Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year Devo

Here is one of my favorite devotionals for a new year, enjoy.

Isaiah 52:12 “You shall not go out with haste,… for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”

Security from Yesterday
God requires an account of what is past (Ecc 3:15)
At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future. Yet sometimes we are a little nervous when we remember our yesterdays. We ask “How will this year be different?”. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders, but God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present. Don’t you sometimes wish you could forget the past? If you are not careful you will fall into the same things God delivered you from

Security for Tomorrow “…the Lord will go before you…”
This is a gracious revelation – that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures. As would undoubtedly happen if He were not our “rear guard”. God’s hand reaches back to the past. Settling all the claims against our conscience. We no longer have to carry the guilt, heartache, bitterness… because He settles it

Security for Today You shall not go out with haste
As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. Let us go out with the patient power of knowing that God will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. Learn & grow from it

It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ

My point: Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands. Step out into the invincible future with Him

What are 3 things you will do different or change in '08?

Happy new year, MAKE it a good one.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

normal?

Someone once told me that "normal" is nothing but a setting on a washing machine.

We are in a season of our lives where we are adjusting to the "new normal". Raegan is now a couple weeks old and Hannah is still a red-head in her terrible (although hilarious) two's. Hannah is now adding jealousy to her personality & Raegan is sleeping great - DURING THE DAY!!!

Deni is getting an average of 8 hours of sleep -PER WEEK!!! I am doing what I can around the house and with Hannah but I just don't have the right equipment (breasts) to provide what Raegan needs (milk).

Adjusting to a newborn is amazing. I absolutely love it. It is just different than what we are used to - normal. Well, it is now the new "normal".

My point: you can keep a list of the negative or you can focus on the positive. So many people have bad relationships because they keep score. Unfortunately the bad is remembered or scored more often than the good. If you want great relationships, keep a running list of the positive things. Let the negatives go. That way - winners all around.

What are you still dreding or allowing yourself to have a bad attitude about that you just need to accept as the new "normal"?

If you want to see "normal", look on your washing machine.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Raegan Noelle

I apologize to my fan (notice that is not plural) for not blogging in a while. I have been out having a baby. Well, I didn't actually have the baby...

We went to the hospital last thurs night and had a beautiful little baby girl friday morning. Raegan was born at 10:45am on Dec 7th. She weighed 7lbs 9oz and was 19.5 inches long. Those stats really don't say much to me but they seem to be the ones people want to know.

She looks a lot like her sister Hannah did when she was born but I can only pray she doesn't act like her... She has traces of red hair on that bald head of hers - Lord help me!!!

What's in a name:
- We chose the name "Raegan" because we like it. Enough said!! Actually each letter in her name can be taken from our names and used to form "Raegan". "Raegan" means "royalty" and she is our little princess. My suggestion was "Dengar", which means "Deni got pregnant by Gary and they had a little girl", but Deni wasn't having any of that.
- Her middle name is "Noelle". We chose that simply because she is our holiday season baby. It is not a family name at all - we just thought it was a good December kind of name.
- Her last name is "Fowler", that name was chosen for her because it was my sperm that created her. Ok, enough about the name.

Raegan is a beautiful, healthy little girl. I pray she has a great life with a HUGE dream. It is so exciting to dream of all the possible things this little girl will do with this precious life.

My point: life is precious and is meant to be lived with purpose. If you don't have a dream, I am sorry. If you do, what are you doing to help that dream become a reality. With a new life comes new responsibility. It is cool knowing part of the reason I was put on this earth is to "train up these girls in the way they should go..." (it's in the Bible, it's not a gfowler original quote)

The fact that I am responsible for another human life (actually 3 of them) is utterly ridiculous!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

more cowbell

"Living the dream" is what I tell people when they ask how things are going @ C3.

Part of the dream is working with great people and great friends. As part of a team, I know my role. Part of my role is to speak Sunday's on occasion. Konan needs a break every now and then, so today was my turn (& maybe my last...ha)

I always thought it would be really cool to use the "cowbell" skit from SNL. I was never sure how to make it fit... until now.

I talked about 1 Cor 12 where Paul tells us that we are all a bunch of different parts but our faith in Jesus unites us into one body. One body with many parts. Those parts work together to create something that by themselves would never be able to become. Christians are to work together to form a healthy body. That healthy body is then able to "reach, tell, serve, bless, teach"... and everything else a healthy strong body is supposed to do.

Enter the cowbell:

I used the skit to illustrate how, just like a band, we all have different talents and if misused (like Gene does with the cowbell when he is mad), the body is not healthy. But if used to compliment and accent others, we can create gold records. Our body can even wear "gold diapers" (you gotta watch the clip to understand that one...).

My point: Are you playing well with others. If you are a Christian, you need to be part of a body. You have a gift that will strengthen the body. If you are not a Christian - email me, we can talk. If you are a Christian and not part of a body (local church), you are missing out - BIG TIME!!! You are like a hand in a jar - detached from the body. That is just gross!!!

We had fun today. Now you can tell everyone that "C3 church played the cowbell skit."

disclaimer: we edited the video to remove the cuss word. The one on here contains a word that rhymes with "bell"... view at your own discretion.
video

Friday, November 30, 2007

day 2?

I did not have to move my bracelet yesterday. I did great without complaining, criticizing or gossiping.

I actually got up this morning thinking "did I do it, or did I just forget to move my bracelet?". I am very aware of when I mess up and am usually changing hands before anyone even knows I messed up. So after replaying the day in my head, I just accepted that I made it a day!

I was feeling very good after my successful day - then it happened. Konan and I were talking and he said something and I shot back with a blazing comment that was without a doubt, HILARIOUS, but unfortunately it was critical. Before I knew it, it was just shooting out of my mouth. He didn't even have to say anything before I realized I blew it. I was bummed. It was 5pm and we were leaving for the day and I lost it...

Day 2 quickly became day 1 AGAIN!!! This is more difficult than I thought it would be. I thought I was a very positive person (I still think I am) but I didn't realize all the critical statements I make. Others don't hear my comments unless I want them to but once again it is stupid to attempt to deceive yourself.

My point: Even if you do good one day, that doesn't mean you have arrived. You still have to try. Don't get cocky. You are not "the man" just because you did good one day.

I am pretty excited about moving on to day 1 tomorrow... AGAIN!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

my bad

I screwed up again today.

There is a man we know who is a good ol' country boy. The funny thing is that he cannot say "Konan". He always says "Kowan" (ko-win). I think it is absolutely hysterical. He says it with a country twang and it is just down right funny.

Today, Konan was talking about him and I put on my best country twang and said "aw Kowan"... then I realized, I was trying to be funny at the expense of someone else. I moved my bracelet and was frustrated at myself. I was doing so good. Oh well, day one starts again tomorrow.

My point: be honest enough with yourself and hold yourself to a higher standard than others do. It may take you longer to finish the 21 day challenge but you will be a lot more positive in the long run. If you deceive yourself into not moving the bracelet, the change is not real change, it is a lie.

If it keeps going like this, I will be on day one forever. So what, I will still beat you!!! - yes I moved it again. The day starts over in about an hour...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

is it wrong if it's true?

Ok, so I moved my bracelet today. I was making a comment about how I wanted to do something so I wasn't like this other place and then it hit me - THAT WAS NEGATIVE!!!

I was tearing someone else down to build myself up. I could've easily justified it by saying "that wasn't wrong, it is true". Just because its true doesn't mean it is ok to say.

Let's face it, most negative comments or insults hurt because there may be some truth laced in it. The truth is that most "true" comments you make about others is probably "true" about you too. We tend to notice things in others that we also do - but we refuse to acknowledge it.

