What A Year 2016 Has Been

This year has been a very interesting one for our family. We have had a number of very big events happen this year.

  1. We finished the renovation of our house with the final touches in our kitchen. It’s such a refreshing peace to know that from the renovation standpoint our house is now complete. Of course there will always be things to do for house maintenance but all of our rooms are done and now we are just living in our home for now. At least until our next project when ever that comes…. We finished our kitchen with new counters and tile backsplash. We finished this project about three weeks before my wife gave birth to our son.
  2. Which brings me to the BIG event of the year is that we are now a family of three. Fatherhood is such an amazing point in life. I’m sure I will have more to write about this topic later on but We love him to death and enjoy every minute of time with him.
  3. My dog Diamond of 12 years passed away this year. She was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure back in December and she lived another 8 months. She was a great companion and best friend. She held on long enough to meet our son. Molly, our other dog was very excited to meet our son but Diamond had a much more somber and respectful approach to him as more of a “You’re Finally Here.” I have always been fascinated with her level of intuition as a dog. We had to take Diamond in for her last and final trip to the vet three days after we brought our son home from the hospital. That made for a very emotional week, but it was her time.
  4. Earlier this year we brought another pet into our family. Her name is Sadie and she is a Golden Retriever puppy.

All of these events seem kind of crazy if you really think about it all happening in the span of about 4 months. So many changes, and so much joy. I am thankful for all of the blessings that God has provided our family.

Well this is really just a very short blog post for now I hope to have more reflection on a few of these topics to come very soon if I can make the time.

 

Watching God Provide

I grew up in a pretty big family by today’s standards. I have 7 younger siblings. That’s a bit of a long story but that’s not the one I want to tell today. So with a large family sometimes brings challenges where we had to depend heavily on God. Sometimes money was not always an abundant thing. Sometimes we struggled. But one thing I learned growing up was how important it is to trust in God and to have the faith that God will provide for all of our needs and much more. While my family really struggled financially some times we always had food on the table.

Matthew 6:25-27

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Today I am a small business owner. I have had to apply this verse, and what I learned growing up more than I ever expected but I have seen God provide for us (my wife and I). I have never been without work to do. There is always another website to build or another computer to repair. Sometimes it’s a challenge but I know that God will always provide and as long as I keep my eyes on Him, He will lead me wherever He wants me to go. For the last three years I have not ever had to worry about what I was going to do because God kept my work coming in and I have stayed extremely busy. There have been some slower times but those typically came right about the time periods where I needed a little breather to get caught up on billing or to just relax a little only just before everything took off again and began piling up again.

I am writing this today as a reminder to myself just in case anyone actually reads this.

God is my provider – Jehovah Jireh

Garden Boxes

Photo Mar 22, 6 10 55 PM

I know this is not my normal kind of topic but this is something that I wanted to put together some information on how I built these garden boxes as I could not find a good design that I liked.

 

These boxes are built based on the basic dimensions of the metal and the boards used to be completed with as few of cuts as I could while meting the deign I wanted. I’m sure there would have been some other improvements on this design but this is my shot.

Photo Mar 22, 3 13 35 PM

 

All of my supplies came from Lowes and here is the list of needed supplies to complete one box:

  • 2 – 2.5′ x 8′ metal roofing (Actual dimensions are closer to 2’2″ x 8′) – $12 each
  • 2 – 2x6x8 Treated Lumber – $5.54 each
  • 6 – 2x4x8 Treated Lumber – $3.54 each
  • 56 – 3″ wood screws (Approximate) – I had these laying around from other projects
  • 27 – 1″ wood screws

So my cost not including screws is $56 per box. Some useful tools for this project are:

  • Miter Saw
  • Cordless Drill
  • Philips Screw Driver or Punch
  • Hammer
  • Tin Snips
  • Carpenters Square
  • Pencil or pen
  • Work Bench or Saw Horses.
  • Yard stick or straight edge.
  • Permanent marker.

 

So these boxes are about 4 feet wide by 4 feet wide, give or take an few inches, and are 2 feet 6 inches tall. The metal roofing although its labeled as 2.5 feet wide its actual measurement is 2’2.5″ so to avoid cutting them I used this as my base measurement for the interior sections where the metal goes. I suggest that you measure your metal and adjust as needed to avoid needing to cut the metal down.

 

Cutting the wood.

I cut one of the bottom sides and used that one as a template for all of my other ides including the top sides(Bottom is 2×4 Top is 2×6) to help keep everything more consistent.

