You may remember from my last post that my wife recently quit her job. I talked about the excitement that has caused in our home because Mommy finally gets to be mommy. Anyway, we decided that this year we were going to make Christmas more about memories than presents.

We stumbled across a really great deal for season passes to Universal Studios in California and took the plunge. My wife and I were so giddy about seeing their reactions when they opened them up on Christmas that there were 7 distinct occasions I can remember when I almost burst and gave it away. Don’t worry…I remained strong.

Christmas day FINALLY arrived and the unwrapping carnage ensued. Because it was really the only gift we were giving our kids we ended up wrapping up all the things they were going to get anyway, like socks and underwear. Now, you’d think any kid would be disappointed with that on Christmas day, but I’m proud to say our kids handled it with class. They would say things like, “This is great. I have so needed underwear,” or “Oh! I love the feeling of new socks.” I’m sure they were just saying it, but as a parent I was proud of their great attitudes.

Did I mention that we kind of hid their tickets under the Christmas tree skirt? Well we did, so when all the lame clothing presents were opened we “found” the tickets and let them open it. Needless to say, their reactions were priceless. Our family are huge Harry Potter fans and so my oldest two daughters burst into tears of joy. Literally.

So here’s the lesson: Toys break. Batteries will need to be replaced. They will want the newest iDevice in a few months. But a memory is something you just can’t buy. Our family will remember this trip forever. You kids are only getting older. Make memories with them. Seriously, go out right now and make a memory!

My wife works from home so we can provide a few creature comforts for the family. In the beginning it was nice. A little extra cash never hurts anyone, amiright?

Well, she’s been working this job for about 4 years now, and the company really likes her. They’ve given her more responsibility and what started out as a part-time, “while-the-kids-are-in-school” thing has kind of become a 3/4 full time job. Yes, the company has compensated her for her time and increased work load, but last week the proverbial “stuff” hit the fan.

Our kids are getting older now (14, 12, 10, and 8) and are involved in a lot more extra-curricular activities and such. Homework has increased in difficulty, and their social lives are blossoming. And you can call me a sexist, but this is the time when a mom is needed. But because of her job, my wife couldn’t be there for the kids as much as we both wanted. Last Friday, my youngest daughter needed help with an art project and when my wife told her to wait until she was off work, she walked away with slumped shoulders and said, “I wish you didn’t have to work mom.”

Sucker punch to the heart!

Later that same day, our only son wanted to go to a friend’s house and play. He had finished his homework and chores and it was Friday. My wife gave the same excuse and my son had an almost identical reaction: “I wish you weren’t always working.”

That, my friends is what you call the ole one-two punch.

Now, while all this is happening, I’m at my job. I get a text from my wife saying, “I quit…”

At first I thought she was having issues with our kids, so when I texted back, “You can do it!”, she wrote, “No. I mean I quit my job.”

“Seriously,” I said.

Her response was that emoji with the red cheeks and wide eyes, as if to say, “Gulp…I can’t believe what I’ve done.”

Without going into the whole story, I will say this. There has been an excitement in our home from our kids, and a sense of peace for me and my wife. I can’t explain how, but I know everything is going to work out because I firmly believe that when we have our priorities straight, everything else will either fall into place, or fall out of our lives.

Success isn’t dependant on the size of my wallet. Rather, it’s defined by the peace I feel with my family.

Yeah, this is probably self-explanatory but Daylight Savings is aweful.

“But wait!” you might be saying. “Isn’t the one in the Fall a good one? I mean, come on! We get an extra hour of time, right!”

Well, I think this meme sums it up for me:


Every! Year!!!

Why??? Why do I do that to myself?

So, while this post is short and…well, not sweet…here is the lesson to be learned:

Take advantage of the opportunity Fall Daylight Savings offers and use that extra hour of sleep! Not only will you feel better, but your wife, your kids, your co-workers, your friends, and total strangers will thank you! Trust me!

Do you have a tissue handy? If not you may want to grab one.

So here’s the story. My wife and I try to take one of our kids out each week on “special time”. It’s pretty much exactly what you think it is. Time alone with that kiddo and that kiddo only. We let our kids choose one activity and then devote between an hour or so. (And if you are thinking you don’t have the time…well just pay attention to the rest of the story! You need to make the time!)

