synthetic authentic




To be part of a community which lives simply and is filled with joy, blessing, and purpose.


To foster community through listening, reflecting, communicating, encouraging and serving.


To live a joyful, present and authentic life that is filled with blessing, encouragement and service to others.


Most of my adult life I have struggled with the difference between Purpose, Mission and Vision.  It seemed important to me to work out what mine are, but how can I do that if I can’t discern the difference between the three?

This spring I joined a group of half a dozen earnest men to talk about Purpose, Mission and Vision.  Our leader Tim suggested that we could think of the three words as follows: Purpose is your “Why?’, as in “Why are you here?”.  Mission is your means of getting to your destination.  The engine that propels you.  The “How”, if you will.  And Vision is the “What”,  as in “What does your destination look like?”.

A key learning for me is that we tend to start with What because it’s tangible and easier to grasp.  We then work our way to How, and hopefully reverse-engineer our Why.  And of course that would be backwards.  We should start with our Why and work through our core values.  Once we are confident that we have crafted our Purpose then our Mission and Vision follow naturally.

I will share my Purpose, Mission and Vision in the next three posts.  They are far from perfect, but I think they do sound like me.


If you’re not proud of it, don’t serve it.

If you can’t do a good job, don’t take it on.

If it’s going to distract you from the work that truly matters, pass.

If you don’t know why they want you to do this, ask.

If you need to hide it from your mom, reconsider.

If it benefits you but not the people you care about, decline.

If you’re going along with the crowd, that’s not enough.

If it creates a habit that costs you in the long run, don’t start.

If it doesn’t move you forward, hesitate then walk away.

The short run always seems urgent, and a moment where compromise feels appropriate. But in the long run, it’s the good ‘no’s that we remember.

On the other hand, there’s an imperative to say “yes.” Say yes and build something that matters.

by Seth Godin

Important advice, but included here for my remembrance.  My kids haven’t inherited my chronic amiabilitis.  They already know how to say no.

Thanks to my friend Tim who shared this with me.


“I like walking because it is slow, and I suspect that the mind, like the feet, works at three miles an hour.  If this is so, then modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought, or of thoughtfulness.”

I have always “felt” this to be true, but I have had neither the wisdom nor the eloquence to put it into words.  It makes sense to me that living, working, and making decisions at light-speed comes at a cost.  Only time will tell at what cost.


Wanderlust – A History of Walking, Rebecca Solnit

East Vandal


Some T-I-C* notes on writing a “How To” Blog Post about creative endeavours.

  • Just get started.  What are you waiting for?  “Today IS the first day of the rest of your life!”
  • You have an audience of one, so take risks – only you will know how badly you suck.
  • Eschew the Web – FaceBook “Likes” are for losers.
  • Failure is your friend.  It’s your best teacher, and it’s kinda free – embrace it.
  • Finish what you started even if it is crap – there is always benefit in finishing, even if it’s to prove that you’re not a quitter.
  • Seek instruction and heed your teacher’s advice.  But beware free advice – it’s usually worth less than you paid for it.
  • Practice.  Everyday.  But only if it’s helping you improve and not because of some rule about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.  That’s a feel-good myth.
  • Having a curated body of work can be satisfying, but it can also be stultifying.  A dozen sketches is a project.  5,000 is a legacy.  Be scared.
  • Don’t do it for the money.  Because although you think it’s “art” no one else will.  And even if they think it is, they won’t pay you for it.
  • There’s no such thing as “original” – everything is derivative.  A few years ago Solomon said: “There’s nothing new under the sun” and he was right.
  • Remember, in the final analysis no one cares.  And neither should you.  Much.
  • Finally, know when to stop.  No one likes to hear you bitching about your hobby.  When your friends stop going out for coffee with you, even when it’s your turn to pay, it’s a sure sign that it’s time to try something else.  
*T-I-C = Tongue in Cheek

Landscapes (2)

“I travelled to Normandy and to Brittany.  I took pictures of Paris and I understood that I wasn’t interested in just any landscape, that in fact I was incapable of photographing the ‘beautiful’ French countryside.  It was only in Lorraine, where the new steelworks had greatly transformed the region, that I really started taking photographs.  I realized that it was precisely with this kind of landscape, transformed by contemporary men, that I felt a true affinity.”

Josef Koudelka

That’s my kind of photographer.