Thursday, December 24, 2009

Skipping to end

As you may have guessed things worked out for me and my life indeed is a miracle. The final radiation treatment was Christmas Eve 11 years ago today. It is wonderfully symbolic to think I completed my medical salvation on the day before celebrating the birth of the savior of my soul, heart and mind.

I would like to say I am now fully cancer free but the reality is that I do not think I will ever really be free.

Years ago when I going though all the treatments I would often I fall to my knees and ask God “why me?” Now years later I find myself asking the same question but in a different way.

Instead I pray;

“Why me Lord? Why was I healed when there are so many others out there hurting? What lesson(s) do you have for me? What am I to do with this gift?”

The reality if life is that we all should be asking ourselves these questions everyday. Any life we have is a gift and it should be treasured and shared in a positive way with others. The Bible says, “life is no longer than the width of my hand…at best each of us is but a breath” Psalm 39;4-5

My prayer for you is that you will take a moment today to realize the fact of our temporary lives as we wait to move on to our eternal one. Don’t wait for a lump to start living. Your gifts and your impact are way too important to be wasted on any activity that does not bring glory to God and service to others.

I know I am taking my anniversary today as an opportunity to ask the important questions again and as reminder of my overwhelming responsibility to do something with the extra time I have been given.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Note: On 12/24 it will be 11 years since I completed my final cancer treatment. This week I am writing reflectively a bit about my experience.

My chemo treatments were an all day affair at the doctor’s office in his treatment room. Hopefully you have never had to visit one of these rooms. Mine was filled with large recliners set side by side and I was typically by many years the youngest person receiving a treatment. The type of chemo I received was different from the other folks in that I got it all in one long day and I did not lose my hair. The in office treatment was followed by immunotherapy through self administered shots in the evening. I will spare the details only to say the reaction to the interferon was far worse than the chemotherapy.

The miracle here was that the therapy began to shrink the tumors faster and to a smaller size than the Dr’s had believed were possible. Suddenly the prospect of having the tumors surgically removed became an unexpected reality. In this second surgery they would remove the remaining tumors and at the same time all the lymph nodes under my right arm and near the right side of my neck.

Hope was on my radar.

The second surgery—

I will never forget the day we met with the Dr. for the results. The poor guy could not even look me in the eye as he told me the news. Yes they successfully removed the four remaining tumors. Unfortunately, almost all of the nodes removed showed clear signs of cancer.

All I could think was, “this can’t be happening to me” “I have too much left to do” “Why Lord would you have my son grow up having never known his father just as I had? Why! Why! Why!”

I decided right then to no longer ask why or fear my fate. Instead I wrote this credo in my journal:

Dave’s Credo

What I know:
Through the power of Christ, I will be healed;
I have read all the statistics and understand the challenge before me;
This is a battle that cannot be fought alone;
There are people out there who are beating this thing;
I have a wonderful medical team working to help me be well again;
Cancer is a word and not a sentence;
What I plan to do:
Since I have already read the statistics, I will no longer worry about them;
I will work every day to get closer to God so that I may understand this plan for my life;
I will put my health and treatments before work;
I will remember that what is important is to love my family and strive to support them (its really not about me);
I will continue to believe that I will be healed;
I will seek out support from friends and family;
I will work to reduce stress in my life;

This credo indeed was a bit of a turning point for me from an internal attitude point of view. I had decided to move on and live life no matter how long that life may turn out to be.

More to the story with my next and final post on this topic….

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Note: On 12/24 it will be 11 years since I completed my final cancer treatment. This week I am writing reflectively a bit about my experience.

(continued from yesterday)

The early tests and conversations with the medical team were not encouraging. I had five tumors all in my lymph nodes with three under my arm and two near my neck. It is bad to have tumors in two places and so far from the original mole as this meant the cancer had metastasized. Quickly the doctors set out a plan for me that first included surgery to be followed chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery again if possible and finally radiation.

My cancer was declared Stage IV. This is not good news for any cancer and especially with Melanoma. The best five year survival rate I could find on the Internet for a stage IV patient was 19% with most sites showing an even smaller % chance to live. For hours I would just stare at my computer screen and read over and over statements like this one:

“Modest progress has been made in the treatment of metastatic melanoma over the past decade. With the advent of high dose interleukin-2 (IL-2), it may be possible for a small number of people to be cured of their disease. Despite this, the average survival in people treated for metastatic disease may be as short as nine months”

CRAP!

Darn you Internet and your vast amounts of information.

There was not only talk of treatments but there was talk of pain management, DNRs, quality of life and planning for the worst case scenario. The Dr. to his credit did not want to give me a worse case date but when forced by me said it could be months.

More to the story with my next post….

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Journey through cancer..


Note: 12/24 is the 11th anniversary of my final cancer treatment.

I will never forget that morning. I woke up just like any other day and started my normal routine. Little did I know that my life was about to change forever. I was in the shower enjoying a steamy start to another exciting day. Life was good. New job, new house, wonderful wife and a beautiful nine month old son peacefully sleeping in his room. At 31 years old, the world of possibilities was finally opening a door for me.

Then as I washed under my arm I felt it—I pressed hard to confirm it was there and when doing so found a second one. I immediately and without a shadow of doubt in my mind knew what I had discovered--Cancer

I was no stranger to the possibility. It was five years earlier when a mole had been removed from my back and declared melanoma. However, after such a long length of time I had become confident I would not have to deal with this again. Suddenly, and without any forewarning that confidence was gone.

I went on to work without saying anything to my wife and immediately contacted the Dr. for a same day appointment. The look on his face as he felt the lump was all the confirmation I needed. Next he said, “feels like you have three lumps here.” “What about the ones on your neck?” What! Turns out I had three tumors under my arm and two smaller but obvious ones on my neck.

I held it together pretty good until leaving the dr. office. Next stop was the little prayer chapel at church. Here alone and on my knees I asked the obvious why questions. Through the death of my mother just a couple of years earlier I had seen firsthand the slow dying process for those with cancer. Also, through the death of my dad when I was a young child I knew what it was like to grow up without a father. I cared very little for myself even in these first moments. I mostly worried that my son would now have to live the childhood I had lived. It was a childhood with no memories of an earthly father and filled with anger, pain and blame as a result.

More to the story with my next post….

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Got gratitude?