My wife and I have been hit and miss at best and honestly when we do make the time, we usually feel pretty rushed and try to get back home as quick as we can. I normally justify this with something lame like, “At least I’m trying”. Okay, that’s technically true, but who wants to live their lives “at least”?!

Anyway, last week, my only son and I were up for special time. He’s 10. I told him, “The sky’s the limit buddy.” He thought about it for awhile and said, “The mall.” I was a little taken aback. Not your typical father and son outing, but it was his choice so we got in the car and headed to hormone-Mecca.

We parked the car and I asked if there was anywhere in particular he wanted to go in the mall. He said, “Just follow me” and off we went. We ended up going to a tie store. I asked him why there and he said, “Well I just thought it would be cool if we had matching ties.” You see, I have to wear a tie everyday for my profession.

I was struck to the heart. “My son wants to be like me,” I thought. Wow! There is something unexplainably awesome about someone wanting to be like you, but when it is your son…well that’s just beyond anything that is unexplainably awesome. This realization opened up a whole new way of thinking for me. I realized that the time we spend together is limited. He’s growing up way too fast! As a matter of fact, I went to his 5th grade Maturation program today! Yikes…that’s a story for another day! I also realized that he may not always think I’m cool so I better get in all the special time I can now before he thinks he is too cool for his old man.

But the thing that I think was most powerful for me was the realization that I don’t listen to him as closely as I should. Usually I’m too caught up in my busy world to give him my undivided attention. His desire to be like me stopped me. For the rest of that night he had my undivided attention. I silenced my phone and I tuned the rest of the world out. I learned and heard and felt so many things that night with my son. I hope that it was the beginning of a new kind of parenting for me. I don’t want to miss anything!

Well, kind of mushy, but I hope that you took a look at your parenting style too and that you will consider giving a little more special time to your kids every day!

I know I haven’t posted for awhile. I’d give you my lame excuses, but you know what they say, “Excuses are like armpits. We all have them and they all stink.”

Anyway, recently I was reminded of another pearl of wisdom. I’m not sure where I heard it (maybe the same people who came up with the whole “excuses are like armpits” thing) but if it’s true then it is priceless.

I hope this isn’t too racy for you, but here’s the wisdom:

Do you know the best foreplay? Doing the dishes!

I’ve always tried to be helpful around the house, but this last week I’ve really tried to kick it into high gear. I didn’t have ulterior motives I swear! I just noticed how much my wife does for our family and wanted to try to relieve some of her burden.

Anway, as I’ve done the dishes and had the kids chip in more too, I noticed how much more amorous my wife became. She would rub my feet without me asking, or play with my hair (which I absolutely love!). That’s where I’m going to draw the T.M.I. line. You get the point.

So, men out there reading this, pay attention! Do the dishes. Trust me! Your marriage will thank me later.

So, I’m a Christian. Don’t worry, this won’t turn into a Christian themed blog. Although if it did, I would be fine with that too.

But today’s wisdom came from a friend of mine who also happens to be a Christian. And you guessed it, the two of us kinda got into the deep stuff.

This friend of mine cleans carpets (click here if you want to check out his site) and was cleaning my carpets last week. There is a stain I’ve been hiding under a lamp for a long time now. A big, ugly, red stain. It’s either a Kool-Aid spill from one of my kiddos, or evidence from a grisly murder investigation. That’s how ugly it is.

To be completely honest, I had forgotten all about it. Every time I vacuum I kind of just vacuum around the lamp. I guess I don’t want to deal with it and my subconscious just tells me to go around it. Don’t deal with it.

I was helping my buddy move the furniture and when he saw the stain, he exclaimed and then asked me how long it had been there. We both laughed at my embarrassment and obvious neglect of the blotch. I told him that we didn’t have to worry too much about it. “I’ll just just cover it back up again,” I said. Well that little phrase sent the two of us into a metaphoric discussion about our lives.

We compared sin/mistakes to the stain and how we all try to cover up and forget about it. We talked about how that never solves the problem and just ends up being an ugly mark in our lives. This friend of mine is quite a Bible scholar and he went on to compare how he treats a stain like this to how Jesus Christ cleanses our sins. He told me that the Savior Jesus Christ said that he would “blot out” our sins just like he would “blot out” the stain in a carpet. I had to look it up and I found it! Acts 3:19-21.

