Life to the Full!

Posts made in December, 2014

I’ll Be Back…

By on Dec 29, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know since November I’ve been posting three times a week. That’s pretty good for a guy who in April couldn’t figure out how to consistently do just one blog a week. But I’m going to be out of country the next couple of weeks, and I won’t be posting while I’m gone. But, I’ll be back. At least, some version of me. See, we’re going to Guatemala. For a mission trip. Which in this case is about doing something for those poor souls who live way back in the mountains. Where there’s no electricity for miles and miles. No running water. Not much of anything, in fact. They call it the middle of nowhere. As I’m writing this, listening to my house hum and buzz and click and glow, with it’s appliances and devices and it’s little green and blue LED power lights indicating that I’m still being automatically cared for, I can’t help but think about the next 10 or so days with a little, I don’t know… A little smile on my face. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent any real time someplace without all the comforts of home. And, we’re not just ‘roughing it,’ we’re going to work. The plan is for our little group to build 20 houses in a small village where mostly Mayan widows and orphans live. We’re “giving back” and “serving.” You know, it’s a mission trip. Yet I can’t help but feel like I’m getting the better end of the deal. Yes, it will be uncomfortable at times. Yes, it may be cold at night. We’ll be eating food we’re not used to. We’ll be sleeping (or trying to) on “cots” of sorts in unfamiliar surroundings with lots of unfamiliar noises and we’re sure to be largely sleepless (those who’ve been before can almost guarantee it). I can’t wait. I can’t wait because I need a perspective reset. It’s time to get a different look at what I’m doing, how I’m approaching life. If we don’t put our values under the microscope from time to time they can shift beneath us without us realizing we’re off course. We begin to...

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Ready for a New Year?

By on Dec 26, 2014 in Blog |

This is the time a lot of us start to look toward the New Year. We think hopeful thoughts about what we’ll do in the coming year, and set resolute goals that embody our good intentions. Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution or goal? Have you ever felt like it took about three weeks for those resolutions to fall by the way side? Or for your goals to evaporate? Ever been frustrated by that? Me too. So this year, I’m doing something different. Something I’ve been coming to over the past several years, but didn’t really have a name for. I do this all the time with coaching clients. I even do it with counseling clients. But I didn’t see what I was actually doing. Now I do. There are a lot of ways of thinking about this, but here’s the key difference between setting a goal and what I’m talking about. Instead of focusing on the goal, focus on the steps you’ll take every day, week, month, etc., to get there.   Let the goal stretch you, and let what you do every day be a commitment you can keep. Example of a goal: I will no longer smoke.  If you ever smoked, you know that goal will stretch you!  Example of a commitment you keep daily: I will suck on a mint every time I want a cigarette, so that I don’t smoke today.  There are lots of reasons why this shift is important, and if you’re interested in more in-depth discussions about this idea here are a couple of resources I’d love for you to check out. I think they’d be worth your time. Think of them as belated Christmas gifts. Or, presents for your New Year. One is from the creator of the Dilbert cartoon, Scott Adams. What he has to say may hold a few surprises! The other is from another blogger I’ve just started following, James Clear.  James breaks this down in a way that mostly makes me go, “what he said!” Anyway, both have a lot to say about goal setting and a slightly different way of looking at the new year – and your life. So, there you go.  If you’re ready for...

