Growing up, I didn’t participate in team sports. I didn’t attend sporting events, or watch them on TV. My primary interest was in computers and academic pursuits. I was a bit of a nerd.

It wasn’t until my middle-age adulthood that I finally understood the importance of sports. One day in March 2014, I was scrolling through the list of suggested videos on YouTube. There were the usual videos about building robots and deep space telescopes.

One video caught my attention. It was an ad from Dick’s Sporting Goods, but they weren’t selling anything. The video was part of their “Sports Matter” series of public service announcements about the importance of sports. [See Playlist]

I watched that video, and the next, and began binge watching the entire series of ads in the “Sports Matter” campaign. I’ll include some of those below.

You may already be familiar with the message and lesson conveyed by the videos. They explain in a very personal way, how important sports participation can be for young people.

Team sports are one way young people build valuable relationship skills they can benefit from for a lifetime. Participating in sports may be the only confidence-building experience some young people have if their home life diminishes their self esteem and erodes their confidence.

Positive Impact of TEAM Sports

The stories conveyed in the Dick’s videos are very emotional and compelling, and equally gripping are the statistics shared in the campaign overview video:

  • “Student athletes score higher in social skills like resolving conflict, appreciating diversity, and moral conduct.”
  • “Student athletes are 4 times more likely to graduate High School.”

Despite these benefits, $1.5 billion was cut from youth sport programs in the 2010 to 2011 school year. It was projected that 27% of U.S. public High Schools would not have sports by the year 2020. [Source Video]

My own Lack of Awareness

A few years ago, I was standing in line at a coffee shop. In an effort to be friendly, I turned to the person behind me in line, and noticing they looked rather sporty, I said, “You look like a coach.” He did have that coach vibe.

The man responded, “I am THE coach.” I had to ask a few more question before I realized he was Kirk Frerentz, the head football coach at the University of Iowa. It was a little embarrassing, but he was friendly despite me not recognizing him.

On one occasion I was at the gym for my daily workout, and met a woman who humbly described herself as a former University of Iowa coach. I later learned she’s a well known award winning women’s coach.

A few days ago, I met a woman while on my morning walk. Being friendly, she introduced herself. In our brief conversation I learned she had coached at my high school — a mile down the road from where we were walking. I learned upon asking that she coached over a span of about two decades. Those few tips should have been sufficient for me to recognizer her. Yet, I was oblivious.

Sensing I should have known of her, I later did a Google search and learned she was the recipient of multiple awards and hall of fame recognitions. She wrote a book, The Miracle Season, that became a full-length feature film staring Helen Hunt depicting her work as a coach. It would be like meeting Maya Angelou, and even after being told she writes poetry, not recognizing who she was. This encounter prompted me to revisit what I can do to support youth sports.

Sports Education

My lack of knowledge about basic sports facts is a hinderance, and it’s not something easily corrected late in life. I wish I had learned in school, and perhaps college, some basic information about sports.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa, General Education Requirements ensured I had some basic awareness of foundational subjects.

A simple semester-long course about sports would have been sufficient to learn the essentials about different sports, history of sports, key figures, and the benefits of team sports. Perhaps one day something like that can be available.

Take Positive Action

Investments in youth sports initiatives will generally provide a measurable benefit and payback to individuals, families, schools, communities, and society. Confident and competent team-focused young people generally grown into successful and giving adults.

What I plan to do in my own life, and encourage others to do, is support team sports. It’s an important part of anyone’s “making the world a better place” portfolio of giving.

Here are some of the charitable organizations and foundations established to give more young people access to the valuable experience of participating in team sports.

  • Every Kid Sports [View]
  • Live Like Line Foundation [View]
  • National Council of Youth Sports [View]
  • National Youth Sports Strategy [View]
  • Sports Matter [View]

Learn More

The videos below provide insights into the positive impact that team sports can have for young people. You may want to have some tissues while watching these.