So now, I am not just dealing with the comment, but my heart and motive behind it. I am sure I can explain it in a way to make it appear that I was not criticizing, complaining or gossiping but what good would that do? I would just be lying to myself and then I wouldn't like myself. Self-deception is a slippery slope to nothing good.

My point: you know your heart. You can justify, make excuses or explain it any way you want to but the bottom line is that you know your heart behind the comment. If you are lying to yourself - you are worse off than those who are being honest and trying to change.

Don't add lying to the fact that you are a jerk. What?!!! Ok, I moved my bracelet again!

Tomorrow is day one... again

Monday, November 26, 2007

complaint free

Day one and counting...

I am taking the complaint free challenge. I am wearing a purple bracelet that reminds me to think before I speak. Every time I complain, gossip or criticize I have to move the bracelet to the other arm. The goal is to go 21 days without moving the bracelet. It takes the average person 4 - 8 months to accomplish this.

I am on day one. I actually made it today without having to move it. I just didn't speak...

This is amazing. I am blown away that just because I am wearing a bracelet and there is a challenge issued, I am less negative. WOW!!! What if everyone actually thought before they spoke. This world would be - well, "complaint free". Can you imagine a world where you didn't have to hear bickering, moaning and groaning.

I am finding that I am less tolerant of when others complain now but the kicker is that I can't say anything about it. If I point out that another person is complaining, I have to move my bracelet. The goal is to focus on what you can change - YOU!!!

My point: It isn't my job to get others not to complain. It is my responsibility to keep myself from being negative. It is my mouth that I am to control. If I could keep others from complaining and being negative - believe me, I would but that is YOUR job. For the love of all that is pure and good - Do your job!!!

I may slip up (I will tell you when I do) but the goal is to keep trying.

Get a bracelet and stop griping!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

the thinker

You can't think your way into a new way of behaving but you can behave your way into a new way of thinking.

Early on in my marathon training, it was "something I had to do". I like running but I didn't like having to run. I liked doing it for recreation and relieving stress and getting in better shape. When you want to do it - it is totally different than having to do it.

There were days I just wanted to sit in a bean bag, play video games and eat cheetos but if I wanted to run a marathon, I HAD to get my butt out of bed and go run. The Sunday naps became cross training day, until...
I remember one day that I actually looked forward to running or biking. I couldn't wait to get outside and run or allow the wind to flow through my thick silky smooth hair. What happened? Why the change?

I behaved my way into a new way of thinking. I loved the feeling of accomplishment and the feeling after I was finished training that day. I felt so stinkin' good and that feeling and the benefits of exercise became an addiction. I absolutely loved it. It was like I crossed the threshold of having to - to needing to.

I am sure there are things we have to do but don't necessarily enjoy. That doesn't mean we have to dread them or simply endure them. What if we had a different outlook or started trying to make it fun. Stop focusing on the negative and focusing on the positive. You may actually begin to enjoy it. You may behave your way into a new way of thinking.

My point: Trying to change your mind before changing your behavior is harder than changing your behavior first. When you do something and see the benefits, your mind will follow closely. You can't just "think" - you must do

You can't think your way into a new way of behaving but you can behave your way into a new way of thinking. Give it a try - you may just enjoy life more...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

there IS such a thing as a stupid question

I went to the gym with Konan this morning. Did you catch that part where I said I went to the gym? So anyway, Konan gave me a one day pass to check it out. Of course I had to fill out a card and I was pretty sure I was going to have to tell them I was considering joining the gym.

When I got there the person working the desk asked me if I wanted to workout before talking to her about possible membership options. I said "yes". She then told me that "we don't normally allow you to work out first"... wait a minute - THEN WHY DID YOU ASK?!!!

Whoever said there was no such thing as a dumb question was an idiot. They probably asked so many stupid questions that he/she just started saying that to make themselves feel better.

I remember going to a restaurant and the "server" (whatever, it is still a waitress) asked me if I wanted that with coleslaw (or some side dish, I don't even remember). I said "yes" only to hear her inform me that they don't have coleslaw... Then that was a stupid question.

While I am on a tangent, here is another doozy of a stupid question: "Pardon me, can I interrupt?" - I always want to say "YOU JUST DID!!!"

Another good one is after you ask someone something they say "you want me to be honest?". "No you goof, I want you to keep lying to me!!!"

But without a doubt here is my all time favorite... "can I ask you a question?" - do you see the humor in this question. I typically reply "you mean another one?". I usually get a confused look back from them and I then walk away. If you don't get my attempt at humor then I don't want to hear your question anyway.

My point: There is such a thing as a stupid question and stupid people. I know I have asked stupid questions before and I will again, sometimes I do it on purpose just to see the reaction I will get. When you ask a stupid question, don't get mad at the person if they give a stupid answer.

If there is only one acceptable answer, don't give me a choice.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I don't FEEL like it

Life is full of doing things we "don't feel like doing".

I will echo the wise words of my dad when I would say "I didn't feel like it" after I didn't do something I was told to do.

Actually I will give you the G-rated version. He used to say: "TOUGH @^%#, do you think I feel like having to tell you over and over, would you rather feel the belt across your @#$". My dad was an amazing motivator.

I can still hear those words laced in love. I truly believe my dad was teaching me this lesson because he knew that if we always did what we feel like doing, or never did what we didn't feel like doing, this life would be awful. People wouldn't show up for work, everyone would be obese, we would live in pig pens and everyone would stink. Let's be honest, the only reason boys start taking baths is so the girls will like them.

I didn't always feel like getting up early and training. I didn't always feel like eating the healthier stuff because my body needed fuel to burn. I never did feel like running when my feet were killing me. I didn't feel like sleeping in a brace that looked like a moon boot so I could put pressure on my foot in the morning... I think you get the picture.

I had to decide that even when I didn't feel like training, I would do it anyway. If I waited until I felt like it, I would be sitting here blogging about why I didn't finish the marathon.

My point: You need to do it even when you don't feel like it. You can't think your way to a new way of behaving but you can behave your way to a new way of thinking (that is a great statement, you need to write that one down). If you always wait until you feel like it, you are probably a great excuse maker and a miserable human.

Sometimes all we need is a little motivation. Let me know if you want me to give my dad your phone number. I am pretty sure he would be willing to call ya. If not, have fun making your lame excuses.

Thanks dad, without your guidance as a kid, I wouldn't have had the discipline to do a marathon.

I am not sure why I used the picture on this post, I guess I just felt like it. You gotta admit, it is a pretty good toe jump...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

have a plan

After you circle the date on the calendar, you need a plan. If you have no plan, chances are pretty good that you won't accomplish your goal.

You have to pick a plan that you trust. There were many marathon training programs out there but I picked one that would get me in shape to finish. I didn't set out with an aggressive time goal because I wasn't even sure I could finish it.

I got a "beginners" plan and decided to stick to it. I am glad I did this early in the training because when people find out you have a goal, they all have some advice on the best way to accomplish it. I am not saying that is bad, but if you listen to ALL of it, you will be so confused that it would not be beneficial at all.

I had people telling me to eat certain things and others telling me to stay away from them. I had people telling me I had to run a ton of miles right from the beginning while others said small incremental steps were the key.

I had to have a plan I trusted and I had to stick to it. I may have tried things that were advised but they served as modifications to the original plan. Many of the suggestions were great and I implemented many of them, but again, they were in addition to my base plan.

My point: you cannot have a "plan B" without a "plan A". There can be no modifications if there is nothing to modify. If you don't have a plan, others will give you one but you probably won't end up where you want to be. Plans are good. People who don't like to plan are normally unorganized, their life is typically chaotic and they probably don't accomplish much.

Did that hurt? Don't get mad at me if you are unorganized, you are the one that won't admit it.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Megan's window

I am going to pause from my marathon lessons to pay respect to my baby girl.