Life is stressful at times and we all flow through general ups and downs of happiness and exasperation. I call my most stressed times “white flag moments”. These are times when I truly feel just like giving up. I have reached the end of my ability and do not think there is any way to move on. The good news is that in these moments I have learned to instead of throwing the flag to open up my Bible. I have also in my deepest moments learned to take time to look over my gratitude list.
What is a gratitude list? (Glad you asked) During times of simple and even great joy over the last several years I have taken just a moment to jot down just a couple of words to describe that moment and what about it made me grateful. I keep this document on my computer and on my phone so that I can access and update at any time. Here are just a few past entries as an example:

The love of my wife
the power of hope
hide and seek with Conner
prayer
The promise of a new day
sunshine
the love of others
friendly people
Lunch with my wife
lunch with old friends
my dog Cayman
friends at work
planes that run late when I need them to
getting home early
Good movies
ice cream
the smell of fresh cut grass
flowers
spring rains
unknown friends
solved problems
long walks
long talks
The feel of dirt
tickles

Each entry represents an actual moment in time for me and the words help trigger the memory that will take me back. After many years, my list has grown to several hundred moments. The funny thing about white flag moments is that sometimes we can get so caught up in them that we forget all the wonderful things in our past and in our present that really make life so joyful.

Do you have a gratitude list? If not, you might want to consider one. It just might make a difference in your life as it has in mine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Twitterversary to me!



I realized the other day this is my one year anniversary on Twitter! I had heard about this Twitter thing for months and then when I started reading @scottwilliams blog I became even more convinced that I should check it out. Here I am a year and 2,700+ tweets later! What have I learned?

Twitter is a connector: I have mostly concentrated my following on people who also live here in OKC. I grew up in a small town and these loose connections with people like @dangordan @chefrp @pandabeara @okc_casey @rmphotgraphy @therasor as well as others in a very hard to explain way have helped me feel more connected to my community.

Twitter is selfish: I once described Twitter is a large room filled with people talking about themselves with little concern for the others in the room. This is true for the vast majority of users it seems. These are the folks that follow you for some reason but never take time to DM, RT, @reply or read your blog. I think this is what frustrates me the most.

Twitter is educational: My personal interests are as diverse as the people I follow. Through Twitter I have learned much about restaurants, technology, local events, and much more. I have even created a second account @okcscouter specifically to connect and learn from other Scout volunteers all over the world.

Twitter is a stress reliever: I am not a pretend guru or some guy with a hidden agenda. My timeline of comments and observations are basically a micro reality show into the life of the Copeland family. These connections have especially been helpful when I travel for work. It is nice to have a voice back home when out of town.

Twitter is just plain fun: This is the bottom line for me. I have truly enjoyed the experience and sincerely appreciate everyone I have become connected with over this last year. Thank you for following and for reading.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I am a fraud...


I am a fraud…

There I said it and it feels so good.

David #1 (the David I desire to be)

Charming, thin, athletic, wonderful husband, greatest dad, Bible reader, friend, listener, prayer warrior, leader, adventurer, mentor, grateful volunteer, joyful giver, difference maker…..

David (the David I seem to be more often)

Overeater, couch potato, distracted husband, impatient father, selfish leader, negative thinker, reluctant giver, life skater….

At least I have good company. Paul says in Romans
“ What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” Later he says, “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. (from The Message)

Gosh his words could be my own. Could they be yours? Do you struggle with the person you are vs. the person you want to be? It seems so often that the desires of our heart do not translate positively into the actions of our hands and feet.

I would love to add another sentence with some grand guru advice on how to solve this conundrum for you and I but have no words to give. My only hope is the same hope that Paul later expresses.

“Is there no one who can do anything for me?” “The answer, thank God is that Jesus Christ can and does”

A new month has arrived and it is time to get my heart working to get my hands and feet moving. I so pray that you will do the same. Even if we fail at times at least we are trying.

How have you solved this problem? How do you get your actions to match your dreams and plans?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A lesson from Conner



“Hey dad I think I want to play football this year” Conner made this statement to me towards the end of summer. I was quite frankly a little surprised at his sudden decision to play football given that he had never played before and would start right off on the 7th grade team with people that have been playing for several years. I immediately rattled off many reasons to Conner why I thought this was not a good idea. I was mostly worried that he would be so behind the other boys in skill that he would find himself made fun of or would get hurt. Heck, we did not even own a football and had to go buy one for him.

Now here we are many weeks later with the season coming to and end this evening. Conner once again has amazed me with his tenacity and with his positive attitude. Not once did I hear him complain about the workouts, being on the JV team, struggling to learn or really anything else beyond just basic frustrations. Mostly I saw him and the other JV kids especially get the opportunity to become physically stronger, mentally stronger, and get the feel of what it is like to be part of a team.

What an important lesson for me as a Dad and as a leader. How many times in the past have I heard an idea only to push right back and say reasons why it would not work? How many times have I let my own life experiences get in the way of the possibilities of others? Conner has reminded me once again that we will never fail in life if we never try. Turns out we will never succeed either. Thank you son for the wonderful lesson. I am so proud of you

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dude! Do your parents have jobs?


“Dude! Do your parents have jobs? They seem to be around all the time”

This is perhaps one of my favorite all time quotes from a friend of my son. He asked Conner this one afternoon during a school holiday when he was over to hang out and do other things boys like to do.

My wife and I were both home as we usually are when Conner happens to be out for a day or two from school. Why? We are blessed that Michelle works part time and I am blessed with job that provides way more vacation than I ever seem to be able to use.
More importantly, it is because we know these years with him are fleeting and will be gone soon. We also try to live the mantra that for a child love is spelled TIME as much as it is any other way. We have committed to spend moments with him doing what we can to create positive and lasting memories of us as a family.

(Another favorite quote) “You better enjoy me now Dad before I am a teenager and do not like you anymore”—Conner Copeland; Conner is 12 now by the way.

What about you and your family? Do you go for the quality or the quantity or a little bit of both when it comes to time? What is your T.I.M.E strategy?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Personal Branding Strategy

What is your personal brand?