Anchorage, Alaska Hockey (1 Dec 2015, Revised 2 May 2022)

Jerome High School Softball (29 Mar 2022)

Daniel #19 Pitcher (21 Apr 2014)

Lacross — BD #9 Defense (2 Mar 2014)

Harlem Lacrosse (5 Aug 2015)

Document History

I originally posted on this topic in March 2014. [View] I was recently inspired to offer this refreshed writing on the topic in July 2022. The featured photo used at the top of this page is from about a year ago, on 30 June 2021. It’s the view from a favorite walking trail.

Independence Day 2022

Happy 4th of July

Traditionally, Independence Day has been a time when people gather with family and friends to celebrate. It’s a holiday similar to Thanksgiving, but with a political and patriotic theme. Appreciation is shown for those who have fought for the ongoing independence of the country. People reflect on how grateful they are for the freedoms they have.

For those celebrating today, I hope you have a great day.

For those reflecting on the meaning of this day, feel free to read on.

How We Use Our Freedoms

As individuals or as a country, our freedoms come with responsibilities and obligations.

This principle is conveyed in the following quotes:

  • “Instead of thinking that I am born with rights, I choose to think that I was born with obligations to serve past, present, and future generations, and the planet herself.” ~ Cherokee elder, Stan Rushworth. [More]
  • “…we are held responsible for what we have. If we have been blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected that we benefit others.” ~ Casey Duhart essay on Luke 12:48 [Source]

Political holidays like Independence Day offer an opportunity to reflect with appreciation on the freedoms we have, and consider how well we are using those freedoms to make the world a better place.

The Good Country Index is a helpful tool for reflecting on a country’s success and how it is measured. It’s a meaningful ‘report card’ to periodically review. [View]

We become more honest with our own self-assessment when we consider specific goals for society. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a good guideline for progress and planning. [View]

A practical way to observe and celebrate Independence Day is to consider how to give of one’s time, money, and resources to help their country and the world be better. Donate financially to organizations that advance freedom, such as independent journalism and education. Look for ways to help strengthen the Columns of Democracy.

Unusual Context for Fourth of July 2022

This year the Fourth of July blends with some other significant events in our country’s history.

In recent weeks, our legislators have been investigating the insurgency of 6 Jan 2021, when an armed group attacked the Capitol. This investigation brings attention to the divisions in the country.

A separate but related event is the decision of the Supreme Court on 24 Jun 2022 whereby women no longer have certain federally protected rights that had been in place for about 50 years. This creates a big rift in the country between states that want to uphold the established law and those who do not. The fallout from the decision is still settling and has many ramifications. [More]

During his time in power, the leader of the insurgency group had installed justices who would generally be loyal to the insurgency group and their views. His name and image continue to be used by loyalists who still see him as their leader. So, when the Supreme Court ruling was announced, there was much celebration of what was considered to be a political victory and proof that their leader still has power, influence, and was still delivering on political promises.

Due to this context and recent events, the usual unity and enthusiasm of Independence Day is slightly muted.

[Photo: The picture featured is a sunrise photo from my morning walk on 4 Jul 2022.]

Survey: Women, Choice, and Life


This survey is primarily intended for women in the state Iowa to convey their preference regarding state laws that will determine the rights of all women in the state. Submissions can be made anonymously. By completing this survey, you are helping provide a better understanding of the will of women in Iowa.

  • The aggregated survey outcomes may be generally shared on this page. This is a small non-scientific poll, and the outcome should be compared with other similar surveys for establishing better insights.
  • Survey submissions can be later changed or retracted and deleted on request by the survey participant.
  • When completing the survey, as applicable, answer relevant questions as you would wish to be treated and have other women treated.
  • This survey is intended for women who might be impacted by Iowa legislation. If you wish to complete the survey and are outside of Iowa or not a woman, please indicate that in the concluding comments.
  • More information about the survey is below, along with materials for further reading to assist with answering the survey. This survey is based on topics and questions recently raised by politicians and legislators and does not reflect the views or opinions of the survey creator.



The purpose of this survey is to provide some information to male voters in Iowa who want their voting to reflect the preferences of women in their state. This can help ensure that women are collectively and democratically self-governed rather than governed by the opinions and decisions of men.


