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“The focus of Lesson 1 is Newton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia. Newton’s first law of motion is often stated as: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/newtlaws/Lesson-1/Newton-s-First-Law

Does it ever feel like you can’t stop moving?

Even when you lie down to sleep your brain keeps going.

We’ve conditioned ourselves to go, go, go, and the more I experience life it seems like inertia might just be our enemy sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a person of action. I want to be busy getting things done – things that matter.

Here’s the problem: We are also directed to “be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

How can we be still when everything in us seems to be leaching forward?

The discipline of stillness takes intentionality. It takes purpose. It takes an all out resistance to our natural tendency to move.

According to Newton’s 1st Law of Motion, we actually need an unbalanced force to stop us or to change our direction.

I’ve experienced these kinds of unbalanced forces before. Like the time my wife was hospitalized leaving me with two young kids to care for while running around between home, the hospital, and work. Or like the time when I received a call from my Dad telling me my Mom had been diagnosed with “Early Onset Alzheimer’s Progression.”

Sometimes these unbalanced forces can seem catastrophic at the time. When we step back, these might actually be the things we need to re-calibrate us – to cause us to stop, to think, to be still.

Recently, I have felt inertia taking over in my life. Some of it is fantastic. But some things in my life require that unbalanced force to force me into a better pattern or position.

I’m not waiting for something catastrophic; I want to take the right next to step starting now. I want to slow down and even stop to take in life, to connect with my Creator, and to make sure I’m on the right path.

How about you? What helps you slow down when it seems like life is moving at a breakneck speed? Share your thoughts in the comments.

“Maintenance is terribly important.”

Manolo Blahnik

I went to the dentist this morning for a cleaning.  When the dental hygienist told me it was time for a periodontal exam, I cringed.  I have done a terrible job flossing since my last appointment, and I knew it would show in the exam.  Sure enough, there were a few areas in my mouth that showed my lack of daily dental maintenance.  My teeth were fine, but my gums need some work.  Thankfully, it’s not too late.  I have time to turn things around and to improve the health of my mouth.

If we don’t maintain our oral health, we will lose our teeth.

If we don’t maintain our automobiles, our cars will eventually need a significant repair.

If we don’t maintain our fitness by exercising and eating well, we will likely face an early death along with other health challenges.

Maintenance is really, really important – in every area of our lives.

What’s the condition of your heart?  I’m not talking about the organ in your chest.  I’m talking about your soul.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Mark 8:36

What are you doing to maintain your soul?

Don’t forget to take care of your soul.

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

When it comes to your soul, what does your maintenance look like?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

The Choice to GO!

October 16, 2017 — 4 Comments

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

Confucius

 

Stop or Go?

 

It’s Monday morning, and you have a choice.

You can stay in bed or wallow in the memories of the weekend.

Or you can embrace the opportunity that awaits you in the week ahead.

I choose to embrace what is waiting for me today and in the week ahead.  I choose to look for the green light in my path.

A good way to get started is to get some exercise, spend some time in God’s Word, and eat some breakfast.

Choose to start the week with a positive attitude no matter what you are about to face.

What’s on my agenda for this week?  Dynamic Marriage tonight, H.O.P.E. tomorrow night, dentist appointment tomorrow morning, Stretched Men Group on Thursday night, continuing the performance evaluation process at work, and working on my book launch.  These things and more are the opportunities I am embracing as I head into a new week.

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.  Psalm 118:24

What’s on your agenda this week?  Where do you see a GREEN LIGHT in your path?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

“If you don’t take a Sabbath, something is wrong. You’re doing too much, you’re being too much in charge. You’ve got to quit, one day a week, and just watch what God is doing when you’re not doing anything.”

Eugene H. Peterson

This morning, I’m sitting in Starbucks.  I often use this time before church to write, to read, and to observe.  I treasure this time as it gives me an opportunity to pause – to collect myself for an hour or two.

Life has been moving at a blistering pace lately.  Leanne and I are leading an incredible marriage class at our church.  My mastermind group for men is gaining momentum as we get further into the semester.  Work has been consuming as we navigate through the performance evaluation process.  Last weekend, we visited Grove City College as Isaac moves closer to college.  This weekend, Hannah is home for fall break.  And I’m in the middle of getting my book ready for release.

In my reading time this morning, I read an article about hustle and balance by my friend, Ellory Wells.  In the article, Ellory explains why he is choosing hustle right now.  I get it!  I’m a hustler for sure.  BUT… I’m also convinced we need SABBATH.  We need rest from time to time.  We need the intentional moments and opportunities to connect with our God, our family, our friends, and even ourselves.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”  Exodus 20:8-11

My Sunday morning Starbucks time is part of my SABBATH experience.