The definition of Brand from businessdefinitions.com “Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers' mind…”

You are unique and there is no other you. Have you ever really thought deeply about this fact? No other person in the world has the exact same skills and capabilities as you. Just as companies like Sprint, Coke, Nike and others market their uniqueness, you as a “product” or “service” should be prepared to market your own value as well through a personal branding strategy. How do you do this? Here are just a few tips:

Step 1: Determine your strengths
Step 2: Make the most of your strengths
Step 3: Market your strengths through results
Step 4: Market your strengths through relationships
Step 4: Grow your strengths through continual learning and experience gathering
Step 5: Create a feedback loop to find out how you are perceived by others so you can adjust

So what is your personal Brand? Are you a product/service that another person would be willing to pay a premium price for? Would a window shopping stranger looking over your performance, professionalism, attitude, leadership and results want to take you off the shelf for a try? Why would this person pick you out of the crowd?
Your personal branding strategy can ultimately make a tremendous difference in your career and your life. Try it with a sincere attitude and you may be amazed at the results.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Pool






I recently visited my hometown for a reunion and had the opportunity to visit many of my favorite childhood hangouts. The pool in particular brought back some interesting memories.

I enjoyed the pool except for one object. The high dive. I will never forget that thing. It taunted me every time I went swimming. Down at the shallow end of the pool I would stand and stare at it with awe. It was as tall as any diving board ever erected. The sun gleamed off its light blue surface and somehow seemed to make those who successfully made the climb more beautiful than the rest of us mere mortals.

I could clearly see from my vantage point the excitement of the hero children who flew off the edge of the structure with all the glory of an eagle diving to the surface of some majestic mountain lake to capture its prize for the day. They seemed to live the life of excitement I craved.

Then finally one day I mustard up the courage to make the climb. I was careful not to tell any of my shallow pool friends that this was the time I had chosen to fly. As I stood there at the bottom rung of the ladder I thought how different my life was going to be after conquering the high dive. I would now be among the pool elite. No longer would I be constrained in the shallow depths of my inner fallacies.

So up I went. Step after step. Soon I had made it to the top and walked to the edge of the board. As I looked down, my enthusiasm waned. Now I could see all the way to the bottom of the pool. The dive that just minutes earlier had me nervous about the 15-foot drop suddenly looked more like a 1,000-foot spiral of death.

What to do?! I couldn’t just turn around. By now everyone in the pool was staring at the chubby diving board kid and knew I was nothing but a frightened little boy. Also there were other kids gathered at the bottom just waiting for me to do something. If I failed, everyone would know. I would become the subject of ridicule for all. Stories would be written. Songs would be sung. All would come to know the failure that was David Copeland.

So with all the courage I could muster I jumped.

It was one of the most spectacular belly flops ever performed.

So what happened next? Part of me would like to tell you that I climbed right up that ladder and gave it another try. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I ever jumped again. Within a few years they removed the high dive and took away any chance I would ever have to conquer the blue behemoth.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever worked hard to climb the ladder of success or get to the project assignment only to find the view from the top to be more frightening than you imagined?

I have many times and many of my attempts turned into flops. Fortunately, I have begun to learn that when I am faced with these situations I must to give it another try because sometimes it is better to face the pain head or belly on. Walking away only leaves us with feelings of regret. When we return to climb up the latter again, we may find the board to be gone, the project reassigned, or promotion no longer there.

I do not want to miss my opportunities to fly. I want to see the challenge and dive in headfirst. I want to live a life that soars beyond my earthly expectations.

What about you? Would you jump again?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Live Strong!




Today is Livestrong day. www.livestrong.org

Lance Armstrong and the Livestrong foundation are using this day as an opportunity to increase cancer awareness and to celebrate the lives of those suffering from this disease. This morning I quickly jotted down five things I learned through my cancer experience and have tweeted them as the day went by. These are not in any particular order and are just the tip of what I have learned.


1. Relationships matter most. Relationship with my Lord, my family and others
2. Life is not about me. It is about serving and loving others
3. Pain in life is unavoidable but suffering is optional
4. The greatest joys in life are found in the smallest of moments.
5. Cancer changes you forever—even if you are “free” of the disease it never really leaves you


Are you a cancer survivor or have you been impacted in some way by cancer? If so, what have you learned from the experience?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I believe in you





"It is amazing what a little belief in a boy can do for him" Jim Oliver


This was a statement in a recent Boy Scout adult leader meeting that was made by one of the participants. Jim is a Scoutmaster and although I had never met him before my guess is that he must be a pretty good one.

Jim gets it. He understands at a deep level the impact those of us that work with youth can have through an action as simple as a belief in the potential of each person. This belief is reflected by how we treat them and how they view us as Adults.

We must talk deeply to understand who they are, how they think, and what they deep down aspire to be.

We must give them the chance to lead and give them the chance to succeed. Along the way don't soften the standards or bend the rules. In fact, hold steadfast to these knowing the achievement is ever more valuable if it was hard.

We must allow and even celebrate failure. Why? Failures are the great teachable moments in life and it is so much easier to correct and change when the teacher says, "Okay you failed. Now what did you learn and what are you going to do differently next time." If they learn this now just imagine how much better they will learn to handle the failures that our bound to come in the future.

We must model in every way the kind of person we hope these youth will grow up to be as adults. This includes our own actions, words and attitudes towards other youth, fellow adult volunteers and parents.

Don't like the kids putting down others? Then stop doing it in front of them. Think some are lazy? Then let them see you out work everyone else. Not happy with negative attitudes? Then throw a smile on even when your day was just a total mess.

Most importantly as Jim points out believe, believe and believe again. You may be the only person this kid will encounter that accepts and believes not just for who he/she is now but also who he/she could be in the future.

Have you ever had someone believe in you when you did not believe in yourself?

Have you personally seen the power of belief change the life of another?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lessons from 14 years....





Yesterday was my 14th wedding anniversary. To say every moment of these 14 years have been nothing but sunshine and roses would of course not exactly be true. What I can say is that our one to one conflicts have been very few and mostly my fault when they do happen. I doubt if our 12 year old son has ever seen his mom and dad argue. Much of our marital success is due to our natural easy going style but there are other reasons that I think have made for such an enduring and positive relationship. I could write pages by now but here are just a few:

We started all in: I meet couples all the time in first marriages that keep finances separate. The thought of doing this actually never entered my mind. We are together as one in every way including our finances.

We don’t let the sun go down on our anger: Never let a point of irritation or conflict fester. We talk it out and work it out.

We pray and worship together: Church is an important part of our life and our evening bedtime prayer is a true moment that brings the family together.

We love each other publicly: No we are not one of those gooey PDA type couples that gross you out. However, we do share a little affection every day through word and actions. This is often in front of our son so he can have no doubt as to our commitment and so he can see a model for his own future as a loving spouse.

We praise in public: It just breaks my heart to hear a man or women talk down about his or her spouse. Water cooler talk about “here is what’s wrong with my wife” to me is never appropriate.

