The Story of Your Scars

We all carry scars…

There is a story with each one. Maybe it is a clumsy accident, or possibly something more serious.

Scars can be new, or they can be old, lasting a lifetime.

The deepest wounds and scars are often ones that go unseen, that aren’t physical. They show up in our hearts and minds, impacting emotions and relationships.

I’ve listened to this song for the better part of a week now and I am struck by a truth I feel unworthy to admit – That despite the wounds and scars in my life, God is there to write a story more beautiful than I could ever imagine.

I’m thankful for the scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars

Psalm 34:18 tells us that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Emotional pain is an extraordinary motivating factor.  It can cause us to do things we ordinarily wouldn’t do.  It can drive us to react in ways that aren’t healthy.  Pain can force us to change who we are, to avoid the truth, to try and quiet the longing in our heart.

So what is the story of your scars?

Maybe your wounds are fresh.
Maybe they are buried so deep in the past you hardly want to recognize them.  Maybe you’ve been hurt.
Maybe you’ve hurt someone else.

I pray you’ll bring your brokenness to Him.

He is willing and able to walk with you, every step of the way.

Healing and mending the parts of you that only He can.

Bringing you through to the other side, stronger than ever before.

And then you’ll be able to cling to the message of this song.

Your wounds are a story He’ll use…

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A Snowflake’s Guide to Not Being Offended


Has society slapped you in the face?

Do you find yourself lost in a world of protest hashtags?

Did your candidate flunk out of the Electoral College?

Are you bothered that a Muslim can be elected President in this day and age?

Can you believe what Madonna said?!

Then this article is for you!!

It’s easy to constantly be offended in today’s world. Recent studies have shown that being offended increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and hypocritical intolerance.

These 12 steps are designed to help you prevent being offended.  Follow them closely and see the difference they can make in your life today!

  1. Stop taking yourself so serious. No one else really does.
  2. If you weren’t offended or even aware of the problem before you saw it trending on Twitter, then get over it! Can I get a #Kony2017
  3. Recognize that celebrities (although over-paid disproportionally by gender, apparently) also have a right to free speech. It’s just more annoying when they complain about stuff.
  4. Keep things in perspective. I survived 8 years of Obama, you will make it through Trump.
  5. For Christians: There is a reason we have a special term. So don’t act surprised when the world, acts like “the world”.
  6. Repeat after me – “There is a difference between being offended and simply disagreeing with someone.” Rinse and repeat as needed.
  7. Train your brain to ignore any breaking news alerts that include the hashtag #SCOTUS.
  8. Back away from the keyboard or keep scrolling.  Either one is a necessary response when you read a post that makes your “Oh no he didn’t!” flare up.  Reality is, no one is going to change their voter registration, or become un-gay because of your Facebook response.
  9. Accept the fact that “Privilege” is a real thing, and it comes in ALL the colors of the rainbow.
  10. Use the “Family Restroom” at Target.  It is usually cleaner, more spacious, and it’s a one-seater.  Problem solved.
  11. Unless you’re one of the 300k+ homeless veterans in this country, don’t get too worked up over the refugee “crisis”.
  12. Let go of your hostility toward the inanimate objects that hold our society hostage with their hate and violence. I.e. Flags, Guns, Chicken Mini’s, etc.

Work these 12 easy steps to take your life back. You deserve it!

*Results may vary



We Are Better Than This


A friend put into words the real truth about this election.  Thank you Jeremy Harrell for sharing!

Over the past several weeks, I’ve watched as good people on every side of the presidential race abandon or outright destroy longtime friendships with good people they’ve known for decades but who happen to see the election differently. I’ve seen the same thing happen among family members. 

Good people are calling other good people racists, hate mongers, traitors, anti-American, anti-Christian, RINO, crazy, lunatic, stupid, baby killer, evil or worse because they disagree over which of two people – neither of whom they have ever met – they should or shouldn’t vote for. 

Good people have decided it is ok to abandon our common courtesy and be rude to other good people. None of this is one-sided, and I’m both guilty and a victim myself. 

Presidential candidates should call us to something greater than ourselves, but this election is bringing out the worst in us. 