I have thought so much about that. I did a little soul-searching (literally) and would invite you to do the same. What mistakes am I embarrassed about? What would happen if I turned to Jesus? Wouldn’t he just laugh a little with me then help blot out my stains? I think He will.

No. You know what? I know He will. He loves us. Isn’t that why He came? To save us from our sins?

So, it’s time. Time to let the Savior heal and help. Let him blot out a stain today!

I told ya. It got a little Christiany. And my friends, that’s not a bad thing!


About 10 years ago money was tight and I knew I needed to find a part time job. The problem was that my family was young and I didn’t want to work nights and miss out on making memories with them. Well, after a fruitless search I heard from a friend of a friend about an early morning paper route. It seemed like a good fit so I jumped on it.

If I’m being honest, it was fun. Waaaaayyyy too early, but fun. I got so good at flinging those papers I felt like it was a game. I could have my window rolled down and not even slow the car. There was something beautiful, almost poetic, about being able to toss the paper just right and watch it slide right up to the person’s door.

Well, my pride bit me in the but one morning. At that time I was driving an old minivan and the brakes were shot! I had to refill the brake fluid about once a day. On this fateful morning I was running late for my day job and thought I would be okay if I waited to fill the fluid. Bad choice. I came to the one house where I had to stop and turn around but as I pumped the brakes, nada. I started pumping frantically but to no avail. Time seemed to slow to a crawl. I watched in horror as I slammed into the front of the house. Granted I wasn’t going very fast, but it was still enough to crunch the poor guy’s rain gutter and siding. It was 6 am and I wasn’t sure what to do. I contemplated just leaving. He’d probably never know. His house happened to be close to the college and if I was lucky, I thought, he would just blame it on the frat house down the street.

I’m happy to say I have a little  more integrity than that and I knocked on his door. No one answered. I knocked again and still no reply. I scribbled a quick note and told  him I would return in the afternoon to take care of my mess. After work I went to the hardware store and bought a rain gutter that looked like it matched the brown one I had demolished.

Now, here is where the powerful life lesson happens. When I returned that afternoon and the knocked on the door, an older gentleman answered. He smiled widely at me and asked what he could do for me. I told him, “Well, I’m your paper delivery guy…” and before I could finish he stopped me and said, “Can I just tell you what a fine job you do? You always get the paper right next to the door. I appreciate that.”

Great! Now what?

I wanted to turn around and say thanks and drive away. Instead, I thanked him and said something like, “I made a big mistake this morning. I kind of ran into your house.” He blinked then said, “Well, accidents happen. Are you okay?”

Who was this guy?! Did he mishear me? Maybe he needed to turn up his Miracle Ear.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” I said, “but I destroyed your gutter and a lot of siding on the front of your house.”

He replied, “Well let’s go take a look.”

I helped him down his porch steps and we stood side by side surveying the damage. Me with my head hung in embarrassment, him with a thoughtful look on his face. After a few minutes he turned to me, smiled, and said, “Like I said, accidents happen.” Then he said something that has stayed with me and always will: “It’s only a thing.”

I was stunned. He patted me on the back and continued. “Don’t beat yourself up about this. Let it go. I appreciate you being honest with me.”

“I have to replace this. I need to make this better,” I stammered.

“No. You don’t,” he said with a smile.

“Look, it would really make me feel better if did something. I’ve already bought the rain gutter and would really like to replace it,” I said.

“Well, that was unnecessary, but I can see that this is important to you so go ahead,” was his reply.

He went inside and I got to work. About an hour later (I’m not handy at all so it took me forever!) I invited him back out to see if my work was acceptable. Let me just say this: the brown rain gutter I picked out would have matched his house about 10 years ago. Whereas mine was brand new, his had been weathered to a faded brown. It was obvious that someone had replaced it and in my opinion looked horrible. But this good man took the time to look at it from every angle, shake it to test it’s stability, then looked at me and smiled again. He reached for the wallet in his back pocket and said, “You do fine work. How much do I owe you?”

