Get It Done

I've talked about it long enough. I've had two dreams over the last year to write a book and to go freelance in my career. Both are steadily getting closer to becoming a reality as opportunities start to align. A lot of people want to be their own bosses or set their own hours, but I on the other hand want to be able to devote my time to projects and opportunities that allow me to build amazing web experiences for others.

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Tell Your Story

We all have a story to tell whether we write it down or not. Writing and speaking are fundamental pieces of our culture, to both express thoughts and ideas to conveying complex and basic emotions to one another. My wife and I love to talk about our days, whether good or bad, the words we share at the kitchen counter are moments when we can share the exciting or decompress from the days experiences.

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Show and Hide Hidden Files in Terminal

One useful part of owning a Mac is the ability to quickly show and hide hidden files so that you can make quick adjustments. For my own workflow that meant starting a Google search for "Show Hidden Files on Mac" all the time when I needed to see and edit a hidden file, then open a terminal window and paste the command that they provided on the page in order to complete that particular workflow. Not the best and quickest solution I know. So at one point I figured that I would set up an alias for both showing and hiding files quickly using terminal with commands that I could remember easily.

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One CSS to Rule Them All

During a project to migrate assets from one server to another it was proposed that we change how our files were being included. For the first step we wrote an interesting JavaScript solution to include files using a single script file. This allowed us to update core styles and/or scripts by adding them to that single script include. Amazing, I thought at first.

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I Need a Hobby

Every day I write code and love building feature 'x' for web sites. I enjoy the projects and people that I work with that inspire me to write clean and highly functional code (in any browser, yes, even Internet Explorer). However, in a recent discussion with a good friend and colleague I realized that I need to start doing more than code at work and then code at home. There are far more interesting things to do than learning to be better at a skill while completely missing the point of unplugging and doing something different that allows your passions to deepen in new ways.

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Changing a Git Repo's Remote URL

A useful practice to get used to in the Terminal is changing the remote path of your repos should you decide to change Git hosting services. Most developers keep there repos in two places: Github or Bitbucket, however, for the select few they decide to host their own Git repos. Generally I don't like to do this for plethora of reasons, but I digress. For those three options it may become necessary to change or move your repo to a new location and this is the step by step process to get your repo moved while keeping all your Git commits and history.

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Git Color Highlighting in Terminal

Working with Git in the terminal can be hard to read and navigate at times. For the last year I have been forcing myself each day to use the terminal much more to get used to doing things without an interface. One pet peeve that I had was that my terminal text was always white on black and extremely hard to read. Then I stumbled across [Cheat Sheets](http://cheat.errtheblog.com/s/git) and figured out a way to get the terminal to work a little better for me.

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Reflecting Resolutions

Every year I watch so many friends and family members make resolutions to change or make their lives better in some small way. Some will exercise everyday or at least once a month, others decide to take up a new hobby while others try to cut sugar (or another bad habit) out of their lives. For as long as I can remember I don’t make resolutions every year because the points of failure are far too high. It’s like those that pray, 'God I will go to church every Sunday if you just do [insert your demand here].' In much the same way God is not a genie meant to grant us all our wishes as we rub the magic lamp, so resolutions are exactly the same thing. They are vows that we take for ourselves to start something by quoting something else cold turkey.

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First Christmas

This year is a year of first for my little family. In January, my wife and I welcomed our daughter into the world and considering she was our first child we spent a lot of time readjusting our lives to accommodate this new role we both inherited. However, in looking back over the last year I see that the losses were no where near as great as the things we gained from our daughter being in our lives. She missed last year's festivities and so this year my wife is exceptionally excited to be sharing one of her favorite holidays with our daughter. Though how do you ensure that Christmas is done right?

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Wake to the Lord

The days that I purposefully wake up to seek the Lord first, such as to retreat to a quiet coffee shop to read the Bible I'm overcome by a fire that I can conquer the world. Like so many days that fire is quickly quenched by the reality of work and relationships that follow that time I spent in His Word. Does that mean that His power over me and my circumstances is weak? No. That lost momentum means that I need to spend more time with Him growing and learning to follow after Him. If you look at those situations wrong then you will start to feel defeated and start to believe that you are a weak Christian. Stop those thoughts right now. When the world is able to wash away your joy the only thing that it means is that you aren't equipped enough to handle the world and no Christian is readily strong enough to conquer a sinful world, which is why we have a Savior in the first place.

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Where For Art Thou Significance?

Where do we find our significance? Without God in the mix we find significance in this world, because it is all we have. If I was to ask you if you feel significant at this very moment what would your response be and what would that feeling be based upon. I know from personal experience that is easy to complain about my significance in terms of the paycheck I get or the work I do being under appreciated, but are those really things that I should be expecting more from. God gives me each of those things and since I am His child my significance should be based on how He sees me.

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The Well of Our Faith

When you speak from the heart what are you speaking about is it love and compassion, or something worse? I used to think that when I spoke from the heart I was speaking with a compassionate heart. However, as the years passed I've come to realize that the tragic conclusion is that my heart is desperately selfish and wicked. In Jeremiah, the nature of the heart is called “deceitful” and “desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9) and warns us not to trust the heart for this reason. In Matthew 15, Jesus likens the heart to the organ that can "defile a person" and out of a heart that where some of the darkest evils are brought forth.

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Finding Solace in the Here and Now

How do we understand the differences between our needs and wants? It can be difficult to differentiate them and even harder to wade through them when our emotional state is high. Personally, I’ve been reminded constantly about the need for safety and significance within my life. For years I tried hard to keep my home and work lives balanced by not bringing home things that were affecting me at work and by not taking what was happening at home to work. Over the course of the last few months that has been exceedingly harder. The unbalance in both areas of my life started to give my manager and co-workers cause for alarm as my habits started to become irrational. Even my wife started to think that maybe it was time for a job change because of the undue stress it was inflicting.

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Walking Through and Meandering Around

The unfamiliar sounds of the wind between the buildings and cars bustling to office spaces I have only, but briefly known are drowned by the early morning sunlight. That rush of traveling to an unfamiliar place has diminished in recent years as my life has settled around my wife and daughter. They are where I never want to leave and that is where I feel most at home. On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon I was awakened to the rush of what I used to love about traveling to new places. The air, the sounds, and the feel of the pavement against my feet as I traveled along foreign avenues.

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Trials Produce a Steadfast Faith

Enduring trials is one of the hardest and most enriching parts of the Christian faith. Though the triumph of those trials is often misconstrued or misdirected until that one brief moment when we realize the intent and true victor of our trial. The strength to both endure and overcome a trial doesn't come from an inner, hidden strength to see us through. Honestly we don't have that kind of strength hidden away for a rainy day; it simply isn't within us. When we attempt to fight against our inadequacies in the midst of a trial we find ourselves frustrated, tired, down right angry, and so on. We cannot struggle alone and hope to overcome.

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Four Years and Counting

Each year I tend to write a post about marriage and this year was going to be no exception, however, in the midst of writing I didn't feel the urge to write. So instead I started writing about how much I admire my wife. Four years ago I married the love of my life. I would say that is where the story began, but that is where we stepped on the gas.

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DNS Prefetching

Increasing page load speed is essential to get users to your content quickly. For the past few months I have been utilizing compression tools for my JavaScripts and CSS files, but I know that this only goes so far. In a way to make my pages load faster I opted to move all my images to a different server and thus set up a private CDN (Content Delivery Network) for this site.

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Conquer a Fear with God

When I start working on something new it begins by filling a need. Though as I look back on the course of my life I wonder if perhaps if this has been the driving force behind all my decisions. Does this fill a need? If not, then it is quickly discarded and forgotten. If yes, then I find a place on the shelf for it in clear view. How often do we all do this? Some people hold onto items for sentimental value at the cost of their own lives, while others quickly discard the unnecessary things even if they had sentimental value at some point. I would classify myself as the latter.

