Monthly Archives: June 2015

This is What You are Supposed to Do

Are you doing what you are supposed to do? Let’s talk about that.


Our Poor Children

When our boys were little we signed them up for soccer with a local league. We purchased the shirts and special colored socks and took them to practices and games. They had some fun, I think. When they were a little older we signed them up for baseball. One of them did NOT enjoy that. We pretty much required him to finish the season. It wasn’t fun for him and I’m fairly sure it was worse for us. But we did the sports thing for a time with them. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

No Bob Vila Here

I am perhaps the most unhandy man you’ll ever meet. When there is a leak in a pipe I can quickly turn it into a flood. I’m not great with a lot of DIY and frankly it’s not my favorite thing. But I do it when necessary. But the day after Sally and my 10th wedding anniversary we closed on buying our house. This made me the resident handy man. Not good. Why did we buy a house? Because it’s the American Dream. It’s what you are supposed to do.

Other Things

You’re supposed to go to college, you’re supposed to get a good job, you’re supposed to work 40 or more hours a week whether you like your job or not, you’re supposed to get car payments. There are a lot of things we are supposed to do.

What Happened Recently

For the past several months I’ve been working and planning for a particular goal. When I first set the goal I thought it was a good thing. I was pretty sure it was what I was supposed to do. When Sally expressed concern that she didn’t see how it would work I came up with reasons why it would be fine. Reasons that I believed, mostly. But it’s become apparent to me lately that it’s not something I really want to do. Or at least not the thing I want to really make my focus. So it’s become a burden. The thing I thought at first I wanted to do, then came to the point where I believed it was what I was supposed to do was dragging me down. Emotionally, spiritually and in our relationship. It became a burden.

A Few Days Ago

Sally and I were talking about where we are and where we are going. I expressed how I was feeling about the issue. She said something very clear and piercing. “Why didn’t you tell me about this a long time ago?” Of course the answer was that I was afraid. I assumed that she also thought it was something I was supposed to do. But I found out that the truth is she wants me to do what I want to do. What I feel is right for how I am wired. For where God has me at this moment. She was so very understanding and gracious. As for me? I felt a HUGE release. The burden was gone. It’s been amazing! I feel reinvigorated. I sent an email to a trusted friend who has direct experience on both paths to get her input. She was all for the change and even suggested a method to make it go more smoothly. She showed Sally and me a non-public option that would soon be opening up, giving us an early chance to jump in if we liked. Here is a truth. When you take action to follow your passion God starts opening doors. When you take action to follow your passion God starts opening doors. Click To Tweet

The Moral of this Story

Here is what I have learned…again. God has uniquely created each of us with gifts, talents, passions and desires. He doesn’t want us to just survive, He wants us to live out our best life. But if we do what our peers, parents, or society expect us to do or even what we feel we are supposed to do then we are not living out the amazing life God has for us. Please let me clarify. The ability to do something well doesn’t mean you are required to do that thing. The ability to do something well doesn't mean you are required to do that thing. Click To Tweet When you align your gifts, talents, and passions with following after God then you will not only enjoy what you are doing you can be sure that God will make it help others in ways you could never have imagined.

Have I Missed My Chance?

Before I close out I do want to cover this point. You may feel as if you are too old to make a change. That too much of life has passed. But it’s not true. As long as you still have breath God has a great purpose for you!

It is quite common and healthy to at any point in life, to draw a line in the sand and take a fresh look at who you are, what you are doing and where you want to go.
-Dan Miller in 48 Days to the Work You Love

It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 88, God has you here for a reason…and it’s not to just survive. You are meant to thrive! So don’t do what you think you are “supposed to do.” Search your heart for what you know God has created you to do. One last note. Most of us believe that God has “called” us to do one specific job for our entire lives. While that may be true for a small percentage of people it’s generally not the case. As you learn and grow God may change the direction of your life several times…and that’s ok. Don’t confuse your passions and gifts with your job. Your passions and gifts are applicable to many different jobs, or to other models such as freelancing, contracting or entrepreneurship. So don’t do what you are supposed to do, do instead what you were created to do.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
-Ephesians 2:10

Love you all!


One Way to Stop All Arguments

In case our post Stop Fighting isn’t where you are at right now then let’s talk about how to stop all arguments.


How Many?

It takes exactly one person to start an argument. Just one. How many does it take to maintain an argument? Two. It takes two.  Just like keeping a fire going requires both fuel and oxygen keeping an argument alive requires at least two participants.