Wha…? He was serious! He started taking out money and trying to give it to me.

“I ran into your house. This is quite literally the least I can do. You don’t owe me anything and I refuse to take any money,” I said. He returned the cash to his wallet and returned it to his back pocket.

“I’m going to call someone this afternoon to come out and look at your siding. I think I can have it replaced by…” I started. He cut me off and for the first time in my very brief encounter with him looked angry. “Now you listen here young man. Stop. You are not going to replace my siding. I refuse to let you. I told you, it’s just a thing!” His expression softened and he concluded by telling me, “You can let this go. I promise everything is fine. Besides, I think it gives my house some character.”

I drove away in absolute bewilderment. How? How could he be so calm? So kind? So ready to forgive and forget? I’m not sure I have the answer to any of those questions for him, but I can say that for me, this lesson has been powerful enough to cause me to be a little kinder, a little more forgiving when someone wrongs me.

I know this story seems unbelievable. I’m not sure I would fully buy it, but I actually kept the rain gutter to remind me. It’s propped up in my office as a constant reminder to be kind to people and forgive quickly.

Afterall, most of life is “just a thing”.


I’ve been accused of being a very lucky person most of my life. My wife, co-workers, and mother-in-law in particular accuse me of this all the time. I can see why they do it. I’ve won hundreds of dollars in free food, clothing, games, and movie passes. I even won some tickets to see Justin Timberlake in Vegas (Epic!). You see, each morning I have about a 30  minute commute and about once a week I win something on some radio contest. So that makes my lucky, right?


I don’t think I’m any luckier than anyone else I know. Really. I’m not just saying it. I just think I’m willing to do something that most people are either too afraid or simply unwilling to do. You ready for the BIG SECRET?

I Ask.

That’s it. A little anti-climatic, I know, but that’s the secret. Yeah, I win a lot on the radio, but you know why? Because I call every single morning. Think about it: statistically speaking, I’m also the unluckiest person you know. I don’t win stuff every day too. And I don’t win a lot more than I actually win. But I repeat. The only reason I win so much is because I ask. I try. I’m not afraid to be told no.

Can I just tell you how liberating it is to be unafraid of the word, “No”? Not only do I win stuff on the radio, but when we go out to eat I sit where I want because when the waitress says, “Are these seats okay?” I ask, “Can we sit in a booth?” Usually she says yes, but if she says no, that’s okay too.

A couple years ago my wife wanted to go to New York and see Wicked on Broadway. But I’m a teacher and our trip would have been in the middle of the week. She almost cancelled the trip. You know what I did? I asked my principal if I could get a sub. You know what he said? “Sure! Enjoy your anniversary.” Can you imagine?! I would have missed out on seeing Dog the Bounty Hunter who was sitting 3 rows behind us…oh, and Wicked.

This whole “Asking” think is something a mentor of mine calls, “Imperfect Action”. We are always afraid of failing, or getting told, “No”, or…I don’t know. But when we learn to take imperfect action and just Ask, Act, and Accept it is amazing what doors are unlocked.

So…starting asking my friends! Take imperfect action. You’ll be surprised at the number of times you get told, “Yes”. And hey, you can then join me as one of the “luckiest” people on the planet!

I think this video sums up the idea of “Imperfect Action” nicely.

I had an incident today with my young son that I felt I should write down. He is quite vivacious and speaks his mind often, so it’s fun to hear what he has to say… most of the time. Well, today I took him with me to go grocery shopping. My wife and two daughters were caught up with homework, so I decided to get the shopping done for the week. The grocery shopping went great and we made it out alive with barely a dime in my pocket, if I’m being honest, but we gotta eat. I let my son help me load the bags into the back and he helped me put the cart into one of the cart holding thing (my brain has blanked on what they are called). As we pushed the cart to put it away, another man was putting his cart away as well. Now without trying to sound super judgmental, this guy looked a little rough around the edges. He had sleeve tattoos and piercings in places on his face that only seemed painful. And yet he was very polite when he waited for my son to move out of his way so he could get rid of his cart. My son watched him with fascination, I don’t think he’s seen a person with that many tattoos before. The man knew that my son was staring, but didn’t seem upset or offended at all. He smiled and began walking away, when my son reached up quickly to feel his arm. Now I think my son thought that maybe his arm might have a cool texture to it because of all the ink and designs, but his eyes almost popped out of his head when the guys arm felt just like normal skin. Of course, I quickly grabbed him and told him we need to respect peoples space, but the man only smiled and said it was okay. My son had to say goodbye to the cool guy with ‘the scribbles on his arm’ as he called them, before we could leave.

