Sam Harrelson





“Celebrate Valentine’s Day without compromising your Christian faith on Ash Wednesday”

My advice is that American Christians have much bigger issues to concern themselves with than whether or not they can reconcile Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, so stop taking yourself so seriously…

On Feb. 14, many Christians face a dilemma as they try to reconcile their faith with the traditional celebrations of romantic love. How exactly do you observe Valentine’s Day on the day Lent begins, marking the season of atonement leading up to Easter?

Can you be a believer and still celebrate with champagne and chocolate?

Source: Valentine’s Day 2018: Celebrate Ash Wednesday without sacrificing faith — Quartz

Here’s a post from the New York Times entitled “Eat, Pray, Love: An Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day Dilemma“.


“Did they worship this car?”

“He wondered what aliens might think if they ever came across the Roadster drifting through space. After all, SpaceX packed other weird items in the car, among them a small toy Hot Wheels Roadster (complete with a miniature Starman) on the dashboard.

“Maybe [it will be] discovered by an alien race, thinking, ‘What were these guys doing? Did they worship this car? Why do they have a little car in the car?'” Musk said. “That will really confuse them.”‘

Source: Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster Is Headed to the Asteroid Belt


Go Update your WordPress version manually today

This has made for a fun morning with our many client sites that are running WordPress…

In an unfortunate turn of events, WordPress 4.9.3 was released earlier this week and it included a bug which broke WordPress auto-update. Millions of sites auto-updated from 4.9.2 to WordPress 4.9.3 and it broke their ability to auto-update in the future.

via Wordfence


Bringing It All Back Home 2018 Edition

Robert Rauschenberg, Mother of God, ca. 1950

I’ve made a series of “Bringing It All Back Home” posts here over the last decade charting my attempts to reign in some of the content I so freely pour out all over the social web. Some of those attempts have been successful and some less so (looking at you, Twitter). However, I enter 2018 with a renewed sense of purpose and direction for how I see this space and site changing with me as I continue to evolve.

Similarly, the web continues to evolve. There is now less of a need for flashy graphics or fonts or layouts and more of a need for real and authentic dialogue and expression. I recognize my place of privilege saying that, but I do think the sooner we unmoor ourselves from our socially constructed social media profiles and find spaces of genuine room for translation and interpolation, the better we’ll be.

Plus, I have years of Analytics data to show that no one is looking at my “Services” page and I get much more interaction, engagement, and yes… clients from my actual posts here than some elaborately designed page touting my consultation pedigree and skills. Those are here if you seek them out, but I doubt you will.

Having a web space in 2018 means much more about discovery and freedom of expression outside the walled gardens of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Those places still serve their purpose, but the type of expression and sharing and learning I’m looking to do more of in 2018 both personally and professionally will be the theme of this space as we move forward. The marketing and consulting clients will come if I do a good job of that exploration and communication of what I find out about the world, tech, religion, strategic planning, and …well… myself.

For the first time in three years, I’ve fired up a brand new dedicated server and put this site there (previously it was on WordPress.com as I worked up the courage to make this leap). Everything from email to my calendar to to-do apps and items etc will be located on the server as I want to be more intentional about the services I use and recommend but also find more of that self-reliance and independence I’ve always aspired towards (both personally and with my clients). I’ve even been able to bring in my old Tumblr posts from 2007-2009 as a part of scooping up all of my old posts going back to 2006.  In the hours I’ve spent setting up the server as well as this site and learning to love PHP and curl commands again, I already feel that the attempt has paid dividends. I can’t wait to see what else I learn (or re-learn) as I move along.

So forgive me if I do a lot more sharing here than before… some of it will make it over to Twitter and perhaps Facebook. However, I’ll try to keep the stream manageable as more of my content originates here as the hub and flows out to those spaces. Those spaces are great for sharing and hearing echoes of your own views and feelings and expectations. A space like this in 2018 holds a promise of the type of exploration that encourages me to learn more and therefore be a more creative and talented person as well as a better consultant for my clients.

Here’s to 2018.

Practice resurrection.


It’s a 3 Screen Kind of Monday

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-9-25,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-ve

Working from home with our son this week. He likes to contribute to my setup with various design inspirations.

Left to Right: Google Pixelbook, iPad Pro, Samsung Chromebook Pro

Why two Chromebooks? I’m using Chrome Remote Desktop on the Pixelbook to run Adobe Illustrator via the Windows desktop in my office and keeping notes on the Samsung. The iPad is there for renderings in Pixelmator and for Trello.

I’ve got the Pixelbook Pen and Apple Pencil for the iPad but still really only use those when I’m in tablet mode and taking notes on a meeting or call in Evernote.


All my big mistakes…

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Is the iPhone X as a UX disaster?

You’re looking at a UX disaster, the result of eliminating what is probably the simplest, most intuitive form of navigation ever implemented in consumer electronics: the iPhone’s home button. The iPhone X replaces it with the mess above. This is bad news, because this interaction is a fundamental part of the user experience.

via The iPhone X Is A User Experience Nightmare


Nerd Post on Firewalls

We work on a lot of websites built on WordPress at Harrelson Agency.

Some of those are complicated builds that cost tens of thousands of dollars and require constant maintenance. Some of those are relatively static sites for a non-profit or small business built on a shoestring budget of just a few hundred dollars. What all of the sites we build have in common is a firewall (we use Wordfence a great deal but also have other means and normally work at the endpoint).

What I’ve found in all my years of marketing and business consulting is that web security is so overlooked by companies, churches, and non-profits large and small. WordPress powers a ton of websites out there, and as a result is frequently a vector of attack and hacking attempts. Make sure your web devs / “tech people” or neighborhood kid that you hire to build or work on your site knows at least a little about infosec and opsec or you’ll be paying for your budget-built website eventually.

Here’s a nerdy, but interesting, post from Wordfence on what makes them different from cloud-based firewalls…

When choosing a firewall for your WordPress website to protect it against attacks, you have a handful of choices. Wordfence is one of the only effective “endpoint” firewalls available. The alternative is a “cloud” firewall from vendors like Sucuri (now owned by GoDaddy) and Cloudflare.

via Why Choose An Endpoint Firewall Like Wordfence


The Way to Successful Teams

I’ve been a part of successful teams and unsuccessful teams… I think these traits are spot on given my experiences (especially psychological safety):

1. Dependability.

2. Structure and clarity.

3. Meaning.

4. Impact.

5. Psychological Safety.

via Google Spent 2 Years Studying 180 Teams. The Most Successful Ones Shared These 5 Traits | Inc.com


Wrestling With the Text

I’ll be preaching on Genesis 32:22-31 (Jacob wrestles God / Angel / River Demon / Jungian Archetype … depending on your persuasion) at First Christian Church Columbia, SC on August 6. This is probably my favorite text in the entire Bible and I’m excited that it comes up in the lectionary next week.

I always wonder how others read this story. Leave me a comment here or on Facebook, Twitter, email etc and let me know.

I’ll post the sermon when I’m done, but maybe you can impact in how that turns out.

“The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’

So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then the man said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there he blessed him.

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.’ The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.”