March 25, 2017

A Brilliant Cross-Over From Real Life Fitness to Video Game Play

NBA 2K17 Screen Shot

I just read an article that I believe is an absolute brilliant type of cross-promotion and marketing between two companies.

Earlier this year my wife got me a fitbit HR as a gift for my birthday. I thought back then that the integration between the device and my phone and my online profile was a good measure. You see I can connect with my friends and family members that may also have a FitBit device and challenge them to certain levels of activity. The most common of these is just a simple step count. The somewhat standard challenge goal for most people is to get 10,000 steps a day.

Well, fitbit has partnered with video game developers for NBA 2k17 to give you in-game player development perks if you obtain a 10,000 step goal in real life. That’s right! Brilliant right? I know when I was playing Tiger Woods golf on the Xbox regularly, just about the only thing I could think of was doing whatever I could to get my custom player’s skills up as high as I could so I had an advantage on both the game itself and anyone I might play against, including my wife! The downfall to that relationship was that it required me to spend as much time as possible playing the game, sitting on my butt in front of the TV.

With this branding crossover, you start to reward kids with a direct exchange of being more active in real-life to gain something in the virtual video game. What if we started finding more crossover promotions that promoted healthy activities instead of bad ones? Imagine Subway giving away power up codes for eating a low-fat sub and not ordering a soda? Granted, that’s going to go against their bottom line with the no soda thing, but you get my point.

What if parents could get little credit codes they could give their kids for positive behaviors that were directly related to health and fitness, or maybe even just good grades. Finish all your vegetables on your plate at dinner, here’s 25 booster points. Get an A in science this semester, here’s 1000 booster points.

The biggest challenge once this became popular would probably be working on ways to keep people from gaming the system. Because whatever system is out there for rewards, people will be looking to game it.

What are your thoughts on this type of marketing cross-promotion?

Original Article: Here’s Why Harrison Barnes Always Gets in his Steps Before Sitting Down to Play

How’s Your Husband Doing?

Wedding Rings and Money

A friend of mine recently posted about her experience dining out with her family at a local restaurant. Perhaps much to the surprise of the waitress’s intention, she was boldly insulting the guests she was serving based on her actions and statements. I really encourage you to go read her post, “My Husband Is Not My Other Child“. If you need a little something to convince you, read these words and let them soak in.

My husband is more than a glorified door stop with a wallet. I was insulted she thought so little of him. That was it. Insulted.

How do you see your husband? How do you reference him to your friends or maybe even complete strangers?

You see, as a husband myself there are just a few things I really need from my wife. Her respect, encouragement and her loyalty. If I know those three things are in place, I can probably go without just about anything else whether it be physical, emotional or even dare I say it… sexual needs.

Do I believe there are far too many men in our society that don’t live up to the expectations and needs of being a husband and a father? Absolutely. Do I believe that popular culture and media and also done their part to tear down and destroy the image of an intelligent and capable father in the home? Absolutely? Do I think one of the drawbacks of extremists in the women’s rights movement is an emasculation of men? Right again.

So, let me ask you again. How do you view your husband? How do you talk about your husband to your friends and around complete strangers? I can almost guarantee you 100%, if you will respect, encourage and support him (even if he may not deserve it right now!) he’ll probably start to redevelop and remature into the man he’s supposed to be for you and your family.

Homeschooler Ryan Beard Performs on America’s Got Talent

Ryan Beard, a homeschooled student from Kansas City recently appeared in the auditions round for the popular TV show, America’s Got Talent. Our family enjoys watching the various talent reality shows and so far this season America’s Got Talent has been fun to watch with our son. This season is the first year for former American Idol judge, Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell), to be a judge on the show. I was one of the few people that actually enjoyed and appreciated Simon’s judging on Fox’s American Idol. He’s seemed to soften his persona a bit for this show though. It’s nice to see him smile a little more but still be real with contestants who just don’t have the talent level to be in the running for the show’s goals.

Watch the video below of Ryan’s audition where he’s got both the judges and audience rolling with laughter before he even sings his first note!

If you know of any other videos online of homeschooled kids performing on TV for any reality shows like America’s Got Talent, let us know by leaving a link to the video in the comments below.

