Sorry it’s been quiet

June 8, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Admin, Job Search, Life, Work 

Hey, folks.

It’s been quiet here because there are decisions being made about my life and work-life direction that unfortunately aren’t really bloggable.  I’m looking at a fork in the road and trying to decide which way to go, or even if I can make some kind of hybrid path down the middle.  Blogging about it could make folks from either fork concerned that I’m not 100% committed to that fork (though if I chose it I would be), and therefore I’m not writing here.  Rest assured that I will be committed to my path once I choose it.

And if that sounds cryptic, it’s the best that I can do.  Friends on Facebook can probably get a better read on what I’m talking about.

Thank you for your patience.

msmith.typepad.com is dead, long live marktime.org!

March 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Admin 

I have deleted my old TypePad blog at msmith.typepad.com.  Any references to that blog should be redirected to:

Personal blog – http://marktime.org/

Solar Energy Blog – http://marktime.org/smithelectricco/

WordPress users – favorite widgets/plug-ins?

January 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Admin, Web/Tech, Weblogs 

I know that I have a few WordPress users among my readers.

What are your favorite widgets or plug-ins?  Are there any that you think I should be using?

Welcome to the New Site

January 21, 2009 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Admin 

As of today, I have moved this blog from the old TypePad address to this new WordPress installation on my own hosted server.

The new URL is:  http://marktime.org/

Please update any blogrolls or links within your sites.  I will be using Google to find links to the old site and I will contact you if I find an old link to ask you to update it.

Thanks, and welcome to the new home!

2008: My personal year in review

December 31, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Admin, Job Search, Life, Religion, Work, Young Adult, Youth 

Good riddance.

It’s not that the year was all bad.  Some of it was really very good.  It’s just that the bad outweighed the good.  Most of this was due to one very bad thing.

Work
This was a particularly bad year.  I’m not going to go into details, but you should assume that life at my former employer wasn’t particularly fun before August.  In August, I was laid off from a job that I’d held for 13 1/2 of the last 15 years.  It only helps slightly that this employer ultimately filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November.

And if that wasn’t enough – the economy tanked at the same time.  The cause of the company’s failure wasn’t solely the economy, but it was a big part of it.  Jobs just plain dried up from September through early December.  There are signs that things are easing now.

If it weren’t for positive things and positive people in the rest of my life, I don’t know how I would have handled this.

Church
The good:
I LOVE my youth group.  The young men and women that I work with more or less every week are all wonderful, and I learned a lot about myself, them, life and God over the last year.  Sunday afternoon/evening is the high point of my week.

The summer trip to the Montreat Youth Conference was one of the top 10 experiences of my life.  I truly feel that God spoke to me that week in some fashion.  I know that my faith deepened, and that the same happened to most if not all of the group from our church that went on the trip.  I also feel that I grew outside of the religious aspects.  (Of course, this high leaves me wondering where God is in my life now, when things are not so good.)  The biggest thing that I learned this year – while I care a lot about our youth, they care about me too.

Putting together the Moderator Meet and Greet event in April was a lot of fun as well as being a lot of work.  I met a lot of new and wonderful people.  The event was well attended, and I hear that it helped commissioners make a decision at General Assembly.

Meeting in person and working online with other church leaders has been mostly positive.  I’m amazed at how strong the online Presbyterian-and-beyond religious community is.  I’ve felt support when I needed it and given and watched it flow the other way when others needed it.

Serving as a deacon has been rewarding.  This is work that I know that I can do and do well, and that is relatively easy, and that aids the church.  That’s sort of the point, isn’t it?  I just have to be careful not to schedule myself too heavily (like the Sunday that I had coffee service AND served communion AND agreed to set up tables for a later event).

My committee studying hospitality, visitor and community issues for the church has nearly completed its work.  We have identified 19 issues and more than 19 suggestions for how to change/fix/handle those issues.  We present to the Session in February.  The team has worked hard and learned a lot.

