Be You

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We try so hard to fit in.  We keep track of what is trending, listen to the top 100 hits, buy the latest fashion trends and keep up the appearance of our homes with what is hot on pinterest.

While none of these things are bad in and of themselves, we need to realize we are not the same as everyone else, nor should we be.  Our culture tends to think we all should think, act, and look alike.   Uniqueness, and self-image is praised, and yet at the same time those who stand out are usually shunned.

The answer to all this confusion? Be you. Stop giving in, stop changing, stop trying to please.

What makes you happy?  What makes you feel alive?  These are the things you should be chasing after.  Not what other people find exciting, popular or in vogue.

Don’t ever be embarrassed for staying true to yourself.  In the end you will look back on your life and either see that you lived your own unique life, or strove to please people and still didn’t end up happy.

Be you.  It’s amazing.

Be Present

 

 

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There is something I’m not great at but am working really hard at lately.  It’s really easy to get self-absorbed, caught up in what I’m currently going through, or what I’m in the middle of.

Things as simple as being absorbed on my phone while checking out in line at a store.  I want to live intentional every single moment.  I want every person I come into contact with to know I genuinely want to know how their day is, how they are doing, and that for that brief moment I shared with them, they were important.

No matter who I’m with I want them to have my full attention.  No distractions.

This also includes moments when I am alone.  I don’t want to just live in a fictitious world.  I want the things I do to matter and to be intentional, growing myself and moving forward with who I am as a person.

 

Do What You Love

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It’s really easy to get on band wagons of talking out against what we hate.  But how often do we really work towards what we love?

If you had to ask all the people you know what you are absolutely enthralled with or what you can’t stand. Which would they be able to better answer? What you love, or what you hate?

With social media like it is, it’s so easy to argue and give differing opinions about things, but how often are we really promoting things we love.

If we are only bashing what we hate what good are we really doing? Other than probably pissing some people off.

Do what you love, promote what you are passionate about.  No, everyone won’t agree with you, but you aren’t setting out to please them in the first place.

Love Affair

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There is a huge love affair that is very prevalent.  The conspirator in this affair is very seductive, affecting both men and women. It’s a genius at stealing attention and making itself the center of a person’s world.  It is very very smooth.  It’s successfully hurt relationships and marriages, is a source of conflict and as a result can make your loved one feel very alone.

So who is the perpetrator?  Your phone.

That’s right you phone.

Rarely do I go out anymore and see individuals fully engaged with one another.  Instead there are constant distractions and buzzes from those little things we carry around in our pockets.

Facebook notifications, tweet updates, new pinterest posts, photos on instagram, added people in our circle on linkedin.  Not to mention the countless lame and utterly pointless youtube videos.

Communication is dying, much like the dinosaur.

We become more and more self absorbed in our selfie, false reality, I’m better than you showy digital world.

We use filters and adjustments to make us look thinner and sexier.  We showcase all the good things in our lives, while keeping all the bad habits and ugly parts off so the world doesn’t see them, and we have this completely fake persona of a perfect life that is anything but.

Who are we really fooling?  Ourselves?  Our friends?  People who are in our friends, but we have no idea why?

Trying to impress people and win approval from people we don’t care about, or compete with strangers we don’t know.

The love affair is getting worse.  It sticks it’s grimy fingers in everything. And as with all dangerous affairs there is a need to cut it off.

I love some of the benefits of social media, the ability to convey thoughts and ideas, share moments with loved ones across time and space. It’s a useful tool.  But like most tools, if you can’t handle it properly it can become dangerous.

How has social media grown you as a person, or made you a better person, or gotten you closer to your life goal?  Maybe it’s time to start asking if it’s getting us closer to those things, or distracting us from getting there.

Facebook Anger

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Sometimes I really think I need to keep away from Facebook.  I find myself getting more and more frustrated every time I’m on it, and sometimes saying things I shouldn’t.

The competition, pointless debates (yes I must confess I’ve gotten caught up in some), and obsession to impress/show off drives me absolutely crazy.

