How much is too much

What if we dared to believe that what we have right now is enough? I know contentment isn't generally associated with us who are creative. My friends even run a great blog about discontentment. It's like somewhere along the way we all agreed that this uneasy feeling inside, this need for something greater, was going to be our fuel. But when your fuel is only really an emotion then what happens when that emotion is gone? You can't run on fumes for long. So there has to be a better way, a more sustainable way. Contentment is key. Yes, Contentment. I think there's a greater place to live and work from. A place of fulfillment and firm foundations. Being content (or discontent) isn't dependent on our outer circumstances, it's an internal issue. You can't fix a problem by only addressing the symptoms, you have to find the root cause. But the struggle and the pain to get to the root is all worth it. Getting your heart in line first and allowing your emotions to follow is a better place to live life from.

On prayer and silence

Prayer I’ve always been a believer in prayer. But it’s more than just believing, I’ve seen and heard the power of prayer. It’s one of the greatest acts of faith we can exercise here on earth. However, I used to think it was all about me when I prayed. “God help me do this” “God I want that”. Right? I’m pretty sure most of us have prayed the same thing before. But it’s not about me. And that’s awesome. Thankfully I have someone greater praying for me and knows my every need, thus I can spend my time in prayer for others.


Being comfortable with my own thoughts isn’t something I’ve always liked. As a child I enjoyed the constant distraction of television. Or when I went to sleep having the radio on to help drown out my thoughts. But as I’ve grown up I find I need quite time more and more, and actually get frustrated when I go too long without it. Something about learning to listen to that still small voice that is so important. And I really believe that until we are comfortable with silence we will never fully know who we are.

Putting them to good use

I am learning that prayer and silence extend much further from the walls of church. My prayer life looks more like a conversation and I find myself seeking quiet times throughout the day. Just this past weekend I went against the grain and worked in silence. It was difficult at first to not have any computer or music distracting me. No twitter or facebook conversations. Just me, my pen and my sketchbook.

Agree with me or not, that’s fine, but I still encourage you to try this in your own walk. Let me know how it goes and what you learn.

IKEA Blues

It all started in 2007 when my wife and I moved back home to Texas after living in Japan. We were thrilled to have an IKEA within driving distance of us. It was like seeing those giant yellow letters against the huge blue box hypnotized us and made us give them all our money. No, seriously. We refurnished our entire apartment in IKEA. It’s like that scene in Fight Club, before the apartment blows up.

Customer Service nightmare

Well then it happened. Our first “bump in the road” with IKEA. We wanted new couch covers so we ended up having to special order them and after a month or so when they finally arrived and got them home and were putting them on we found they sent us two left covers. No big deal I thought, just give them a call and they will fix this.

Well what I thought would turn out to be a simple fix turned out to be a 3-4 month process of paperwork and heated phone calls with customer service. Then to top it all off, by the time we finally got the new couch cover one of them was ripped from a box cutter. Way to go IKEA.

Everyone deserves a second chance

Fast forward to January this year when my wife and I were planning to remodel our bathroom. Okay, I had bigger plans than my wife, but still we were both excited to make some updates. So we thought we’d give IKEA another chance, one because they’re cheap and two because we like the design.

Here’s what we bought:

  • 1 new vanity with a new sink
  • 2 new faucets
  • 1 new cabinet to hang above our toilet
  • 1 new birch wood storage shelf

Here’s what we had to return:

  • 1 new vanity (they messed up and gave us the wrong size)
  • 2 new faucets (they were a giant headache, but I’ll get into that later)

All fixtures are not the same

Little did we know that the sizes IKEA labels on all their plumping and fixture is not the size it says. They are all European/Swiss/Elvish sizes and do no work with standard American fittings. Such a freaking headache. I’ve spent more time in Home Depot in the last few months that I deserve a paycheck.

This is the biggest mistake they are making in my opinion. And they don’t even give you a warning, notice or friendly note about it. It’s like they’re saying: “Hey, come buy our stuff, but don’t expect any help when you can’t get it to work. Suckers!”

So ended up buying two new Price Pfister faucets that look amazing and undoubtedly will last longer the ones from IKEA. Plus, the connections work flawlessly with standard American sizes. Imagine that.