Serving as the new webmaster for the church’s website and weekly e-mailed newsletter has been a growth experience for me.  It has forced me to learn new technical skills and also to generate a little content independently.

The bad:
The worst has to have been the controversy over my blog in March/April/May/June of this year.  I don’t know if people realize it, but the church was about 12 hours from losing me in April – the only things keeping me were the facts that Youth Sunday and the Moderator Meet and Greet were imminent responsibilities of mine.  This event only took 2nd to the loss of my job in how poorly I felt while in the middle of it.

I am also continually dismayed by the negative tones in some conversations/fights/battle-royales in the church community over the hot button issues of today.  Those of us within the church fight harder and with less love than we do with our colleagues in other denominations or religions, even though the points of disagreement are far smaller and unimportant.

Home
Home life continues to be solid.  Carolyn and I have ridden out the very rough patches of the 2nd half of the year with no negative effect on our relationship.  Most of this is due to Carolyn’s very conservative nature when it comes to money, and the strong planning ability that both of us have.  She continues to be supportive at a very difficult time in my life and it has brought us if anything closer together.

The cats are still fine.  They turn 13 tomorrow.  Isaac is still suffering from a bit of arthritis in his hips, but the daily Cosequin is helping.  Both of them still have a fair amount of kitten left and still go running around like crazy animals occasionally.  Albert has had no recurrence of his kidney issues.

The house is fine.  We have had to put off a bit of home repair work (mainly fixing the fireplace chimney that failed a while back) for economic reasons.  Nothing important is wrong, and we continue to love living here.  It’s a great neighborhood – not too noisy, not too quiet, and plenty of kids running around.
My car has had a rough year.  I was rear-ended in July and minor damage was done to my rear bumper.  It was fixed pretty quickly, but it took about 4-5 months before the insurance companies paid my deductible.  Here’s a tip – no matter how late you are, don’t pass on the right on a one-lane on-ramp.

Health

No major changes.  On the Montreat trip I lost a number of pounds due to the stairmaster-like qualities of the village of Montreat (to get anywhere you have to walk down a big hill and up a big hill).  The emotional strain of being out of work took off some more.  I’ve managed to end the year a net 10 pounds down.  Otherwise, my health remains the same.

I’m hoping that 2009 will be a combination of the continuance of good things, and an end to the bad things that are happening now.  I see new hope in the elections of both our PC(USA) Moderator and the new President of the USA.  It remains to be seen if that hope turns into a better reality for the country, church, and me.

Happy New Year!

Blogging will resume shortly

August 4, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Admin 

The Montreat Youth Conference was simply amazing.  I have LOTS to blog about.

As soon as I get all the pieces together I’ll start posting.  Please stand by.

On the road

July 24, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Admin 

I’ll be on the road with the church youth group trip to Montreat from Saturday the 26th through Saturday the 2nd.  Blogging will likely be non-existent during this time.

See you next month!

A short break

June 9, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Admin 

Blogging will be light this week.

I really do intend to post something about the all-church retreat this past weekend, but I’m still catching up on sleep and I have several meetings in the evenings this week.  The short version of the story about the retreat:  it was HOT, it was fun, and I connected with different people than last year.

Also, I’m wondering if anything unusual will happen next Sunday.

I got invited to the Deacon end-of-year picnic tonight along with the other newbies, but I have to miss it because of a meeting scheduled months ago that will take up 3 hours of my time tonight.  Sorry, but for those of you who don’t know me I’ll meet you later sometime.

Sorry about the spam

April 19, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Admin 

Yesterday, I followed a link and signed up for reunion.com.

The site asked to look at my Contacts in my e-mail account so that it could tell me which people were related to me.  What I didn’t know was that it was going to send a spam e-mail to EVERY account that I’d ever sent or received e-mail from.

Please accept my apologies.

Blogging will be very sparse this week

October 29, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Admin 

I’m going to a training class in Philadelphia this week.  That means getting up early to take the train in and getting home late.  There is no computer access at the class (too cheap to provide wireless), so I won’t have any access except in the shortened evenings.

Blogging should resume next week.

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