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Automatic Deployments with Bitbucket/Github and Dreamhost

I have always liked working with Git because it has saved my bacon on several occasions. However, the more I started actively developing with Git and using servers to host different websites I wondered if perhaps there was a better way to get my development and remote servers to stay in continuous sync. I would at times edit code on my local machine then have to FTP my changes to the remote server and test. It was tedious but at times when I was away from my machine I didn’t have the time to setup a local environment, or would need to make a change for a client quickly so I would edit files on the server itself. (I can hear the screams). So in order to alleviate this issue I started using Git on my remote servers in order to skip this scary issue of having to edit code on a production server with no way to rollback.

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Books and Community

It has been a long two months and sadly my site again has become neglected with updates. Though I have been working behind the scenes more these last few weeks updating code and preparing for some new things in the coming year. Though as I take some time now to write down my thoughts two months is a long time to be away from the one thing that brings me calm besides my family, by that I mean 'writing'. The tragedy often is that sites made by those that develop sites for a living are the first ones to get neglected. Seems that the same truth holds up for any profession, which reminds me of an old neighbor who so happened to be a gardener. He did some extremely intricate and beautiful work but his own house appeared as if no one had lived there for years. My own site for a solid two months I poured my heart and soul into making it relevant, modern, and beautiful all at the same time so I definitely don't want weeds to start growing around the edges.

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Family Comes First

After spending the last few weeks buried in work I’m growing tired of everything in general. Plus when I grow tired it makes me bitter towards everything else around me and for a man of God bitterness isn’t a particularly wanted drink. Bitterness can be intoxicating and often destructive for anyone who comes in contact with it. Though as Christians we can’t allow those feelings or emotions to truly escape our lips, because we must give those feelings to God and let him fill us His overflowing joy.

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Madison and Tucker

My wife tends to be much smarter than I am, because at times I lack the inspiration and thought process to get started on something new or that has been sitting in my queue to complete. Last night my wife turned to me and said, 'Why don't you finish that book for Carrie?'. I looked at her a while and realized that in the day to day work that I had completely forgotten about my daughter’s book. It was a dream that I had to spend time reading and dreaming with her while she grew up.

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Be Bold with Careful Steps

Dare to dream larger than yourself without fear of failure, or be unafraid to fail. One hope for the work and ideas that I have been pouring my heart into for the last few years has been with one goal in mind, which is to start my own design company that dares to be bold not only for itself but for its clients. To create something that other designers and developers look at with awe and a determination to mimic. Of course all of this comes with one major caveat, which is to think about the user first before design.

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Decades Fade with Birthdays

Last night my daughter silently stared at me, which isn't unusual by any means because she is always quietly observing everything around her taking everything in. What made me laugh a little was when my wife told me, 'She is watching you age.' Yes, my birthday was only about an hour away when I started making goo-goo faces at my daughter with her stone cold look. I doubt she was watching my twenties slip away from me, but I know that I was getting a little excited to see where my thirties would take me. I have been putting a lot of plans in place for the next decade of my life. Two of the things that I plan on doing are getting healthier and pouring more into others than myself, which will include both my family and those I meet. I've been constantly encouraged by certain people that either I follow have been blessed enough to follow in life and those that I know only digitally. When you spend as much time reading as I do you start to collect a wide range of knowledge on both useful and completely erroneous subjects, but you need to guard your heart and mind against the things you start consuming.

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Five, Ten, Fifteen ... wait ... Thirty?

I never spent much time thinking about getting older except when my birthday came around. When I was younger the concept of getting older brought on a plethora of new things, such as, the ability to drive a car at 16, being able to vote at 18, have a few drinks with friends at 21 (a concept I still don't do now even years afterwards), and then being able to rent a car for a road trip at 25. For all of us we fit into one of two categories: the ones who aren't old enough and want to be older or those who are older and wish they could be younger. I fit into the later category and for the big birthday's in my life I tended to be a little more low-key than others because a year older means only one thing you're a year older. You don't get any wiser by gaining a year and you certainly don't gain extra 'street cred' by being X years old. I like to tell people, 'I may have been doing web design for the last 12 years doesn't mean I know anything. My work will show if I know what I'm doing or not.'

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Organize Your Digital Life

While writing I don't like being distracted or being disconnected from what I am trying to write, which tends to cause a lot of frustration when trying to finish a personal or work project. These days no matter where I write I am dependent on the tools I have placed in my workflow to handle the issues of being distracted and disconnected so that I can get back to doing what I want to do most. Write.

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Modular Stylesheets with Sass

Building better stylesheets involves blood, sweat, and often times a lot of tears, but that doesn't always have to be the case. Working for a large company with an enterprise website has taught me one thing about maintaining stylesheets it becomes excruciatingly harder. If I still utilized the skills that I had five years I would be in serious trouble trying to keep track of the myriad of code changes and extensibility that needs to take place for newer designs and keeping old templates in sync.

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When Good Code Goes Bad

I tend to joke that I live dangerously and edit code on a production environment because that is how web developers live dangerously. Tonight was a different story when a few co-workers and myself had to stay at work late in order to fix a small glitch that basically erupted into a major problem.

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Why My Wife is Amazing?

The other night while I laid in bed I was thinking about all the things that my wife has been doing over the last nine months preparing for our daughter. First, she has let her body be completely taken over to form this new life and she has had to sacrifice so many foods that she has enjoyed before everything happened. Even while all this is happening she hasn't once stopped her normal routine of cooking, cleaning, and shopping. All those things she hasn't batted an eye at and I envy her in the fact that she hasn't once stopped to say I can't do this or that because she is pregnant.

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Ready to be a Father

It's interesting that now that I ma at the final days before I become a father that I feel a little more scared as I sit here waiting for my little girl to arrive. My wife is now about a full day past her due date and I'm glancing over at her every few minutes half expecting her water to break right there or for her to shout 'She's coming!'

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New Beginnings and Fresh Starts

Every so often I get inspired to rebuild or rework to start again fresh on a project. With the start of 2014 there are so many firsts about to happen, such as owning a home and having a baby that it felt like the right time to overhaul JustinHough.com into a completely new design. While I'm still working out the bugs with the new design there are a lot of areas that need to bring a fresh perspective to that haven't been touched since 2011.

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When God Speaks Do We Listen?

When God speaks we should be patient and listen to what He has to say to us. A few years ago during a youth summer camp they gave every camper a pamphlet that challenged them to answer three questions each day after their personal Scripture reading time.

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Learning New Skills with Caution

When it comes to working on the web I spend time learning a new skill. Not only is it important to be good at any job, but any worker needs to keep up with the industry and best practices that will help them as an individual to be better at what they do. As I read articles about the web I also try to make sure I look for instances where this practical skill can be used. There are some developers that try to take an article and use it across a site that wasn't even part of the use case that the author of the article had intended it to be used.

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Wake Up to The Lord

The mornings I spend in the Word are the best by far. It allows me the time to recenter my heart and life to the beats of The Lord. Those days when I wake up with the Bible and a hot cup of coffee next to me I feel that I could conquer anything, however, life so many other days that fire is quickly quenched when I allow the world to seep its way in. Does that make me a weak Christian? The answer could mean 'Yes', but in my time I have seen that when we try to conquer the days alone we are easily overtaken by the woes that exist within this world we attempt to build apart from God.

