We Have No Idea What Hard Work Is

I’ve been watching this show called Restoration Road on the Magnolia Network. I really, really enjoy it. In the show, the host, Clint Harp (he’s the guy that made all the tables for Joanna Gaines in the original Fixer Upper show) takes us to see these old buildings that are being restored and repurposed to bring new life into them.

There is so much I love about shows like these.

A Restoration Story

First, I love the idea of restoration; of bringing new life into things lost or forgotten. After all, God is in the business of restoration, isn’t he?

Mine is a story of restoration.

I think because of that, restoration is kind of in my DNA now. Stories of renewal strike a cord in my heart that other stories just don’t. We all need restoration. We can all be renewed.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” - 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

History Repeats

I am intrigued by history and I love listening to the stories behind these amazing structures. There are some that have been around since before the Revolutionary War. We’re talking over 200 years! Imagine how much these buildings have seen in their time. There’s just so much history under one roof (or what’s left of a roof).

Craftsmanship

Lastly (and the thing I really want to touch on), I am blown away by the work that it takes to create something like these buildings.

After hundreds of years these structures are still incredible. Sure, some pieces aren’t the same as they were when they were put together. Everything succumbs to entropy, right? But the majority of these buildings have withstood war, and wind, and water, and any other “W” word you could probably think of. That’s insane.

We don’t build things like this anymore.

We don’t build for craftsmanship. Or longevity. Or legacy.

We build for speed, economics, and scale. We ask questions like:

  • “How fast can we build this?”
  • “How cheaply can we build this?”
  • “How many of these cheap, fast things can we build at the same time?

Our forefathers knew they were going to build one barn and it had to last an entire lifetime. Or lifetimes, plural. For us, if we are tired of the one we have we can just throw it away and build another one.

But I Digress

Here’s what I wanted to get to today.

The folks back in the 1700s and 1800s didn’t have the power tools we do. They didn’t have cranes to move beams into place. They didn’t have ready made boards they could buy from the local hardware store. They couldn’t just order up a 50-foot beam from the lumber yard and have it delivered on a truck.

They had to go cut down the tree for that beam. And then spend days (DAYS!) with just themselves and an axe while they hewed that tree into the beam they needed. Then they needed to get 40 of their closest friends to help them lift that giant beam into place along with the rest of the walls and rafters and roofing and everything else it took to put together their building. People helped each other because that’s how they survived. They worked hard for themselves and for each other so that they could make it through another unimaginably brutal winter.

Back then, you couldn’t hire a construction crew to come build your house. You couldn’t go down to the grocery store to pick up your vegetables. You planted. You waited. You watered, weeded, and harvested. And if you didn’t, you were hungry.

There was no Amazon to bring your milk, eggs, and fabric softener to your door.

Watching this show, in the comfort of my living room, on my flat screen television connected to the internet has reminded me of something extremely important:

We have no idea what hard work really is anymore.

Don’t Get Mad

Now, before you go getting mad at me for telling you that you don’t know what hard work is, I want you to know that I’m in this boat too. I’m talking to myself more than anyone else reading this.

I mean, I work indoors where it’s heated and/or cooled all year round. I sit in front of a computer and make things for the internet all day. I know that I have it so good.

I see the irony in my statement when I just want some more automated/faster/easier way to sand down the football helmet I am working on refurbishing.

I hear how silly I sound when I can’t be bothered to cook a meal and instead order a pizza that I’m even too lazy to go pick up.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t know what it’s like to really work hard.

I just don’t.

We live in an age of information. It’s not an age of agriculture or architecture. We no longer have to grow our own food or build our own buildings. For most of us today, it’s not a sweat-of-your-brow, work-with-your-hands-or-you’ll starve kind of deal.

That’s means we’ve progressed … and that’s good!

But what have we lost in the process?