Megan Renae was born on Nov 8th 2004 and died Nov 12th 2004. Here is a picture of her in her favorite place, her mommy's arms.

Megan was a miracle. We were told that if she were born alive, she would not live longer than a couple hours. Along with other birth defects, she had a very serious heart defect. When Megan was born we found out that she had a lot more wrong than they originally even thought. She was a miracle because she ended up living 4 days.

The doctors told us that we needed to get our family members in and out - say hello and goodbye. I can't even begin to tell you how hard this was. I wish I could've taken all the pain instead of watching them in pain. After our families were gone, Deni and I locked ourselves in a room with Megan. Her heart nearly quit several but she just wasn't ready to go. I guess she wanted to stick around with mommy and daddy for a while longer.

I remember taking her over to the window everyday and telling her about what I see. I would tell her about all the things going on outside. It was our special trip from the bed all the way over to the window (about 6 ft.) We had big plans for the next day, we were going to take a walk down the hall and see the fish tank. Unfortunately we never made that trip.

We had all kinds of names picked out when we found out it was a baby girl. We decided on Megan because it meant "strong and able". Megan was definitely strong and able.

I remember holding my baby girl and telling her that "you are broke and daddy can't fix you". Talk about feeling helpless.

My point: sometimes life flat out stinks. I choose to celebrate my daughters life and allow it to make me a better person. I am a better human being because of Megan Renae.

"I love you little girl"

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

the power of a circle

It is just another day unless you circle it. There is something about putting a circle around a day that makes it special. When you put a circle around a day - it's now a goal.

If you say you are going to do something but you don't have a plan, chances are you won't accomplish it and you are just fooling yourself.

When people tell me they are going to lose weight, I ask them "what is your plan?". In other words, how do you plan on accomplishing what you say you are going to do. If they hem haw around or give a general vague answer, I know they are doomed. There is no way they will do it because there is no plan.

When I first said I was going to run a marathon, I didn't really know if I would really run it. It was just a day way off in the future, it made for good conversation but chances were pretty good that it may not happen. It was something that sounded good but I had no idea how I was going to run 26.2 miles. I needed a plan. I needed a deadline - a date circled.

When I decided that I was definitely going to do it, I circled the date on my calendar. Then it became a reality - a goal. Now I needed to make it happen. I got a training plan and put it on the refrigerator. I put it there so I would HAVE to see it everyday. It was a reminder of what I was working for. It was a way to keep the focus and to remind myself not to eat certain things.

My point: It's not a goal unless it's circled. If you don't circle it, you won't accomplish it. The reason you don't circle it is because you don't want to admit you failed when that day passes. Be bold enough to set a goal, circle it and accomplish it. Without a deadline, it won't happen

What is something you are working for. Circle a day you want to accomplish it by. Leave me a comment and I will ask you about it.

If you really want accountability - blog about it and have people ask you how you are doing.

Monday, November 5, 2007

lessons learned

I appreciate all the calls, emails and conversations about me running the Columbus marathon. Actually the only call I got was from my dad (he was returning my call), not sure I got any emails and the only actual conversation I had was with Tim Smelcer (thanks Tim)... I digress.

Even though there was limited (actually no) interest in the marathon, this is my blog and I am going to use this space to tell some of the lessons I learned while on this marathon journey.

The first lesson is that "there is a lesson in everything". Entering the blogosphere has caused me to look at life in a little different way. I now find myself saying "that's a blog" or "that would make a good blog". When people say they would blog but they don't know what they would blog about, I tell them to blog about their life and opinions. It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode (doesn't everything). The one where Jerry & George were pitching the idea to NBC for their TV show and they said it is about "nothing". For instance what did you do today... there is an episode or blog.

My point: Life is very interesting and full of lessons if you are looking through the lens of learning. Take time out of your day to ask "what lesson is there in this?", then pass it on. When you quit learning you stop growing.

Start your blog and let me know so I can read it. Don't think it has to be profound or something dynamic - it doesn't, I prove that with every post. Live, learn and post!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

anonymous

I have to admit I LOVE FEEDBACK on my blogs. Somehow it makes me feel good. I have a hard time believing people actually read this but for someone to leave feedback is an honor. Even if I don't agree with it, it is still feedback and I enjoy it.

Some people read a post then email me comments. I like that too. Some people read and then call or text me. All this is good and I encourage it (hint, hint).

Those who choose "anonymous" as they leave feedback is a little confusing. When this blog was set up, I chose to allow "anonymous" feedback. I didn't have to but I figure any feedback is better than none. I would hope that people wouldn't use it but that is their choice. But the question looms... Why?

Why do people choose anonymous. Are they not confident to tell who they really are. Do they fear they will be judged or laughed at. Are they not secure enough to allow their comments to be assigned to their name?

My point: I am a fan of "if you say it or do it - own it". I think that you should stand up and be proud of your thoughts and feelings we refer to as feedback. I would rather have "anonymous" feedback than no feedback but get some confidence. I won't judge you. I will still show love.

I think I know who you are anyway, you might as well step up and be proud of your thoughts.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

wrong again

The last poll I posted asked you what posed the greater fear. I have to say I am not surprised but I will say you are wrong again.

The real choice was between spiders and snakes. Let me comment on the 2 that were not even close. The person who said the greater fear is "needles" is just a big sissy. You will always have to get shots. You may not enjoy them and if you do, you are some sort of sicko, but to fear needles is silly. You fear the pain they bring you not the actual piece of metal.

The person who said the greater fear is "life without chocolate" is a female. That is all I have to say about that.

Now to clear up the real choice between spiders and snakes. As unpleasant as spiders are, you can squash even the biggest spider with the sole of a boot. Yes, I agree they are pretty freaky and can frighten the mess out of you but to say they scare you more than snakes, I challenge that. You can show me the most wicked spider and I feel pretty confident that I can either squash it or outrun it. The only reason you said "spiders" is because you see them more.

Now, on the other hand. Snakes... they freak you out no matter how big or small. You can see a small snake in the garden and it brings to mind some 4 letter words. The way they slither and glide across any surface is eerie. They are plain freaky. Even the ones that can't bite can squeeze you to death. Even the ones they say are safe... WHATEVER! Safe from what. People who have snakes as pets are, well, lets just say they are different. If you own a snake you probably have lots of tattoos, piercings, wear leather, have a spoon as a bracelet and have a nickname.

My point. If a spider and snake were coming toward you, a boot would take care of one but the other would be slithering up your leg. Spiders are scary but snakes are the greater fear. Congrats to those who got it right this week.

Thanks for participating. Don't get discouraged if you keep getting them wrong. Keep playing and you are bound to get it right sooner or later.

I'm back

I am sure all my regular readers (both of you) have been wondering "where the heck have you been?". I lost the ability to connect to the internet so I apologize for not blogging as frequently as you are used to.

I am sure you have missed all my witty humor and I pledge to make it up to you. I always try to blog at least 3 times a week, so since I missed 2 last week I will blog more to make it up to you. I have so much to blog about, you are in for some really good stuff...

My point: I made a commitment and I will make it right. Thanks for all your concern, cards, letters and cookies. Yeah right, no one even noticed.

Just so you know, this post counts toward my 3 for this week!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

who do you listen to?

Marathon time!!! It is finally here. I have done all the mental and physical training that I am gonna do and now it is time to go run this crazy thing. The funny thing is that I actually paid to get to torture myself. I got a shirt out of the deal, that is one expensive shirt.

I am pretty excited about this. It is definitely going to be a challenge but I have convinced myself that I will finish no matter what. Mentally is a pretty big challenge. What am I going to think about for close to 4 hours. I am sure I will pray so what will I do for the next 3 hours and 50 minutes. I will think about pencils, dolphins and chocolate pudding but then what? After I think about everything I can think of, I will be forced to listen.

