Saturday, June 30, 2007

what the...?!!

Well, it never fails. You learn something and then you are immediately tested on how well you can apply it. Honestly right now, I stinkin’ hate having to apply this…

Deni and I just attended a great marriage retreat to focus on communication tools to help us have better relationships with each other and everyone around us. It made us focus on what we have control over… OURSELVES!!!

We are only responsible for our feelings and what we choose to do with them. When we get frustrated, mad, sad or whatever, we have the choice what to do with those feelings. We can choose to react and direct those feelings toward someone else in an unhealthy way or we can choose to own them and “respond with integrity”. That means respond in a way you would be proud to tell others. A lot of times we react without thinking and mow down people closest to us. When we respond with integrity we don’t have to say things like “I wish I wouldn’t have said that” or “I regret doing that to you”.

I am typing this from the airport after missing a flight by 6 minutes. There was no good reason to have missed the flight. It was a total mistake and we really can't assign fault or blame to anyone. I guess that would be pointless anyway. When we get caught up with debating or arguing whose fault it is or making sure the other person knows it was their stupidity that caused our current circumstances, that is pretty much a flight plan with a destination of “nowhere good”.

The test came when I went to the airport kiosk to check in for our flight and it said I did not have a reservation. I went to the man behind the counter and he informed me that we missed our deadline to check in by 6 minutes. I felt like hitting him with a sock full of nickels! I felt angry that we cut it so close, frustrated that we were stuck in an airport for longer than expected and sad that we weren’t going to be home tonight as planned.

Now I had to choose what to do with those feelings… I calmly asked the gentleman to do whatever he could to make sure we got home tonight. He said most people that are trying to get to Columbus are stuck here until Monday. MONDAY!!! Now, I climbed the counter… just kidding. I said, “well, do what you can, and thank you for your help”. He proceeded to get us on standby for a later flight and called customer service to get our penalty fees waived. We had a good conversation and he even pointed out our great attitudes. “Most people would be climbing the counter trying to get to me…” (I didn’t tell him it did cross my mind)

I was reminded of the verse 1 Corinthians 11:1 “follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”

My point: If people followed your example, what kind of world would we live in? Don’t make someone else’s life tough because you are not adult enough to control your feelings. Be an example even when you are ticked!!!

It isn’t always easy but it is always a choice.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

teeth kicked in

"Grow daily or die gradually". That is a quote that I have tried to live by since I read it. It isn't always easy or fun but I always try to grow. I totally believe in the statement and I believe that standing still is not making progress toward anything. Being goal oriented and driven isn't always easy for people around you either.

I can't make anyone WANT to grow. I can just encourage, hope and pray but it is not my responsibility to MAKE anyone grow. Growth is a natural thing in a lot of areas. Unfortunately the older you get, growth around the mid-section is natural... anyway, you can't force people to grow anymore than you can force or make a plant grow. Let that sink in a minute... fine then, don't.

What good would it do to scream at a plant to make it grow. What good would it do to yell at your child trying to force them to grow taller. Both sound pretty stupid, yet I think we do that with people sometimes.

What about mental or spiritual growth. First of all who determines what growth is? If you try to force someone to grow according to your definition they may resent you or resist. They may misinterpret it as trying to change them because they don't meet your standards - "who the heck do you think you are?!" Where do we get off trying to make someone meet your expectations. Who says our expectations/standards are right anyway.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.

I read this verse and got a good swift kick to the teeth. I can plant seeds of encouragement by words or actions. I can add water by providing, nourishment, care and a safe healthy environment, but God makes it grow. It is not my job to make it grow.

My point: Do things with integrity. Don't try to manipulate or control growth in someone else. Focus on you! Don't try to force or make anyone grow. Provide the atmosphere, love and care then just watch what God will do.

Feel free to contribute to my dental bill

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

U fling poo

I just learned that monkeys are born without a defense mechanism. Therefore they must resort to flinging poo to defend themselves against predators and other cannibalistic monkeys. A recent study on monkey poo flinging shows that 95% of all monkeys fling their own poo, while only 5% fling other monkeys poo.

In other news, a monkey located at the Tucson Zoo was clocked throwing poo at 90 miles per hour. The Arizona DiamondBacks have now enlisted the poo flinging monkey for 20 million bananas. This discovery marks the second new species found within the past month. This specific monkey is known as primatus fecalus flingus, loosely translated as the turd throwing demon.

Insulting someone or passing along gossip is like "flinging poo". I think we are more like the 5% of monkeys because we typically fling other peoples poo. We always insult or pass gossip about other people but be sure to tell how great we are.