Over the next four weeks we’ll each have to justify for ourselves why we will or won’t vote for one of two deeply flawed people to lead our country. For some of us the decision will be easy, and for some the decision will be extraordinarily difficult. Regardless of the decision (for either candidate or just to not vote) most all of us will have to abandon some personal principle or standard in order to make it. If we say we aren’t we’re fooling ourselves.

I pray for our country, and for those who seek to lead it. I hope that when this is over we can bind up the wounds and divisions that have been created by this race. I hope we’ll all remember who our friends are, and regret the terrible things we said to and about one another, and find our better selves. I hope that those of us who claim the name of Jesus Christ will remember who we are, remember where we find our identity, and recommit ourselves to reflecting His character and nature. And I hope we’ll look back on this last year with profound sadness for what we became and commit to one another that we will never again let this happen. 

I hope.

Post Debate Wrap-Up

Another GOP Presidential debate is in the books.  

This was the debate CNBC should have had…
  
It was nice to see less candidates on the stage tonight, although I hated to see one of my favorites (Chris Christie) demoted to the “kids table”.  The smaller number of candidates on the big stage really gave us a chance to hear more specific proposals.

Here’s my rundown.  Keep in mind, I’m evaluating them through the lense of viability in a general election.  After all, that’s what we should be aiming for here, the best candidate to win next November.

BEN CARSON – Came out swinging after a week of intense scrutiny.  “I don’t mind being vetted, I mind being lied about.”  Welcome to the NFL Dr. Carson.  He didn’t get as much talk time as I would have expected for a front runner. His closing statement was on point.  It’s time to change the narrative.

DONALD TRUMP – What is this, his 4th debate?  Nothing new, and likes to repeat himself.  I get it Donald. You want to build a wall.  John Kasich is lucky Ohio struck oil. He’ll be the best on the military.  America isn’t winning anymore. He’ll rip up the deal with Iran.  For everything else, he watches “the shows”.  It’s way past time Donald,  you’re fired!

JOHN KASICH – John wants to talk, a lot. One of the more experienced candidates on the stage, he’s too moderate to get the nomination.  He needs to learn some manners when it comes to interrupting.  His response when pressured about bailing out the banks was very disjointed, and scary. He won’t rise in the polls, which only means it is a matter of time for John.

JEB BUSH – I actually thought Bush had his best night of the debate season. Bush claims we don’t need to be the worlds policeman, but we do need to be the world’s leader.  Something about American Exceptonalism gets me every time.  Still not a strong enough night to jump out of the rut he’s in.

CARLY FIORINA – Carly is really good at pivoting from the question to answer one that wasn’t asked, it’s an art. She’s sharp, she’s articulate, she’s for zero based budgeting!  She tells the truth in a way that just makes sense.  Another solid performance from Carly.

TED CRUZ – After a standout performance last debate, Cruz did not capitalize on that momentum tonight.  He regularly throws out lines that have been scripted well in advance, hoping to rack up as many zingers as possible.  He committed a Rick Perry by promising specifics he couldn’t remember.  You can find out more by visiting TedCruz.org,  which he mentioned thrice.

MARCO RUBIO – “Welders make more than Philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”  He made a good point when it comes to higher education, but he probably lost the philosopher vote. Pro Family, one of the reasons I like Marco.  His diagnosis of Vladamir Putin was spot on. Strong night for Rubio.

RAND PAUL – Rand took a swing at Rubio’s tax plan, but I think it fell flat, as evidenced by audience response.  I appreciate his conservative stance on all spending. He’s too far right to be a viable candidate in the general, and ironically he’s too far right to win the nomination. With Christie and Huckabee gone, Rand Paul needs to be next.

Winners = Rubio and Fiorina
Biggest Losers = Kasich, Bush and Paul



Thanks for letting me share a quick gut reaction to each candidate.  What were your thoughts on tonight’s debate? 

Thank You Speaker Boehner

Before you accuse me of drinking the establishment cool-aid, read to the end whilst doing your best to keep your partisan head (extreme or otherwise) from exploding…

John Boehner

I purposely avoided making any comments regarding Speaker Boehner’s resignation last Friday.

Primarily because I thought the move spoke for itself.

