Summer = Renewal, Relaxing, and Reading!

In spite of the wretched heat in Texas, summer is still one of my favorite times of the year. How do you feel about the summer months? To me, it is a perfect time to evaluate and possibly renew our commitment to a goal made on January 1st and broken on January 5th. Relaxing is a huge part of summer, and an exotic location isn’t needed. My wife and I will sit in our garage and watch the rain storms in lawn chairs (until the tornado sirens go off). It seems a popular commitment is getting caught up on books during the summer. A few thoughts about reading. I recently listened to a podcast by entrepreneur and speaker Ed Mylett (a great one to follow on social media if you need a kick of inspiration and motivation). Ed mentions that he intentionally wrote his best selling book less than 100 pages because of the short attention spans of readers – if they are going to even read at all. He also commented on how the majority of everyone is busy and multitasking – thus the rise in podcasts, audiobooks, and even the comeback of radio. A few years ago it was all about having videos to promote whatever we were trying to get out “there”. Now the shift is audio because people can access it in their cars,  while working out, on a flight, cleaning the house, or waiting forever in the doctor’s office. Ed also mentioned that another change is people wanting information, knowledge, and self-improvement instead of listening to music. Anyway, back to reading. Here is the reprint of an article I wrote for a blog called “The Nerdy Book Club.” Please let me know your thoughts on it or anything else mentioned above in the comments section 🙂


Maybe you have the same problem I do. I love to read. Not only to be reading one book but multiple books at the same time. Currently on my nightstand, there are books about archeology, comedy, magic, Greek mythology, crockpot cooking, and my faith. I don’t know how or when I developed this habit, it was never encouraged by any of my teachers.  Maybe it is that love of mysteries and me wanting to know the end (even if the book is non-fiction). Perhaps I don’t have the patience to read one book at a time. All the while wondering what is going on in those other books? I can’t help that I have a multitude of curiosities about life and the world we live in.

I call it Remote Control Reading. Just like many of us “surf” from channel to channel endlessly on the television – the same thing can happen by changing from one book to another. Not even finishing a chapter in the book on the top of your pile before switching to a book at the bottom. Does this sound familiar? Included with this practice is the nagging voice in the back of our minds questioning, “Am I ever going to finish any of these books???”

I’m here to proclaim freedom to you – It is 100% okay to read multiple books at one time! I already mentioned how many of us flip from channel to channel without thinking about it. Reflecting on the foods we enjoy – that’s what a buffet is all about. How about the vast amount of restaurant choices that swarm our minds every time we contemplate going out to eat? The movies would be boring if there weren’t so many different genres of films available. How about the different styles of music we constantly switch to for one day?

Not only is it okay to participate in Remote Control Reading – here are three other areas about reading that you’ve maybe felt guilty or even shamed about – and each one of them is completely all right!!!

It’s okay to not finish a book. This one took me a long time to get over, especially if I paid money for it. I was an adult when I finally would accept this. What makes this situation even worse is when you receive a book as a gift from someone like Aunt Gertrude and she says, “This is perfect for you – let me know what you think about it when you’re finished.” It is a subject she is passionate about and you have no interest in it. Plus, the book is 400 pages long. Yikes!
It’s okay to fall asleep while reading. We might think, “Ugh – I’m never going to finish this book – I keep falling asleep!” No problem. What a great way to calm your body, mind, and brain – and perhaps you’re adding some creative material to your subconscious for dreams that night! Think about how much screen time you’ve had during the day. Will being on our electronic devices lead us into a deeper sleep – or move us toward unintentionally wiring ourselves up?
It’s okay to not like electronic books. Some folks love having a portable library on their electronic devices. They can bring their entire collection with them to the beach, on an airplane, or while sitting in a waiting room. I tried it – and personally can’t stand it. Part of my love for books comes from displaying them, accumulating collections, marking them up with pens and highlighters, physically sharing them with others, and smelling them (just kidding, sort of). Plus, electronic screens are not the best way to calm your mind and brain down before going to bed (see #2 for a great suggestion how)!
So next time you catch yourself reading multiple books at one time – enjoy and embrace it – and do not feel one ounce of guilt! You are part of a select group – The Remote Control Readers!