I used to get so mad when people would say things about me that weren't true. I remember how much time I would spend trying to shoot down rumors or deny gossip. It was very tiring. I am sure we have all had things said about us that felt like we got hit smack dab in the kisser with a big ol' turd.

Then one day I was talking to a friend and he explained that if I answer any gossip or insults, I will never be finished. People are going to say what they want and they will also believe what they want. He told me to "take the high road" and let my life speak for itself. We will be known by our fruit. I actually had people apologize after they realized there was no truth to the poo being flung.

1 Peter 2:23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.

My point: Our natural reaction is to retaliate when we are insulted, but if there is no truth to the poo being flung - who cares! Don't waste your time playing in poo. Your true friends and family will know the truth but more importantly God knows the truth. Your life is the greatest poo repellent we have.

What about you, do you fling poo?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

if it makes you happy

"If it makes you happy it can't be that bad..." now there is a statement that is laced with the sweet smell of manure. Cheryl Crow sang that song and it was a hit for her. The trouble with that statement is that what makes us happy changes more than most people change their underwear. Today, I am happy with my job, finances, spouse, life, car, dinner, color of my hair or whatever. Tomorrow I am frustrated because it is the same old thing. It doesn't make me happy anymore. So if it doesn't make me happy, it is that bad, right?

We all try to do things that bring us happiness but what if those things are really bad for us? What if I am happy eating chocolate cake for every meal. According to Sister Crow, it can't be that bad. What if I am happy taking little kittens and burning their whiskers off with a lighter, well, I guess it can't be that bad. What if what makes me happy is downright evil. What if I feel no remorse whatsoever - then it's not that bad. This is such a load of crap.

1 Corinthians 4:4
even though my conscience is clear, that doesn't mean I am innocent.

Take that Cheryl!! The word of God says that just because it doesn't "feel" wrong or because your warped mind can somehow justify your twisted actions, that doesn't mean it is ok. I can't help but feel sorry for people who are clearly doing wrong and convincing themselves - it's ok, it feels good and it makes me happy.

My point: just because it makes you happy, it can be that bad. If something is wrong and somehow it still makes you happy, you need help.

What are some things you are doing that God thinks is wrong but you still do because you think it makes you happy?

I wonder if that is Cheryl's cat...

Friday, June 15, 2007

get real

When I was a youth pastor our leadership team would ask each other if we were being "real". We had an acronym for the word. It served as a reminder for what we were being asked to do as leaders and Christians.

R - relationships.
It was important for us to focus on our relationship with God and others. We were supposed to begin a new relationship and deepen a current one.

E - encourage.
People hear enough negatives from people at school, work and sadly enough from home. We decided our students wouldn't hear negatives from us even if it was supposed to be a joke. We wanted them to know they were important and valuable.

A - attitude.
Whatever happened before you arrived got checked at the door. Everything we did, we needed to model a good attitude. Everything was done with energy and the right heart. I love the quote: "fun is not an activity, it is an attitude".

L - love.
This one was a little tough at times. Tolerating some people is hard enough sometimes but to show them love was quite a challenge. It was important for every person to feel loved by us. That made it easier for them to hear and believe that Jesus could love them. We always said that we needed to "love the unlovable..."

My point: Get real. Look at your relationships. Are your words uplifting and encouraging or negative and hurtful? Is your attitude Christ-like? Are you showing the love of Christ to everyone - even the unlovable? God loves them just as much as He loves you.

So what about you? Are you being "real?"

Thursday, June 14, 2007


"Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten."

That was a quote from the movie Lilo and Stitch. Even if you didn't see the movie you can appreciate that quote. "Ohana" is a Hawaiian word that means "family" and of course they say the word family means no one gets left behind or forgotten. It has been years since I have seen this animated movie but I still love that quote.

I am blessed to have an awesome family. I have a great relationship with my parents and two sisters. I even have great in-laws. I really do get along with them and enjoy them being around. This life is too short to not make the best of having our family around.

A few years ago I lost my daughter Megan. She was born with many problems and lived only 4 days. The so-called experts said she wouldn't even live that long. Six months after that I lost my grandmother (Granny) who was one of the most influential women in my life. When we lose someone close to us, they may have "left us behind" but they will never be "forgotten".

To this day there are songs that I cannot hear without uncontrollably sobbing. There are things almost daily that remind me of them. The reminders are brought on by some of the strangest things. It could have nothing to do with either of them but somehow the situation traces back to a memory of a loved one. To me that is not a bad thing. I love having the memories but I just can't stay there too long because I will be a total mess. I just choose to allow myself to have the memory, thank God that I had the time I had with them and smile because I am a better person as a result of having known them. Whether it was 4 days or 86 years, the memories are so deep and real.

