11 Things We Learned From Failure

11 Things We Learned From Failure

Or…Some Lessons Are More Expensive Than Others

Joel’s Blog

[This blog first appeared September 27, 2015]

If you have been following along the past few months, you know we have been winding down operations at the office suite we’ve occupied for the past year. In a few days, our business operations will be run from our dual home office. Janet’s recording studio is upstairs. My coaching (and writing) office is downstairs.

To say it has been a “learning experience” kind of doesn’t even get close to it. “Failure” does. (more…)

Blessings

Blessings

Blessings

This is a song I wrote for my sister, Catherine, and her husband, FJ, for their wedding day (Catherine & FJ Abaya). At the time I had to sing it acapella because my hands still hurt so much. This made me very nervous, but after singing acapella on the cruise ship, I was determined to do it! I hoped it would be a blessings for their ceremony, as well as a chance for me to pray out loud my hope for their life together.

When it came time to record this song I was ecstatic to surprise them with me accompanying myself on the guitar.

This song underlines the importance of having God woven into your marriage, “three cords combined.” Life can provide you with joyful times but also many challenges and disappointments. Sometimes circumstances around you can get so bad that it can use up everything you’ve got! When two people who love each other are both dealing with their own difficult situations at the same time it can get really rocky. God can be that third cord to keep you strong and keep from breaking apart.

If you ever find yourself wondering who it is you are living with and even questioning whether you like them.

You are just normal!

We all unknowingly bring so much of our past experiences into our lives that we don’t always see the other for who they are but either who they remind us of or even who we wish they would be. It’s important to stop and recognize this.

We need to get our heads wrapped around the fact that we are all broken doing the best we can with the tools we were given.

It’s also important to be open to the fact that we could learn more through counseling.

Counseling has been a helpful tool we have referred to off and on throughout our marriage. It’s part of the reason we have made it this far.

I encourage you to embrace your spouse and the fact that you are both imperfect and can still learn and grown no matter how long you have been married.

Ultimately though, welcome God into your marriage every day. He can give us compassionate ears that can listen to our spouse when we really don’t want to. He can give us self control when all we want to do is scream about our own boss, or our own relational situations. It is purely by the strength of God that we can have what it takes to care for each other in the midst of our own stuff.

Seriously, let God give you what you need to be there for each other. Don’t turn your pain into a competition, where you compare who has the worst situation. Everyone’s feelings count. We normally know this but when we are hurting it’s hard to think clearly. Remember you are a team. You two are one, but you don’t need to do it alone! Praise God!!

Can you relate? What are some tips that have been helpful in your marriage?

Add your thoughts below. We’ll be glad you did.

Maria

Maria

Maria

This song was written for our God-daughter, Maria, who lives in Norway with her parents, Katie & Kjell Møgster, and three big brothers.  Back in 2006, the Møgsters called us from Mali, Africa (during their missionary years) and asked us to be her God-Family.  They invited us to meet them in Norway to attend Maria’s baptism.  Well, of course, we said “yes!” with great enthusiasm and immediately started the process of obtaining tickets that would eventually have us arrive in Ålesund, Norway.

Now, a baptism is always a special event. But in Norway, it is a HUGE event.  Many hours of preparation were put into decorating the house, setting up tables, making centerpieces, organizing name tags, and preparing group games.  Oh yes, then there is the never-ending supply of food!

The morning of the baptism was spent preparing for the special baptismal worship service.  The worship experience was amazing!  I couldn’t understand a word of it, but the rhythm of the liturgy and prayers felt familiar, especially the Lord’s Prayer.

There was only one part of the service that was in English, the part when I got up and sang.  The Møgsters had informed me that it is often a tradition for the God-parents to have one of their gifts be a poem or song.  So, I happily wrote Maria a song, in the weeks before our Norwegian odyssey.  The words of the chorus were projected onto the screen and I invited everyone to sing along during the last time through…which they did, in their conservative Norwegian way of doing things.

After worship, we drove back to Kjell’s mothers home with the family.  Immediately, their friends and family started arriving for the festivities.  There must have been about 40 people there, each with a name tag showing them where they were going to sit.  We heard Norwegian songs, ate Norwegian food, played group games and learned a lot about … Norwegians!!  The last visitors (who weren’t going to be sleeping at the house) finally left around 8pm that night.  Finally, it was down to just the…15 of us.  This included 7 children, 5 of them young elementary school boys!

The whole trip was an amazing adventure. Being immersed in another culture for 2 1/2 weeks gave me a much bigger understanding of our world. My family and I didn’t want to leave!

In June, 2011, during one of our reunions with the Møgsters, here in the States, Maria asked me to sing her song. I happily agreed.  Maria was 5 at this time, so I could look her in the eyes as I sang.  She would blush and turn away, but soon I found her looking at me again.  It was a precious moment.  Clearly she felt very special about having her own song.

I am so glad that my song touched Maria’s heart. It clearly made her feel loved and cherished.

Has anyone done something extra special in your life while growing up?  Have you ever told them what it meant to you?  If not, think about doing that.  It would mean a lot to them.

Hopeful of Being Helpful, Part Deux

Hopeful of Being Helpful, Part Deux

Hopeful, Face to Face

Hosting the Hope-Filled Hearts Concert was a huge endeavor.  I wanted to 1) provide everyone with a great experience from the moment they walked in the door, 2) inspire people to try new things and make room for hope to grow in their hearts, 3) touch someone deeply so they would know they are not alone in their trials, and 4) impact our local community positively by gathering food for the Idaho Food Bank and the Idaho Humane Society.

This meant a lot of details needed to be taken into account and many volunteers would be required to reach my vision. After much time, concentration, and a couple hours out of my sleep time, I came up with a long list of jobs.

Helpful…Big Time

The two most amazing things about working on this project were:

  1. I always knew there were at least a few people who had my back from the start. They planned on filling in anywhere and everywhere they might be needed. Not feeling alone in the situation, I was really able to hunker down and work hard. Many phone calls, announcements, articles, and requests were written asking for volunteer-help during the final two weeks before the event.
  2. As each day went by I had this little fire of hope growing inside. It wasn’t because I had crowds of folks wanting to help. It was but because those who volunteered really wanted to be there and help out. They said “Yes!” with enthusiasm and often added, “what else can I do for you?” It was clear these people had planned on coming to the concert anyway, so I was truly touched. Their joy and enthusiasm to help me out just fed my own little fire of hope! Even when little speed bumps came along the way I just held on to the hope that I had been given by others.

The help of others was what really kept my hope-filled heart burning so I could shine some hope back into their lives! It is good to be hopeful, isn’t it?

What are ways you can help others discover hope for their lives? Who can you help by feeding their flame of hope?

Leave a comment below. Add to the conversation! We’ll be glad you did.

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