Dave 🙂

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This Summer – Cash or Charge???

vacation quoteSeveral years ago in one of my graduate classes, the professor had us fill out a “getting to know you” sheet.  One of the prompts read:  “Fondest memories as a child _______.”  After a short while, the class shared their results.  Approximately 99% of the class shared their fondest memory was taking trips in the car as a family.  Of course, we all complained about the lack of quality (or no) AC, annoying siblings, endless hours in the vehicle staring at desolate landscapes, and various unpleasant odors that accompanied the trips.  However, despite having no smartphones or tablets, videos, or MP3 players (I’m really dating myself) – we all agreed those were the most cherished parts of growing up.  The destinations, of course – but also the journey there:  Stopping at hole-in-the-wall cafes/dives, using our creativity to invent games, spotting license plates from other states (still can’t believe we saw Hawaii one time), and praying feverishly that the hotel had anything that resembled a swimming pool.

Fast-forward to the present day.  As we occasionally reflect and discuss our favorite memories as a family – the majority of conversations hover around vacations, the experiences we’ve encountered, the “unique” individuals that crossed our paths (usually resulting in deep belly laughter), and the eager anticipation for our next trip.

However, most of these memories come at a price beyond the trip.  Confession time (gulp). Like the typical American consumer featured in some statistical chart somewhere – many of our trips have been funded by credit cards.  I would love to live on cash only as many books, seminars, and financial experts proclaim.  Excuse time:  Our vehicles break down, teenagers eat a lot,  medical expenses, holidays and birthdays, outdated appliances stop working, one of us always needs some type of new clothing, home repairs, two kids in college, did I mention teenagers eat a lot? 🙂   I know, it’s called Life.

Like the majority of families, we try to save.  But something seems to always come up that drains the “emergency” fund.  I’m reminded of this obscure verse in the book of Haggai:  “. . . and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” (Haggai 1: 6b)

So . . . thinking about the quote in the picture and your own experiences – what is your opinion?  Is there a way to save for a vacation beyond hopefully receiving a tax refund check?  Only go if you have the cash?  Charge it now, pay later?  What about the opening scenes from the movie Up where Mr. & Mrs Fredricksen never got to take the trip of their dreams because things were always breaking down?  Are you willing to work a year or two extra to pay off credit cards?  Please compare and contrast the two verses below:

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”  James 4: 14

Final thought:  It seems like yesterday we were signing paperwork for daycare.  Now, we are signing paperwork for colleges.  It goes so fast with the kids – I personally want to experience as much as possible now, even if it means I have to pay for it later 🙂

What say you?  Please comment below . . .


Dave 🙂

P.S. If you haven’t received a copy of my free ebook “31 Quotes to Destress Your Life” – you’re missing out! It was designed visually and linguistically (such big words!) to help you calm down, reorient, refocus, and fight against anxiety. Just send me an email at and put “destress” in the subject line. I’ll then send you a copy when I have a free moment and I’m not stressed out 🙂



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Is a Stress Free Life Possible???

A basic “not really” to the subject line question. Deep inside, we keep hoping for the stress in our daily grind to go away. Shouldn’t life be getting easier the older we get??? I tried to find some impressively overwhelming statistic on stress and anxiety. Then I thought – why should I? We all know it rears its ugly head in our lives.

Part of the challenge is many of us aren’t satisfied with the status quo, being average, or missing out on our true calling. I recently heard an interview with leadership expert and author Jon Maxwell. His wisdom helps shed some light on this subject:  “Motion produces friction. Anything you are wanting to do of significance will be an uphill battle – always! Pursuing success makes life harder.”

Stress also comes when we are unprepared.

The workload at our new job is so much more than we anticipated.

The transmission goes out on our car and savings is at ground zero right now.

We start seeing cracks in the foundation of our home and our savings is at ground zero right now.

Our child comes to us with tears in their eyes saying, “I need to tell you something . . . “

The doctor reenters the room and with a serious tone and says, “I need to tell you something . . . “

And on and on and on it goes. In fact, speaker and author Christine Caine puts it this way: “Trials and tribulations do not look for a clear date on your calendar.”

So what do we do about stress? Throw up our arms in defeat and say “I give!” There are other choices. Stress can be a motivator for change. We can walk through it instead of attempting to go around it. We can face it instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. We can focus on solutions and what we can control. We can fill our minds with positive messages, hope, and faith.