World War II Deaths Video Visualization

I just stumbled across this video that illustrates the deaths experienced across all countries as part of the second World War. It also includes civilian casualties as well. It is perhaps the best visual representation I have ever seen to explain the impact that WWII had on the world. More clearly explaining how it was indeed a “world war”.

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

I’d encourage everyone to watch this video but especially your children and students to understand the impact.

The video also compares the death tolls in World War II with other wars and events in the current century. Amazingly, by comparison the wars we’ve experienced lately don’t even come close. We’ll see how the ongoing impact of ISIS and other terrorist threats around the world continue to impact this data and history.

Finding More Info About Colleges and Universities

SchooLinks Website

As much as I can’t believe it, I’ve got a child that’s just a few years away from pursuing higher education at a college or university. It was quite an reality-check when we received the first piece of mail addressed to my son from a college. I’m guessing the next reality check mail will be when the AARP offers start coming to the house as well.

I received an email from someone through the site that let me know about a new website called SchooLinks that helps parents and students gather more information about all the opportunities that are available to us as we enter into this journey of the next stage in my son’s educational life.

I’ll be honest, frequently I wonder how my life would be different now if I had the online resources at my disposal for this type of research and self-training that’s available. My opinion is having more information at your fingertips is never really a bad thing. So, I had Kara from SchooLinks write up a little bit about the website to share with you all and just throw it out there for you as a resource to use for your family.

Education is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. It shows them how to think as individuals and allows them to grow into the person that they’re meant to be. We are lucky enough that where we live allows our children to have a free education, however, what about when they want to pursue higher education and college tuition starts to skyrocket?

Our nation is experiencing a widening achievement gap between students who have the potential to be successful in college, but are unable to afford the price of a college education. Many of these students have enjoyed a free education between grades K-12, and have been academically successful. These same students have the ability to perform well in college, however, their own education will now cost them thousands of dollars that they don’t have. Sure, there are many scholarships available, however it is extremely difficult to find a scholarship that they are actually eligible to apply for. As parents, we want to provide our children with the best education possible but a $40,000 price tag is enough to make us think it’s acceptable to settle on education.

SchooLinks is an EdTech start-up that is on a mission to bridge the achievement gap and get students into colleges they will be successful at without putting them over their heads in debt. Our children are unique learners, so why should they be restricted to where they go to college because they are unaware of their options? SchooLinks introduces prospective college students to a network of worldwide schools, thus opening them up to countless educational opportunities. Simple tricks such as chatting directly with an admissions officer significantly increases a student’s chance of getting accepted to their top choice, and SchooLinks makes this possible with thousands of schools around the world. Furthermore, features such as Scholarship Matching pairs students with scholarships that are suitable for them, which cuts out countless hours of fruitless searching that has frustrated students for years.

If our children are the future, why should they be limited to where the advance their studies? SchooLinks wants to eliminate the notion that it’s okay to settle on your education. Reasons such as “It’s too expensive.” or “I don’t know what other options are out there.” will be things of the past, and your children will be able to afford and attend the college that is the best fit for them. Lets build a stronger and brighter future and get our children linked up with their future Alma Mater, today.

Travel Opens Your Eyes & Promotes Happiness

Travel Opens Your Eyes

International travel can make a profound impact on those who yearn to see more and do more. But did you know international travel can actually promote happiness in the rest of your life? If you haven’t traveled internationally yet, here are some good reasons you should take the plunge and explore new cultures.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

International travel will expand your comfort zone. While this might not sound like fun for some people, travel continually asks you to reevaluate your priorities. You will learn a lot about yourself when you travel. Backpack across Europe or drive the Australian coast. These experiences can show you more than you ever imagined and break you out of your zone. While in New Zealand you might go bungee jumping (after all, the Kiwis invented it), something you thought you’d never do. Traveling internationally can help you realize your true potential and self.

Disconnect

Disconnect from your everyday life. Re-energize your ambitions. Rekindle a spark for your professional life or romantic relationship. Distance gives perspective in all things. Sometimes this means metaphorical distance, but in this case, you might actually want to visit China, take one huge step back. This can help you look at any stressful situations back home objectively. Hike the Great Wall of China, visit Guilin for the best Karst landscapes and meet new and exciting people. Arrive home and tackle your life head on and recharged.