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For My Daughter

I spent the day with my wife registering for our baby shower and surprisingly it was fun being able to see what things we would need to care for our daughter after her birth. There's no shortage of days or hours for that matter that I don't imagine what my daughter will be like or do. How will she smile? What will be her first words? What will be her hair color? And on the questions usually go. Though for all the questions and imagining I do I still can't believe that I still have to wait four more months.

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The Maddening Experiences

I tend to be a patient person, well, most of the time I am patient, however most of the time I have noticed that I lose myself to anger. I get angry while stuck in traffic, when others make mistakes, when I make a mistake, working on projects that have no end, and so much more could be added to this list. So while I may not be an angry person all the time I'm subject to bouts of anger, which I don't prefer.

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Pregnancy Flutters

As my wife and I patiently await the birth of our first child we're each getting excited in our own ways. For my wife she's desperately waiting for the day she gets to feel the baby inside her. Doctors generally call these 'pregnancy flutters'. I think for her it is more about the fact that she may know that new life is growing inside her, but she wants to be able to feel that life.

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Worship and Faith

Music inspires me, especially worship music. After hearing a few lyrics from a song titled 'Build Your Kingdom Here' I went home found the music video on YouTube and have been listening to it at least once every day, if not more.

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Where and What the Future Holds

As I start writing a new piece I imagine what it'll look like on the shelf of a bookstore. What it will sound like sliding off the shelf? What a reader will see when looking at the cover or casually flipping through its pages? Suppose that those types of thoughts get a little ahead of myself, but I would argue that the entire lifetime of a book should is as important as the first words on the page.

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Fountain Pens Revisited

It has been a few months since I got my first real fountain pen and I feel elated by the whole experience. Now every time I put pen to paper it feels as if only good things can come out (well, not all the times, but the feeling is great). For my last birthday my wife bought me a fountain pen that I had been admiring that is made out of harvested Olive Wood from Bethlehem. Wow! Certainly it has been the most complex writing instrument I have owned to date, not including my laptop.

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I am a writer, but I'm ...

I'm a writer. Sometimes all it takes to believe you can do something is a strong conviction and the words to back it up. When I hear others say, 'oh, yeah you're a writer'. Those moments when others notice that I am writer somewhat hurt, because that's where my real passion is derived from. However, as a career I don't do anything remotely close to writing. The closest that I get to writing daily is usually the scribbles I put in my notebook, the posts on this site, and the copy/paste of other people's writing that I put on web pages at work. Through all the day to day drudge I often wonder if I could have made it as a writer. What the writing direction would have been I can't speculate to, but I'm sure it would have been interesting.

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Using Sass Mixins

The power of Sass comes out when you start to understand and use mixing. It helps to understand the basics of CSS first before attempting to try to use Sass (or I would recommend Scss first since its markup is close to CSS). In working with Sass more you start to realize that you need to create your own mixin libraries to keep all the code manageable and upgradeable. If you use libraries, such as, Compass or Bourbon then you will have a lot of mixing at your fingertips. In this post I am speaking to those developers who want to create their own so here are the basics of mixing.

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Sass Colors

I started using Sass about a year ago and have been learning a lot of cool and interesting features about what it can do. With Sass you can create variables that help alleviate what I like to call the find and replace issue. Have you ever had a bunch of complicated stylesheets, interconnected in a spider web and needed to change a color. Yes. Don't worry we all have at some point. Well, with Sass you can create color variables to make sure that the same color is used in multiple different areas and with one change it can be updated. Want to change your site color from blue to orange? Change the one variable and your done.

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What Does It Mean to be a Father?

What does it mean to be a father? From my own experience the simple act of having a child does not make one a father. They might be a biological parent, but there is so much more involved. In watching my own little 'peanut' grow it has become painfully obvious that a 'real' father is one who cares for the cries of his children, who nurtures them throughout their life, teaches them the difference between right and wrong, who takes more time for them than his work, but most importantly he is one who shows them the love of Christ. When you look at a strong, closely knit family you will see their is a father who knows God, who's involved in the lives of children, and has taught his little boy the man he wants to be, as well as, has given his little girl an example of the man she wants to marry. This is where a man becomes more than just a man; this is where a man becomes a father.

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A New Life Begins

A few weeks ago my wife and I got to spend some quality time with my parents at the local market night. I always enjoy spending time with my wife doing almost anything, but especially when it involves making sure we are both healthy by buying locally grown fruits, vegetables, and everything else. At the end of the night my parents went on their way home and I changed into some shorts to start working on a coding project that I've been leaving in the back burner.

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Plans to Prosper

I don't make or take bets. My faith has taught me one thing, which is that with God all things are possible. The questions about can He do something are quieted by the fact that I know He will follow through on every promise that He makes. When I get stuck in notions or thoughts about uncertainty about decisions I make I tend to take a lot of risks in hoping that everything will be okay. That is usually why most like the idea of betting or risking it all to hopefully achieve more than they originally had before. We always hope for the future and what we can have while completely losing out on what we have right here and now. The greatest loss we have is forgetting what is right now.

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Broken Dreamer as a Tired Worker

The pain in my chest grows stronger each day and the urges that I need to do more become impossible to avoid. We have one calling which we are meant to do, but sometimes we never realize what specifically that calling is. My day job prevents me from writing, which is what I truly enjoy doing. As a web developer I have to watch others craft content that I spin and tweak to work on the web or at least make it look beautiful. I'm on the tail end of the journey for the content at my current job. For a writer it is maddening having to watch from the outside as others do what you love doing.

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A Poem on Marriage

I don't write much poetry anymore. However, in years past I have literally written hundreds of poems on a wide variety of subjects and once I get all the content converted for my new web site I'll have more to show. However, each year my wife has one request that I write her a poem. The subject changes depending on what she wants me to write about. When we were dating I wrote poems all the time to her about how much she meant to me and while that practice has been lacking since we have been married I spare no time each day telling her how much I love her.

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The Unconscious Writer

Make writing such an act that it becomes subconscious. I don't mean learn the ability to write while sleeping, but the thought sounds intriguing. However, I've been reading a lot of blogs about how to write better or getting writing to a level of fluidity where it becomes an extension of your daily life. In the last several posts I've talked about getting back into my own writing groove with the goal of finishing my first novel.

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Motivation Through Ancestry

While I sat on the bed a few nights ago I decided to read through the first chapter of a book that has been sitting on my shelf for a number of years. It was a book written by a relative of mine and to read the words he had written so long ago was inspiring. To date I haven't published a book, but to see someone from my own family do it was definitely something that I needed to see. However, it made me start thinking about how often we al feel inspired by what a family member has done?

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The Pressures of Life

Life is filled with the presence of things both seen and unseen. I have learned one thing over the short number of years I've been alive that despite my best intentions I'll feel trapped when I lose the joy in my heart. Over the course of the last year my wife has been going through some medical issues and I know that I can't truly help her, but as a man I want to solve every issue I come across.

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Dusty, Unfinished Books

Two books. Each book about half done and nothing to carry them forward. Well, I shouldn't say, nothing. Though I wonder how many of us end up with more unfinished, dusty, forgotten works than we haven't completed. What are the issues that cause this to happen and how can we move past the stigma of never being able to finish a work? I have two, if not three, books in the works at the moment and for the life of me I cannot seem to get back in the groove of writing about the particular stories each have.

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Renewed Sense of Writing

When it comes to writing regularly, I don't always get the chance. Too many distractions enter my life or sheer boredom takes over and I find myself mulling over some small task for hours before realizing they my day is gone. Nothing else should matter to a writer than trying to find those few hours each week to sit down and write.

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Hearts in Service

When you decide to serve, do you serve because you have to or because you want to? Two very different answers will show themselves depending on the heart of the individual being asked. If you serve to fulfill a requirement you are far less likely to enjoy the task that has been set before you. If you are serving out a want or love then the heart you put into your service can grow beyond the basic needs set before you. You jump at the tasks you're given and you genuinely enjoy helping where you can. The direction we chose to serve changes our heart attitude.