I am told that my brain (hold the sarcasm) will be sending different messages. The left brain will be telling me to quit, you are too tired, you are hurting, this is crazy, what's the big deal... while my right brain will be singing "the eye of the tiger" over and over to combat the right brain. I have been reading about this battle that everyone has and I have some things rehearsed to say when the left brain starts to dish all the garbage. I said I wanted to do it and now it is time to shut up and do it. I am prepared for the physical battle and the mental battle.

My point: Like anything worth having, it is worth working for. Anything that you work for there is probably going to be someone telling you that it is not achievable. Don't let the one saying the negative things be yourself. You can do it if you want it bad enough.

I picture the devil and an angel on each shoulder. I have to decide who to listen to... So do you!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I gotchu

My 2 year old continues to teach me a lot. She loves climbing and playing on the playground and she seems fearless. She seems that way until she is confronted with uncertainty.

She will just run ahead of me and start climbing on something even if she doesn't know if she can navigate it. She gets as far as she can and then looks to me. She looks with a panic and then starts calling for me. When there is a possibility for injury, I am always close so she can usually reach me.

I began encouraging her to climb some things she shouldn't be able to climb. She would get into the climb and then start to panic a little. I would put my hand on her and calmly tell her "I got you". She would then refocus and finish the climb. From then on she would get to a point of fear and whisper to herself "I gotchu, I gotchu". She really didn't even need to see me or hear me, she would just say it to herself and keep going.

I thought this is how we adults are in our lives. We face uncertainty and get scared and want to stop so we don't experience the fear or pain. Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement from our Father. Simply knowing that He is there and sometimes reminding ourselves that He has a plan and purpose for our lives, or that He will never leave us, is enough to keep us moving forward. I have found myself on many occasions reminding myself of something that my Heavenly Father has spoken through His word. There are many we can choose to recall but the key is having heard them in order to remind ourselves of them.

My point: We have to know His words before we can recall them. We will all face uncertainty. What we do when that happens is up to us. We can choose to allow the fear to paralyze us and keep us from moving forward or we can remind ourselves that we are not alone and that our Heavenly Father has us. If we are not spending time listening to His promises then when we get in a place where we are confronted with fear, we will listen to the negative thoughts we are having. We will live in fear and never move forward.

Allow your Heavenly Father to whisper to you "I gotchu!!!"

Saturday, October 13, 2007

100%

The last poll asked if you are happy with your physical appearance. It was 100% "NO". That is the first poll that everyone agreed on. I am not sure what to think of this but that won't stop me from commenting...

I may have a very large audience. I don't mean a lot of people, I mean a group of people that are large. Since I know some of the people that read this blog, I am going to say that is not the case.

Maybe the people who read my blog misunderstood the question... not a chance.

It is quite possible that no matter how good we look, there is always something we wish could be different/better. I think that is it. Is that bad? I don't think so, as long as it is does not become an unhealthy obsession. If we are going to great, unhealthy, lengths to change our physical appearance, it is not good. Not eating thinking you will lose weight is dumb. Eating only to throw it up is equally dumb. Eating all junk and hoping to lose weight is really dumb.

The good thing is that we can change the way we look. We can do it in a healthy way. If we start eating some of the things in the picture we may be able to put on the smile and say we are happy with our physical appearance.

My point: If you don't like it, change it. Make a plan and stick to it. Find an accountability partner and let them help you. Your physical appearance is 100% your responsibility.

If you would like to talk about this further, we can go out for pizza and ice cream...

busted

Thursday night I got pulled over for speeding. I was driving to speak at a youth retreat and I had to pass through some towns that are not even on the map. Just because they are not on the map doesn't mean they don't have police.

I was cruising along listening to some good leadership stuff trying to follow the directions, eat and text all at the same time. With all I was doing, I guess I forgot to look at my speedometer. I guess to be honest, even if I would've looked at it, I wouldn't have slowed down. I was running late and needed to make up some time.

I saw a police officer coming at me so that is when I decided to look at my speed. I was going a little over 65. I had no idea what the speed limit was so I slammed on the brakes. It didn't work. The policeman pulled me over and informed me that the limit is 55. He asked me where I was going and I pulled the "I am a pastor going to speak at a youth retreat". He asked me if I was going to say nice things about him tonight. I said it depends on what happens in the next couple minutes... He wrote me a ticket.

I was TICKED!!! I don't have the money to pay a stupid speeding ticket. Then I realized that it was 100% MY FAULT. I was in total control of my speed. I guess in reality I knew I was breaking the law but I thought I could get away with it. I was wrong. The officer was only doing his job. I couldn't be mad at him. I could only be mad at myself.

My Point: We need to do what is right even when we don't think anyone is looking. I think this is called "integrity". We are still breaking the law or sinning when we don't get caught by someone. I always tell my daughter to "do what is right because it is right". I guess I should take my own advice.

If it were a female cop, I would've totally got out of it, I was looking good that night...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

baptized

Today was a great day. Not only because it is Sunday and I absolutely love being at C3 church, but because we had 3 people baptized in water.

I am always honored to be part of that very significant event in any persons life but today I got the honor of baptizing my 11 year old daughter Shayna. It was amazing being part of that. This is something she will always remember as part of her Christian journey. I think it made it more special having her daddy do it but I want her to remember it for the right reasons.

I explained to her that baptism is an outward expression of an inward decision. Shayna wanted to be baptized in water out of obedience. I am very proud of her.

I love being part of my children's lives. It always blows my mind to see parents who have nothing to do with their kids. Any significant event that happens in my kids lives, I want them to remember that I was there. She might not realize this now, but when she is older I want her to be able to look back and say "wow, daddy was ALWAYS there".

My point: enjoy the journey. If you have children - make sure you are actively involved in their lives or you will regret it when they are grown. Shayna is 11 and I can't believe how fast those years have gone. Your children may not fully understand or appreciate you being there now but I honestly believe they will cherish those memories when they are grown.

I can't wait to be part of my other daughters' first day of school, water baptisms and weddings... ok, now I am crying!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

WRONG!!!

When someone does something unexpected a lot of times I may say "I don't even know who you are!"

Well, to those of you who read this blog (all 3 of you), I guess "I don't even know who you are!"

I thought the poll question about the best sitcom was a gimme, a no brainer, a stone cold lead pipe lock, a slam dunk (you get the picture). I guess it wasn't. I have to say I am very surprised and shocked. This one was supposed to be unanimous. It wasn't even supposed to be close.

I was blown away. I guess I just have to say: If you voted for anything other than Seinfeld, YOU ARE WRONG!!! I may be able to hear somewhat of an intelligent argument for Friends but Everybody loves Raymond.? C'MON - not even close. Not even in the same ballpark.

Friends was funny at times but it got old quick. Raymond was a joke, I just needed to have a multiple choice so I added one that would be ridiculously lame.

My point: Seinfeld is without question the funniest sitcom EVER, period!!! Friends may be funny but there is not a situation in life that Seinfeld didn't cover. It influenced culture like no other. To everyone who voted, thank you. To everyone who voted for anything other than Seinfeld - YOU ARE WRONG - I don't even know who you are.

People that didn't even watch Seinfeld knows lines from the show. Everything from "no soup for you", "not that there is anything wrong with that", "master of my domain", even the way Jerry greeted Newman ( you know you just said it in your head)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

reach it

Hannah recently turned 2. As a little red head, I am not sure that I notice a difference now that she should be at the "terrible 2" stage.

Her new thing is to see an airplane and say "airplane" followed by "reach it". When we are out at night, she will see the moon and say "reach it". I have no idea where she picked this up but she really gets upset when you don't just reach up thousands of miles and grab the aircraft and moon out of the sky. I do everything I can to divert her attention but she is adamant about wanting to "reach it".

