Bird Dancing On The Line

Photo: Bird Dancing on the Line – Animal Photograph Copyright 2008 Frank J Casella.

A Pigeon scurries back and forth over the yellow safety line on a train platform in Chicago, Illinois – USA

In life, there are times when we need to draw the line if nothing else than for our own health and safety.

Whether it’s the noise of the news media, or the internet in general, or politics, it’s important to know where we stand or we’ll fall for anything.

We build strong character and peace of mind when we stay on our side of the line that we draw for ourselves.

Making Good Decisions

Photo: Yesterday’s Sky – The winter sky presents a colorful pallet and silhouette for trees in Midwest America- Copyright 2017 Frank J Casella.

The best way to make good decisions is to learn from past good decisions.

That when faced with making a decision, we either react or we respond.

Either way, you can’t fail, because you either succeed or you learn.

As the late Zig Ziglar says, ‘Failure is an event, not a person, yesterday ended last night”.

And the late Henry Ford says, “Failure is an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”.

The one thing I have found in making a good decision, is to spend time in the quiet if you can, and not listen to outside influences or make up your mind by how you will be accepted.

Rather, listen to your inner voice, that usually is suppressed by all the noise around you.

Good decision makers, become good leaders, by saying what they mean then mean what they say, and sticking to it.

It is not about being popular, but having others best interest in mind, even if it costs you personally.

If you have the privilege to make decisions, then make good decisions, because then history will be kind to you.

Lost In The Fog

Square Photograph – Lost In The Fog – Copyright 2016 Frank J Casella. A classic black and white of silhouetted trees and branches amongst the foggy morning. Just like working through our struggles in life can help us to find answers to our problems, and make it all worth it, the most significant struggle may very well be one that, years latter, we look back as a turning point in our life or relationships.

Where Is Your Faith

Photo: Where Is Your Faith – Landscape Photography Copyright 2018 Frank J Casella

Having faith sometimes is like looking into the clouds and seeing nothing, and yet other times like seeing colors in the sky.

There are circumstances where we have lack of faith, and other times where our faith has saved us.

The important thing, I think, is to learn from each what either didn’t work or what did. So that we can do better tomorrow.

Our purpose on earth, to those of us who believe, is to bring hope to the poor in spirit, and thus foster our own poverty through living out our faith.

Email Lists and Tracking

I think that if this tree could only talk, the tales it would have to tell. …. look all its structure and growth . … and the twists and turns of the branches. One purpose of trees is to give us air to breath and are just plain beautiful in every stage .. which makes the world a better place to live. Photo: Through The Years – Copyright 2016 Frank J Casella.

The branches of the tree in this picture reminds me of the winding of the information on the internet. I can only imagine all the directions our emails are going back and forth. And how keeping track of it all might be confusing if you think long enough about it.

There seems to be much talk these days about Big Tech and Surveillance Capitalism. Where in short your data online is not as private as you may think, and how this is abusing the freedom of the internet (true freedom I think is to use your ability to do the right thing).

Another aspect of this is the mailing lists or newsletters we subscribe to with our email address. Many of these emails you get into your inbox use what is called spy pixels. It has to do with open rates and deliverability.

In fact, Apple is now allowing these to be blocked on the iPhone, and DuckDuckGo now does this through their Android bowser app. What this means is that when I send a newsletter out to my mailing list, will I get a true stat as to the click opens and links click on?

Then the thought came to me that the mailing list providers allow senders like me to do the same thing that Big Tech is doing. To add to this, even if the email list service allows you to turn off this tracking (only a few do this) it is said they still have access to click data to “prevent abuse”

I think this is what is going to make RSS shine now more than ever, unless you can find a list service that lets you truly turn off tracking. So, for this blog I have decided to go back to my first thoughts and no longer use a mailing list. I’m not selling anything.

The Messages In Our Lives

Photo: The Messages In Our Lives – Copyright 2017 Frank J Casella

How we respond to others has a huge impact on the world.

How we treat others makes a huge impact on how they see the world around them.

The messages in our lives shared through experiences and examples, though subtle, speak and teach louder than words ever can.

Email And Mental Health

Ice patters on black pavement juxtaposed with shadow patterns from the morning sunlight. Although this may look difficult to walk on, it is something beautiful to look at. Likewise, the challenges or struggles we face in life can strengthen us, because it is how God brings beauty to our lives. Photo: Sunlight Shadows on Ice – Abstract – Copyright 2016 Frank J Casella.

I have noticed recently more and more that people are talking about how overwhelmed they are with their email inbox and the need to make it more digestible. We know that social media has an effect on our mental health, with the algorithms and all, but we forget that email can have the same effect, for one, with the spam hitting our inbox and sorting through it all.

In fact, many people don’t realize that email is the original social media. For example, I have contact groups set up and send updates to these contacts short of a social media post. Then those who wish to respond do so either direct or reply all. So, just like social media works to absorb all your attention, we can spend equal time in the email inbox.

The other thing is with the unified inbox of having several email addresses in one account. This way you can keep together both business and personal communications, for example. But now with all the noise in the inbox, many are seeking to change their email setup, to login to separate email accounts for each area of their lives.

This can also be very useful for your security, because it reduces the risk of identity fraud and your data being compromised in the event that one of your accounts is hacked. I have shared before how your email address today is like what your street address used to be. Not as many people ring the doorbell at my street address these days but, when they did, I only answered the door if it was someone that I knew.

I do the same with email today, I have an auto responder set up to reply to addresses not in my contact list. It thanks the sender for contacting me. I then only respond if I have something to say. This makes a tremendous difference in my mental health, because it keeps my email time constructive and manageable.

Late Fall Nature Silhouette

What I like, and what made me click the shutter of the camera, was not only the formation of this tree, but the juxtaposition between the TV antenna on the house and the tree branches. Photo: Late Fall Nature Silhouette – Copyright 2021 Frank J Casella

Basketball Is Really A Numbers Game

Photo ‘Basketball Is Really A Numbers Game‘ Copyright 2017 Frank J Casella

Player count; jersey number, score board, player stats, and how few actually play the sport professionally. Basketball, like any sports, and a part of life, is all about numbers.

Then, if you actually get to play pro ball, your name and skill become celebrity, only to the extent how your numbers stack up to make money for the industry … and business relationships.

As we grow up. sports activities bring with it many lessons about life. It also has a secret way to teach us about communication, relationships, numbers, and business.

Bold Colors Down The Trail

Photo: Bold Colors Down The Trail Reds, Brown, Golds, and Greens highlight the Fall colored trees against the bright blue sky at Homewood Izaak Walton Preserve in Illinois. I especially like the shadow play on the trail leading to the joy of Autumn. You wonder if when we get to Heaven if we’ll be lead down a path such as this. Copyright 2020 Frank J Casella

Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit

Photo: Blessed Art The Poor In Spirit – Copyright 2017 Frank J Casella

In America, we live in a culture that says more is better, but is this a lie?

We all have our stuff packed away in the basements of our homes, sometimes extending to storage sheds that we pay to put our stuff.

And, no matter our social rank, the more stuff we have, whether possessions or in our head, the more we get distracted from the true meaning of life.

Recently I went through my stuff, with the mindset that if I die tomorrow what of it will end in the trash. It turned out most of it. I haven’t touched this stuff in years …

The poor in spirit: in the Old Testament, the poor are those who are without material possessions and whose confidence is in God, who recognized their complete dependence on God.

Do you allow yourselves to become attached to your possessions? What came with this for me was a form of spiritual poverty, as small as it was …

When we are free from stuff, we free ourselves from distraction. God’s will is that we depend on Him, what more could you want?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Mt. 5:3