We talk about and support each other’s goals: My wife is much better at this than am. I love that she listens without judgment and when I fail (which is often it seems) she just encourages me to try again.

I am far from the husband I want to be and consider our marriage to be a work in progress. I know the future will hold many challenges. I am just incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful partner to walk beside me on the journey of life ahead.


What about you and your marriage? What have been some keys to your success? What are some lessons you have learned from your failures? I would love from you. Leave a comment to share with me and with others.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Some weekend thoughts




This weekend I spent several minutes watching my neighbor struggle to mow his yard. He would slowly push the mower for a few lines and then after a bit would sit for a break before getting up and going after it again. He has been dealing with cancer now for many months and this once vigorous man is now frail and thin. I could see the exhaustion in his steps and yet I knew he was at the same time feeling very much invigorated by the activity. Part of me wanted to help but I knew better. His family usually mows the yard for him and my guess is this was a moment of determination to prove he could indeed do it himself. That he indeed still is a man. A man that can mow and do other things men do.

I know very little about this neighbor other than he is sick. Hard to believe this when you consider that we have lived across the street from each other now for more than 13 years. I have waved but he seldom waves back. We have invited him and his family over for neighborhood cookouts and they do not come. I really do not know why he chooses not to be friendly but have come to accept it as just the way he is and there are no hard feelings. I will say though that it has not stopped us from loving him. We pray as a family for his health and recovery often. My wonderful wife has taken brownies and other treats over as tokens to let them know we are here and we do care.

As he mows I watch, I remember, and I wonder. Watching has reminded me in a powerful way what a gift every day of life is. It was over 10 years ago when I too was battling cancer and experiencing the challenges Chemo and the prospects of life ending bring. I wonder if I have been worthy of this extra time the Lord has given me. I am human and therefore I seem to fail more often than succeed with my earthly ambitions.

I want to go through life with a step after step determination to keep pressing on hopefully making a difference for someone else sometime along the way. I am sorry for my neighbor and yet and the same time am thankful for the powerful reminder I have been given. It is certainly a wake up call.

What about you? Are you just walking through the day, week, and years? We are ultimately all terminal if you think about it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A lesson from riding





My road bike is sick and in the shop. I am hoping for a full recovery. I guess that is why I have been thinking a lot in biking terms these last couple of days. I thought I would share with you a segment of an e-mail I sent to a team member this week talking about teamwork.

(about cycling)

We ride in pacelines with each person taking a turn at the front to “pull” the rest. There is always pressure to:

Take a turn at the front—If you get a reputation as someone who never pulls, the group eventually will call you out for it and not want to ride with you.

Not go to fast—A lot of guys get up front and then just take off. These are the ones who don’t look back to make sure the group is still there. They forget the point of the pull is to take the burden a bit for the rest of the group and not to ride any faster than your slowest rider can handle.

Stay safe in the middle—I broke my arm one time in a race because a dude a few bikes in front of me clipped the tire of the guy in front of him and fell. I T-Boned him in his back and next thing I knew I was in a ditch angry at the incompetence of the guy in front of me.

Don’t get dropped—Once you get out of the line it is almost impossible to catch up since the group is so much faster than the individual.

Cyclists or trainers or managers or any kind of leader —Life is so much better when we are working together for the benefit of all don’t you think?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Values, My Purpose, My Compelling Vision



As promised, here is my Value, Purpose and Compelling Vision. I have it posted at my desk along with the photo. The picture serves as a nice reminder that my wife and son are looking up to me as a leader for our family. I can never forget this and must strive to always be a Godly example.

Hopefully you have taken some time to go through this exercise as well. If not, I encourage you to do so soon.


My value list

Closeness to God
Family
Compassion
Adventure
Service
Financial security
Health
Integrity
Learning
Risk


My purpose...

To serve God, serve my family and serve those around me.


My compelling vision statement:

I shall live a life grounded with a sense of integrity and of closeness with my God.
My values along with the Oath, Law and Motto will guide my choices along the way.

In my personal life I shall seek first to be a Godly husband and father and I will value those around me.

In my work life, I am committed to helping others experience success so they in turn will help others succeed.

I indeed understand that this life is but a breath in time and the impact I will have on others in service of Him is the most important impact of all.

Psalm 39:4-5 (New Living Translation)
4 “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”

Monday, August 31, 2009

Writing your purpose and vision statement




Your purpose and vision statements are the next step in your walk to define who you are and what your life will stand for. My statements have changed many times over the years as my life circumstances have changed and as I have learned more about the world in general. Don’t worry about the wording or how it may be interpreted by others. These statements are for you.

Steven Covey has been recognized as the personal development pioneer in this area. In his book First Things First, he offers the following three basic elements that must be present in a meaningful personal vision (mission) statement. The first is what you want to be—what character strengths you want to have, what qualities you want to develop. The second is what you want to do—what you want to accomplish, what contributions you want to make. The third is what you want to have—what possessions, money and so forth you wish to have.

My statements are simple and easy to remember. Also, I am not much of “what you want to have” kind of person. Instead, I focus more on who I want to be. What you write is up to you.

Use the following exercise to help you write your statement:

Who you want to be—Imagine it is many years from now. You are walking into a large auditorium filled with excitement. You can tell from the crowd that this must be a ceremony to recognize some young people who are soon to graduate college and begin the great journey of life. At the podium a person appears and gives the introduction to her speech. It goes a little like this; “Ladies and gentleman. I am excited to be with you here today to tell the story of a life. Not just any life. This is story of a life that was lived to its fullest potential.


Today I am not here to tell you my story. Instead, I want to spend the next few minutes telling you the story of my good friend ___________________. To me he/she was a true example of someone who created a life of joy and fulfillment.

What would this speaker say about you?

“I am grateful to have known this person because…”

“My friend’s purpose in life was to…”

“In his personal life, my friend….”

“At work, my friend was known for…”

This exercise is personal by nature and there are many ways to approach it. My best suggestion is to just find a quiet place to be alone with your thoughts and truly reflect on the life you want to live. Share the results with a close friend when you are done and post your value list, purpose statement and vision statement somewhere close by.

I wish you the best and hope you found something about yourself that you may not have known.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

David's value list




Do you know what you value? If you took a few moments yesterday to brainstorm your thoughts you do. Congratulations! Before we move on to writing a purpose statement and a compelling vision statement I thought I would share my own value list.


