2016 – The Year Ahead


A new year has started and I, like many people have been thinking about what will be different and better this year than last. Although I did not write down any formal resolutions, I have a few that have been stewing in my mind for months.  Health is huge and number one on my list.  Losing weight, as is a goal for many, and one I definitely need to do, but overall physical, mental and spiritual health is my top priority. I have other self improvement, and income goals as well, and today, a nice cool, lazy Saturday morning I’m getting things geared up.

I actually started last night by downloading the “Couch to 5k” app on my phone and will kick that off Monday am.  I will be going for a walk today where I’ll start listening to my podcasts I spent the am downloading and organizing, and have already changed my eating habits to reduce carbs, alcohol (Crown) and generally eat more veggies and fiber.

I used to be an avid reader, and have shelves and shelves full of books that covered, DIY, ScIFI, mysteries and of course lots of ‘self improvement’ books.  Now days audio via podcasts and the Audible app are what keep me absorbing new information.

So today, as part of getting my audio library built, I downloaded, filtered and sorted 38 podcasts and 2 new Audible books. I have a decent selection of Audible books already, but my two new additions (affiliate links) are “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Cardone, Grant (Unabridged Edition) [AudioCD(2011)]” and “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy.  This should get me through January and into February – the podcasts and audio books make my 30 – 40 minute drive to and from work worthwhile.

Another big goal this year is to clear my plate of ‘too much stuff’ as my wife puts it.  I’ve starting I unsubscribing from my tons of email lists, and have taken off January from doing any home improvement projects.  Saying “no” is a must do this year as well.

Speaking of home improvement projects, we have spent the last year renovating the interior of our house, redoing the kitchen and bathroom entirely and replacing the floors in about 75% of the house.  I plan to follow up with some future posts on those projects.

Kitchen Before:


Kitchen After:
kitchen-after (Mobile)

We also had our back yard redone so we could start utilizing it all year.  The outdoor grilling seating area was our biggest feature.



Note that other than designing the sitting grilling area, all the work was done by someone else – Amazing Gardens and Landscape.  They don’t have a website yet, or I would provide a link, but one of my new projects this year is creating one for them. If you would like to contact them for a project of your own, let me know.

Time to make some breakfast and get my day started, today is ‘Tech day’ where I get to setup my new toys and do some system upgrades I got myself for Christmas! : ) The following is a list of links to the products on Amazon (affiliate links) if your interested in stepping up your own system.

Switching From Iphone to Android


 iphone_5  TO  samsung-galaxy-note-4-1

My wife and I just made the switch to ‘Samsung Galaxy Note 4s’ after years of being IPhone users.  We loved the iPhones up until they would slow down and start having issues when the next new model came out. Not being able to expand memory was another issue. We decided it was time to try something new.  We were originally just looking for a new smart phone, but once my wife saw the Note 4s large screen, she loved it.  I liked the expandability and the S-pen and the large screen as well.

We are still learning a lot about the differences and getting them on the 24th was a good move as we got some extra time to play with them.  If your thinking of making a similar move, there are a few things you should know before moving from an iPhone  to an Android device.  There are tons of articles that touch on most of this, and I have read a few of them.  This is my take and what I recommend you do “Before” making the switch – you know the whole 20/20 thing…

Turn off Imessage:
This was one of the most frustrating items we encountered during the transition and wish the Verizon rep working with us would have passed this tidbit on.  iMessage is an IOS to IOS device messaging system. If your phone is using iMessage, you need to turn it off before trading in or porting your number.  If you don’t, it could be weeks before your friends or family members can message you.  It takes awhile for the Apple servers to stop routing messages through their iMessage server. They may not even realize that their messages are not being delivered for days until they finally get failure messages.

If you forget though, there is hope.  You can call Apple support 1-800-MY-IPHONE (1-800-694-7466) and work through it with them.  They are very helpful and friendly, even Christmas day when we called. You will need your IMEI number when you call.

If you don’t have your old phone or just want to skip the support call, you can go to the following website and manually deregister the phone.


Backup to Itunes or Icloud
Be sure you do a full backup of your phone on iTunes or iCloud. Itunes may be better, if your maxed on space. Be sure to transfer your app purchases. I had best results with the iTunes backup.

Email your notes or Transfer to Gmail
I had little luck with transferring notes with the Samsung Apps.  The iCloud version transferred to Snotes, but they lost all formatting.  The windows Samsung app would not transfer them at all.  I went with Gmail option, but I am still working on getting them in to an App I am happy with.

