30 Days of Thanks – Loved Ones and Life!

When I look back at this last year and think about everything I’m thankful for, there are so many images that flash through my thoughts.

I envisioned my best friends who’ve always been there for me through the years; through thick and thin.  When I got new jobs and left old ones, they were there to listen to me freak out about the next phase in my career.  When I moved across the country, or even the world, and I had to make new friends, they reminded me that old ones are never really that far away.


I envisioned my family.  I’m so grateful to have such a caring support system in my life.  We definitely lean on each other in this journey called life.  Even though my family drives me bat crazy sometimes, I know that no matter what I do in life, they would always accept and love me just the same.


I envisioned my fiance and my extended family of kitties! They always bring a smile to my face after any stressful day.

And of course I’m grateful for my health, my job, the great people I work with on a daily basis, and life.  Everyday is a gift and I’m grateful for it all!

Here’s to wishing you a wonderful November and all that you are grateful for in life!

30 Days of Thanks: Thankful for – Body of Work

I am thankful for so many small things this year. Small acts, added together can make a much larger impact over the individual contributions. Being reminded of this, has allowed me to understand the random and planned acts of kindness, charity, faith, forgiveness and brilliance can change someone’s life. Sometimes it even changes a lot of lives.

An Artist’s Body of Work is made up a collection of pieces developed over time and often in a series of repetitive themes. I had a great Architecture professor, fellow professor, friend and fishing buddy that was also an artist. We lost Richard Ferrier to cancer way too early in his life. At his memorial, countless students, friends and colleagues commented on the special moment or gift that Richard (RB) left with them. There were stories of a kind act at one of the Universities we taught at, a personal reference to some needed help, or even an encouraging pep talk. He provided behind the scenes help and encouragement to several generations of artists and Architects. As I heard one story after the other, it was clear that no one person really knew ALL the good deeds RB had provided.

Thankful for a Theme of Art and Kindness

Driving home from that weekend, the stories began to overlap and the theme was clear. There was  a recurring study in kindness that characterized his true “Body of Work.” Sure, there was a legacy of paintings, awards and even archives in the Library of Congress to preserve his artistic work. But, small uncelebrated acts of humanity and friendship were the real collection. He had influenced and changed more people than we ever expected. Richards work was changing people’s lives.

I am thankful the ability to appreciate good design, to spell Winsor Newton watercolour with a ‘u’, to catch a trout in the cold tailwaters of New Mexico, to see someone fly in a WWII fighter plane. I am thankful for the lesson – To change the world, all it takes is small acts in recurring themes.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Slowly creating my Body of Work.

Thankful for You Houston.

I have so much to be thankful for. I’ve written here in the past about how I’m thankful for LOLCats, Aggieland, and my mom’s wise advice to always stay positive. Today in particular I am thankful for the democratic process, my rights as an American, and those who serve to protect our freedom. And Twitter. I am definitely thankful for Twitter.

Thank You Houston!

This year for my 30 Days of Thanks post I want to take a moment to personally thank you – the people and the city of Houston, for all you have done for me over the last four years.

It was January 3, 2009 when I moved to Houston. In the years since then you have welcomed me and supported me every step of the way.

Houston is a unique place – the most diverse city in the country, a town that fosters business and supports the arts – and earlier this year topped Forbes’ list of America’s Coolest Cities. I have tried my best to take in as much of it as possible – taking in museums and restaurants and festivals and trying to keep up with everything Houston has to offer. Honestly, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.

The Big D will always be my hometown (don’t hate), but I have been incredibly blessed to find a great home here. And I cannot be grateful enough.

A Few of My Favorite Things about Houston:

1. A Full Events Calendar - In a city as big as Houston, there is always something going on!

I am privileged to get to go out and support fantastic clients like Miller Outdoor Theatre, Susan G. Komen Houston, and The Art Car Parade. Some of my other favorite events have been Comicpalooza Comic Convention, Free Press Summerfest, and the Rodeo!

Left to Right: Houston Rodeo, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Free Press Summer Fest, Houston Beer Festival, Comicpalooza

2. The Food! – I often tell people the best part of moving to Houston is the food. The diversity of backgrounds and cultures in Houston meld into a mixing pot of delicious opportunities to explore. My latest obsessions are El Gran Malo, Benjy’s, and Petrol Station. (And I am always open to suggestions!)

Houston Food Truck Fest 2011

3. The Schipulites - I work with some of the most talented, hardest working people I have ever met. I learn from you every single day. I have great mentors here and a great team. I couldn’t ask for more.

Thank You!

I have to thank you to all of you in Houston for welcoming me with open arms. Here’s to many more Houstoniversaries to come!

30 Days of Thanks: Having a huge extended family

All my life, I have always moved around. I’ve lived in different parts of Mexico, I’ve lived in the UK, in France, in 3 different states in the U.S and have been happy doing that: A constant cycle of packing and moving, adapting and finally feeling at home.