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Hopes For Things Imagined

We all have some high hope, a dream, or aspiration in life that want to see. For a lucky few they change the world in some small or large way and receive that praise of those around us.

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Unashamed Testimony

What does our testimony say about us? Does it show our triumphs, or does it showcase our failures? The testimony that we have allows us to speak into the lives of other Christians, as well as, non-believers. It is our display of the love and mercy of God's amazing grace. We shouldn't be ashamed or scared by our pasts, nor afraid of the possibility of sharing our experiences.

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Writing About Nothing

In thumbing through my notebook I noticed that I write a lot in snippets. A thought here, another there, and finally a complete, wait, no just another snippet. I write in short bursts that will eventually add up to something more, but when I read through those captured moments I wonder if perhaps I am writing about nothing. Was there something there? Did I wait to long before revisiting that particular piece?

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Up Before the Sunrise

Been up since 3:30 and can't seem to find a way to go back to sleep. There has been a lot of stress and work to deal with on top of everything, however, sleep seemed to be the only thing I could look forward to with any certainty. Though today was different, no matter how much I tried to fall back to sleep my mind was racing thinking about the days ahead and all the work that followed along with it. As I wander the darkness trying to figure out why I couldn't sleep I realized that I am not my own.

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Hammer for Mac

When I'm coding a new design for a client I take into consideration the tools that I will use to allow for a streamlined and unified experience that also is easy to manage. When it comes to HTML sites I definitely have issues trying to keep track of styles, scripts, and various navigation links all over the place because I don't have the ability to use any real logic while on a local machine.

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Navigating Mobile

In the process of responsive design we come to a crossroads. A divide that takes us either to desktop or mobile. We cannot attempt to make the two roads one, but must see them as distinctly different with their own challenges and triumphs.

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Build a jQuery Plugin

JavaScript is probably one of the second things that I learned when I started building websites, but when it came to building incredible fun and extensible applications that didn't come until I started using jQuery. However, some simple functions can get complicated to call on a page especially when you have to run a simple function multiple times to achieve the same result.

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Taking Some Time

There are moments that I try to steal in between coding and life in general in order to spend a little time writing for myself on a new project. For the last few months however, since the end of NaNoWriMo I have been dreading finishing my new book. Well, I will be honest I have three book projects going on at the same time right now and each of them seem to have their own challenges of reaching the end. Two works of fiction and the last a Christian themed book on biblical servanthood.

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Time Wasting is Not a Management Style

Have you ever developed multiple applications at once and thought that the day was literally getting away from you? You peeked your head up after a long coding session to find that it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon and you had nothing to show for you day, but a series of bugs and tiny accomplishments. You say to yourself, “Well, my plugin looks like a plugin...I think?” That has been my day for the last week, which was (and still is) a giant leap towards being a more well-rounded coder with nothing to show for it except a small migraine creeping up from a corner of my brain.

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With a Responsive Experience in Mind

About every year I rethink my own strategy and direction for my personal site to make sure that I’m still going down the right path. With my last design iteration (from over a year ago) I tried to infuse more of my personal writing and design concepts in creating an adaptive site. However, based on the last article I wrote I started thinking more about responsive (rather than adaptive) design which has become a passion of mine throughout 2012. Understanding the flow of content and design as it relates to certain devices (mobile, tablet, and desktop) is crucial in creating a seamless user experience.

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Thinking Responsive, Not Being Unresponsive

For the better part of a year I have been working with adaptive and responsive templates. Over that time I have seen first hand that content is an important part of any site, however, you when making a site responsive you've got to keep that content in mind. A great deal of companies want a mobile experience, but they don't want to spend the time considering how content should be displayed for users trying to use their sites.

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Writing Forum

Recently I got the chance to sit down with some aspiring writers and literally talk about the craft that I love. While the discussions was both on and out of topic during the two-hour session is was incredible getting to share with them the triumphs and pitfalls that have strengthened my own writing career.

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Sins of a Generation

Our forefathers had deep in their hearts the sins that we now carry in our generation. Sin is a weed, an infection that sprouts between the cracks in our faith and impairs our strength in the spiritual fight. Yes, our strength does not exist in this world, but knowing that doesn't prevent us from working ourselves to the bone trying to find it. The cycle of generational sin continues when we fail to draw strength and endurance from the one source that allows us freedom. We turn our backs on God and wonder why our lives, marriages, and relationships don't last.

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Preach in His Name

We're instructed to preach in His name and to be His followers. Thinking about getting led astray has been weighing heavily on my mind lately in listening or reading various sermons. Especially when I dig into the Word during my weekly morning trips to a coffee shop or quiet corner of a library to get out of my element I feel that the Lord is tugging at my heart to pay more attention to false teachers and distortions in His teachings. I don't count myself completely grounding in the Word, nor a great scholar of the Word, but I am a man who feels passionately about reading and talking about what He has given to me during the time I spend in the Bible.

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Content in Weakness'

What does it mean to be content in weakness? To not boast for anything more than what the Lord has provided? We are all fools to believe that material blessings on this earth are the only true blessings of the Lord. Our hearts should be steadfast in the Lord, not caught on His blessings, but caught in the Lord Himself.

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I'm Thankful for...

What are you most thankful for? We make it so easy to in our lives to remember every bad or tragic thing that has happened to us that we forget or overlook the instances to be thankful. Can you make a list of 5 to 10 things that you're thankful for? I bet you can tell me about every horrible thing that your boss has made you do over the last year, but you can't remember too many good points without having to think about it. Our perspectives are skewed and this is meant to realign our own views back to what matters.

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Challenges to the New Year

I don't prefer making New Year's resolutions. To be honest they don't make sense that an individual can only vow to change something at the start of a new year. The tradition, however, stands that at the start of each new year we all try to resolve to be better, make a difference, or change something in a good way. My thinking stands that if you wanted to lose weight, change your demeanor, or overall improve anything that you would have been able to do it long before the new year. Though the concept of starting new beginnings is a strong encouragement for anyone to change themselves or others for the better.

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Fountain Pens for Daily Writing'

I've used the same brand of [Pilot G-2](http://www.pilotpen.us/ProductGroup/35-G2.aspx) to do the bulk of my writing over the past 5 years. It was a long time coming trying to find the right combination of smooth writing and quick drying ink to work with my Moleskine notebooks. My writing process is exceedingly quick. To give you an example I have often written so fast that turning pages would cause those pages to bleed into the previous page as I continued on. For a writer to pause in the midst of a thought causes loss in momentum.

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Centurion 3 is Around the Corner

The release of Centurion is just around the corner and with so many loose ends to finish up before then I wanted to sit down for a minute to remember why I built Centurion in the first place.

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Christmas Time is Here!

Christmas is here once again and like all Christmas' past I feel myself stumbling and meandering from one party to the next. Juggling family and friends in an attempt to fit everything into the holiday season.

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Scrivener and Plaintext: Writing on the Road

When I was in college the hardest part about writing was trying to keep track of scenes, revisions, digging through folders for the last updated copy of my story, and eventually trying to format everything to the right specifications using Microsoft Word. I think that I spent more time on housekeeping tasks than I actually spent writing. Though for a writer the task of writing should weigh heavier than any other part of the process. It shouldn't be about getting the margins, line spacing and page count formatted correctly.

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Restful Writing

It has been nearly two months since I've written anything in the regards to a blog. Actually for the last month I can be honest that I was not shortchanging my writing or taking a break. For the past two months I was either preparing or actually writing like a crazy person.

