Wednesday, February 29, 2012

happy LEAP DAY!

can you remember from like 4th grade Science class why it's Leap Day today?

well, here's a fun little reminder + probably some stuff you didn't know.

hopefully that wasn't boring for you.
now you will be ready to explain it to anyone who asks today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

all out positivity & confidence

i heard a story recently... and honestly i'm not sure what it's intended point was... you know, i'm not sure what "the moral of the story" was, but i just made up my own. applied it in my own way.
i tend to do that a lot.

the story went something like this:

a little boy was playing out in his back yard. he was maybe 9 years old.

he's playing baseball with himself - you know, throwing the ball up in the air to himself and trying to hit it.

as he's doing this he keeps saying “I’m the greatest hitter in the world. I'm the greatest hitter in the world. I'm the greatest hitter in the world.” Over & over.

he tosses the ball up... swings & misses...

Strike 1.

I’m the greatest hitter in the world."

he tosses the ball up again... swings & misses...
Strike 2.

I’m the greatest hitter in the world."

for the third time he tosses the ball up... swings & misses...

Strike 3.

The boy stands there for a second... then throws both arms up in the air and shouts

“I’m the greatest pitcher in the world.”

Someone was actually standing there watching all this happen. That person asked the boy, How do you know you're the greatest pitcher in the world?

the boy answered
“because I just struck out the greatest hitter in the world.” 

i think it's a great story. i really like it.

i think all of us could learn something from this guy.

about reframing situations.

about all out positivity and confidence.

i want to live my life with this kind of confidence & undying positivity... no matter how many times i strike out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

environment is everything

Because of a class i'm in this semester i've had to immerse myself (quite literally) in the world of Paul. Paul i-don't-know-his-last-name... but the Apostle guy. who wrote all those letters.
yeah... that guy. 

it's been pretty amazing and i've learned a ton. 

one thing that's sticking in my head today is that the environment was very important to Paul. that's not a comment on whether or not he was a tree hugger... i'm just saying the context or environment within which he engaged people with the gospel was a big deal.

i had to read a ridiculous amount of books for the class and here are a few sentences that are still sticking with me from this guy named Schnabel:

 Paul did not expect people to come to him: he went to the places where people lived. 
“For people to hear the gospel, they will have to be sought out in places where they are willing to listen to discourses and are willing to engage in conversations.”
it's really obvious when put like this, but a lot of times we don't consider our environment when talking to people about really important stuff.
today, where are people willing to listen to discourses & willing to engage in conversations? 
Paul figured it the answer and went and did it.
have we? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

shocking stats

(i originally wrote and posted this to renown on February 18, 2010.)

my Pastor is awesome. He's not only my pastor, but he's also my boss... & my mentor. I'm honored to stand behind him and serve with him & I've learned so much from him these past few years.
He is a great man. He loves God + is a brilliant and corageous leader.

But I still pray for him constantly. I pray that God puts His hand on him and makes him an even greater and godlier leader. I pray that God protects him from Satan's attacks. I pray for his wife and kids. I pray that he can stay strong for the whole marathon.

Because I know that great men and women fall all the time. The statistics are dramatically against my pastor (and me, and your pastor) over the long haul. 

These are 2 sets of stats below that are nothing short of SHOCKING.
[My thoughts and comments are in brackets]
-  Pastors who work less than 50 hours a week are 35% more likely to be fired
-  Church peeps expect their pastors to juggle an average of 16 major tasks
-  Pastor has greatest impact in years 5-14, but average only lasts 5 years
-  40% report a serious conflict with a person in their church at least once per month.
[hey church peeps, how bout get off your pastor's back!]
80% of pastors believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively
-  75% have had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry
-  50% feel unable to meet needs of the job
40% of pastors say they’ve considered leaving their pastorates in last 3 months. [whoa! i wonder what % consider it once a week?]
-  33% confess inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in their church [that is crazy]
-  20% say they view porn at least once per month
-  51% say internet porn is possible temptation [I'm just curious here... what do the other 49% say? That it's NOT a temptation!? That's the half I'd be worried about. those pastors gotta sign up for XXXchurch ASAP!] & 37% say it’s a constant struggle
-  13% have been divorced
-  80% say they have insufficient time with their spouse
-  66% pastors & families feel pressure to model the ideal family to their congregations & communities
-  70% don’t have a close friend! [that sucks]
-  90% feel they’re inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands
45% say they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed  to take a leave of absence from ministry.

