Bring The Change

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What are some ways you can make a difference? Really. How do you influence others, how do you make the world a better place? Surprisingly it’s not some big huge event, doesn’t require millions of dollars, backing by a movie star, or political leadership. It requires you making the right change in your life every day. Sure we screw up. Everyone of us do. But we have to strive to live life that we can be proud of, that our children could be proud of.

Our actions should be those of which if someone had a 24/7 camera on us they wouldn’t find any reason to be ashamed.
Lofty goal? Yes. But doable? Yes.

Start today, start making right decisions. Whether it be simple decisions at your job. Doing things properly when everyone else is taking shortcuts. Walking away from a party you know you shouldn’t be at.

Getting out of a relationship you know is unhealthy. Staying true to the person you are in a relationship with.

Stop wishing things would change, and simply live the change live out an example you would want to follow each and every day. Don’t stop. And don’t ever ask if it’s making a change, because you may never know whether it is bringing about change, but people are watching.

Meet The Waves

Took my daughter to the beach just a week ago. The first day didn’t go well. It consisted of her clinging to me and freaking out if the sand touched her. She’s a bit OCD when it comes to messes to the point where she walks around picking up any little things on the floor and throwing them away. She couldn’t stand the mess or the thought of what she thought was dirt being on her. She didn’t leave the beach blanket the whole day.

So going back for the second day I wasn’t sure how it would go.
It started off better, she walked down to the beach area despite the sand getting on her feet. I picked her up and took her down to the water. With each wave of water that crashed onto us she clung a little tighter to my neck and pointed to the shore where she wanted to go to get away from the water.

I know my daughter and she is a little adventurer. She has no fear and I can tell already she has a type A personality. She strikes up conversations with everyone she meets and is a take charge person in a group of kids, so I knew she would love the ocean if she just got over that initial fear.

So despite her requests and pointing to go back to the beach area I stuck it out. Soon I knelt down so that when the waves came they would hit her. At first she started freaking out. But after about 10 minutes she started to get used to it. She then was brave enough to release her death grip around my neck and stood in the sand as the waves crashed around her feet.

Five minutes later she was running towards the water, letting the water crash over her and laughing hysterically.  She had zero fear as the water smacked her in the face, and she ran up and down the beach giggling for an hour.
How often do we act like that? We don’t know how something is going to go, so we just stay where things are safe, where we are comfortable. We are comfortable with the seashore, but don’t want to venture towards the waves, so we stay with what we know, we stay where it’s comfortable, and because of that we miss out on so much of life. There is so much waiting if we put our foot in the water and embrace it. So what is holding you back?

What do you want to do that you have fear about? Get over your fear and race out into the water. You never know what great things are waiting for you.

Stop Listening

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Stop listening. That’s right. Stop listening to the doubters, the haters, the naysayers. Stop listening to society who says it’s okay to cheat. Its’ okay to lie. It’s okay to not take care of your body. It’s okay to not discipline your children. It’s okay to look at other women, okay to ignore real world problems. Okay to not step in when you see something wrong. Okay to look the other way.
Stop listening to all these lies, because they are nothing more than that. They are lies, and dangerous ones at that. Start listening to your gut, not what others are trying to shove down your throat. We all know what is truly right, and what is wrong. But that gray area in between seems to get larger and larger, until we no longer even see the right or wrong.
Stop listening to white lies and take charge. Take ownership of your life and the actions you choose and stop letting what is popular or what society deems as satisfactory rule your life, and step up and stop listening.

It Gets Better

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Sometimes we go through really hard times in a relationship. We question everything we thought about the other person.  Question whether they truly love us or care about us. When things are hard, they are usually really hard, and it can be difficult to see beyond the pain and the hurt.

Then to make matters worse our mind starts racing with all these worst case scenarios. We wonder what will happen since our significant other is angry. Will they do more things to hurt us?  And so our imagination runs wild.

One of the best and most helpful things to remember in times like these, is that the current situation will pass.  You won’t forever feel this way, neither will the person you love.  When the dust settles, and smoke clears, you’ll find that you are the same people.  In marriage this is crucial.  You have to hold onto the reality that your spouse does love you, just at the moment neither of you “feel” any of that towards each other.

Coming to terms with that will make it better, and then realizing it won’t be like this for long. Whatever the disunity stems from, be humble, ask for forgiveness, don’t hold out and try to “win” the fight.  It’s not about winning.

Stick with it in hard times.  You agreed to that.  For better or worse. And while in a perfect world the worse wouldn’t exist, but it makes the better all the more good.  So stick with it.

Bigger Than Yourself

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I have a problem.  I am selfish.  Not incredibly so but still, it’s there.  I like to think that I am a kind giving person willing to do anything for my family, and that is pretty true.  But what other things do I really lay my life down for?

How am I helping those who are less fortunate than my family and I?  Those who are downcast, who are being abused, mistreated, sold for sex, those living in a box, those going to bed hungry.

What am I don’t outside my cozy four walls?

It’s a sobering question that kind of smacks me back to reality and makes me realize I live a very selfish life.  Selfish if measured against what I do for those who are hurting.

Because in truth, I wish I was doing more, and the fact that I am wishing that makes me realize I am not doing enough.

 

Leading What Matters

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What does it mean to lead your children?  Is it having it all together?  Is it being able to provide every wish and desire?  Is it making all the right decisions?

While leadership consists of many factors, the above are not the answers when it comes to leading your kids.

Kids need direction.  Psalms talks about children being arrows in the hands of a warrior. What are arrows designed for?  They are meant for war, they are placed on a bow string and flung into the distance to strike fear in the hearts of enemies.