Do the switch
When doing the deal, you may opt to trade in the phone, which my wife did.  (I plan to sell mine on Amazon or open market). The phone store can typically transfer contacts for you, or just wait until you get home and use the SmartSwitch App.Download Samsung SmartSwitch on your Android Phone from the Play Store and to your PC from Samsung’s Website.



If you make the switch, good luck and enjoy your new phone!

Farewell to my little Princess – Fiona


Fiona-3I lost a dear friend and companion this morning to Kidney disease.  Fiona was my little princess and my favorite pet of all time.  When she was brought home from the Humane society many years ago, there was an instant connection. As a kitten, she followed me everywhere I went and always had to be near.  When I gamed or worked on my computer she sat on my monitor (old monitor) or she would sit on top of my desk or the back of my chair.  When I walked around the house she would jump on my shoulders and ride around like a big furry parrot.  Wherever dad was she was.

In the early days when I would leave town for vacation or business, she would show her unhappiness by leaving a little wet spot on my side of the bed, just below my pillow.  After a couple times of that and based on a suggestion from a friend and pet owner I started to wear a t-shirt for a few days before my trip.  I would fold up the t-shirt and place it below my pillow when I left.  When I returned I would find a very hairy t-shirt, but no wet spot.  I have continued that ever since.

Everyone loved Fiona and she was a very calm and loving Cat for those that she would show herself to.  Overall she was a shy and quiet cat, as her adopted brother Stevie of many years talks enough for both of them. Although Stevie is much bigger and stronger than Fiona was, she would occasionally get him frustrated when she had enough of his noise and would smack him on his but.  She would then crouch down waiting for his retaliation and she would pounce like a mini lion wrapping her little paws around his neck and pull him over on his back, his legs floundering in the air – like watching a professional wrestling take-down.

I would like to thank the Tampa Veterinary Hospital  for doing their best to help Fiona in her final days and finally ending her suffering.

I will miss coming home to see her running down the hall meowing and welcoming me home or chastising for being gone – I’m not sure which.

I love animals, but I must confess that no other animal has every made me feel so special and heartbroken as I am now.  I love you and will miss you greatly FiFi and look forward to seeing you again (All Cats go to Heaven).



 IMG_1088  IMG_1699  Fiona
 Fiona-16  Fiona-5  Fiona-8
 fi-stv  fi-stv2








Wow!! Is what I have to say about this mornings church service. We love our church and today was an example of why.  We are currently going through a series titled “Unexpected” which started after our Easter Service in Curtis Hixon Park.  If you are from the Tampa Bay area and did not attend, you probably got a hint of it from the signs and T-shirts all over the bay stating “Easteris Near.com“.  That Easter service yielded a turnout of over 5600 people – not bad for a church that I think has about 800 members.

This morning the “Unexpected” surprise was enter the worship space and finding the traditional Baptism pool in front of the stage.  The message today was about an encounter between an Ethiopian eunach, who was a Treasury official and a young Jewish apostle named Philip from the Book of Acts (Acts 8:26). The encounter and ensuing discussion culminated with the Ethiopian choosing to get baptized spontaneously in a water hole that they passed while traveling though the desert.

We typically do two baptism services a year, and in the last one in early April, my fiancé Kelly and I were baptized.   Typical baptisms are planned around 6 weeks weeks in advance, so that those considering it can make the decision and come prepared with extra clothes, a towel and possibly friends or family members that you want to share your experience with.  Today was a totally spontaneous opportunity for anyone that had been thinking of it to step up and get baptized.  Talk about a tough decision – no clothes, no towel, no plans but to enjoy another lively Sunday service by our Pastor Paul Wirth.  But as is usual, Paul and the crew had it all covered.  Each person making the plunge would get a black T-shirt, shorts, underwear and a towel – No excuses!  Anyone wishing to make the spontaneous decision to get baptized could get the bag of supplies go change and come up front for their turn in the pool.

Before Paul could finish his directions a man in the front row stood up and fully clothed walked up the ladder and in to the baptism pool.  Another followed, also fully clothed and then a mass of people made their way to the back where they received their baptism clothes and towel. In the first service alone 31 people made the decision to share their faith decision on the spot.  I heard later that between the two morning services a total of 52 people made that same decision!!  What really rocked me, besides the courage of these individuals was that during a normal planned baptism celebration, typically 8 -12 people per service make the decision to be baptized – today’s “unexpected” service had over four times that!!

An awesome day for all!


Spontaneous Baptism 5-06-12

Our Baptism

Our Baptism