(I read these stats from Mike Erre who got them from H.B. London, Jr. & Neil B. Wiseman, Pastors at Greater Risk: Real Help for Pastors from Pastors Who’ve Been There)
(The stats below are from Mark Driscoll & are at The Resurgence)
-  1,500 pastors leave ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches
50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce [that is unbelievable!!! 50/50 chance you'll get divorced if you're a pastor. scary. that's messed up. but i guess it's 50/50 for every person... pastors are no different.]
-  80% & 84% of their spouses feel unqualified & discouraged in their role
-  50% are so discouraged they would quit if they could but have no other way of getting income
-  80% of seminary & Bible college grads who enter ministry will leave within 1st 5 years
70% constantly fight depression
-  almost 40% said they’ve had an affair since beginning their ministry
80% of wives wish their spouse would choose another profession
“The majority of pastor’s wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.”
[wow! that hurts & is really scary. God, may that never be true in our lives!]

My heart just hurts after reading those! My heart is breaking.

I think there's only 1 thing to say after all that = PRAY for your Pastor!
Pray that God protects him from these attacks on his life and family! Pray that God renews and rejuvenates him so that he can be at the top of his game. Pray for his wife and kids. Pray that God will help you back him and be the kind of support he needs!

I know i need some peeps praying for me. Because i plan on being in this for the rest of my life. I want to be part of a revolution... But i am desperately dependent on God's grace to keep me and my wife from being any of these statistics!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

is there a better way?

is there a better way to do this?

how often do you ask that question? how often do i?
probably not often enough.

i think that when we're doing anything that matters and we STOP asking the question "is there a better way?" then we're already done. our time is almost up.

this is a really important question to ask - to ask yourself and others.
because if what you're doing DOES matter, then wouldn't you want to know a better way?

so WHY don't we ask this question?
is it because we already think we have the best way? no better way exists?
i hope not. i hope that's not the reason. because that's pretty arrogant and at that point we are SO far gone that a conversation on this subject is pointless. if we find ourselves thinking that we already have the best way then we can probably just quit at that point.

so, i'm not convinced that's the reason. i push back all the time on having to ask myself and others this Q. i don't like to ask this Question. but why?
WHY do we not like to ask "is there a better way?"

it's hard

it takes more TIME

more effort

it makes it obvious that we're not the expert/ we don't know everything

it's very uncomfortable

it takes a little bit of humility

if we discover there is a better way then we'll have to STOP doing it our current way and make the necessary changes.

and that is hard.

so, it is EASIER to just keep doing it the same way and not even rock the boat.

but again, let's ask ourselves - is this something that MATTERS? is it worth doing? then it's worth doing better right? if it really matters that much.

maybe the best question to ask ourselves in these moments when we want to bail on doing the hard work of figuring out a BETTER WAY is...
what's at stake if we don't find a better way?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

for Keira

so she doesn't always just have to hear me sing it to her.

Stevie sounds much better.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

what we should learn from African theology

(I originally wrote and posted this to renown on February 10, 2010.)

Earlier this year I finished reading my 1st book written by the late, great missiologist David J. Bosch. He is the guru, but I've never read an entire book he wrote. But I recently finished Believing in the Future: Toward a Missiology of Western Culture and it was great stuff.

He applied much of his expertise in cross cultural mission to our mission here in the West [as it rightly should be applied the same!].

So, I know there are TONS of things we (in the West) should learn from African theology, but this is just one thought from Bosch on what we would do well to take from them

“African theology was to a significant extent missiological through and through.”
and along those lines...
“Third World theologies are missionary theologies, whereas First World theologies are not.” 

This is so true and points to the root of a lot of our problems here in the West. Many only think of being "on mission" in a foreign context, but not here in the West. 
Bosch wrote this back in the year of his death - 1992. Thankfully over these past 17-18 years the shift he wrote about has been happening here. We've still got a long way to go, but we're getting there, imho.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

THANKS from my Mom

i was able to spend the last couple days with my Mom and i mainly just want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH!

thank you all for your support and love for my Mom. she knows about it, feels it, and is so thankful for all of you and your love for her.
Thank you to those of you who are praying for her too.