When I had finally got him strapped into the car, my son caught my hand and began feeling my arm. “Why don’t you have any scribbles daddy?” he asked with sincerity. ” I smiled and said that his mother and I believed that tattoos or ‘scribbles’ were not very good for our bodies. At that moment, I think he finally connected why he had gotten in trouble for drawing on himself. He then proceeded to feel his own arms. “I liked that man, daddy. His arms were cool.” I frowned as I watched him trace designs onto his little toddler arms with his finger. But before I could say anything to convince my three year old not to sneak out and get tattoos, he said, “I don’t want the scribbles though, daddy. I like your arms better.” He then reached out again to feel my arms. I smiled at him and told him, he was a good boy, but mainly I felt relieved. I was glad that I was a good example for my son. It’s not that the man wasn’t, it’s that my son chose to be like his dad rather than someone he thought was cool.

So I overheard one of my daughters talking to her friends the other day.

I wasn’t eavesdropping…okay, I was. But that’s what good parents do, right?

Anyway, one of the girls said something like, “I think we should love ourselves the way we are. It shouldn’t matter what other people think.”

I thought, “Okay, I can get on board with that”. Apparently the other girls agreed because they started giving examples. One of them then said, “Yeah, like it shouldn’t matter what I weigh.” Again, I agree.

She continued, “I should be able to eat whatever I want!”

Yeah, I agr…wait, what?!

My daughter chimed in, “Yeah! I love food. I love eating. I shouldn’t feel bad about what I eat!”

Warning bells were sounding in my head. This conversation was getting convoluted real fast! I didn’t want them to know that I had been eavesdropping, but I had to stop this twisted, tween logic. I sliced some fruit and veggies with carmel dip and ranch and told them to come into the kitchen for a snack. It worked. They cheered and joined me and my wife for some healthy snacks where we could change

Fast forward a couple hours. All my daughter’s friends had gone home and we had a chance to sit down. I mentioned I had heard their conversation and wanted to ask her a couple questions. Fortunately we have a good relationship so we can and often do have great conversations.

I asked her what she thought “loving herself” really meant. She said, “It means accepting myself exactly the way I am. I should be okay with the way I am.” I told her I agreed but wanted her to consider some things. And I offer them for your consideration:

  1. Are there some things about ourselves that we shouldn’t be okay with? Don’t get me wrong…I think a health dose of self-esteem is necessary, but ignoring bad habits is just idiotic. Take weight as an example. I think we should absolutely love our bodies. They are beautiful no matter their shape, color, or height. But does that mean I should be able to eat whatever I want? My eating habits aren’t just about my weight, they’re about my health. Should I be okay with my decisions leading to diabetes,  heart disease, or dangerously high cholesterol? So, I ask again, are there some things about myself that I shouldn’t be okay with?
  2. How much of what I’m told to love about myself is just social conditioning? This may not make much sense, but consider the “Truth about Tobacco” campaign. It’s pretty easy to see how the tobacco industry had for years conditioned us to see that there was nothing wrong with tobacco use. Just because the world said it was okay didn’t make it the truth.
  3. Are you really okay with the way you are? This one can get sticky, but let me illustrate with the example I used with my daughter. I asked her, “Are you okay with the fact that you can’t drive? Are you okay with the fact that you have no money? Are you okay that you don’t have a cell phone? Are you okay with your current curfew?” Her answer was obviously no. I tried to make the comparison then that because she wants to be better, to be more than she is right now, that maybe there are some things that it’s okay to not be okay with about herself. AGAIN, not in a degrading way, but in a “I’m-here-to-do-something-more-with-my-life” kind of way.

Well, take it for what it’s worth. But I guess for me the lesson is this:

Loving Yourself doesn’t mean you’ve “arrived”. You can love yourself and love to improve too.