Archives 'joys'

9 December
Chris Arends

Tonight my sons and I went and picked out our Christmas tree.  Despite that fact that they are 11 and 13 they didn’t mind that we walked down to the neighborhood nursery to pick out the tree. 



They happily looked through the selection of trees and easily decided on a tree.  After my evaluation of their choice we purchased the tree and as is our tradition proceeded to carry it home.   At this point they both eagerly grabbed an end of the tree and started for home.   I expected at some point one of them would get tired or just be annoyed that I wasn’t helping.  To my surprise they happily, almost joyfully carried it all the way home.  Now it is only about 5 blocks but it seems a  lot longer when you are carrying a 7 ft tall tree.  Yet they both could have gone on for miles.




After we got home they each helped in getting the tree up. Nick going into the attic to get the stand and ornaments and Robert setting up the tree stand.




Now I am sure to most of you that sounds great.  And to some extent it is to me as well.  Then I stood back and thought of the first time we did this, when they could barely stand the walk back and forth. Now here they are easily carrying the tree.  It is just one more reminder to me of how fast they are growing up and how I need to savor these moments.   In 5 or 6 years they may not be home for this part of Christmas, returning just in time to ask for the keys and gas money so they can see their friends.





This morning I was thinking how I wasn’t in the Christmas mood and how I needed to do something to help the boys slow down and remember the spirit of Christmas and here I am 12 hours later with thoughts of Christmas’ past, present and future going through my head.   Now all I need is for it to snow.


30 November
Chris Arends

Over the Thanksgiving holiday my parents came down from Minnesota. Growing up in Iowa we always had Anderson Erickson Dairy products. This time of year was especially anticipated as they make their Egg Nog.egg nog

I don’t know if this is really good egg nog or just that it brings back childhood memories of Christmas but it is held up as the best egg nog myself of my brothers have ever had.

Now my parents knowing that we all love this egg nog told me they were going to bring some down. I thought, great and forgot about it until they arrived with 5 quarts. Now you might say that was nice of them except that I am the only one in my house who likes egg nog and the expiration date is December 8th.

It 250 calories in a half cup serving that is an extra 10,000 calories.  I don’t want to do the math on how many hours of cycling I am going to have to do to burn that off. T And I am sure it will be of no benefit to my cholesterol numbers either.

So as I sit here with my third glass of the day, I say thanks Mom and Dad for the egg nog.


21 April
Chris Arends

I am reading a book called Switch How to change things when change is hard. One thing it talks about is focusing on the bright spots or successes that you already have and replicating them.   This is a great More Than Half Full concept.

Focus on whats working

With out giving you all the examples in the book the point is that instead of trying to fix things that are broken, focus on what you can control and what has shown success.  This encourages prototyping and taking small risks to  see if it an idea can be replicated or expanded.  If it fails you lose a little and have learned something.  If it works you have the foundation to make a bigger change.  That change could be walking down the stairs in your office which will help you be healthier or it could be a new service for your customers.

The power of this is that it focuses on what is working and how to create more of that. Whether it is a business process or losing weight,  if you find and build on the little successes you can improve almost any situation.  Another point the authors make is that in some cases the most critical success is the one in our head.

Win little battles to win the war

Whether the challenge is global warming or getting your kids to eat their vegetables, big challenges never get solved over night or by using one silver bullet.  They are solved by a lot of little changes.  A great example would be CFL’s.  Everyone wants to use less energy.  Changing one bulb to a CFL was the intial goal.  As people got used to the funny shape and the higher up front cost, there are now more CFL’s on store shelves than incandescent bulbs. People started saving money and it just snow balled.  We can do the same thing with a lot of other problems. We just need to find the simple little things to make a big difference.


7 April
Chris Arends

Spring in Texas

Spring is a great time for cyclist.  The days get longer and the weather gets warmer so we can ride more.  The one down side about spring is that it often brings strong winds.  Most cyclists would rather ride up a mountain pass than spend any significant time riding into the wind. I don’t know if it is the relentlessness of the wind or the inability to brag to someone about the hill you climbed, or the fact that you can’t ride around it, there is something we hate about riding into the wind.

