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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Blog is Live Again

I searched for a post on the blog to find some information I had entered last year, only to find that the blog had been shut down. Apparently it was caused by some affiliate links, so I’m going to take them down. I’ll start to post again on the blog, so you can look forward to some new content.

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Laziness, For Shame

Lately I haven’t posted, and it isn’t for lack of things to say.  Truthfully, I’ve started a list of topics, ideas, and points that I would like to address.  What is most surprising to me out of all of this is that I’ve come to the realization that blogging is good for me.  Instead of being an activity that is associated with procrastination, I’ve found that these posts reflect my interaction with the material I’m learning, the discipline I exhibit with time management, and the vibrancy of my relationship with the Lord.  I had wondered if instead the posts would simply reflect keeping up with culture and various tidbits of news and gossip that circulate on the internet, with the occassional sale or deal.

In any case, I plan to start posting regularly again.  And the content of this blog may change when I do.  We’ll see.

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A Belated Christmas

Merry Christmas!  I’ve had to consider whether to continue with this blog, and if so, how to focus its posts to make it more useful.  That will be one of the questions for the next week, but in the meantime, I’ll add a few things that have caught my attention recently.  They say that more blogs are closing each year now than are being started, and I’d rather not be a statistic.

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You may have noticed that there is a section on the sidebar labeled “Referrals.” I was hesitant to consider referral links when the opportunity was presented, but these represent the best of the online retailers, sites at which I spend a majority of my money. So I decided in favor of referral links but also transparency and clear delineation so you can decide whether to use them or not. Here is some info about them:

Amazon: Everyone is aware of Amazon.com I’m sure. They offer free shipping on orders over $25 and are the standard for comparing book prices. They have “gold box” deals every day and offer special discounts, as well as sales on every Friday. Most unused however must be their marketplace where products can be purchased from 3rd parties (new or used) for less than from Amazon, often at great deals. Even sweeter, they have a post-order price policy, so if it drops within 30 days of purchase you can email them for a refund. Simple. And now there are programs and services that will track prices and alert you if they drop. I use Amazon for almost everything, and with the referral program, anything at all purchased after starting a shopping session through the link will earn me credit for future purchases.

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Communication in the present age is marked by quicker interactions and near-limitless quantity.  Yet, for all our advancements we have lost something, namely the effectiveness and simplicity of the message, often relying on many more words than necessary to relay content.  How can we communicate more clearly and concisely?  WebWorkerDaily offers the following tips:

1. Use the minimum number of sentences. I’ve been using the 5-sentence rule, but you can use more if needed. The question is: how many sentences are needed to communicate what you’re trying to communicate? Or how few sentences can you get away with. Cut it to that number, and no more. That ensures that you’re not wasting the time of the recipient, and that your email actually gets read (people tend to put off reading longer ones, and might even delete them).

2. State what you want right away. Don’t write a long introduction, telling your life story, or any story for that matter. People aren’t interested. They just want to know what you want. So state that, in the first sentence. Skip the niceties. Don’t make the recipient wade through 10 paragraphs to find what action is needed for the email.

3. Write about only one thing. There have been numerous times when I read an email, saw the action needed, and went and did it … only to find out that three other things were also needed to respond to the email. I’ve also responded to the first part of an email and not to others, just because I didn’t have enough time.

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A link from JoshHarris.com took me over to the Washington Post for an intriguing and very sad article on text messaging in general, and its relation to love and romance in particular.  After a compelling narrative of texting troubles, here are the conclusions of the author as she echoes Helio:

  • Don’t flirt too long virtually.
  • If someone doesn’t text you back in 24 hours, it’s not happening
  • Only cowards settle arguments via text
  • Text breakups don’t count.

And the No. 1 text message rule: Keep it short.

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Christianity Today has a brief article relating to small groups, probing questions, and listening skills. The lists were adapted from an article for pastors, but is yet useful for general practice. Here is a summary:

Characteristics of a Good Listener

  1. Looks at me while I’m speaking.
  2. Questions me to clarify what I’m saying.
  3. Shows concern by asking questions about my feelings.
  4. Repeats some things I say.
  5. Doesn’t rush me.
  6. Is poised and emotionally controlled.
  7. Responds with a nod of the head, a smile, or a frown.
  8. Pays close attention.
  9. Doesn’t interrupt me.
  10. Keeps on the subject until I’ve finished my thoughts.

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