My value list

Closeness to God
Family
Compassion
Adventure
Service
Financial security
Health
Integrity
Learning
Risk

Articulation of values leads to accountability. Each day I must ask myself, “Are my actions in alignment with my values as well as my Purpose and my Vision?” I often fall short but at least I know what I am striving for.

Share your list today! Post where you can see it! No accountability leads to no action.

What were some of your values? Did they align with your actions?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creating a value list

Many times the root of our personal inner conflict is the result of incongruent values. Do your words and thoughts consistently match you actions? Do the people you interact with have similar values? Does your career support or undermine the person you desire to be.

In this sense the things we find valuable are not necessarily material things. Instead you can think of them as emotional states or items that create states. Some possible values may be:

Security
Adventure
Change
Love
Solitude
Reverence
Excitement
Personal growth
Family Time
Creativity
Friendship
Risk
Learning
Recognition
Helping Others


You would not want to take a person who holds solitude as a high personal value to event where this person would have to interact with a large number of people over a long period of time.

For a career, a person who highly values risk and financial rewards would do well in a commission based sales job whereas a person that values security and might not be as happy. This does not mean that the security minded person would not make it as a sales person. Remember, here we are talking about inner value conflicts.

In relationships the person who sees adventure as a high value item may eventually conflict with a spouse prefers life at home. Very few of us bother to ask our potential mate to identify the things they value most in life.

Creating your value list

For the next five minutes brainstorm your own value list. Think about your life and the things that are important to you.

What values do you hold so strong that you will be willing to undergo some pain to keep them?

You may want to have your spouse or significant other complete this same exercise and then compare what you both created.

Afer you complete the exercise, share with us here how it went for you. Any suprises? What were some of your top values?

Monday, August 24, 2009




“Know who you are and then you will know what to do”

Yet another simple and yet profound statement from Craig Groeschel. Wanting to know who I am and why I do things the way I do has been a quest of mine for many years. I hate to admit it but there have been many moments alone with God asking, “Lord! Why have you made me this way? I know it is for your purpose but please help me to change”

The years have given me the wisdom to know the weaknesses that drive me are in many ways also my strengths. My inner awareness has helped me as a husband, father, and manager. Since I am aware, I can try to avoid situations that place me in a spot of weakness. I can also fill the gaps by surrounding myself with people who may be strong where I am weak.

Craig’s statement this week has some interesting timing. Just a couple of weeks ago I took some time to update my Value List, Purpose Statement, and Vision Statement. These serve as my inner compass as I travel through the day and I have them posted here at my desk. They give me something to strive for and a test for making decisions.

What about you? Have you taken the time to define your values, your purpose, and your vision?

If you have, let me challenge your to share your thoughts about them here with others.

If you have not, let me challenge you to do so this week. I will post a few tips that will perhaps help you along the way starting on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Family Traditions





I am a big believer traditions and think this is one of the best ways to create true lasting memories for your family. Think about your own past. What do you remember most about growing up? Is it the one time you went to such and such state park or perhaps the Saturday mornings when mom would always rouse you up early for pancakes? Chances are the pancakes are what you remember.
One example from are family is the Happy Birthday banner. (see pictures) We first put this up way back in 1996 and it has become a staple around here ever since. Even the dog gets a banner on her birthday and our house got a mention the day we moved in. It would just not be a birthday without the banner and a picture by the date. Of course the cool thing is also seeing the pictures and how we change over the years.
What about you and your family? Do you have traditions? If so, what are they? Also, what are some of your favorite tradition memories as a child?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy 12!


It is hard to believe that Conner is turning 12 today. It seems like just a blink of an eye ago I was throwing him in the air, changing diapers and taking naps with him cuddled in my arms. Much as changed and everyday I see him growing more and more into his own person. Sometimes I find myself staring at him trying to get a glimpse of the man he is going to be soon. I wonder what he will look like when he’s taller than his mom. I wonder how he will react the first time a girl breaks his heart. I wonder how strong he will be in his walk with God when the temptations of life get thrown at him. Most of all, I wonder if we have done enough as parents to set the early foundation for the challenges of life that is to come for him.

I see a boy that is growing into a young man of intelligence (straight As), character (thank you Scouts), reverence (thank you Lifechurch.TV/Church of the Servant), and good looks (thank you Mrs. Copeland). Really the rest is up to him. There no doubt will be some difficult moments to come soon as the covering of youthful innocence is removed. I am an imperfect father who has made and will make many mistakes. Clearly there is no magic formula for raising a child. My commitment is to be there as best of an example I can be.

Happy Birthday Conner. I hope that no matter what happens in the life to come that you will know how much I love you and believe in the wonderful plan God has for your life. I am honored and blessed to be your dad.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

There are Mustangs everywhere



“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose—somehow we win out….”
Ronald Reagan



A few weeks ago Conner and I were pulling out of the neighborhood and a sparkling new bright yellow Mustang Shelby Cobra passed us by. As men do, we talked about what a fast car that must be and how cool it would be to have a Mustang. Seconds later another Mustang passed by. Soon we approached the stoplight and boom there were two more. I asked Conner to start counting the number of Mustangs we would see for the next few minutes of our trip. I don’t recall the exact end number but it had to be more than twenty.

Conner exclaimed, “these Mustangs are everywhere! Ford must be making a ton of money”. I saw this as great opportunity to teach Conner about the Law of Expectations. Basically the Law of Expectations states that we tend to get what we expect. Conner expected to see Mustangs and suddenly they were everywhere.
I told him it is the same with people. Those who expect others to be good tend to see good in everyone one they meet. This is in stark contrast to the bitter person that thinks negatively of others and sees faults in everyone. This is the type of person that is always trying to be taller by making others smaller.

I owe an attitude of positive expectations to so many great things in my life. I expect people to be good and tend to like most everyone I meet. I have expected to be successful in my daily job and when things seem challenging I tell my co-workers not to worry because things “always work out for me”. No I am not relying on dumb luck it is just things indeed seem to always work out.

How do you look at life? Do you expect the best or are you always looking for a reason to see the worse in people and in situations?

Look at the bright side of things I you might just be surpised at what you find.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I show up


“The world is run by those who show up”

August is back to school for kids around the country and for many of us it also represents getting back into full gear with volunteerism. My passion is Scouting and I have been serving as an active volunteer since my son joined as a Webelos in the fall of 2006. I can say these years of serving have been a real source of joy in my life. Don’t get me wrong. It is not easy, usually thankless and has involved not only time working with the youth but many days of adult training and behind the scenes work. The BSA has some of the best leader training programs of any non-profit and most of the front line work is done by Volunteers.

