they act. When a new person visits a church, it is easy to target them, to introduce oneself to them, and to invite them to small groups and social events. It is easy to make them feel the center of attention and valued. But when someone places themselves in the roll of a servant, in a corner or off to the side, how will the members treat them? Will they be taken for granted, or will they continue to be valued, included, and appreciated?

Thankfully I was able to find this out before we joined, and the results were quite pleasant. Everyone was complimentary of my cooking, people came by to see how I was and chat while I was at the grill, and other people volunteered to help set up, clean, and tear down the cooking area to my own service was equitable (if not minimal). The Vineyard has a strong and large group of servants, so one gets the sense they are serving alongside the church body, rather than simply for its sake. By way of another example, the worship team cycles regularly so no one person has to do it all the time, and there’s no pressure to always “be on.” Enough people volunteer that everyone gets a decent break.

Next time you want to find out how people will really treat you, serve them. You never know how someone will truly act towards you until they are placed in a position of power over you, and it is better to learn such a lesson before one commits.