Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why I Have to Leave the Country for Two Months

A few weeks ago, we were having dinner with some friends and joked about skipping next winter and going to Costa Rica instead (my brother built a house down there). Our friends looked at us squarely and said, "Why not?" We started thinking... why not indeed?

Last September, I started working for myself full-time which has been incredible. If you want to build a business, look for a recurring revenue model allowing you to work from anywhere. I love starting the day at my own pace, eating meals with the family at home and putting my kids down for their naps. I've learned a lot about working from home (I put together a 3-part series, if you're interested) and think it's one of the most fulfilling ways to provide for your family.

But, if I'm honest with myself, I'm still not used to it. I still don't give myself permission to take full advantage of my situation. I'll take breaks here and there to play with my children, but I don't often adjust my schedule completely by taking the mornings off and working late or spending the day with my family at the zoo. I love the work I do, I love serving our customers, and I love building this business. Sometimes I love it too much, clocking too many hours and not fully appreciating the flexibility I have. That will change this summer.

The next day, after having dinner with our friends, I called my brother and he was incredibly encouraging. He really wanted us to visit the property and see what he built. A week later, we had some other friends over who reminded us how they need homes for students enrolled in Every Nation's School of Campus Ministry. So, we'll be renting out our house, giving us built-in house sitters. My high-C, detailed-oriented wife's brain was now firing away in overdrive.

The more we looked into it, the more it became a reality. The renters would cover our plane tickets and our rental car. We're getting the literal "bro deal" and paying next to nothing for our stay. I can work from anywhere and the rest of our team is already all over the place (Russia, Australia, Pakistan, California, etc). There's literally no reason not to go!

So we got the passport process going for the kids and bought the tickets. We're heading to Costa Rica, near Tamarindo, to stay at the beautiful home you see in these pictures (by the way, they are selling if you're interested: We'll be there from mid-June to mid-August, living an adventure we'll never forget. Blessed beyond words.

By now you may be thinking, "Lucky! How come everyone else gets all the breaks?" I like Obi-Wan Kenobi's view of luck.

Things happen for a reason, and I think this is part of our "living like no one else" story. We spent years living like no one else, paying down debt and working like crazy. How many people spend 3+ years working a full-time job and then adding another 25 hours a week on top of that at night and on Saturdays to build a business? How many people are willing to skip dining out (along with just about everything else) for years to pay down school loans and second mortgages? How many people invest in hobbies which have income-generating potential?

I may be wrong, but I think rewards come with living your life the way it was created to be lived. You are completely unique in all of history. You were created for a purpose, designed by a loving Father who knows the number of hairs on your head. I believe fulfillment in life can be found by living it on purpose, putting in the work and doing the things you know you're supposed to be doing.

Will it always be "fun" or "easy"? No. Living on a boat for two years taught me that. Will you always have the opportunity to grow and learn? Absolutely. In many ways, the key for my life to date has simply been to give up control to the One who made me and say, "Here I am, use me as you see fit."

My family is incredibly blessed and we're going to make the most of those blessings as they appear. What opportunities are waiting for you? Each breath is a gift, a chance to add a new chapter to your story and to re-focus on the reason you exist. I hope you're making the most of the blessings you've been given so we can all celebrate your "live like no one else" stories as well.

Thanks for being a part of our story.

If you want to get updates on this adventure and my attempts to run a business while in another country, please subscribe to my blog RSS or via email. The forms to do both are on the right column.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Three Reasons We Love Conspiracy Theories

  1. We want to believe someone else is to blame for everything bad in our lives.

    It's someone else's fault. We want to be victims because it's easier than taking responsibility for our own actions. We want to believe there's a Them so we can continue avoiding changing Us. You already know how I feel about this mindset.

  2. The conspiracy is actually true... and we don't want to be the last person to know about it.

    At PodCamp Nashville yesterday I heard the term FOMO which is perfect: the Fear Of Missing Out. I've been thinking about this (and conspiracy theories in general) lately because last week my older brother sent some info my way about chemtrails. I did some reading and thought it was really interesting but inconclusive. Then on Friday, on our way back from Georgia to visit our sys admin and our visiting Russian developer, I saw some things in the sky that totally freaked me out. It reminded me of sky writers the way it turned on and off so quickly. I watched the planes create the first two lines and snapped this photo as a third was being created.
    There were planes all over the place and it looked so much like they were dumping something... It was freaky. As they say in X-Files, maybe I just wanted to believe?

  3. We have this deep, unsettling feeling that something simply isn't right with reality as we know it.

    I probably fall into this category more than any other because of my world view. The Matrix, Inception, Dark City, and The Thirteenth Floor are among my favorite movies. I feel like we all need to "wake up," take the red pill, and embrace the true reality of eternity with (or separate from) our Creator. I'm talking about the restoration of creation since the fall of man through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I think there is an ultimate conspiracy going on at this very moment to blind us from the truth which is why every other conspiracy we hear has a familiar feel to it. You may completely disgree or have a different world view altogether and that's OK, we can still be friends.

What are some of your favorite conspiracy theories?
Why do you like them?

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Thankful for a Great Week

Last night, while playing in a poker tournament, one of my colleagues thanked me for this blog. He said he looks forward to each new post! That was so fun to hear. I try to encourage others and share my thoughts here, much like if we were having coffee and you asked me, "Hey, what's been going on?"

I wanted to start this update with a big thank you. It's encouraging to know some people actually read this blog and enjoy it, which is why I bother to update it. Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing with others.

So here's what I loved about this week:

On Monday, I was super excited to see my Working at a Launch Pad post published at Dave Ramsey's Develop With Purpose website. If you want to know more about the culture behind the scenes at Dave's company, please check it out. From the post:
God has a unique plan for all of us, and one of the most important parts of any plan is actually following it.

The next thing I'm excited about is a presentation coming up this Tuesday at the Nashville PHP user group. We'll be talking all about building REST APIs! If you're in the area and into that sort of thing, please come on by. It's April 10th, starting at 6pm: From POX to HATEOAS, A Real Company’s Journey Building a RESTful API

Also (and this is no small thing), our company finally launched our new website! The team has been working on this site for almost two years now. Each feature page is accompanied by a custom water color art piece which creates an incredible overall experience. Check out a few features and you'll see what I mean.

Finally, and most importantly of all... I got another week on this earth to spend time with my amazing family. My wife is awesome, my children are my riches, and I am a very blessed man. I'll leave you with these shots of my daughter, Aria, and my son, Devon. We took some time this week before the site launch to hang out in the pool and play with Devon's Aqua-Zooka's (best $10 I've ever spent, btw).

I hope and pray you are pursuing your God-designed purpose while living your life with meaning and intentionality. No one can live your life better than you. Make it a good story.