Yesterday i sat with her all day long. and she kept asking me over and over to read YOU GUYS' comments and support you've written to her. All your comments on my blog, the hundreds and thousands of comments on Facebook and her Caring Bridge site, etc... She LOVED hearing all that you guys were writing to her.

probably 6 or 8 times we got interrupted by nurses or doctors coming in and i would put my computer away. as soon as the nurse was done my Mom immediately asked me to start reading your comments again!
it was really cool. it was amazing how much your love and support energized my Mom and how much it pumped her up to hear from you all. i read to her for a couple hours.

she said to tell you all THANK YOU for this outpouring of support and THANK YOU for praying for her to get better and keep improving.

PLEASE keep this coming. say to her whatever you want to say and i will MAKE SURE she hears it from you. you have no idea how great it is for her to hear from you!

and thank you from me too. thank you for pouring out this love on my Mom, for praying for her...
and thanks for all your support of my Dad too! that is huge.
and i feel crazy loved and supported in this myself. thank you. you guys are awesome.

She is doing a lot better. she was off the vent yesterday for 8 or 9 hours and then off it again for another few hours. that's great.
she's doing physical therapy every day and still can't move her legs really. She has to work hard and keep improving her leg strength so she can start walking SO THAT the oxygen in her lungs can start moving a little better.
she's been laying flat on her back for about 18 or 19 days, so her legs are just so weak.

but i was pumped to spend time with her again. she's doing so much better.
she has a LONG way to go and she needs to get a lot better, but she's come so far.

thanks to God most of all. i don't believe any of this would be possible without His healing in her life all these years.

pretty funny story to share about my Mom tomorrow...

Monday, February 13, 2012

update on my Mom's lungs from last night

i'll start off by saying that my Mom is doing SO much better than the last time i saw her here at Duke hopsital! so thankful for that.

i got to spend the evening with her last night and it was a world of difference from the last time i was here with her.

She is off the ECMO (heart-lung) machine which is a big step. there is actually a little bit of room to stand next to her bed in the ICU room she's in because she's not hooked up to as many machines.

she is still on the Ventilator but sometimes they turn it down to about 25% which is great AND they have been trying to take her off of it for as long as they can at 1 time. i think she made it about 8 hours at once. major major progress.

she has a trache in now instead of the vent going down her throat. she's trying to talk like crazy but can't yet.

she is just like her old self. her personality is in full swing and i was loving it. she was trying to joke with my Dad and i last night. we're getting to be pretty good lip readers.

she mouthed that she loved me last night and she was asking about Keira too.

They obviously still have her doped up pretty good - last night she was telling me and my Dad about Paula Dean coming to visit her in the ICU one day. her son "Bobby"? was with her too. haha... i was trying not to laugh but it was pretty funny. not sure if she'll remember that when we tell her later when she's out of here.

they've moved her a couple times to a chair beside her bed. they basically put her in a sling and pick her up and move her.

one of the biggest things that need to improve right now is her leg strength. she can't really move her legs right now. they have her doing physical therapy a couple times a day because they need her to walk. if she can walk it will build some lung capacity back and make her lungs stronger/more oxygen to her lungs (or something like that - i'm not the detail guy).

the GREAT news is that her new lungs are obviously starting to work a little bit now. if they can keep her off the Vent for 48 hours straight they will send her to the "Step Down" ICU which they say is a REALLY big step.

looking forward to that day

Saturday, February 11, 2012

WOWed by these benefits (repost)

(i originally wrote and posted this to renown on February 8, 2010.)

This is such an awesome song I read the lyrics to on Friday. I have been thinking about it ever since. I read it again today and still can't get away from it.

It was written by this songwriter guy named David. Maybe you've heard of him? It goes like this:

"Praise the LORD, my soul;
       all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
       and forget not all his benefits
who forgives all your sins
       and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
       and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
       so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD works righteousness
       and justice for all the oppressed." -
Psalm 103:1-6

I am seriously WOWed by these benefits from God. Just look at that. I'm blown away and have been for 4 days in a row now. I can't move on from this song. I'm just reveling in awe of who this God is.