On 24 June 2022, in the United States, decisions about reproductive choices were taken away from individual women and transferred to state legislators. This means that for some states, principles of imminent domain will govern women’s uteruses. That part of the body will not be governed by the woman, and because pregnancy and birthing are so all-encompassing, women will no longer have complete autonomy of their lives. Voters in each state will be responsible to select legislators who will establish laws supporting or limiting women’s freedoms.

Message from Survey Creator

On 29 Jun 2022, in researching women’s views on life and choice, I read a comment posted by a woman responding to the heartbeat law in Tennessee. She said, “I just hope that woman will become more responsible for their decisions.” I was surprised by that comment. It seems to me that not all pregnancies are the result of a decision a woman makes. Some are the result of assault. Perhaps some women (and some men) see pregnancy as an apt ‘punishment’ or abiding-consequence for promiscuity. While that is an antiquated and rare viewpoint, it may still be prevalent today. I wanted to get more input from women to help guide my voting decisions, so I created this survey. It is a follow-up to my initial writing on this topic, “Thoughts on Life and Choice After the Fall of Roe V. Wade on 24 June 2022.” [View]

Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Do Not Exist

We oversimplify views on abortion and place people into binary categories of pro-life or pro-choice. Yet, people’s individual personal views are much more complex.

Among pro-choice people, there is a point in a pregnancy at which they would agree nobody should be allowed to have an abortion because it would be inhumane (assuming the mother’s life was not endangered).

Among pro-life people, there are many different views about when life begins and at what point developmentally does it become unacceptable to allow an abortion. There may be circumstances where a pro-life person might consider an abortion to be acceptable. There may also be a standard they would hold themself to which is different than what they would allow another person to choose.

For this reason, many people believe that a single state-wide law becomes a violation of religious freedom and a violation of basic human rights.

Further Reading

Below are general impartial informative resources for further reading.

  • Dobbs v. Jackson [Wikipedia]
  • Heartbeat bill [Wikipedia]
  • Punishment, “There has to be some form of punishment” – comment by a recent U.S. President [View on YouTube]
  • Roe v. Wade, NPR, 24 Jun 2022, “Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades” [View]
  • Timeline on gestation and abortion access prior to June 2022 [View]
  • Trigger law [Wikipedia]


On 29 June 2022, Trevor Noah has offered a commentary that seems to summarize and reflect general public sentiment of those who are concerned about extreme restrictions on abortion. [View on YouTube]

Thoughts on Life and Choice After the Fall of Roe V. Wade on 24 June 2022

Divided States of America

Over the past year, I was working on developing a fiction short story about a divided America. This is obviously not a new idea. It’s a reality that is unfolding all around us. In my story, tension between red states and blue states resulted in border crossing military checkpoints similar to those between different countries.

Entering the “Red Zone” involved having your vehicle inspected for banned books and other contraband such as any multicolored or rainbow colored items. Identity papers were required to prove citizenship. Women and girls over 12 years old were under extra scrutiny and required to prove they were not pregnant to avoid being detained. No documentation was required for guns and other weapons.

Upon crossing the border, one could see the rolling coal smoke from diesel trucks swirling up to combine in the air with smoke from piles of banned books being burned in the streets. Schools were surrounded with barbed wire and all teachers carried guns. Militarized Hummers replaced traditional school buses. It’s a scene that to some people would consider a hellscape, but others would view it as all their dreams come true.

Entering the “Blue Zone” one would encounter a similarly exaggerated depiction of what those from the “Red Zone” would consider unappealing.

I had given up on the idea of writing the short story because it seemed too dark, too divisive, and also implausible. States having their own abortion laws was not something that could happen. Even the recent conservative justices under oath acknowledged that “Roe was settled law.” Courts tend to build upon decades of precedent rather than dismantle decades of precedent.

I didn’t realize I would wake up on a summer day in 2022 and the story I rejected as too dark would be unfolding in the news.

Multi-State provision

On 24 June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Roe V. Wade ruling of 1973. Thus, state legislators will now determine whether women in their state will have access to abortion and, if so, under what conditions.