Makes you stronger

A job search is a lot like riding into the wind.  It is hard work.  You often have nothing to show for it beyond just getting through the day and nobody likes doing it.  When riding into the wind there is no short cut to your destination.  You have to put in the effort if you are going to reach your turn around point.   The harder you work, the sooner you get there.  There is no substitute.

The thing is that there is always wind.  Some days it is stronger than others or maybe from a better direction depending on your route. In a job search there will be days when you think that every one is working against you, the economy, people who won’t call you back or rejection from those who do.  These all feel like you are riding into the wind.

Heading for Home

The funny thing about the wind is when you get to the half way point of your ride you get to turn around and guess where the wind is?  It’s at your back.  You feel the road moving past you, faster and faster. Your legs feel stronger with each turn of the pedals. Suddenly the wind is your friend and you are speeding to your destination and its not just because the wind is at your back.  It is because all of the hard work that you did into the wind made you stronger, more confident that you could ride well no matter how hard the wind is blowing.

Remember, the next time you feel like you are riding into the wind, when you have worked hard eventually the wind will be at your back and you can cruise home.


25 March
Chris Arends

Spring is a wonderful time of year. The temperature rises, the days get longer and the annual greening of the world begins.  I have never figured out though why the first thing that comes up in my yard is the weeds instead of the grass? As usual the weeds have come up full force encouraged by the perfect alternation of rain and sun. As usual my wife asks me when I am going to start pulling the weeds so they don’t multiply and slow down the grass.

Most people see weeds as a bad thing,  My wife is one of them.  She hates to see them in the lawn so she gets after me to get rid of them. Since we are trying not to use herbicides this means pulling them.   Normally this is something  I despise. My wife thinks that since I grew up on a farm I have a genetic hatred of  weeds and have a need to have a perfect yard,   She has since learned differently, as I have no real drive to have the immaculate emerald lawn that she thinks all men want. The one thing my wife has figured out is that pulling weeds for me is a bizarre type of therapy – even if I don’t like doing it. So she has been subtly prompting me to get out and pull weeds. Her prompting,  although you could almost call it nagging, is a good thing.

Green Devils

The weeds are her nemesis. So being married to her and a former farm boy she assumes they are naturally mine too. Like most men, I don’t particularly like being told what to do especially in my spare time. I also hate the fact that once I get started pulling weeds I will go till my fingers are sore and bleeding as there always seems to be more weeds than I can pull.  My wife also takes advantage of my obsession for her own personal gain.  Funny how wives learn to get what they want from their husbands.

Man on a mission

This year though the weeds are bringing a new perspective to me.  My urge to control the weeds is particularly strong this year.  It may be the over abundance of them or maybe that I have more time on my hands or maybe it just gives me another excuse to be out side.  What  ever the reason they seem to be making me happy this year.  They have given me  a new goal that I can make progress against every day.  Even though they keep coming I know I can make the yard look better everyday by going out and getting even just a few of  them.  As an added bonus, the cleaner the yard looks,  the happier my wife is,  which as every husband knows is key to a good marriage.

One thing I wish the weeds could do is get my neighbors out in the yard more.  We could get to know them better if they cared about the weeds in their yard as much as my wife.  With as many weeds as they have in their yard, we would be best friends in a matter of days.  Out there in the fresh spring air, fighting a common enemy – the weed.

Come on by

As I said this year is an especially abundant crop of spring weeds.  So if you drive by our house you will likely see one of two things. Either me on my hands and knees with a pile of pulled weeds next to me or a perfect dead grass lawn waiting to be green again with out a weed insight.


