[Personal] 7 Years Ago Tonight at the Gypsy Den …

** Warning: Skip this post if you don’t like sappy stuff  **

Today is a special day in the Rosendahl household: It’s the anniversary of our first date, and the night we got engaged.  Here is a wonderful description of that day 7 years ago, courtesy of my wife and her blog.  Happy New Year! Read more of this post

Are You What You Do?

If someone asks you, “What do you do?” — what comes to mind?

If you’re like me, you probably have a one-word (or short-phrased) response.  You don’t even have to think about the answer — it’s ingrained in you. Maybe you answer “student” or “teacher” or “lawyer” or <fill in the blank>.

When someone asks me this question, I’ll often respond with “software“. Wait a second — what the frick does that really mean? I do software? (How’s that going for me?)

I’ve found that one way to grow (because the question is awkward) and have a memorable conversation with someone is to ask something slightly different: Who are you?

People may look at you like you’ve misspoken, or they’ll repeat “Who am I??” and give you a very quizzical look.

I’ll often respond by smiling (note from experience: don’t smile too much or you’ll seem creepy!) and replying, “Yes, who is <their name>. What are you about?”

If someone asks me this question, my answer is much more than “software”. In reality, I’m:

  • A (new) husband, learning to navigate what it means to honor my wife, and to serve her sacrificially (freakin’ hard)
  • A new father, learning what it means to balance my work (which I love), and my family (which I love even more)
  • A man seeking after high truths about who we are, who we serve, and what our lives are meant to accomplish
  • An Entrepreneur, full of ideas, responsibilities, and experiences that are much more than just “software”
  • … a whole heck of a lot more (insecure, moody, a dreamer, music-lover … the list goes on and on)

My guess is that you’re also a lot more than the one word or phrase you thought of a few moments ago.  Right?  You’re a lot more than what you do for a paycheck.

So next time someone asks what you do, what will you say? Or better yet, next time you meet someone new, will you have the courage to ask “Who are you?” — and come back and let us know what you learned?

Where You Spend Your Time Reveals The Truth

Do you really know where your time goes? Have you ever stopped to actually track it?

It’s been said you can see the true nature of your heart by looking at where your money goes (which I think is true). I also think you gain insight by looking at where you choose to invest your time (a form of currency).

A little ways back, I tracked my time spent at work, measuring everything I did on a minute-by-minute basis. My goal was to compare where I really put my time versus where I felt it was going. I learned some very interesting things (like: reading and responding to email sucks up a lot of time — a lot more than I thought).

Since I’ve been off work the past week and working with my wife on closing 2012 and entering 2013, we’ve been intentionally discussing what’s important to us (our values).

I decided to create a spreadsheet (yes I love spreadsheets!) to measure where the major chunks of my time go in a typical week. I’ve created six major activities, and allocated the amount of time spent in each daily. You’ll notice there are day-to-day variations in certain areas, like on Wednesday (date night with my wife).

Here’s the spreadsheet:

Where I really spend my time

Where I really spend my time.

In reality, my six major activities in rank order are as follows:

#1: Sleep 33.63%
#2: Work 32.74%
#3: Family 25.60%
#4: Spiritual 3.87%
#5: Blog 2.08%
#6: Work-out 1.79%

The Truth

So, while I say that my faith is important to me, in reality it is 4th on the list. While I say that my wife, daughter, and family is important to me, in reality it is 3rd on the list. Outside of sleep, work dominates where I choose to invest my time.

Without passing judgment on myself, I’m going to let the analysis sink in, and think about what should change (if anything).

What about you? Have you done an audit of your time, relative to where you want to spend it? If not, what do you think you’d find?


Something No One Ever Tells You About Getting Engaged

Getting engaged can be awkward!

Getting engaged can be awkward!

Yesterday, a good friend of ours got engaged to a great guy. In the evening, a group of us gathered to celebrate, and listen while they recounted the details of how it went down.  People love a great engagement story, and theirs certainly had some awesome highlights.

One thing the guy shared that stuck in my mind is that no one ever tells you how amazingly awkward it is to ask someone to marry you.