This is similar to other state-by-state laws, like those governing fireworks. Because each woman’s circumstances and religious views are different, it’s impossible to make case-by-case determinations. Instead, blanket laws will be established that everyone will be required to comply with.

While certainly every person’s individual faith is important, it will be necessary for the faith and beliefs of the legislators to determine the law of the land for their state. For example, determinations about when life begins will be left to the legislators. They will also decide on the manner of punishment for those who are non-compliant.

Residents of each state are free to move to a state that matches their own beliefs about when life begins. If you believe life begins at conception, there will be a state you can move to where the law reflects that belief. If you believe life begins at 8 to 9 weeks when a heartbeat can be detected, there will be a state you can move to. Some people may look to 16 or 24-week designations as a point of viability. There will likely be states that have laws aligned with that viewpoint. If you believe contraception is a violation of your faith, there will probably be one or two states where they are outlawed and you can move there.

Where family members have differing views, the family members can be split up into different states that match those views. Preferably close to borders where they can continue to visit each other.

Some people will continue to believe that women are able to decide for themselves what the best choice is for their circumstance. For those people, there will be states that continue to allow women to make their own choice. In those states, laws of eminent domain will not apply to a woman’s uterus.

State laws may change from one year to the next depending on the religious views of the controlling majority legislators in each state. This may result in tension between states with different guidelines about when life begins. It may also result in disruption for people who need to change their place of residence to align with their faith. Or, if their own beliefs change, they would need to move accordingly.

Some people view the above outcome as something to be celebrated. Others believe that 50 different states each with different laws will create confusion, disruption, divisiveness, and distress in the country. Others are upset by the ruling, and would like their own beliefs about when life begins to be reflected in a federal anti-abortion law for everyone in the country to follow. It is deeply upsetting to some people, to think that a person in a neighboring state might be living according to a different belief system.

Baby in a Basket

The final published Supreme Court decision considers the following (on page 34 of the majority opinion / page 42 of the PDF):

States have increasingly adopted ‘safe haven’ laws, which generally allow women to drop off babies anonymously…” and “…a woman who puts her new-born up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home.”

The ruling is suggesting that having a baby does not result in a long-term parenting burden, and single parenting is no longer stigmatized. This is undoubtedly a disputed claim, but it is a significant part of the overall decision.

Now What

It’s not likely this will become an individual state-wide ballot item. Instead, individuals will vote every two to four years in support of politicians who seem to reflect views consistent with the majority of women in their state.

Men will be asked to vote for legislators who will enact laws that control what women’s freedoms will be. Of course, women will also vote, but their personal destiny will be determined by others in their state. Will men feel comfortable being required to vote on laws that impact women? Probably not. A person can refuse to vote, but that will impact the outcome as well. So, there’s no way to avoid being involved in some way.

Most state residents will feel compelled to become informed about theological issues of various faiths, as well as gaining an understanding of modern medicine, and the ethics of what we can force our neighbors to do or not do through legislation.

For the past 50 years, we had millions of women making millions of decisions, each fitting their own situation and beliefs. It was a distributed democratic system. Now we will establish a system where a small number of uninformed and uninvested people will be making life and death decisions for people they have never met and will never know. It will be very difficult and costly to establish. Innocent people may get prosecuted and incarcerated, such as a woman having a late-term miscarriage perceived to have been induced. Women may be forced to carry to term and raise children of people who assaulted them. This will become the responsibility of their spouses and existing children. The long list of possible scenarios is troubling.

Further Reading

Additional reading is listed alphabetically by source name.

  • CNBC, 3 May 2022, “Supreme Court says leaked abortion draft is authentic; Roberts orders investigation into leak” [View]
  • NPR, 24 Jun 2022, “Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades” [View]
  • Politico, 2 May 2022, “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows” [View]
  • Supreme Court Final Opinion, 24 June 2022, “Dobbs v. Jackson” [View]

Rev. Robert Schenck

Below is an important reflection and commentary from Rev. Robert Schenck. He was a high-profile organizer and spokesman for Operation Rescue in New York State, a particularly aggressive anti-abortion group. (27 Jun 2022)

Kathryn Kolbert

Below is a TED presentation by Kathryn Kolbert from 8 Dec 2021 about some services, guidelines, and resources that are mostly very far “upstream” of abortion, and thus these could result in a national and global reduction of abortions.