22 March
Chris Arends

Just saw a video of Dharmesh Shah at SXSW and online marketing. http://tinyurl.com/yjkr7yx It is a good video especially for a coder. He brought up a great point. While everyone can keep doing the same thing everyday we all owe it to ourselves to find our super power. He goes into it briefly but I will give you my take.

Everyone is good at something. Maybe not the best in the whole world but better than most people. While some talents can be more valuable than others, to be truly happy we must find our super power and find a way to use that to its full potential.

Why do we all need to know our super power?  Typically when we are good at something we like to do it. Being good at something gives us some measure of success, whether it is money, fame, fortune, or what ever.

Being good at something makes us happy.  I am reading the book “Crowdsourcing” and it talks about how amateurs are doing things better than professionals/academics because they love to do it, not necessarily because they get paid to do it. This love of doing something will make you happier than almost any amount of money. Can I prove that? Yes many studies have shown that money can’t buy happiness but doing what you love can.
What is my super power? Great question. I can’t say that I have just one. I see my self as more of a MacGyver than a . Meaning I have good overall skills, I am comfortable with technology and people and combine both of them to be very good at making good things happen for the companies I work for.

I had a recruiter tell me we live in a world where specialization is key. Which sounds very Adam Smith and may be true in organizations over 100 people. Many organizations can’t afford a superman in every job. They need a Macgyver who can come in an take on different challenges and come up with a smart solution that leverages the resources at hand instead of needing a lot of specialized gadgets.

How do you find your superpower?  I guess the main thing is to ask your self what are you good at?  What makes you happy?  Figure out how that can help someone else solve a problem and you have your super power.

Today’s No Job Joy is that everyone has a super power.


8 March
Chris Arends

Well its Monday morning. Time to check Facebook and see what all my friends did this weekend and how much they hate Monday.

Facebook is a wonderful thing in that it lets people connect and share what is going on in their lives. The funny thing is that you can know what day of the week it is by the type of posts on Facebook, for example.
-Monday – Great weekend, weekend too short, I hate Mondays,
– Tuesday – Is it Friday yet? Crazy week, how did I get so behind this early in the week.
-Wednesday – Is it Friday yet?, Its only Wednesday, How am I going to survive this week?, I am in conference call/meeting hell
– Thursday – Is it Friday yet?, its almost the weekend, One more day till vacation/holiday/Friday or looking forward to girls night out.
-Friday – TGIF!!, looking forward to busy/relaxing/kids gone/kids home/sporting event/concert
-Saturday Morning – Got up way to early to get kids to sports/work in the yard or relaxing with paper and coffee
-Saturday night – exhausted from working in the yard/kids sports, way to go “name of child here” on great game/competition, date night with significant other, spouse or headed out to party.
– Sunday morning – over slept late for church, that was a great concert/game/date, relaxing with Sunday paper and coffee
– Sunday afternoon – Ready for big game!!, Go “insert favorite team here”,
-Sunday night – What a great weekend, is the weekend over already, Do I have to go to work tomorrow? What happened to my weekend?, the alarm clock is going to go off way too early tomorrow, getting on a plane again.

Have a great week. Don’t worry, the weekend will be here in 5 days.


5 March
Chris Arends

Well today I have reached a blogging milestone.  This the 100th post to my blog.

Originally started as a way to keep me focused on a positive attitude during my job search I have found it has been helpful in other ways.

For those of you struggling in your job search or just needing a better attitude I would recommend blogging.  It will help you get your mind straight.  The process of looking for something worth blogging about which is also positive has helped me focus on the good things that are happening to me and those around me. I’m not sure how many people are even reading it and that doesn’t matter to me. The process of expressing a positive thought is very therapeutic.  As I learned of people reading my blog it has motivated me even more to post regularly and make sure I have good content.

I have recently moved the blog to wordpress in the more-than-half-full.com domain so I can do more with it. It also helps me understand social media better as I continue my job search.

Blogging has also helped with my writing skills. For you job seekers I know you get tired of customizing every resume and cover letter so writing more is the last thing you want to do.  As with any other skill the more you practice the better you get and the more effective you become.  I hope you have found this to be true if you have followed the blog.

