Life

My personal life.

Making Friends After College

Making Friends After College

I work a lot in ministry with young adults in transition through different parts of life transitions. read more

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Standing While I Work
Standing Desk

Standing While I Work

For generations, the average office job required that we sit down for most of the day. As the culture has become more dependent upon technology, man has had to put less effort into his job and many of us spend what is considered a sedentary lifestyle.

I find this very depressing. Man was not created to be caged up sitting staring at screens and pushing buttons. It used to seemed so sad to think the George Jetson could be so exhausted after a long days work of pushing buttons. Thinking about it now, I can relate to him. A long day at the office can leave you feeling exhausted even if the work wasn’t very laborious.

I’m not originally from the city. I grew up in the country and know what hard work really means. I know how it feels to be  physically exhausted from a long day of near-back-breaking work.

I remember the times when every minute of the work seemed to be slower than the last, and was inspired to get an education to never have to depend on work like that again.

I love the blessing to be able to be a creative professional and have the opportunity to create and come up with new ideas every day. Although I’m left wondering if there’s a way to get a better balance of the physical back into my daily work.

The Dangers of Inactivity

Even if you spend some time regularly exercising, the majority of our lives can be wasted sitting. There is a largely disproportionate time spent sitting, sleeping, and not moving as compared to physical activity. This increases many health problems because God did not create us to be so inactive. I recommend reading and listening to this article on NPR.

It’s possible to help counteract it by taking routine breaks and sneaking in more regular activity. For me, this is difficult because good ideas don’t always come at a constant flow, so I stay focused to try and execute it before it’s lost and I have to move on to something else. I was stuck at my desk the whole day and even if I got in a good run or workout in the day, it was only a small drop in the bucket against the time I spent inactive.

My Transition To A Standing Desk

After reading many terrifying articles about the dangers of sitting all day at a desk, I looked into a solution that had been growing in popularity with the creative community – a standing desk.

After weeks of research I had come up with a strong plan to approach my boss with the idea. At first, people seemed very surprised at the very idea. They often asked, “are you really going to stand all day?” I would respond with my argument that it’s a much better idea than sitting all day.

Even though I have my own office, people would stop by for months after just to ask me whether or not I ever sit down and then why I did it. The idea caught on to a few other people in the building, but they do alternate their time sitting and standing. I sit for my lunch and on my drive to and from work and it’s enough.

Standing all day brings a new liberation not only for my formerly constricted blood vessels and muscles, but it was new freedom for my creativity. I understand why the creative community is one that embraced it so quickly.

While I am already standing, it’s easy to walk around and think out solutions. My work has also improved and my work efficiency has increased. I would say there is an overall general improvement in my entire work ethic.

Yes, I am a little tired at the end of the day, but it’s a much better tired feeling than it was before.

Converting Workstations

If you’ve considered converting to working while standing, I highly recommend it for anyone that is physically capable. If you feel that you can’t handle the whole day, get a stool that will allow you to transition in between standing and sitting at different times. I had to do this temporarily for a few weeks after I got a knee injury from a workout.

If you are going to go all in and do standing only, I highly recommend getting an anti-fatigue standing mat. I tried this after a few months and it really makes a big difference. I also suggest trying good shoes. It will help your feet, knees, and back in the long run.

When looking at what to buy for you own desk, I recommend trying http://www.ikeahackers.net/ first to try and hack together a solution for a fraction of the price of a pre-built standing desk. If your main workstation is in a cubicle, those are often the easiest desks to convert because they have notches that can be raised with little effort. If you have a close workstation with your co-workers, I recommend reading  this article from LifeHacker.

Once you convert over to standing, ergonomics is just as important as it is while sitting. If not carried out properly, there can be some health risks to standing all day too.

My personal desk is still a sitting station, but the balance works great for me. It’s now been almost 15 months since I converted, and I hope I never have to go back to sitting all day again.

Standing Desk

My Current Standing Desk

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Thoughts Are Not Enough in Tragedy

Life is full of many what ifs. Tragedy is something that we never want to experience and never wish it upon anyone. On the evening of July 19, 2012, many people across the country set out to watch the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises. Many of us have been excited for this release for months, or even since the release of the last Batman movie. We were all expecting news of new records of viewers, not news of senseless murders.

Suffering always brings up many questions. As with most midnight premiers, the majority of those in the theater were under 40. Many family members and friends will never see their loved ones in this life again. How could God allow one man to do such a horrible sin against people he didn’t even know?

It’s somewhat sad that we have to feel it close to really recognize pain, while so many parts of the world endure war zone conditions frequently. I lived in Colorado for a few years before moving here to Austin. I lived in East Denver for a while, near Aurora, and went to that very theater on a few occasions.

 

Continue Reading…

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My Prayer of Humility

My Prayer of Humility

Recently I haven’t published any new posts on my personal blog for many reasons. I actually have a long list of started, but still unfinished drafts because I’ve had many concerns about everything from search engine optimization, conflicts of interest, and many other technical issues. I realized how much pressure I was putting on myself for no real reasons.

Last weekend, I was greatly motivated by a presentation I heard at CatholiCon Expo in Houston. It helped to liberate my approach from being so confined to a strict, strategized approach to my online presence. In the grand scheme of eternity, I do a greater disservice if I am afraid of being who I am.

I look forward to starting to post more, even if some are short. Some may call it lazy, but I call it prudent. 2011 has definitely been a working year, and God has provided plenty for me to do. With all of that, I have to be careful to keep it all balanced. Many great things have happened by the grace of God, but there are many times that it’s easy to forget who’s in charge.

