We’re Moving

Image titled Fragment by iboy_daniel.  Click on the image to view his Flickr photostream.

Image titled "Fragment" by iboy_daniel. Click on the image to view his Flickr photostream.

The Serendipity Journal is moving!

Sorry it has been so long since the last post.  Things have not been running to plan lately.  We started work on a self-hosted website for this blog back in June.  It took a lot longer than expected to get the site up and running.

We’ve finally got the Serendipity Journal migrated to its new home at www.dugmugg.com.  Come on over and visit us there.

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How May I Serve You?

Image by awnisalan

Image by awnisalan

It’s December 31st as I write this.  It’s had to believe that another year is drawing to a close, and it’s surprising to realize that this blog is now eight months old.  Time flies when you’re learning new stuff!

I’d like to thank you all for your support and interest on this blog during 2008.  I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to stretch my creative muscles and to post on some of the things that have inspired me.  Your comments and encouragement on this blog have meant more to me than you can imagine.  Thank you.

With the New Year comes the opportunity to review the past year’s performance and to set new goals for the coming year.  For the past several weeks I’ve had the feeling that The Serendipity Journal could become much more than what it has been to date.  What that “something more” is, I can’t quite define yet.  It’s simply a feeling that there’s a great deal more potential, just waiting to be discovered and explored.

I’d like to ask your help in defining the future direction of this blog.  What do you like about the blog?  What would you like to see changed?  What topics and subjects would you like to explore? How about the post lengths and frequencies, do they fit your needs?

Writing for this blog has been a wonderful experience so far, and I’m looking forward to continuing.  My goal is to provide content that is informative and hopefully inspirational.  My greatest satisfaction comes from serving the needs of our readers.  Please leave your suggestions, comments, and critiques in the comments section below so that I can do a better job of serving your needs in 2009 and beyond.

Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration.  I look forward to our continuing conversation and collaboration in 2009.

DugMugg Guilty Of Being MIA

Image by permission of KM Cheng, Hong Kong

Image by permission of KM Cheng, Hong Kong

Yes, it has been a long time since I last posted to this blog.  I’m sorry.  It has been a struggle for the past few weeks, but in the end very rewarding.  Twice now, I’ve started writing posts describing all that has been happening, but the words fell way short.  Maybe once I get some distance between me and the experiences of August, I’ll be able to write about it in a meaningful way.  For now, all that I can say is that I’ve learned a great deal over the past month, and I’m excited to say that I’m ready to move forward.

First, regarding this blog, I need to do a better job of posting consistently.  There’s nothing like a looming deadline to spur a motivated person to action.  Therefore, I pledge from this point forward to post at least once a week each and every Thursday.  Why Thursday?  For no other reason than I’m writing this post on a Thursday, and I’m going to post it tonight or die trying.  I’ll strive to post more often than once a week, but for now I’m going to set a goal that I feel I can achieve.  It’s time to start building a record of success. 

Now that I’ve committed to doing a better job moving forward, let me explain what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks.  I’ve been pulling together a resume to begin a new career as a freelance commercial writer.  I’m applying to a local creative staffing agency in Columbus as well as spreading the word through my own network of friends and family.  I’m looking to get started on a part-time basis, establishing a reputation for myself while earning some extra income for our family.  We’ll see where it leads from there, but I’m very excited about the broad possibilities.

So there it is, short and sweet for this week.  One final request: I’m counting on you to help me with my writing.  Your comments and questions to this blog mean a great deal to me; they encourage me and inspire me towards new writing directions.  Also, please feel free to hold me accountable to my newly stated posting schedule.  And finally, if you’re aware of anyone who can use my writing talents, please pass my contact information to them.  Thanks!

Important Questions

I’ve been using this Serendipity Journal as an on-line version of my prayer journal.  So far, I’ve limited it to simply rewriting what I’ve been exploring in my hand-written, bound journal; here’s a new opportunity to explore the technological power of this on-line journal, freeing it to become something more. 

