6 people who taught me how to be happy

I had a friend recently com­ment that I seem sat­is­fied and happy with every­thing in my life. I responded by say­ing it wasn’t always that way, but through life expe­ri­ences I came to a place a cou­ple years ago where I am truly happy. It made me start reflect­ing on some of the most influ­en­tial peo­ple that have brought me to that point. Here’s my list.

Ricky Hill — “Don’t worry”

This was my col­lege room­mate who hailed from St. Vin­cent. He embod­ies the laid back cul­ture of the Caribbean. We’d have long dis­cus­sions in our room about life and per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity. He walked around cam­pus seem­ingly with­out a care in the world. I use to despise that atti­tude until one day it hit me that life is what it is and there’s lit­tle you can do about it, so don’t worry.

Jacques Paganel — “Enjoy it!”

Jacques Paganel is a char­ac­ter in the old Dis­ney film “In Search of the Cast­aways.” Don’t know why but there’s a scene that’s stuck in my mind. They were in this huge tree and trapped by flood waters. Jacques begins singing a song enti­tled “Enjoy It” which talks about see­ing the sil­ver lin­ing. Here’s a few of the lines, “A hur­ri­cane comes your way, enjoy the breeze. You’re stranded in the jun­gle, enjoy the trees. Voila, that’s life, enjoy it!”.

William Bor­den — “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets”

I read this guy’s biog­ra­phy in mid­dle school. It has had a pro­found affect on my life as I learned about a man who had incred­i­ble ambi­tions in life and died at the age of 29 before accom­plish­ing what he set out to do. In his Bible he penned, “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” Was he per­fect? No. I resolved a long time ago never to have regrets but to real­ize that expe­ri­ences, good or bad, are all good ulti­mately, depend­ing on what you do with them. I have no regrets. To me, what doesn’t kill me, only makes me stronger. One of my tag lines is, “Life is what you make it to be, and I choose to live extraordinarily.”

Mary Pop­pins — “Make life a game”

Another Dis­ney char­ac­ter we all know well. If you know me per­son­ally, you might have heard me say that life is a game or one big joke. It’s not to say I don’t take life seri­ously but I try to be light hearted as I make my way through life. Mary Pop­pins taught the chil­dren a les­son one day while they were clean­ing their rooms how to make it a game. I’ve tried to employ that prin­ci­ple by mak­ing the most out of what I do and make it fun.

Reepicheep — “This is an adventure!”

Another char­ac­ter who’s atti­tude has affected me is Reepicheep from the Nar­nia movies. His high spir­its and knack for adven­ture have become some­thing I try imper­son­ate. I try to look at life as one big adven­ture, never know­ing what the next turn will bring. I’ve come to appre­ci­ate the lit­tle things and get excited about them whether it be meet­ing a new friend or hav­ing a new expe­ri­ence. Every­day is an adven­ture because every­day is a blank canvas.

Paul (the apos­tle) – “I have learned in what­ever sit­u­a­tion I am to be content.”

Paul is an awe­some exam­ple to me. My favorite book in the Bible is Phillip­i­ans and it’s writ­ten by Paul who is in jail. He says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every cir­cum­stance, I have learned the secret of fac­ing plenty and hunger, abun­dance and need. I can do all things through him [Christ] who strength­ens me.” That’s ulti­mately the “secret” to my hap­pi­ness. I have Christ and he is all I need.

how to change the world using social networking

YES WE CAN”…an inspi­ra­tional slo­gan from the 2008 Obama cam­paign that inspired mil­lions and put Obama into the pres­i­den­tial office. The Mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion (those born 1980–2000) is defined by a few key ele­ments, one of which is the indi­vid­ual drive to make a dif­fer­ence in this world. The Mil­len­ni­als don’t care about being pres­i­dent or becom­ing a mil­lion­aire and single-​​handedly chang­ing the world, they just want to do some­thing that makes a dif­fer­ence in this world (and it’s happening). So, this is my appeal to the Mil­len­ni­als and any­one else out there who wants to make a difference.

The rise of the inter­net in our gen­er­a­tion has become one of the most pow­er­ful influ­enc­ing tools in his­tory. There are so many exam­ples of peo­ple who have unin­ten­tion­ally impacted the world through things they’ve put up on web­sites, blogs and videos. Just think what we can do if we inten­tion­ally use the free media out­let at our fin­ger­tips. There’s so many ways to make your voice heard, but I want to focus on social networking.

Face­book is some­what restric­tive as far as how many peo­ple are exposed to what you post. How­ever, Twit­ter and Google+ are, by default, view­able by the entire world. We hear about those who post their every move from when they’re tak­ing a shower to what condi­ment they decided to use on their sand­wich for lunch. I think that kind of use of social net­work­ing is friv­o­lous and a poor use of one’s time. Most of us aren’t that bad, but I think it’s fair to say that we can all admit to some extent of friv­o­lous posting.

This is a call to become more inten­tional with the way we use social net­work­ing. More inten­tional to make a dif­fer­ence in this world. Here’s the stan­dards I’ve set for myself and some ideas that you can implement.

