Archive for the ‘ From My Life ’ Category

My First Caricature Drawing

My wife and I recently attended the High School Banquet for Liberty Christian School in Sanford, FL. At the event, two caricature artists from Digital Caricatures Live were there. Digital drawing is a new innovation in the caricature industry, and there are only about 10 artists in the country doing this. So, having them at the banquet was a real treat. The drawings are top quality, plus they’re digital so several copies can easily be printed. Gone are the days when only one of the people picture (usually the girl) get to take the drawing home. Now, multiple people can receive the drawings, and they can also be posted easily online.  Pretty cool, right?

To see the other drawings from the banquet click here.

So, here it is. Our first caricature drawing.  Fun stuff!

Managers & Makers

In this world, some of us are managers and some of us are makers (I’ll explain this in a minute). And because of this, there is tension when our worlds collide, or more specifically when our schedules collide. We work for the same company, and we share the same office building, but our schedules are different. What it takes to get things done looks different if you are someone who manages or someone who makes. Let me unpack this a bit because chances are you’ve experienced this tension.

The Manager

The manager’s typical day looks like a series of one-hour segments (half-hour segments if you’re super-organized). It might look something like this: an hour in the morning tending to emails, the next hour dedicated to preparing for the 11:00am meeting, the next hour actually having the meeting, an hour for a business lunch, an hour on the phone, an hour hearing from your direct reports, and so on. Before you know it, the day is done, and you go home…for another series of one-hour events: dinner with the family, putting the kids to bed, an hour watching or two watching TV. Then, you go to bed because you’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow. If ever an unplanned interruption happens upon his day or if there’s an impromptu meeting that’s called, he loses an hour, but then jumps right back on schedule with no problems. The hour-managed day is how he gets stuff done.

The Maker

The maker’s schedule is much harder to describe. It does break down into nice one-hour segments. Instead, the maker works with chunks of time. In the office, he might think, “I’ve got the morning, and I’ve got the afternoon.” Throw a meeting or unplanned interruption in the mix, and he loses the entire chunk of time. That’s because the work that he does requires hours of focused time to complete. He’s a maker: an author, a creator of art, a web designer, a computer programmer, a speech writer, an architect, and so on. You get the idea. And by the way, these guys are also prone to do some pretty crazy things work-wise. They wake up in the middle of the night and write a hundred pages for an upcoming book. They stay up late into the night (or early morning, depending on how you look at it), and write a couple hundred lines of code. They can’t stop when something good is happening. This is how they make stuff.

The Tension

The tension should be quite obvious. The managers and the makers have to interact. There are meetings, phone calls, impromptu conversations about necessary project changes. Life happens, and the worlds collide.

The Conclusion

The tension will always be there. It just has to be managed (Andy Stanley talks about managing tension). You have to know that it’s there and act accordingly. Be respectful and considerate of the managers and the makers in your life. If your a manager, plan as many of the interactions as you can with the makers in one block of time, freeing up their alternate block of the day, and try not to interrupt them unnecessarily. If your a maker, understand that meetings have to take place, and let everyone know when you “available” time slots are, politely asking people not to disturb the creative process.

So, what do you think? Have you experienced this tension? I have. And in case you were wondering, I’m a hybrid of both. I live in a managers environment with responsibilities in that area, but I also make a lot of things because of my role at my church. I guess, I have it even worse because I have an inward tension :). But, that’s life, and I enjoy making and managing.

(I started thinking about this concept two years ago, when I read this article by Paul Graham)

My Missions Trip to Belize

The last few weeks have been hugely busy for me.  So, I haven’t been able to post much.  But, I did want to show you my recent missions trip to Belize (the video is below). We just got back in town last week.  The trip was excellent.  It was a real privilege and pleasure to be able to go to Belize again this year.

Whenever we go on missions trips, we always try to be a blessing to the people, the local church, and especially our missionaries.  On this trip, we built a Sunday School building for the church located at Bullet Tree, we saw the MANNA Feeding Center that we support in the Valley of Peace, and we got a chance to be a blessing to our missionaries.  We really tried to go above and beyond as it relates to being a blessing, but the truth is…we were the one’s who received the bigger blessing.

As I sat down to prepare for our testimony night, I realized that I was blessed in at least 5 ways.  And, I want to share them with you:

1. I was blessed to GO – I wasn’t initially supposed to go, but I’m sure glad god worked it out for me to be a part of this team.

2. I was blessed to GUIDE the team – The team had a varied background (age, ethnicity, and gender), and there were potential health risks (high blood pressure, epilepsy, 4 diabetics, 3 cancer survivors, and 2 over 70 years old).  But, God was gracious, and our team blend was better than I could have asked for.