When I talk to others about getting involved the typical response is “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have the skill”.

Don’t have the time?

Whew who does really! Most if the people I know who volunteer are people of great responsibility in their work lives as well as their personal lives. Funny how it seems at times the most effective volunteers are those who are already living some of the busiest lives around. These folks tend to be master planners that have learned over time to prioritize activity around work, family and serving. The key is balance and to not let things get too out of whack in any category. Are you already at soccer anyway every week? Then do some work while you are there! Same goes for your church and other organizations you are frequenting anyway.

Don’t have the skill?
Really this starts with passion and most of the time the skill will come. I have in the past volunteered with great passion in some areas and then quickly realized that it was not a good fit for my personality or skill. This sometimes comes with some disappointment but I have come to realize these times were a kind of training on my way to find my real fit. The key here is to realize soon that you need to move on before getting stuck in a role that does not excite you.

Why do it? The Pareto Principle tells it that 80% of the work in any organization is done by 20% or less of the people. By choosing to be in that 20%, you are enhancing the lives of others and making a difference in this world. Yes, there are people who truly do not have the time. Give these folks the gift of yours. The single moms, struggling family, kids at soccer, seeking visitors at church, and the world will be better because of YOU!

Find something that excites you and get involved!

Tell us your passion. What organization(s) do you volunteer for and why? Maybe your comment will encourage someone to get started.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Time to renew



I recently had the wonderful opportunity for a full week of vacation with the family. I am a bit of an obsessive time off kind of guy and work to plan as much as a year in advance. We keep our away time simple and relatively cheap. Also, as a lover of the outdoors and adventure, the wife and son can pretty much count on some hiking or other activity that gets us out alone with nature. No TV, no phone, and no contact with the outside world.
Taking this time off is not easy. My job has a lot of responsibility. Since I manage people in multiple locations, there is an element of complexity that needs close attention daily. However important my position might be my team is not curing cancer and no one is going to die if an e-mail goes unread or a question does not get answered for a few days.
I also try hard to empower fully whoever may be my point of contact while I am away to make decisions on my behalf. I tell these folks that I trust their ability and will support any action that may need to be taken in my absence.
I understand fully that this time with Conner and Michelle is an invaluable investment in us as a family. I do not want my son’s childhood memories of dad to be the guy who was always on conference calls or constantly checking e-mail even when supposedly enjoying time off. I see many people doing this and it always breaks my heart.
What about you? When was the last time you stepped away to recharge, renew, and refocus your life? When you are with your family, do you strive to be fully present and shove aside whatever may be going on back at work? I can guarantee you that doing so will indeed improve your life as a spouse, parent and employee. Take some time this week to plan out a way to disconnect so you may in turn reconnect. You will be happy that you did.
Leave a comment and let other’s know what action you take to truly relax with the family.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The first and the last


July 4th was the first time my son has ever really had the opportunity to shoot off fireworks. In his own words it was “freakin’ awesome”.

I personally relish in the firsts and wish there were more. I remember fondly my first car(see picture), first date with Michelle, first day in our house, first day of Conner’s life, first day of school for Conner, and on and on.

This is in contrast to the lasts. We have many of those in life as well. There was the last time I saw my mother before she died of cancer, the last day of high school, the last day of college, the last day I would see a good friend, the last time Conner would play in a park, the last time he would hold my hand in public, and heck the last time I would not have any gray hair and on and on.

The lesson to me is that we must relish the firsts, the lasts, and every moment in between.

I hope you take some time in the next few days just to stop and enjoy the moment. No matter what you may be doing--that moment will never happen again. It is a first and a last indeed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some Fathers Day Thoughts



I grew up without a dad. My mother and father divorced when I was really young and then he died shortly thereafter. All I have of him are a couple a vague memories and a few faded pictures. There were no times tossing a ball, fishing together, going to camp, talking about girls or any of those father/son things all of my friends seemed to have. To say I grew up bitter about this and angry at God for my predicament would be a bit of an understatement. It seems like I blamed most of my youthful problems on not having this magical person called “Dad” to give me Yoda like guidelines about life.

I was fat. Why? No dad
I was shy with girls. Why? No dad
I was angry inside at the world. Why? No dad
I was angry at God. Why? No dad
And on and on…

The funny thing about the plans God has for our lives is that we don’t understand them at the time but usually it turns out He is preparing us for some greater purpose.

I was fat—Now, I love to run, ride bikes and hike
I was shy with girls—I met the love of my life through a blind date and now have enjoyed a wonderful 13 year start to a lifetime together.
I was angry inside—Now, I hate to see others in emotional pain and have a passion for serving others.
I was angry with God—Now, I know He wired me this way for positive reasons I still seek to understand.

I grew up without a dad—Now, I do all that I am capable to be a good father to my son and to be a good influence to boys/adults I serve in Scouting.

I hope as this Father’s day approaches you will take a moment to look at your gifts as a father and/or as a son. Are you striving to be the best God has wired you to be? Are you growing and learning even as you make mistakes?

Your actions today will impact generations to come. Make the most of it while you can.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where is Superman?


My son loved Superman when he was younger. So much in fact that when he turned three several years ago we decided to have a Superman theme party. Let me tell you it was something. We scoured the Internet until we found almost every Superman item we could. Hats, a tablecloth, cups, cake, you name it we bought it. The heck with the college fund.

At the party it was exciting to have the plan come together. All the kids showed up along with the parents. Each had arms full of stuff that I knew I would be tripping over later. His favorite gifts were a pair of bright blue Superman underroos and a cape that a neighbor gave him. I loved watching him run around yelling, “I’m Superman! I’m Superman!”

A few days later we went for a walk. Conner of course insisted on wearing his underoos outfit and a pair of tall black rubber boots. I walked behind him as we traveled through the neighborhood and thought about this fascination that most young children have with superheroes. I can remember being that way myself at one time.

To Conner, he was Superman when he had that costume on. He could do anything! He was faster than a runny nose and able to leap large puddles in a single hop. Unlike most of us adults, he had yet to discover the limits of life. Every day was a learning experience and every moment an adventure to be had. Heck, as the picture shows, he did not even care about walking around the neighborhood in his underwear : )

Conner is eleven now and things are not as easy. Dreams of superpowers are gradually being replaced with the reality of life and of middle school. No more superman or superheroes. His cape has been replaced with the latest brand of clothing that all the other tweens are wearing. His rubber boots replaced with some brand of funky shoes that I have never seen before. Time spent text messaging, hanging out with friends, and swapping notes with girls is gradually replacing the simple joys we used to share together as father and son. Such is the way of life.

