Lessons From Our Bunk Bed Experience

About a month ago, we began our search to get some bunk beds for our kids.  With our fifth child on the way, we know that our living arrangements have to change regardless of the baby's gender.

My wife, being the resourceful woman that she is, began researching online and looking at the prices for lots bunk beds.  We made plans to visit her parents a few weeks after the initial search and it proved to be a great decision.

Since we were headed out of town, my wife checked the Craigslist posts for that area.  She found someone who had at least two sets of bunk beds for sale and we contacted him and made a great buy.

Here are a few lessons we learned:

1)  Patience pays:  If we had rushed out and bought the first thing we saw, we would have spent more on one set than we did on both together.

2)  Having a van is great:  We have been able to find all sorts of deals on large items.  Because of the flexibility of our van, we can drop seats, take them out, etc. and fit items like washing machines, beds, and wagons.

3)  Extra hands can make processes faster:  Even though our kids are young, 3 of the current 4 were able to help hold boards while I fastened the beds together.

4)  It's better to spend more money for safety:  There were recommendations for wooden slats to support the mattresses for the bunks and we spend more money to have additional slats that I added.  You can't be too safe when it comes to kids.

5)  Starting early has benefits:  Instead of waiting until late in the day when I was tired, I got started on the beds at around 9:00 a.m.  Within an hour or so, the first set of bunk beds was finished.

The kids are now enjoying their bunk beds and we couldn't be more proud of the work that we all did in getting them and putting them together.

What is the family project you've done that gives you the most pride? 

Announcement: NBHE 2012

I am attending the National Black Home Educator conference this weekend on Friday, June 30 and Saturday, July 1.  I plan to limit my presence on Twitter and Facebook to maximize the benefit of the conference.

This is the first conference that I am attending after publishing my book and I've been asked to bring copies to share with attendees.

I look forward to sharing my experiences in an upcoming post.

Have a great weekend.

I never worry about action, but only inaction. – Winston Churchill

The older I get, the more I'm learning that I will not be able to accomplish my dreams or to fulfill my calling unless I take action.

Taking Action involves the following:

1)  Discipline

2)  Pressing through fear

3)  Focus

4)  Overcoming fear of others or your own thinking.

I declare today that I am a person of action.  In the coming months, I plan to put my words to action in doing things I've never done before. 

What are some areas you need to take action in?

— Don’t Worry About Action

Odd Hours

For some reason, I can always get more done during the odd hours.  

I can write better at 1:30 a.m. than I usually can at 1:30 p.m.  

I can knock out website changes or development better at 5:00 a.m. than 5:00 p.m.

I believe what it really boils down to is the lack of distraction.

My wife and I usually get the kids down for bed by 8:00 p.m.  After that,  there is a sense of calm in the house and it is a great time to get projects done.

After they are all asleep, they stay in bed until about 7:00 a.m.  This means that if I wake up around 5:00 a.m., I have a solid 2 hours that I can use to get things done.

I'm currently writing this post at close to 1 a.m.  I just got a burst of energy all of a sudden, so I figured it was worth writing a few blog posts as well.

My next step is to really focus during these hours to get books, eBooks, and other projects done and out to the market.

Stay tuned!

All You Have to Do is Ask

One of the best pieces of advice that I have heard someone give to a young person is to learn communication skills.

When I mention communciation skills, I know you may be thinking about being able to hold a good conversation, public speaking, and being able to write.

These are all great skills, but one that I believe is absolutely necessary is the ability to ask great questions.

With great questions, you have the opportunity to get great answers.

The worst thing that could happen in a YES/NO question is getting a NO answer. 

But what if you ask for something and the answer is YES?

I have been in situations where my finances were tight and I simply asked a business owner if they would be interested in bartering.  

Without much hesitation, they did and I kept all or most of my money.

As you're going through your day today, please think about some of the things you want.  Think about what questions you should ask others and yourself to get or to accomplish these things.  

Make a decision to ask the questions and do it!

Question:  What are some  of your current goals that could be reached through the power of asking?



Learning While Burning

Nearly every Saturday, I get up early and prepare myself for a day away from my day job.

By the time that day comes, the grass in my yard is pretty high and the yard is time for a cut.  I get out my weed-eater and lawnmower and it's "on like Donkey Kong".

In addition to getting the lawnmower out and the other yard tools, I also grab my earbuds because it is time to get in some education and inspiration as well.

Every Saturday for the past few months, I've listened to one or two podcasts from people like Dan Miller, Dave Ramsey, Michael Hyatt, Andy Andrews, and others while I cut the grass.

I like the fact that I'm burning calories and learning ways to improve myself and my business as well.  

This is just one of the ways that I'm moving toward accomplishing my goals. It's more efficient because I can work on two goals at once

Question:  Are there any ways you multi-task to accomplish your personal and/or business goals?

Evernote, My Go-To Tool

I'm a lover of many things in the field of technology.  Nothing intrigues me more than finding a tool that helps me (or others) work more efficiently, get more organized, or improve in our daily work.

