Living Outside The Box Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man


Simplification Isn’t Simple

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Apologies to my faithful readers. I've been quite busy! But in my business, I found that my brain was cluttered.

I also found my phone was cluttered, to the point where it was having a hard time keeping up with everything I wanted it to do. And that's when I realized: I was trying to do too much stuff at one time.

I'm always thinking of some project or another I want to get done. I even have time to do most of them! But my downfall is that I attempt to do to many at once, thinking I can cram more in if I multi-task.

And I really, really stink at multi-tasking.

I'm also realizing that with unlimited time to get things done, I don't want to get so busy that I can't enjoy the time I have at home while it lasts. This, too, is difficult.

I don't really have control over as many things as I'd like. But every now and then, I can do something with my time and make it count.

Blogging isn't something that I really make a lot of money with, but that's because I haven't made it a major priority up to this point. It's not that I couldn't... but till now, I've been up to my ears with other, more important things to do.


Hard Decisions

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

One of the most difficult things I've had to do is choose between two good things.

Sounds like a good problem to have, right? "Do I take the Ferrari, or the Lambo?"

But I really need to explain.

I can't become a full-time published writer if I'm fiddling with music stuff, or building things, or even restoring my old car. Could I even carve out more than an hour a day to write? Is that even possible?

I am stretched to my limit as it is, really. I can't do anything without it cutting into something else on my calendar. I'm double-booking myself in hopes that one of the engagements falls through. I'm on borrowed time.

Time management schemes only work to a certain extent, especially when there's things to deal with like unreliable vehicles, conflicting work schedules, unplanned emergencies, drama, and a full-time job. There just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done in a timely manner, no matter how much I shuffle things around.

I feel like my days have been short-sheeted. I keep trying to pull the covers to one side, and it uncovers me somewhere else.
So how do I get rid of some of these projects and responsibilities? Guess what? It takes free time- which I am already short on. Something has to give.

I could leave my projects sit, untouched, for months and not be worried about it. But that's not an option, because the stuff piles up and clutters the house, making it difficult for everybody to get things done. Not to mention it clutters my thought process! But it takes more time and energy to cleanse them from view.

I don't have solutions yet. I just know where I need to go, and hopefully will be able to document how I get there.

Onward, and upward!


FOMO Strikes Back

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

I like riding my bike. I like writing. I like playing music.

But my not-so-dark secret is that I'm an adrenaline junkie. I'm always looking for something cool and new to do, or learn, and watch, or whatever. But I think I put too much emphasis on what I'm doing. My life, for what it is, has been a whirlwind of activity, for decades.

I haven't written anything here in over a month. Most "writers" would look at that as abject failure. I'm tempted to, as well. The truth is, I've been very very busy. Mostly, doing good things... sometimes, just chilling and trying to unwind my warp-speed brain.

So I'd like to get back to writing, at least a little.  I don't know how I'm going to balance writing with fitness, or work, or remodeling, or anything else I'm going to do.

I've got a lot of good writing topics in mind, and considering the political/spiritual landscape we're in, there's no dearth of things to write about. Some may be technical, some may be opinion, some may be just plain crazy ranting.

But I think I'm in a place where I need to ramp my brain up for writing again. It will, however, require scaling back something, somewhere. I'm not sure what will give yet. I'm already behind on some things. It will not be an easy thing to do.

Probably the first thing I need to do is scale back surfing social media again. I need to figure out a centralized writing solution, as well... which will probably mean using Google Drive... and I need to organize it. It would help to have writing tools that can go with me. Not going to the point where I have it on my phone yet, but that might work.


I'm getting back in the habit. Expect some writing tomorrow, and we'll see how long I can ramp it up and keep it going. Who knows? My ultimate goal is to write enough on my novels to get one or more of them picked up by a major publishing house. If I can do that, I think my life accomplishments will be pretty much complete.

Stay tunes, faithful readers. We're in for a wild ride.


The Myth Of “Abundant Life”

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

"Abundant Life" as we've been taught it, by the modern Church, is a myth.