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A Very Merry Christmas

By on Dec 24, 2014 in Uncategorized |

First I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a truly happy new year. I love this time of year and – especially since it’s upon us – I hope you do, too! Anyway, of all the things people celebrate this holiday season, most will recognize the birth of Jesus. And, just as likely, they’ll breeze right past the fact that the Christmas story actually begins with an unwed teenage pregnancy. Oh. Well, yes. Sort of difficult when you think about it like that, isn’t it? The gritty and the miraculous all mixed up together. How very like God. Anyway, while we celebrate lots of things this time of year, the conception tends to get lost in the shuffle. In fact, we’ve made it almost entirely about the birth of Jesus.  Which historically speaking was probably in September. (Shoot me an email if you want to look at that.) Now, I’m not saying the birth isn’t a wonderful, beautiful thing.  It is, and there are truly amazing things surrounding Jesus’ birth including buckets of prophecies with astronomically high odds against it ever happening as predicted. But it did. And that’s great stuff. But a birth in and of itself is, well, sort of old hat.  Yes, it was in a barn, and I know, it was Jesus. But I mean, really, think about it. Everyone you know was born. But this pregnancy thing? That really messes with people.  In fact, I think it’s one of the biggest stumbling blocks to faith.  Even in the church, I’m not sure a lot of us really know what to do with it. Yet, there it is. Hmmm. I wonder if we blow past it because it’s hard to make the connection between Mary being impregnated by the Spirit of God and our own life. Sure, we get Jesus out of the whole deal, but are we skipping from Mary to the birth and missing a piece that’s especially for us? In our excitement and haste to unwrap the biggest gift under the tree, could we be throwing out a really amazing gift we’ve wanted – needed – for a long time. Here’s what I mean… We’re all looking for...

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The Harder I Try

By on Dec 22, 2014 in Blog |

Sometimes, the harder I try the harder it gets. Know what I mean? The harder you push, the more you get stuck. Spinning your wheels and sinking deeper in the mud. Ever felt like that? All your striving and self-effort seems counterproductive.   The more self-effort you apply, the worse it seems to get. It’s a real paradox, and it can affect so many areas of our lives it’s worth looking at. Here’s an example I see all the time: A relationship is on the rocks. Someone is trying to make someone else happy, and it doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, the harder they “try,” it seems the unhappier with them the other person becomes. They feel truly stuck. Hopeless, even. All that striving and trying seems to be getting them nowhere. If you know what I’m talking about, you may have to change more than your behavior – you may have to change your mindset or beliefs. Trying and striving are what most of us are taught to do from the time we’re very young. “You can do it!” “Try a little harder!” It would seem to be all about the effort. But what if I’m thinking or feeling something that isn’t true? That’s a great question. So how do I change my mindset or belief if I don’t know what that is? Now that’s a really great question. Here’s what you do: Write down your thoughts or feelings about the problem or behavior you’re trying to address. The goal is to capture what you think and feel. Your thoughts and feelings won’t always tell you what is true, but they are a great indicator of what you believe to be true. Take a good, hard look at those thoughts and feelings and tell yourself the truth. Are they really true? Did she intend to hurt your feelings? Was he trying to be mean? Were you really as kind as you thought? As you check yourself, look for what your thoughts and feelings tell you about your belief or mindset.  For example, say you get mad while driving. You yell at your windshield and criticize other drivers. You may say things like, “what an idiot,” or “people...

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The Greatest Gift

By on Dec 19, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

What’s the greatest gift you can give to the people you love? Could it be the gift of… love? Okay, here’s another one: what’s the greatest gift you can give to the people you, well… you know… don’t quite love? At least, maybe not as much. Or, I don’t know, maybe not at all.   (I know, I know, we’re probably not supposed to have people like that.) Could it also be… love? Part of the reason I’ve been thinking about this, I think, is that I’ve been identifying my priorities this coming year. Goals to achieve, key areas of life about which to be more intentional. And the thread running through every single area – family, friends, work and business – is love. Does that sound stupid? It sort of does when I see it written here. When I say it out loud it sounds like I’m trying to – I don’t know – say the right thing or something. But over this past year I kept getting this message, kept getting provoked or reminded, that I need to be more loving. And I mean every time I turned around. Be more loving. Be more loving. Be more… Okay, got it. Except, how am I going to do that? I mean, I have some ideas about what I think that looks like. Same thing with kindness. Or, patience. I know what it looks like to be impatient (boy, do I). But how do I “produce” patience… or kindness… or love? Well, here’s a thought related to “the reason for the season,” so to speak. Behind all of the awful, wonderful, cheesy, beautiful, mixed bag of ‘stuff’ we’ve turned this time of year into, at the heart of it is still the greatest gift ever given. Love. Tangible love. Love in action and in the flesh. One great example after another. Given to you and me, for you and me. You can’t give it back, though you don’t have to take it. You can’t afford it no matter how cool you are, you can’t pay for it, but you can simply take it. Freely given, it is, yes (insert Yoda voice here). Unfortunately, it’s not always freely received. And there’s...

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