Today, I’ll go to church; I’ll have lunch with my family before Hannah heads back to Messiah College; I’ll probably take a nap in front of a football game; and I’ll catch my breath.

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”  Mark 2:27

Do you make time for SABBATH?  What does SABBATH mean to you?  How would your life be different if you really incorporated SABBATH into your life?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

Thomas A. Edison

Being busy has become a status symbol in our culture.  If you’re not busy, you’re not accomplishing anything.  That’s what society is telling us.

What do you want to accomplish today?

I want to work on my book.  I want to schedule several blog posts and emails to the people on my email list.  I would like to talk to my daughter (who is away at college) on Facetime.  I’d like to take at least 10,000 steps.

What do you want to accomplish this week?

I want to write and give my next Toastmasters speech.  I want to schedule an appointment with my tax accountant.  I would like to clean up the house to make sure we are ready for any showings that might happen this week.  I’d like to meet one-on-one with my team members.

What do you want to accomplish this year?

I want to publish my next book (Rooftop Reflections).  I plan to go to Guatemala and build more houses.  I’d like to complete my Advanced Communicator Silver and my Advanced Leader Silver for Toastmasters.  I would like to move up at my company.  I plan to complete Dynamic Marriage Facilitator Training with my wife.  I hope to sell my house and downsize.

It’s not a bad idea to have plans for our days weeks, months, and years.  After all, “if we fail to plan, we should plan to fail.”  But what if our short-term goals and accomplishments don’t match up with our long-term objectives?

What does success look like to you?  When you reach the end of your life what do you want to have accomplished?

I think these are two very important questions to ponder.  And we need to have the answers to these questions in mind as we plan out our short-term goals and our plans for the next days, weeks, and months.

You will not succeed in meeting your long-term (life-time) goals by accident.  You must be intentional.  You must begin with the end in mind.

Here are a few of my long-term goals:

  1. I’m going to build 100+ houses in Guatemala for widows and orphans.
  2. My wife and I are going to be known as marriage builders.
  3. I will have deep relationships with my wife, my kids, my future grandchildren, and a few close friends.
  4. I will be known as a good steward, a generous person, and a role model.
  5. I will mentor other leaders, couples, and men in order to leave a legacy that outlives me and my name.

These are just some of my goals.  Knowing these, I’m in a much better position to answer the initial questions asked at the beginning of this post.

Being busy is a complete waste of time when we are busy doing the wrong things.  Be intentional in your busyness!

Over the next few days, I’ll be sending out additional information to those on my email list about living intentionally today.  If you want to get these emails, make sure you are on the list.  Sign up below!

What are you doing today?  How do your actions today match up with your long-term plans for your life?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

Blur

January 12, 2017 — 4 Comments

“My life has been such a blur since I was 18, 19 years old. I haven’t even had time to contemplate my own life. By forcing yourself to write your life story you learn a great deal about yourself.”

Grant Achatz

Is it just me, or does life seem to be a blur for you at times?

Life goes by so quickly.  And technology isn’t helping things.  Within a fraction of a second, I can be virtually anywhere via the internet.  News spreads quickly across the screens of our cell phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions.  Within seconds of a major world catastrophe, terrorist event, or celebrity death, the whole world knows about it.

And people expect instant replies to their emails, text messages, and social media attempts to reach out.

We are growing up in a world where people are developing additions to their cell phones.  They can’t go more than a few minutes or even a few seconds without looking at their “smart” phones.

As a parent, it seems like life has passed me by in the matter of a few moments.  Yesterday, my daughter was born, and today she’s a freshman in college.  My son was born yesterday, and now he is driving his own car.

And the day before yesterday, I married the woman of my dreams, and now we’ve been married for over twenty years.  (She looks the same, but I’m sure I’ve added some gray hairs, some wrinkles, and some pounds around my waistline.

It all can become depressing is we let these thoughts consume us.

For that reason, we must fight against the blur.

  • We must learn to stop and smell the roses.
  • We must learn to slow down and enjoy the beautiful moments of life.
  • We must learn to give thanks for the blessings of each moment, each day, and each relationship.
  • We must learn to prune our schedules, so we can spend our time on the things and with the people who matter most.
  • We must learn that in the frailty and brevity of life that we must be intentional in all things – in the words we share with others, in the actions we take, in the thoughts that run through our heads, and in the moments between the milestones of life.

Are you going to let life be a blur?  Or are you going to do something about it?

Make the most of every opportunity.

Let your words be seasoned with salt.

Embrace the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens of life.

In fact, suck the very marrow out of life with each breath you breathe, each step you take, and each move you make.