In movies and on TV shows, incredibly romantic music plays, birds sing and dance, and all sorts of other warm-and-fuzzy stuff happens.

But in real life, things can be downright awkward. It can feel odd living out something that usually only happens once in a life-time.

Are you with me, guys?  (And by that, I mean the dudes reading this … ladies, you probably have a different perspective on this.)

In a few days, Sarah and I will be celebrating the anniversary of our first date and engagement (12/31) [yes, I picked a day that’s easy to remember — but it has special significance so lay off!].  Both days were wonderful and unique in their own way.  Hooray for life’s odd combination of awkwardness and awesomeness!

What do you think?  Are certain life moments incredibly awkward?  What are some of the most awkward moments you’ve had?


Using Mint.com to Manage Family Finances

As we draw towards the end of the year, Sarah and I are preparing for 2013 in a number of ways. One way is to improve how we manage our household finances.  We have a method (described below), but it is cumbersome, time-consuming, and complex.  So today we set out to find a better way, which I’ll describe here. Read more of this post

Why I Love Getting Smashed

Dad and Abby

Abby (and mom) teaching dad a valuable lesson about marketing.

Yesterday, as we sat at our kitchen table — me scrolling through my blog idea backlog, my wife holding our 7 month old daughter — I mused, “What I should blog about?”

“Oh, oh! You should do a Christmas Photo Dump!” she excitedly replied.

“WTF is a Christmas photo dump?” I wondered to myself.  Guess I’m out of the loop.

She patiently explained it is fairly common to share personal pictures, especially on the blogs she reads. “That’s why I read blogs — not for the boring crap you normally write about,” she explained, kinda tongue-in-cheek but actually pretty serious.

“Why would anyone be interested in seeing our Christmas pictures?” I asked, still not convinced.

Boy was I wrong. Read more of this post

Christmas Photo Dump

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from doodles!

Yesterday was our daughter’s first Christmas (and our first as parents).  It was a magical day filled with many memories and blessings.

I normally post things related to entrepreneurship and the business of software, but since we are multi-faceted people and family is very important in having a grounded perspective, I’ve decided to do something a little different.

Actually, I can’t take credit for the idea — my wife convinced me that people are interested in more than just  the usual blah blah blah (I’m sure she’s right!).  So, here’s a photo summary of our day.  Enjoy! Read more of this post

Is the Christmas Story Based on a Lie?

Friends from the Middle East are some of the kindest, most accommodating and hospitable people I’ve met. I don’t know if this is true of everyone from the region, but many have told me this attitude is intentionally cultivated within their culture.

So here’s what doesn’t add up about the Christmas Story: the innkeeper’s response.

Sorry, there’s no room.  Not tonight.

Really? For a pregnant woman about to give birth?

From a culture that so highly esteems hospitality, this seems odd.

Mike Erre suggests the reason is because gossip about how Mary’s baby was conceived preceded her. In those days, her claims would have raised eyebrows and cast Jesus as a “mamzer”. The Septuagint translates the term mamzer as son “of a prostitute” and the Latin Vulgate translates it as “born of a prostitute”.

In English, it is translated as “bastard”.

So what if the town’s people (including the innkeeper) turned Mary and Joseph away, not because of a lack of space, but because they did not want to associate with a bastard?

Although there is no biblical proof for this notion, does the idea make you feel differently about the Christmas Story?

Rosendahl Family 2012 Highlights

Sarah wrote a wonderful year-end summary, highlighting a number of 2012’s memorable events.  What a year it has been!  Here is her summary along with some inline comments from me [like this].   Leave us your thoughts in the comments.  Much love!   Read more of this post

Blog Traffic Monthly Report: December, 2012

I’m often asked what kind of results to expect in the first month of blogging.  As of today, I’ve written 30 posts (including this one), meeting my objective of one short post per day.

I’m running a number of experiments with this blog (which maybe I’ll cover in another post), and so measuring the data has been an important part of the process.

Here’s a summary of this blog’s ROI (return on investment) for the first 30 days. Read more of this post

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