I’d like to direct all of you to a fantastic essay by fellow blogger Chris Guillebeau who writes three times a week on life, work, and travel in The Art of Non-Conformity.  Chris has chosen to “live a remarkable life in an conventional world.”    He worked for four years as a volunteer aid worker in Africa.  Acting as the Program Director for a medical, non-governmental organization, Chris worked with the senior government leaders of eight African countries.  Currently, he’s a graduate student in Seattle persuing a degree in International Studies from the University of Washington.  He has set a goal of travelling to every country in the world within 5 years time; he has visited 83 to date.  He has also set the goal of starting his own social movement, helping others “to change the world by achieving remarkable personal goals while helping others at the same time.”  His manifesto is modestly titled A Brief Guide to World Domination, and you can access his link to it here

I can give no higher praise to Chris’s manifesto than to say that I’ve printed copies for my children to read.  If they can grasp and believe in the truths revealed in this paper, then they will be well on their way to living the abundant lives they’re meant to have.

At the risk of stealing some of Chris’s thunder, I have to report on an instant of serendipity I experienced after reading the manifesto.  The foundation of the entire paper is what Chris calls “the two most important questions in the universe”:

  1. What do you really want to get out of life?
  2. What can you offer the world that no one else can?

Shortly after reading A Brief Guide to World Domination, I watched The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  My wife Carol had been urging me to see the DVD for over a month, and the time felt right.  In the movie, Morgan Freeman’s character gives a description of the ancient Egyptian beliefs about the after-life.  When you reach heaven, you’re asked two questions; your answers to those questions determines your fate for the rest of eternity.  The two questions:

  1. Have you found joy in your life?
  2. Has your life brought joy to others?

I don’t need to repeat my beliefs that I wrote about in When God Is Shouting At You.  The bottom-line: I’ve learned from experience to pay attention when I receive the same message from different sources.

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:14.  I believe that Chris has found his abundant life.  It’s there for all of us, if we’re willing.  Chris has given the world a great resource, a road map of sorts, for each of us to find our abundant life. 

Me personally, I feel like I’m standing at that gate, wanting to pass through, but I haven’t been successful yet.  This blog is turning out to be an account of my efforts to live my life out loud.  It’s too early to tell whether I’ll be successful or not, but I sense that sharing my story is important to the effort.  I believe a big part of the reason why I haven’t been successful so far is because I’ve been too focused on that first question; I’m a little too busy chasing after my rewards.  In the end, I believe that the second question is the more important.  The first question is for motivation and focus; it helps to keep you moving forward, but it can’t be the primary driving force because it’s self-focused.  But where the second question intersects with the first, there lies heaven.

Do you have your answers to the two most important questions?  Don’t let yourself off the hook.  Pursue them, maintain them, share them with others.  Good luck pursuing your remarkable life.

Just-In-Time Goal

I set a goal back in March, 2008 to be blogging by May.  I thought I was set to go at the beginning of the month, but then I got a feeling that I should wait.  Now, the roadblock has cleared.  Just in time to meet my goal.

I’ve been spending this month poking around the blogosphere – have I got a lot to learn!  The good news is that’s the purpose of this blog: to ask questions and explore.  There’ll be more on those questions later.  For now, I’ve put a much longer day piecing together the little bit that’s on this site.  Learned a lot along the way, but it was all the hard kind of learning – trial and error (lots of errors).  Check out The Gift of the River Stones page.  Please forgive the About page; it’s a work in progress.

Now some questions for you veteran bloggers:

  • Since this is my first post, I’ve never had to respond to Comments before.  Any tips that you’d like to share?  Things that you wish you’d known before you started?  How about etiquette, do’s and don’ts?
  • Also, what are tags and categories?  I assume there’s help on these topics somewhere on the WordPress site, but I’d appreciate any advice you can give me to get out of the gate fast.  I’ve added Blogging as a category.  Did I do it right?

Thanks for visiting and taking the time to respond.

Dug