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Some Books I Enjoyed in 2022

As I mentioned before, in our house we all try to keep our Kindles loaded and available throughout the year. (I am a heavy user of iPad, but for reading, it’s all about the Kindle Paperwhite.)

Here are a few of the books I read in 2022 that you might enjoy:

Okay for Now: A book about a young boy who moves to a new town and tries to find his place. It’s amazing the way that your emotions change for him as you read the story. I love how the author kept writing “Do you know how that feels?” More than once, I felt that question.

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Be Sure You Are Fast Charging Your Stuff

If you have upgraded your iPhone or Apple Watch over the years, you’ve probably just removed the new device, put away the box, and used all of your existing cables and chargers. If you have done that, you may be missing out on fast charging.

What’s so good about fast charging?

If you have the right chargers and cables, you can charge your iPhone “up to 50 percent battery in around 30 minutes.”

For an Apple Watch, it’s even better. It “can go from 0 percent to 80 percent in about 45 minutes.” This is especially helpful if you wear your Apple Watch to track your sleep patterns. After a long day, a quick charge before bed while you shower can give you enough power to last the night.

What does fast charging require?

iPhone:

  • iPhone 8 or later. This is any phone purchased after 2017. You can identify your iPhone model here.
  • Apple USB-C to Lightning cable. This probably came with your phone, or you can buy one here.
  • An Apple power adapter with >18W or a third party charger that supports fast charging. You can check your current charger right on the charger itself. (See the example above. The white on grey text can be hard to read so get a good light or a good child to help you out.) If you need a fast charger, I like this one. It’s the same one that I recommend for the travel charger packs.

Apple Watch:

  • Series 7, 8 or Ultra can handle fast charging
  • Fast Charger to USB-C Cable. One of these probably came with your new Watch so be sure to replace the old cable in whatever stand you’ve been using. You can tell it’s the new one because it has USB-C connection and aluminum (instead of white plastic) on the circle charger end of the cable. (see above for example) If you need one, buy it here.
  • An Apple power adapter with >18W or a third party charger that supports fast charging. You can purchase the one above. If you charge both of your devices on your night stand, you can also buy just one charger that can fast charge both devices at the same time. I like this one.

Conclusion

If you take the time to check these things, you’ll appreciate the fast charging when needed. The good news is that you probably have some of these things already but just never swapped out the setup that you’ve been using. These also make for great Christmas gifts to help someone else enjoy fast charging.

And that concludes my PSA for the day…

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A Page for Photos

I receive a number of emails asking about photography and camera gear. I’m happy to help, but the responses can be a bit repetitive. I decided to make a new page solely for recent photos and the camera gear that I am currently using. You can find the Photos page here.

It’s true that “the best camera is the one you have with you.” However, I also support having a dedicated camera because the photos are so great. The iPhone has made a lot of progress, but it’s not there yet.

A few more simple thoughts on photos:

  • Take more photos that include the faces of people you love.
  • At least twice a year, take a panoramic photo of your kid’s room. Perhaps it can be one of your journal entries with a view. It will bring back so many memories.
  • One good photo will turn an activity into a memory that lasts.
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The Superior Theory

I’ve formed a theory over the last eight years as I’ve seen struggle in the world, in families, and in personal lives. I call it the “Superior Theory.”

I know that’s a pretentious name. How can I come up with a superior theory when the best Einstein did was a theory of relativity?

To not see me as a self serving theorist, you should know that “Superior” is a pronoun in this case, not an adjective. 

My theory is this:

“To avoid poor decisions that lead to difficult circumstances, a person needs a superior they trust enough to correct them.”

We live in a world where the idea of a “superior” has such a negative connotation. It should be noted that a “superior” can be that way in any sense and doesn’t need to be negative only. It could be a boss or a commanding officer.  It could be a family member, your mother, or a church leader. 

I’ve seen that many poor decisions are made when we no longer answer to anyone.

A person may be in one of the following circumstances:

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A Favorite Family Phrase: Take Time

As we continue to make our way through the book on modern manners for kids, there is another phrase that has been born in our house. It is used often: take time.