Surprise Yourself

While bungee jumping in New Zealand was an adrenaline rush, driving in a foreign country, like Great Britain, is much more dangerous. If you want mobility in your travels, then a car is your best bet. Make sure you know the rules of the road — particularly which side of the road to drive on so you’re international adventure isn’t bogged down by costly traffic citations. When you navigate these bureaucratic agencies and finally set off on the road in England or Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, it’s proof you can handle yourself in a foreign country. This confidence will carry over to your life back home once you return.

Acceptance

New cultures will constantly surprise you. It probably won’t always be comfortable. Whether you find yourself at a horse barbecue in South Korea, served grubs or large grasshoppers in Thailand, or watch a family of seven all climb onto a single motorcycle while you’re in Nepal, you’ll find yourself accepting things you would have taken issue with just weeks before. When you can accept the way things are, instead of stressing about how you wish things were, you’ll relax and simply go with the flow of life. You’ll become more open to suggestions and so easier going.

Have Fun Anywhere

While travel has many rewards, it comes with its own bevy of stresses. Missed trains or flights are just the beginning. A mix up in lodge reservations can leave you without a bed for a night. A broken down train can mean you’re stranded in the station overnight, and you’ll learn and relearn the navigation of every place you visit. While this can be stressful, you’ll learn you can enjoy anything. If you get lost when on the search for your hostel, you’ll see some parts of the city you wouldn’t have otherwise. A night spent in the train station might lead you to meet someone you’d never have enjoyed the company of if that train hadn’t been delayed. You’ll learn how you can enjoy every moment. Even the hard ones.

Treading New Ground In Our Homeschool – Do You Co-op?

Colored Pencils

Our family is starting our 6th year of homeschooling and we’re doing something this year that we’ve never done before. We’re adding some co-op experiences for both of our children where they will be taking a few different classes one day each week. Our daughter has already started attending the Francis Schaeffer  Study Center and our son will be starting at New Life Academy next month.

When we lived in Indiana we never really pursued co-ops for the kids. I think then it was a combination of just not feeling like it was something we wanted to do and we weren’t really aware of any that interested us there. Plus, both of our kids at the time said they didn’t want to go back to “school” and enjoyed the independence of just doing schooling on their own at home each day each week.

Since relocating to Tennessee, co-0p seem to be far more prolific as well as the involvement of homeschool families in them. Still being fairly new to the area we also started to see co-ops as another opportunity for our kids and ourselves to meet with and interact more with other homeschooling families in the area. Making the decision didn’t come easily, but in the end we decided it would present its challenges but that those challenges would be worth it. The obvious challenge is the additional expenses incurred with participating in more formalized instructional opportunities and the various fees associated. The next challenge is the logistics of getting two kids back and forth to their co-0ps on their days. They’re both in the same town that’s about 10-15 minutes away from our home, but they are in different locations and meet on different days.

Our daughter absolutely loves school and has surprised us since our move by being far more social and craving interaction with other girls her age than she ever has before. She’ll be taking Geography, Intro to Literature and Art History. She’s already met with her classes a few times and absolutely loves it she says.

Our son is far less interested in the idea and frequently uses the words “making” or “forcing” to describe the decision to put him in a co-op. However, we believe introducing a little more structure back into his studies and weekly activities now that he’s entering his freshman year will be a good thing for him. He’s also surprised us by being far less social than he used to be in Indiana, so we’re hoping he’ll establish some new relationships and friends from this experience as well. He’ll be taking Geometry, Biblical Studies (Revelations), and Biology. One of the big reasons we also chose this for him is that I’ve done a horrible job of doing experiments with him in his science courses at home. Very irritated with myself on that considering I was a biology major and love studying it as well as other sciences.

Do your kids participate in co-ops as part of your homeschool experience? What have been your thoughts and experiences along the way? What are the costs you and other challenges you face with including these options in your weekly homeschool routine? Would love to hear about your thoughts in the comments below.

Support Wounded Warriors With American Sniper

Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in "American Sniper"

One of the most powerful movies I’ve seen in recent times that really tells a character story has been “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, America’s most deadly sniper in history. As Cooper will say about his effort in the film, his goal was to tell the story of American soldiers and their families. Yes, of course this movie is a military movie and therefore depicts lots of violence and language, but I don’t think any of it is gratuitous. That’s very important to me. I’m not squeamish around violence or language when it depicts the reality of the world we live in.

I watched “American Sniper” in the theater with a friend, but my family has not seen it. I’m looking forward to watching it this evening with my family and getting their feedback.