And if that weren't enough, the song goes on to say this about our God:
"The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
       slow to anger, abounding in love.
" (Psalm 103:8)
I really don't feel like there's a whole lot i need to say (or can say). Just dwell on this song with me. I'm still just basking in the awesomeness of it.
I wish I had some musical talent and I would write some music for it... Maybe David or Scottie or somebody will do that one day?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

are you still haters?

so i was reading some Clark Pinnock back before Christmas and was about to Tweet and/or post as my Facebook status "Reading some Pinnock today"
...then i changed my mind because i didn't feel like getting a lot of HATE comments and hate mail and HATE TWEETS that day. i just wasn't in the mood.

and then i had a question...

do people still HATE on someone after they're dead?

Clark Pinnock actually passed away over a year ago. i remember reading about it when it happened HERE and all over the web.
i was bummed because i think his thinking contributed a lot to the conversation.

i started reading Pinnock back in college. because of a certain 50 page research paper i wrote back then on a topic that he was in the thick of - i REALLY had to wrestle with what he was saying. back then i disagreed with him but could appreciate where he was coming from. no way was he crazy... probably more brilliant than all the rest of us.

so, i've continued to read some Pinnock ever since. the disgust of pretty much everyone i know :)

in fact, at my 1st job out of college, i remember reading a then recent Pinnock book. i made the mistake of showing it to my friend and co-worker in the office next door and he promptly THREW the book across the room to me and said something like "get that away from me."

wow. just a book, man.

(but it's always been crazy to me how people can actually HATE a person because of their views. but that's a blog for another day.)

so i was just curious - do you still hate on someone after they're dead?
i was curious that day... could i have Tweeted that i was reading Pinnock and would the haters still come out of the woodwork?
does all that change when the hated upon dies?

i don't think i've ever been a hater, so i wasn't quite sure how it works...

anyway, didn't matter because i didn't tweet it, but now i'm writing about my curiosity.
and maybe it will enable me to find out the answer to my Q

and just in case any of you are wondering why i would even dare continue to read Pinnock... maybe because of stuff he writes openly and honestly like this:
"So I do not apologize for admitting to being on a pilgrimage in theology, as if it were in itself some kind of weakness of intelligence or character. Feeling our way toward the truth is the nature of theological work even with the help of Scripture, tradition and community …. A pilgrimage, therefore, far from being unusual or slightly dishonorable, is what we would expect theologians who are properly aware of their limitations to experience."

Right. on.

we would expect it to be a pilgrimage, wouldn't we, Clark?
i hope i can engage on a lifelong one like you did and like most aren't willing to do.

hopefully they won't all hate on me like they did you... but i bet you'd say it's worth it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

i will NOT miss these moments (Keira)

i refuse to miss any of these moments with my daughter.

these amazing moments with Keira.

no matter what.

i may miss out on other stuff.

but not this. not these moments with my family.

this is just the choice i'm making. not saying it's what everybody should do... just what i'm committed to doing - in the middle of a crazy busy season (and recognizing that life will never be slow...) i'll have to miss out on some stuff. and that's ok. but i won't be missing out on this family stuff.
i'm trying to finish my master's degree - some things might just be late or not get turned in at all.
in my job - some things might drop. and that's ok.
with my dreams and visions and goals for the future - they may not move along as fast as i had hoped.
in all kinds of areas of life i may begin to miss out on all kinds of stuff, but that's the choice i'm making. and it's OK.

but i REFUSE to miss out on these moments with Keira.

i'm going to spend time with her every day.

look into her beautiful eyes in the morning.

smile at her and see her smile back at me.

talk to her and tell her i love her.

i won't miss these moments of her grabbing my finger

or dancing with her in the kitchen

or reading her a bedtime story every night

or playing with her during bath time

or Crystal and i praying over her every night...

i don't even want to miss these amazing moments of seeing my wife come alive in ways i've never seen before. it's crazy that she's such a natural at this whole "mom" thing even though she's never done it before. it's crazy that she's this good - it's like this is what she was made to do.
i don't want to miss watching her do that.

and i know more and more moments are coming - i won't miss those...
1st steps, 1st words, 1st day of school, 1st soccer game, homework, friends, etc... etc...

i have to CHEAT somebody, so i choose to cheat everything else before i cheat my family.
and i am THANKFUL to WORK for an organization that agrees! i know i am blessed and that's not normal. so i'm crazy thankful to work in an environment that backs me up and encourages me to choose to cheat work instead of cheating family.