I’ve come to have so many friends that have become extended family to me. These people went from being complete strangers, to friends, to people I can count on. No matter how far they are or how long it’s been since I’ve seen them, they in some way show me that they are still here with me as I am with them.

Still like a second family, even from a distance.

I am the only person in my family to be living in Texas, and sometimes it can be hard especially when you are going through tougher times. I’ve come to realize that when you are on your own, and these times emerge your sense of fight or flight kicks in. Suddenly you just want to go back to your home - your root home, and just embrace the old familiar.
I think everyone goes through that, and in all honesty if I had moved back home it would have been okay- there is nothing wrong with that really. But I stuck around and plan on staying in Texas, a place that I now happen to love and call home.

With that said, the people you work with are a huge part of your life in general. I mean, You spend more than half your week with these people! You could be doing what you love the most, but without a good team your job would for a lack of a better word – suck.

Part of an Awesome Sales Team

I have yet to work in a place where I do not like/love the people I work with. These people define(d) my day, they make it better and shift my attitude to a positive whenever it’s at a low. And if I were to go down the list of everyone I am thankful for, it would be a really long massive list.

I’ve met some of my best friends at work (this includes my very awesome boyfriend) which are now family. There have been so many times where I wasn’t able to fly home for the holidays and my friends pretty much took me in as an extension of their own family.

Justin and I

The people in my life just make me feel insanely lucky, and I don’t care if it sounds cheesy. They say actions speak louder than words, and it genuinely is something else to have someone show you they are there for you.
It’s little things like when I’ve been sick and gotten chicken soup, stuffed toys and sticker books (a Frankenweenie sticker book, to be exact) to cheer me up. There’s times where I have been devastated, like when I lost my dog Benito and my friends from all over pulled me back together some way. For example they all changed their Facebook profile pictures to their favorite Benito picture to remember him, and remind me that they were there for me any way they could.

One of my many friends that changed their profile pictures to cheer me up.

I could not have better people in my life that have become an addition to my already truly amazing family. So that is my “30 days of Thanks” Thankful post, I am thankful for all of you, because you just make me feel lucky and extremely loved, and I hope you guys know how much you are loved in return. Thank you.

30 Days of Thanks, Day 4 – The People Who Believe in You

This Thanksgiving I am most thankful for the people that believe in me.

I think that we all forget about these people sometimes, but they are the most important people

in your life. These people genuinely see your potential and your desire for greatness. They believe that you have good character within, and that in the long run your character will win over and you will have success. These people are able to see through the short run of your mistakes, and continue to believe that you will learn and grow from them.

This type of support can come in all forms and sizes: family, friends, relationships, authoritative figures, co-workers. The main point is in that some way they encourage you to reach for greatness, and affirm that you are capable of attaining it. Think about the HR manager who believed that you would bring success to their company and hired you into your first full time position when you had little experience. So many people have had a positive impact on your life by believing in you.

These people that choose to encourage you are applying principles of positive reinforcement and effective motivation. Some of these same principles are taught in a book by Dale Carnegie, a pioneer in public speaking, interpersonal relationships and personal development. How to Win Friends and Influence People is Carnegie’s bestseller self improvement  book with 15 million copies sold since its release in 1936.

In this book, Carnegie uses examples of people who experience motivational success. One of Carnegie’s keys to motivation is by sticking with people through their rough patches. Some people will take the time to understand you from the inside out; they believe in your inner greatness. Appreciate these people and keep them in your life.

Everyone needs someone to they can come to in the tough times. The most supportive people in your life are there during your worst moments, in the wake of your biggest mistakes. In times of turmoil these individuals are there to listen, share in your disappointment  and then affirm that you are better, and that they expect more because they believe that your character will persevere. They acknowledge that you are not a lost cause, and that you are not defined by any one action.

My grandfather used to tell me that the best measure of a man is not the tally of his mistakes, but his response to these mistakes. I love this because it frees me up to learn in my own method and make mistakes along the way. Always speak about your desire to be better and be great and to improve so that people know where your heart is.

Choose to believe in people in as many people as you can. Believe because you remember how people influenced your life by believing in you and staying in your corner. This is a large underlying theme in How to Win Friends and Influence People. People respond better when you separate the behavior from the individual. Everyone wants to be the best they can. We all strive for personal greatness in our own ways. Realizing that everyone wants the same thing will help you to deal with people and create meaningful relationships.

My grandfather had his deal of struggles in life. I believe that part of the reason he overcame so many obstacles was the support that he received from those that were closest to him. My grandfather left this world with all of those who had always supported him feeling proud about the man that he had become. They hung with him and were rewarded by seeing him succeed . They received genuine joy that they were there for my grandfathers transformation. I will always remember him telling me that he just knew I was going to be a great and successful person. I believe him because I saw him struggle more than anyone and saw him transform into the great man that we all knew he would always be.

Remember those that believed in you and try to give this gift to as many people as you can.

For Me, It’s You

My husband!