Personally, I’ve lost what it means to work hard. Maybe, deep down, I’ve never really known it. But thanks to shows like Restoration Road, I’m gathering a greater appreciation for it. I have a greater awe and wonder for what our forefathers would have had to do to even just survive.

I’m thankful for the time I live in. I was made for this era.

And I’m more and more grateful for those who have come before me.

2022 Theme of the Year

By now, you’ve probably all heard about this idea of coming up with a word or “theme” for the year. It’s a big trend. As resolutions have kind of gone by the wayside, they have given way to themes.

Hot take: I think resolutions have gotten a bad rap. It’s not the resolutions fault that we are not any good at keeping our word to even ourselves (much less other people) about following through on something we said we’d do. Resolutions aren’t the enemy. Our resolve is. We don’t have “whatever it takes” to make the changes we want to make. We’re too comfortable. The nail doesn’t hurt that bad.

Anyway, back to themes. I originally heard of this idea from John Eldredge (author of Wild at Heart) on a podcast a few years ago. He and his family have made it a practice that at the end of every year they intentionally take some time and sit with God and ask Him what the theme of the coming year will be.

It’s a wonderful gift. To know ahead of time what the theme of your year will be allows you to have an avenue in which you can look for God. If we are willing to look, God is in our everyday. But to have the foresight to see Him as He takes your everyday and weaves a story around a central theme is a thing of beauty.

As you go throughout your year you can be on the lookout for Him as this theme manifests itself. At the end of the year as you prepare for the next one, you have the opportunity to look back and see where God was working as you reminisce on what has happened. What a great way to see your God’s hand show up again and again.

This is something that I’ve come to make a practice in my life as well. I’ve only been doing it a few years and I’m honestly not great at sitting in the quiet and listening for God’s voice. But I’m trying, and I believe God is honoring my attempts.

Where Are We Now?

A couple years ago (2020), my theme was “health”. I knew this was the theme for my year way before the year began. I didn’t even have to sit down and listen for it. God just gave it to me one day. You know those times when you know that you know that you know? I knew. No one could have known what 2020 had in store for us, but what a blessing to have been prepared ahead of time with a goal to be healthier that year.

The results were great. I lost like 20 pounds and I fully believe it was that better health that got me through my first bout with COVID in November. I’ve since gone backward on a lot of the gains and improvements that I made during that year. No excuses. I know I need to do better.

Then this past year (2021) I thought the theme I had heard was “work”. This one was a lot harder for me to actually hear God’s voice on and figure out. I think mostly because I wasn’t really listening well. I think being quiet and listening to God was one of those places that I just really struggled with at the end of 2020. I did add on some additional work in the form of freelancing and I spent more time than I have in the past working around the house and things of that nature. But I don’t think I ever really embraced the “work” theme.

So as I got to the end of 2021 and started to ask what my theme for 2022 would be, I really thought what I would hear would be some combination of “health” and “work”. After all, I had let my health go and I never really took on the mantel of work. That’s what I was expecting.

That’s not what I heard.

When I asked the Lord what word or theme He had for me in 2022, the word I heard was “trust”.

More specifically, I heard “Trust me that I know what I’m doing.”

I’m at once surprised by not hearing the word(s) I thought I would hear and a little terrified by what that could mean. I can tell you that I would rather have heard “You will build a giant barn. And you will do it all by hand.” then to hear what I heard.

What makes it even more terrifying is that when Heather and I shared with each other what our themes were, we had exactly the same word. This never happens. Like never.

I feel a little like Pippin in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The final battle is coming his way. He can see it far off in the distance. Pouring out his heart to Gandalf, Pippin says:

“I don’t want to be in a battle. But waiting on the edge of one I can’t escape is even worse.”

What’s wild is that I really have no reason to be frightened. Sure, there is this large unknown in front of me and I’m filled with this sense of “Oh no! What’s going to happen this year that I need to trust God that He knows what He’s doing?!?!”