I Have a Friend

I know a person, let’s call her Angela (not her real name). She came from a family where the father liked to argue. Loudly. So Angela, being raised in such an environment, assumed that was normal in relationships. She mastered the art of defending her point at all costs and extreme volume. Eventually Angela met and married a man that we will call Bill (still not a real name, stay with me). The first time there was a disagreement Angela went straight to default mode of shouting. But Bill? He wasn’t a shouter. After a few times of this Angela finally found why. Bill refused to engage. He didn’t believe in solving problems in that way. Angela learned fairly quickly that arguments with Bill were pointless. Guess what? Angela and Bill still disagree at times. But they don’t fight. Oh, they’ve been married a LONG time and are quite happy.

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
-Proverbs 15:1

Did You See It?

What did Bill do? Bill knew the secret of stopping any argument. It’s very simple. You don’t engage. That’s it. When your spouse moves into “shout mode” then just don’t shout back. I’m going to get some push back on that most likely. But I’m ok with it. The only person who can make me shout at my spouse is ME. Let me say that one more time: The only person who can make me shout at my spouse is me. Click To Tweet

The Wrap Up

Will this be easy? Not if in the past both of you are used to loud arguments. If one person refuses to engage then the first person may get even angrier…but only briefly. Will it be comfortable? Not the first time. But it will be a little more the second. Each time it gets a bit easier. If you keep up the habit of not engaging in an anger level “discussion” then eventually your spouse will as well.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
-Luke 6:38

Love you all!


Happily Flexible

What you may be expecting is a post about yoga. What you are getting is a post about Tennessee.


A couple of weeks ago Sally and I spent a few days in the Volunteer State, Tennessee. The original purpose was to attend Dan Miller’s Coaching with Excellence event. (Side note, Dan is the author of 48 Days to the Work You Love an several other books and resources. To get more details on Dan’s great content or live events check out my affiliate link.) It worked out that we would be in Tennessee over our anniversary so we decided to stay an extra couple of days to celebrate!

What We Planned

After the coaching event in Franklin, TN (which we attended in order to learn more about launching our marriage coaching practice…details coming soon) we drove 3 hours to Pigeon Forge, TN. Pigeon Forge is located near the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and is also home to Dollywood, a Dolly Parton owned amusement park with a Smokey Mountains theme. All of our married life Sally has been telling me about Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and how she had loved visiting them as a child. She talked about going to Dollywood which her family had not done, but she wanted to check it out. So our plan was go to Dollywood and then possibly to Gatlinburg the next day.

The Warning

The morning of our first full day in Pigeon Forge we woke up, went for a bit of a run and then visited the trolley office to buy wristbands so we could have unlimited rides on the Pigeon Forge trolley system all day. It would save us a lot of frustration in traffic and at least $10 to park at Dollywood. We chatted with the wonderfully sweet southern woman at the office for quite some time. She let us know that we could expect VERY long lines at Dollywood (it was the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend) and would likely be disappointed due to not riding many rides.

What We Did

In our hotel and the trolley office they had many brochures for local attractions. One of them was a place called Ober Gatlinburg, a ski area and amusement park above Gatlinburg, TN. On the wise advice of the local woman Sally decided... Click To Tweet On the wise advice of the local woman Sally decided to skip Dollywood and the long lines and opt to check out Gatlinburg and Ober Gatlinburg. Note that she had been talking about Dollywood for TWO DECADES! But she determined (and I readily agreed) that we didn’t want to spend our anniversary standing in long lines all day. She was completely flexible and happy about it.

The Result

We spent a few hours enjoying downtown Gatlinburg (we got to see a celebrity, Rick Hurst who played Cletus on the Dukes of Hazzard TV show). We enjoyed a VERY tasty lunch at No Way Jose’s, checked out some great local shopping (I purchased flavorful Mountain Q Chipotle Barbeque Sauce at Pepper Palace) and just had fun checking out the area. Then we went to the Ober Gatlinburg tram and rode it several miles up the mountain (not our video :-)). Once at the Ober Gatlinburg park we rode the Ski Mountain Coaster, took the ski lift all the way to the top of Mt. Harrison and had a FANTASTIC time! We stayed up until well after sunset and rode the tram back down in the dark. So beautiful! Overall changing our plans from Dollywood to Gatlinburg and Ober Gatlinburg worked out very well!