I think it is amazing how deep love runs. Love really is an awesome thing. I can say I will NEVER forget them because I love them so much. Love is so strong that even if we wanted to forget we couldn't. We can try to deny but totally forgetting is not an option.

My point: Enjoy your family. Make some great memories because unfortunately this life will end for all of us at some point. When it does you can still have some amazing times with those loved ones in your memory.

Thessalonians 5:11 (message version)
So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

Can you say "ohana"...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Here is a picture of Hannah and her best friend forever (bff) Kali. They are sitting on a bench looking out the window discussing important stuff. You know, brands of diaper creme, the alphabet, Elmo and I am sure knowing them, cookies was a huge part of that conversation. I love that these precious little girls will grow up together. They will probably not always agree or see things the same way but I believe they will always be true friends.

True friends are a great gift. True friends are the ones you can call at any time, day or night and you always know they will be there for you. True friends are the ones you can just drop in on without notice. When true friends are coming over, you don't even need to clean up because they have seen you at your best and worst. You don't have to put on an act around them because they would see right through it and probably call you out on it. True friends are able to tell you things that others would not dare say. You can take it from a true friend because you know they have only your best interest at heart. A true friend may drive several hours just to give you a hug when you need it.

A true friend is happy for you when you are happy and sad when you are sad(Romans 12:15). So called friends only want to be around when times are good. As soon as there is some sign of trouble, they are gone. Some "friends" only want you to be there for them and they are not there for you. They allow you to be their friend but will turn on you as soon as you disagree with them or don't go along with everything they want. That is not friendship- that is crap.

Proverbs 17:17 says "a friend is always loyal". Proverbs 18:24 tells us that there are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. I am so amazed at the people that I can call "True friends". I am blessed to have friends who I can call any time for any reason and I know without a doubt they will be there for me. These people will also hit me right between the eyes with truth no matter how bad it might hurt because they know I need to hear it.

My point: Having true friends is crazy important. They will hold you accountable even when you may not want them to. They will say what needs to be said whether you want to hear it or not. They will be happy with you when you are happy, they will be sad with you when you are sad, but most importantly, they will stick closer than a brother. I thank God that I have "true friends."

The real question is "does anyone call YOU a true friend"... careful, the answer could hurt.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I remember when I was having some aches and pains so I went to the chiropractor. He took some x-rays and told me I have 4 choices. I like having choices. Here are the choices I had:

1. I could do nothing- just keep going along with the pain.
2. I could mask it- with medicine or just deny it existed
3. I could fix it temporarily- by doing enough to get rid of the pain short term
4. I could fix it long term- by staying on a maintenance plan for ongoing care

I started thinking about those options and how they apply to more than just chiropractic. Aren't those the same options we have when we have an alignment problem in our personal lives or when we are facing a tough situation?

We can do nothing- just hope somehow it will get better even though we are doing nothing to help it get better. We can mask it-refusing to see it is a problem or glossing it over as "not that bad". We can just flat out deny it is a problem. We rationalize that by denying it- it will have to go away. Or we can choose to fix it.

Fixing it is not always easy. There may have to be some difficult conversations, there may be some changes that have to be made by people unwilling to change. There may be some people that totally resist and deny there is an alignment problem. Some may see the misalignment and just not care. Others may see the same thing you do but have a different solution to getting it back into alignment.

This is where you have to be willing to stand up for what you believe and do what is right because it is right. There may be short term pain involved but you need to count the cost. Is it worth it? That is for you to decide.

Wisdom tells us to seek council from others. Ask some people who love you enough to disagree. Ask people who have been in similar situations and most importantly- ask God. We can never underestimate the power of prayer and reading God's word.

My point: You have a choice when faced with something that is out of alignment. When we do nothing- we are clueless or afraid. When we mask it- we are naive or stupid. When we temporarily fix it- we are trying, but when we choose to fix it long term- we are wise.

Is there something out of alignment in your life that needs an adjustment?

Monday, June 11, 2007


When your head hits the pillow at the end of the day, how do you know if it was a success?

Today I started out with a list of projects I wanted to complete. I managed to get them all finished. Is that success? Then I played a game of softball, I played pretty good but our team lost. I got to meet some new people and visit with some people I haven't seen in awhile. Is that success?

I remember trying to determine if there is a way to gauge a successful day. I asked many people and got a wide variety of answers. Some people say if they "made money", others said if they "didn't lose money", while some said if they "just make it through the day" it was successful. A "clean house", "getting in a good workout", "not falling off the wagon" or "not looking at things I shouldn't look at" were all answers I heard.