I have my child for 18 year or so.  And in that time she has to learn how to live life.  She won’t hit 18 and have all the answers of life, but I have to provide her with the knowledge of how to find the answers for herself.  How do I do this?  Well how do kids learn?

My daughter is two and she mimics everything.  I can sing a song and dance like a crazy man around the room, and she will do her best to dance just like me.  Why?  That’s how she learns.  I can’t sit in a chair and tell her to dance silly around the room, just doesn’t work that way.

I have had many argue with me and question whether I or my wife do to much now that we have a child.  The answer, no.  I don’t think we do.  Between the two of us, we have a full time job, a self-owned business, both are college full time, we both blog, we travel constantly, and much more.  We fight for our marriage which includes making sure we have alone time together to build that relationship.

So what do I want to impart to her?  I want her to know she should life to the fullest.  Life doesn’t consist of watching tv all day, or playing games in a fantasy world all day.  It consists of getting out in the world, chasing your dreams, your goals, your passion full heartedly especially when it’s hard and you are tired and worn out.

The best way I can teach her that is through my own actions and chasing after those things myself.  And I can rest assured that she is watching.  She is learning how to fly on her own.  How to make a difference in her world, how to serve.

Grow Up

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Is it just me or does it seem like there are a lot of people who just don’t want to grow up?  Our teen years are spent mostly wasteful, lost in relationships, video games, or other activities that won’t propel us in the future. College for many is one big game for many.

Statistically more and more 20 somethings are moving back in with their parents after college.

What is going on?

Now I know there are a lot of hard working young people out there busting there butt to make a difference, change their family background, and provide a great future for themselves or their family.

But for those who are 20 or older and still wallow away your days playing video games, not working, and bumming off mom and dad…..grow up.

Being 21 doesn’t make you an adult, it’s just a number that legally allows you to do a few more things.  I’ve known teenagers who were more adults than 25 year olds.

It’s all based on maturity, on ethic, and on character.

Don’t let life pass you by, work hard.  Get out in the world and meet people, make the most of your life.  Don’t wallow in uselessness.

Make the most of it.

Are Kids Your Life?

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There are a lot of different viewpoints out there on the best way to raise your children.  All you have to do is bring up the question, “what do you think is best for your kids” amongst a room full of parents and you will soon have some very red faced angry parents as they duke it out for who is right.  In reality, there isn’t some secret all in one formula for raising your kids.  It’s just a matter of your viewpoint on what role kids have, and what your role as a parent is.

The bible talks about children being “arrows in one’s quiver”.  Arrows were used to fight, they were also used to hunt, they were tools in a sense.  Arrows when they are kept in a quiver aren’t of much use.  Arrows are to be shot out.

While I still have a lot to learn in the world of parenting.  Every day I am more and more convinced that the greatest gift I can impart to my daughter is teaching her the importance of life around her, and that there is a great big world that is hers for the taking.

I don’t think it’s any kind of coincidence that children pick up the quickest off watching their parents.  They see what we do and they mimic it.  This makes me all the more want to live a crazy adventurous, bold, courageous life.  Because I want my daughter to live that way.  I want her to know that the value of experiencing cultures outside her own to better understand other people far outweighs the value of a toy at a toy store.

I want her to know that she can do anything because she sees her mom and dad doing things that people call nuts, or over-board.  I want her to see that anything is attainable regardless of what people say.

I want her to see her dad honoring her mother.  I want her to understand that daddy takes mommy out on special trips sometimes alone to strengthen not only his marriage, but to strengthen his family.

Children are meant to come alongside and be a part of an adventure, be a part of their parents life until they are ready to make a way on their own.

But often kids are placed as the center of attention and as the center of life. Everything that one does is based around them.  This I believe not only breaks down the family as a unit, but it places unhealthy expectations on the kids.  They are looked to as a source of life, when they should be getting that from parents, (no wonder kids are growing up with no sense of direction or purpose), and further once the kids are grown and gone, the parents find themselves with no purpose.

In the last 25 years, couples who divorce after 50 has jumped from 8% to 25%.  Surprising?  Not really?  Not when parents stop having a relationship and make their kids their life.  They don’t have anything in common anymore once their kids are gone, because they’ve spent the last 20 years or so neglecting building a life and future, and strengthening their family unit, and their marriage.

My wife and I get asked all the time how or why we do so much when we have a child.  It’s not because we love her any less.  We do the things we are doing to make a better life for us and for our children, and for others.

As a father and husband, I want nothing more than to know that my family is cared for, safe, and has all the things they want and need.  But I also have to remember, that I am responsible for not just the care of my family, but for the care of orphans, widows, and others who don’t have a father looking out for them.  That’s the Biblical call, and that’s what I want my daughter to grow up knowing.

As long as I am on this earth I will care, worry, and provide for my daughter in anyway I can, but I cannot make her my one and only life, out of respect for her, and respect for my wife. I can bring her alongside of life, and show her a whole big world outside her own.

 

 

Demands

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Demands, we all have them.  Demands from our family, our work, our church, our social groups, our peers, our teachers, our professors.  Almost everywhere we look there is something that requires our attention.

So how do we balance all this?  One word, “no”.  It’s an incredibly simple word, in fact it’s one of the first words we learn to say as we grow up, but somehow we lose our ability to say it.

We grow wary of telling someone no for fear of disappointing them, or looking like we can’t handle what they are asking of us, so we over commit ourselves and find that we have no time for the things we want to do.

While some demands you can’t say no to, (unless you want to go without food or a roof above your head), there are plenty of demands that you can and should say no to.

Time is the most valuable thing and it’s something we can never get back.  Think about that the next time someone asks you do to something, is it a distraction, a time eater that will keep you from pursuing your goals?  If so, the answer is no.