"American Sniper" on Blu-ray and DVDI think the movie sells itself if you’re at all interested in a military themed movie that develops the story and characters, and this movie only more so because it’s based on a real person and their experience in life. Warner Bros, who produced the film, doesn’t need my help selling it honestly. But what I’m wanting to get across with this post is the following:

American Sniper” will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and includes the film in high definition on Blu-ray disc, a DVD, and a digital version of the movie in Digital HD with UltraViolet. Fans can also own “American Sniper” via purchase from digital retailers.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will donate a portion of the proceeds across physical and digital sales to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). One dollar of each purchase will be donated up to $1,000,000 from April 21, 2015 through December 31, 2015, void in Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi and South Carolina. To get involved and learn more, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.com.

The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To learn more about WWP’s life-saving programs and services, please visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs.

Everything I know about the Wounded Warrior Project makes it something that I want to help promote and support. The fact that we have the opportunity to potentially raise ONE MILLION dollars for their effort by barely lifting a finger seems like a no-brainer. You’ve got the opportunity to have a copy of this powerful film in your collection and contribute to this organization. That’s some good news right? Take the time now to visit the Wounded Warrior Project website and connect with them on all their social media accounts (found in the footer on their site).

BUY American Sniper (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack) NOW! on Amazon.com

Some more good news is that I’ve got two copies of the film to giveaway to some of my readers. I love the fact that I’ve been given an opportunity like this by participating with Grace Hill Media to promote this film and this opportunity. But, here’s what I’d like to have happen. If you end up winning one of the copies of this film from my website, I’d love to have you commit to taking at least a significant portion of the money you would have spent on this film and donate it to Wounded Warriors above and beyond this promotion.

All you need to do to enter this contest is one of the items below: (gain more options by doing all of them!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watch this exclusive video below from Warner Bros. with the actors Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller talking about the film and their efforts to achieve authenticity of the story of soldiers and their families.

Various Photos from “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller and directed by Clint Eastwood.

Bradley Cooper and Director, Clint Eastwood - American Sniper

Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller in American Sniper

Bradley Cooper and His Daughter in American Sniper

Sienna Miller in American Sniper

A Story From Father to Son For Generations

You’ve got to take a break out of your day and watch this short-film. It’s actually a commercial, but wow! what a powerful one it is.

Beautiful video work and imagery combines with a meaningful story and script to send a message from father to son that should live on for generations to come. I see stories like this and I feel completely incompetent and really doing everything I can to mold my son into the man I hope he becomes one day. I realize that’s an overstatement, but may that feeling spur me on to continue to do better in that area.

I’ve got to find more ways to connect with my son, and daughter, and communicate to them the important things they should learn about life. I can assure you, those lessons aren’t going to come from any curriculum you choose or text book you may have them read. Those lessons come from relationship and experience.

How are you doing in this area fellow dad? Let me know in the comments.

Source: Creating Authentic Marketing

My Nashville Restaurant List

BBQ Plate

I’m adding this post more as a reminder to myself of the restaurants I’d like to be sure and visit now that we’re in Nashville. Since my goal will be to share my experiences at the restaurants after I go to them, there are a few restaurants on here that I have already visited. Those will be noted and if I’ve written a review about them, I’ll link to those.

If there’s a restaurant you recommend that’s not on the list, be sure and add it in the comments. If you happen to own a restaurant and you’d like me to add your location to my list, feel free to leave those suggestions in the comments as well.

2014 Schedule Results

Middles School (MS)Junior Varsity (JV)Varsity (V)
Covenant: W (2-1)Community Christian: W (2-1)Covenant: W (3-0)
Providence: W (2-0)Madison: L (2-1)McClain: W (3-0)
MTCS: W (2-0)FCA: W (2-0)Providence PCA: L (2-3)
Madison: L (0-2)Madison Academy: L (1-2)Christian Comm V: W (3-1)
F.H.Jenkins: W (2-0)FCA: W (3-0)C
Sumner Academy*: L (1-2)Madison Academy: W (3-0)
Riverside Lady Knights: L (0-2)Lighthouse Christian Academy: W(3-1)
Lighthouse Christian Academy: W(2-0)
Grace: L (1-2)
Curry Ingram: W (2-0)
MJCA: L (1-2)MJCA: L (2-3)