3. I was blessed to GET TO KNOW our missionaries – I love missionaries! And, I love trying to shower them with blessings. This year, I got to see Dan Weaver nearly every day, and I got to hang out with the Smiths all of the time. We ate practically every meal together. If “hanging out” was a spiritual gift, I’d say I have it because I really like to hang out with missionaries.

4. I was blessed to GIVE so much away – We took stuff from the US to give to our missionaries personally and to their church as well.  Even more exciting was the opportunity to see our team give so generously…many suitcases came home empty because our team just gave so much away…completely unplanned.

5. I was blessed to see GOD work – He kept us safe. He provided what I like to call “mini miracles.” He guided us every step of the way. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen God work, read this and pray this prayer, “Lord, I know that you are working somewhere.  Please guide me to that place where you are already working so that I can rejoice with others when you get the glory.”

And now…here’s the video!

It’s Time to Clean That Mess Up

Have you ever noticed how junky your garage can get? Now, I know that some of you actually use your garage for parking and manage to keep it in pristine condition…but let’s be honest, most of us just use it to store our junk. And over time, the law of entropy takes effect, and our garages get more and more cluttered and messy.

Well, my wife and I took some time this week and tried to clean up our garage a bit. There’s still more to be done…we tend to be pack-rats. But, we did our seasonal cleanup.

So, here’s what I’m thinking. In the same way that our garages tend to get junkified over time, sometimes our lives get cluttered and disorganized. By nature, we lose focus on where we should be headed and what we should be doing. Perhaps, its time to take an inventory of your life and consider plotting a new direction. Have you been watching a little too much TV lately? Has it been a while since you were enriched by a good book? When was the last time you learned something? Have you been spending a little too much time on Facebook (gasp)?

Just something to think about. Maybe it’s time to clean that mess up.

Catalyst One Day – Longwood, FL

Like many of you, I have simply been swamped with activity over the past few weeks (Thus, less blogging).  I went from a busy Christmas season straight into an intensive at Liberty University (My last one for my Master of Sacred Theology degree!)  and then got right to work planning for the launch of our new service at my church.  We’re calling it Church At The GYM. Check it out!

With all that’s going on, I am really looking forward to the Catalyst One Day conference that’s coming to my own backyard.  I think it’s going to be an incredibly challenging and inspirational opportunity.  The topic is building a healthy church culture… an important topic for us as we launch a new service.

If you’ll be in the Orlando area on February 17, you should come!

BTW, early bird registration ends January 27, 2011.  See you there!

What I Think About October 31

I’ve found through my interactions with Christians in various settings and from different backgrounds that the vast majority are accepting of the American tradition that surrounds October 31.  Sure, they aren’t going to like, support, or endorse every costume they see or every activity that takes place on October 31, but their attitude is generally neutral toward this day of the year.  At the same time, there is also a vocal contingent of Christians who oppose everything about what happens on October 31.

My Little Scarecrows

This post is not intended to attack one perspective or the other.  I would merely like to share with you my thoughts on October 31.  My thoughts are pretty simple.  I like the American tradition associated with October 31. I enjoy spending the extra time with my family, carving pumpkins (see below) and creating costumes (see my little scarecrows to the right).  I also enjoy the time spent with my community.  More than any other day of the year, October 31 can open the lines of communication with neighbors.  In my parents neighborhood, everyone sits outside in their front yard.  They talk about more things during a few hours on this one night than they will every other day of the year combined.

Certainly, I don’t approve of everything that happens on October 31, but I do appreciate the opportunities that it gives me in my family and in my community.  So, I guess I agree with Tony Morgan who says, “Until someone comes up with a alternative holiday where I get to connect with my neighbors and enjoy quality family time, I’m going to be a fan of Halloween.”  And, by the way, he’s put together a more exhaustive list of eight reasons why he’s a fan.  Here’s his post:

I love Halloween. I know. I’m not supposed to love Halloween since I’m a Christian and a pastor, but I do. Here’s why:

  1. Friends from my neighborhood come to my front door, unannounced, to visit.
  2. I get the chance to meet neighbors that I haven’t met before.
  3. I have the opportunity to engage in conversations I would not normally have.
  4. My kids are darn cute when they dress up in costumes.
  5. My home feels warm and inviting after being outside for a couple of hours.
  6. No one is expecting me to do anything “pastoral” on Halloween evening. I can just be normal Tony.
  7. I have a rich assortment of candy that I can steal from my kids.
  8. I get to enjoy a fun evening with my family.