Next time around

Next time my wife and I plan on remodling our bathroom I will definitely be saving the extra cash for quality furniture. Am I still frustrated? No, not anymore. Why did I write this post? To hopefully help someone who is in the same situation or think of other options. Will I ever shop at IKEA again? Yes, my wife and I really like their shelves and storage stuff. What is one tip you would give to anyone buying furniture from IKEA? Use wood glue, lock tight, or whatever you can find when assembling your furniture. It will help it last longer.

Breakout Session

I am so excited. This year will mark my first ever public speaking engagement. And what better place to get my feet wet than within a community of creative believers at ECHO Conference. I have to be honest though, the thought of standing before a group of people makes my knees weak. But I believe with proper preparation and practice I can kill this thing. So the obvious question is, what am I going to talk about? I wish I had a nice short answer for you.

Initial Thoughts

When I first spoke to Scott McClellan on the phone about speaking at the conference I just shared what’s been on my heart over the last year. What God has been teaching me about my identity and finding my own style and really being comfortable with that. Not relying on the approval or praise of others. And through that being able to encourage others to take time and find their passion and their own style.

Bringing it into Focus

Like Lucas told Mark in Empire Records, “First thing you need is a name. Then you’ll know what kinda band you got.” Okay, I’m not forming a band, but the point is still relevant. Once I decide on a title for my talk it should help bring the rest into focus. I really want to make it informative but entertaining. Probably do some Q/A at the end. And most importantly, learn to not take myself too serious.

Keeping it Simple

Above all else I want to keep this whole thing simple. I err on the side of making things more complicated than they need to be. Ugh! So my biggest hurdle I believe will be reminding myself to simplify. Just be honest and remain calm. I didn’t end up here by chance.

So if you’re in, or around, the Dallas area on July 27-29 you should come out and see all the great speakers at ECHO Conference. I’m excited to hear/meet Carlos Whitaker, Joshua Blankenship and Scott Belsky. You can register here.

A Consistent Life

What’s the first thing you say when someone asks how you’re doing? If it’s at a social function, probably good, at church, maybe really good, and if it’s at work, I think busy is most common. Busy. We can sum up so much without saying a whole lot because we’re too busy to talk.

Well I believe that the words we speak hold more power than we give them credit for. And I don’t like listening to myself say how busy I am, as if I’m some boring business man. My life has more depth to it than how much work I have to do. I am not defined by my successes or failures.

So I’m going to work on changing my vocabulary from busy to consistent. I think the very word, consistent, has a nice ring to it. It makes me think of a river flowing or grass growing or the sun rising. Those things that aren’t very burdensome, but happen consistently every day. That’s how I want to live.

Finding Joy in Others

Jealousy. Envy. Defeat. These were the heavy burdens that once ruled my heart when I saw someone’s work that was so much better/different than my own. This happened a lot when I was first starting out in web design. But I think it’s more than just designers that suffer, it’s a human condition. We want to be better than everyone else. But when we only focus on ourselves we miss the bigger picture. There can not be community without unity. No “I” in team. That whole thing. Recently my heart’s been transformed to see and appreciate the gifts other people have. Not just appreciate, but really be happy and excited for them. It’s been a long process happening in me as I’ve become more comfortable with who I am as a person/designer. I like making things that aren’t perfect and I’m okay with that. A lot of my friends are killing the perfect pixel or doing other hand-drawn stuff and I love it.

I’m excited to be a part of the design community. I’m excited to see more people come in to their own and really shine. I’m seeing it happen more and more. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have these heavy burdens lifted and replaced with love and joy for others.

The State of Art

Without a sense of purpose the act of creating is purely selfish. If we don’t have any vision or value behind the work we’re creating it’s all for naught. Vanity.

I’ve seen so much work recently that is is empty and void of meaning. Maybe that’s the artists intentions? Maybe like my friend Rogie said, “thats a picture of the author’s condition.” Only God knows the heart.

I am just a judge of the cover. Please forgive me.

Still my heart wonders. Do people identify more with lost and loneliness and less with hope and purpose? Is it easier to create from a place of melancholy and sadness? Absolutely.

But like Paul said, ” these three remain: faith, hope and love.”