Maps are Cool

[In my January 1, 2015 post, I christened this the “Year of Learning” here on the blog. Each post, I’ll aim to share something recently discovered (or re-discovered) in the hope that you might add my learning to your own discoveries and make double-moves forward and upward this year!]

I have always been a bit of a map geek. I can recall browsing through atlases and other such books as a child, simply intrigued at the details in the diagrams presented.  I am reminded of this strand of nerdiness every time I encounter a map presenting information in some unique fashion.

For example, consider this map that depicts each nation appropriately sized to its population:

population map

[See full-sized version HERE.]

Or this one that informs us what each nation leads the world in:

lead world-map

[Read more HERE.]

Or how about this one? It’s called the Human Ooze Map. Far less gross than you might imagine, it utilizes a unique style to depict population density.

World Ooze

[Find explanation of this map HERE, if you like.]

So there is our learning for today: Maps are cool, particularly the weird ones!

 

New Music Nearly Free

[In my January 1, 2015 post, I christened this the “Year of Learning” here on the blog. Each post, I’ll aim to share something recently discovered (or re-discovered) in the hope that you might add my learning to your own discoveries and make double-moves forward and upward this year!]

great musicI’ve learned of a site that offers 6.2 million tracks of music, for about 90% cheaper than the mega-music-site everyone knows about. You may find that as hard to believe as I did.

A friend shared a link to just such a site over Christmas break. Curiosity made me click. More curiosity made me research. To my surprise, there are a number of such sites that I have never heard of. I determined the best one for my purposes to be PayPlay.FM. Their collection of Christian music and worship albums is impressive; I even grabbed a few miles-from-mainstream works that gave me the impression that this site would likely serve even somewhat eclectic tastes. Total bill: 11 complete albums for under $15.

Yes, you read that correctly.

No joke.

So there you have it — my first offering in the “Year of Learning” here at Wandering & Wondering. You get to save big money and discover new music — double-win!

You’re welcome! 🙂

Year of Learning

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, then you have read of my struggles to be steady and consistent in my writing habits. I can recall nearly a dozen attempts at a weekly features or ongoing series – all ideas geared toward forming a steady rhythm of posts.

The desire to write is seldom the issue. I would enjoy spending hours each day on the task. In addition, the quest for ideas to develop into posts is rarely the struggle. Every day involves a number of thoughts that might prove worthy of further development.

With those two things expressed, I suppose the writing struggle lives in the space between idea and action. Forming thoughts into words involves mental grunt work, even if you love that particular type of grunting. There is the risk that a thought you believed had value turns into a post that isn’t actually worth much at all. There’s a possibility that something important to you elicits no response from readers, silently confirming that you are further out to lunch than you feared.

But writers write all the same.

How to proceed?

LearningAs I considered what the new year might hold for me, I determined that beyond particular resolutions or specific habits, I desire 2015 to be a year of learning. I’m not speaking of a learning that might feel burdensome, accompanied by heavy expectations and heady efforts. Rather I envision a year in which I increasingly open my ears to learn from all the wisdom-sources that surround me: Books, people, stories, experiences, children, music, films, and more. Even simpler, it’s amazing what can be discovered in a stripped-down moment of tuning in to one’s own body or thoughts or emotions.

Forecasting a year of learning, I dare to dream that a few items worth sharing might arise. I would also venture to guess that those gems will be scattered among posts as mundane as a link to a video or song or site that is proven meaningful to me. Whatever the case, perhaps a simple pattern of posting things learned – from the biggest to smallest – along my wandering-and-wondering ways might provide me with a year-long framework on which to hang my blogging habits for the next calendar year.

Without further ado, I proclaim 2015 the “Year of Learning” here at Wandering & Wondering.

Six-Pack (52)

Missing last week’s Six-Pack has left me with a larger-than-usual pile of options for this week’s collection.

As a result, I’ve got an unusually strong offering for you today! Without further adieu, here are six of the finest posts I’ve recently enjoyed regarding faith, ministry, or who-knows-what.

If six feels steep, start with two. The *Picks of the Week* provide an easy entry point.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) Faithful to the End: An Interview with Eugene Peterson (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
If you’re a pastor, it’s hard not to love Eugene Peterson. Far beyond his providing us with one of the liveliest modern Bible translations, he has poured himself (for years) into writing theologically-loaded, yet pastorally-rooted pieces that are like high-quality nourishment to many in ministry positions. Here, he offers some rich reflection on his decades of service.

2) The Number One Way Leaders Get Derailed
Michael Hyatt offers this observation for all leaders eager to stay on course.

3) Five Things I’ve Learned Since Leaving Full-Time Ministry
Jake Ray, for ChurchLeaders, offers five insights he had about ministry after leaving. Grab these now — they may save you grief. They may even keep you from leaving.