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During a People Watching Moment

As a writer my pass time is people watching or listening. It’s a great way to build characters and real-life scenarios that allow people to feel as if the incident is happening in front of them. While people I observe may know that I’m listening it is curious to see the things that people talk about when they are trying to pretend to be enlightened and argue for their specific point.

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Reminders of the Past

For the past two months I've been trying to finish a book I wrote several years ago about service. Though over the course of the last week I have been lacking in my want to rewrite a certain chapter based on the reminders that it would bring up. It was a chapter devoted to overcoming our past sins by understanding the motives that caused them in the first place. If we ignore our past then we are doomed to repeat it, which is something that Winston Churchill understood when he gave his famous speech about the horrors of World War II. For myself my reminders were good but hard to get through since they dealt directly with the death of my grandfather. The life that God was nurturing in me was set on fire the moment that He died and I realized that when you are called to serve or help then you must be willing to charge, not pause.

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A Definite Sinner

I am a sinner. Wow, that felt good to get off my chest. But wait, we all were sinners once and there are times when we continue to be so after the saving receiving salvation. Does that mean that I'm not saved or that God doesn't love me? Do I need to fix my life before I come to Christ? The doubter should have been my title during the my youth. Much how we hear about doubting Thomas in scripture who literally needed to see the risen Christ in order to believe that He had risen.

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Best Things in Life Aren't Free

The phrase 'the best things in life are free' got stuck on my mind as I started to gear up for my work today. I sat at the computer staring at the next chapter for my book and realized that that was not true. The best things in life are not free.

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Dual Lives Cannot be Lived for Christ

I have a communication problem. You'll notice I do one of two things, either I will keep quiet or I'll crack a few jokes that skew the conversation. These skills, or annoyances I'm sure for some, don't tend to be problematic unless you add the fact that I'm a blunt person. I don't much care what others think about me given the circumstance. In the words of Popeye, 'I yam what I yam!' or better translated as 'I am what I am!' Over the course of my life I've either hidden who I was or found myself expressing my beliefs in a far more recognizable fashion. Both sides of me don't live in absolute harmony, nor have either of my sides ever won too many friends.

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Work with the Lord'

There is a saying that my church's youth group has 'Do work son' or 'Do work gir' and it has inspired them to do the work they have been called to do. Like everyday there is that reminder that despite what we do if we do it with the wrong motives then we have done nothing at all. Anytime I get the chance to read through James I remember that there is a connection between my faith and works. The thin red line that connects both is similar to a tightrope and for those who are walking with Christ it isn't the easiest lesson to remember.

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Coffee House for Early Morning Writing

Writers need to find anyway possible to avoid distractions to help them get their writing out. This may come as a shock but I find that my best time to write comes when I'm sitting at a coffee house early in the morning before work. If I wake up late and find myself in a rush to get out the door my day seems far less productive. Who knows how much money I have spent in software or devices over the years to combat this issue of finding that moment of distraction free writing.

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Writing in the Cloud

For the last few weeks I have been consolidating my writing into one location and even moved several stories into the cloud so that I had access to them from anywhere. The process has been long, but it has had its fun moments. Some of the stories that I had been working on years ago I found and for a writer the discovery always leads to something else down the road. The stories that I did find will be rewritten on this site but that will be a teaser for things to come.

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Cherish the Wife of Your Youth

What's the first thing you do to start the day? Depending on how you answer that day may say a lot about the priorities you set before yourself. My morning routine usually involves me fumbling to the bathroom to get ready for work, scrambling in the closet for a clean shirt, and then the shallow attempt to eat a little breakfast before bolting out the door.

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Counting the Minutes

The day began a little slower than I was expecting, but that only means I had more time in the morning to watch my wife sleeping. No, not the heavy breathing, creepy type watching, rather it was the quiet, admiring type watching. My wife is one of those people you admire and when you take the time to know her she will literally knock your socks off. Or if your lucky she might actually take your socks off, because that is the type of person she is to serve others before herself. However, tomorrow is our anniversary and to prep I took a few days off this week to spend time with her as we enjoyed each other's company. It was taking time to enjoy my wife that I often take advantage of on a daily basis.

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Anniversary: A Marriage Celebration

It has been a rough year and finally after making it through the toughest patches it's now time to take a rest. With vacation days lined up like candy I've been rather lazy about writing. However, with my anniversary coming up in a few short days I've been thinking about the past two years and all the moments in between. It felt like yesterday that she was walking down the aisle while I stood waiting and watching for her to reach me.

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Boost Performance in Drupal 7

Performance is everything. Load time is one of the most crucial aspects in getting users or prospective clients to use your website. If your site takes minutes to load then no matter how useful your site may be no one will use it. The impatience of users has only shortened in recent years as the web has become a platform to share and use content.

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Busy Days Make For Long Weeks

Over the past few weeks it has started to feel that I've been living at work. Hours upon hours strung together on the same projects and despite my best intentions those projects never seem to finish. The frustration of work for me begins when tasks never get completed. Requirements and standards get thrown out the window in search for building a bigger and better version without a direct goal in sight.

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The Pieces of Planning

Developing and building great web applications relies on having the right tools at your disposal to alleviate the headaches that arise during the building process. Planning, constructing, implementing, and maintaining are all pieces of the web puzzle that cause every developer an equal amount of frustration when not handled properly.

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Passionate Writing Involves a Moleskine

A few blog posts back I talked about my use of Evernote for daily writing, and keeping all my writing in one place. While I still use Evernote daily there are moments where I still prefer the tactile sensation of writing in a quality notebook. Over the years I've used a wide variety of writing mediums such as napkins, scraps of paper, or the back of my hand. All of which served a purpose.

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There Would Be Days Like This

My wife and I took a lazy Sunday. No, we didn't stay home and vegetate on the couch. We drove around the area doing probably two of my least favorite activities, driving and looking at houses. While I may not necessarily enjoy doing those activities I know that my wife does and I made it a point to let her enjoy the day. Despite what many might think I find joy in watching my wife find her joy.

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Lazy Weekend Spent in Prayerful Consideration

This weekend started with the best of intentions to get things done, however, it ended on trying to figure out where God has been directing me over the past 6 months. A lot of changes have been coming up recently and I suppose that it's been about trying to figure out if I am listening to His directions or my own. In Colossians, Paul's letter to the church talks about what it looks like to dwell in the Lord.

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Midst of Pain

Aeschylus wrote, 'In our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart and in our despair, against our will comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.'

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Choices Are Becoming Decisions

Life is about making the tough decisions and having to live with them once you do. In my own life I have seen the hand of God working out in so many of my own prayers. I can even remember praying for a godly woman to be in my life to stand by my side and that prayer was fulfilled in my wonderful wife 4 years ago. Then God again blessed me with an incredible job situation so that I could afford to buy my wife a ring and ask her to marry me.

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Taking Time to Ponder and Make Lists

It's been a little over a week since I wrote my last post. Lots of life changing points have been cropping up lately and exhausting nights trying to figure them all out. All for my lack of trying I have been utterly exhausted and haven't had much time to think about what I was going to write next or talk about. Some of my posts are ramblings that seem to be about nothing and then sometimes end with an intriguing points. While I may not post everything that I write on this website I have posted quite a few things that I hoped would make people think more.

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Let New Memories Begin

There has been a whole lot of pain dwelling in my heart lately, and so much so that the bitterness has been spilling out. It pains me to admit, or even condone letting my pain be seen by others since I am a relatively private person. I do interact with people on a daily basis, but I prefer to be in a quiet corner of the coffee shop observing and writing; the patient observer, not the quiet stalker.