To help you with filling your mind with positivity – I would like to send you a free resource I created called 31 Quotes to Destress Your Life. It is a full-color ebook packed with inspiration and hope to help you at the moment of your anxiety.

To receive the ebook just send an email to (the auto connect wouldn’t work – please cut and paste this email address to your email provider)

and put in the subject line “destress”. Since I’m a one-man show and don’t have robots sending my email – the book might not instantaneously arrive – but it eventually will!!!


Dave 🙂

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What Would Walt Say?

Almost everyone you encounter has some type of positive reaction when you mention Walt Disney, Disneyland, or Disney movies. I remember patiently waiting all week as a kid for Sunday nights because of the television show “The Wonderful World of Disney”. Plus the anticipation of when his next cartoon feature was coming to our one local theater that showed two movies at a time! And of course, my first visit to the Disney amusement parks.

Below takes place a fictitious interview between myself and Walt Disney. The responses are quotes or summarizations that he actually gave.  My sources are listed at the bottom, one of the books is from 1959!

Dave: Mr. Disney, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me. Let’s start from the beginning.  Please tell us the story of how the world’s most famous character almost never came into existence.

Walt: Sure. In the 1920s, my brother Roy and I had just invented a method for combining live -action films and cartoons. We lived in California, and we ended up selling the films to a distribution company in New York. I also created a cartoon character named Oswald the Rabbit. The films were quite successful, but I had numerous ideas for improvement – all that would take money that I didn’t have. My wife and I took a train to New York in an attempt to re-negotiate the contract for what we were receiving for the cartoons Roy and I were producing. Unfortunately, the distributor offered me well below what I was asking – he told me to take it or leave it. Our contract was broken, and he was able to usurp the rights to Oswald.

I was thoroughly depressed and on the brink of despair. My dreams of owning my own company and providing for my family were crumbling before my eyes. As we boarded the train back to California, my heart was breaking in two. I had no cartoon character with which I could replace the lost Oswald, and no ideas for a new one – cats, dogs, rabbits – all had been used. 

However, the long coast to coast train ride was almost therapeutic. It was exactly what I needed. Soon my creative juices began to flow once again. My dream was being redefined not demolished. I began to get an idea for a new series of cartoons. I was sketching and drawing on the train with wild excitement. As I sat on that train, I started to tell my wife about a new series that I would call “Mickey Mouse.” And the rest is history!

Dave: I love that story – especially your perspective on how your dream was being redefined and not demolished. Let’s face it – most of us do everything possible to avoid failure and rejection.

Walt: It is good to have a failure while you’re young because it teaches you so much. For one thing, it makes you aware that such a thing can happen to anybody, and once you’ve lived through the worst, you’re never quite as vulnerable afterward.

Dave: What encouragement from your experiences can you give to people going through tough times right now?

Walt: In bad times and good, I have never lost my sense of humor or my zest for life. Plus, I have a great love of animals and laughter (he says with a slight chuckle).

Dave: Even though people of all ages enjoy your work, it seems children hold a special place in your heart.

Walt: For a child, encouragement from a grown-up can be a thrilling thing with lasting consequence. It can help fix his objectives, give him confidence to drive unswervingly toward his goal, spell the difference between failure and success.

Dave: Let’s talk about movies. It seems Hollywood has become extremely formulaic: Sequels, superhero movies, and remakes seem to be the norm. And yet these films continue to make millions of dollars and the cycle continues. What’s your philosophy on movie creation?

Walt: We don’t make movies to make more money. We make money to make more movies. I have watched constantly that in our work the highest moral and spiritual standards are upheld, whether my productions deal with fable or with stories of living action.

Dave: I like that – simple, and yet profound. Walt, you have personified the American Dream. What are some of the weaknesses that people might not know about you?

Walt: I can never stand still. I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination. Also, I am a patient listener but opinionated to the point of stubbornness when my mind is made up.

Dave: So much is out there on social media promising instant riches, becoming an overnight success – or the perception that anyone can easily be a YouTube star or self publish a bestselling book. What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business, try something new, begin a hobby, or take a risk that has no guarantee of success?

Walt: People often ask me if I know the secret of success and if I could tell others how to make their dreams come true. My answer is, you do it by working. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Dave: Are you a man of faith?