What’s the Point?

Although I wrote a fair amount about a portion of our trip, that’s not really the point of this post. The point is that Sally was happy to be flexible and change plans on the fly. She looked at the options and made a change without any problem. I asked more than once if she would rather go to Dollywood…but she was all in for Gatlinburg instead.

The Questions

I’ll finish this up with a couple of questions for you my friends. When circumstances change around you what is your response? When circumstances change around you what is your response? Click To Tweet Are you rigid and demand that everything still go with your original plan, even though it may no longer be practical? Or perhaps are you ok with changing when necessary? Not begrudgingly, but with happiness! I don’t mean compromising principles, but just in everyday life how do you respond to change. Change is inevitable and those who accept it with joy and anticipation will have a much happier marriage than those who don’t.

Love you all!


Insert Words Here

Yes the title has something to do with the post. No it’s not a “choose your own adventure” post.


How We Communicate

When we communicate with other people there are really two areas, verbal and non-verbal. The verbal part is all about words (in case you weren’t sure ;-)) and non-verbal means body language, actions and the like. Today’s topic is words. Yay!

The Simplest and Hardest Thing

Speaking to another person is simple, we’ve been doing it for decades. Putting words together in sentences, attempting to express ourselves, making requests, offering assistance, ordering pizza, etc. Words are simple. Words are hard. I’m not sure how you were raised, but there is a lot in my background that was focused on negative words. In fact an article in notes that toddlers hear the word “No” 400 times per day! But let’s not focus on “no”, let’s broaden this out a bit.

The Words I Use

The words I use impact me. If I refer to a person or situation negatively, for example “I hate the commute to work” then I’m simply making it worse. Declaring hatred for anything makes the emotion even stronger. My words affect my attitude. But a simple change in words can make it better. Please read this next part carefully. Everything you experience goes through the filter of your mind. Your mind is the interpreter for whatever happens in your day. Most of what you encounter is not inherently good or bad…but the mind can make it one or the other.

I’m Talking To Me Here

Before we get all “positive mental attitude” here I want to make a statement. Most of us think that how we see the world is the only way it should be seen. Most of us think that how we see the world is the only way it should be seen. Click To Tweet In other words our way is the only right way. Now, there are certain absolutes. Good and evil do exist and no amount of interpretation will make one become the other. But the idea that I’m ALWAYS right and any other opinion is NEVER right is dangerously arrogant. This is an area where I have struggled many times.

The Trick

Ok, back to the topic at hand. One aspect of maturity is the ability to stand back from our emotions and react rationally. If you are a Christian you recognize this as an act of the Holy Spirit in you. I don’t want the words that I say to come from feelings in the heat of the moment. I want the words that I say to come from the core of my value system. For that to happen I need to make sure of two things: I spend a lot of time working on my value system and I do everything I can to not let my emotions affect my words. Working on my value system means putting valuable and positive information into my mind. Reading the Bible, listening to great podcasts, going to growth focused events, learning from books deigned to foster those values and spending time with people who share those values. (For more on this check out the post What I Do).


Several years ago a group of us went through a Bible study from Andy Stanley titled Pause. The premise was that at every point of decision or action there is a moment when we have the opportunity to pause. When we pause we allow our value system to catch up and take control of our next words or actions (for Christians we again recognize the Holy Spirit here). It’s an extension of the adage, “Think before you speak.” We’ve all been there. In the middle of a highly charged emotional situation we are acting on our feelings it feels like another person is controlling our words and actions. Just before that was our “pause” moment. As we spend more time working on our value system we will be more aware of each “pause” moment…and more inclined to take that better path.

Bringing this Back To Marriage

The person with whom I spend the most time is the the person I could hurt the most. My actions and especially my words can make or break our relationship. If you’ve been reading this blog for long you know how I speak to my wife. You know I almost never use her name when speaking to her. I love her name and the sound of it. It’s a beautiful name. But much more often I refer to her as “my love”, “pretty girl” and sometimes, “my lovely bride”. There are several reasons for this but here is a big one for any marriage. Using terms of endearment will endear you to her. Your words matter to both of you. Using terms of endearment will endear you to her. Click To Tweet

The Wrap Up

There is one simple action step here. I follow it every day. Spend time putting more into your mind that supports your value system. Your words will change as your mind is changed.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
-Luke 6:45

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
-Romans 12:2

Love you all!