But why does it have to be a big thing, right? There are things happening even today that I have to trust that God is in. That He knows what He’s doing in making these changes He’s making.

It’s only the unknown that we find fearful. I know that God doesn’t intend for His words to cause fear in my heart. That’s the enemy and the byproduct of my own mind. God doesn’t lead with fear. He’s proved Himself to be loving and compassionate and caring more times than I can count. I should (and can) be expectant for what’s to come!

So while I’m headed into the year with a little bit of trepidation, I know that God works for my good. Even though I don’t know what’s coming, I can trust that He knows, and He’ll have us ready for whatever comes our way.

Your Own Theme

What about you? What’s your theme for 2022?

If you don’t know yet, it’s not too late. Find some quiet space to sit down and reflect. Maybe grab your favorite journal and pen, and a cup of whatever you like to drink. Just spend some time with the Lord and ask questions like:

  • “What does the coming year look like?”
  • “What’s the theme of my year?”

Then just listen and see what He says. Process it in whatever way makes the most sense and works for you. I actually write (like I’m writing this post) because it slows me down and I hear from God more clearly when I do. But that might not work for you. However you process it, make sure you write the word or theme down somewhere so that you won’t forget it like I have so many times. Now you’ve got something to come back to again and again to watch how God is working in, around, and through you for His glory, our joy, and the worlds good.

... Aaannnddd We’re Back!

Welcome back everyone!

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since I last posted here. Time flies, doesn’t it?

Right off the bat I want to apologize for taking such a long break. I didn’t plan it, but it just sort of ended up happening. Everything was cruising along really well and then, one semi-large life change later ( I got a new job!), I’ve let a lot of things fall off. Instead of directing my life where it was supposed to go, I let life take me where it wanted to go. Which isn’t always bad (there’s something to be said for spontaneity and the ebb and flow of life after all), but it isn’t always good either. If I could quote myself from my blog post A Small Story is No Story at All:

You see, your life (like your body) is constantly is search of stasis. It wants a happy place where it knows what is going to happen and can handle the things that are coming. Your life, if left to its own devices, wants to plateau.

And that’s exactly what happened.

I’ll save the details for a later time but it’ll suffice for now to say that what I’ve found is that your life doesn’t want to just plateau, it wants to sink. It wants to become worse than it was before.

The good news is that with the right motivation and drive, a correct amount of determination and effort, and a focus on the right calling, you can move things back in the upward direction.

I’m tired of the way things have gone this past year. Kind of ashamed at how much I’ve gone backward in my life. It’s time to push things forward again. Small steps, like writing daily or getting back into habits and routines that I have pushed off for so long, are on the menu again.

I am ready to get back to it. I’ve got a lot of work to do and we only get a little time on this earth. Best get to it, yeah?

So what are we doing here? What’s the purpose of this blog now? What are you going to write about?

Before my hiatus, this blog centered around Jesus, goal setting, productivity, and maybe a few other things sprinkled in there. I don’t see that changing. My calling in this life is “to use technology to reach people for Jesus” and I see no reason why that would stop now. A lot of times I see blogs that do well are focused on one thing. They have themes. This is a “productivity blog.” That is a “mommy blog.” And I think that’s great. But I don’t think that makes sense here.

This is my personal blog. It’s personal to me. So it should be made up of things that I find interesting, right? My hope is that you find what I write here helpful or inspiring, but I’d be kidding myself if I thought that all of you would find everything interesting that I find interesting. You aren’t me. There is no way that you have the exact same interests as I do. And that’s okay. You don’t have to. If I ever write one post that encourages you, or helps you in some way, or heck, even just makes you laugh or somehow makes your day better, then I will have done my job. Maybe you move one step closer in to Jesus. Man, what a win that would be.

So I’ll probably write about a lot of things. Some topics that come to mind are:

  • God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
  • Sports
  • TV / Movies / Entertainment
  • Theater
  • Book Writing
  • Fitness / The process of getting healthy
  • Habits / Goals
  • Beards / Grooming
  • Short stories (?!?!)