If you've ever heard someone say "God has blessed me with a new _____! He's given me life more abundantly!" then you've been exposed to the lie. In today's climate of soft theology and relativism, this kind of thinking is rampant, it's destructive, and it's wrong.

I debated on whether to even write this, as it's a hard topic to swallow. Take, for instance, my article on Technology In the Church. I knew as I was writing it that it would ruffle some feathers, because it clearly calls out believers to put their money where they claim their faith is. That makes people uncomfortable. But I'm okay with making people uncomfortable.

The Christian life is not about human comfort. If it were, we could discard the entire book of Job. Or Acts. Or the Gospels. Or pretty much the whole Bible. In the book of Job, the Bible says Job was righteous in every way, and yet God allowed him to be afflicted. All throughout the Bible, there are stories of righteous people suffering and enduring hardship. The thorn in Paul's side. Lazarus' death. Job. King David. The disciples. Even Jesus himself.

If God were in fact trying to make everyone comfortable, then what would the point of that be? We know God doesn't change. We know God allows suffering in righteous people. Therefore, it is wrong for us to assume God wants us to be comfortable. Comfort does not honor God. He allows us to be comfortable, in the same way he allows us to endure suffering. To God, it's just a part of life, not the goal in and of itself. It's not a reward for being "good enough."

"But doesn't God want me to be happy?"


The Story of Stuff

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Sad reality check of the day: we have too much stuff. Specifically, *I* have too much stuff. I'm preparing myself for a massive personal minimizing, and hopefully, it will help motivate my family to do the same. You can believe what you want about ecology and conservation, but I definitely agree we're consuming too much, and I'm going to start with myself.

If you remember my post on the difference between Minimizing, Frugality, and Simplicity, you'll remember "Simplicity" is our goal, not just getting rid of everything... minimizing is just a means to an end. Once I've de-cluttered my surroundings, I can focus on what's important... family, music, and writing.

I'm going to try to document stuff as I get rid of it, and possibly will use the Ebay Mobile app to get rid of the more, um... "interesting" bits of hardware I have laying around.

Lastly, here's an interesting video to get you thinking about all our "stuff."


Simplicity Undefined

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

I thought I'd do something different today, and post up a link to an excellent article written by a friend, Stephanie Stevens. In my quest to simplify my life, I've come across a lot of challenges, and she addresses some of them in her blog post, What Simplicity Isn't: 4 Things. I highly recommend reading it, as I hope it will make you stop and think about what we've come to think of as "simplifying" in today's world.

I personally have had difficulty separating "simplicity" from "frugality" and "minimalism."  They aren't the same. I've caught myself using these words interchangeably, but the truth is simplicity doesn't always mean the least amount of stuff.

In the past, I was forced to be frugal out of necessity. I fixed my own car, built my own computers, put together my own bikes out of spare parts, used every trick I could to save money. This isn't simplicity! I was always stressed about these jobs, because I couldn't afford to just get it fixed.

Years later I still do most of these things, but I've come to realize it's out of habit, not because I need to any more. God has blessed me to where I can call up a mechanic and have them fix my car without worrying about how we're going to get groceries. I can just pop on Amazon and get a tool I need to make a job easier and faster. I don't have to buy the cheapest washing machine, and deal with the fact that it'll break down constantly. I'm slowly coming to grips with the fact that cheaper isn't always simpler or easier.

Now before you can spit your gourmet coffee, yell "DUH!" and slap yourself in the forehead, let me explain. My wife and I both came from relatively poor families. I was taught (and rightly so) that you shouldn't waste money. But as I've grown, I've come to realize the benefits of using money as a tool to get things done to simplify life and save time. I'm past the point where I feel the need to build and fix everything. It just takes too long, causes too much stress, and isn't worth the time if I can spend a bit more to get it done quickly.

I still enjoy building bikes and computers, though I haven't built a computer in a few years. I'm only going to do those things if I enjoy them, though. Why would I stress over it? Either I can do it myself, or I can't... and if I can't, and I can have somebody else do it much more efficiently, then why not?

Simplicity. What does it cost you? Is it worth it? Do you enjoy it?