I am excited to see him growing up and yet at the same time I am sad to know the kryptonite we all experience as we grow up is waiting for him sometime in the future. My only hope is that his church, his Troop, his mother and I are indeed preparing him with the strength and wisdom to conquer the battles that are to come.

What about you? What are you doing to prepare your family and yourself for the battles of this world? Are you ready?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lessons from running part 2


I ran the OKC marathon last week and the conditions were challenging to put it mildly. The wind was blowing at 30+ MPH with high humidity and warm temperatures. As recently as two weeks ago, I was anticipating a finish time that would beat my previous marathon by at least ten minutes. Gosh was I wrong and I ended up finishing 45 minutes behind my goal. I knew I had very little chance of meeting my goal within just a few miles of the run since the feedback from my pace and body was telling me I was going to fail.

By mile 13 when the run turned south into the wind, my mental capacity to keep running was nearing an end. By mile 15, my calves were cramping and every step was a struggle. My goal at this point was to at least be running each time I passed the spectator areas for the benefit of my friends that were watching and for my family. It was suddenly very important to me that my wife and son did not see me walking (failing). I really knew I was going slow when while running next to a cemetery around mile 20 I heard a women say, “On your left” so she could pass me. The pass was inspiring and demoralizing at the same time since she happened to be in a wheelchair.

I was just ready to be done by the time I ran over the finish line five + hours from the start.

Monday morning I was still reeling from the experience and knew at work I would get lots of questions about how the run had gone for me. I arrived at the same time as an employee who is handicapped. Just moving from his car to the front door and then to his wheel chair is a struggle.

As I held the door open for him, I thought how pitiful of a person I am to even for a moment not appreciate the wonderful gift of health I have been given that would allow me to finish a marathon. Who cares about the time? I did finish!

The Lord gave me an important lesson in this moment to appreciate the life of health and happiness he has given me. Yes there will be pain in the steps of my future but I will do my best to move forward with a smile on my face.

What a about you? Do you struggle to sometimes see the positive blessings in your life? How do you get challenges in perspective?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Change your TV and change your life?

http://www.sharpusa.com/


I recently saw this ad by the Sharp Company and it really got me to thinking. Is life so simple that I could literally change my life by just getting a new TV? Wow that is indeed amazing! Sharp to their credit does not say that your life will change for the better or for the worse. They only say it will change.

Okay Sharp! Last weekend I took your advice and purchased a 19 inch TV to replace the 21 year old unit in our bedroom. Sure, I am too cheap and watch too little TV to have cable in this room but I did nonetheless make the change.

A full week has gone by and for some reason I do not feel any different. I did have really strange sensation a few days ago but it turned out to be a cramp in my foot. I weighed this morning hoping perhaps to see a change there and unfortunately I am still fat. I looked in the mirror to see if perhaps I was somehow better looking and darn it no change there either. Oh well.

Just last night my son was on a phone talking to a friend about TV. I heard him say, “You have a TV in your room? Lucky! My dad says I can never have one in my room.” I was left to imagine the comment that followed by the person he was speaking with. Next to his credit my son was able to explain why. “My dad says when he was a kid he had a TV, phone, and video games in his room. There was never a reason to leave the room and never a reason to interact with the rest of the family as a result. That is why he wants the TV time and the game time to be something we do together”

That’s right son. I have changed my TV (habits at least) and changed my life by finally getting off my butt some 20 years ago and getting outside to exercise and enjoy my life.

Change your TV to OFF and you will indeed change your life.

What about you? Do your kids have TV's in their rooms? Am I nuts here? Share your thoughts.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lessons from running part 1


I ran the 10K in a local race called the Redbud classic this weekend for the first time in four years. I love running in group event like this and it was especially fun since my sister-in-law was participating in the 5K as her first ever organized run. A couple of weeks ago I found my results from the previous time I participated and was surprised to see how fast my times had been. My goal for this race was to try and match the time from 2005.

Did I do it? I actually ended up beating my per mile average by 30 seconds and I set a new personal record (PR) for the run. Now thinking back I realize several factors contributed to my surprising personal success.

1. I knew the results of my past attempts
2. I set a goal for my new attempt
3. I had feedback during the run of my progress thanks to a Garmin device that showed pace/average pace/total distance and heart rate
4. I was always working to catch someone in front of me that was going faster (Being more successful)
5. I had overcome adversity by choosing to run even though the conditions were less than ideal (windy and cold)
6. I had fun along the way by encouraging other runners and chatting
7. I knew my family was waiting at the finish line to celebrate my success

This is great lesson for how to handle other challenges both at work and with family.
1. The past results—I do this by writing in a journal weekly
2. The goal—I start every Monday with setting goals for the week
3. Feedback—I make sure that everyone on my team knows I am open to feedback and I proactively seek it from others in conversations and with a 360 twice a year
4. Catching someone—I have always believed there is truly nothing new and I am always seeking people that have succeeded and failed so I can learn from them
5. Adversity—I would not call my self a risk taker by any means but I am making efforts to step out and try new things even if I know it will be difficult or there is a high opportunity for failure.
6. Fun—way too many people I know take life too seriously. Sure work is important but shouldn’t there be some fun along the way? I keep things light and encourage laughter.
7. What I want more than everything is to reach the finish line of life exhausted, worn from giving it all, meet Jesus and have him say, “Well done my faithful son.”

What about you? What are you doing in your life to go for the PR?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Time for "The Talk"


One of the biggest milestone events for a parent is when time comes for “the talk”. You know, the one that is most likely way more uncomfortable for you as the adult to say than it is for your child to hear. I know most kids grow up never hearing frank advice in the home about sex or about money. This seems odd to me since we are all bombarded daily by almost every medium imaginable about these two topics. I figure it is better my son get the information from mom and dad vs. getting it from his buddy, visa commercial or from that first American Pie movie.

I am breaking new ground personally here since I am in the majority of people who never had this discussed in the home. As a result, I have been planning my talk strategy for quite some time. The battle plan moves to high gear this weekend with a father son overnight backpacking trip. It would seem much manlier to break into this subject on a trail in the woods while doing manly things. If nothing else, this way no one will be around to see my embarrassment and we will be too far out for him to run for the hills.

