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…)

Envy = I Hate You (Part 2)

Envy = I Hate You (Part 2)

~Joel’s Blog

Green With…

In our first installment on the subject, we observed that envy is really about hate. Given that our culture frowns on “hate” (bullying, hate-crimes, prejudice, etc.) isn’t is strange how much envy is embraced?

What’s that? We embrace the green monster? Sure. If you have any doubts, just think “Occupy” and “1%.” Still unconvinced? Consider what the underlying attraction of some reality TV shows is. Or popular films. Then there’s top-selling music…OK, maybe music that isn’t chart-topping, too. How about nearly every commercial that’s ever been created? While adults might argue over how common envy is in the culture of youth, some very fine minds have commented on its role in all of culture. Observe these fine quotes:

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.
Harold Coffin

Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.
Theodore Roosevelt

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
Winston Churchill 

Envy Is As EEnvy Greennvy Does?

So, the culture we live in actively despises “hate” but actively engages in “envy.” Does this duality impact the life of faith, and ooze into the life of the church?

Sure. Unless you think that people of faith don’t suffer from the power of this sin. Or that our secular culture finds no harmonic
resonance within the sacred church.  It seems that if this monster roams too freely where adults move, it is certainly poses a risk to kids, too. More so when the monster is met with an unthinking embrace.

Engage here. What does envy look like in your life?  Who does it impact the most in your world? Who else should consider these questions? Send them this way, please.

photo credit: lamazone via photopin cc

A Life of Deep Gladness: 7 Questions

A Life of Deep Gladness: 7 Questions


Frederick Beuchner, a brilliant author (and Presbyterian pastor) states:

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.


  1. How aligned are those two key elements in your ministry…in your life?
  2. If there is any uncertainty in their alignment, what is the source or cause of their linkage?
  3. How important is it to you to experience “deep gladness”?
  4. Are you motivated to meet “the world’s deep hunger” with your life’s calling?
  5. Assuming for a moment that your calling (work, ministry, job) isn’t pulsing with “deep gladness,” how impactfully can you meet the world’s “deep hunger?”
  6. Gently now…if you’re not now, this very day, vitally engaged in sharing that from which your “deep gladness” bubbles, for what do you delay changing your situation?
  7. What steps can you take, now, today, that will realign your deep gladness with what the world so desperately needs from you?

Engage here. What is your place of “deep gladness?” How does it meet “the world’s deep hunger?” Who do you know that needs to consider these questions right now?

Delighted photo credit goes to this wonderful artist: Monica Blatton via photopin cc

ADHD Oompah, Part One

ADHD Oompah, Part One


A salute to sanity!

I wrote this song for my husband, Joel, and daughter, Jessica.  It was actually a Valentine’s gift a few years ago.  We had survived our first year of knowing I had ADHD which was why we were…..uh, let’s just say, when it came to communicating with each other we were “having troubles,” as Jessica use to say when she was a wee person. (Not Wii, wee)

In fact, the first verse is written from my daughters perspective and the second verse is written from my husband’s perspective. Dealing with ADHD is difficult.  Living family life with a member with ADHD really can be very difficult.  Yet, sometimes it can provide a family with some wacky or fun moments too!  Seriously, the spectrum is that wide of a range!

Now, you can’t ignore the challenges that come with ADHD but you also don’t have to sit and stew in them, either, singing your woes.  There are two things I strongly recommend, instead:

  1. First, celebrate the colorful dynamics that come with ADHD.  Kind of like a magnifying glass, ADHD magnifies not just the challenges but beautifully magnifies the gifts that each person has been blessed with.  Focusing on these things helps you remember you are valuable and you bring something special to the world.
  2. Second, you just gotta laugh at some of the silly predicaments you get yourself and/or your family into.  One example of that is this dilemma that happened twice!  I have one of those Betty Crocker Cookbooks that everyone seems to get when they get married.  Well, mine is no longer a cook book but a “cooked book”!  Twice I have managed to lay the book down on the stove and then accidentally turn on the wrong burner.  Yep, the back of that book has been nicely branded with that unique spiral that can only come from an electric burner.  (Good thing it didn’t happen when we had a gas burner, eh?!)

I can’t help but smile whenever I interact with that book!

(Stay tuned for part deux coming soon to a website near you!)

While waiting for part deux you may want to click on support info and check out the excellent ADHD books listed.  They are some of the best to read whether you are single, married, or have kids.  The books are written for adults and kids.

So, what’s your story? Do you deal with ADHD challenges? Do you also “cook” your cook books?

Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did.

photo credit: jenny downing via photopin cc

Highs and Lows

Highs and Lows

The Highs and Lows of Highs and Lows

I am sure none of you can relate to this, but I just need to get this off my chest.  Family relationships are a challenge!!

However, that is not where it stops.  Family relationships are complicated.  Why?  Because when you get right down to the core feelings, we love and care for our families very much.  They matter to us!  What they think about us matters. What they say about us or to us matters sometimes way too much!

Isn’t it it kind of funny how we can fiercely love someone, but really not like them so much?! It often has to do with disappointment. There are certain people, like our parents, that we have this internal craving for their approval, support, and unconditional love. However, our parents aren’t perfect, they have different points of view and often don’t realize how hurtful their words can come across when they disagree with you. We get so caught up in wanting to be accepted and agreed with that if there isn’t agreement and understanding it becomes a personal injury.

We all have shortcomings. Due to our varying relational skills sometimes we can only agree with a person to a certain point and then we can’t go any farther. Then we have to find a way to choose the importance of the relationship over the importance of the topic. Sometimes that may feel impossible to do.

It is surprising to me that I can make myself patiently interact with a stranger, but if it’s family I may not be nearly as good about holding my tongue.  It’s harder for me to be objective. This is not something I am proud of.  Of all the people to be patient with, it’s my family I want to experience my good side more than anyone else and yet often the opposite is true.  Does anyone relate to this?

When we pledge at our weddings to be faithful in good times and bad, that includes grumpy nights, and family squabbles, ingrown toenails, and dental fillings.

I guess when we are with those we know care about us, we relax or let our guard down.  Maybe we don’t work as hard to connect, because we are already connected by blood or promise.  In some cases it’s got mostly to do with personality differences or even where you land in the family.

The bridge on this song is the kicker in this song, too:

“Through the Highs and through the Lows it’s become clear to me, that only by God’s love and grace, I can love my family!”

Ultimately, we need God’s strength to help us continue to love all our family members. With God’s strength, a bit of objectivity and a slice of humor, family gatherings can be a bit more enjoyable for everyone! Blessings to you and yours during these up and coming holidays!

Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did. And if you’d like to sample “Highs and Lows” on iTunes, click here and scroll down the list.

PS: I guess that’s the wonderful and crazy thing about love, it doesn’t always make logical sense.  Actually, does it ever?!

Click here for the “Highs & Lows” video: http://vimeo.com/75366050 Enjoy!

photo credit: bichxa via photopin cc


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