The alternative to what Kolbert proposes would be to reduction in education and an elimination of access to contraceptives, which would result in an increase in abortions.

Low Cost Computing with Raspberry Pi


Despite some global supply-chain challenges, the Raspberry Pi is currently available in a 2GB kit version for $140 [View] and a 4GB keyboard version for $99. [View] The kit version requires a mouse, keyboard, and monitor. The keyboard version comes with a mouse and only requires a display.

As a tech support provider, I see the greatest value of Pi computing in the low cost of hardware purchase, software, and tech support.


The low cost of equipment means any computer problem can be solved for $99 by giving someone a replacement computer. There’s no need to pay for a $200 extended warranty when the computer can be replaced for $99.


The internal solid-state system drive is a micro SD card, easily replaced without any special tools or skills for about $10 to $30 depending on the storage capacity you need. [View Drives]

On a traditional laptop or desktop computer, the main system drive is perhaps not even replaceable, or can only be replaced at great cost by paying a consultant. On some computers with non-removable storage, like an Apple laptop computer, a damaged system drive could cost $800 or more to replace out of warranty (by replacing the main system board).


If someone asks me to reinstall Windows and Microsoft Office on a typical laptop or desktop computer, it’s an afternoon project. I lose money by charging for only a fraction of my time. The numerous updates and desirable customizations take time. [Learn More] The subscription to Microsoft 365 is about $105 per year.

If someone asks me to completely reinstall their operating system and office suite of software on a Raspberry Pi computer. I can to that using about 30 seconds of my time. I could probably afford to do the work and give them a new system drive at no cost just as a courtesy. The work could be done in a few minutes while they wait. That’s a huge difference. The software is free and there are no ongoing subscription or service fees.

Tablet Computing

A similarly simple device for computing would be an Apple iPad which costs about $330. A bluetooth keyboard for about $30 would help make the iPad more like a laptop computer.


Using simpler technology requires some simplification of a person’s daily routine and tech demands. People who feel they need expensive powerful computers might want to examine what life changes they could make that would not require such capabilities.

The Raspberry Pi computer or Apple iPad require some changes in computing practices, but generally should serve the needs of most people.


This article relates to the topic of Tech Industry Supply Shortages. [Read More]

PHOTO. The photo at the top of this page is from Kent Park on 5 Aug 2020.

My Competitor is Winning. My Competitor is Me.

In the late 1990s, I setup the website as a place for all my interests and business endeavors. The idea was to create a destination with many attractions, similar to a shopping mall or vacation destination. People would arrive at the site for tech support, but also learn about tiny houses, and see some of my photography or listen to my music.

That approach has generally worked over the years, and the site has seen about 4 million visitors. However, those looking for tech support in Iowa City will not be searching Google or Bing on the words “resources for life” but instead they will be searching for something like “Iowa City tech support” or “Iowa City Computer Support.”

About ten years ago, I decided to setup two additional websites. One site is and the other is

I put most of my effort into developing the Iowa City Technology Services website, given that the term technology services would seem more inclusive of laptop computers, mobile technology, and support for other electronic devices. The idea of Computer Support seemed antiquated to me and unlikely to generate much interest, but I thought it would help to have it out there.

Today, if you search Google for “Iowa City tech support” my two websites are in the top 5 non paid organic listings of 47 million results. Among the Google business listings, Iowa City Computer Support shows up first in the results.