Then I remember reading Proverbs 16:3 "commit your plans to the Lord, and He will make them successful." There it is... right from the Word of God. If I wake up in the morning and commit the day and everything that happens in it to the Lord, then when my head hits the pillow, it was successful. I loved that verse so much I made it part of my email address.

I still start out the day with a plan, but I pray about that plan and I try to follow through with it the best I can. I have to understand that IF I truly commit this day to the Lord, He has permission to change it and that has to be ok with me.

My point: Start out the day with a plan, one that has been committed to the Lord and my guess is that He will make it a successful day. When your head hits the pillow at the end of the day, you can look back and smile because you know it was the day God had planned for you and you were faithful to His plan.

I bet you will sleep much better knowing that you had a successful day and you are going to have another one tomorrow.

Hannah ate a lot of cookies, got to play outside, had someone cater to her every whim and beat the mess out of the dog, to her that was a successful day. Look how good she is sleeping.

How do you determine if you had a successful day?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

11 years

It is so hard to believe that 11 years ago this day, Shayna Kathleen was born into this world. She was a pretty big newborn. She weighed 9+ lbs. I look at her and of course I can't help to try to recall what happened to the past 11 years. That is more than a decade (I thought I would show off my smarts a little with that statement). I can't wait to see what dreams she reaches for and what lives she impacts.

I am always telling her: "life is about relationships and relationships are about communication" (feel free to write that down, its a good one). I believe if she can learn to deal with people issues in the early years of school then she will be better equipped to deal with them later in life. I tell her to learn how to communicate with the difficult people because life is full of them. Invest into relationships by becoming a good communicator.

I remember when she was too little to even talk. She would cry (communicate) and I would tell her "Shayna, calm down and talk to daddy." Believe it or not, she would normally comply. My mom saw Shayna in a bit of a frustrated tantrum and was trying to calm her down when I walked over and said "Calm down and talk to daddy." My mom said "yeah right, like that is going to work." No sooner did those words exit my moms mouth - Shayna sucked the tears back into her eyes and pointed and cooed calmly. All my mom could say was "wow, who would've thought." Of course I was flaunting a little...

Since the early stages of life, I taught Shayna to communicate her feelings with words. I believe that is why we still to this day have a great relationship with words. I love when she comes to me and shares how she feels. Of course it's not all positive. Sometimes she says things like "I don't even know how I feel. I just feel blah", or "I feel like I want to run" or "scream into my pillow"... I love that she can communicate these things instead of moping around and making me guess what is wrong.

My point. As a father I love when my children communicate with me. As a christian, I know our Heavenly Father loves when we communicate with Him. Next time you are feeling blah or like you want to run or like scream into your pillow, pause and tell your Father. He cares and wants to hear it. He tells us to come to Him when we are tired or carrying burdens and He will give us comfort and rest. (Matthew 11:28)

As I look at how fast the last 11 years have passed, I can't help be sad and excited. Sad because I am older and now have visible gray hair but excited to see what is on the horizon for this life.

We don't know how much time we have left and before we know it another decade will have come and gone. Make good decisions today so you don't have to look back and wish you would have done things different.

Happy birthday Shayna. I love you little girl.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


encore: again; once more.

That is the picture you are looking at, our "encore". We have decided to get pregnant "again; once more."

I am amazed at the birth process. Everytime I look at my kids, I think "it is hard to believe I had anything to do with creating them." I am a blessed man. I can't wait to meet this baby. A new unique personality with likes, dislikes, personality traits and features from each of us.

We are due in mid December. When we found out we were pregnant we needed to come up with a nickname to call the baby until we find out if it is a boy or girl. The nickname was up to me. I came up with a few really good ones.

Here are the ones we rejected:
"T.W.O." which would stand for Tax Write Off. That one was shot down quick.
"T-LO" which would stand for The Last One. Whether it is a boy or girl, we are done. It may be easier now to see why we finally decided on "Encore".

I love how it is so obvious the role God plays in this thing called life. He says that He knew us before we were born. How cool is that? He already knows this little baby. He knows what dreams will be reached for, what goals will be accomplished, what hurts and pains this baby will face in this life... All I can say it "wow!!!"

My point: If you have ever seen the birth process and can still walk away and deny there is a God... well, I would just politely say "you are crazy".

Let me know what nicknames you had for your children before you came up with the name they would keep. I know we are not the only ones who do this...

Thursday, June 7, 2007


"I swear on my dead dogs grave", "I swear on the Bible", "I swear to God"... have you ever made a statement like that?