  1. Make peo­ple pause. I want to post things that will cause peo­ple to stop, ques­tion, reeval­u­ate, reflect, learn, etc. Chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo and, if relevent, try­ing to inspire action. This includes quotes, videos and links to arti­cles and organizations.
  2. Shar­ing your life. One of the great­est things about social net­work­ing is that it has added an ele­ment to rela­tion­ships that no other gen­er­a­tion has had. There’s a bal­ance between post­ing about tak­ing a shower and let­ting peo­ple know I got the job I’ve wanted. I try to post things about myself that define my life story. A good indi­ca­tor is ask­ing your­self what your mom would want to hear about your week if you called her?
  3. Inten­tional inter­ac­tion. Social net­work­ing is an aspect of mod­ern rela­tion­ships and like any rela­tion­ship it requires inter­ac­tions on both sides. I want to inter­act, though, in an inten­tional way that encour­ages, chal­lenges and sup­ports. The ideal inten­tional rela­tion­ship doesn’t just stop online, it should be fol­lowed up with a phone call or get­ting together.
If you want more thoughts on inten­tional social net­work­ing and how to make a dif­fer­ence, read “why you’re not my ‘friend’ on face­book any­more”.

Do Right

There’s a song I grew up lis­ten­ing to as a kid. It’s stuck with me and now more than ever I love the sim­plic­ity of the message.

Here’s some prin­ci­pals I want to point out from these lyrics. First of all, doing right starts with a deep pur­pose and con­vic­tion about what you believe. Sec­ond, don’t con­tem­plate or jus­tify, go head strong and do what you believe. Third, real­ize there’s often a price for doing right. Make sure you count the cost so you’re not taken off guard. Fourth, per­se­vere to the end. One right deci­sion doesn’t jus­tify your bad decisions.

And now, the lyrics to “Do Right” by Ron Hamil­ton (from Patch the Pirate).

Verse 1:
From the very start, have pur­pose in your heart
To do what’s right and never ques­tion why.
Never count the cost, though every­thing seems lost;
The price for doing right is some­times high.

Verse 2:
Right is always right, and wrong is always wrong,
And we must learn to sep­a­rate the two!
If you love the right, the Lord will give you light;
So seek the right in every­thing you do!

Do right till the stars fall, do right till the last call
Do right when there’s no one else to stand by you!
Do right when you’re all alone, do right though it’s never known.
Do right since you love the Lord — do right, do right!

why you’re not my “friend” on facebook anymore

Face­book has been in my life for a long time. I was one of the few who had an account when it was only open to those with school email addresses. I watched as it went pub­lic and the social net­work­ing world boomed. Regard­less of the social realm, I was a born net­worker and thrived on con­nect­ing with as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. By 2011 I had nearly 1300 friends which isn’t as many as some have but dou­ble of the aver­age user.

As I’m get­ting older, the value of friend­ships is being impressed heav­ily on me. I rec­og­nize the need for solid friends that encour­age and sup­port each other. I’ve been seek­ing out ways to become more inten­tional in my rela­tion­ships. When it came to social net­work­ing, a prob­lem pre­sented itself because it was impos­si­ble to be inten­tional with 1300 friends. Many of those so called friends I hadn’t talked to in years, and all they did was clut­ter my news feed with info that hid those I truly cared about.

If I was truly going to be inten­tional with my true friends, I needed to be able to con­sis­tently fol­low what was going on in their lives. Beyond that, I needed to take my inten­tion­al­ity a step fur­ther and only use Face­book as a cat­a­lyst to reach deeper into the lives of my friends by fol­low­ing through with phone calls, emails, and meet­ing in per­son. If I have no inten­tion of doing one of those 3 things, then they’re truly not “friends”, they fall more under the cat­e­gory of “acquain­tance” (though at one time they may have been more of a friend).

How do I net­work with those who don’t fall under “friend” but I want some vir­tual con­nec­tion? I use other social net­work avenues such as LinkedIn (for busi­ness) and Twit­ter (though I can’t define how I use it dif­fer­ently than fb, but I do).

Let me empha­size, though, that even if you elim­i­nate peo­ple on your social net­works, that doesn’t auto­mat­i­cally mean you get more qual­ity out of your rela­tion­ships. It takes dili­gence to go beyond press­ing the “Like” but­ton and using what peo­ple post on Face­book to spur con­ver­sa­tion on a deeper level. The most impor­tant of all is to “con­sider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:24).

To date, I’ve gone from 1300 friends to 134. My name is Andrew Ran­dazzo and I’m more than just an avatar online, and I choose to be intentional.

Simple Desktop Wallpapers

Full of His Glory

Cre­ated by Jes­sica Hard­esty from Morgantown, WV.



New Every Morn­ing

Cre­ated by Zack Kirby, Raleigh, NC.



He First Loved

Cre­ated by Aaron Wil­son.


The Sim­ple Story of the Cross

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HTTim Chal­lies

I might be on to something.

An old college buddy of mine just wrote on my Facebook wall last night. He said, “So, while packing, the thought occurred to me, “stuff is bondage.” And then I thought, “Maybe Dazz [one of my nicknames] is on to something…”.

