Teddy nailed it…..

I love the quote below. So often in this life along our path we allow detractors, naysayers, pessimists, know-it-alls, clowns, asshats, buffoons, wannabes, posers, haters, and so many other low lifes that live life in the cheap seats to sabotage, deflate, demoralize, demotivate, dismiss and diminish our idea, ambition, fortitude, momentum or dream by throwing cheap barbs, insults, opinions and sarcastic comments at us. Well, for me it stops right now. Hopefully, I was not one of the contributors of that negativity, but if I was, it stops now. And for those I allowed to negatively influence me, your influence stops now.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.” — Teddy Roosevelt – excerpt from “Citizenship in a Republic” on April 23, 1910

So in summary, if you ain’t in the arena with me getting your butt kicked, I ain’t open to your feedback.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Sermon summary…..

As 2013 begins, many of us roll up our sleeves and launch out of the gate with resolutions, aspirations and goals for the new year. And, unfortunately, once February turns the page on our calendar those resolutions, aspirations and goals are quite often set aside for familiar patterns and habits not so becoming or healthy.

This week’s sermon attempted to inspire and reinforce those resolutions, aspirations and goals with some Scriptural support. There were four points that aimed to buttress all of our good intentions. They are:

  • Think progress, not perfection – so often we dismiss how far we’ve come — maybe 70%, 80% or 90% of our goal — but since we haven’t reached perfection, we condemn ourselves. Give yourself a break and know that only Jesus is perfect and any progress we make towards a goal is positive gain.

  • Think future, not past – Satan loves to remind us of our past. The reason is that if he can keep us focused our our past failures, he can steal our future successes.
  • Think together, not alone – Even Jesus had 12 disciples. While He could have sent out the Gospel message alone however He wanted to, He used people and communities to spread the Gospel. We need to lean on and encourage one another. Jesus did that to set an example.
  • Think God’s Spirit, not in the flesh – We should operate in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Our best long term results are when we harness the unending power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t transform ourselves; we put ourselves in a position to be transformed.

The sermon was ended by this very cool statement — I can’t; Jesus can; I think I’ll let Him.”

Go check it out here.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

2 for 2…..

It is the second day of May and I am fresh off my second cardio workout — a 100% improvement over April (which isn’t saying much). I was also able to get quite a bit taken care of at work yesterday as well as capture and enter all of our family’s spending for our May budget.

Even though April had some goal failures and May might as well, May is definitely off to a good start.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Back in the saddle…..

I gave a goal update yesterday in my last blog post and wrote about some of my goal failure. However, less than 12 hours later I am starting May off on the right foot. I just finished my morning cardio — I am tied with my April workouts of 1. And on top of that I am posting which is more than I can say for the last week and a half.

I read a goal philosophy a while ago about, not only setting goals, but keeping momentum and also retracking them if they fall to the wayside. The main focus of the philosophy wasn’t about the setting of the goals nor the achieving of them. The take home message was on the journey of working on the goals mainly because that is where all the hard work is. And if you think about it, it really makes sense.

In the big picture, setting goals really doesn’t take much time or effort. And basking in the accomplishment of finished goals feels really good but probably comes very natural to most of us. The bulk of the effort is in the journey and work of the goals. And so often we let the failure or off track goals get the best of us. We might give up; we might be demoralized; we might even stop all effort. The key at that time is for us to just pick back up, put our nose to the grindstone and get back to working on the goals. Are they behind schedule? Maybe. But time is only ONE element of achieving a goal. There is only one marathon winner, however, I view everyone that completes a marathon a winner only because it is such a lofty physical goal.

It is similar with goal setting. Time is only one element and achieving a goal beyond a set time limit can often be just as rewarding only because the time factor sometimes is only a guess in goal setting. For example, I need to finish working on a will for our family. Ideally, that should be finished fairly soon. However, as long as I continue living, not finishing that item doesn’t have a negative impact. I should not let that demoralizing goal failure keep me from continuing on from accomplishing that goal because ultimately an in-place will is what I want — not an in-place will by Friday.

So today being a new day, being a new month, I am getting back in the saddle and working on retracking my goals. Cardio was first on the list this morning followed by a new post. Check on both of those. And I am looking forward to a much better end of May goal report.

If you have some off track goals like I do, what are you waiting for? Get back on ‘em!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Month end goal check…..

I haven’t done a goal check since the end of January. But not only is April finished, but 2012 is one third over. A good time to see how I am progressing against the goals set back at the beginning of the year.

PERSONAL – 2012 reading list – started 12/27/11
My reading has plummeted although I did finish my sixth book of the year. I am on book #7 but should be on book #9. While I am behind, I plan on pushing through with the expectation of not finishing all 26 books this year as I had planned. However, at this point, I am way ahead of my book reading from last year. So this goal, while I am failing at, was a stretch goal that I am OK with progress on so far. The key is to keep going.