Don’t let your life be a blur.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.  Isaiah 40:8 ESV

What’s the speedometer of your life say right now?  Are you going 100+ miles per hour?  Or are you going slowly these days?  Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.


“Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Forest Gump

Life has been full of twists, turns, and surprises lately.

I’m grateful for what I’ve been experiencing (for the most part), but I’m also a bit overwhelmed.  I think life has a way of doing this to us sometimes.  We have all kinds of brilliant ideas.  We somehow think we can do it all.  We make plans, and God laughs.

I’ve been going 100 mph (miles per hour), and it feels as thought I need to find time to take a breath.  

Not just a quick breath, but a deep breath.  One of those breaths you take when you walk outside on a crisp, sunny morning and you just want to take it all into your lungs and into your very being.  That’s the kind of breath I need.

We’re eleven days into the new year.  I refuse to give up on my goals for 2017, but I must remember to pace myself.  I must remember to stop and smell the roses – to stop and enjoy the moment – to pause and breathe.

I don’t know what you are experiencing right now, but I want to encourage you to take a few moments in your day to join me.

My word for 2017 is PRESENT.

In order for me to be truly present, I must learn to be still – to listen – to breathe.

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Psalm 46:10

By the way, I can’t eat chocolate.  Oh well.

How is life treating you these days?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

3-ways-to-find-the-validation-you-need

Everybody is looking for validation, no matter who you are, and I think that’s a need of the human condition – to look for affection or recognition or validation.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Over the weekend, my wife and I went to see The Wizard of Oz at the Walnut Street Theater.

I’ve seen the movie dozens of time, and the musical held true to the movie with a few additions.

In the story, Dorothy is looking for a way back home.  The Scarecrow is looking for a brain.  The Tin Man is looking for a heart.  And the Lion is looking for courage.

At the end of the story, the Wizard provides a diploma for the Scarecrow, a heart clock for the Tin Man, a medal of bravery for the Lion, and an offer of a balloon ride home for Dorothy.

With these gifts, the Scarecrow begins to think, the Tin Man begins to love, and the Lion begins to believe in himself.  (And Dorothy begins to realize the blessing of her home and family in Kansas.)

The Wizard didn’t really give the Scarecrow a brain, the Tin Man a heart, and the Lion valor.  He simply spoke into their lives and expressed belief in them.  He validated them as creatures who bring value to the Land of Oz.

Do you believe in yourself?  Or do you struggle with confidence, fear, and acceptance?

We all need to be validated.  We all need someone to speak into our lives – someone to believe in us.  We need someone who can tell us we can do it.

Who is that person for you?

My parents have validated me since I was a little boy telling me I was smart, caring, and capable.

My boss at work has validated me since I started working at Siemens over 20 years ago encouraging me to pursue my dreams and challenging me to step into new opportunities.

My wife has validated me since we met reminding me that I am loved.

And honestly, you have validated me letting me know that my words matter and that they are worth reading.  (Thank you!)

We all need to be validated.

What happens when this kind of validation is missing from our lives?

We lose our way.  We find ourselves wandering and lost.  We don’t live our lives to the fullest.  We become voices of doubt and negativity for those around us.

I don’t want to live this way.  I want to live with intention.  I want to live a life that matters.  And I want to be a voice of positivity for others in this world.

Finding validation is critical to our lives.  Here are a few suggestions for find the validation you need:

3 Ways To Find The Validation You Really Need

  1. Look to the ultimate “Validator.”  Look to God.  Remember, He created you, and He created you for a purpose.  He loves you.  He sent His Son to die for you.  You matter to God.  This isn’t meant to be cliché.
  2. Surround yourself with encouragers.  Look for people who lift each other up, and find ways to hang out with these people.  Jim Rohn says “You are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.”  Hang out with people who will encourage you.
  3. Avoid the naysayers.  You may need to separate yourself from people who consistently tell you “You can’t.”  Negative people will suck you into their negativity, and they will prevent you from feeling good about who you are and why you are here.

Finally, I’m guessing there are people in your life who struggle with feelings of inadequacy, feelings of doubt, and feelings of despair.  Take time to be a voice of validation in their lives.

Find the good in others, and help them see it for themselves.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

Do you struggle with self-doubt and self-worth?  How have you overcome these feelings?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

It’s Friday night, and our whole family is home.

(Hannah is home from Messiah College for a short break.)

While Leanne and Isaac were at piano and Hannah was out for a run, I cut the grass ahead of the rainy weather coming tomorrow.  My wife reminded me that working outside is one of the things that refreshes me, so I decided to cut the grass when I arrived home from work.  There something therapeutic about riding the tractor back and forth across my lawn.  I love creating straight lines and cool patterns in my grass, and I always appreciate the way the yard looks after a good mowing.  Tonight, I had to finish cutting the grass with the tractor headlights on so I could see where I was going.  Fall is here and the days are getting shorter.  I don’t exactly like the shorter days, but I do appreciate the different seasons we get to experience here in Pennsylvania.