Candace and I feel mostly capable as parents. We’ve always tried to be there for our kids and I’m confident they know that. But as our kids get older and more capable, we are always encouraging them to do and learn for themselves. Not only is it a good habit to form, but I love watching their creativity come alive. They consider things that I have never anticipated.

So now, when a question is asked, we encourage them to “take time” and figure it out on their own.

It is helpful for little things like, “When does the party start this afternoon?” (After being reminded, they “take time” to look it up on the family calendar themselves.)

Or they might wonder about how to rearrange their room, or what a scripture means, or how to respond to an adult question, or which writing angle to take on a research paper.

I found that when I answer any of these questions, even if I’m encouraging them to learn for themselves, I end up adding opinion or direction. It sort of defeats the purpose.

So we just go with “take time.”

We’ve reached the point that they will ask a question and then, before I can respond, they’ll say “I should take time.”

This reminds me of a quote from Bruce R McConkie, a religious leader, and an accomplished thinker and writer.

“People eternally ask me questions, and they ought to figure them out themselves. I mean, I don’t have any more obligation than they do to know what the answers to these things are and they have the same sources to look to that I do.”

Bruce R McConkie

This is helpful as a leader in church, a boss at work, or as a coach in a sport. Encourage those you lead to “take time” so they improve for the future.

Learning to learn is a very useful skill. We should encourage our kids to grow early and often so they have strong habits for the real world.

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Immunotherapy Allergy Shots: My Process, Cost, and Outcome

Most people would look at the photo above and think it’s beautiful. I agree, but mostly I just think about the watery eyes and the sneezing I would do if I was in that field. I’ve struggled with allergies and hay fever my whole life. My son has the same allergies.

Allergy medicine works for me for a little while, but after some use, it no longer decreases symptoms so I have to find something new. I decided it was time to do something a little more long term: Allergy Shots, also known as immunotherapy.

The idea behind allergy shots is that after a series of increasingly potent injections, your immune system can be desensitized from triggers that cause allergic reactions. It takes many months, and even years, but it can offer some real, long-term relief from Allergies.

Recently, my son and I began the process. As usual, I’ve taken detailed notes so I can refer back to them and remember how the process happened.

When I had my PRK Surgery and Recovery fifteen years ago, I wrote a post about the process. There have been over one million views of that post. It turns out, people like to see real hand experience of medical procedures so they know what to expect and plan for in their own process.

In that light, I thought I’d share some allergy shot highlights here for those considering such a thing. Since this is a long process, I’ll update this post over the next few years so share the long term results. Be sure to subscribe to email updates if you’d like to see additions to the post.

Keep in mind: I am not a medical professional. These are simply my observations:

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A Personal Journaling Milestone

Over the years, I’ve mentioned journal writing a number of times. Whether it’s keeping a memory journal, improving your spirituality, or just remembering your every day views, keeping a journal can provide many benefits. The never-finished product becomes more and more cherished over the years.

Recently I passed an interesting mark in my own journal keeping. With 7300 journal entries, I have officially documented twenty years worth of days.

My journal entries actually go back 34 years, beginning in 1988. However, I wasn’t a daily writer the whole time. (I haven’t missed a day in over 8 years so I’m doing better lately.)

Having tried many different ways to journal over the years, I’m still big fan of Day One. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve compiled all other journal formats into Day One. Writing from the pre-digital writing have been scanned, added to a backdated entry, and then also transcribed so it’s easy to search. It’s so nice to have everything in the same place.

As I’ve mentioned before, writing in your journal is a great way to reflect and motivate yourself:

There are only so many days in a row that you can write “woke up, went to school/work, watched netflix, leveled up on doodads of destruction (or whatever game), went to sleep.” When you have a daily reflection on your day, and how you’ve spent your time,  you find a desire to do better and to be more. 

Who have I served?

Have I spent my day on things most important?

How has my love grown?

Am I any better now than I was last year. Am I a better dad? A better disciple?

Brian Stucki Ward Conference Talk, 2017

And if you ever find yourself ungrateful, reading your past journal entries can be a great reminder of how blessed you’ve been in your life.

