A Letter to All People of Faith - #LoveWins

It's so very tempting to give in and post the hate and ‪#‎stupidpoliticiansayings‬ about the SCOTUS' marriage ruling....let's not. When we say ‪#‎lovewins‬, let's stay with that. - me

While I still abide by that sentiment here while drafting this post, I wanted to share some thoughts with those who feel that their faith is being threatened by SCOTUS' ruling this week that made all marriages legal in the United States. First let's consider what faith IS exactly...

Faith. Our personal belief in the doctrines of a religion, a system of religious beliefs. 

Faith is yours. It isn't what your parents or family believe, what your neighbor believes, what your co-workers believe, or what your dog believes. It's what you personally believe. Thus you have the control over your faith, your lack of it, and the many choices of how to interpret the meaning of said religion. That's religious freedom.

When the US was imagined, it was as a place where people could be free to choose. Choose religion, choose happiness, whatever that happiness and religion may be to each. SCOTUS majority didn't take any of those choices away from anyone, they cleared the way to them for people who have found love and made families. Cleared the way to allow freedom that we are all promised. Law cannot dictate love or stand in the way of equality.

Rage Against the Minivan blogger and a professor of psychology Kristen asks in her post on this issue, "Since when was biblical permission required for civil rights?" It isn't. 

Put differently - some have a chosen way of interpreting the Quran in an effort to justify violence against people who don't follow their religion. Oh, yes, it goes deeper than that single saucy thought, doesn't it? (One that I'll leave right there.) Some reactions to the marriage ruling contain the same volatility. "How DARE they? How dare they violate religious beliefs that I hold, that the world *should* hold?"

But how can anyone violate an individual's religious beliefs? I (and I venture many others) don't care about your religion, nor your faith of choice. It's not mine. It's yours. Why would anyone fear what another person believes when it doesn't align with their own faith/religion? How does one couple's marriage impact anyone else's? It doesn't.

SCOTUS dissent is seeping in religious debate - which holds no place in the law. None. Nada. On purpose. The law determines our rights - human, not religious. Our chosen religion can guides us to make choices about our lives, the way we choose to live them. They are two separate entities, as they should be.

The choice made to use faith and/or religions as a way to excuse hurtful words, to express anger, to affect violence is one of a cowardice. The greater choice, the one that says - "okay, I don't believe this is what my faith would allow but that's your choice" - that is the bigger thing here. It makes us all better people when we accept the world is a vast place full of a variety of choices. It makes the word a little more happy and a little less bitter and violent.

When we say #lovewins, let's stay with that. 

Source: http://www.literallychel.com/blog/2015/6/3...

Software's End Game

I woke up this morning to the news that Circa News has been indefinitely put on hiatus in terms of new content produced. If you aren't familiar with Circa, it's a great news app that created unbiased news in snippets that you can consume quickly -  on the bus, on the way to the next meeting and so forth - with brilliant journalists to help along the way. Nice way to stay on top of what's going on in the world without burning a lot of time.

That made me start thinking about apps and forming an attachment to any app. Sometimes you invest heavily in one and poof it goes. Warning label: Forming app attachment can be hazardous to your heart and all that.

We put our lives into these tiny devices and pieces of software that suddenly vanish one day (remember Google Reader? RIP Google Reader). We may roll our eyes at the competitors that come out trying to take on the established guys in the space, but the reality is that if there aren't any duplicate services or apps the resulting lack of competition makes companies reach for good enough. If there are too many duplicates, then one may disappear overnight and it may be your favorite of the two or three. (My friend and co-worker Arika wrote about this seemingly overkill of companies who want press for doing the same thing as other guys or wanting to be known as "Uber for x".)

The question to ask now is: How prepared are you to replace an integral piece of software that holds up the infrastructure of your business? First step would be understanding the competition to enable quick decision making. Another plan could be coding your own solution. We've done it at SHIFT time and again when something that supports our services disappears. And please, for the love of all that is good, keep backups of your data.

It's vital to have a backup plan in mind, because you never, ever know what's going on behind the scenes of a software company and when your favorite service will be buried and gone.

Source: http://literallychel.com/blog/2015/6/25/so...

Today Is Life.


I promised I'd restart the life of this here blog by explaining the new logo. But first, I made this restart because I realized I have a lot to say and I missed saying it in longer form than a quick social post here and there. Now that's out of the way, let's tackle why these words and why for me.

"Sometimes, the good comes when we most need it and least expect it. If we are lucky enough to notice it, set our eyes upon it and appreciate it, it can almost make us forget all of the bad. Today is life. The only life you’re sure of."

This quote stuck with me out of the finale of CSI:NY. I'm a big fan of Officer Mac Taylor and the episode is stirring, especially given the news of late with officer-involved shootings. Bypassing that messy conversation for the moment - the quote.

Set your eyes upon the good, let go of the bad, remember today is life. We won't cherish every moment or every breath. Sometimes we'll want the moments to be erased or speed on by, but each of those moments bring us closer to a finality and the experiences good and bad should be lived for what they give us in each of those tiny moments. All of it. Of life.

In those moments, I want to explore more of my thoughts and post them here for those interested to read, debate, and share. 

Let's begin.

Photo: Oriflame Mountain marks the horizon as you head north on the PCT. Photo was taken by Aaron Doss.

Looking Back, Looking Foward

You may have heard that 2013 is ending tonight. It's was a mixture for me. A rough start to the year with a rather nice finish. I'm thinking about what I want 2014 to be, planning my happiness project for the coming year and considering if I have 3 words to narrow that down to...or not. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to each and everyone of my friends who have watched over me and cheered me on the last few years to get to this place. I'm very fortunate to be so loved.

fireworks new year

A good reminder I want to share as we move into a new year: you will never be happy or cheerful every single moment of every single day, but you can strive everyday to do better, to reach out and help others and live your life like you won't get another chance.

Happy New Year!

Photo Credit: color line via Compfight cc

Wishes Fulfilled

This week, I had the privilege of helping out for a little while at Cradles to Crayons with my team and co-workers (Chris Penn wrote about this experience in gut wrenching detail). The feeling of rage, sadness, and disheartenment during the experience left me feeling so dissatisfied with how material everything can become around the holidays. There was a small boy on my list who really needed winter boots, only they didn't have them in his size.  Another boy will go without warm winter clothes, because they didn't have any for his size either. While the staff did their best to keep things positive and upbeat, I found it difficult at best not to break down into tears. It makes one think and realize how much the world needs from each of us.

So what, pray tell, did I hope to gain by asking for everyone's holiday wishes on Facebook? Human kindness, real and quiet wishes that we secretly yearn for that have nothing at all to do with phones or tablets or games. One secret little wish that would delight us through the following year. Everyone has one, surely. Maybe more than one. A change to your life, a special person to enter your life, one step forward to the path you want to follow in your career, or a moment of resolution with someone who made things difficult in your past.

I've learned something about happiness in my past few months of working at SHIFT. What you do every day, how you approach each one, and how open you are to having experiences that you think will make you unhappy determines how happy you are on a regular basis.

You can search for happiness. You can hope and wish that it finds you, but the majority of the time it won't come easily. You have to work for those wishes (in my case, I'll have to be brave enough to ask someone else a question). Then, you'll have to open yourself up to everything it entails good and bad. If you can do that, you'll find a lot more happiness in 2014.

So, what do you really wish for this holiday season?

Photo credit to incredi.