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First Fish

Dad casts first, showing me how it's done. Go on you can do it, remember to flick your wrist. I fumble with the rod, the wet composite of carbon and steel slipping between my fingers, unable to liberate the plastic string from the reel. I fling it forward. A spear in the wind, the hook propelled towards my goal. A fish.

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Playing the Game

It was an early start this morning. A little after 5:30 I rose, attempted to shine, and after a short drive I was ready to serve the Lord for my church's annual golf tournament. As the morning stretched on I slipped into my role of helping each of the golfers and directing them on the rules of the tournament. By the end of the our each golfer was itching to get started and sped off to their tee box somewhere along the mountain course. Over the years I've tended to take the odd jobs serving in my church and this has been one of the oddest since I don't even play golf, nor watch it. Though the circumstances of servanthood tend to not be completely obvious at first glance.

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Landmarks in a Walk With God

When the Israelites traveled through the desert for forty years they set landmarks to remember important events. Those landmarks served a purpose to teach younger generations about the fulfillment of God's promises and mercy. Today we don't build a pile or rocks in the backyard to commemorate a life changing event in our lives. Most of the time we only remember the big life changing events in our lives and don't set them in stone for others to know or even to remind ourselves of the life change that occurred.

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Life Change

There are those moments in your life when you know that nothing will be the same. You can sense the winds of change and it's pointing you another way. We all reach this point in our lives and must make the decision to stand against everything, or to have faith that God is placing us where we need to be. Can we fight it? Should we fight it? When we fight the plans that have been made for us we end up doing more harm to ourselves than good. We essentially are going against the grain in our walk. Acceptance of the road that God would have us walk leads us down roads we might have ignored and which lead to the best choices in our lives.

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Dreaming to be Unknown

Being a writer there is a natural inclination to believe in being inspired, however, over the past few weeks I have come to the realization that this is not true. It stands better that as a writer I need to be the one who inspires. The one who drives others to achieve great and incredible feats simply by the words that I use to spurn others on in their endeavors.

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Bruised and Broken

My hands are bruised and broken. My mind is crippled by thoughts of uncertainty in the midst of the unknown. Where once everything was clear before me, now appear in ruins. Can we lose our salvation? The possibility of losing salvation is always in the back my mind, even when I know that my salvation can never truly be lost. Especially when we falter on the path of life, through all the obstacles that this can world can throw at us we must remain strong and undeterred.

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As Christians

As Christians it’s automatically assumed that our lives are complete and that we can do nothing wrong the moment that we accept the Lord into our hearts. We believe that the things of this world can no longer affect us nor concerns us, because we have been born again, or are free from reprisal, because we are Christians. Quite often these thoughts of superiority are on the minds of non-believers and believer. Why? It’s the attitudes that we portray and that we convey that display who we are. Christ called us to be salt to the world, but He didn’t call us to be smug salt simply humble salt.

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Reflection on Another Day of Prayer

The world is constantly pulling me down and away from You. Can I lose the salvation that You have given me? Is there something that I will, or have done that will take You away from me? Moments in the past few days have been causing me to become more and more depressed about the situations that I end up in. Each step that I take forward in my faith there are others that take me two steps back. It's not easy to rely on faith alone, but the glory that You have offered grows stronger with each passing day in the corners of my heart. You had knit me together in my mother's womb and now you strengthen me through the furnace of life to be so much more for You and Your Kingdom.

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HTML5 is Where I Want to Go

HTML5 is the next phase of the ever evolving web eco-system. After personally seeing and experiencing the power of HTML5 there is no wonder that so many people are already adopting those features now in response to cleaner markup.

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Better CSS Building with Sass and Compass

Having worked on the web for years I've been subjected to huge and often scattered CSS stylesheets that comprise a large enterprise level site. Even my own site has had its moments of crazy style mishaps and multiple declared elements based on stylesheet organization issues. However for the past few weeks I have been working on converting the stylesheets for both this site and my new [Centurion framework](https://github.com/jhough10/Centurion) into SCSS stylesheets for optimized organization of styles. Being able to find something quickly and easily can make all the difference.

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Renewed Each Day in Love

I firmly believe that God puts people in our lives to make us more aware of our short comings. Whether it be a blatant sin or a casual straying from the path He's set for us, He uses those people to point us back to where we should be. That person for me came in Leah, whom is not only my wife, but my friend, and spiritual guide. Most might find it odd that I would consider my wife to be the one who guides me, but it's true. While I have those men in my life who keep me accountable and journeying down the right path as a Paul / Timothy relationship, Leah is the one whom my heart has been given to. Her life for all intensive purposes has become the center of my world. I cleave to her and will ultimately cherish her so that in my arms and love she would remain blameless before the Lord.

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Procrastination

The confession comes when I look at my notebook and realize I haven't written anything down in days or worse weeks. Procrastination comes in every aspect of life and not only to writers. You can set a new year's resolution, but a resolution will not do the work for you. There has to be a personal triumph to get back into the daily habit of completing what you set yourself to do. You may miss a few days, like I occasionally do here and there, but do not let that discourage you from keeping the rubber to the road.

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Disable Default Styling on iOS and WebKit

When you build out a new design for site and realize when you look at it on your iPad or iPhone and see that all the styling is wrong it can be frustrating. Recently when I added search functionality to my own site this problem cropped up. WebKit which is the default web layout engine for Safari and iOS adds its own styling to input elements by default leaving the web designer to have to overwrite each one my hand in order to turn them off. This can be a headache.

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Wake Up and Go

Last week I celebrated my birthday and it was a great day. Not because something spectacular happened or even for big gift. It was a great day for the simple reason that I got to spend time with my wife and family. Family is the most important aspect of my life and despite our dysfunctional nature we accept each other for our strengths and flaws. To know someone even in their mistakes and still love them is true love.

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Worship with Every Ounce

When you worship do you worship with every ounce of yourself? I know I don't and I know I should. Though the thing about worship is that it should be practiced all the time, not just in the church, but in our daily lives. In my last few posts I talked about the missional church and moving outward to change lives, rather than only doing things in the church. The need for authentic worship is a part of that missional goal and direction. We must ask the questions:

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National Day of Prayer

Driving home last night from my church's gathering for National Day of Prayer I started thinking about all the different areas of our lives and the country that we were praying for. For a moment they all sounded distinct, but looking deeper the one prayer we should have been praying during the service is that we all put God back in our lives.

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Shifting Our Focus Outward - A Missional Change

For many years the church has been focused on internal issues, and by that I mean the focus has been on developing disciples to better understand the Word in the walls of the church, while ignoring the ability to put things into action. The study of the Word is a noble and necessary part of the Christian life; don't get me wrong on that. But my argument is based more on the fact that we have neglected the lives of those outside of our church. How are others won for the kingdom? Do they fall through the doors on Sunday morning saying 'Save me'? New believers come to know Christ by the actions of believers and seeing disciples work.

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How to Manage the Church - A Missional Approach

My church has recently started moving towards being more mission focused in their approach, which essentially is being more people-centric rather than being program-centric. Many churches have been adopting this mindset because it aligns closely with the Great Commission and deals with meeting people where they are, showing them the path to God. This is a significant change from the way the Christian church tried to get people into the church rather than having the followers of Christ meet the lost in the community.

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Willingness to Serve

Having the heart of a servant is what all Christians should strive to achieve. The work that we do no matter it's significance is for the Lord and we must abound in that work with hearts of thankfulness. Why does that concept of serving our Lord always get skewed by thoughts of inadequacy, failure, or lack of time? We place our hope and seek the rewards in the things of this world while we forget about our Lord and the promises that He has already made to us.