At the end of the day, I guess I’ll write about whatever feels most important or top of mind at the time.

Some weeks you might like it. Other weeks you might skip it all together. And that’s okay. I certainly hope you’ll stick around and see what’s next. If there is ever a topic that you’d like to see me write about, by all means let me know.

For now let me just say that it’s a joy to be back and writing again. Thanks for coming along on the ride with me. Let’s see where we end up.

P.S. Just a heads up for all of you detail oriented folks out there who tend to notice these things: It’s also time for a website refresh. So you’ll probably notice some changes over time. Thanks for understanding.

January 03, 2022blog

On Listening to God

The TL;DR of this post is this: God still speaks. Period. End of story.

If you read nothing else here just know and understand that God has always been speaking, He is speaking today, and He will continue to speak tomorrow. We just have to have the ears to hear what He’s saying.


“Listen to God and do what He says.”

It is simple advice yet extremely hard to follow. Especially when you’re comfortable. Remember my blog post from a couple weeks ago? It’s when you’re most comfortable that God likes to come in and move you. But it starts with distinguishing His voice over the noise of the rest of the world and hearing what He has to say to you.

Have you ever prayed for something for months and felt like God never said anything back to you? It’s not that He’s not talking … we’re just not really listening.

There could be a number of different reasons for that.

  • We aren’t looking for anyone else’s opinion and we don’t care what anyone else thinks. We’ve already made up our mind about whatever it is so any other voices are drowned out … including God’s.
  • We could be panicking or overly emotional about the questions we’re asking and thus it makes it harder to hear because our emotions get in the way.
  • Maybe we’re just not listening in the right places. Our eyes and ears are expecting God to speak in one way and He is choosing to speak in a different way and we’re just missing it.

We learned this past week at church that God speaks in 4 main ways:

  • Scripture
  • The Holy Spirit
  • Other People
  • Circumstances

What was funny about this sermon to me (and by “funny” I totally mean “ironic”) is that God used circumstances (we went to church) so that other people (the speaker) could use scripture (he gave Bible verses) to speak directly to us through the Holy Spirit. God used all 4 of those ways in one message to prove to Heather and I that (1) He still speaks and (2) that what we thought He had been saying to us about a certain matter was true. He literally proved it to us.

God is funny like that.

“Oh you want proof? 💥 Here’s some proof”. 😂

Like we’re Gideon up in here looking for some dew on a piece of wool.

I’m not even sure we were really asking for proof to be honest. We’ve learned by this point in our lives to trust Him when we know He’s speaking. But you know how when you hear something you’re just sort of like “Well, maybe that’s just my voice and not God.” Like maybe it wasn’t God talking and instead you just wanted some lunch so you told yourself what you thought you wanted to hear because in reality you just wanted that turkey and cheese sandwich? Sometimes listening to God is like that. Was it really Him speaking or was it something else?

I think when He speaks through all 4 of those ways at one time and it all confirms what you’ve been hearing … there’s a good chance that what you were hearing was real and true.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure that I’m the best choice to be giving out advice on how to hear from God. But I don’t necessarily think that’s the point of this post. I would, however, say this:

Listen to your gut. If you know Jesus then the Holy Spirit is living inside you. It guides and counsels you. Don’t discount that intuition you feel. It’s there for a reason.

Next, get confirmation. Ask God to confirm what He said through another way (a friend, some scripture, dew on wool 😂, etc.). Ask a friend or spouse to pray about a situation and see what God tells them. Heather is always my filter for what I think I’m hearing. If I’m praying about a thing and I think I’ve heard something but want some confirmation to make sure, then I ask her to pray about it and see what God says. She’s much more holy and closer to God than I am and if what she hears lines up then I feel like I’m in the clear to go ahead.