4) It’s You, Not Me: Why More & More Ministers Are Leaving Churches of Christ (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
This recent piece by Sean Palmer has generated a lot of buzz in my church circles.

5) Today, Just Be Average
HBR challenges the perfectionists out there to try something really hard: Settle down for a day.

6) 20 Encouraging Quotes to Level Up Your Life
Lifehack knows I love quotes, so let’s end there today!

May your week ahead be filled with life, as you seek the One from whom it flows!

leaveacommentYOUR TURN: Your input makes this post better!

  • Which link above was most worthwhile?
  • Why that one?

Direct others to the best of the bunch with a quick comment.

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

Six-Pack (50)

Welcome to the big 5-0! Since starting the Six-Pack back in March 2012, over 300 links and articles have been shared in this space.

So thanks for joining us for this silver edition. Here’s the latest collection of “best recent reads” on faith, ministry, and who-knows-what!

If six overwhelms, start with two. The *Picks of the Week* provide an easy starting point.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) Slowly Putting it Back Together: How One Couple Rescued a “Love Lost” Marriage (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Can a marriage on its death-bed be rescued from the brink? Megan Raines affirms that it can. Thanks to Gary Thomas, for both posting this story and for his ongoing work and writing toward strengthening and supporting marriages everywhere.

2) Three Things I Learned from Oprah
Steven Pressfield came on to my radar a few years ago, when his book “War of Art” was on a “Recommended Reading” list I received for a conference.  If you’re involved in any sort of creative process, he should be on your list too. Recently featured by Oprah, he observes what he noted from that interaction. Number three is: Oprah did not get to be Oprah by accident.

3) Seven Habits of Ineffective Leaders 
I’ve been entrusted with a number of leadership roles throughout my life. More than I care to admit, I’ve stepped up to those plates poorly. Here is a short and clear list of ways to go wrong. Let’s go do better!

4) The Silence of our Friends: The Extinction of Christianity in the Middle East
The Spectator’s Ed West does a great job highlighting just a few of the recent blows to Middle East Christianity, while asking the obvious question: Why aren’t we hearing or doing more about this?

5) The Audacity to Question God: An Interview with Greg Boyd (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
If you don’t yet know Greg Boyd, Jonathan Merritt wants to remedy that. You’ll be glad he did, as the two chat about doubt and how it pertains to Christians’ faith in the Jesus and the Bible.

6) Jack Handey Is the Envy of Every Comedy Writer in America
As I revealed in my last post (and elsewhere), I love comedy and those who “do it” in special ways. Jack Handey certainly makes that list. Don’t know Jack Handey? Start with these Deep Thoughts.

May the week ahead be filled with life, as the Father fills you with all you need!

Thanks for plowing through 50 Six-Packs with me!

YOUR TURN: Which link above was most worthwhile–why that one? Direct others readers to the best of the bunch. Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]

I Want to be This Woman

When I grow up, I want to be this woman.

Well, er… not this woman. Or even any woman, for that matter.

But watch, and you’ll know exactly what I mean!

Saturday Six-Pack (39)

Welcome to the long weekend edition of the Saturday Six-Pack.

Settle in for a few minutes, and move your way through six of the of the best online pieces I found this week. Most are faith-focused or ministry-minded; others are just who-knows-what!

If you need help starting, begin with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter ( @JasonBandura ) to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) The Unexpected Antidote to Procrastination
What can a prairie boy learn from surfers about life? At least one great thing, according to this HBR piece.

2) Engaging Lecturers Can Breed Overconfidence
Research Digest makes the suggestion that great speakers actually distort the learning process for their listeners. So speakers, aim to suck! Or at least read this post to be aware of what happens when you’re excellent at your job.

3) What Seems to Help in the Midst of Pain
If you’ve ever hurt or wished to help others when they hurt, then Kathy Escobar‘s thoughts may serve you well today.

4) 2013 Chick-Fil-A Leadercast Highlights
I’ve long heard rave reviews of this annual conference. Michael Hyatt has posted a short list of his take-homes from the most recent event.

5) You Only Have $5. What is the Best Way to Invest and Grow Your Money? (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
This brilliant piece uses an assignment given to Stanford students to vividly highlight the vital place for “out there” thinking.

6) Preaching Better Sermons Top 121 Tweets (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Preaching Rocket’s most recent online workshop can be tasted here in 121 tweet-sized morsels! Speakers of all stripes, have at it!

May your weekend be full of awareness and enjoyment of the God who already fills it with Himself and every good thing.  Blessings on you, my friends.

YOUR TURN: Direct other readers to the best stuff with a comment below, or weigh in on what you read.  Your input makes this post better!

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page.]