Posted in Books, LifeHacks

Chasing Daylight (A Book Review on Preparing to Die)

To celebrate a recent birthday milestone J I decided to read the book by the late Gene O’Kelly, “Chasing Daylight-How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life”.

Reading the words of a dying man will certainly motivate you to think and as Mr. O’Kelly pointed out in his book, not everyone gets the chance to plan out the last 2-3 months of their life. But his diagnosis was such that it allowed him to function at a very high level physically and mentally; which allowed him to capture his thoughts on planning to die, dying, and life after death. While I don’t consider all of Mr. Kelly’s content Christ centered, I do believe his practice of examining what remained of his life on earth and his life beyond should be a practice of every Christian. In Psalm 90:12 we are encouraged, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” I believe this the essence Jesus example while he lived on earth and spoke of Father in Heaven and His coming Kingdom.

Here are a few of my takeaways from the book. Mr. O’Kelly’s hope was that the living would use what he found in dying, to live more fully.

  • Much of the sympathy we feel toward people who are dying can actually be emotions toward ourselves. In short, their dying reminds us that we will be dying as well.
  • Most of our daily frustrations come from our expectations or NOT ACCEPTING the way things are. Mr. O’Kelly states that he had to arrive at a point of “accepting acceptance”, accepting the way things were. Knowing they would not get better allowed him to fully enjoy the time he had left.
  • Learning to live in the present moment by lowering our expectations about our present circumstances and future desires will help us create more “perfect moments”.
  • He brought all of his relationships to a close starting with phone calls and emails to friends and acquaintances (which took him three weeks). He then worked through family relationships; end with his children and wife. In some formal sense he wanted to say goodbye. This practice revealed the following for those of us who still have time.
    • Relationships Matter Most
    • Slow Down!
    • It’s rewarding to have deep conversations with people.
    • Be More Spontaneous
    • Tell people how much you care about them today (you may not get the chance.)
    • Write letters to your loved ones that would help them gain closure in the event of your passing.

I certainly do not consider this book a Christ center book, however, looking over some of the discovery’s made during his last days, certainly gives me direction and motivation on how to live the days God has given me. Write out your personal reflections, or read the book for yourself, but either way you will be blessed by this most difficult practice.

Posted in Books, Education, Entertainment, History, LifeHacks, Productivity

Who Has Time to Read?

So you don’t have time to read? Neither do I; but I have found time to listen.

Last year I joined to catch up on my “to be read” stack and I’ve come to love it. They have a great selection of audio books from some of my favorite authors.

Audible is owned my Amazon and has great customer service. Three or four times over the past year I have purchased a book with my monthly credit only to be disappointed with the content or reader. Each time Audible has allowed me to return to book for another selection.

There are several plans but I belong to the base plan of 1 book credit per month for $14.95. I have found it takes me about a month (base on my travel time) to get through an 8 hour book. Then it time for a new one.

I highly recommend this service and hope that you will find it as useful as I have. They often have a free book or other great offers for new customers. Give it a try.

Posted in Family, Kids, LifeHacks, Marriage, Parenting, Technology

Web Filtering Available NOW on IPhone, iPad, and iPod (iOS 7)

iphoneIf you have updated your iphone, ipad or iPod in the last few months to iOS7, you now have the ability to have websites (and other content) filtered.  This is a HUGE weapon for families in the battle against pornography.  If you haven’t activated this on your child’s device or had your accountability partner activate it on your device, be sure to do this TODAY!

Here is a link to the steps for setting this up.

Its easy and effective.

Posted in LifeHacks, Technology

Backing Up Your Memories

With the emergence of digital cameras over the last ten years, the need to back up your captured memories is greater than ever. Not only do our computers now contain our favorite music, but pictures and videos we have captured of our kids growing up. So when your computer crashes, how do you plan to recover these files?

There is a growing popularity of services that allow you to back up your PC to “the cloud”. While I daily enjoy DropBox, I do not think cloud storage is a wise solution for permanent storage. Questions around security and reliability should lead us to look for a safer way to back up our most special memories.

Below I have listed the plan I use. Even if you don’t use this system please use some plan to back up your files.

  1. Designate one computer as your main PC. The computer should have a large hard drive (1 Terabyte or Greater) to hold your growing collection of digital media.
  2. When downloading music online, or pictures from your camera use the main computer. You may choose to save then elsewhere as well, but be sure they are saved to the one main computer.
  3. Connect an external hard drive, like a Western Digital My Book, to your main computer. There are some backup software tools out there, but I manually backup of my computer by:
  • Creating a folder with the Date (Ex. Backup 08282012)
  • Using windows explorer I highlight the folders (Documents, Music, and Videos) and copy and paste them into the newly created backup folder.
  • I set a calendar appointment to remind me to do this every quarter.

     4.  The final step is to take the external drive to a safe location other than your home. That way in the event of a disaster at your home, you will be able to recover your data from your backup hard drive.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions or if you need help backing up your data.

Posted in Education, Entertainment, LifeHacks, Parenting, Theology

5 Steps to Filter an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

If you have kids or adults J that want to use an iPad, but need restricted use, you can perform the following steps.

