Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lessons Learned in 2011

So as with any year I usually get a bit nostalgic and reflect back on the year that I had. We are only 14 days into the new year and I feel that I have cleared my ahead enough to think clearly to compile this list. Usually the list is a top 10 however now I am going to just do...a list. If it is only two things than so be it. If it is 20 things than so be it. So here we go. Looking back on 2011 these are the things I have learned...

-Being a Dad to two great kids and a husband to an awesome wife is really the gas I need in my tank to keep going from day to day. 

-I saw the movie, Arthur this year and the line that sticks with me is when Arthur is running through New York and yells "Get out of my way...I am a free thinker!" I tend to think I am this way and perhaps you are as well. Brace yourself if you are because you will scare some away that were close to you and yet you will gain many more friends. 

-In 2011 I released my first book entitled "My Life in a Blog: Real Thoughts From a Real Pastor In the Real World." It was easily the most rewarding thing I have done this past year. No matter how big of a goal you have...go for it!

-This piggy backs off the last two...sometimes when you break the mold and speak what is truly on your heart, don't be shocked if you scare people away. There are many that I never would have dreamed step up and promote my book. I am forever grateful. There are those (organizations and denominations included) that I thought would promoted my book and never even gave me the courtesy of a return email or phone call to say "no". I would have taken no as an answer and been cool with it...to simply ignore though seems less than professional. 

-I knew this but it was confirmed for me once again...you cannot please everyone. 

-Don't get so busy with life that you forget to slow down and listen to God and take care of yourself. This year I have added a couple of hobbies and you know what? I am doing them and enjoying them.

-Do random acts of kindness for new other reason than to be kind. Thursday night while out with James for dinner I left a tip the size of the bill. The manager knows I am a pastor but all I put on this young ladies signed receipt was "it seems to be a slow night so hopefully this cheers you up. HAPPY NEW YEAR!" I simply signed it and walked out. 

-Have a friend or two that is not in your main core group of friends. 

-Embrace the sound of silence and listen to what God has to say. My best prayer times is when the family is in bed and I simply sit in the recliner at midnight and say "God...please speak to me." After quite awhile I spend time in prayer for my family and than go to bed.

-DATE NIGHTS DATE NIGHTS DATE NIGHTS! If you are married...you must have these. Just you and your spouse...this will reset your batteries. 

-After being a parent for a few years now I still stand by my belief that as a parent your life does not revolve around your kids but rather your kids life revolves around yours. 

-Find some hobbies and enjoy them! 

-Have one on one time with your kids. I take Emma and James out once in awhile for a meal...just the two of us. James and I run to Fleet Farm once in awhile. The kids glow when you do this. 

That is about it. I am so thankful for my family, friends and church that made 2011 a great year. I would like to hear your comments. What did you learn in 2011? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

8 Years

For awhile I have taken a break from consistent blogging for no apparent reason. Perhaps it has been to refocus on my ministry “That’s Not My God” or to begin recording “Chin-Wag” videos which are 5 minute conversation starters. Feel free to visit them by clicking here. Whatever the reason though I am back and looking forward to blogging a bit more. 
Perhaps the reason for getting back into blogging more is that I have made it a new years resolution. I have also decided to get back into drawing and take up photography in order to relax. I finally feel like I can relax.
My biggest reason for finally feeling like I can relax is that January marks the 8 year anniversary since I left Milwaukee to become a youth pastor at Radiant Fellowship (August 2013 marks 8 years since I have been the lead pastor). I cannot begin to tell you how crippling it is to a person when they are on staff at a church and get severely hurt (twice within a year and a half). I am happy to say that with 2012 I shall begin to show all of my emotion through visual arts as well as written. 

As I look back at my last few weeks in Milwaukee where I was for 8 years I am amazed at how blind people can be as to what is really going on. Even here in Waupaca it was simply amazing at how many people rallied around the person who did the hurting and not the one(s) being hurt. Organizations are so good at making sure the one who dropped the ball gets counseling (fully paid) but I sometimes wonder why those who have been hurt who and did nothing wrong do not get free counseling as well. That is my biggest regret in everything is that I did not get proper counseling. I didn't look for it and no one offered. Thanks to my FB friends and church for helping me through it all.
This year it is time to embrace the fact that I have been in Waupaca as long as I was on staff in Milwaukee and truly embrace it. I am thankful for my friends in Milwaukee that did not “drink the kool-aid” and have remained a true friend to this day. I am also thankful for those in Waupaca at Radiant Fellowship that have stayed true friends through thick and thin and logically thought through the events that went down here as well. It is friends like this that helps a person make it.