Lastly, ask for open and closed doors. I do this all the time. When I’m facing a decision and I’m unsure which way to go, I’ll ask God to open the doors He wants open and close the doors He wants closed. This is especially helpful if I get too emotionally caught up in the decision and really want one answer to be the right one. I just ask God to make the decision for me. If the door is open I go through it and I don’t if it’s not. Once I go through one door then it’s “Great, I went through this one door. What about this next one? Which way should I go?”

Here’s the important part about all of this: God says that His sheep hear His voice. He is always speaking. Just be still and listen.

A Small Story Is No Story at All

The world, the flesh, and the evil one tempt us to settle for the smaller story: a narrow quest to arrange for the happy little life. Yet something deeper in us knows that a life arranged only for a sense of comfort, security, and personal happiness is far too small to hold the expanse for which the masculine soul was designed to thrive.

Morgan Snyder, Becoming a King

Great stories involve action. There are epic battles, intrigue, and a fight between good and evil. Lives are put on the line in an effort to reach the goal, save the world, and set the captives free.

Stop for a second and take a look at your life. Are you living a great story? Or have you arranged “for the happy little life” Morgan talked about above?

Let me ask it a different way. If your life was made into a movie, would anyone come and watch it?

If I’m completely honest, I wouldn’t go watch the movie of my life. I’m not a very interesting character. I live what amounts to a pretty regular, comfortable life.

For the most part I’m okay with that. I live my life by a set of processes that I am comfortable with. I don’t get out of my comfort zone too much. I’m fairly content with where I am right now.

And therein lies the problem.

There is no growth in contentment

The thing with being comfortable or content is that nothing happens. Which, at the end of the day, is what you’re going for. There are no surprises. There is no learning or growth. Nothing catches you off guard. You’ve got it all planned out and everything is going according to plan.

Happy and content to stay where you are there is nothing to push you to get better. There is nothing motivating you to advance your life past where you are right now.

But here’s the crux: there is no growth in contentment; no advancement in satisfaction.

The sooner we realize that there is no top level in the game of life the better off we’ll be. There is no such thing as “arriving.” There is always another level, another thing to learn, or another way to grow. You will never know all there is to know and you will never reach the top of anything. There is always someone bigger, better, or stronger than you.

Your life wants to plateau

In exercise, people talk a lot about hitting a plateau. That point where your body just stops reacting to what you’re doing. It seems that no matter how hard you work or what kind of diet you are on, nothing changes.

When you hit this point you have a couple of choices. You can continue to do what you’ve always done … what’s comfortable … and live with the realization that nothing will change. Or … you can change things up. You can do something different. Try a different exercise program. Change up your diet. Even something as simple as just increasing your weights in the gym. When you do this your body notices that something is different and has to react. That’s when you bust through that plateau and continue on your journey.

The trick is that you have to be willing to be uncomfortable to grow. You have to be willing to tear your muscles in order for them to get bigger. You have to be willing to run faster, further, or harder than you’ve run before to see a different result. It hurts. It’s not much fun. But no growth ever is.

Searching for stasis

You see, your life (like your body) is constantly is search of stasis. It wants a happy place where it knows what is going to happen and can handle the things that are coming. Your life, if left to its own devices, wants to plateau.

It wants comfort. It wants contentment. It wants stability.

But stability, in the end, means death.

You’ve probably heard stories of men and women that die soon after they retire. What happened? Why did they die so soon? I believe it’s because they’ve done all they are going to do. They don’t have anything else to push them forward or to continue to advance their life. They’ve decided that their life has hit the final plateau.

When water in a creek stops moving, it becomes stagnant. As we all know, it doesn’t take long for stagnant water to stink with rot. That’s what happens to our lives when we decide that living the small, unchanging, comfortable life is the best choice for us. When you are happy and content in your own little world you’ve already died even if your body hasn’t gone yet. No matter how many years you live on this earth, once you’ve reached the point where you’re comfortable and you aren’t willing to change things, you’ve already died.