I am grateful for my husband. I am grateful for my children. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my friends. My job. My cats. The internet. Wifi. Gas in my car. My shoes and the shirt on my back.

Life is hard and can be exhausting and everybody needs something to change their focus when they are feeling off centre.

I always aim to do my best but I don’t always succeed. When I need a mood changer, I use music. My current anthem that I use for inspiration and a song by the California rockers, Train.  The song is the title track from their 2006 album, For Me, It’s You. The message of
the song is about paying it forward and sharing what you have.

My sister and my kids!

Give it if you’ve got it
Get it if you don’t

I love the message of this song and it reminds me to focus on what’s important.

My favourite lyric is

Give it to somebody that don’t have a thing
Ain’t got soft shoes to dance or a love song to sing – no
Get yourself on the right track
Let somebody ride your back for a while

Ireland, mom, Sharon and Rania.


That resonates so strongly with me. How many people have carried me to be where I am today? I could never thank them enough to the same measure that they helped me. I hope that I have had a similar impact on the people that are in my life.

I’ve seen Train perform live many times in Houston and they are an amazing live band. If you get the opportunity to see them, do it.

If you haven’t ever seen them live, here’s the next best thing. Enjoy, my friends!

30 Days of thanks 2012 – Day 1

Since I work at a web marketing / technology company the first thing you might expect me to be thankful for might be my iPhone, wireless internet EVERYWHERE, downloading 10 megs of data in less than a minute (as opposed to over an hour when I was a kid) and stuff like that. I’m taking a different approach.

I’m a blessed guy. I know this, and I’m very thankful for it. I wake up every day, my legs work, I can breathe without pain, I can see clearly, I have food to eat whenever I want (so says my scale), I’m employed, married to a gorgeous woman who is WAY out of my league and a nerd to boot, and so much more.

I realize that much of the world doesn’t enjoy the simple luxuries I take for granted. It’s a wonderful and fragile thing. That’s another thing I’m thankful for: the life I live and the things I enjoy are so accessible to me remain so. I’m thankful I was raised by and around people who instilled values in me that have helped me make the best decisions I can so that I am where I am today.

I have a Pastor friend who says “Anyone is capable of anything at anytime.” I like to keep this thought in the front of my mind because it helps me remember that I’m just a few bad decisions away from losing everything important to me. Which brings me to the one thing I’m most thankful for: Even though I don’t deserve it I’m thankful I’ve been given mercy and grace in my life so that I can try to be the best person I can and love people the best I know how.

Photo by Brian Potter

Happy Halloween from the Schipulites!

Happy Halloween!

We love Halloween at Schipul! Here are some photos of our team today! Did your office dress up today? Post in the comments and show us your pics!

Schipulites in Costume!

Put up y’er dukes!

The Schipulite Cats!

Zombified Schipulites

Every year we put our photography skills (and costume closet) to the test and take zombie photos. This year’s photos turned out particularly spooky:

Check out all of the Schipul Zombie photos on our Facebook page!

Rock on, Zombie Schipulites!  




Want more spooky from the Schipulites?

Check out our Friday the 13th superstitions video!

Schipulite Superstitions for Friday the 13th! from Schipul – The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

All Sites Back Up [UPDATED] >>> Tendenci 5 Sites Outage [October 22]

Update: 7 PM >> All Sites Back Up.

As of 7 PM Central time, it appears that all Tendenci 5 sites are back online. The root cause is still under investigation by Amazon. We do know that this was a major outage that affected several major websites hosted on AWS servers (more from TechCrunch).

We apologize again for the inconvenience & thank you again for your patience as this issue was resolved.

If you continue to see issues, please contact our support team at support@schipul.com. 


Update: 4 PM >> Some Sites Beginning to Come Online.

We are beginning to see recovery of some sites on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Some Tendenci 5 websites are back up, as Amazon is moving through our servers and databases to restore service. More as we have it.

We’re also learning that the AWS outage today also effected major sites like Netflix, Pinterest, and Reddit.


Several Tendenci 5 web sites are down due to an issue with Amazon’s servers.

Currently, Tendenci 5 web sites are down due to an issue with Amazon’s servers. The outage began around 12:30 PM Central time.

Amazon is aware of the issue and is working to resolve it as soon as possible. These are the specific details that we have from Amazon:

“We are currently investigating degraded performance for a small number of EBS volumes in a single Availability Zone in the US-EAST-1 Region. We can confirm degraded performance for a small number of EBS volumes in a single Availability Zone in the US-EAST-1 Region. Instances using affected EBS volumes will also experience degraded performance.”

We will post updates to this post on the Tendenci blog and on our @Tendenci Twitter account as we have them. We apologize for the inconvenience and will keep you updated as we know more.

Thank you for your patience.

Questions? Contact our support team at support@schipul.com or call us at (281) 497.6567 ext 411. 

The Blog for Tendenci Open Source Software for Non-Profits & Associations. Posts on software updates, Open Source technology, and NonProfit marketing tools & strategy!