I LOVE that this child is already reaching for things way beyond her. She doesn't know that it is impossible. No one can tell her that she can't do it. She says it every time she sees a plane or the moon. Eventually she may stop trying to "reach it" and that will be a sad day.

That got me thinking about my life. Am I reaching for something that others say can't be reached? If not, why?

We had an advisory board meeting and discussed C3 ten years from now. It seems like we are reaching for the moon but that is a great thing. We realize that if we can reach it on our own, it is not big enough. We need to continue to have a "God sized" vision for His church. We may be trying things that others perceive as out of our reach but we believe it is within God's reach. We will not stop reaching for the things that are out of our grasp. If we can accomplish our dreams on our own, they are not big enough.

My point: Dream. Reach for things that may seem impossible. Never stop trying to "reach it" when you know it is what God wants for you. Don't allow others to tell you that it is out of reach and definitely don't tell others they can't "reach it". Help them, don't hinder them.

What are you trying to reach? If you can reach it on your own, it isn't big enough. DREAM BIG!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

apple or donut

This morning at church our cafe area had some snacks. You could choose from apple slices or donuts. This was a great setting for some humor and of course, a life lesson.

I saw a lot of people walk up to the donuts, then see the apple slices and then eat a donut anyway. I also saw some walk up with the intent to get an apple slice and grab a donut instead. Then there was the ones who ate an apple slice followed by a donut.

People really struggled with this choice. I thought this was so funny for some reason. There was such a battle going on in a lot of people. I think the only ones who were not battling with what to choose were the people who had no intention of eating an apple slice. They went for a donut and did not waiver on their decision.

I also found it humorous to see the parents go to the table and attempt to give the child a healthy snack only to be followed by the look of "are you out of your stinkin' mind" and if that didn't work, the tantrum was on standby. I saw a parent eating an apple slice and handing their child a donut. I thought to myself - If that were me, I would've... Well, to be honest, I did the same thing.

The choice of apple or donut is one we make everyday. We choose health or junk. When we watch TV all day and spend no time with God we chose donut. When we allow our children to play video games or be on the computer all day, we fed them donuts. When we do nothing productive we did nothing healthy. Its days full of donuts and then we wonder why we are so incredibly unhealthy.

My point: Our kids and families follow our eating patterns. They eat what we feed them. We need to be feeding them healthy while we can and make sure we teach them how to eat healthy on their own. If you eat only donuts you will feel like junk.

We become what we feed ourselves. We begin to crave what we feed on.

what will they say?

This weekend was a mix of feelings. I attended a funeral of a very great man. He was a loving father, husband and friend. Most importantly he was a Christian. A child of God. There is no doubt where this man is now. He is in Heaven. Whether or not you believe in Heaven and hell, they still exist.

I heard all the wonderful things people were saying about him and I started thinking, what will people say about me when I am gone. Out of respect I am sure only nice things will be said at the funeral but what about afterwards. What will people say when my loved ones are not around. What will those who only knew me socially say. What will the people that I didn't always see eye to eye with say?

It challenged me to ask myself "what do I want people to say when I am gone?" "What values and beliefs to I want to make sure my girls continue to live out?"

Here is what I came up with. Whatever I want people to say - go be that person. Go live those qualities that I want people to use to describe me. If I want people to say I was a total jerk, go be a total jerk. If I want people to say I was an amazing person, go be an amazing person.

I need to be intentional about letting my girls know that I am not always going to be around. It is my job to equip them now for when I am gone. This may sound morbid but it is also reality.

My point: we will all be gone someday. Live the life that you want people to remember. People will remember you one way or the other, you might as well make it pleasant for them. Be intentional about sewing the qualities into your loved ones that will be beneficial to them when you are gone.

Be the friend a friend would want to have.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

RIP/Happily ever after

Life is weird. How are you supposed to feel when there is something joyous going on and something tragic happens.

This weekend I am going to a funeral of a great man and a wedding of a friend. I am so incredibly sad for the family of Daniel Plants. This is a great man, father, husband and friend. No matter what was going on in his life, no matter how hopeless things looked, he ALWAYS had a smile on his face. He was one of the most generous giving men I have ever known. He will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Then there is the joy that is accompanied by the newness of feelings of love and hope. A friend and previous youth is getting married this weekend. I am incredibly excited for the new season of life Nikki and Dustin are entering into.

Happy / sad... how to feel. Life truly is a roller coaster of emotions. How do you handle the trials and blessings of life? How do you handle it when they are at the same time?

My point: Life is extremely difficult at times and without faith in God, what or who do you turn to? It is ok to feel however you feel just don't get content there. Life will be forever different. It is your choice to make the most of it.

Please keep the family of Daniel Plants in your prayers.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

don't quit

Today, Konan spoke a great message today about "endure" and tied in his training and what went through his mind when he didn't think he could go any further.

I think we all experience times in our lives when we want to just throw in the towel and quit. What do you do when things get tough. Do you focus on why you started in the first place or do you just listen to yourself in the moment and quit.

One of the qualities I have always instilled in my daughter Shayna (and will in Hannah & Raegan) is not to quit. If you start it, finish it. I remember one specific time when Shayna was about 4yrs old, she and I were doing something we weren't supposed to be doing - but we were bored. We were walking up the down escalator (don't even act like you never did this) We got about 2/3 of the way up and Shayna got nailed in the shin by one of the steps and it began bleeding.

I wasn't even thinking about teaching her a lesson about quitting, I was worried that I was going to get in trouble for injuring my child. I said "Shayna, just sit down and we can go to the bottom." She said "no daddy, I want to finish, I can do it". I said ok, then let's get moving. She pushed through the pain and the trickle of blood and hit her destination, the top!!!

We got to the top and I found a napkin and began wiping her shin. She was so excited, and said "Daddy, I didn't quit", I was so proud of her. I made such a big deal about that and I still to this day remind her of that experience.

My point: If you start something, finish it. Don't quit just because it gets a little hard. Don't lose sight of the goal. Don't talk yourself into thinking it is no big deal. Quitting is a big deal. It says A LOT about you. What does it say? Well, I will let you figure that out...

It is easy to justify or talk yourself into thinking it doesn't matter or no one is going to be affected but someone is ALWAYS affected... YOU!!!

Last week I told you about Konan. He completed an IronMan triathlon. He really inspired me and many others.

Here is a video about his experience.

like me?

Last week I asked if you would want your children, if you have any, to grow up to be like you. I can only imagine most of your first responses. At first you probably thought "of course I want them to be like me" but then you probably started of all the bad habits and not so good things you do (of course I am speaking from experience).

I think most of the "yes" answers were "mostly yes". They probably began with "yes I want them to be like me except for ___________ (fill in the blank) "

Then there were those of you who are not very happy about how you are living your life. I can only speculate on why there were 3 people who would not like their kids to grow to be like them. It actually made me very sad to see that.

As I believe some of the "yes" answers are only because you would feel bad about yourself if you put "no", I also believe that the people who put "no" are probably only a few decisions from changing their lives for the good.

I know there is good in all of us and I believe those who put "no" can make some changes and let their children see those positive changes. Think about the message that would send to your kids. I wasn't living my life right but I made significant changes. That would be a HUGE statement.

My point: some of the people who answered "yes" are loopy liars, some are living in a dream world, some are absolutely genuine. The "no" answers are honest but maybe a little too hard on themselves. You can change. When you answered "no" what qualities do you not want them to have - change them. If they are not good for your kids, they are not good for you.

I have 2 beautiful daughters who are looking to me for guidance (that still blows my mind). Of course I mess up, but they see me make good too.

Do what's right because it's right

Thursday, September 20, 2007

4 years

Here is a picture of me and Deni on our wedding day. I still have a hard time believing I got someone that hot.
4 years ago I married an amazing woman. It is hard to believe that it has been that long and yet it seems longer too... go figure. There are times that it seems like the days FLY by but then there are the stressful times that seem to drag and drag. We have been through a lot in our 4 years and I can honestly say it has been worth it.

