Category: Life

Path to life

(cc) langleyo on
(cc) langleyo on

This is my 2nd time participating in Blog Action Day, a worldwide effort by more than 6,000 bloggers to focus attention for one day on climate change, perhaps the greatest challenge our generation will face.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless when faced with such a daunting challenge.

Life for me is a series of small decisions leading to larger ones. Our courage to say ‘yes’ to life in the big moments is supported by a path of smaller victories.

Every day we are faced with hundreds of decisions. My life comes down to asking one simple question every time I am faced with a choice:

Will the choice I make bring more life or death to me and the world (people, environment)?

How well I answer that question affects my well being. When I make choices that are more life giving, I feel more alive, joyful, and content.

Look at the choices you’ve made in your life, and take a moment to celebrate the ones that are life giving.

Now next time you buy, use or do something, ask yourself, will this choice help sustain the world in which I live?

As you become more aware of choices, over time *everything* in your life goes under the microscope. It can be tiring having the life-giving-o-meter switched on all the time. Saying ‘yes’ takes more time and energy than coasting along. It will cost more financially. There is risk and pain involved.

The reward of joyful, purposeful living is worth it.

Getting back on the horse

This blog has been mostly idle all summer. A proficient use of Twitter, vacation, Agile 2009, new client in Toronto and perhaps most of all inertia have slowed postings to a mere trickle.

I’m working to change that, and making a commitment to all you now is the first step. Expect to see posts on

  • things I learned at Agile 2009, like rapid protyping using paper, helping individuals to take responsibility and a more formal process to transition to Agile.
  • my experiences using backlog story maps both in person and with a distributed team, distributed long-term retrospective, training using flip charts and games instead of Powerpoint

If you live in Sault Ste. Marie, start getting ready for Ignite Sault 2 at the end of October. The first event was a tremendous success, and you can watch most of the presentations online, as well as the entertaining paper tower building contest. See the presentation submissions beginning to roll in, and there is room for lots more.

Ah, that felt better, though my blog muscles might be sore in the morning. Getting back into shape is always a little painful at first.

Family reunion goes social media

All this week, Giesbrechts (my wife’s side of the family) will gather here in Sault Ste. Marie for another family reunion. This one is unique as it is the first time the clan is heading east to Ontario, rather than the traditional Saskatchewan / BC destinations. For some, this will be their first visit to my home town. Everyone is particularly interested in learning more about the places that Ed, Rowena’s dad was connected to.

Not everyone can come, of course, especially with the added distance, so I’m going to try and share daily highlights through my blog. Thanks to my new iPhone, posting photos to Flickr and videos to YouTube will be a cinch. I’m even hoping to do one live webcast though I haven’t decided what or when. That should make a few heads spin around the card tables.

All photos and videos will be tagged giesbrecht09 for easy access, or just come back to my blog and click on the links.

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New beginning

Starting this month, I am back to working self-employed, something I haven’t done since I first came back from Bangladesh in 2002. My first attempt was only a few months and not very successful, but this time around I am more hopeful.

I’ve been working part-time the last two months for Jazkarta, a company delivering Plone-based solutions. My primary role is project manager but I also moonlight as a sales guy, process improvement nut and irc joker.

<shamless plug>
Any other Plone companies out there looking for remote project managers are welcome to contact me at gerry_kirk AT alumni DOT uwaterloo DOT ca.
</shameless plug>

Everyone at Jazkarta is home-based, with home being in places across Europe, North America and parts of Asia. I plan to write more about the tools and processes we use to get work done.

Working from home has been a great experience. I love the flexibility of switching between work and family life, or just getting out to do other things when I want to. It’s a busy life at home with twin baby boys and a 3 year old girl, so mommy appreciates the extra hands when the fire alarms go off. 🙂

So, I’m not sure where the future road lies, but right now I’m happy to be focused on pm work using Plone as a technology solution. The Plone community is full of great people to interact with, and many of the clients I work with are non-profits working to improve our world by tackling social, environmental and science issues.