4 – Bottom sides – Material: 2×4 – Size: 49.5″ with opposing  45 degree angles

Photo Mar 22, 3 13 56 PM

12 – Vertical Sides – Material: 2×4 – Size:25.5″ flat cut

Photo Mar 22, 3 13 46 PM

4 Top Sides – Material: 2×6 – Size: 49.5″ with opposing 45 degree angles

Photo Mar 22, 3 14 03 PM

 

Build your bottom Square.

I cut four 2×4’s about four fee long and on a 45 degree angle and screwed them together putting just one screw in each corner for now to hold it together.

Prop up the square on something that will assist you in screwing on the corner sides.

Photo Mar 22, 3 28 41 PM

Add the vertical pieces

At this point I only screwed on one piece per corner to get it up off the ground. I actually used a couple pallets to hold it in place. I put two screws in the bottom of each vertical piece to keep it from spinning and to help make it more visually balanced all the way around it I faced each one flat to each side and then added another one 90 degrees to it in the next four corner pieces also placing a screw from the bottom into its 90 degree partner to give the square some more stability. I then took a measurement and put the middle in in its approximate center. Also putting two screws into the bottom.

Photo Mar 22, 3 36 10 PM

Once all of the vertical pieces are in place I flipped it over.  And put another screw into the other end of the corners to help reinforce the corners.

Photo Mar 22, 3 36 07 PM

 

Secure Top Pieces

Next I Took the top sides and screwed them into place one at a time. The vertical pieces can be pushed into place  to make every fit well. Not all boards are perfectly square but this is a fairly forgiving design.

Photo Mar 22, 3 43 05 PM

Cut and attach the metal

Sorry I did not get photos of the last step but I then took an interior measurement of the needed length for the metal and cut the metal to the length needed. I sized the vertical pieces to match my metal so if you did not then you will need to measure and cut that as well. Be very careful with the metal as it can be very sharp. I measured and cut each metal sheet for its place to allow for some room for play and mistakes in my cuts so Cut one and attach it then measure and cut the next piece.

I screwed the metal sheets into place from the inside of the box putting four 1 inch screws in each side and two in the middle to hold it tight against the wood, but once you have them filled its all going to be help pretty tight, you don’t have to use as many screws.

 

Filling the boxes

I put a sheet of plastic drop cloth down for my bottom. The plastic in my mind at least helps to keep some of the bugs fro my yard from being able to get into the bed box. I then filled each box half with leaves. This will help it hold some moisture and helps to create some ongoing compost for later on and keeps me from needing to purchase so much other materials and still gives me the needed depth for my plants. I then used some untreated cardboard as a divider layer between my garden soil and the leaves.

 

My Chosen garden Soil

50% Compost * See later note about where I got it.

25% Vermiculite

25% Peat Moss

 

My actual amounts are probably more compost heavy but I used one bag of peat moss and one bag of Vermiculite per box filling the rest with compost. (Each box is half full of compacted leaves) before adding this mixture.

The county where I live offers compost for sale at about $27 for a cubic yard, Which fills the bed of my Ford ranger. Two loads was enough to fill all four of my boxes with some left over to spread around on my yard. The county here makes the compost from all of the yard scraps that they collect. Some counties sell it for cheaper and may even deliver it for you.

A New Year, A New Home

Exterior Front

Over the past year I have not had the time to write as often as I would like, but I have been a little distracted. Exactly one year ago on January 25th 2014 we walked in a house to look at it for the first time. With every possible barrier in our way we finally closed on our house on May 9th. When I say everything possible I’m not joking. During the entire purchase process if it could go wrong, it did. From the paperwork, to the loan process, appraisal process, it was all crazy. I think we thought the whole deal was going to fall through at six separate points. We held on and trusted God to work it out and through four changes on our closing date we finally closed on May 9th.

Then began the process of permitting and town zoning. Two months later we began construction in July.  Our contractor did all of the work on the 300 Sqft addition. We gutted the existing bathroom and kitchen, installed all of the tile in the master suite, refinished the hardwood floors, repainted every paintable surface inside and out, and installed flooring in the rest of the addition.

Seven months after closing we moved into our home in November. We will continue to finish small projects here and there as it will need many other things as time goes on. Here is our before and after on the exterior.

 

Before:

Exterior Front

 

After:

Since this last photo was taken we finished the front porch, painted the garage, and put new gutters on.