I’m probably going to get slammed for admitting this. After all, Halloween is supposed to be the evil

holiday. But, until someone comes up with a alternative holiday where I get to connect with my neighbors and enjoy quality family time, I’m going to be a fan of Halloween.

So, there you have it.  Now, you know where I’m coming from, and you know why I choose to participate in the American tradition that is known as Halloween.  Will you take advantage of the opportunity in your community?

2010 Williams Family Pumpkins: Dora & Diego

Let’s Get to Work!

This past Sunday night, I had the opportunity and privilege to share God’s truth with the people of our church.  It was a challenging message to share because so much of it hinges on our realizing that we as believers have not been left here on earth for our own benefit.  Instead, we have been left here to introduce others to Jesus!  Said another way, you are not here for you; you are here for who you used to be.  Let that thought sink in.  You are not here for you; you are here for who you used to be.

The outline for the message looked like this for those who are interested:

1. Reject the Typical Focus (Acts 1:6-7)
– The typical focus is selfish (v6)
– The typical focus is wrong (v7)
2. Remember that we are a Task Force (Acts 1:8-9)
– The task force has been empowered (v8)
– The task force has been sent (v9)
3. Remember the Time Frame (Acts 1:10-11)
– There are limits (v11)
– There are eternal implications (v12)

Because we, as a task force, are here to introduce others to Jesus, we must live like it.  We must be certain that our attitudes and actions do not cause extra difficulty for those who are coming to faith in Jesus (Acts 15:19).  This may mean changes for the way we do church, and it certainly means changes for the way we live.  We are a task force that needs to get to work.

The message ended with a reading of an encouraging and challenging prose by Dr. Bob Moorhead.  It’s called the Fellowship of the Unashamed.  A video clip of the piece is below.  I hope you find it to be challenging to you.  When you’ve finished watching it, you should be ready to “get to work!”

If you liked this video, another version can also be found on my brother’s blog.

It’s My Birthday!

I turn 29 today.  It’s almost hard to believe that I’m this old (I know that some of you don’t think that 29 is old, but it is to me…it’s the oldest I’ve ever been!).  I think that when I was younger I never thought I’d live this long because I couldn’t visualize what life would be like at this age.  But, I’m here now.  Thankfully, I’m still alive.  And, I like living.  Life has it’s ups and downs, but I really enjoy living.  And, I hope you do, too.

In honor of my birthday, let’s all take a brief moment to reflect on our lives.  Birthdays are a good time to re-evaluate life and ask some important questions.  So, let’s take a few moments to think about some things (I’ll be writing as if I’m asking the questions to myself… feel free to answer them along with me in your head… or out loud if no one is listening nearby 🙂 ).

Questions About the Past:

  • Are you where you thought you’d be 5-10 years ago?
  • Did you stop following some hopes and dreams that need to be revisited?
  • Did you lose your way along the way?  Do you need to return to the desired path?
  • Have you learned major life-lessons along the way?

Questions About the Present:

  • Are you content with where you are now?
  • Are you doing work that matters?
  • Are you following your life’s mission statement and core values?
  • Is your life currently pleasing to God?

Questions About the Future:

  • Where do you want to be in 1, 5, 10, 20 years?
  • What steps do you need to start taking now to get you to where you want to be?
  • At the end of your life, how will you view this period of time in your life? (Was it helpful/ necessary/ useless/ wasted/ insignificant/ vital?)
  • If you stay on this current path, will you be happy with your legacy at the end of your life?

These are just a few questions to get us thinking, you know?  Obviously, we could have come up with an indefinite list of questions to ask, but the important thing at this point is that we all take a moment to inventory our place in life.  Think about the past, present, and future.  We want to end well so that we can hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Master!” (Matthew 25:23).  So, let’s start planning now for a great future!

And by the way, let’s not wait until my next birthday… the big 3-0 to re-evaluate our lives.  Let’s plan to schedule some regular time to think about where we are and where we want to be.  Okay?

The Sky’s the Limit

When I was a a freshman in high school, I went through a phase where I was really in to Estes model rockets.  I loved those things!  I had an entire set up with multiple rockets and all.  I had a remote activated launch pad that made me feel like I was mission control, and I even had a shuttle-shaped rocket.  I had little rockets and big rockets.  I had one’s that glided to the ground and I had one’s that parachuted to the ground.  It was a lot of fun.  I hope one day that my son, Jeremiah, is in to something like that.  You know, a hobby that we can do together.