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Tackling Tasks, not Tripping on Them

You arrive at work and have a hundred emails in your inbox. (Oh, snap!) Then you notice that your manager has put three new projects on your desk on top of the four you are already working on. Instantly your mind goes into panic mode. You don't know where to begin and you contemplate hurling your computer to the floor hoping that the downtime will give you the time you need to figure something out.

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Be Transformed

While the world and work might get me down at times, I know I'm meant to be different from the world and remain above the influence of this world. I let things, people, and details get to me daily, but it is how I react to those individual pieces that shows who is in control of my life. Do I want to look like the person who constantly is bitter about his situation? Or do I want to be the person who is strong in the pain and is an example for others to look up to? The latter is the direction I want to pursue, but that also involves crucifying the flesh daily to remain salty for those that I see daily and those who find me wandering the streets.

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Push Through That Writers Block

I have stared at my computer for what feels like days trying to find inspiration. There are several books in a combination of Scrivener files waiting to be finished, but each is missing that crucial piece of inspiration or a close that will tie up several loose ends. What types of blocks do you have on your writing? Inspiration issues. Not enough time in the day. A writing medium problem. Too many writing mediums. Unsure how others will interact with your piece once it's finished. There are a whole slue of reasons that I've heard over the years about issues writers have with trying to finish something. I have written enough short stories in my short life that prove I have the ability to mold creative pieces and be able to finish a new one, but it's that one issue, an excuse that keeps me from finishing all these books.

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Moving Forward and Onward

Saying farewell to a trusted or respected friend can be a hard moment. Today I had to say goodbye to a colleague of mine who, over the past few years, I am proud to call a friend. Though as life moves forward, so must those around us. As new friends enter our lives, old ones will move in their own direction. If life remained unchanging and predictable, then I suppose it would get boring. The spice of life is the ability for life to be ever chaining.

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The Centurion Framework

For the past 10 years I've been working on the web. However, that doesn't mean I understand the web any more than I did 10 years ago. With experience, a web designer can understand more about how to build web sites faster, and learn best practices while designing. Not that working for many years on the web has made me an expert, I simply have a unique perspective into the nature of the web.

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The Tent of Life

I've been convicted lately by my own arrogance and pride. There have been battles, both in the workplace and at home, which my spirit has utterly been losing. Struggles have worn the thick skin I once had and made me susceptible to the inner hatreds of my heart and the words of others. There is no hidden truth that I have a bitter distain for my job and the work that I do. There is no way I can hide that fact anymore as my co-workers have often told me how much my attitude has changed in the past few months. That leaves a bitter taste in my mouth knowing that others are aware of struggles I'm going through.

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Wordsmithing

Writing has been a part of my life for years. I went to college to become a better writer, and whether or not that goal was ever reached remains a mystery. The only hope I can place is that all the tuition, time, and energy spent reading and writing was worth the effort. Though at some points in the past few years, my life and writing have walked different paths. The things that affect me at work or at home tend to make the stories I write harder to put down on paper.

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5 Tips to Writing - Mood

It has been a while since I have posted a tip from my first blog series "5 Tips to Writing," and I figured the best way to get back into the driver's seat was to hop in and go. For this post we will be talking about the idea of mood. The exercises that we've been working on until this point have all helped to establish the mood of our writing. For example, tone, theme, plot, and dialogue all help to set the mood that a piece will take. Even the perspective a writer chooses to write in can drive a scene to be witty, dramatic, suspenseful or humorous. A mood will stick with a piece from beginning to end.

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Evernote for Writers

The biggest question that I have been trying to answer lately is: how can a writer get the most out of their writing? I do my share of traveling and have found that a laptop or notebook as my main source for writing is difficult. Oftentimes, there is a disconnect when I can't find that latest piece I am working on because it's either at home, or not in the right notebook. Not to mention that when inspiration comes, but it doesn't always come when I'm near a medium to capture the idea. On the flip side when I have the opportunity to write an inspiring moment may not be there. So I proposed the question to myself again. Where and with what can I write to keep everything in one place?

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Called to the Unexpected

In the midst of all the frustration that had reached a boiling point last week, I almost gave up. However, there was a moment I was asked to lead my church's youth group through a small portion of Matthew while our youth pastor was away. To lead with a little back-story my wife and I joined the youth group nearly a year and a half ago and have been loving every minute of it. Though to try and write a lesson while feeling downtrodden is certainly not easy, and I'm not one of those people who can write a lesson or study out of simple habit. When I talk about something I do research, fact check, and get into the information so that I can feel confident saying what I believe.

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Dead to the Spirit

After I finished reading an excerpt from "[The Prodigal God](http://timothykeller.com/books/the_prodigal_god/)" by Timothy Keller, I realized a harsh reality that I had been taking on the guise of the elder brother. In his book, Keller undertakes dissecting the Parable of the Prodigal Son in [Luke 15](http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2015:11-32&version=ESV). For reference you may want to read the parable if you haven't read it in a while.

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Write in a Daily Fashion

Trying to get back into the habit of writing daily is a difficult task. Considering all the writing courses that I took in college, you'd figure that writing daily would come easily. When you take even a small break from the task or discipline, it then becomes harder to get back into the habit. Though in college I was taught to write in short snippets, it was that training that helped me start getting my writing back into shape.

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Move Forward, Not Out

Lately, I've been contemplating about giving up, because I find little to no solace in my job, or even in the direction my life has been going in the past few months. I do most of my thinking while alone in the car, the radio turned off, and the hum of the engine to keep my mind moving along. Today, on my short drive, I realized that I'm not angry or despondent about the direction my life is going, or even in the job I have. Rather, it's the view that I've been seeing my life. The simple things that I used to brush under the rug have become a huge stopping point simply because I cannot see beyond my circumstances.

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The Realization Day Comes

There comes a day when your sitting or laying in bed crying your eyes out, feeling as if no one loves you. (That has not happened to me, well, lately.) What does it mean to give up in the middle of intense crisis, of suffering? Does it make you a coward for not sticking it out? No, it makes you susceptible to the world, and its lies. We are not islands, as much as the world would have you believe, and we cannot survive alone.

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The Story of a Storyteller

There isn't much to say about yourself when you're the storyteller. To spend a life in pursuit of telling the stories other people have lived is often easier than trying to tell your own story. Though recently I started to realize the history that can come from a life well-lived.

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5 Tips to Writing - Perspective

One of the first things I learned about writing was perspectives, well that and dialogue, but it doesn't sound as good for this post. While perspectives may seem odd to learn when first writing it is an essential piece of the creative process. A story written in the first-person can sound completely different if taken from the perspective an outside observer (third-person). So from my perspective the first and most important decision you can make about your next piece is what perspective it should be written in.

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Responding to God

God calls us, but we must be willing to respond. There is no forced action, however, in denying what God has for us we can never truly in this life be fulfilled and satisfied, because we are denying the calling that we were meant for.

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5 Tips to Writing - Dialogue

When they say communication is key, then they would be right, but of course there is always another question to ask: who is they? Writers don't necessarily need to be profound public speakers, or even people who like talking in general. Though on the flip side of that coin writers need to know how people communicate. Now comes the time when you stuff your satchel full of notebooks (Moleskine are my personal favorite), and bundle of pens. For this next tip and writing assignment your going to need the blank space, and the spare ink to make it through. If the time limit scares you, then I'll encourage you to write in small chunks. Take 10 mins at a time, but still try to use the full 60 minutes. Some writing habits rarely work in only 10 minutes a day.

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Back to the Grind

Today started great. I got up earlier than usual, and finally it felt as if I had gotten through the rut of being on vacation (Christmas break). That feeling of not wanting to start up again after a long holiday has probably hit all of us at some point.