Is Minimalism really the answer to simplifying your life? They are not always one and the same.

Is it your surroundings or your mental effort that needs to be simplified?

Where do you draw the line between a "life of ease" and "simplicity?" Where do you need to be?


Frugality Defined

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Okay, I admit it. I stink at being frugal. Now, granted, I've done a lot of minimizing in the last year or so, so I'm not totally inexperienced at it. The sad truth remains, however: I stink at it. Why? Because I like stuff.

"Hi, my name is Jeff, and I'm a stuff-aholic."

I'd like to blame my upbringing, but the truth is it's my own fault. I just like stuff! This will probably be my downfall in the grand scheme of things, but I'm still stuck with the problem of "How do I live frugally if I like stuff?"

I don't have all the answers, obviously, but I'm willing to work through it. Bear with me, it will be a bumpy ride.

So, today's One-A-Day simplifying project was redo my entertainment center (this alone is enough to send frugal people packing!) I had it thrown together with all kinda of wires, remotes, stuff that was disconnected, and so forth. It needed to be organized.

I ended up removing the computer I had attached to it (we use the Wii to watch Netflix shows now, that's eliminating something!) and removed the cables for it. I added wheels and cooling fans to the cabinet (for easy cleaning and keeping the devices cool). I painted the bare wood spots, redid all the wiring with zip-ties, and mounted all the boxes (power bricks, network hub, etc.) so nothing has to be moved. You unplug a couple of wires, and the entire center rolls away for cleaning, temporary rearranging, etc. This project took me a few hours, but I think it will help keep things more orderly. As far as simplifying, well... heh. I'm working on it.


Frugal Living Challenge Day 1

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Something that’s become sort of a dirty world lately is “Frugal.” What exactly does it mean to live frugally? Wiktionary defines it as “Avoiding unnecessary expenditure either of money or of anything else which is to be used or consumed; avoiding waste.” So much of what we do today is wasteful. When I say “frugal” I’m not talking about throwing away everything you own, that would be even more wasteful! In a nutshell, being frugal is making the most of what you already have, so that you don’t need to buy more.

One of the blogs I’ve stumbled on recently is Frugally Sustainable. I can identify with much of what Andrea writes, as it echoes my sentiments almost exactly. She’s started something called the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge, and it’s quite a challenge indeed! Start with Day 1, and go from there.


Times They Are A’ Changin

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Okay, first off, I’m not a huge Bob Dylan fan. I just like the name of the song.

Secondly, I’m in a quandry. Most of you know I’ve been commuting to work on my bike (pedal powered, not a motorcycle, it always irritates me when people call their motorcycles “bikes”).  In a word, it’s fantastic. I’ve lost weight, gotten healthier, and I actually enjoy the trip to work and back (being at work is a different story entirely). Most of you also know I’m a huge car nut… I love fast cars. I own a sports compact car, which I love to bring to the track and abuse. It’s somewhat of a drama queen, as nothing on it is cheap to fix, and it is rather fickle. And did I mention it’s ridiculously fun to drive? However, it’s paid for, and I’m not really tempted to sell it.

Except that I am really tempted to sell it. Less than a year ago, I was at the point of almost having to sell it, because we just couldn't afford the cost of owning it for very long… however, we managed to pay it off, and our monthly bills dropped more than $300. I was ecstatic. I didn’t have to sell my fast car. My dream didn’t die.


Living Life With Significance

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Have you ever thought about what separates great people from ordinary people in history? It’s more than being rich. They were remembered through time because they impacted enough people to make a difference. They lived their lives with meaning, with significance.

I have been wanting to have more of an impact on the world around me for years. But as most of you know, corporate America doesn’t care about innovation or impacting people’s lives if there’s no money involved. I can see myself in the near future breaking out of the corporate mold that has held me in prison for so long. It has provided a living for my family, yes, but has stripped me of the ability to do anything but work 8 to 5.

For me to make an impact with my life, I am going to have to step out on faith, and find a way to make a living doing something more than paperwork. We will see, in the near future, how successful it will be. Wish me luck.