“Coin Out”

“Coin Out”

We spend a great deal of time teaching our kids the importance of asking for help. But like any lesson, it’s better to teach with actions rather than words. After a decades-long battle with depression and PTSD, caused by many different traumas, it was time for me to take a big risk and enter a treatment program at The Center in Edmonds, WA. My marriage was taking its last breaths, my kids needed better, my career suffered greatly, I was completely without joy, hope, purpose and peace. My family deserved a better life and I simply couldn’t give it to them. I was in counseling, saw psychiatrists, naturopaths, medications… it all was getting worse. I was so far from the man I grew up believing I would become. Depression is a “silent killer”, now labeled the #1 cause of disability WORLDWIDE. You simply can’t will yourself to wholeness. While it wasn’t for a lack of trying, I was failing at everything and on the verge of losing my family. A few days before Thanksgiving, I said goodbye to my family and started a min 4 week treatment program, with failure not an option. I was skeptical. But I was committed to becoming whole, and would stay as long as it took. 36 hours before starting the program, I heard Jesus clearly ask me to repent of my doubt, bitterness and resentment, as I had chosen to hang on to those 3 my whole life. Had I not, my time at The Center would have been a waste. Instead, I did a canon ball into the deep end, going ALL IN to find answers. But I found so much more; a proper diagnosis, a beautiful community I now consider family, purpose, peace, hope, healing… And I finally saw my wife through healed eyes. To be honest, I can’t really explain what happened. But I will share much of my journey over the coming weeks, as I trust it brings hope to anyone feeling lost like I was. A veil, which surrounded my entire being since I was very young, lifted. Completely gone. Depression, fear, shame, guilt, anger, bitterness, resentment… gone. For a month, I watched miracles happen in my life that I can’t believe. I just returned home and while the hard work is just beginning, there’s HOPE! Vulnerability defeats shame! #secretlifeofdad

Celebrate in public, criticize in private.

Celebrate in public, criticize in private. This is so key for teachers, coaches, pastors, business leaders and of course, parents. I get ugly mad when I see a coach berating a player on the sidelines, a pastor throwing a staff member under the bus from the pulpit, or a parent in the grocery story, or a CEO pushjng their staff around in a team meeting. To be honest, I can’t sing better than a Canadian goose. One day during choir practice in high school, my teacher asked me to mouth the words to the song we were practicing, and the entire class heard her. I didn’t have much ambition to sing, but my choir days were over at that moment. Her quick-witted response is something I remember 20 years later. Those moments stick with us forever, and often times have a significant impact on us. As parents, we hold the power and the key to our kid’s confidence. As do coaches, teachers and bosses. And we are either building them up, or cutting them down. We are either controlling, or encouraging. We can’t afford to, in a fit of impatient anger, snap at our kids in the store, or in front of their friends. It is so important that we be patient in our discipline, and generous with our praise. I recently heard in a podcast a woman said “I don’t remember my dad ever telling me I was beautiful.” That can crush a kid. They long for us to praise them and celebrate them and show the world how much they mean to us. Go out of your way to celebrate your children and spouse this week. Shout it from the rooftops. From the heart. And not just a simple Facebook post. To their face, in front of their friends, when and where it matters most. Make it a habit. And then next time you think to criticize publicly, please just wait until the time is right, and be fair about it. Our words are the key to their success. #secretlifeofdad

Running on Fumes

Sitting here at a gas station, only fumes in the tank, and only red numbers in the bank account. Wish this was the first time this has happened. Kind of funny that it happens to be at the same gas station as last time. I had driven to a shoot this morning, but the client forget and I was stood up. Which meant no check was received. We have been in a very long season of being unsure where our next paycheck would come from, or if it would come. This season has been littered with flakey clients, lost invoices, checks arriving months late. We are fully dependent on our daily manna, because that is all we have in this season. Lots of time wondering if we would have to sell the house, car, body parts (kidding)… So when I show up to a shoot and our daily manna isn’t there, frustration runneth over. Stuck here, the only thing I could do was turn on the song Do It Again from Elevation, for the hundredth time. “Walking around these walls, I thought by now they’d fall. But you have never failed me yet.” In the bleakest of situations, thankful that hope still remains. Even if it means walking around these walls for another 20 years. Gosh that would suck. But, there still is hope. I either choose frustration, or hope in faith. There is no one to blame. There is no one to point figures at. God has brought us into this wilderness to teach and refine us. We will be here until that refining is complete. We are not in the wilderness as punishment, as we so often believe. No one can rescue us or pull us out. Only God says when this season has come to a close. If we stay in frustration, we may never leave. If we stay here with hope, there is a brighter day ahead! #secretlifeofdad #film