In this post, I share a few things that I like about my latest go-to tool, Evernote.  It's definitely worth checking out.

My life is quite busy.  I work a full-time job, I run a business with multiple clients, I engage in the homeschooling community, I volunteer and get involved in activities at our church, and I have a wife and children to keep up with.  

How does an avearage guy make it happen

My answer is Evernote.  It's a free, web-based program for note taking and archiving.  There are many reasons to use it, but I'll just offer a quick 7.

1)  It's FREE:  There is just something about getting something of value for free.  There are options to upgrade and the free version shows ads, but the ads are unintrusive and they don't bother me.  For my purposes (right now anyway), the free version works.

2)  It's web-based:  I love the fact that I can work on documents or other files and access them anywhere I can get a web connection.

3)  It has a mobile app:  In addition to accessing my files from the web, I can also pull them up on my iPhone

4)  It allows for multiple file formats:  I have text documents, PDFS, images, and mp3s in my Evernote account.  It's great to have.)

5)  It has a great Search function:  Once you start adding great information to your account, it's great to be able to search for what you want.

6)  You can move files around:  If you begin to organize your files into Notebooks and you decide to move something around, you can drag and drop items.

7)  You can share anything from your account: There are times when I need to share something with my wife, my boss, a co-worker, or a client.  Using the sharing feature is very easy and convenient.

If you haven't used Evernote before, you should definitely give a try for a week or too.  I'm sure you will see why it's one of my go-to tools.

A Few Things I’ve Learned

My wife and I were having a nice chat earlier today (it's good to do that if you're married), and I shared a few things that I've learned in my nearly 3 decades on the planet.  

I mentioned that I should blog about it, so here it is.  I believe there are more than 4 things I've learned during my life, but related to what we were talking about, here they are: 

1) We only get 1 life 

If you have figured out some way around this, please let me know and we'll be very wealthy for selling it.  We have one life to live and one shot at making it count.  The thing about it is we don't know how many years, months, days, or seconds we have on this Earth, so we have to live each as if it were our last.  

2) People will always have something to say…some good, some bad

It begins when you are in preschool or elementary school.  Even at such a young age, someone will find something to say about that they just have to let you know.  You'll get compliments, hopefully, from your parents and relatives, but there will always be critics and "haters" as well.  If people see you doing something differently or if you look a little different (or a lot different), then people will feel a need to tell you.  This doesn't end, so get used to it and thicken up your skin.

3) Some people won't agree no matter what you do and you have to be fine with that b/c you know who you are and why

One of the most beautiful things about human beings is that we are all different.  We don't speak alike, we don't walk alike, we don't think alike.  Because of this, we can learn from each other and we can benefit from each others' differences.  These same "beautiful" differences are also reasons for people not to agree with you on things you are passionate about.  You have to learn that not everyone will agree and you can't convince everyone or many people to see things your way. 

4) People will respect you for it in the end and God will honor you for it in eternity

 If you have managed to figure out who you are and who God created you to be, then you should stick to it.  If you have convictions and stick to them, people will respect you.  If you have differing political views or beliefs about parenting and you know what you believe and why, people will eventually respect you for it.  They may not ever tell you, but they will respect you.  If you stay true to what God has called you to do and be, then you will also receive your reward in heaven

I'm no expert on everything, but I do know that I should remain a student of those I consider to be successful in various arenas of life.  So, here's a question for you.  

What are a few things you've learned?



What Good Does Complaining Do?

We have all been there at some point.  Someone treats you unfairly.  Someone doesn't understand you or your decisions.  

It is a part of life and sometimes it can be aggravating…so what do you do?

Here are 5 ways to avoid complaining and to take better action:

1)  Focus on what is really important – sometimes, it is just better to place your thoughts on other things.  Sometimes the things we complain about are not really that important and we shouldn't devote much time to thinking about them.

2)  Change the way you speak about problems – the way to speak about problems to others can sometimes perpetuate our feelings and cause us to complain even more if we are not careful.  Talk less about problems and talk more about solutions.

3)  Look for opportunities in trials – difficult times happen for a reason.  While we are going through difficult times or after we come out of them, we can look for lessons that we can learn during that season.  We should come out stronger after every trial.

4)  Recognize that complaining won't change the situation – think about it, does more complaining make the problem go away?..of course not.  In the end, complaining just makes you feel worse anyway, so it makes sense to avoid it.

5)  Take action – many times, the things we complain about are things that we have some control about.  Instead of complaining about your environment, take action to change it.



Putting Udemy to Use

I have been giving lots of thought lately on how I can get out the word on some of the things I'm doing.  I love teaching people and offering training and it is also a great way to generate income for my growing family.  Then I found Udemy.com

Udemy is a perfect solution for what I'm trying to do for the following reasons:

1)  It is free

2)  It is easy to use

3)  I can charge for the courses

4)  I can embed my courses on my website

5)  I can conduct live sessions using a webcam with students in my classes.

I plan to get started with creating and offering a free course for parents within the next week.  I've been putting this off for far too long.