Well anyway, one day my dad, my brother, and I all went to the local elementary school to launch a rocket. This was back when elementary schools actually let the public use the playground and recess fields. Nowadays, the public schools are ironically closed to the public with 6 foot high fences around the entire perimeter. So anyway, it was a nice, overcast, Florida afternoon at the elementary school. We chose that location because there was plenty of space. I could launch a rocket and then go and retrieve it from across the field.

On this particular day, we were set to launch a special rocket that deployed a GI Joe action figure from the aircraft and allowed him to parachute to the ground. My brother loaned us the GI Joe, and I securely attached the parachute. It was going to be great. The launch went flawlessly. The rocket soared into the air. And then, at just the right moment, the rocket deployed the GI Joe, parachute and all. And that’s when it happened. You see, on this particular day, we neglected to account for one thing…the wind. As the rocket fell harmlessly to the ground, the GI Joe drifted farther and farther away as the wind took him across the field, over the tree line, and beyond our eyesight. The GI Joe was gone forever. It was a bittersweet day. The launch was perfect, but we lost the GI Joe. But don’t worry for my brother though, we went to Wal-Mart right away to replace his action figure.

So, the moral of the story is two-fold.  First, it’s good to get out there and try something cool with the people you love.  Aim high… the sky’s the limit.  Second, when you go out to do something big, make sure you plan well.  Expect the wind.

Here’s an interesting video I came across recently. Back in the day, my shuttle-shaped rocket was pretty cool, but the father and son team in the video below actually sent a balloon into space! Now, it’d be really easy to say “Yeah, sure they did (insert a sarcastic phrase here).” I mean, when you let a helium balloon go, it disappears into the sky. Who knows what happens? Well, these guys are different.  They sent a huge balloon into space and tracked it’s journey with an on-board HD video camera and an iPhone (for GPS). Check out the video. These guys dreamed big. And, you should too! Go out there and do something big!

Homemade Spacecraft
from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo
Video from a camera attached to a weather balloon that rose into the upper stratosphere and recorded the blackness of space. Visit for all the info.

Are You Tired of Being Tired?

Some of us really look tired all of the time.   Are you one of the tired masses? Dark circles under the eyes.  Trouble focusing.  Dragging from place to place.  Falling asleep at the computer.  Nearly dosing off at red lights.  Getting home at night but not remembering anything about the drive home.  Difficulty remembering the day’s events.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Are you tired of being tired?  I know I am.

Well, studies continue to show that we are more productive when we are well rested.  And yet, many of us think that our schedules are working.  So, what can we do to get more rest so that we can be more productive (get more done)?

Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and one of the busiest guys around, recommends seven action steps for getting more rest.  I’ve included them here for your consideration, along with a few of my own at the bottom.  Read on…

Here’s how I (Michael Hyatt) make sure I get a good night’s sleep:

  1. Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening. When I was younger, I could drink coffee after dinner. No more. I cannot drink caffeine after 4:00 p.m.
  2. Eliminate all negative input. I am a worrier by nature. If I watch or talk about anything negative after about 6:00 p.m., I will stew on it all night.
  3. Go to bed on time. This is huge. I have to be strict with myself. For me, this means no later than 10:00 p.m., unless it’s a weekend.
  4. Make sure the room is dark. We have blinds on the windows that cut out 95 percent of the outside light.
  5. Keep the temperature cool. In the winter, we keep it at about 68°. In the summer, about 70°. I sleep more soundly if the room is cool enough to require a blanket.
  6. Listen to relaxing music. This doesn’t work for everyone, but I listen to the same exact music every night. It’s become an audio queue that says to my subconscious mind and body, “It’s time to go to sleep now.”
  7. Run a fan. The “white noise” mutes outside noise and puts me to sleep. When I am on the road, I loop “Ambient White Noise for Sleep,” which I downloaded from iTunes.

To Michael’s list, I would also like to add a few more action steps:

8. Get a good pillow. Everyone has different tastes here, and that’s okay, but you really need a pillow suited for the way you sleep.  Back, side, and stomach sleepers all need different pillows.  I just got a new pillow from Ikea.  It’s amazing.  You spend a good portion of your day in bed so make sure you have good stuff, and replace it when needed.

9. Get a good bed. Like #8, this one varies person to person, but if you’re bed is saggy in the middle or if you’ve had it since the 3rd grade, it’s probably time for an upgrade.  Like I said earlier, you spend between a quarter and half of your life in bed…get a good one!

10. Get a CPAP machine. Some individuals will never get a good night’s rest until they get a CPAP machine to regulate their breathing.  If you snore badly and wake yourself up in the middle of the night because of it, you might be a candidate.  Go take part in a sleep study to find out.

So Questions:

How much do you average a night?
How important is sleep to you?
Can you add to this list?