Walt: I believe firmly in the efficacy of religion, in its powerful influence on a person’s whole life. It helps immeasurably to meet the storm and stress of life and to keep you attuned to the Divine inspiration. Without inspiration, we would perish.

Dave: Mr. Disney, I cannot thank you enough for this visit. You are an American icon and one of my heroes. (We exchange a firm handshake and awkward hug). Any parting words?

Walt: There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main . . . and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life. . . And one final thought – I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing . . . that it was all started by a mouse!


Dave 🙂

P.S. My sources were Power Moments by Michael Cramer, Wisdom: The Book of Knowledge Edition (volume 32) by various contributors and random quotes from Google searches.

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God Speaking . . . or is it just indigestion? (Part 2)

Last post we hit the controversial subject of God speaking. Some of the questions that surfaced were: Is it really His voice? Am I imagining His voice because I want it so bad? How do you know the difference? Do people just say God spoke to them so we won’t question their motives?

I asked that you accept both of these statements if you were going to dive deeper into the issue:

  1. God still speaks.
  2. God loves variety, being unpredictable, and is not formulaic.

In reflection, I believe that God has spoken in the past and continues to speak to me (my thoughts, mind, and heart) through people, sermons, speeches, books, movies, music, art, dreams, situations, nature, and animals (to name a few). Author Dallas Willard has written a book called Hearing God. He comes up with what he calls “The Three Lights” to test whether a message is from God, yourself, or someone/something else. He believes that all three of these need to be in somewhat of alignment with one another if we are going to claim that it is the voice of God. The Three Lights are:

  1. The Bible – God has given His word as a guide, to hear from Him, to attain wisdom, to correct us, and give us direction. He is not going to tell us to do something that contradicts His word. That is why the Bible makes such a great filter for our actions. We should be more like The Bereans (I used to think they were a rock group from the sixties). The book of Acts says that ” . . . the Bereans were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” (Acts 17:11)
  2. Circumstances – Somebody is on your mind and by chance, you run into them. You pray for something and it happens – or it doesn’t happen. Or it happens in a way that you didn’t envision. You ask God whether you should accept a job, move to a new location, pursue a relationship – and the circumstances start to unfold in which way you are being led one way or the other. “You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,”. (Isaiah 30:21)
  3. Impressions of the Spirit – This is the tricky one because it is something that happens on the inside. This is why we need the first two “lights” to help guide us. Frequent phrases used are: “God’s Spirit spoke to my heart.” “I had an inner prompting.” “The Lord impressed upon me.” “I believe God is telling me to _________.” We need God’s discernment the most on this one because it can easily be confused with emotions, feelings, or desires that come from us or another source. It is extremely convenient to say “God told me” – that takes us off the hook, and makes it difficult for anyone to challenge what God told us. King David put it this way in the Psalms:

*Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8)

*I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart. (Psalm 40: 8)

*Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. (Psalm 143: 10)

How do you know that you know? Keep praying about it. Plead with God to show you that it is His voice and you not making it up. That He would direct situations to make His answers obvious. Take some type of action toward what you are seeking God about. Do your part – and also let God do His.

An example that comes to mind for me happened over a decade ago. A new job opportunity became available in my current district – and I was contemplating whether to apply – inner prompting of the Spirit perhaps? There’s nothing in the Bible that talks against applying for a promotion – the Word in agreement perhaps? Three different people approached me at three different times encouraging me to apply for the job – circumstances perhaps? Within a few days of applying – I received an invitation to come in for a panel interview. Wow, The Three Lights were shining brightly!!!

About 1/4 of the way into the interview – a sinking feeling inside me proclaimed, “This is job is not the right fit for me!” How in the world do I exit this gracefully? I was overjoyed when I received a phone call a few days later that I did not receive the job.

Wait a minute – what happened with that whole hearing God and Three Lights thing??? Did I misinterpret His voice? Was it all my imagination? Why didn’t He say, “Don’t do this?” Why didn’t He block the circumstances from me even getting an interview in the first place???

The answer to all of those questions is a resounding “I don’t know!!!”

Maybe I was hearing his voice all of the way – and his final answer was “This isn’t the right position for you.” Maybe He’s all about the process and teaching me a step by step walk and dependence on Him. I’m like most of us in wanting quick, instant, and a one time answer about what to do. I believe He is all about slowing and calming us down.