I am calling this little hike the father-son vision quest part 1. Part two will come in a couple of years during a high adventure event somewhere deep in the middle of nowhere. In addition to “the talk” we are going to spend some time talking about creating a personal vision of who he is and what he stands for. My tools for this will be the Bible and the Scout handbook. By the end of our hike, it is my hope that he will have a written personal vision statement that he will be proud to share. I also hope that he will strengthen his foundational understanding about sex and how God views his responsibility as a man.

What about you parents?

Have you had the talk? Do you spend time with your kids talking about setting a vision and living a life of honor? What key Bible verses did you use that you would recommend to me?

I will let you know how our Talk goes for us. Pray that I will have the right words to share.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


The last several weeks I have been serving the youth at my church on Wednesday nights during a special event known as Big Switch. These nights are loud and raucous with literally hundreds of youth running around. My 11 year old son at first was very much against my serving since this was “his night” to be without mom or dad and have fun. On my part, I felt bad just dropping him off and wanted to find a way to contribute. I am not one of those drop and run kind of parents and I do love working with youth. The deal we worked out was that I would stay as far a way from him as possible during the evening. (We actually had a big laugh about this one together)

The students who participate run the full circle of the social and economic ladder of our community and goodness am I glad to have the teenage years well behind me. I have found the messages presented to be particularly powerful and I get as much or more out them as the kids do.

Two weeks ago the students were asked to write down on a card something they were dealing with that they would like to turn over to God. No names required—just write it down. As volunteers, we were asked to stand at the front of the audience and be available to pray with those kids that wanted it.

Two students approached me for prayer. I was a little overwhelmed to think these kids would have the courage to walk up to a complete stranger and have prayer over their most intimate issue. I chose to not read the card at the time and to instead just pray with the student and uplift the issue together to Jesus. Later when I read what was on the card my heart just broke. The issues were different for each but there was one commonality.

Both had deep pain that was in their mind ultimately being caused by their parent. As a dad, this was just a stark in my face reminder again of the impact I have on the life of my child and how eternally important it is that I do everything I can to be the best possible parent that I am capable of being. Yes I have made a lot of mistakes and I know I will make many more but at least I am out there trying to learn and to improve.

Clearly very few parents have come to this same realization. Most, I will argue operate in the blind spot and have no idea the mistakes they are making and pain they are causing. This pain has potential to be passed down to generations to come. Something has got to change.

Are you a parent?

What are you doing to equip yourself for this ultimate job? Do you have mentor? Do you read books? What is your strategy?

More to come……

Thursday, February 19, 2009

You should read this book...


Have you ever read a book that truly impacts your life at the core? I am talking one of those mountain moving, yes now I understand kind of impacts? Wild at Heart is a book like that for me and many other men I know.

Several months ago I was sitting in an airport and I noticed a man sitting across from me reading a Bible. He looked familiar but I was not sure. It did not take long before he walked over to me and said, “Hey David!”

I then recognized him fully and told him that he just looked so different I had missed him at first. Funny how just having a Bible in his hand had somehow made me not connect this man of the present with the man I knew in the past. Within moments Mike was telling me about his life and the changes he had made over the last few years. He had fully committed to Christ, changed jobs to spend more time with the family outdoors, lost weight, and was working hard to be a better husband as well as a better dad. Wow! This was not the Mike I knew years earlier.

My next question of course was, “What lit you up like this to make so many changes?” Within moments he was telling me about “this book” he had read. I asked, “Let me guess, Wild at Heart?” The look on his face was priceless. I can’t tell you the number of men that I have met in the last few years that have told me how this little book change their lives to heal wounds of childhood and provide direction as fathers. If you are a man and especially if you are raising a boy I highly recommend it.

What about you?

Have you read this book? Did it impact you?

Is there another mountain mover book that you would recommend to men?

I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I am a liar...


“Yes there is no tooth fairy.”



I said these words to my son a couple of years ago as tears flowed down his cheeks. He had been to the dentist a few days before and unknown to us had hid the tooth under his pillow without telling mom and dad as a little test. Over the years, I had always had a “if he asks I will tell” policy about the tooth fairy and about Santa. The problem was that he so steadfastly believed me that there was in his mind no need to ask. After all, why would his parents ever mislead their own son?

Oh there were signs of the trauma to come. Just a few months earlier in the car a boy had asked Conner if he still believed in Santa. The response was, “Of course I do. My dad told me there is a Santa and that means it is true. End of story.” My heart just fell out of my chest in the front seat of the car.

The point my son made about the tooth fairy (and Santa) was sound and unarguable. I started with the line about traditions and about how my mother had told me about the tooth fairy and every parent does it. He responded by saying that was all in good but did not matter. The fact was that HIS dad had lied to him and he had never ever imagined that HIS dad would lie to him. How do you argue that? He was indeed telling the truth and I was indeed a liar.

A funny thing about lying, we all do it at times and for different reasons. I want to be truthful with my son about life and at the same time have an obligation as a parent to shield him from the world when appropriate. Somehow that day I think my credibility went down a notch and in a small way Conner learned that you really cannot completely trust anyone.

What is your take? Where do we draw the line as parents when it comes to lying, tradition and protection?

Are there absolutes or are there times when it is indeed okay to not tell the truth?

I would be interested in your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My first month on Twitter

Okay...

It seems that for more than a year now I have heard comments and references to Twitter. I am an avid Facebook guy and have had a blast over the last several months connecting with friends, sharing updates and sharing pictures. With Facebook, I was amazed at the re-connections I have made and the almost daily contact with many of my more active FB friends. I heard of Twitter but wondered why in the world I would want to use it since the updates on FB seemed to do the same thing.

The final push to start life with Twitter came from a blog post from my pastor Scott Williams. I go to a large church and reading Scott's blog has been a nice way to get in the head so to speak of my pastor and feel like I have a closer insight into the mind of the church staff.

A month has gone by and I now find myself following 92 people and being followed by 68 others. I actually have a relationship or a history with all my "friends" on Facebook. Twitter is different in that I only really know a couple of people that I follow.

So why do I love it so much? Why do I feel so compelled to check it often and see what my "peeps" are doing? Do I just need to get a life? All good questions : ) Heck, now I am even writing a new blog since I seem to be the only person on the planet that is not blogging!

What about you?

Why do you Twitter?

Why should I keep Twittering?

I need your help!