I’ve gotten a fair share of comments like that from friends over the past year and a half. When I first declared myself as a minimalist or one who chooses to live by simple means, I got a lot questions. It seemed radical to others, and in a sense it was in certain areas of my life. However, I had the opportunity to explain and live out my ideals to those watching, and what I stressed was that simplicity looks different for each individual. I think that message is finally starting to sink in with most people.

Joshua Becker is true when he says, “Surprisingly, I have found that the principles of minimalism resonate with most people…I always enter with the mindset that I am on stage to simply remind the audience of what they already know to be true”.

Simplicity is great, and I believe the more so, the better. If you can be as radical as those who complete the 100 Thing Challenge, then you’re experiencing a freedom I have yet to taste, but then again not everyone is in a position to do that (i.e. families). However, every person should strive for simplicity in one degree or another. Constantly reevaluating their lives to see how they can improve to make living a more enjoyable experience. And for those of you who still haven’t caught on, money is not the enabler.

Simple Shopping for Singles

Singleness offers offers a lot of freedom and flexibility. That includes when and how you eat. Instead of meal plans like most diets, try portion plans. Assuming you’re wanting to eat healthy, here’s a few tips to help along the way.

  • Calculate you caloric intake
  • Determine your daily food intake
  • Once you know your daily food intake, multiply that by 1-2wk (depending how often you go shopping)
  • Now go out and do your shopping
  • Assuming you’ve cleared out all the junk food out of your house, you can eat anything in your cabinets as much or little as you want within those 1-2wk.

We all are hungrier on some days than others, so why bother sticking to specific meals that are allotted per day.As long as your calorie intake is less or equal (depending on your goals) than your calorie expenditure, then you’ll be ok.

Friends, Travel, Retail, and Hexes

Random title? I know, but I promise it all ties in.

I was hanging out with my brother and some friends and someone commented on how I’m always meeting new people. It’s true, I meet and hang out with someone new every week. I’m just really friendly and put myself out there a lot. It’s such an awesome life because I meet some really cool people. True, some turn out to be duds but you’ll never know unless you try.

My over zealous friend making skills come from my reckless abandonment that I’ve cultivated over the years. I’ve traveled internationally and grown up in a multi-ethnic home. Implications and benefits of travel include:

  • Seeing what you take for granted and appreciating more what you have
  • Breaking down your box and stepping into another breaks down pride and in turn cultivates humility
  • It broadens your perceptive and approach on all aspects of life
  • A greater understanding, appreciation, and general kindness towards people
  • A breakdown of inhibitions

On that note, that breakdown of inhibitions is what leads to discovering and creating some amazing relationships. When you fly to a foreign land with all your possessions on your back, it creates a whole new sense of confidence. So, introducing yourself to random new people is nothing in comparison.

Seeing things outside your box gives you a whole new perspective and priority on life. I was in a store the other day buying a last minute gift. They weren’t that busy but there were a few people in line at customer service and the 2 girls working that area were becoming frantic. Something about retail creates a sense of urgency in employees (I know because I was there at one point). I was apologized to on multiple occassions and I kept reassuring them that waiting a few minutes is no big deal and anybody that can’t spare a few minutes needs a reality check because they’ve gotten too comfortable and thereby a snob.

What can I say? I have a funky view of life. My parents put it in this light. There’s squares and circles, and then a few people who’ve seen the bigger picture and are hex shaped. They really don’t fit in any spot. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s like the Matrix, I’ve been woken up from a fake alternate reality and I see things for how they really are, but on the down side there aren’t many who see through the same lenses.

When I find those kind of people, it’s so refreshing. One such person I hung out with last week. We had a blast just sitting on the front porch having conversations on life and the philosophy thereof. We totally understood each other and levitated to this conversational euphoria.

To all you hexes out there, you know what I’m talking about. I’d love to hear from you, I’m always looking to meet others who are on the same wave length. Leave a comment below, us hexes need to stick together.

For those of you circles and squares, you have the choice of the red or blue pill. If you take the red, and choose to pursue the life of the hex, there’s no going back. Take the plunge, though, it’s totally worth it. Your life will go from ordinary to extraordinary.

Stop Calling Me a Minimalist

I just finished reading Everett’s latest blog post “F*** Minimalism“. He’s come to some realizations that minimalism isn’t the end all. It’s a good reminder to those of us who’ve claimed the hip tag of “minimalist”. I specifically chose Live [Simply] Free because my life isn’t just about minimalism. That was just one part of living free through simplistic means.

Unfortunately, something about the reckless abandonment of minimalism attracts the most attention. Well, minimalism is part of who I am, but I’m done minimizing. I can’t go any further. I’d like to think there’s a lot more to my life than just getting rid of stuff. That reputation needs to change.

My blog’s name is Live [Simply] Free. If we’re to be known as anything, let it be this.

Live. I’m a Christian and therefore am compelled to live by a different set of standards found in the Bible.

Simply. To keep my eyes on the cross, it takes getting rid of distractions (material and mental)

Free. True freedom is found in Christ. And freedom equals happiness. And when living for Christ, life’s adventures are limitless, and the mundane becomes extraordinary.