However, within hours this move was celebrated by some, and almost all of them were conservatives.

I have a problem with this.

Divisiveness among Republican ranks has been  never good for the strength of the party.  They party you say?  Why does the party matter?  Because whether you like it or not, we still govern using a two party system.  So the “party” of your choosing…matters!  The health of the party…matters.  The effectiveness of the party…matters.  Who governs the party…matters.

Division shows weakness.  It shows irresponsibility.  It shows lack of vision.

I imagine Democrat’s favorite past time is to watch Republicans gain a majority, and then watch them flush it down the toilet because of division and strife within our ranks.  We’ve gotten really good at it, and Democrats almost always come out the winners.

Don’t misinterpret me, I believe a shift at the top was well overdue.  I wish Speaker Boehner had spent more time representing those who gave him a majority in the House, and ultimately the Speaker’s Gavel.  Instead, he spent more time  keeping the peace between Congress and the White House.

However, I still respect him, his service, and the many good things he did over his 25 years in public office.  For that, and at time like this, he deserves our appreciation.

Some are touting this as a win for Conservatives.  I see it as another blow.

Now isn’t the time to celebrate.

Now isn’t the time to fund raise off the back of a man on his way out.

Now isn’t the time to claim credit for opposing your party’s Speaker.

Now is the time to thoughtfully consider the future of Republican leadership in the House.

Now is the time to double down.

Now is the time to be respectful.

Now is the time to be unified.

Now is the time to be strong.

Trust is All That Matters

Trust is All That Matters

I recently transitioned to a new company within my industry. I have found my new role to be very rewarding. The pace of my work has slowed, which allows me to focus on honing my skills and improving the business. In previous roles I found that extra margin to be lacking. I am also very thankful for the better “work / life balance” I’ve been able to enjoy as well.

I have found my new work environment to be void of one very important characteristic, and it’s giving me grey hair by the day.

trust

Trust is arguably the most precious commodity in business, as in almost every other part of life.  Lack of it can poison the work environment and paralyze growth.

There a few measures of a healthy business environment that smacks in the face of what I’ve experienced.

  1. Seek First to Understand – Rather than a rush to judgement and an assumption of the worst, people choose to stop and better understand a fellow co-worker before acting.  This takes a reinvention of our instincts.  Most people are born with a mistrust of others, so it is natural to assume the worst.  In order to achieve understand one has to resist the knee-jerk reaction and pause before responding.  Seek to understand what makes the other person tick.  Seek to understand why productivity may be suffering.  Is it a lack of training, or is it deliberate?  Seek to understand the strengths of a person, and how to lead using them.  More importantly, seek to understand their weaknesses and engage them on a path towards personal growth.
  2. Cease Gossip – Negatives should travel up, not down, and if you’re not a part of the solution you have no business being a part of the conversation.  Dave Ramsey’s team defines Gossip as discussing anything negative with someone who can’t help solve the problem.  This is key.  Gossip ruins culture quick.  Until you squash it, nothing is going to change.  Take problems directly to the source.  As a leader, resist the temptation to lament the challenges of your role with those who report to you.  Be mindful of confidentiality and respect the definition of gossip given above.
  3. Show Appreciation – Showing genuine appreciation can right many wrongs.  Most people feel underpaid and under appreciated at work.  I know I have felt that way at times.  Why would I not expect my team to feel the same way.  Now, when I am tempted to throw a pity party for myself I get up from my desk and look for ways to appreciate my team.  They soak it up!  They long for it.  Appreciation should flow in all directions, up, down and sideways.
  4. Helping Hands – You don’t hear, “That’s not my job” in a healthy business environment.  Nothing boils my blood quicker in the workplace than this phrase.  It shows lack of teamwork, it shows disrespect, and it shows no passion on the part of the person saying it.  That isn’t the kind of person I want working for me, or with me.  Pull your head out of your rear end and acknowledge that none of us can do this alone, we have to work as a team.

No company is perfect, and no doubt you’ve experienced similar challenges as a leader.

The buck stops here, and I drive the culture of my team.  I have to remind myself to stay focused on the important things and drive a shift in culture by practicing these simple steps.

What steps have you taken to improve the culture where you work?  What has worked, and what hasn’t?