Why do some people feel like they have to "super double promise" or swear on something in order to be believed? I like the person that when you ask them a question they respond with "you want me to tell ya the truth?"... what kind of idiot do you think I am? "NO, I want you to lie to me!!!"

People who make statements like that make me feel like they are always lying unless I ask for the truth, then and only then, will they be so kind to offer words that are not false. I guess I just don't get it.

When I was growing up my dad used to always tell me to "say what you mean and mean what you say." He used to also tell me to put the toilet seat down but that was for the good of my mom and 2 sisters. Both statements are very good nuggets of wisdom to pass on to your children.

My dad was very strict on lying. Lying was not tolerated at all. I learned it was better to tell the truth and take the consequences than to lie. Even if I thought I got away with a lie, I was wrong because I lost my integrity. If I got busted, my punishment was A LOT worse. I grew up when parents still used the belt. Taking a nice bite off the ol' bar of irish spring was a suitable punishment for the lying tongue. Message was LOUD and VERY CLEAR. Do not lie!

Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.... Wait a minute. That sounds like something Jesus would have said. He did. Matthew 5:37.

Now if Gary Sr says it, that is good for me but if Jesus said it, now it applies to all of us.

Maybe we have all said yes to something and later had to cancel or said no to the piece of cake when we really wanted it, but when you say you are going to do something - DO IT!!! Other people rely on your word. If you don't have your word what do you have.

One of the things some of our volunteers are dealing with is when people say they will help then just "forget" or just pull the ol' "no show" thing. Unfortunately it puts other people in a tough and even unfair spot. Wouldn't it be nice if we could take people at their word.

My point: say what you mean and mean what you say. Don't be a liar.
Did you say you would be there? Did you say you would pick it up? Did you say you would help? Did you say you would be together until death separated you? Then DO IT!!!

Do I think Jesus was being that literal when He said those words?... "YES!!!"

(that is a picture of my dad showing off the catplant I got him for Christmas.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

does it hurt

Here is a picture of my daughter Shayna that you may be able to make fun of (if you try really hard). I assure you that she will not be extremely happy that I put this on here for everyone to see but hey, it will make my point.

When I was in high school, I was the guy that walked into the room and looked for things to make fun of. It was like a defense mechanism to make sure I didn't get made fun of. I was so insecure about myself that I had to keep people laughing at others so they would not laugh at me. It was actually a brilliant plan that I nailed down to a masterful science. I was the funny guy. I had people hanging around me for a couple reasons. One was fear - so I didn't make fun of them and make them look stupid. The other reason was to laugh. They knew that if they were around me, I was gonna make them laugh. Unfortunately it was going to be at someone elses expense. I remember making people cry by being so cruel. I am certainly not proud of this now but it really didn't affect me much then. I guess I could justify it and write it off as "just being funny".

When I see people from high school now, I begin the conversation with a heartfelt "I am sorry!" I was that bad...

Then came the truth in the form of 1 Thes 5:11 "continue to encourage and edify just as you are doing now". I was not doing that at all.

Now, I am the one who tries to point out the positive in others. I guard myself to make sure I am being positive towards others because it is so natural for me to tear others down.

I believe I was using a God given gift of encouragement for bad instead of the good it was intended.

My point: even joking words that tear people down can HURT really bad!!! Listen to yourself when you talk to others and see if you are encouraging and edifying (building up) or are you so insecure that you need to rip others to feel good about yourself?

If you laughed at the picture of Shayna, its ok, it was meant to be funny... just stop now before you go overboard and I get ticked! Don't make me unleash the fury

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

is there a point

Well, here I am. I know many of you have been anxiously awaiting my arrival so wait no longer. I have entered the world of blogging.

Who would've thought that people would actually go to a place on the web to read a bunch of stuff that comes out of my head. Kind of a scary thought.

This is my own personal space where I can write whatever I want. I will impose my opinions on you, rant and rave about the injustice of others, put some pictures, tell "my side" of the story and who knows, every now and then I may even have a point.

This is my place to fill however I want, as long as I clearly represent who I really am. I could put a bunch of lies and create a person I want everyone to believe I am. I could use this space as a mask and maybe you would never know the truth...But (and that is a BIG BUT), those closest to me would know and more importantly my God would know.

I heard a sad quote that said "why go through the pain of really becoming something when faking it will get you by?" answer: because it is worth it.

My point: we can spend a lot of time being fake and trying to be who we want others to believe we are OR we can be real. Knowing who you really are begins by knowing God and who He created you to be.

Who are you today?