My point: Time goes by so fast. Enjoy it. Life is too short to gripe and moan over every little petty thing. Embrace the good times and face the hard ones head on - TOGETHER. Either way, the day will pass and tomorrow will be better. If you say that everyday, you will eventually be right.

I am writing this around 8:00pm. So as I reflect back on our wedding day I am now remembering what we were doing right about now... Good guess (wink, wink)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

worst way to die

Last week the poll question was "the worst way to die". Burn to death and drown were neck and neck. Burning ended up getting one more vote than drowning.

My thoughts: once you are on fire you would lose feeling after it burnt through the first 3 layers of skin. Your thoughts when burning would be along the lines of "holy &*%$, I am on fire". I agree that this would be an awful way to die but I am not convinced it would be the worst way to die.

Although I am not speaking from experience because I have never drowned but I think if you were drowning you would still be able to think and you would still have feeling in your body. I am sure you would be panicking and thinking something along the lines of "holy &*%$, I can't breath" but you wouldn't be in pain. You may actually have time to have your family and friends come to mind and of course that would make you sad. I agree that this would be an awful way to die but I am not convinced that it would be the worst way to die.

Can you even imagine being beaten with a sock full of nickels? What goes through your head when you are being beaten with underwear and money? I can't even begin to comprehend the thoughts that would go through my mind. I am sure it would be "holy something" but I can't even put words to what that would be like. The pain would be so spread out all over your body you wouldn't know what part to hold and nurse. That would be awful.

Not only would this be a brutal awful way to die but it would also be humiliating. On your headstone it would read "here lies the only person in history that died by being beaten with a sock full of nickels". Can you imagine the humiliation of your family and friends. Think of your poor kids when they go to school and tell about their parents. "My mom works for the bank and my dad was beat to death with a sock full of nickels." The teacher would send your kid to the principal's office for being a sarcastic jerk. But they would be telling the truth. Your spouse would be known as "there she is"... I think you get the picture.

My point: none of these options would be pleasant but hands down being beaten with a sock full of nickels would be the absolute worst way to die. Kudos to those of you who voted the right way.

Thank you to those of you who participated in my stupid poll...

inspired

I love watching movies and videos that are really inspiring. They just seem to tug at your heart and make you laugh or cry but they end up making you feel really inspired to do something good or try something really hard. They make you look at yourself and see that even though there may not be anything that stands out as out of the ordinary or amazing about yourself, somehow there is something in you that can be.

There are some great videos on youtube about a kid named Patrick Henry. He was born blind and not able to walk but is able to be in the marching band because of the sacrifice of his dad. Then there is "team Hoyt". Father and son team that does triathlons. The amazing part of that story is that the son is paralyzed and the father pulls him along the entire way. Watch either one of these stories and see if you are inspired.

One story that you won't find on youtube is one that is a little closer to home. It is my friend Konan. He has been training for the IronMan triathlon for about 8 months. The race was yesterday and he finished it. The inspiring part is that he wanted it so bad that nothing was going to get in his way. He would wake up at 4am and get his training in before work. His dedication was amazing. He wanted it so bad and he sacrificed a great deal to accomplish his life long goal. He sacrificed a lot but he did not sacrifice family, friends and his call to be a Pastor.

Other than his dedication, the part that truly inspired me is how he refused to take away from his family to accomplish his dream. He still had quality time with his wife and kids. He still worked his full time job and was as dedicated to his friends as always. When I would hear people talk about how tired they are or how busy they were, I would think of Konan and how he was able to "make" time for what was important to him.

We all "make" time for what is important to us. His accomplishment of IronMan makes my marathon training look like little league but nonetheless, I find myself getting out of bed earlier because I know even when I get up at 6, he has 2 hours of cardio in by then. When I feel like I can't run any more, I think of him swimming 2 miles and biking 112 miles then running. He truly inspired me and I am proud to call him my friend.

My point: allow yourself to be inspired. Look at what you want to accomplish before you leave this earth and set your mind to accomplishing your dreams and goals. Fill your minds and heart with stories and people that inspire you to push beyond yourself.

It is easy to get in the mode of doing nothing but if you will allow yourself to be inspired, you may just inspire someone else. Be an inspiration.

Konan, thanks for the inspiration and thanks for being my iron friend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

look at me

We had an opportunity to golf yesterday. It was a scramble format which means we play the best hit ball. 4 people hit and wherever the best ball lands, everyone hits from there. Even if I hit mine into the water (which I did about 4 times that day), I get to hit from the middle of the fairway, because someone on my team hit it there.

Even though I never really expect to play my ball, it sure does feel good when we do. For that brief moment in time it is like screaming "LOOK AT ME!!!" (of course I did this too...). Our team wasn't that good, we all had at least a couple shots that we actually yelled "LOOK AT ME!!!". It was all in fun and we knew it was all good hearted.

That got me thinking about those people who are always struggling with stuff. There would be a problem if they didn't have a problem. You know the type. The people who you know if you mess up and ask the "how ya doing?" question, you are gonna get everything from "no one likes me", "my corns hurt", "my dog's anal sacks are full"... there is going to be a totally negative answer. You actually want to rip your own arm off and beat yourself with it while you bleed to death.

I think this is a very obvious cry to "look at me". They are not getting attention and are to insecure to let people see who they really are. They are miserable people and they make others miserable too. Then they wonder why they don't have any real friends.

Me and a friend of mine saw this guy just blatantly interrupting every conversation and turned it to himself. It was frustrating and obvious so we made a game of it. We started counting every time he did it. We would just say a number out loud and the whole group heard us but had no idea what we were doing. Someone would say I had pizza for dinner and this guy would break in and tell how he knows the best place to get pizza. Or another guy had a bad knee and this guy knew a guy who had two bad knees. This guy was just screaming "look at me" but everyone else was just SCREAMING!!!

My point: take some time to listen and genuinely be interested in someone other than yourself. Quite honestly, no one thinks you are all that interesting anyway. People are not laughing with you, they are laughing AT you. Keep quiet long enough and allow the focus to be on someone else for once. Stop looking at yourself and look at others.

You may think you want others to look at you but you really need to look at your self. Be honest enough to deal with your insecurities.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

blog nazi

I am known to a few people as the "blog nazi". I have an deal/wager/agreement with a couple people. We have to blog a certain amount of times a week or we have to buy the other lunch. Let's just say "I have some lunches coming my way!". Believe me, I will collect and I will eat very well, not just soup either.

I appreciate the accountability in my life. I knew there would be times when I wouldn't feel like blogging but I wanted to be sure I kept in the habit of it. I think it is important to line up accountability when you want something. Things get done when you know someone is going to ask about it. It is a lot more motivating than if no one cares/notices.

I have some friends who have tried all the diets but when they actually started going to the weight watchers meetings the weight started coming off. Look at all the "groups" there are for addicts or support. We need people to help us through this life.

Big problems come when you start isolating yourself. You get in a mood and then little by little you start withdrawing then before you know it, you feel like no one cares or notices. You have convinced yourself that you don't matter or are unimportant. Isolation is used for punishment in prisons but some people choose to do it to themselves. WHY?

Maybe they don't want the accountability. Maybe they are to insecure to take constructive criticism or feedback. They don't want to hear what they could do better or different so they just don't ask and avoid people who will tell them.

My point: without accountability it is easy to slip into bad habits and isolation. When you are alone your mind can go into areas it shouldn't go. You begin to focus on thoughts you shouldn't have. You need someone who loves you enough to tell you the truth and hold you accountable.

I would like to thank those of you who help me stay accountable. I would also like to thank those who are not blogging and have to buy me lunch...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

wise or wuss?

