Saturday, April 28, 2007

JIMM 084 -Emotional Couple of Weeks

The latest episode of the Journey Inside My Mind is now live! You might want to keep some tissue handy because it's an emotional one.


Talk about the emotional couple of weeks right after the last episode, how to help me get some gas money, with music from Laura Clapp, Matthew Ebel, The Reverse Engineers, Black Lab, along with Rob Costlow providing piano accompaniment. Be sure to check out the full shownotes at Direct link to file (mp3, 44:28, 40.7 MB)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

National Bring Your Child To Work Day

Today is National Bring Your Child to Work Day. I bet there's a link somewhere on the internet about. Not here (yet), unfortunately.Keisha and Dan at Work

So Keisha is with me at work. Maybe I can convince my coworker to take our picture so I can post it here. Update: My coworker is going around, taking has taken pictures of families, so expect a picture to be posted back here soon! check out the pictures!Keisha and Dan at the Stairs

Oh, and I have a great playlist for the next episode of the Journey Inside My Mind Podcast.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Time for a true "journey inside my mind"...

Since the beginning of this year I have been bouncing back and forth from Cincinnati - where I live - to Dayton, where I work. That long commute has made me a "captive audience" for a lot of portable, on-demand programming (affectionately known as "podcasts"). I usually listen to music podcasts at work so that I can concentrate on my programming duties, and I like to listen to talk-type programming during the commute.

There are some programs I listen to only because I like to hear the passion in the podcasters' voices. I could care less about the content, and in many ways, I really don't like it at all. What I DO like, however, is the passion and excitement they convey, whether it's from ranting about something that bugs them, or extolling the praises of something they love.

I noticed again on the commute up to work that I'd gotten distracted from the program I was listening and was thinking of my own ideas for things. It's not that the content was boring me; au contraire mon frere! As often is the case, I heard something on one of these programs and it sparked some creativity.

My iRiver has a recorder on it, and I've often recorded my thoughts to capture them for later.

Where are you the most creative?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Deaf Musicians - Book

Keisha and I just came back from putting gas in the car and a quick trip to the public library. It had been a few weeks since we'd been there, and she found a book called "The Deaf Musicians". We just finished reading it while eating some ice cream. I recommend you do the same. Go ahead; I can wait.

I think I'd heard about this book recently on a podcast, but I can't remember which one. It was really good. Keisha said her favorite part was when the piano player realized he was losing his hearing because that was just like her.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Keisha opens up

Keisha, who is almost 10 years old, is opening up about her feelings related to the events this past week.

She wrote a song to "express how [she's] feeling." I can tell she's mad at God and very sad.

Please keep us in your prayers.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday Spring Cleaning and Golf

Saturday was an all-around great day for us. A single mother from church had some serious spring cleaning work that needed to be done, and several of us went to her house and helped her out.

At about 2:15 pm, we left her house and drove to Meadowlinks Golf Course, which is part of Winton Woods here in Cincinnati. We signed Keisha up for some Junior Golf lessons a few weeks ago, and Jennie and I have been taking lessons concurrently.
Last week we practiced pitching and chipping; this week we learned full swings. Next week, we'll learn putting. After next week's lesson, Jennie, Keisha, and I will have a golf scramble on the beginner's course together.

I can easily see why golfing can become an obsession because it looks a lot easier than it is. I have found myself watching golf on TV - something I NEVER was interested in doing when I was younger. I think it could become a healthy obsession that our entire family could enjoy. Yeah, of course it could. If Keisha shows some serious interest and can develop some good skill, she could get a scholarship to go to college.

It's probably just serendipity that one of my all-time favorite family podcasts, "Dancing With Elephants", just did an episode about golfing. They mentioned a couple of books to check out, related to teaching kids golf:

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Friday, April 20, 2007

The Johnson Family

The Johnson Family
Originally uploaded by danieljohnsonjr.
I created this picture from some others I'd posted.

Waves of sorrow still

On Wednesday I mentioned the emotional day we had. It's been an "up and down" week, really.

Yesterday Jennie returned to the OB/GYN and had some more bloodwork done. I went to work up in Dayton. She called me at 4:30 PM and said that the HGH level had dropped from what it was when we went to the ER. I took that to mean that we're losing the baby.

(Tears are welling in my eyes as I type this.)