Ultimately, in this competition between me and myself, running two identical businesses, with the same services, and the same tech person, with the same rates, one of them has significantly pulled out into the lead. The only difference is the website name. It is the Computer Support website that has succeeded greatest. This taught me that one can never fully predict or determine the outcome regardless of how much effort we put in.

why You Need Three Websites

When I’m helping someone get started online with a web presence, I always say that a person needs at least three websites:

  1. Your Name. In the word of mouth and ‘word of mouse’ manner that business awareness spreads, people may sometimes search directly for your business by your name and not the business name. They will search for “Iowa City Greg Johnson computer support” or just search for “Greg Johnson Iowa City.” Many people I work with don’t know the name of my business. They tell their friends, “You should call Greg Johnson.” So, there is always a need for people to have a website under their own name to make it easy to be found. That personal website need not be complicated. It can have just a few buttons for destinations of interest. It’s a way to be found.
  2. Your Business Name. It’s nice to have a catchy and fun business name. Many businesses have names that consist of words previously not found in a dictionary. Others have names that make it impossible to know what the business is really about unless you already know what the business does. We all imagine that we will take our ‘baby’ as a business and brand to the level of public awareness that one day everyone will recognized Droxler Industries as a household name synonymous with whatever it is the business does. “Google did it. So can I!” is the thinking. Having a catching business name is just part of the success puzzle, but not all of it.
  3. What You Do. Perhaps more important than having your name or your business name as a dot com website will be to have a brief description of what you do as a dot com website (or two). You want to ensure that when people do a search on your service, that you have a website named as what they searched on dot com. That would hopefully get you higher in the search results.

Three Rules of Success

Having a few websites is just the start. Here are three aspects of fostering success.

  1. Content Matters. Having a genuine website with genuine unique written content and photos makes a big difference.
  2. The Dot Com Difference. The most recognizable website extension is .com and it’s the one people may ‘remember’ when they are typing in a website address. So, if you have a .biz or .info or .us extension on your website, a person looking for the site may by habit type in the .com extension instead. It is similar to toll free numbers beginning in 1-800. That’s the prefix we remember for toll free numbers even though 877 and other prefixes have been used in recent years. So, I always advise people to have a .com version of the website name they want whenever possible.
  3. Connecting. The real-world meaningful connections we make, and the successes we have in helping others, that’s the soil that our business grows in. The websites and online presence is just an ornament or decorative gift wrapping paper to the core of who we are and what we do.


What I offer above are not answers, but questions that will point you to your own answers. My experience of establishing two seemingly identical businesses and seeing one succeed was a reminder to me about the unpredictable nature of business success. The experience reinforced my desire to have diversity in my business, and to have multiple businesses.

# # #

[Photo Credit: The photo at the top of this page is one I took on 28 Mar 2020. I colorized it slightly.]

Realization: Few things were actually essential

Like others during this global pandemic and the national emergency in America, I’ve been cutting back on non-essential activities and purchases.

In the process, I’ve started to realize that it’s all been kind of non-essential. So much that we’ve been spending our time and money and energy on, even much of the work and business activity has been non-essential.

Now we’re left with staying home reading books, painting, cooking, baking, gardening, composing music, and going for solitary walks in the park. Families are staying home and spending time together; playing board games, sharing meals, laughing. For those continuing to work, they are working from home.

We’re less ‘hurried’ and not so busy. Whatever it was we were doing that we thought was so important suddenly isn’t so important. Stress is relieved.

We’re acting like Scandinavians in our cleaning, scrubbing surfaces, and getting more tidy at home. There’s a city to the north of us that has instituted free public transit. Stores are dedicating special shopping times to focus on serving the elderly. Everyone is home schooling. No longer wasteful, at home people are becoming frugal and conserving on everything to make supplies last.

Somehow, overnight, America has become another country.

Is this how the world will be going forward?

For now, I’m heading out for my daily trail hike to take a few nature photos and reflect on this new world we live in.

# # #


Below, the short film Happiness portrays the world we’ve left behind.

Winter Cold Weather Bicycle Riding

For many years I was a year-round cyclist. Then after spending two years living and working downtown in Iowa City, I stopped riding as much. After that, since the summer of 2011, living on a bus route made it tempting to just let someone else do the driving on rainy days or during cold icy snowstorms. So, I transitioned to becoming a recreational fair-weather cyclist.

Heading into this winter, I decided to return to bicycling year-round. This required outfitting my bicycle with some special modifications.