It is almost a contradiction. God speaks to us – but He doesn’t tell us every single thing. Otherwise, we would be God and not need Him. The prophet Isaiah wrote a great summary:

“As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways and thoughts above yours.” (Isaiah 55:9).

Won’t it be great when we get to heaven and that gap is finally closed???


Dave 🙂

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God speaking . . . or is it just indigestion? (Part 1)

When someone states, “God spoke to me” – I’m always fascinated. Did God truly give a personal message to someone? Is it something we want so bad that we attribute our desire to hearing God’s voice as added insurance – and then no one can dispute the claim? Sometimes I eat too much pizza and end up having weird dreams. Is that God speaking to me in my dreams – or should I have stopped at slice number five???

Many years ago we lived in a different city and attended a church in Dallas. A new pastor came on staff, and boldly proclaimed during his first sermon that God had given him a 10-year vision for the church! Wow, I thought. I wish God would speak to me like that. Maybe even a 10-week vision from God would be nice. Someday, if I’m good enough, just maybe –  God will allow me the honor of being able to hear him like this modern-day prophet? That pastor took another job in less than 2 years – I guess God changed His mind???

Volumes have been written about this subject. Some great resources are listed at the bottom. I’m only going to scratch the surface of this topic through a random series of posts whenever inspiration hits. Two statements – if you disagree with these, you won’t concur with anything else that I write on this subject:

  1. God still speaks.
  2. God loves variety – and you cannot put His speaking “in a box”, or treat it like a formula.

God still speaks –

His number one way is through The Bible.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives . . . God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

For the word of God is alive and powerful . . . (Hebrews 4:12)

However, sometimes we need divine guidance outside of the Bible and need to hear from Him. “Should I take this job?” “Should we move?” “Should I pursue this relationship?” “Should we buy this vehicle?” “Should I attend this school?” “Should I say something to this person that I feel God has burdened me to say?” (A lot of “should’s”!)

Regarding the theory that God doesn’t speak anymore – why pray if it is only one-way communication? The Bible states the God is love (1 John 4: 16-17). It also declares that if we believe in His Son, we are his children (John 3:16 and Ephesians 1: 5). So the question remains: What loving father doesn’t speak to his kids? What loving dad doesn’t enjoy spending time with his children in listening and talking?

God loves variety – we cannot put His speaking “in a box”, or treat it like a formula.

For variety, sometimes it is quiet. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:12)

Sometimes it is loud. I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. (Revelation 4: 1)

Sometimes it is through people. “This is what the Lord says . . . I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” (Isaiah 48:17)

Sometimes it comes from unexpected, unimaginable, and wild sources. “Then the Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak . . . “(Numbers 22: 28 – seriously, look up the story.)

And sometimes, it is an internal dialogue in our minds, spirits, and hearts. “My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalm 27: 8)

There is so much more to cover regarding this topic. But I hope this is an encouragement for you to pursue a conversational relationship with God if you haven’t already. Some excellent books to help you further on your journey are Hearing God by Dallas Willard, Walking With God by John Eldredge, Frequency by Robert Morris, and Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson. Please leave a comment on this subject if you feel led.


Dave 🙂




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Are you over New Year’s Resolutions and goal setting yet? If I hear one more advertisement about joining a gym, investing in gold, or switching to another insurance carrier –  I’m going to go bonkers!

On the morning of New Year’s Day – I decided to try something different. What if instead of setting goals and resolutions, I selected some things to pray about all year that will truly take God intervening for them to happen? It feels uncomfortable because it means I need to give up control of the situation. Author and pastor Mark Batterson states,

All of us love miracles. We just don’t like being in a situation that necessitates one.

So here’s what I did. I wrote down in a small booklet four areas I would love to see God do something miraculous in. After that, I attached a Bible verse to it. This isn’t a way for me to try to twist God’s arm. Or to “name it and claim it.” The verse is there to offer a source of truth, encouragement, and hope. Using God’s words instead of my own. Here are examples of two of my four:

  1. To be completely healed of multiple sclerosis. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. (Psalm 103:3). I love the emphasis on the word “all”.
  2. To do a better job managing our finances (that’s a nice way of putting it 🙂. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need . . . (2 Corinthians 9: 7,8). Hoping to win the Powerball Jackpot is probably not the best investment strategy at this time.