Called Out

Let no man fall off a cliff. The Bible talks very clearly about the importance of speaking up when someone is headed for danger, or death, in their life. The choices they make actually are our business. Especially as friends, and brothers in Christ. I hold this principle very near and dear. I absolutely expect my friends to call me out, privately and respectfully, when my actions aren’t aligned with my mission, my heart, and the Gospel. And I make sure to align myself with people who will do that. Who ask the tough questions, aren’t afraid of hurting my feelings in an effort to save my life. I’d rather a friend get in my face, than let me sin. Unfortunately our generation is all too sensitive and takes offense too easily, making this closeness of friendship very hard to sustain. Too many relationships have gone distant because I’ve chosen to hold someone accountable, especially when they ask, and then they are offended when I do just that. If we want to be real men, real dads, we need to chose relationship and iron sharpening over taking offense. If you find yourself feeling offended, maybe, just maybe, that conviction is real. Surround yourself with guys who want to see you win. And don’t let pride take you down when someone calls your stuff. The enemy wants to see you fail, and hates relationship. So be sure to have good fellas around, and allow them to honorably chew you out when you slip. We don’t need to be drill sergeants, but when we are headed for a cliff, a good wake up call from a friend is very necessary. #secretlifeofdad

Let It Out

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, once said: “Is your story worth the trade-off of your privacy?” Meaning, you have a story to tell. If you are concerned about what people think about you, you probably won’t ever make a difference. At least not at the potential that you could. It takes tremendous courage to talk about who you really are. What you really are thinking. The reality of the struggles you face. If there is people in your life preventing you from achieving your dreams, preventing you from telling your story, preventing you from being honest with yourself and others, it is ok to remove them from your circle. YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL. So tell it. Don’t hide behind pride, fear, shame, the desire to impress. Be open. Be vulnerable. Remember, faking it won’t fix it. So many times I have not been offered opportunities simply because I was the only one in the room to speak honestly. To share my history. To expose darkness within me. I wasn’t the only one who had darkness, but I was the only who who spoke about it. And that scares people who aren’t honest with themselves. They will suppress you because you showed vulnerability. But that is OK. A better opportunity will come to those who are meek. You don’t want to be around those who will crush your dreams because you were honest. Own your story. Be open about your weaknesses and difficulties. Because someone else out there also has those weaknesses, and are waiting for someone to speak up for them. Contend for them. Jesus wasn’t an advocate, because often, advocates just talk about something. To contend for someone means to crawl in the foxhole with them and suffer with them. That person is you. Forsake your privacy, your fear, and your shame. Trust that your story is bigger than you, and a story that needs to be told. Sure, it may scare some people, and they will not want you around. But I assure you that those same people are much more broken than you are. Eventually, everything in darkness will come to light. Don’t hide from your story any longer. Do you believe God is big enough to use your story to save others from themselves? “Don’t talk yourself out of your dreams” (Michael Port), and the dreams God has for you.

Fake Empire

“We spend much of our free time on Netflix and Facebook. God spends every moment of His free time feverishly pursuing us, longing for us, thinking about us and getting to know us.” Heard this on a podcast recently. Really made me think about how much time we really do waste. And going in to the holiday season when it’s dark early and easy to waste away every single evening with a Christmas special or a new series, I’m realizing more and more the importance of pursuing God with the same vigor that he pursues is with. It’s so easy to get caught up in the urge to catch up on the DVR and Hallmark. But what is at stake if we do that day in and day out? Looking at this time change and early darkness with new light as a time to read, write, think, pray, talk, have community, serve, rest, walk, meditate and just hang by the fire and zone out. I dare you to upend the status quo of watching show after show after show. God is longing to spend time with us. To teach us and lead us. To show us our desires and purpose. A little bit of effort quickly turns in to a rejuvenation of our Spirit, energy and mind. Not to mention our marriage and relationship with our children. Without a TV to constantly distract us, imagine how good our conversation and relationships might be.