One of the first things I noticed when bicycling in sub-zero temperatures was that the shifting mechanism for my bike would freeze up. I was able to get a special double-sleve shifting cable. This means the shifting cable goes through a sealed cable that is inside another cable. So, the shifting is smooth and responsive in extreme conditions.

Very low windchill temperatures are especially severe on a bicycle. If you’re riding into the wind, frostbite conditions happen much faster. Dermatologists use liquid nitrogen to burn and remove skin. The procedure is painful. That’s how unprotected skin feels in high winds and sub-zero temperatures. So, it’s important to be well covered and insulated.

In the winter, I tend to carry more things with me. On my bike ride to the gym, I need to pack my exercise shoes separately, and wear winter boots for my ride. So, I purchased some oversized side-bags for my rear bike rack. These are also helpful at any time of the year when needing to carry extra items.

With icy roads, normal bike tires may not have the necessary traction, so I had some winter tires put on my bike. They have silica embedded in the rubber. The gritty sand in the tires, along with softer than normal rubber, helps ensure better control on slick roads.

With all of these upgrades, I’m now able to venture out in just about any weather. As a result, I’m enjoying the outdoors more, and taking some photos I might not otherwise have taken. Bike riding is also great for promoting health and wellness.

How having a personal blog influences my writing.

Writing Over the Years

I’ve always enjoyed writing. Over the years I’ve gone from writing by hand, to typing, to using a word processor, then using a computer, then printed newsletters. By the late 1990s my writing was distributed by email as a monthly email newsletter. In recent years, I’ve been putting my writings on the web as articles. Most of these are on the ResourcesForLife website.

The Invisible Author

Over the past 20 years, much of my writing has not been in first person, but instead written to avoid the presence of the author’s voice or comment in the writing.

Some of my writing is technical and instructional which lends itself more to an encyclopedia-type of writing style. For other writing, I try to keep it subjective, sharing various views on a topic – so it’s not just a writing style but a mindset of staying open to ideas and presenting them in a fair and balanced way. Being more removed helps.

For web pages that create the structure of a website, the style of writing needed is relatively dry and informative without the need for opinion.

For these reasons, I’ve used an approach to writing where the author is invisible in the writing.

Creating a Personal Presence Online

A few years back, I launched the website as a place to share more personal writings and have a personal presence on the web. The broad social commentaries and technical writings still go elsewhere, but the more personal writings or sharing of photography goes on the personal website.

Personal Brand

The personal website is also a place to solidify what people refer to today as their ‘personal brand’ – which is a fancy business-like way of talking about how people come to assess what you’re interested in, what you value, and what your values are.

With a personal website I can distance myself from my writings on politics, religion, or other controversial topics by putting them on the Resources for Life website along with a lot of other writings.

I don’t put those on my personal website because people who don’t know me may begin to form an assessment about who I am and what my views are based on just a few writings – not knowing that I sometimes will write strongly in support of various viewpoints.

My writings are often not meant to make a person believe what I believe, or manipulate them into doing what I want, but more intended to get people thinking deeper, and opening up to understand the views of others. It’s as much an exercise for myself as it is for the reader.

I try to avoid satire and sarcasm in my writing, especially writings that I plan to have on my personal website because it’s easy for people to misunderstand or take things the wrong way. Some articles stand on their own, but often a reader needs to have a broader understanding of the author and what they’ve written before to better understand what’s being written.

Having Followers

Something that’s kept me from having a personal blog over the years has been that question that we all probably ask, “Who would be interested in what I have to say?”

One way I’ve been able to get over that hurdle is to realize that maybe nobody will read what I share, but I should write anyway if I enjoy it. Think about the process of keeping a journal or writing poetry that you never share with anyone. We shouldn’t measure the value of something based on how many people will see it.

One of the reasons I like journaling and logging life experiences through writings, photography, and digital scrapbooking is because it provides me with a way to better reflect on the past.

Considering the Audience

Over the years, I’ve become friends with a broad range of people with different viewpoints and interests. When I write, I try to think about how various people might react to what I’m sharing, and I write accordingly which helps me be more fair and balanced with my writing.