Here is to many more years to come.

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Five Things to Know About This Porch Pirate Video

Boo porch pirates. Do you hug your mother with those arms? (Direct link to video)
  1. We have lived in this house for nearly 8 years and this is our first porch pirate. Exciting morning!
  2. Recently we upgraded all of our house lights to 4000k bulbs. It’s a nice way to brighten up a home. This package contained all of the remaining lights that needed to be upgraded. Bulbs of all random sizes and shapes. This will not be as exciting as he hopes. Maybe he can use the string lights as a belt?
  3. He left his car running the whole time. At current rates, he may lose more on this caper than he gains.
  4. Ironically, this happened at the exact moment that our family was inside having our morning family prayer. A friend suggested that perhaps we stop praying for “someone to see more light in the world.”
  5. I look forward to drone deliveries someday that will drop the package in the backyard.

Joking aside, it’s too bad that people do this sort of thing. The money is one thing, but it also sets back our home projects.

Watching the double drive-by and turn around, it seems to have simply been a crime of circumstance. Perhaps some day he’ll mature and fall into better decisions. In the mean time, I hope that this doesn’t happen to anyone else, especially those already in difficult life circumstances.

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Travel Charger Packs

Now that the kids are traveling on their own more, I’ve put together some travel charger packs for them to grab. It’s a lot easier than unwrapping the cables from the charging stations. (Note: our charging station is in a public part of the house. Remember, kids shouldn’t have their phones in their room overnight. When it comes to good sleep, help them help themselves.)

We made these packs because they are easy to grab and put into a travel bag. We also have a rule in the house: “No borrowing from the travel charger packs.” You need to know that they are always ready to use and not missing any parts.

We all have iPhones and an Apple Watch so here is what we did for our packs.

Zipper mesh bags: We purchased the 4x5in pack of five. It’s only $9 for a five pack of them. The zippers are high quality and the small bag fits everything. I also liked that you can see the contents through the bag. It’s an easy way to check everything is in there.

Anker 40W Dual Fast Charger: This charger is way faster than the charger that came from your phone. It has two ports so you can charger your phone and your watch from just one outlet.

(Note: If you’re still using your original phone charger at home, at least upgrade to the single fast charger from Anker. It will charge your phone so much faster.)

Anker 6ft USB C to Lightning cable: This is a solid cable. It will charge your phone, but will also charge your AirPods. When you’re staying in a hotel, it’s nice to have the 6ft cable because you never know how far the outlets will be from the bed.

Apple Watch Magnetic Fast Charger to USB-C Cable: This is the cable from Apple. Be sure to purchase the USB-C one so it’ll work with the charger listed above. It’s long enough to sit on the nightstand even if the outlet is higher or lower in the wall.

This is what the pack looks like when all zipped up.

We made enough for all of us. Everyone is in charge of bringing and returning their own pack.

It’s been a nice system.

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April 2022 Stockpile

Here are random things to post that don’t deserve their own post:

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Up to Jerusalem

Candace and I went to Israel a couple months ago. It was an incredible experience for the mind and the spirit. I especially enjoyed the Galilee area.

This one actually does deserve it’s own post. Many more thoughts and photos from this trip soon.

A new protein bar

Last Summer, I wrote about a selection of protein bars that we enjoy in our house. Since then, they added a new holiday flavor during the winter. It was so good that they have now brought it back as Creamy Crisp and it’s available all year long. It’s way too delicious to be a protein bar.

Watch your finances

I have now been using CoPilot for over a year. Still highly recommended, especially as everything seems to be increasing in cost and budgets need to be a little tighter. My full review is here.

On hesitating in life

“They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.”

Seneca

A simple service suggestion

Do you have an office at church or work? Purchase a box of these wipes from Amazon and hand them out freely. Put some in your travel bag too. Gift a wipe to anyone working on a messy iPad or squinting through dirty glasses. Even better, offer to do the wipedown for them.

A quick clean will make a phone feel new and the person will appreciate it. It’s a simple service that’s easy to do.

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