AND i'm thankful that Crystal and i both had great models for "NOT missing moments".
my parents & my wife's parents intentionally chose NOT to miss the moments with us and that spoke volumes to us. they had to make sacrifices and give things up, but we think it was worth it.

so i make the promise to Crystal and Keira both -- i won't miss these moments with you guys. promise :)

(below is simply Keira smiling at Daddy)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

innovation and all his friends

(you can read some of my earlier thoughts on innovation HERE & HERE.)

whether you realize it or not, innovation is vitally important to the world we live in. i would argue that it is foundational to this increasingly postmodern world.

and the NECESSITY for INNOVATION will only INCREASE, imho.

Some futurist experts say this about the way our world is changing:
“For the foreseeable future, information will be the business resource, and innovation the work.”
- Clarke & Crossland

factory jobs and technical skills used to be IT. that was the type of jobs everyone worked. those were the skills in demand.
now the world is very different. KNOWLEDGE WORK is king (information) and therefore INNOVATION is the skill that is required.

“Innovation is creativity in its working clothes. It has experimentation as a coworker and failure as a strategic partner."

did you catch that? Yes, innovation appears sexy from the outside looking in, but 2 key components to true innovation and creativity are EXPERIMENTATION and FAILURE! are you willing to be an innovator since it means those 2 will be your friends?

and let me be clear what i mean by innovation. Technology doesn’t guarantee innovation. it's just a helper. When i talk about innovation, i'm saying that only the practiced discipline of innovation will produce innovative results.

this is a discipline which requires carving out space to create. it's a discipline that by its very nature requires EXPERIMENTATION and FAILURE!

and if you're afraid of that or think there's another way, i thought this was an awesome "encouragement" from Henry Petroski:
“no one wants to learn by mistakes, but we cannot learn enough from success to go beyond the state of the art."

of course, we would like to be innovators without the hard work of EXPERIMENTATION and FAILURES, but it simply isn't possible. we can't experience one without the other.
While failure can be painful, innovative people and organizations EMBRACE this pain.

simply put by Clarke and Crossland:
“If you want more innovation, allow more experiments.”

Monday, February 6, 2012

update on my Mom's new lungs

it doesn't feel like there are a lot of updates to give, although a lot has happened in the past few days.

The biggest news to us i think is that my Mom will be in ICU for months. that was not expected at all to me. i don't think my Dad expected that either.
not great news at all, but i would rather know that to prepare myself.

They have tried taking her off ECMO (the heart-lung machine) a couple times and it hasn't quite worked out yet. getting her off of ECMO would definitely be a good step.

they did take her off the heart pump though.

she had been having some internal bleeding and they did get that stopped too.

Getting this fluid off of her lungs is probably the biggest issue right now.

and her Kidneys started to have problems too so they put her on a type of dialysis.

they also put a trache in a few days ago which her vent is now attached to. and i think they are going to put in a feeding tube soon as well.

probably the hardest news to swallow was that 2 other lung transplant patients that have been on the ICU hall there with my Mom both died this past week.

it's all so much to handle. not sure how anyone might carry it all without Somebody to lean into... without Someone to trust in. Someone to trust in Who knows what's up even more than these Doctors do.
Dumping some cares on That Guy i trust in daily.

and i still have absolute hope that the God we've trusted in this far will heal my Mom. i believe that one day my Mom will be running in the backyard chasing her granddaughter, Keira... with an awesome pair of new lungs.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

enemies of unity

today our staff team and our spouses from Ridge Church talked about these 5 enemies of unity. we want to fight against these enemies with everything in us.

These 5 enemies are from a Dave Ramsey talk & i actually wrote about this talk HERE right after he did it at Catalyst '08.

below are just the rehashed notes again.

this is still so important because we all agreed that NONE of us want to be a part of a church where any of these 5 exist!