Wow what a ride the past year has been. From the points we thought we would never own a home,  frustrations and moments of “intense fellowship” from a rough day of renovating after getting home from work, to finally moving in and enjoying the holidays in “Our Home.” I’m glad to be able to walk through this whole process with my best friend by my side.

The Heart of Worship

I feel like I don’t write enough on my blog. I really love writing and sharing my thoughts with the world, but just like everyone else sometimes I just don’t take the time to do it as often as I would like. Along a very similar train of thought I wanted to unpack something that I think about on a daily basis.

Worship. It’s something that we all do on a weekly, daily, almost hourly basis. Worship means to show reverence and adoration towards a deity, or the feeling or expression of reverence for a deity. The word worship comes from two old English root words: weorth, which means worth and scipe or ship, which means something like shape or quality, so worth-ship is the quality of having worth or of being worthy.

We all worship. I do not necessarily think it’s all towards a deity. Some-times we worship musicians, sports, technology, or each other. Worship is not necessarily something we only do for God.

I have always had a strong passion for worship. I have a passionate need to worship my Creator. I typically attribute worship to reverent music, but it consists of so much more than just music. Worship comes down to your attitude and your thoughts.

For me music is the biggest part of worship because through music we can convey emotion so well. Worship music brings us to a place where we can center out thoughts on God and essentially sing a prayer that we might not have typically been able to come up on our own. Take the song “As The Deer Pants” as an example.

My soul Longs and even faints for the courts of the Lord
Lord my heart and my flesh cry out for you O God
You’re my sun and my shield You give grace and glory
No good thing will you withhold from those who seek your face

Just as the deer pants for the water brook
So pants my soul for You O God

I set my heart on a pilgrimage through the valley of weeping I will go
I set my heart on a pilgrimage
Until I appear before God in Zion

 

I know that I would not on a normal day just pray those words, but through music I can center my focus and thoughts while praying to the creator of the universe. This song has been on my mind a lot this week.

I tend to have music playing while I work throughout the day. Sometimes I have my worship station on and I will gravitate towards a particular song and make that song my prayer for that day or that week

How do we worship other things? What do you dedicate much of your thought life to? To what do you attribute worth? In the USA we have so many different distractions pulling us in so many different directions that it can be difficult to set aside time on our daily schedule to attribute worth to our creator.

I know this blog seems like a random tossing of different thoughts, but sometimes that’s just how my brain works sometimes so I’m sorry for the randomness.

How do you worship?

A Heart of Worship

God calls us to worship Him with our lives. I have always had a heart for worship. It is in worship to my creator that I feel his presence closest. My pastor spoke on Genesis 4 recently and used Cain and Abel’s story to talk about worship and how that should look in our life.

This made me really think, Do I give God my first fruits? Do I give God my very best like Abel did? Or do I give God my leftovers like Cain? What does this look like in my life?

For me that means a number of things. I worship God in so many different ways. With my tithe I give my first fruits, but this should also apply to other areas of my life. Do I give God my first fruits for my time? No, I don’t. I have a tendency to want to set my schedule and I get “busy” and completely forget to give God my first fruits of my time. I let other things get in the way and make them more important than giving God my time.

What does that look like with my relationship with others? This I am still working through. I pray God teaches me what this means.

In the past I always looked at Cain and Abel’s story as though it was the type of sacrifice they brought, and thought God wanted a lamb not grains and plants. But It wasn’t until this sermon that I really gave it some thought that it had more to do with their attitude about their sacrifice. Abel brought his best and his first fruits, Cain brought his leftovers and was doing just enough to Get by.

How can we bring God our best? What does that look like for you?

My Email Signatures

I have multiple email accounts. Its pretty common for someone to have an account they use for their personal communications and one for their professional communications.

For the longest time my personal email signature has been:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dusten Lee Harward

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because I see everything by it.” C.S. Lewis.

www.dustenharward.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Being a marketing professional I have always felt that your email signature should be used to say something about who you are and give the recipient a way to connect with you.

So for a business email address it’s a great way to display your company logo, contact information, and a few links to your social media profiles. That way if the person you are emailing is a client or vender then they can follow you and have a way to leave you a review.

On a more personal side I thought I could put something in there that allowed someone to look into the window of my life for a brief moment and possibly understand me a little more.

This quote has been really important to me for a long time. As you should already know I am a Christian. I have always looked at life through the light of scripture.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because I see everything by it.”