I am going to run a marathon in October. If I keep telling myself and others enough, I may just believe it...

I began running when I was in the military. I remember I got dumped by my girlfriend back home and I didn't know how to handle it, so I put on my basketball shoes (they were the only tennis shoes I had) and just went running. I eventually got some running shoes and would run the races on base.

Recently I guess I was looking for a challenge and someone suggested a marathon. I said "yes" before I realized what went into the training and how far 26.2 miles really is. Oh well, I said I was going to do it so I better start training. I started off slowly and built my miles up in increments. Last week I ran 20 miles and felt really good about it. I thought "I could run this marathon today". What a difference a week makes...

I was scheduled to run 12 miles but my friend Andy was going to run 18 so I said I would run with him. We got about 9 miles into the run and I felt like total garbage. I was having to work way to hard to maintain a slow pace. My breathing was totally out of whack. I was a mess. After 12 miles, I had to stop. I was dizzy, had stomach cramps and cold sweats. I felt like a total wuss!!!

I was only supposed to run 12 miles so I was able to feel good about doing at least that but I didn't do what I set out to do. I had to listen to my body. It was screaming "something is wrong!" I wanted to press through and keep going but I knew that would do more harm than good. Mentally I was beating myself up but even as I sit here and write this (9:30pm), I still feel like crud. I may be catching something, I hope not but who knows.

My point: you have to know your limitations. I felt like a complete wuss but I would have felt worse if I would've kept going and hurt myself and then not have been able to compete later. I had a goal and it killed me to not reach it but I had to look at the bigger picture. Did I want to finish today or in October? Use wisdom even when it feels like you may be using "wuss-dom".

I needed to listen to my body and rest so I can run another day...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

healthy or unhealthy

I think it is only natural to have good days and some not so good days (and some absolutely horrible ones). When we are having a not so good day or a flat out rotten day we are less tolerant of others. I think it is natural but that doesn't make it right.

There are times when someone can cut me off and it is no big deal. Then there are other times when I may be having some personal struggles and being cut off only fans the flame. Or when the line is moving slow it is easy to think that the person in front of you is an idiot. But when you are having a good day it is easier to think the person in front must need special assistance and it doesn't bother you.

I try to guard myself when I am not in a great mood. I actually try harder to make sure I don't affect or infect others with my mood. I may be screaming at you in my head but I purposely don't say anything that would make you feel attacked for no reason.

My point: it isn't other people's problems that you are having a tough day. It is inconsiderate and selfish to always ask them to always understand that you are just having a bad day. Look at yourself and see if you are having more bad days than good days. If you are bold enough, ask other people how they view you... be careful and don't attack them for their honesty.

I heard a great quote that I may talk about at a later time. It says "healthy people will tell you when they are upset, unhealthy people will show you."

Are you healthy?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

day off

I always love a good day off. The extended weekends are great. As I think about what I am going to do on my day off, I can't help but to start thinking about what I am going to have to do when I go back to work. Work will be piled up even higher and my day off may actually turn into the calm before the storm.

I could easily take my day off and think about everything I have to do later but I need to just take the day and be off. I will have to keep myself from thinking about work and what I will be doing and who I have to meet with and all the details that have to be worked out.

My point: when you are off, be off. Don't rob the people you love the time that is supposed to be for them. Don't rob yourself from the rest that you probably need. It is not good to work all the time.

What did you do on your day off...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

go team

I had an epiphany today. I also had gas but that doesn't have anything to do with this blog. C3 is in the process of developing a "simple" discipleship process and an organizational chart (org chart) that works. It sometimes gets confusing when people don't know who to go to for certain things, or when it changes from week to week. We have to just call things what they are and treat them like that too.

Since I am sketching out the org chart I decided to plug certain people in where I wouldn't have to deal with them. I thought that would be the best thing, but NO!!! I had to go and pray about it and let God deal with my selfishness and pettiness. I realized that it is not about me. It is about what is best for C3 church and ultimately what is going to help us accomplish the most for the great God we serve. That was my epiphany moment. "It's not all about me!!!"

I only admit this because I wonder how many times we go through life thinking "what can I get from this" or "how can this benefit me". Those selfish attitudes are usually the result of not caring about others. You only care about yourself when you always try to manipulate things for your own good.

I had to decide to suck it up and learn from this situation instead of avoiding it. The better we can handle ALL personalities, the better off we will be. We will always have difficult people in our lives but we don't always have to be one of them. Learning to deal with them makes you a better communicator.

My point: Get over yourself and start looking at the big picture. Force yourself to look for what is best for everyone involved, even when you don't want to. What can you learn from the lousy circumstances you find yourself in. Learn to be a great communicator and stop being a selfish idiot full of gas.

You don't have to be their best friend just not an enemy. Go Team!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

butt whistling

I am sure you have all seen Miss South Carolina (Teen USA pageant) make a total idiot of herself on national TV and now it's all over youtube. What a meltdown. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out. It is pretty funny. She would've been better off just bending over and mooning the crowd...

After watching it I really felt bad for her. I heard a follow up interview where she said she was very nervous and totally lost her train of thought and couldn't get back on track - Duh!!!

I can't even imagine how nervous she had to have been. I am sure she wanted it so bad and now the opportunity is within reach. Her dream, right there, now she just needs to answer a simple question and she is that much closer - Denied!!!

Have you ever wanted something so bad then totally messed it up. Have you ever said something then thought, wow, that sounded better in my head. Have you rehearsed something over and over to only have it come out sounding like your butt was whistling.

Sometimes when people are talking to me and I am totally lost and have no idea what they are saying or trying to explain, I picture weird things. Things like a tractor running over them or that really big safe from the cartoons falling on their head. I actually think I would rather hear their butt whistling.

My point: Think before you speak. Don't waste people's time with a bunch of gibberish that makes no sense to anyone listening. Heck, it doesn't even make sense to you.

I wonder if people ever do to me what I do to them. That would mean I am boring and they are equally as sick...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

23 seconds

When I was a kid I was really really busy. I was too busy to do some of the chores I was supposed to do and there was no way I could do anything that would take a couple extra seconds from my crazy kid schedule. Or so I thought, until one day...

Can you believe I had to grow up in a house without an ice-maker. I know, it was brutal. One day I took all the ice from two ice trays and didn't refill the them. Actually I did this quite often but this day I got caught. My dad walked in behind me and asked me why I didn't refill the trays that I had emptied. My response was well thought out and said with the right tone and the perfect facial expression, "I don't have time". I was so proud of my selection of words and I was definately off the hook. Or so I thought.

My dad picked up the ice trays and began counting loud enough for me to hear. My curiousity won out over my desire to run out of the room. I stood there and watched my dad fill the ice trays. He proceeded to open the freezer door while on number "16", placed them safely into the freezer and closed the door while ending on "23".

He looked at me and said, "you mean to tell me that you didn't have 23 seconds to refill something you emptied?!". I was no genius but I knew that "yes" was the wrong answer. I tried the diversion tactic, I tried the roll of the eyes, I even tried the make a joke tactic but to my dismay, the question still loomed. He then threw on more ammunition by saying "it took you that long to stand here and watch me do it". I knew I was done. The only thing I could muster up was a sincere and regretful "sorry dad, I won't do it again". Message sent loud and clear. I wasn't really as busy as I thought I was, I was just lazy.

My point: Stop being lazy and pull your own weight. Don't make others do what you know you should be doing. You are not as busy as you think you are, maybe you are just a poor time manager. It may take you longer than 23 seconds but you get the point. You really aren't too busy.