The Enemies of Unity 
"Unity is a spiritual happening."
-  Few churches or organizations experience real Unity. Most organizations DO NOT work to their full potential because there is no unity!
- The 5 Enemies of Unity --> **To the extent we fight back these enemies we will have success in our organizations!

1 Poor Communication = when this happens in any form, problems and disunity come. it's hard work to keep up good communication though.

2 Gossip (Dave fires peeps for this... pretty awesome) = it is degrading & will DESTROY a church or organization. 
*"If you're talking to someone who CAN'T fix it, THAT'S GOSSIP!"
*"A successful leader MUST develop & maintain a culture where negatives are handed up and positives are handed down."

3 Unresolved Disagreements = these happen when the leader is clueless or when he avoids confrontation! a Leader by definition must have a BACKBONE
[awesome quote] = "Sometimes in the name of being 'Christian' we avoid confrontation. That's not nice it's WIMPY!" [haha :) very true.]
A little confrontation CLEANSES THE WOUND and allows everyone to go forward in a spirit of unity! (the Leader must lead in the confrontation.)
**"When you are aware there are hurt feelings and/or disagreements, act quickly and decisively!"
- 2 GREAT quotes = "An indecisive leader is not a leader. That's squirrel theology. Leaders make a CALL." [haha, get it?... "squirrel theology"!] 
+ "Nobody ever killed anything by saying 'Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim...'"

4 Lack of shared Purpose = this happens when the leader doesn't restate the GOAL, VISION, and MISSION early & often. i can't imagine working in an organization like this. doesn't even register.

5 Sanctioned Incompetence = remember we're ALL incompetent at something so that's not a bad thing. BUT, sanctioned incompetence demoralizes.
"Team members will eventually become demotivated when someone else on the team can't or won't do their job and a leader won't take action (because they all know they're working for a wimp)."  
only 3 real options when dealing with incompetence = 1) Training (to help them be competent), 2) Transfer (to different role), 3) Terminate.

***[we resonate so much with Dave's statements @ Ridge church. especially this one...] = "There's 1 way to penetrate the marketplace = extreme excellence!

*So, the leader must go to battle early & often with these enemies FOR THE SAKE of UNITY!
"When unity is valued in the culture, the whole team will also act to keep these enemies from the gate."

Wow. good stuff Dave. thanks for this
***I am flipping proud to work on a staff team that embraces unity and puts the beatdown on these 5 enemies!

Friday, February 3, 2012

a team

right now our ridge staff team is away together on a retreat.

love working with these peeps.

i love working ON it instead of IN it with these peeps for a weekend.

i love that we choose TRUST over suspicion.

i love that we are authentic with each other.

i love that we're a team.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

my 2012 reading list

for the past several years i have posted my Reading List for the upcoming year.

this year my "reading list" will be a lot different in that much of it will be handed to me via required reading lists for my graduate classes. so i won't actually be personally choosing most of the books i read.
Over 20 books already that i've been required to read just for this 1st semester! at that rate i'll read over 60 books in required reading alone for school this year!
Instead of including those in this reading list, i'll attempt to keep them all up to date in my Visual lists on the right side of this blog = books i'm currently reading & books i recently finished. i usually try to write a little summary of what i thought of them too.

So, as you'll see below, i'm trying to keep my personal picks for a reading list to just over 10 for 2012.

+ I always reserve the right to pick up a different book & bump these off the list & insert the good/better stuff! There's a good chance a book will come out in 2012 that i will want to read, but below is my best attempt to keep me focused on what i need most.

here are just 10 or so i hope to read by my own choosing:

Naked Spirituality - Brain McLaren
He's probably my favorite author, so i try to read at least one book from him every year. this is his newest that i started reading last year and it has affected me "spiritually" maybe as much as any other book i've ever read. powerful. and i'm obviously reading it very slowly... trying to take it all in. most excited about this book.

Start Something That Matters - Blake Mycoskie
Trying to do this very thing in 2012 and thankful to learn from someone who did it recently and did it well.

Radical - David Platt
Very expectant. looking for this to shake me up even more. i don't think we can ever be radical enough, so i'm not scared in the least.

