#6 in 2011: Let Grace Take the Cake

Some junior high students were seen throwing cupcakes down the church hallway.  You would not believe the janitor’s response when he saw this happening.  This is the sixth most popular post in 2011.


Let Grace Take the Cake

I got word that some cupcakes were being throw up the hallways after CHAOS last week.  At first I thought, “I cannot believe our volunteers would do such a thing!”  Then I was told that it wasn’t the volunteers that were throwing cupcakes, it was a group of students.  I should have figured.

So I sought out a janitor and I said, “Hey, Mike!  I heard you saw some students throwing cupcakes down the hall, is that right?”

Mike almost interrupted me with his reply, “Ya know, Ben, there were some guys throwing cupcakes but it’s no big deal.  See, I know things like this will happen.  We just don’t want it to get out of hand.  These students just need to be loved on and when their behavior get out of line then we just gotta redirect it.  If things didn’t get a little rowdy at times I would wonder if you were even doing your job.”

Wow.  That was refreshing to hear.  And I couldn’t have said it better myself.

After that conversation, I walked away thinking two things:

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#10 in 2011: History Makers, not Angels

We’re starting the tradition here to recap the top posts of the year as we set our sights to the new year.  Not only does this give me freedom to give family the priority, it gives you a chance to go back and see what we talked about, perhaps catch something you missed.  I welcome you to continue the conversation with each post.

#10, here we go!


History Makers, not Angels

The attendant at the gas station today had a tattoo on her arm and I asked her what it was.  She showed me and responded, “It’s a quote: Well behaved women seldom make history.”  I actually chuckled right when she finished sharing that with me.  I mean, there’s a little truth in every bit of kidding, right?

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Blockout Burnout: Planning a pace for your life

Would you rather be the fastest sprinter in the world or the fastest marathoner?

I would choose to be the fastest sprinter, until I saw this video:

Ryan Hall can run a 4:42 mile, 26 times over.  He has trained his body in a way to sustain this pace, making sacrifices everyday that most people would not be willing to make.

You don’t know how long your race will be, so what are you doing to be sure that you don’t burn out?  Here are three thoughts for maintaining a good pace in your life:

Exercise – Why we give up exercise in order to sit in a chair and work for an extra hour at a lower level of intensity is beyond me. I used to do it all the time. I dealt with stress by eating and work instead of working out. The result? Burnout and chubbiness.  However you prefer, figure out a way to get regular exercise.  Your mind and body will thank you for it.

Be accountable – Stephen Covey said, “Accountability breeds response-ability.”  Accountability is something we’re all familiar with but rarely put into useful practice.  Find somebody you can trust to give the down and dirty on what you’re trying to do and how you’re moving forward.  This “somebody” probably shouldn’t be a family member or someone you’re dating.  It can be hard at times for those people who love you to not make excuses for you.

Laugh – Make others laugh or simply allow yourself to laugh at the jokes of others. Humor keeps us sane even through the most stressful of circumstances. Laughter is fun and a great way to reduce stress.  Learn some jokes, share some jokes, and find the humor in life.

In Philippians 3 the Apostle Paul describes walking with Jesus in terms of a race. Most people would look at his life and be amazed at his pace. But he looks at his life and says, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Your life’s pace is a matter of constant maintenance and intentional decisions.  Strive for a healthy pace that strides forward, eyes on the prize.

Question: What tips would you add to avoiding burnout?  Click here to comment.

Quitter [Book Review]

By Jon Acuff
5 stars

Acuff’s tag line for his book “Quitter” reads: Closing the gap between your day job and your dream job.  I’m pretty excited about my day job and enjoy what I do yet felt compelled to read this book simply from following Jon’s blogs over the last four years.  He loves God, his writing is enjoyable, and he’s lived the day-job-to-dream-job experience.

Typically, I read through books in two or three sittings.  Not this one.  Each chapter is jammed with incredible candor, insight, and stories about the struggle Jon had on his day-job-to-dream-job journey.  After reading each chapter, I was compelled to sit and think about the implications of what I read.  The book brings fantastic perspective to the reality of having a day job, working on your dream, waiting for your time, learning to be successful, and then finally stepping away from the day job.

Here are some tweet-sized quotes from the book:

People position adulthood like it’s the end of your life, not the beginning. You’ve had your fun. Now it’s time to grow up.

Discipline begets discipline.

Anyone can dream; it’s the doing that is such a hassle.

Procrastinating perfectionism tends to cripple our ability to finish.

You might be too bored to work on your dream, but just don’t buy into the lie that you are too busy.

Superman needed Clark Kent. Go be real. Go be connected instead of being a nonstop Superman.

Focus on your passion first. Your passion will fuel your plan.

Competition is a great motivator but a horrible measurement.

Don’t accept the lie that work has to be miserable and dreams are for other people. They are for everyone.

No matter where you’re at in life, 17 or 70, I recommend this book.  The real life stories and applications from this book are worth the conversations with your spouse, friends, or family.

Question: Have you read Quitter? What are your thoughts? Click here to comment.

3 points to a truthful conversation about Santa

Yesterday, I shared about how we told our kids about Santa.

I used to think there were only two options when it came to having Santa as a part of a Christmas celebration:

1. Either you do it
2. Or you don’t

It turns out, there are more options than that.  As a family we have decided to share the truth about Santa, not take part of his festivities, but to talk about it, laugh about it, and have open conversation.  Santa does not have to be a banned word in our house, as I used to think.  Here is the framework of our truthful conversation about Santa.

1.  Like Buzz and Woddy, Cinderella, or Snow White, Santa Clause is a pretend character.  We can enjoy books and songs about Santa, but we know that it is for fun.

2.  Some people call Santa, “St. Nick.”  This is because a long time ago there was a man named St. Nicholas who gave gifts in secret to families who were in need.  That was very nice of him and we also have the opportunity to give and serve others

3.  You will probably hear your classmates talk about Santa.  You don’t have to get in an argument if he is real or not, you can simply know that their mom and dad have not told them that it is make believe.  You can also share that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

We celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus.  That is very exciting because he is God, coming to earth, to get to know you personally.  Let this be the resounding message you share with your kids.

Question: How do you handle Santa in your family? Click here to comment.