Maybe it’s not right that I feel this way but I do.  Just keeping it real.  It’s as if facebook has become a place where people can try to find validation and attention. Now don’t get me wrong, I think it definitely has its benefits, but I’m really starting to wonder if they are worth it.

I know that much of my issues could be resolved if I just simply stay away from it.  There are some friends and family that I like to stay in touch with and Facebook allows me to do that, but I really don’t know if I can take the drama and attention seeking from it anymore.  And selfies……don’t even get me started.

I know this blog has been more of a rant than anything, but it’s caused me to reevaluate what if anything I get off Facebook and if it’s bringing me down more than anything.  So I am seriously considering just staying  away from it all together.

Keeping Your Mouth Shut

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Sometimes keeping your mouth shut can be the best thing in the world.  There are definitely times when you need to speak out, but just as much, there are times when you need to know to not say what you think, or the first thing that comes to your mind.

I unfortunately am too familiar with this.  It’s really easy to talk out loud at times, or just say something on the spur of the moment, only to realize seconds later it would have been better not to say it.

It’s hard when we feel so passionately about something, but I have to realize that their are times when other people feel just as strongly about something different.  That doesn’t make them wrong and me right, or vice versa.  We all have different ways of seeing the world, different ways of living our life.

But this even carries over into our relationships with those around us.  A good rule of thumb is if what I’m about to say isn’t life building, I probably shouldn’t say it. This is preaching to me probably more than anyone.  Best of luck in learning to keep quiet sometimes.

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.

 

 

What Is Love

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What is love.  I mean really?  When you think about it how do you define love?  Hollywood defines it as purely an attraction thing.  Self help books define it as primarily a communication game.  Those who have been hurt define it as non-existent or stupid.

While all these things hit on a point of what love is, they are all incorrect in and of themselves.  I truly believe love is something that can’t be fully explained. It’s a feeling that pushes you to think about that person you love more than anybody else.  It causes you to put them first, and to think about them before making any decision.

It’s that feeling of excitement to see their face, to feel their arms around you.

It’s making that sacrifice when you’d rather do something else.  It’s romantic, it’s difficult, it’s joyful, it’s hurtful.  But no matter what it always endures.  It’s the not easiest road.

Opening up yourself to someone in complete love gives that someone the ability to hurt you, and hurt you deeply, and that is bound to happen at some level.  We are  not perfect, and as a result we have a tendency to let those we love down sometimes, to say that harsh word in anger, or to be less than kind.

But love is always both asking for forgiveness, and forgiving.  Seeing past the faults to the person’s core.

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.

Kids Are Not An Excuse

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I recently came across an article on Huffington Post which in a nutshell said how dating and time with your spouse was never the same after having kids.  While there is nothing wrong with doing lots of things with your children, there are times when you need to do things without them, but let me explain.

I love my daughter with all my heart, she is my pride and joy, and love getting to spend time with her.  Because I love her so much, I realize it is very important to make time for my wife and I to spend alone, date nights, one on one, without our daughter.  A getaway now and then by ourselves is also so important.

You see as parents it’s our job to teach our kids how to have good character, good morals, and a healthy outlook on life. If I don’t model a good relationship in my marriage, that is like teaching her that bad moral values are okay.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing that her parents care enough about each other to value each other, and to spend time together.  I want to teach her that mommy and daddy need alone time sometimes so that we can be a stronger family, with firm relationships.  I want her to know that our wedding anniversary is a special event that should be held dear.

As a teenager I want her to secretly be glad that she knows her mom and dad love each other enough to still go on dates, even if it may gross her out a little, someday she will look back on that and smile.

By making time for my marriage, I am helping to build a picture of what she should look for in a man.  If she never sees me “dating” her mother, how will she know what healthy dating looks like?  How will she know the balance of having her own marriage and her own children someday if she doesn’t learn it from me and her mother.

My faith is very important to me, and nothing can replace prayer or alone time with God. In the same way nothing can replace alone time with my wife.  That doesn’t mean all other aspects aren’t good.  They are.  But so is alone time.  Kids should not be an excuse to never date your spouse anymore, if anything they should be an excuse to continue it all the more.