Entreleadership - Dave Ramsey
No secret i'm a big fan of Dave. As much for his leadership genius as his $ genius. thankful to have that leadership style in a book now. i've been called a "Ramsey-ite" so i'll let you know if i am on the leadership side as well.

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity - Reggie Joiner and Carey Niewhof
Been planning to read this book for years to help us better partner with parents at Ridge Church. now i'm reading it for 2 reasons.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard - Chip and Dan Heath
These guys wrote the best book i read in 2010 - Made to Stick. so if this one is half as good as that one i'll be elated.

The Power of Full Engagment: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal - Jim Loehr and Tony Schwarz
i carried this one around for about a month last year and never got started on it. need to read it this year!

Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together - Mark & Grace Driscoll
Every year i read at least 1 book on marriage and 1 book on sex. This year i'm killing 2 birds with 1 stone + i know i'm pretty much guaranteed Driscoll will make me laugh.

How to Write a Great Business Plan - Harvard Business Review
In this process as well... figured i should try to learn how to do it right.

The Love Dare - Stephen Kendrick
Crystal and i are going to try this again in 2012.

The 17 Indispensable Laws of Teamwork - John Maxwell
Desperately want to master and leverage creating and sustaining great teams. almost finished with this book.

The Pocket Guide to Adulthood: 29 Things to Know Before You Turn 30 - Jason Boyett
really NEED to read this one this year! it's my last chance...

Holy Discontent - Bill Hybels
thinking and hoping it's much like Andy's Visioneering... just shorter and easier.

+ i know i'll be reading several more parenting books... just haven't picked them out yet. and i'm reading a few baby sleep & schedule books per Crystal's request. can't remember the names of them though?

ok, & below is another list of books i'll read this year, but they don't really "count" in the above list that i tried to keep to 10. BECAUSE they're either my 1 Fiction/fun book for the year, or an audio book, or a book i'll read in "waiting" time in shorter segments.

here are those extra 9 books i'll read this year:

What the Dog Saw - Malcolm Gladwell
The Grand Design - Stephen Hawking
A Briefer History of Time - Stephen Hawking
SImply Strategic Volunteers - Tony Morgan & Tim Stevens
Making It All Work - David Allen
Taste and See - John Piper
Knowing God - J.I. Packer
SuperFreakanomics - Levitt & Dubner
and last but not least...
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling

i would LOVE to know YOUR 2012 reading list AND any thoughts on mine above... have you read any books on my 2012 reading list and would you recommend them or tell me i'm wasting my time?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

ups and downs

it feels like it's been a long journey already. and it's only been like 5 days.

Today the Doctors found out my Mom has 2 infections they need to get out of her lungs. they are what's causing her lungs not to work well. Plus all that fluid they need to drain.

Plus they're going to trache her and run the vent through that.

it feels like a long journey already and it's going to be much longer. my Mom will probably be in the ICU for a while.

it's been an up & down, high & low emotional journey.

The highs are when my Mom is alert and we can talk to her and she understands and tries to communicate back. we can see her personality come through.
i showed her pics of Keira and she smiled, tried to giggle, pointed, etc... she was loving it. those times are awesome.

but when we hear that she wakes up and we're not there & she's is scared. i hate that.

when i walk into her room and see her hooked up to 15 machines and all these lines and tubes and realize they're just keeping her alive. it looks like nothing i've even seen in the movies. it's pretty disheartening. it's scary and i hate it.

when i talk to her one day and ask if she remembers talking to me and Dad the day before... and she shakes her head "no"... pretty disheartening. feels like we're stepping into 50 First Dates. but of course that's only because of the meds she's on.

but then when she DOES remember talking to us/seeing us. that's pretty cool.

ups and downs. i guess that's what it will be for a while. i'm just hoping and praying for the day when she gets to go "home" there in Durham. or at least out of the ICU. it's still a long recovery from there, but at least this battle will be won.

and of course there are my other fears i dare not mention out loud or in writing. the fears and emotions i only talk to God about in the moments i'm pouring out my heart.

He gets it.

He's even "been there" in some way.

so i beg for mercy. for healing.

i beg for God to act in a way that heaps glory back onto Him.

for God to act in a way that makes people say "Wow"... their God is awesome.

for God to "boost" His renown through this situation.

but i know God is good. no matter what. that's just who He is.