What quote defines the way you think about the world? Would you be willing to put that in your email signature?

About Me

Prof

My name is Dusten Harward.

Top Five Strengths: Arranger, Learner, Achiever, Belief, and Context

Meyers Briggs Personality Type: ESFJ (Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging)

Im a sinner saved by the grace of God. I love to spend time outdoors enjoying the beauty of Gods creation. I am a web designer/ programmer with a degree in marketing and lots of experience in IT. I have a passion for small business and teaching.

I enjoy outdoor ministry and love to spend any time that I can possibly spare outdoors experiencing God first hand through his creation. Anytime some one asks “Would you want to go camping?” my response has always been “My bag is packed and sitting by the door when do we leave?”.

A little more about my background:

I am the oldest child of 8 kids, so family is a very big thing to me. After college at UNC Charlotte I attended the Focus Leadership Institute.

I work as a project manager as the Director of Integrated Media at Vermillion Creative in Davidson NC. I love working with small businesses and I love technology.

On this blog you will find some of my random thoughts from what it means to live biblically as a man in a fallen world, how to use technology in your small business, to some totally off the wall random ideas. Occasionally I will jump up on a political soap box as I can tend to have some very strong opinions. I try to look at things through the lens of scripture and apply it to my life.

I welcome comments and discussion as it helps to keep ideas flowing. I feel that you cannot truly know what you really believe unless you are challenged or questioned on it.

My wife has a blog which can be found here. We are currently in the process of renovating a house so our family blog found here will be full of those adventures and some others.

My desire is never to intentionally offend anyone but I know that’s an impossible feat online. I believe being challenged to rethink something is also part of really knowing what you believe. If you have never been challenged on your beliefs then how do you know what’s really important to you? So my goal is mostly intended to make you think or challenge your personal beliefs. I will be sure to let you know when I am posting something that could potentially be a rant, those will occasionally happen.

Thank you for reading!

The Legislative Process

US_Congress_02Most Legislative bodies follow a set of rules set forth to help give them an orderly process by which to operate. This helps the group to keep a certain schedule and make things fair.

Many groups operate by something called Robert’s Rules of order (Source: http://www.robertsrules.com/) This helps to give each meeting a specific order and a set of rules by which things can proceed so its fair to everyone involved. The US House and NC House operate under their own version of RRoO.

Consideration of a measure by the full House can be a simple or very complex process. In general a measure is ready for consideration by the full House after a committee has reported it. Under certain circumstances, it may be brought to the Floor directly.

The consideration of a measure may be governed by a “rule”. A rule is itself a simple resolution or motion, which must be passed by the House, that starts the particulars of debate for a specific bill—how much time will be allotted for debate, whether amendments can be offered, and other matters.

Debate time for a measure is normally divided between proponents (Those for the resolution) and opponents (Those against the resolution). Each side yields time to those members who wish to speak on the bill. When amendments (edits to the resolution or bill) are offered, these are also debated and voted upon.

After all debate is concluded and amendments decided upon, the House is ready to vote on final passage. In some cases, a vote to “recommit” the bill to committee is requested. This is usually an effort by opponents to change some portion or table (stop) the measure. If the attempt to recommit fails, a vote on final passage is ordered.

Members of the legislative group can form a committee or elect people to be on a committee to undertake a certain task such as organizing a bill or rewriting a bill so that its definitions and statements are not too general or broad. This was the case for the recent North Carolina House Bill 937. A committee was formed to add some definitions and keep the bill from being too broad or left to someone’s own interpretation.

Some legislative groups (Such as the US House and Senate) now use an electronic system to cast final votes on to ensure accurate numbers and need attendance is in place. According to the Roberts Rules of order certain motions require a 2/3rds majority to pass while others simply require a majority.

Votes may also be by voice vote, and no record of individual responses is available.

Here is a good source of information for Roberts Rules as well (http://www.robertsrulessimplified.com/videos.html)

If you are interested in finding out more about the Legislative process you can visit the US House of Representatives website (http://www.house.gov/content/learn/legislative_process/)

If you are interested in becoming a part of the Legislative process Join your local party groups and become a voting delegate for your Precinct, District or County, or join your county executive board.  On average it’s a total of about four meetings a year and is easy to get envolved.

About the Author:

I am a Volunteer with the Meck-GOP and currently volunteer as the Precinct 206 Chair, and on the Meck GOP Executive Board.