A comfortable life is no life at all.

Sometimes God likes to shake things up

One thing I’ve learned about being comfortable is that just when you think “comfortable” is where you want to be and where you’ll stay, God does something that shakes all that up. He removes your comfort for your own good. He purposefully thwarts your plans for your continued growth.

A comfortable life is a life ripe for God to come in and say “Nope. We’re not doing this. Let’s keep moving. Here’s your next mission, should you choose to accept it.”

Usually that prompting comes in the form of some kind of pain, right? He’s got to get you uncomfortable if you are to move. Pain, if we’re honest, is usually the greatest motivator for us to change. When you’re comfortable there is no pain. It’s only when the pain becomes great enough for us to do something about it that we decide it’s time to move.

So maybe He ramps up the pain in order to get you to change, move, and grow. The thing about listening to God and doing what He says is that on the other side of that obedience, that moving, there is usually blessing. God blesses you when you obey.

Change is hard and often it feels like pain. But perhaps on the other side of that pain there is a blessing waiting for you. The trick is that it takes moving, going through the pain, in order to experience that blessing.

Lack of Dependence

Living a life that’s comfortable also means that you pretty much don’t have to depend on God at all. You can do everything you want or need to do under your own power.

I firmly believe that sometimes (most of the time probably) God wants you to depend on Him. He is your provider. He is your shield. He is your strength and life.

A life that’s comfortable is a life that doesn’t need a provider because you can provide for yourself. A life that’s comfortable is a life that doesn’t need a shield because you can protect yourself.

A comfortable life is a safe life and a safe life is really no life at all.

Where’s the adventure? Where’s the struggle? You can’t experience great wins without struggle.

There is the quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt that you’ve all probably read before but that fits aptly right here:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

A comfortable life is a life that led by “cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

God knows that a comfortable life isn’t the life He meant for you. He didn’t mean for you to live a small story. He has plans for you and they don’t involve sitting in front of the TV every night.

No, you have a role in a much larger story. Perhaps you’ve lost sight of just how big the story God is telling is, and the purpose of your role in that story. Look around you. No seriously. Stop and take a look.

This whole thing is so much bigger than we think it is and your role in it is much more important than you could ever imagine.

“God knows the danger of ignoring our hearts, and so he reawakens desire. You see a photo in a magazine, and pause, and sigh. You see someone with a life that reminds you of the life you once thought you would live. You’re channel surfing one night and see someone doing the very thing you always dreamed you would do—the runner breaking the tape, the woman enjoying herself immensely as she teaches her cooking class. Sometimes all it takes is seeing someone enjoying themselves doing anything, and your heart says, I want that too.

God does this for our own good. He does it to reawaken desire, to stir our hearts up from the depths we sent them to. He does it so that we don’t continue to kill our hearts and so that we don’t fall prey to some substitute that looks like life but will become an addiction in short order.

He sometimes does it so that we will seek the life we were meant to seek. Isn’t this just what happens to the prodigal? He wakes one day to say, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” (Luke 15:17). “Look at their lives,” he says. And he is stirred to head for home. To seek life.”

John Eldredge, Walking with God

Never give up. Never stop exploring. Never stop moving forward. There is too much in this life that you will miss when you settle for comfortable and safe. Do something … anything … and get uncomfortable.

Some questions I’ve started asking myself and that I would challenge you with this week:

  • Where are you living in a small story?
  • Where are you comfortable?
  • What needs to change to shake that up?

First Thoughts on iOS 14

Do you remember when you got your first iPhone?

If you use Android, do you remember when you first heard about the iPhone?

I wanted an iPhone from the day they came out, but it wasn’t until Apple released the iPhone 3GS in 2009 that I finally got one.

I haven’t had a phone from another manufacturer since.