Now I just need to save up enough $$$ and get my passport in time to attend my first ever Plone conference, something I’ve been wanting to do since the early days. This year the conference is being held in Italy, and looks to be a great event. Most of the Jazkarta folk will be there, too, which would be my first time seeing them in 3D. Keeping my fingers crossed for now! 🙂

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Back with babes

Well, that was quite a long break from the blog world, well the work world entirely for that matter. I was immersed in diapers, burps and cute little babies, twin boys named Graham and David.
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Some times I managed to get some “work” work done, although I had to be creative at times with my “office” space, sharing it with some young “co-workers”.
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I look forward to getting back into posting and sharing what the church can / is / should be doing to share the Gospel through modern communications. It’s a tough job, but hey, I like a challenge. Compared to raising twin newborns and a toddler, how difficult can it be?

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A new journey begins

It’s been a little while since my last post. I’ve got a good excuse, though. On Nov. 13, my wife gave birth to twin boys, David and Graham. Our two year-old daughter Malia and big sister is thrilled as well.

So, I do plan to continue writing to this blog, but at a slower pace. There is lots I’d like to write about, and not just about cute babies.

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I need help

Last week my wife, who is 8 months pregnant with twins, had to go to the hospital. Seems the little ones (we don’t know if they are girls, boys or one of each, although we have an idea) were getting ready to come early. That is often the case with twins, but 4.5 weeks early is not a good thing, especially when twin babies are smaller to begin with.
Fortunately, bed rest is doing mom and the babes some good. Perhaps mom has been a little too active trying to get our house (recently moved into) ready. This means she can’t do much from now until the babies come, which hopefully won’t be for a few more weeks.
The challenge is I still have to work, and we have a two year-old daughter. Grandparents and friends are helpful, but they can’t fill in all the gaps.
Then an idea came to me – why not invite some retired folks from our church to help out? Many of them have grandkids who live far away. Spending time with Malia could help fill that gap. Seems like a natural solution, one that benefits everyone and builds relationships in our parish family.
Trying to make that connection is hard! I’ve called a few people in our parish, and so far no luck. People are either busy or in poor health. Seems like there should be an easier way to match up people with needs with those who can help.
That’s where our web site could play a bigger role. I’d like to develop a system where people could list the kinds of tasks they enjoy doing, the resources they can share, so it would be easier to find those people. A modified classifieds system. This could become another one of those social apps, even, where people post comments, have photos of themselves, rank people for their service (for credibility purposes, a tad controversial tho).
Just some of the thoughts going through my head. The web is all about connecting people. Maybe I’ll try posting something in the parish forum, and put a link to it in the bulletin and see what happens. This could go nowhere, or be the start of something cool.

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Hope when you need it

Ever feel the grind of daily life wearing you down? Truth is, we all feel that from time to time. That’s how I’m feeling these days, between a hectic life at home getting ready for twins coming in December (new house needing lots of work, need bigger vehicle, etc) and challenging moments in the workplace. I could use a little more sunshine during these grey, chilly days of October here in northern Ontario.
Sure enough, God sends me some inspiration, this time through one of the blogs I read each morning. Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert shares with his readers the happiest day of his life, the day his voice came back after 18 months. He has a rare condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia, where the part of the brain that controls speech just shuts down. *No one has ever recovered from this*. Perhaps until now.
I admire Scott’s determination, and search for answers for a disease not well understood:

“Just because no one has ever gotten better from Spasmodic Dysphonia before doesn&#8217;t mean I can&#8217;t be the first. So every day for months and months I tried new tricks to regain my voice. I visualized speaking correctly and repeatedly told myself I could (affirmations). I used self hypnosis. I used voice therapy exercises. I spoke in higher pitches, or changing pitches. I observed when my voice worked best and when it was worst and looked for patterns. I tried speaking in foreign accents. I tried &#8220;singing&#8221; some words that were especially hard.”

He eventually found that missing link, in an unexpected place, something he hadn’t considered trying. While helping with a homework assignment, he discovered rhyming was easy for him to do:

“I repeated it dozens of times, partly because I could. It was effortless, even though it was similar to regular speech. I enjoyed repeating it, hearing the sound of my own voice working almost flawlessly. I longed for that sound, and the memory of normal speech. Perhaps the rhyme took me back to my own childhood too. Or maybe it&#8217;s just plain catchy. I enjoyed repeating it more than I should have. Then something happened.

My brain remapped.

My speech returned.”

I’m reminded that often our answers and direction come not so much from our own efforts and ingenuity, but from our willingness to be open, to listen to the Voice calling us in directions we wouldn’t choose to go ourselves.
What a happy day for Scott, and an extra dose of sun for me. Now back to the daily grind.

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