With this all said I would like to thank everyone who has read my blog so far and encourage you to tell your friends especially those who need a lift.   I will keep on writing. I hope you keep on reading and please help your friends who don’t have jobs.  They need you for  contacts, leads for jobs and most of all as friends.


26 February
Chris Arends

If you have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately, things have been moving and shaking around here. Here are some updates.

I have been interviewing quite a bit lately so the interviews, prepping, following up, looking for new leads have been taking a lot of time. All good things. No home run yet so if you know of any one who needs marketing or channel management help send them my way.

There has also been a lot of fun stuff going on.  Finishing up Cub Scouts and crossing over my Den of 10 Webelos – 9 with the Arrow of Light. Enjoying the big snow storm we had in Dallas.  See my last post for how I spend those days. And finally the Olympics. Every four years you have to see the maniacs do half pipe, aerials, luge bobsled and all the other crazy speed events. Throw in a little figure skating for some culture and you have the winter olympics. Fortuneately they will be over this weekend so I can get some work done and get some sleep.

In other news, I am working on a new home and some expansion on More than Half Full.  I am not ready to spill the beans yet so stay tuned for some fun stuff.

Look for me to be more regular with my postings and trying some new ideas.

Have a great weekend.


15 February
Chris Arends

When you live in Dallas and you wake up to 2 inches of snow and more is on the way, things start to shut down. Since my phone interview had been canceled, I had nothing I had to do so I decided to take a snow day.  A day to do things that I truly love but never make enough time for was what this day was all about.

My snow day started with two hours of taking photographs.  I explored an area that I had been dozens of times but never ventured off the path.  Today, I took the path not traveled. What I ended up with can be seen here. Snow Day photos Being in Dallas yet not seeing anything that resembles one of the largest cities in America was amazing.  I felt as if I was back in Iowa for the first snow of the year. The large flakes, the silence of being in nature and the beauty of fresh snow.

After getting lunch and drying off, I went to pick up my kids from school.  Another Dad and I carefully set up an ambush for the kids as they got out of school for a three day weekend.  What followed was a 20 minute melee where everyone was covered with snow and exhausted from throwing and dodging flying snow. The joy of the kids being free to be kids in weather that they almost never see was inspiring. The amazing thing was that the snow was falling as hard as ever.

That night we had some small power outages as the trees started to feel the strain of the beauty that was piling on them and they came down taking power lines with them.  Fortunately we had power all night.  With me setting my alarm for a pre-dawn wake up call to capture the snow after it stopped. As we went to sleep we could see the brightness of the city lights reflecting off the clouds and snow making a strange glow everywhere.

As I drove around making photographs I had to avoid trees and branches that had fallen overnight.  Making sure to pay attention to the stop lights that were out. This really wasn’t a big problem as few people were out before daylight. Each time I set up my tripod I was amazed at how much snow we had.  I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen this much snow. Since there was no wind as the snow came down there were no drifts and the snow was a smooth layer of white icing on the world.

As I was revelling in the beauty of what seemed like a foreign land,  the silence was occasionally broken by the sad sound of branched straining and breaking under the weight of the snow. Just as anyone who was with out power for more than a short time can attest, beauty can have a price.

After almost three hours of photographing the winter wonderland, my wife called and the power had gone out.  Not that there was much I could do but I had the only camera that was charged so she has no way to capture the kids frolicking in the almost foot of snow.  When I got home I found kids, dogs and adults playing in the snow along with a new snow man my wife had built.

The rest of the day was spent wondering when the power would come back on and trying to dry clothes by the gas fireplace. When the power did finally come back on here is what I found I had created earlier that day. Wonderful memories of a snow day.

The reason that this is a no job joy is that I had no where to be, nothing I HAD to do and was able to enjoy the snow day as if I were a kid again and create something I can share with others in my photographs.