Why don’t you give it a try? It only takes three simple steps to get started:

  1. Write your topics down somewhere (a piece of paper, journal, even an index card).
  2. Find a Bible verse or verses to go with it. I had to use Google and a free app called “Shut Up Devil” to find mine. It’s okay not to have them memorized and not know exactly where to find them.
  3. Keep a tally mark every time you pray for them. And cross it out (and celebrate) if it gets answered.

We don’t have to be perfect. We might miss a day, a week, or even a month. Maybe God will resolve our situations immediately. Maybe we won’t see any difference. Maybe we’ll change our prayers after a while. Sometimes it appears that things are getting worse the more you pray. It is between you and God what happens.

Studies show that 92% of people don’t keep their New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s try something different – The New Year’s Revolution! 🙂 If you feel comfortable enough – please share your prayer and verse in the comments section.


Dave 🙂


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How a Few Bucks Can Change The World

It can be the Christmas season or the middle of July. When we give to a charity or non-profit organization – a little voice inside says, “I wonder how much of the money is actually going to the cause?” Please don’t let that be a hindrance to your giving to proven causes. It is truly amazing the ripple effect a few of your dollars can have for impacting the world.

For example, many non-profit organizations offer a “Christmas catalog” where you can pick and choose what your money will purchase. A catalog I have sitting in a pile of mail offers a fishing net for a third world family for $25. For less than the amount WE (myself included, not pointing fingers) pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime monthly subscriptions – that fishing net can change the course of a family’s life.

Think about the trail that has been started. A father receives the net and no longer has to use poles, spears, or crude tools to catch fish. His net now gives he and his family an abundance of food. They are finally well fed. The father can sell or trade the excess. Now his family could get other food and drink to sustain themselves. Perhaps this family now has an abundance that they can give to someone struggling. This family now has a thriving business because of a $25 net.

You see how powerful the multiplication can be when we are generous, and perhaps even radical givers.

If you are looking for some potential places to give, here are four that can change the world:

  1. Compassion International – one of many organizations where you can sponsor a child with a monthly donation. They receive a nutritious meal every day, an education, and additional support to their family. Plus, you can write letters back and forth – and bless them with birthday and Christmas gifts. This establishment also offers a Christmas catalog through the mail or online.
  2. Gospel for Asia – a dollar a day can be the salary for a missionary and his family in Asia. Plus, $105 can purchase the family a vehicle – a heavy-duty, carefully crafted bicycle. They too have a Christmas catalog.

Two new ones that I just found out about this year:

3. Thistle Farms – They make unique, high-quality candles that can be purchased online or at Whole Foods. What makes the company even more special is that they employ women that have formerly been trapped in prostitution, drug addiction, or human trafficking. This company gives them income, stability, purpose – and most importantly, keeps them off the streets.

4. – Their mission is vast but simple. Provide every person on the planet access to clean drinking water. Right now, they’ve accomplished 1/66th of that goal. They have separate donors to fund the business side of the charity. They can back up their claim that “100% of your money brings clean water to people in need.” Clean water for everyone. That is a topic everyone can agree upon in spite of political, religious, or social affiliations.

So the next time we sit down to watch Netflix or order from Amazon Prime – maybe let’s think about investing a few dollars into people we will probably never meet – but can help change their lives forever. We can feed and educate a child, free a trapped woman from a pimp, provide a salary for a family for $1 a day, or perhaps help a family start a fishing business. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

What would happen if all of us tried something new with our families this season – a round of binge giving!!!

Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?

And the King will say, I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25: 37-40)

Would you please share in the comments your favorite charity/cause/ or organization to give and why? It would be great for all of us to hear some new ideas!




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Who is in Your Stadium?

Do you ever wonder: Am I really making a difference? Am I just going through the motions of life?

Or perhaps you can strongly relate to what George Bailey’s character went through in It’s a Wonderful Life – you’re beyond frustrated that you just can’t catch a break and will never “get ahead”?

I came across this quote on Instagram from author/speaker Jon Gordon several weeks ago that continues to resonate in my mind:

Just heard that on average one person will influence 80,000 people in the course of their life. Enough to fill a stadium. But remember even if you influence just one person you are a Leader! Choose to be a Positive Leader and make a positive impact.