Yesterday at work I was feeling okay, feeling surrendered. I left work and picked Jennie and Keisha up at the mall from Keisha's keyboard lesson, and we went home. Jennie went to the store to get some groceries while Keisha and I warmed up dinner.

When Jennie came back, she broke down, crying. She guessed she wanted to somehow compensate for the loss by buying some clothes to make her feel better and felt ashamed by that.

(I'm having a hard time holding back the tears as I type this.)

I held her and we both cried for awhile. Then it was over, and we went to the dining room area and ate dinner. Keisha did most of the work in setting the table, chopping up tomatoes (we had tacos). At first I thought it was her way of maybe not dealing with how she was feeling, but she later said she was doing it to see if she could earn some money - how funny.

After watching some Thursday night TV, I went to bed, but I overheard Jennie talking more with Keisha about what's going on before she put Keisha to bed. Jennie read Psalm 46 ("God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble."). She told Keisha that the baby was in heaven with God because God felt the baby wasn't ready to be born.

Keisha then said, "But I told all my friends that you were pregnant. They're going to think I lied."

"Do you think Mommy and Daddy lied to you?" Jennie asked.

"No," Keisha said.

"Then neither did you," Jennie said.

Also last night Jennie talked with some of our close friends in Dayton, who had a miscarriage a few years ago themselves. We had planned on meeting them for dinner in Dayton, but because of things they had going on and how we've been this week, decided not to.

I'm really glad once again that we've had people close to us that we can talk to about all of this. And I'm really grateful to you for all your prayers, words of support. Maybe you've contacted me directly, or maybe you've done something on your own. Whatever the case, we've felt comforted.

Jennie will go back on Monday for some last bloodwork. I think this is to see whether anything still exists and whether a D&C is needed. I just browsed the page for D & C, and I almost wish I hadn't. Ugh. I don't even want to talk about it right now.

Waves of sorrow still sweep over us from time to time, and, while I realize it's natural, I long to be able to move on from all of this.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

-- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (emphasis added)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's Been An Emotional Day

It's been an emotional time for Jennie, Keisha, and me. Last night I mentioned the trip to the ER. I also mentioned it on Twitter a couple of times.

I took today off work to help get Jennie to her OB/GYN appointment. The doctor said that it doesn't look good, but for Jennie to return tomorrow for some more bloodwork. The ER did some bloodwork last night, and tomorrow's bloodwork will help determine whether the "pregnancy hormone" (HGH? Human Growth Hormone?) is increasing or decreasing. If it's increasing, the pregnancy is hanging in there. If it's decreasing, it's not. More signs from home are indicating not, but we'll see.

Even as I type this out, looking at the words, I can feel tears welling up.

This afternoon I let Keisha know what's going on, that the pregnancy isn't going well right now, and it could be lost. You might have seen my IM status change or have read the Twitter post:

telling Keisha about what's going on w/ Jennie & why we've been going 2 the ER and the OB/GYN. She wants 2 cry. Me too. Crying is good.
There have been several times that tears just come out. Weeping tears. Sobbing. It's a natural thing, but crying is always weird because I have no control over the emotion. I digress.

Tonight I got to hang out with some guys from church. Two of them wanted to buy me dinner to celebrate my birthday, which was two days ago. Afterward we went to an all-men's midweek church meeting.

Talking about stuff like this with other people is SO therapeutic. Even your notes and emails saying you're thinking of us and praying for us are tremendously helpful. Keisha and Jennie are very impressed to know we have people in Canada, Oklahoma, California, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Utah, Oregon, and elsewhere thinking of us and praying for us. We've never met you in person, but somehow through this "social media playground", we've touched one another's lives. It's such a good thing.

I spoke with our minister briefly before tonight's meeting about what's been going on. It's been a very weird dynamic. Five days ago we found out we were going to have another child; today it looks like it might not happen.

He shared that he and his wife went through several instances like that. They even had a son that was about to be born (full-term); three days beforehand, the heart stopped beating and he was gone.

I guess human nature is to wonder why things like this happen. I know I often wonder why. I believe that God is so good, and He knows what is best for us. I believe He operates on a completely different plane of understanding from us - that's the lesson of Job in the Bible. Maybe it's not for us to know why. All I can say is that there is so much other stuff that's going on around us and within us as a result, and this can only be for good.