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5 Tips to Writing - Characters

When I started writing I always looked for tips on hosting write more effectively or how to craft better characters. Since most writers do not necessarily start out in a classroom setting when they first start out, or even those seasoned writers that are always interested in learning a new technique to try out on their next piece.

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Changes Tend to be Required

When I think back on the last year I wonder about all the decisions that I've made, which have led me to this point in my life. Little less than a year and a half ago I married my wife, and that was a day to be remembered and cherished. She has seen me go through so many changes that time since we started dating, and a lot of that change I attribute to her steadfast determination to see things in me that I didn't necessarily see in myself.

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Tell a Story

Writers are born to tell stories, and that heritage spans all the way back to before the written word when writers were actually considered storytellers. The talk of the town literally was the stories of past heroes, and myths that were told in public forums where the town or a group of people gathered to hear a new or re-imagined tale. What that atmosphere must have been like to have a town of people hanging on the words of a orator? He told the tales that were passed down to him, the same tales that he spent hours memorizing until both the inflection and words themselves were exact.

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The Meaning of a Year Long Christmas

My wife and I have spent several Christmas' together. This year was no different that any other, and it all started sometime in June or July. See with my wife there is an inescapable joy she experiences when she gets to sing Christmas music.

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Writing Each Day

The fundamental truth about my writing is that a lot of the time I make little to no sense. Actually I have my moments where complete clarity does tend to find its way in and stick, but those moments are like lightning strikes. There's a saying that I have hanging in the bathroom, "My mind works like lightning, one brilliant flash and its gone."

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The Passionate Writer

What does it mean to be a passionate writer? Not sure I can rightly answer that question, but I do remember something my high school English teacher once told me. To be a good writer, one must be a good reader. The same concept must hold true for writing as a passion, sort of. When I think of passion I can't help, but see the dictionary definition of the word.

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Finding Some Direction

What does it mean to be a servant of God? I have spent a lot of time listening to other fellow believers, and non-believers constantly searching for their place, either in this world or in God's plan. The important thing to remember is that you are a part of God's plan, and that it isn't so much about finding the right place to be, but being available for the opportunity that He needs you for.

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Falling Faint to the World

Today, started out pretty good. Started getting rid of the cold that I have been harboring for nearly a week now, and it finally feels great to not be coughing up strange things. To be honest it was weirder knowing that I couldn't identify the things I had eaten more so than actually having eaten them. But that side topic is over.

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How Can I Stand Here With You

One day I may understand myself, and why I do the things that I do each day that "do not" have any eternal significance. For now all I can say is that God is guiding me towards the ultimate goal He has for my life. Even through my failures He is guiding me, and as I read His Word each day I am able to see that what I really need is Him.

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Our Hearts

The motives of our heart are the true indications of our life and direction. Do you believe that? When we fill our hearts with the pleasures of this world, what room is there for the presence of God?

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I Need a Garmin for My Life

Find yourself among your words, and actions as you walk through life. It might be slightly easier if I had a Garmin for my life. I will be honest that when I don't know where I am traveling to I pull out my Garmin, and map the address then let that great little device do the rest of the work. Crisis averted.

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We Remember

Today is a day that most, if not all, Americans will never forget. Though as we look at this day, and the memories that were forever etched in our minds 10 years ago we all have mixed feelings of fear, anger, disgust, or more than I can write here. Though as you go about your business today I encourage you to remember. Remember for those who lost their lives. Remember for those who lost someone. Remember for your nation. And through all this remember the grace and mercy of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

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Scrivener - A Program to Write With

For the first time in a few days I got the opportunity to write uninterrupted for a few hours, while my wife watched Secretariat on Netflix. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy being with my wife, but it was good to be able to write down some thoughts that have been stirring in my head over the past couple of weeks. Being a writer it is hard sometimes to keep ideas in your head for long, and if you don't write them down within a reasonable amount of time they can often leave your brain hemorrhaging.

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Honor Thy Father

Each year father's day rolls around and we spend the day honoring our fathers for who they have been in our lives. Though do we spend one day honoring and the rest of the year forgetting. God talks a lot about the role of a father in regards to who they should be and how they should treat their children. Most of that role I won't touch on here, but I will say this that the role of a father is to instruct, provide, and protect his children.

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A Mother to Remember

What does it tale to be a mother? Some would say the simple act of giving birth makes a woman, a mother. Though in my humble opinion there is so much more involved in that word or title, and most of it has to do with love. God created women to be lovers, and mothers. It was hardwired into their very being, and that's how women feel complete.

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In the Word at Sunrise

Even though today I woke up not feeling at all 100%, I still felt the need and the calling to drag myself out of bed and be at Starbucks for a weekly devotional with a friend of mine. Standing in line waiting to order was a burden when all I wanted to do was sleep, but as soon as a I sat down took a sip of coffee and opened my Bible app on my iPad I was ready to go.

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Holy 2x4

I was born on May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, and for some this is a day if liberation, but for me it is the day I grow one year older, and hopefully one year wiser. We attribute so much to an individual based their age, but not for their wisdom.

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He Has Risen!

It is hard to believe what happened in this day more than two-thousand years ago. For those of you who don't know Christ died and three days later He rose from the grave. Though some people forget that He was the only one who could be a sacrifice for our sins. I have heard of so many trying to make their own way to Heaven, or that if they are good enough they can make it in to Heaven. And unfortunately that isn't how it works. No amount of good deeds can save us from the sin that already pollutes our hearts and minds. It is only by the grace of God and the sacrifice of His only Son that we have the full atonement of our sins.

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April 11, 2011

When I think of all the things I have done, I count it all but loss. That is a true statement if ever in my small existence I ever had to say one. How often i forget this one tiny thing? To be small, and to forget small things must make me exceedingly smaller. Now the conundrums come out, and I am still left at a loss. What to do next? What road should be traveled on this day, and the next? The only thing that I can say is that this is where i started and that this shall not be where I end. My wife today reminded me that we have almost been married about 9 months. What a life we have blossomed together! It seems like only yesterday that we were going on our first date, and that was like two years ago. And now to think that we have been married for 9 months seems to take my breath away. Where does the time go? She wouldn't have an answer either, but it does feel as if life was getting away from us both.

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Failure in the Blood

What would be like to be enslaved? We are all enslaved each and everyday. Don't believe me then look at your life, and what you spend your time with for most of each day. What is it? For some it may be texting, a computer, Facebook, video games, and the list can go on. We forget that when we do a thing enough that it becomes a habit then it eventually makes us a slave to it. We crave it desire it. I have been married for a few months now, and often find myself caught in this notion of what I need to do and what I have enslaved myself to. Should I spend more time with her, or should I spend more time building my business. It has been that hardest question to answer.

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Days Before

On the way home from Youth Group tonight I began thinking about something that I hadn't even brought into the forefront of my mind lately. I had used this same story to outline a book I was working on while in college, but alas, that book has been sitting on my hard drive collecting dust (figuratively). I haven't wanted to stir up those days again until tonight when I started thinking about the actual incident. My family was relatively well to do when I was growing up. We weren't rich, but we had enough to do what we wanted and all the things that I couldn't even had imagined. I am not sure exactly where we stood financially as I was only 8 or 9 at the time, but I knew at least enough then to know that what happened was not what most families had to deal with on a daily basis.

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That Idea is Still a Bad Idea

I have been curious lately about the link between managers and bad ideas. Understandably I come to this conclusion based upon the fact that most companies worldwide place managers in positions that they aren't necessarily equipped to handle. Take the web for instance. A coder or any normal person would assume that the manager in charge of the Web Team would be a coder, or an Internet aficionado. However, in reality neither one of those cases is true, which can be equally frustrating when trying to understand why that individual dictates rules for a companies web presence.

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