Warfare

When there is opposition and oppression, especially from the enemy, that reminds us that what we are doing is good. Satan will always bring a full on assault when we are fighting to protect our family, our God, our hope. He will stop at nothing to derail us, which is why we must stop at nothing to keep fighting for what is right. And this can’t be done alone. We need an army of friends, mentors, pastors, anyone who has our best interests in mind. We also need the armor. A daily intake of the Word, bruised knees from prayer. It may get really uncomfortable, but that means we are on the right path. Always fight for what is right. Fight for your marriage and your family. Stick to your values, and align yourself with fellas who hold those same standards.

Walking around these walls again, I thought they would have fallen by now. But God, you have never failed me yet.

Rhythm and Rhyme

I’ve really been longing for some rhythm in life. It seems like every single road traveled has an unmarked speed bump. Totally throws you off and disrupts any rhythm. The key to long hikes and summiting is to find a groove. Sure there is pain in the thighs and lungs right out the gate, but after 30 minutes you mentally just lock in and go for hours and hours.

It kind of reminds me of Seahawks games. When was the last game you watched and felt joyful and encouraged after it, especially wins? Most wins, I still feel like I need to wash my mouth out with soap and repent, because there hardly is any rhythm. The coaches and players say a win is a win. But for us fans, it often just feels gross.

Life has been that way all too often lately. Just out of sync and no rhythm. Get the car started and it dies (metaphor). Over and over again. Try one thing, no rhythm. Try another, no rhythm. Life, work, play, finances, faith; all lacking rhythm. Especially home life. Things get good for 2 days and a kid gets sick for 3 weeks. Oh and marriage? Date night once a quarter is not much rhythm. Everything is a grind. Even trying to find a rhythm is a grind. Will there ever be rhythm? Do these seasons last a fiscal quarter or a half decade? Have you found any tried and true ways to sustain rhythm? I never did hit the curve very well in baseball, even when I moved up in the box (opposing coaches hated it). How do you anticipate life’s curves and just keep on grooving like the Emperor (lama)?

Opening Doors and Some Fantastic Opportunities

There has been no shortage of doors opening lately and some fantastic opportunities on the horizon.

Along with that, there has been a lifetime worth of resistance and trials, tears, confusion, heartache and failure.

In April of ’16, God clearly told me to “get ready.” In August when we asked God to move mountains so we could buy our first house and see some other dreams fulfilled, and when we got the keys in October, I dumbly thought the story was complete. It had just begun.

Today I was working on a worksheet reflecting on 2016; the wins, losses, lessons learned, and what to do differently for ’17. I told my friend @shaunnestor that I feel like I could fill out the entire 3 pages already for 2017 and it’s only the third week of the year.

Business launched after a decade of planning, family home burned to the ground, major family illness, business partnerships, financial disasters, major heartache for friends and family, incredible growth opportunity for existing business, the devil rising up an army to derail, God releasing leagues of angels to battle, parenthood victories, husbandry learning curves, family strongholds trying to strangle, investors, healing… And it’s only the 25th day of the year.

2017, you best ice up son. I’m coming after you.

Dad-ing during the holidays can be, well, hard

Dad-ing during the holidays can be, well, hard. Running around in traffic trying to save the day with last minute gifts, getting chewed out by family and still trying to make everybody happy, money flying out the door for so many gifts, broken families, drama… So much noise and often so lonely. A joyous season frequently spent frustrated.

At the end of the day, it is more about Jesus than it is about gifts and family gatherings. In every opportunity, smile, be kind to every single person you see, and do the best you can to make it special for your bride and kids.
It’s impossible to make it perfect. We can’t please them all. But the few little traditions and acts of service and kindness go a long ways. Make it simple and chill. Be patient and strong, and put on a smile, even when you want to throw in the towel. You got this.