Instead of wasting time, do something productive. You mean to tell me you are THAT busy? Don't make me start counting. "1,2,3,4,...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

you call that a problem

One of C3's core values is being "outwardly focused". That means that we are not going to get so caught up being busy just to be busy. We always want to make sure we are serving the needs of others and the community. If our focus stays outward, it is hard to become caught up in a lot of petty stuff that takes the focus off of God.

As a church, I think we do pretty good. We have a very positive reputation within the community. But what about as individuals? Do we take time to focus on others and be "outwardly focused" or do we get caught up being focused on me-me-me all the time.

In the ministry we hear a lot of people share their problems. I have to be honest, sometimes I walk away thinking "are you kidding me?". You think THAT is a problem, I got that beat, or you should hear about the person who has it much worse than you. We always think we have it so much worse than everyone else and we want others to be "outwardly focused" on us while we are "inwardly focused" on self. It is all about me...

I don't want to minimize people's problems but on the scale of life, a lot of them seem so tiny. Like the person who is complaining that their kid has a hangnail like it is the end of the world. This person obviously hasn't heard of the couple that lost their child. Or the person complaining about their aching toe. They need to meet the person who doesn't have a leg. The person whining about not having enough storage for all their junk should have lunch with the homeless person.

My point: Think about it before you complain to others. First of all you may be complaining to someone who really doesn't care. Also, they may have it A LOT worse than you do and you won't get sympathy from them anyway. It may only make them mad and make you look like an idiot.

Complaining to someone who has it worse than you do is like complaining about how old you are to someone older than you. Or telling someone how fat you are to someone twice your size. It is stupid. So before you complain maybe try thinking about some good things in your life. Try thinking about someone other than yourself. Be outwardly focused.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

he said "yes" (or did he?)

The art of answering questions. Learn it and life will be a lot easier not to mention more fun. I love listening to people communicate. It tells me a lot about them. Can that person get you to stop something without using force, can they get you to see things their way or can they tell you "no" and make you feel good about it? Those are communication skills. You are giving them something instead of taking something.

I learned not to take something from my 2 year old without giving her something to replace it. In other words when she is playing with steak knives, I give her butter knives or forks because the steak knives are too sharp. Get it?

When you need to tell someone "no", it is an art to get the other person to think you are doing them a favor by telling them "no". Or better yet, you word it in a way to make them feel like they got exactly what they were asking for. How do you do this... by saying "yes if" or "yes but".

So let's try it. Question: "Hey dad, can I borrow the car tonight?" response: "you sure can son, if I die in my sleep!" See how that works. Question: "hey Mom, can I borrow $50?" response: "yes if you milk the monkeys first". You are giving a "conditional yes". Fun huh...

My point: communication is our best friend. Learn to communicate effectively and you can have a lot of fun in life. Find some great communicators and learn from them.

Isn't a "conditional yes" the same thing as a "no"? Well, yes if you want to look at it that way.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

and the winner is...

Today was a great day. C3 had a record setting attendance day and it was our first church picnic. We had some great food, some karaoke (yes we had karaoke at a church picnic...) and of course we can't rule out the ol' cornhole tournament. What would a church picnic be without some good old fashioned competition.

When it came time to sign up for the tourney, my wife told me to find a different partner because she didn't want to be the reason I didn't win. I thought that was very noble but I wanted her to be my partner. She can be my life partner but not my cornhole partner...hmmm what is wrong with that picture?

I am very competitive. I have always played to win. When others say "I just play to have fun" I respond with "winning IS fun". I felt really bad because I was keeping my wife from having fun because she thought winning was more important to me than just having fun with her. I convinced her to be my partner anyway and assured her that I really was only going to play to "have fun". I promised I would not put any pressure on her or be upset if we didn't win the whole thing.

Guess what [long dramatic pause] WE WON!!! Guess what else... IT WAS FUN!!!! Out of 22 teams we marched through and won the whole bloomin' thing. She kept us in it more than once. She was amazing. I didn't put any pressure on her and she came up gold.

My point: as fun as winning is, relationships are more important. My relationship with my wife got even stronger today because we believed in each other. She had to trust me to hold up my end of the bargain (not to pressure or be mad if we lost) and I had to trust her to play the best she could.

I am so proud of her. I guess the "win" is if you play your best. If you are gonna play, play your best, otherwise shut up and sit down.

I think it is ironic that when my focus went from winning to fun, I did both... man that feels good to share with the one you love.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

stick it in your ear

The other day we were grocery shopping and Hannah (almost 2 years old) got hungry. So I did what any responsible parent would do, I opened a box of cereal bars and gave her one. Yes before we paid for it - don't act like you haven't done it.

Hannah was eating it and then shoved it in my face saying "daddy bite" so of course I took a bite. Then she held it out to mommy and said "mommy bite" and mommy politely declined saying "no thank you". I jokingly said "Hannah, mommy said no way, she said stick it in your ear". Before I even finished my comment Hannah jams her apple cinnamon cereal bar into her ear. I began laughing and mommy turned around seeing Hannah picking goop out of her ear. I was then informed that Hannah takes things very literal... Lesson learned.

This got me thinking of some of the things we say. What if everyone took the things we say literally. I can't even begin to count how many bridges I would have jumped off or how many times I would have been "lost" (get lost). I am not sure I would ever talk again after all the "shut ups" I have been the recipient of. All the "get outta here" comments I heard, I wouldn't be sure if I was coming or going. I am sure glad we don't take everything literal.

What if we did take God's words literal. Wouldn't that be nice. We would be all be saying encouraging things to each other. Acts of kindness would not be so random. People would have a very clear picture of who Jesus is and what He has done for us... What a world we would live in.

My point: our words are powerful and you never know how someone is going to take them. Think before you speak. Chances are if it can be taken out of context, it will be. Sometimes it is not intentional but sometimes it is.

The English language is funny. Remember when we would say "bad" and it meant "good". Or say you are "hot" or "cool" and you liked hearing that. Then we moved to "phat" and that was a compliment... Whatever - you can take the human language and stick it in your ear!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

upon further review, YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!

In the NFL they have a replay rule. If there is a close call on the field the other team can ask for it to be reviewed. The ref comes back and starts the verdict with "upon further review..." then he goes on to rule the play stands as called or it has been overturned. Now that you have a boring explanation of the NFL, let's get on with it.

Have you ever made a call about someone only to realize you were wrong. Maybe you thought the "hottie" you have been staring at all night was "The one" for you, then after further review, they opened up their mouth and you realized you were dead wrong. Maybe you saw the person you thought was gorgeous, light up a cigarette or begin to use words that would embarrass a trucker. You get the picture, upon further review, you had to reverse the initial call.

I used to love interviewing for jobs. I mean I really loved going into a compay and sitting through the questions, the mental game of saying all the right things and doing everything I could just to get the job offer. I often knew going in that I really didn't want the job, I just loved seeing if I could get them to offer it to me. It was like a game (I know, I am nuts). After I would get offered some of them, I would either turn them down or take the job only to keep on looking for another one. I guess it was the thrill of the interview. I can only imagine that some of those interviewers were thinking how bad they missed the mark. They hired someone they thought was the right one but turns out that I was not. Upon further review, it just wasn't the right fit. (Of course I now know it was because I was called to the ministry...)

What about when you are building a team or have to make a decision to fill some positions. You hear people talk a good game then realize they are full of it.

Sometimes when we think we have the right person in the right position then upon further review, we are wrong. I have seen people take positions that they THINK they are qualified for and they desperately WANT to have that position but they are in no way even a close fit.

I have seen way to many people claim to be something or try really hard to make it fit but upon further review they were idiots...

My point: If you can't do something, DON'T SAY YOU CAN! If you won't do what something, DON'T SAY YOU WILL!!! You just make yourself look like an idiot and make the other person skeptical about trusting again.

Are you clearly representing who you are or do you make people challenge the ruling on the field. After further review does the play stand as called or are you an idiot?