Hacking Hospitality

Yesterday morning our pastor stated that the most important issue facing the church is hospitality. She went on to say( as Benjamin Conner does) that ” hospitality is meeting needs and allowing the other to flourish, make choices, be recognized and feel valued.” The challenges facing the church and maybe our world would evaporate if we practiced that kind of behavior.

Sandy Coughlin in The Art of Simple  gives us 7 suggestions to practice imperfect hospitality (my impatient imperfectionist loves this).

Here are 3 I love (you can take another 2 minutes to read the others here)

Be Intentional – don’t let a laisse faire attitude or organic expectation ruin your party.

Cook and Serve the Same Three Recipes Over and Over. – these will become your signature and reduce stress for you and your guests.

Find a Style – You are you. If linen and brocade are you then bring out the china too. If paper plates and napkins work with who you are – go with it.

Make Today Remarkable, by being exceptionally hospitable,



What is Your Smugness?

I am an activist and realize that I can come across as a self righteous martyr( even though I made a resolution in 2008 to stop tilting and windmills). I can say ” that I don’t want anyone to do everything but I want everyone to do something” but realize that it sounds like you are not doing your share.

I conserve energy, use private transportation sparingly, recycle and can still feel that I am being smuggly dismissed by vegan cyclists who by their declarations point a green finger at me.

I am a voracious (if not discriminate) reader who understands the pointed barbs from literati when I disclose that I read YA or Chick Lit or Mystery this year.

I am a follower of God, in the Way of Jesus, and can feel undermined by the scientific elite or humanists and chastised by zealots and evangelicals.

Can I be less smug about what I believe, intend and do? For sure. Can I find a way to encourage and provoke people I encounter without creating a status platform? Probably. Will it be difficult? Yes.

Will you join me in trying?


Make Today Remarkable, by being humble,





Something Extraordinary

I have been expounding on the new world order, the shifting sands, the earthquake that is going to change everything that is in our near future.  wrote this morning about some long standing business ideas that are transforming alongside the big shift. He offers 8 reasons here and I am going to think about all of them but share just 3 in this post.

8 . Un-schooling trends.  – we are seeing all kinds of opportunities and systems rethinking the benefits of taking brilliant creative excited children and turning them into uniform, conformists who follow the sheep in front of them.

5. The fall of exaggerated consumerism. – I haven’t seen significant evidence of this trend but am hopeful for Tanaka’s idea of ” Lowsumerism, slow life and slow food are a few types of action being taken as we speak, pointing out the contradiction of how absurdly we have come to organize ourselves.” (even if I would need to make big changes in how I practice my life.

1. No one can stand the employment model any longer. – Are we seeing a return to artisans, artists, craftsmen, freelancers who balance their own skills and desires rather than being measured by how they endure the captivity of 9-5? Are we ready to embrace some joy and excitement by trading some false security?

Make Today Extraordinary,





Robert Cialdini is world-renowned by his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” (1984), which I continue to re-read. In this book, Cialdini exposes his 6 principles of persuasion or influence.

1. The Principe of Reciprocity – this borders on The Golden Rule where you get back what you lay down. Honesty begets honesty. Rudeness returns rudeness. Intimacy allows intimacy.

2. The Principle of Scarcity  – The heart wants what the heart wants especially if it shouldn’t/couldn’t wouldn’t have it. It explains “on sale, today only”, “by invitation only” “One hour left”

3. The Principle of Authority – in the west we associate knowledge with hierarchy.  Celebrities are big influencers when they talk about political ideas or products, even if they are not experts on the topics they talk about.

4. The Principle of Commitment and Consistency – We continue to do those things that we did before, even if we didn’t rally ruminate on the action in the first place. We agree with things that we have public ally supported. We are interested in those things that confirm our biases.

5. The Principle of Social Proof – for most people in Europe and North America, we tend to accept or embrace the majority position of our tribe. We are more like those around us than people who we disagree with.

6. The Principle of Liking – Our discernment is reduced when faced with a person, idea or business that is surrounded by the aura of someone who has characteristics that we already appreciate.(Think -Koolaid, Google, pretty endorsers)

Make Today Remarkable, by exercising some persuasion,



Learning- 6 Sources/Shortcuts

As promised

Learning a second language – Duolingo has figured out to gamify learning for even us ancient of days. Their algorithm seems to learn with me and helps me improve where I am week (conjugation) (free)

Formal education – if you are ready for a course audit or even an accreditation from a reputable college, there are a couple of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Udemy  and Open Yale I have found interesting and accessible and (free).

Daily News – need your fix of curated daily news stories The Upshot and most other outlets will either confirm or challenge your biases.

Blog Posts – I have experimented with a couple of aggregaters but Feedly seems the most search friendly and easiest to glean and clean. Start with a couple of interest areas and see where it goes

I try to stay on top of my goals and HabitForge or other reminder sites seem to be just the right amount of push to get me to act and report but not so much that I rebel

For fun, engaging personal interest learning that is uncurated, non reviewed but has been a lot of fun, check out Blab.im  I like The Craft Beer Blab and TravelChats but there is lots to choose from and you can create your own.


Keep Learning,




Hacking Learning

My ‘lifelong learning experience’ likely speaks to my world view and tendencies but reflecting on yours inside the same may be of benefit to you.


Timing – I am so definitely a morning person. I think better in the morning. I read faster and with greater comprehension in the morning. My ears are tuned to podcasts, books on tape and audio apps at at higher level first thing in the morning. I am awake just before 5am and start my day almost immediately.

Kickstart – Regardless of your prime time you may find jumping right into the learning helpful. I schedule news updates and blog posts for before I awake so they are there beckoning when I open my email.