For dinner tonight, Isaac made crepes.  We first enjoyed dinner crepes with ham and cheese.  Then we pigged out on dessert crepes.  Mine were filled with strawberries, bananas, and whipped cream.  Everyone else in the family put Nutella in their crepes.  This was our first meal together at home in two months since Hannah departed for college.

After a busy day and busy week, it is nice to be home.

If you read my post from yesterday, you’ll know I’m struggling with exhaustion and overcommitment.  In my post, I started to ponder this question:  “What refreshes me?”

After I road the post, Leanne came and sat down on the couch next to me, and she said I looked more relaxed.

One of the things that refreshes me is writing.

I think I forgot this.  Or maybe I have simply allowed other things to crowd out my time for writing.  It’s crazy how we let this happen.  We find something we’re passionate about (like writing).  We go after it for a while, but then other things wedge themselves into our schedules and we forget to keep doing the thing that brings us the most joy and fulfillment.

For me, I haven’t been very consistent lately when it comes to writing.  I’ve been too busy doing other things.  I’ve been too tired to carve out the time to focus on writing.  And I think it’s had an impact on me.

Writing is cathartic.  It restores my soul.  It fills me up.  It helps me process the challenges of life.  And it simultaneously gives me the opportunity to encourage others.

And I’m back at it again tonight – two nights in a row.  Hannah is cleaning up after dinner.  Leanne is working on breakfast for tomorrow morning.  Isaac is practicing the piano for church on Sunday.  And I’m sitting here in my easy chair – writing, listening, and slowly filling up my tank.

This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.  His mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning.  I’m thankful for an evening to sit, to reflect, and to relax.

It’s Friday night, and I’m thankful for the weekend.

How do you unwind after a busy week?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

ten-keys-to-achieving-excellence

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.

Pat Riley

Are you content with mediocre?  Or do you want to live a life that matters?

I chose the second option.

Living a life that matters requires intentional striving for excellence.

Yesterday, we talked about the nine things holding you back from excellence.  Today, let’s look at the keys to making excellence a reality in our lives.

10 Keys to Achieving Excellence

  1. Determine your priorities.  Take time to figure out your priorities.  List them in order from one to ten (or twenty).  For example, here’s an example of what your priorities might look like:  1) God, 2) Me, 3) Spouse, 4) Kids, 5) Health, 6) Job, 7) Family, 8) Friends, 9) Side Hustle, 10) Neighbors.  It’s important to know our priorities to help refine our focus.  If God is really my number one priority, my calendar should reflect this importance.  Making the first things first is part of becoming excellent.
  2. Get sleep.  Exercise.  Take a break.  Excellence requires the best of us.  We prevent ourselves from achieving greatness when we are worn out, exhausted, and out of shape.  Sleep, exercise, and rest will give you the energy to make excellence a reality in your life.
  3. Just say “No.”  Saying no to things that distract us from our ultimate goal is crucial to achieving excellence.  We must create margin in our schedules to pursue the things that really matter most to us.
  4. Get a coach.  A coach will help bring clarity to your life and will push you to excellence.  The wisdom and encouragement of a coach can take you to a whole new level.
  5. Find accountability.  Plug into someone who will ask you the hard questions and will keep you on track to achieve the goals you are pursuing.  Make sure you find someone who is dependable.  Accountability only works when you find someone who will be consistent in asking the tough questions.
  6. Plug into experts.  Who is already doing excellent things in the area(s) you are pursuing.  Talk to them.  Read their material.  Watch their videos.  Find out how they made it to the top of their fields.
  7. Practice.  Practice.  Practice.  If you want to be excellent, you have to put in the practice time.  If you want to be an excellent piano player, practice the piano every day.  If you want to be an excellent writer, write every day.
  8. Create a road map to success.  “If you fail to plan, you should plan to fail.”  I don’t know who said this, but it’s true.  If you want to achieve excellence, you have to put in the time, energy, and effort up front to map out your journey.
  9. Get off the couch and get moving.  Excellence will not come to you.  You have to go get it.  Stop being lazy.  Make your excellent dreams a reality by taking action TODAY!
  10. Keep going.  Don’t get discouraged.  Don’t lose momentum.  Get rid of the obstacles in your life, and press on to the goal for which you are aiming.

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

Steve Jobs

If you want to live a life of excellence, it’s time to get going – NOW!

What advice do you have for someone who wants to achieve excellence?  Share your thoughts in the comments.