  1. Install a filtered Internet App. The one we use is You will need to setup an account on the website and then install the app from the iTunes app store. The cost of the app is a onetime cost of $4.99. Mobicip will be used for Internet Browsing and the built in Safari Browser will be disabled (see step 2).
  2. Visit the website and follow her instructions for How to Child-Proof an iPad (The instructions for the iPhone and iPod Touch should be similar)
  3. BE AWARE: There are ways tech savvy teens and adults can still get back onto the unfiltered Safari Browser. This can be done through any non-threatening apps that have a back door access to Safari. You should check your apps by clicking on any web links that you see in the about section of that app and make sure it doesn’t open up Safari.
  4. Because some of the functionality of the iPad is built around Safari, making these changes will make it a bit cumbersome to use. For instance when you try to open a link in an email it will no longer work. You would have to cut and past the link into your new Mobicip browser. However I feel like these inconveniences are necessary for protecting our loved ones.
  5. You can’t replace regular conversations with the person whom you are trying to protect. Talk to them about how they are using the device and monitor their usage (Mobicip allows you to do that).

Post any questions you may have and I’ll try to help as much as possible. Thanks, TD

Posted in Fitness, Health/Exercise, LifeHacks

Gym Wars: Anytime Vs. Snap


I enjoy regularly exercising, however I don’t enjoy visiting the same gym over and over. For the three years I’ve lived in Petal, Mississippi I’ve been a part of three different gyms. Most recently I joined the Petal location of Anytime Fitness. I was also a member of Snap Fitness for two years. Both of these gyms are locally owned, but associated with a national brand. One of the benefits of being a member of one of these gyms is that you can exercise at other gyms flying the same name at locations throughout the U.S. This comes in handy when you are traveling or simply desire a change of scenery. I’ve only been at Anytime for about a month and here are my observations when comparing Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness.

Location: Snap is closer to my home and has another location in nearby Hattiesburg, Gulfport, and Meridian. All locations I visit often. The Hattiesburg Anytime location closed and while it also has sites in Meridian and on the Coast they are not as convenient to the places I travel. The only redeeming factor is that Anytime has a location in the big city of Wiggins MS. However it is still not enough:

Location Winner, Snap

Terms/Cost: I really enjoyed Snaps terms in that there was no contract. I was on a month to month payment basis. Actually they allowed me to pay six month in advance and get a better deal. With this deal I was about to pay around $36 per month. Anytime wants a commitment and to get the best deal, (most recently $29 per month) I had to sign a two year commitment and pay around $50 to join. I asked about prepayment, but was offered a messily %10 discount. Now I must say $29 per month is a deal in my book, even though I don’t like the commitment.

Terms/Cost Winner, Draw

Facilities: Snap was always clean and had a nice selection of free weights, machines, and cardio equipment. It also offered free Wi-Fi for its members. However I despised the small bathrooms with only one men’s bathroom. Anytime seems to be staffed more often however; when I recently asked for the Wi-Fi access code, I was told that it was for “Business Only”. Apparently that meant that I was not their business-This does not make an I.T. guy happy. Anytime does have two unisex bathrooms that at least give me an option instead of waiting, which in my book makes Anytime the winner.

Facilities: Winner, is Anytime

So Anytime still has 23 months to either loose or win this in my mind. I guess I’ll keep asking for the Wi-Fi code.

Posted in LifeHacks, Money, Technology, TV

My Top Ten Most Useful Phone Apps

Besides, texting, emailing, and taking photos here are some of the more useful non-standard apps that I use for my Android Smartphone. I will come back on future blogs and give a bit more detail about each of these apps.

  1. X3Watch – Accountability software that only works for the android. It sends my wife a list of apps and websites visited from my phone each week.
  2. Evernote Widget – Provides quick access and updates for all my lists. See GTD System.
  3. EEBA – Envelope Budgeting app that syncs with both my phone and my wife’s phone so we stay on budget each month.
  4. TweetDeck – One stop shop to keep up with my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  5. Weather Channel Widget – Quick glace so I’m ready for the rain.
  6. Listen – Google App that all my audio podcast (sermons, leadership talks, etc) are synced with.
  7. TiVo – Allows me be schedule TV shows to be recorded when I heard or read something that I find interesting
  8. DropBox – This is where I get all my active documents that I’m working on. Again see GTD.
  9. Flashlight– I hate mine quick working last time I upgraded my phone, but the LED flashlight apps are very handy.
  10. – Quickly (using camera as a scanner) compare in-store items to amazon prices to see how much cheaper I can get them (no tax or shipping) If I’m willing to wait a few days.
Posted in Bloggers, Books, Leadership, LifeHacks, Technology, Uncategorized

Build Your Platform

I have to give credit to Michael Hayatt and his new book Platform for helping me reenergize my blog ( In the book Michael gives step-by-step instructions on how he was able to build his “platform”. The resources in this book are invaluable for anyone who, as the subtitle suggests, “has something to say or sell.”

One of the primary things Michael did in the book was to challenge me to reexamine why I began blogging in the first place. When I started back in 2007, Facebook was in its infancy. Initially blogging gave me a way to let my family and friends know what was going on in my life. But as social media (Facebook and Twitter) matured and everyone seemed to have their own “platform” it made sense for me to simply migrate my “cyber” life from blogging to social media. Unfortunately Facebook and Twitter turned me into more of a consumer than a producer. This realization has motivated me to make a change.

“Platform” has challenged me to build and reengage any audience I may have lost; (Hi Mom). If you own a small business or are in the marketing department of a larger one, I suggest you get your hands on this book. It will help you stand up and stand out in this noisy world.