My penance from confession last week really resounded with me. I only had to do it once, but he recommended adding it to my regular prayers. It is absolutely the perfect prayer for the different work that I am called to do right now. I highly recommend it for everyone.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

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Reaching for Love

The past month has been full of many amazing blessings working in different ministries. One of the most beautiful things that I continue to see is a deep desire for true love in everyone I meet. A desire for the love of God. We spend so much of our lives trying to reach for that love, but sadly, we sometimes run away from it when it is presented to us.

This world teaches us to live asking ourselves how we can get away with doing the least amount of work and use the least amount of effort. Our world is in a constant search for efficiency and productivity, but it seems to ironically promote a very lazy culture. All of the systems and technology of today work harder for us each day, so that we can do less and still somehow achieve more.

We want more, but we’re only willing to give as little as possible for it.

This mentality is one that I have been working hard to overcome.  In order to sincerely improve on this, I have to honestly look at the darkest parts of my heart and fight a constant inner battle against my selfishness. To truly live our out love as a child of God, heaven should be more than an assumed destination. My life and works should show others God, especially to those I am closest to in my life.

As much as we desire it, our human hearts do not always find love so easy. Sometimes, in our hunger for love we grow impatient and tired. There are many times when loving God pushes us almost to the point of breaking. Then there are times when loving people can wear at our heart and exhaust our spirit.

This life encourages us to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt too often, and it’s easy to assume that we have been good and that we give enough of ourselves. It’s not easy to  sincerely admit where we have failed. I know that there are many times when I start to believe my own excuses as to why I have not loved better.

Spousal love can produce some of the greatest joys, but can also be the source of many struggles. My parents celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, and it serves as a vivid reminder of what a vocation should be. While their marriage hasn’t always been perfect, the humanity of their devotion and love has been a beautiful example for our family. I pray that through His grace, I can be as strong as they have been.

Real love takes work, but looking at the cross, true love reminds me of the promise of heaven.

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Trying a Change

Making the Decision for Change

Over the past few months I have made the decision that I need to make some changes in my life. Living in our contemporary American society, we live very selfish lifestyles without even thinking about it. I was stuck in traffic on the interstate with countless other cars crawling as far as the eye can see. I was upset at the thought of how so much of the congestion is created by cars that only carry a single person.

As I sat there stuck in my own car, I felt as if I had to do things in my life that would improve my effects on my life and the community. Austin has a train that just started this year, and it is very sad to see that so few people use it to commute to work. I am capable of taking the train because I am in good health, and it travels within a relative distance between my work and home. There was little reason for me not to take the train for my commute.

Overcoming the Hesitation

One of the reasons that most people do not take the train is because it takes away some of their freedoms that come with driving their own car. Each person’s schedule can be changed to go with their immediate needs, but public transportation requires more planning and following the official schedule. This is probably one of the largest contributing factors into why public transportation is not heavily supported in the Western United States. Without the support, the systems cannot be expanded to serve the people better. It is a sad cycle.

Before I lived in Rome, I had almost no experience using public transportation, especially not on my own. The community I lived in was on the far east side of town outside the walls, and my school was on the far West side of town. This commute required transfers between 2 buses, the tram, a mile walk throughout, and that was just one way. I quickly learned to memorize the routes of  the different modes of transportation. While it may sound like a big hassle for many people, it was actually simple. I could cover different cities quickly and efficiently in Europe without my own vehicle.

I find the train here to be very clean and spacious, but there is still plenty of space left for more people to join. I hope that more people choose to use the wonderful resource we have offered to us. One of my biggest hesitations was the changing of buses with the additional walking, but I am young and very capable of walking. I need more activity because I spend most of my day at a desk anyways. My commute also becomes productive with my laptop and the train’s wifi or a book.

A Need for More Discipline

I don’t know how long or often I will take it, but I know that this needs to become part of my commute more often. It pushes me to be a better person because it forces me to overcome my selfishness in my time and schedule. For those of you that know me well, discipline is a large part of my life. I believe that our current generations lack discipline, including us Christians. The Gospels call us to a spirit of discipline and self-control, but sadly most of us downplay its importance in our lives. This simple change will hopefully help contribute to making me a better person. More small changes to come.

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Social Hunger

These days, my schedule is very busy. In between my career, freelancing, volunteering at my parish, spending time with my wife,  we both still try and find time for a life. Regardless of the hectic nature of our lifestyle, we both feel a strong need to prioritize time to be social with friends. We are very social beings, and I believe being around others we like is what makes us happy.

This is a good explanation as to why it is that social media is so important and powerful. It only exists to try and satisfy out social hunger. Now that we have the power to communicate, we feel like we should always be connected to those we care about. Messages and phone calls were not enough, we craved for the intimate details in between those times to fill the gap of missing details of our loved ones lives. I think that in many ways, this is a good thing. I love being able to run into old friends that I haven’t seen in a while, but it feels like we’ve never missed a beat.

Social media is still relatively young. I look forward to seeing how our lives will change and be facilitated by new technologies and social media. I hope that it will help to better the world and improve lives, relationships, friendships, and communities. We can use it to promote all that is good. We must always remember that we are communicating with other souls, rather than just shouting out isolated ideas. We are all in this together.

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Message with Purpose

I have spent the last month building and redesigning this blog. That, along with my career, freelance work, volunteer work, and my personal life, has left me with a lack of concentration for this blog. I believe that concentration is an vital element to its, especially since this is only the beginning of my blog.

All messages must have a purpose. If there is not a purpose, then there is no need to transmit them.

I have spent this time coming up with a strategy for the my message. I think giving myself this time to focus will really help. In our world and society today, we surround ourselves with so much noise and clutter. We’re surrounded by so many mediums of noise, that we often forget to listen. I have discovered that in my personal life, that growing complacent with the noise only makes it worse. We have to allow ourselves moments to clear it and listen. Clarity is invaluable.

I will now start blogging twice a week. For now, the days will vary, but it will eventually become consistent.

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