80,000 people! Thinking about the stadium example – I categorized the people in the seats into three groups:

  1. The Dissatisfied – These are the people who don’t like the game, have bad seats, feel that they paid too much, sit next to the guy with the foam finger or has the shrieking whistle that numbs their hearing. Overall, the game was a rotten experience and they probably won’t come back.  Translation: Think of times I’ve been rude, too busy, hypercritical, hurtful, selfish, and negative. Sometimes we can go back and ask for forgiveness. Unfortunately for others – it was just a one time encounter, or the hurt runs too deep. Hopefully, this group doesn’t take up a lot of seats.
  2. The Satisfied – This group of people enjoys the game, had an excellent view of the action, were present in the moment and felt they got their money’s worth. Translation: People we’ve shown love, selflessness, and kindness to – Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers. Being nice to the waiter even though they were nervous and brand new. Showing patience as one of our children works through the challenges of life. Giving someone an unexpected gift for no reason other than love. Sometimes it is the smallest gestures that can make a major difference that we don’t even realize. Hopefully, these folks fill up the majority of seats.
  3. The Fully Immersed Fan – They showed up early to tailgate, bought a truckload of souvenirs, and stay until the end whether their team is winning or losing. Some were so influenced by what they experienced – they want to financially invest in the team beyond just being a fan. Translation: People we’ve impacted not only because we showed them love and kindness – but also that we help set their life on a new and positive trajectory. A teenager with a low self-esteem you encouraged to pursue their dreams. An unknown person freed from human trafficking because you gave financially to an organization. A child who was given hope towards the future because you sent a small shoebox with Christmas gifts. Maybe it was a friend you just sat with and said nothing as they went through the process of losing a loved one. Hopefully, our stadiums are packed with these people.

Over two decades ago, I was on maximum overload. We had a new baby and a teenager, I was teaching full-time, taking graduate courses, and valet parking on evenings and weekends. It was New Year’s Eve – and the last thing I wanted to do was valet park for all the people out having a good time and celebrating. Around midnight in a cranky and exhausted mood, I pulled up a gentleman’s car. Getting out – I hoped he would give me a few bucks as a tip. He said, “Thank you for working tonight.” He then proceeded to hand me two twenty-dollar bills (which was a fortune for a tip over two decades ago). My energy, attitude, and perspective changed because of his generosity and empathy.

I’ll never know who that man was. But I’m sitting and cheering in his stadium.



P.S. Above I mentioned the power of encouraging young people with our words. If you would like a perspective on what is going on in their minds – please grab a copy of my book Five Toughest Decisions Teens Make available at this link:

P.P.S. Thanks!!!




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The ghost you’ve probably encountered . . .

Fear is such prevailing issue, I’ve focused on it the last two months: and

I wanted to close out the series with a final word (maybe) on the topic. Why does it seem that there are certain things we just can’t seem to get past? Or if we are victorious, why do we sometimes we fall back into the same patterns again of uncertainty, lack of confidence, doubt, and of course, fear?

The Bible talks quite a bit about the unseen/spiritual realm. The Apostle Paul viewed it like this:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 14:8)

For the purpose of this writing, I’m going to use the words ghost and spirit interchangeably. Check out this passage:

For God hath not given us the spirit (ghost – my word) of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV)

So according to this verse – such a being exists called “the spirit of fear.” The good news is that God hasn’t given it to us. Unfortunately for a myriad of reasons – most of us still end up receiving this spirit. The great news is that the answer to fighting it is found in the very same sentence. In fact, the spirit of fear is outnumbered 3 to 1. We battle that spirit with power from God, love from God, and a sound mind from God’s Word.

Power – But Jesus looked at them and said,  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) God’s power, might, and strength can easily overshadow any evil spirit, especially fear.

LoveGod is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them . . . Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. (1 John 4:16, 18) Pretty self-explanatory! And finally . . .

Sound MindYou will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3) It is phenomenal how much research is out there regarding the power of our thoughts, attitudes, and mindsets. What is even more amazing is the power we have to choose for our thoughts to go a different direction when fear and anxiety start to creep in. Replacing negative and fearful thoughts with scriptures, thankfulness, gratitude, hope, and positivity – helps overload our brains with the truth.

The Prophet Isaiah leaves us with this word of encouragement:

Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)



P.S. If you haven’t received my free guide “Overcoming Fears” – please shoot me a quick email and I will send it to you. My address is: and put “fear guide” in the subject line.

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