So, tomorrow we may find out we've lost the baby. I noticed that I've held back from using that term on purpose. A loss like this hurts bad, really bad at times; but it's not more than we can handle. Your comfort goes a long way in helping, to be sure.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

-- 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Back from the ER

We're all feeling really emotional right now. On Saturday Jennie took two home pregnancy tests and both tested positive. Head over the the shownotes for episode 083 of the podcast and click on the link to the photo at Flickr. It's also the album art for the mp3 file.

This morning Jennie noticed some spotting, and, as the day progressed, was experiencing more bleeding and cramping. I took her to the ER so that they could run some tests. We found out that there's a big threat of a miscarriage.

It doesn't even look like Jennie was that far along; a week or so maybe. I'll be taking Jennie to the OB/GYN tomorrow for an appointment, where they'll probably do some more tests. I don't know specifically what a D & C is, but it was brought up as as a procedure that might need to be done.

Jennie is not going into work tonight, and I'm taking tomorrow off to take care of her.

As an added dynamic, we're being really careful about how much of this we tell Keisha. A lot of the details are too much for her to understand, so we're just telling her that Mommy has to take it really easy.

"The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms." -- Deuteronomy 33:27a (NIV)

JIMM 083 - License, Registration, and Birthday Surprise

Episode 083 of the Journey Inside My Mind Podcast went up last night. Here's the summary:

It's my birthday! Renewing my license and registration, playing some great music and promos, and a birthday surprise. Direct link to mp3 here, but be sure to check out the full shownotes at
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More frequent posting now on Twitter

I've realized that my enthusiastic use of Twitter has meant infrequent posting over here. Who knew that I could limit myself to 140 characters or less?

This is all to say that I don't mean to neglect you. If you want to see what's going on with me more frequently, follow me on Twitter. I will still post things back here and my other blogs from time to time; namely

Monday, April 16, 2007

Breaking Technology Addictions

Mike Schaffner points us to an eWeek report on a recent poll by Reuters that discussed how Blackberrys and laptops are blurring the distinction between home and work life.

He recommends the following useful techniques:

  1. Take action to reduce the number of unnecessary emails that you receive
  2. Prioritize your actions - take control of when you check and respond to email
He also recommends going into your Blackberry and turning the new email notification off so that you're not tempted to check it every time a new one arrives. The key to remember is that laptops and Blackberrys are not your jobs; instead they are tools to help you do your jobs.

Here are the comments I left:
You hit a nerve in me with this one, Mike, on a couple of levels.
  1. I am totally for getting information when it's convenient for me. I consume most of my media on-demand these days. The idea of watching a program at a specific time is something I'm growing out of. The same with online media (blogs, podcasting, and the like). I'm learning to consume it on my schedule.
  2. Having said that, I'm also a guy who checks every email that comes in and who also spends so much of my time lately watching what's going on with Twitter (
I have recently found out how to change the notifications for Outlook and GMail, but I could do a lot better with Twitter.
What about you?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How Do You Use GMail Labels?

You probably already know, if you've emailed me, that I love GMail. If I remember correctly, I got my first invitation within a month that GMail had been launched. It wasn't long before I moved nearly all my email correspondence to GMail.

One of the features I like about it, which makes it different from other web-based email systems I'd used like Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail, is Labels. GMail extends the usual Folder concept by allowing you to assign multiple labels to messages.

The other really useful feature is that you can search your GMail. Let's say, for example, that you need to find an email about "Journey Inside My Mind". You type that in the search field, and GMail searches your entire mail account for it, listing your results.

As I've thought about this recently, I'm beginning to wonder why I use Labels in the first place if I'm going to use GMail Search to find them. Here's where you can help.

How do you use GMail labels? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

What's a Meme?

I didn't really understand what a meme was until about a year ago. Jason asked me what it meant, and that forced me to look it up at, who defines meme:

A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.
In my early days of blogging, I participated in a number of quizzes, personality tests, etc., most of which I've included in this blog (Journey Inside My Mind Blog: memes).

As I look at what we're doing on the internet five years later, I'm beginning to think that anything we share can become a meme.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I Am a C-List Blogger

I guess that means I'm almost famous?

C-List Blogger

Thanks to Jason Alba for passing on the meme.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

JIMM 82 - In Search of a Message

Podcasting hiatus is OVER. In this podcast I share about my passions and play some great music. Check out what I have to say here.

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