Preparation – My brain wakes me up but I need to help it and the rest of my body with the right nourishment. Two glasses of water before I get rolling to far into the day rehydrates my brain and kicks off my filtration system. I am better when I am regular and water helps. If I am constipated then my brain seems plugged up too.

Commitment – For regular readers you will know where this is going. I think I have used this Goethe quote in posts 5 times in 2015.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Just Do It – Get started tomorrow (this afternoon if that is your timing tendency). Learn something new, discover something you ‘will never need’, challenge your opinions and biases.

Tomorrow, 6 specific sources of learning and why you should use them.




Leadership Hacks

Leaders are born, not as leaders but as wee babies just like the rest of us. Leaders are nurtured by caring and significant adults; parents, caregivers, teachers. Leaders are challenged by the same significant adults – at a very young age the bubble wrap is removed and the budding leaders are allowed to fall and fail. Leaders can arise in any circumstance with the right inspiration.

Carey Nieuwhof has 5 Ultra Simple Leadership Hacks  fo us.

1. Make someone else the hero. While I think we should all put on our invisible cape and hero’s hat every morning, I also believe that we need to be lifting up and celebrating all those around us. Acknowledge your team, give credit where due, encourage and delegate.

2. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. Integrity is the most important hallmark of a leader. In those rare occasions when it becomes impossible to ‘do what you said’ then honestly explain and apologize if necessary.

3. Focus on outcomes. Autonomy, mastery and purpose are the three Pinkian motivators to success. Seed purpose, cultivate mastery and allow your team to handle the how.

4. Look people in the eye. I know so many great leaders who are completely present with you in the moment. They give the person they are with all their attention. (This is an area that I need to work on)

5. Smile. Apparently, not smiling is never interpreted as neutral. We are drawn to smiles and confused by the dissonance of happiness and joy without the outward display. Show your glee today.

Make Today Remarkable, by being a leader,






Marc and Angel’s “Hack Life” post this morning 20 Reasons Life Gets Way Too Complicated is another example of their great philosophy, practice and prose. (and fits with this month’s series).  I am a believer that we require a certain amount of tension in our lives. It is where we are nudged to be creative, courageous and compassionate. I love having a bit of the sense of overwhelming over my shoulder but my life gets too complex when I don’t follow some of the tips on this list.

20. We compare ourselves to others who seem better off. I don’t really know their story and they don’t know mine. In my coaching practice, I have seen outwardly successful and together clients confess their messedupness and then begin the process of building their specifically remarkable life.

14. We avoid the tough and necessary conversations. Unless to are a mind reader or a boni fide seer, knowing how anyone will react to hearing the ‘truth’ is disrespectful. Even if you think you are pushing the important issue below the surface, you are using up emotional and kinetic energy as it bubbles below the water line.

7. We let the haters get to us. I again need to celebrate the great philosopher of our time, Taylor swift, because she understands that “haters gonna hate” and now everyone/anyone can have a platform for their vitriol. When I realize that haters are sad, desperate cynics and that I would be one too if I stooped to their tactics, it gives me freedom to ignore their tirades.

1.We try to do way too much. This is the big ‘easy to say, harder to do’ in this list. I have missed opportunities because I didn’t say no and leave some space for inspiring opportunities.

“For the simplicity on this side of complexity, I wouldn’t give you a fig. But for the simplicity on the other side of complexity, for that I would give you anything I have.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. or Winston Churchill



Hacking Cooking


SimpleTruth offers 101 Simple Cooking Tips. I do some of the food preparation in our home and the biggest struggle for  me is deciding what to prepare. Once that choice is made, the rest seems to fall into place. I don’t do a good job following recipes but I think I do a good job.

Back to 101 simple Tips.

7.Clean as you go!  I am a neatener who constantly makes little inroads into the mess I am making.

16. The most versatile and important tool is a sharp chef’s knife.  I am still struggling with this and have tried to learn the art of edging and honing but seem to be failing miserably.

22. Always taste your food before seasoning.

54. Honey is a natural preservative and will never spoil. It also works to reduce seasonal allergies if the source of nectar is from the same general area as you.

88. Always, always, always measure when baking. Baking is a science and any wrong measurements can be disastrous. I can attest to this (see preamble).

  1. And always remember – keep it simple!


Make Today Tasty,



Hacking Spending

T’is the season to be jolly and if you’re not careful blow your budget. I have been there, done that and bought way more than a t-shirt.

Watch Your Spending

Life Hack offers 32 ways to tick to your budget. I could use everyone of them from time-to-time but 6,12,20,32 have been a part of this fall and early winter.

32. Borrow books from your library, don’t purchase them. This puts an imperative on you to actually read your books (how often do the ones your purchase just sit on the bookshelf?) and saves huge amounts of money if you read a decent amount. I have a book addiction and have shelves of books that I have read but will likely never reread.

20. Exercise in the great outdoors, or use your own body weight – forget expensive gym memberships and personal trainers. We are fortunate to have running and hiking trails in our backyard and a newly re-equipped gym in our building so am making the best use of exercise schedule.

12. Never watch commercials. Get a PVR. This is a bit weird since I am working in marketing and heavily committed to social media but I rarely watch commercials (Netflix and PVR help) and those that I do see rearely make sense.

6. Develop a distaste for Starbucks.  My stomach rebelled before my wallet and I avoid the high caffeine and acid by picking up a large $2 cup from a local shop on my way into the office and have a second cup brewed in a drip system.

Take a look I am sure there are a few pointers that you can take from the comprehensive list.

Make Today Remarkable, by spending  less (way less),