That first iPhone of mine was running the top-of-the-line, latest and greatest iPhone OS 3. The newest, biggest, most impressive features that year were copy & paste, push notifications for third-party apps, USB & Bluetooth tethering, a landscape keyboard, and Find My iPhone.

A lot has changed in the 11 years since then. Technology changes so quickly it’s hard to keep up some times, isn’t it? Now there is more technological advancement in the watch on your wrist than in the phone you had back then.

I’m thankful that technology continues to advance. Outside of job security for a developer like me, it means that the collective “we” continue to move forward. That we are still pushing boundaries. It means that someone, somewhere is still asking the question “What if?”

And that leads us to now.

On September 16th Apple released their latest iteration of the iPhone operating system … iOS 14.

I’ve had the opportunity over the past couple of months to run the beta of this new OS. Today I’d like to cover some of my initial impressions and my top new features in iOS 14. Here goes!

Initial Thoughts

My first thought is … I like it. But I think that’s only because I love new, shiny software.

I always get excited for new releases like this. The ability to do new things or to do the same things in different ways is interesting and keeps me engaged. There’s something about the new coat of paint that the upgrade process brings. Kind of like how New Year’s Day feels. It’s a chance to start over again.

iOS 14 comes with a slew of new upgrades and features. Things like:

  • A Translation app that will even speak for you.
  • AirPods Pro automatic device switching. Meaning that you can start watching a video on your computer, switch over to your phone and your AirPods will move right along with you.
  • Mentions and inline replies in group messages. How many times have you been having a group conversation and needed to respond to what someone said 8 messages ago? At that point your reply is all out of context. Not any more.
  • Cycling directions and electric vehicle routing. For those of you that bike a lot or need to follow the charging stations on your road trips.

Seriously, there are too many to list here. For a list of all the features I suggest you start here.

That being said I will be completely honest. While I like the upgrade, there isn’t a lot here for me in particular. For the way that I use my phone (the way I work, play, create, and consume) there aren’t a lot of things that make my life better. Even just looking at the new features I mentioned above:

  • I don’t travel much (in particular to foreign countries)
  • I don’t have very many group conversations
  • I don’t cycle to work
  • I don’t have an electric vehicle.

So while there are a ton of new things, there isn’t a lot that I need. It’s not bad, it’s just not really for me, you know?

My Top 3

That brings us to my top 3 new features. While I’m kind of bullish on the upgrade, there are a few things that I enjoy.

Picture in Picture

I really like Picture in Picture. It might be my new favorite feature. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t watch a lot of video on my phone, but when I do, having the ability to just move it off into a corner and continue to use another app while the video plays is awesome.

Pinned Conversations

The one is just a helpful tweak to the Messages app that I didn’t know I wanted until I had it. Keeping the conversations with my family members up at the top of my app right where I can get to them quickly has been super handy.

Widgets

I don’t know that I need these … but they are super convenient to have around. I personally like the Fitness one (keeping me up to date on the 3 rings on my watch), the weather one from Carrot Weather (I can’t go getting rained on, can I? Sugar melts, y’all. 😂), and one created by my friend Caleb Panza called TimeDeck … which literally just tells me what time it is. Not that I don’t know where the clock is at the top of my phone, but when I go to my home screen it’s right there for me in a way that is visually appealing and I don’t have to go searching for it.

The Bottom Tier

There are some things that aren’t that great about iOS 14. The one I dislike the most is the App Library. I just don’t see why it exists. I get the idea that it puts all of your apps into categories for you and should make it easier to find all your stuff. Theoretically. To me it’s just an extra screen at the back of your screens of apps that doesn’t need to be there. I don’t ever go there, so it’s not a big deal, but it literally serves no purpose for me. It doesn’t suit my workflow. It’s really just something I don’t need.

The End

And that’s it. Overall iOS 14 is a decent upgrade but in my opinion it’s not something I need. Obviously, I still think you should upgrade and make that judgement call for yourself.

If you happen to upgrade, let me know what you think!