Information Overload and Inbox Relief

One of the reasons for my monthly newsletters was to relieve people from having too much in their inbox from me. I thought it would be nice to have a single email each month on a variety of topics so people could catch up on news without receiving a bunch of messages and clutter from me. I thought I’d be more likely to be heard if I only said something once a month. This has become even more important with the flood of social media content. So, I continue the monthly newsletter as a way to share what’s most important from the past month and for the month to come.


As much as we complain about a lack of civility in the online world, with cyber bullying and other problems, a trend that’s made people more civil in their online discussions and writings is removing anonymity. Years ago, it was common for people to use anonymous online personas and profiles. This gave rise to people being less civilized because they couldn’t be judged or criticized for what they were saying and doing online. Today, Facebook, Google, and others have helped to establish the standard of having user accounts that accurately represent real people.

I think when we write from a personal blog, under our own name, we’re motivated to make an additional effort to be considerate of others.

Casual Clothes are Comfortable

Just as casual clothes are comfortable, writing a personal blog post is more comfortable. When I’m writing an article for a website with more exposure, on a topic likely to raise some interest, there’s a little more pressure on. With a personal blog, the audience is smaller, and typically among friends and family. Occasionally a typo will get past me. Someone (usually my brother Sherman) will thankfully let me know. It’s a place to write a little more freely in that regard.

Building a Collection of Writings

Sometimes I write an article in response to a question someone has, such as “What’s the best printer to buy?” I’ll do some research, write an article, and send the person the link knowing that others will likely find the article of interest as well.

Sometimes I’ll write on a topic that nobody has asked me about, but later I’ll have someone ask and it’s nice to be able to say, “Oh, I’ve done some research on that and wrote an article. Here’s the link.” Sometimes the timing is uncanny. I’ll be in a conversation with someone, and they will ask about a topic, and with a surprised look I’ll reply, “I just wrote an article about that yesterday!”

If I’ve taken many hours to research a topic, and provide links to resources, then these articles can help save people time and access a greater amount of high quality information.

Organic Responsive Writing

Even after posting an article, I’ll often go back and expand on a writing to clarify a point or add some additional commentary. Sometimes this is in response to feedback I’m getting on an article. This kind of ‘workshopping’ helps make my writing better and engages those who read to influence and shape the final outcome. Another technique I use for refining my writing is to use the text to speech feature on my iPhone and have articles read back to me. Often we will hear something in a writing that we might overlook if reviewing it visually.

Keeping a Writing Journal

During the day, I might think of a topic I want to write on. I’ll sometimes just write a single sentence and maybe a few points. Then later I might add to that note. Once I’ve considered the topic sufficiently, I’ll spend time writing on that topic. Sometimes, I’ll wake up in the morning, and have a topic come to mind that I want to write on even without previously exploring the topic, but I’ll write on it anyway. There’s a momentum, energy, and effectiveness found in writing about a topic you feel an increased interest in.

Morning Writing

My preferred time to write is in the morning around 5AM after waking up before the business of the workday begins. It’s a time when my mind is clear. There are no interruptions and fewer distractions. I’ll often have a single topic that comes to mind that I want to write on. Sometimes a few topics will come to mind, but usually one that I commit to. It could be something related to current news, or a general topic of interest. Sometimes it’s a topic I’ve been thinking about for a while or exploring in my writing journal.


I appreciate everyone who takes time to read my writings. Thanks for taking an interest. I hope you find them helpful.



Request for LinkedIn Recommendations


I’m updating my LinkedIn profile and am looking for recommendations from colleagues and clients. If we’ve worked together, it would be great to have a recommendation from you.

Many of you have voluntarily endorsed me in various categories of expertise and experience. For that I’m very appreciative.

What I’m looking for now are written recommendations. I’ve provided some simple three-step instructions below.

Feel free to contact me if I can do the same favor for you. If you’d prefer, you can just email me a recommendation to be posted on my website (under Testimonials). Thanks for your help!