SPIRITUAL – Read through the Bible in a year – started 12/28/11
I am about three weeks behind my daily readings. Combine this goal with my daily morning devotionals and 2012 book reading list and you see that I bit off a lot of reading this year. However, this goal like my book reading list is even more so one that requires persistence and perseverance. Along with my morning devotions, I will continue on with my reading through the Bible in a year. Currently, I am in 1 Samuel and Luke (my readings are one from the OT and one from the NT each day).

FINANCIAL – Future proof my life

Meet with an attorney and have a living will for me and my wife. – COMPLETE 1/26/12
Meet with an attorney and have a will for our family created. – started 1/24/11 and in progress
Implement Financial Peace Jr. for our kids. – COMPLETE; implemented 1/02/12 and functioning flawlessly
Review of life, home, and auto insurance plans. – still outstanding

I have made no progress on the legal side of my financial goals but our Financial Peace Jr with the kids is right on target and my wife and I are doing OK with the cash envelope system.

PHYSICAL – Exercise routine that maintains 190 lbs – started 12/27/11
I don’t need a screenshot to demonstrate my failure on this goal. I have only had one — yes, 1 — cardio workout for the month of April. Technically, the few times I have gone outside and played soccer or baseball with the kids counts because it sure got my heart rate and breathing up, but I’m not counting it. Total fail on this goal.

So my goals are not exactly on track and I obviously have not been putting time into frequent postings on this blog. So what HAVE I been spending my time on? Here is a short summary list:

  • building a chicken coop out of free materials

  • getting all the landscaping prepped for Spring
  • prepping the garden
  • hosting dear friends from Texas who RVed up here to hang out
  • dealing with challenging work issues
  • running up to IWU — my oldest daughter’s school — twice for a total of over 1000 miles
  • hosting my boss, boss’s boss, and work team during their visit
  • miscellaneous honey do’s that, alone, don’t qualify for a bullet point, but if left undone make lots of noise

Now back to work on my goals. I hope to have a better report next month and at 1/2 year point.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

5th book of the year completed…..

This evening I finished my fifth book of the year, “Hurt Healer” by Tony Nolan. The book is a very good read for any disciple of Christ who is looking to follow Jesus’ 2nd commandment in Matthew 22:39 — Love your neighbor as yourself.  And the author, Tony Nolan, is one to know. He has a very powerful testimony that comes from someone who lived as a non-Christian “on the other side of the tracks”. He is now a very impactful evangelical preacher who makes the rounds as an advocate for those non-believers who are hurting. And while Christ is ultimately the “hurt healer”, as the body of Christ we should be instrumental in leading those hurting to Jesus who can heal. In essence, he says by putting on the love of Christ we become hurt healers in the process.

The book did a very good job at revealing my shortcomings as an ambassador for Jesus and encouraging me to go further. Throughout the book he creatively parallels the story of the good Samaritan and provides various perspectives to hammer home his points. The book also has space at the end of every chapter to ponder questions and documents thoughts and growth.

Additionally, Tony is a genuine person, not just as an author, but as someone who is real and reachable. Around the middle of the book, I came across a part where he was conveying his failure in meeting non-believer’s physical needs but not meeting their spiritual needs by sharing the love and sacrifice of Christ with them. He states in the book a nightmare he had where (and I am paraphrasing now) Satan tells him thank you for filling the stomachs of the homeless but not impacting their souls by sharing Jesus with them. It was eery and really hit home the short-sighted and impotent movement of “random acts of kindness” without including Jesus in it. Physical acts of kindness (short term, temporary needs) really mean nothing in the larger picture if we aren’t reaching people spiritually (long term, permanent needs). So this really resonated with me because I was struggling with something similar – I would help people but not share Jesus with them. So I wrote Tony an email and he responded very quickly. I was very impressed with his responsiveness, accessibility and authenticity. He truly is someone who walks the talk. I highly encourage you to read any of his works.

Now unfortunately, as it stands now, I am a bit behind on my 2012 reading list. And this is not my only reading goal for the year — I am pursuing this 24 book list, I am reading through the Bible in entirety this year, and I am reading “The Story” as my church progresses through that book that creatively weaves scripture cohesively and linearly as a novel would. It is a lot to bite off and, while I am making some good progress, I can see delays and goal adjustments in my future.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Moving forward, but falling behind…..

Add another book finished on my 2012 personal reading list. I finished “Switch” this evening. It was a very good book on change and how you can break it down, provide clear direction, and smooth the path towards acceptance. The plus side was that I am still two days ahead of schedule — I have already started my next book, “Hurt Healer” by Tony Nolan, which I do not officially need to start until Monday. The down side is that I lost my significant head start I had. I was on an awesome roll right out of the gate in January. However, February has been fraught with medical challenges with my wife and managing the household, kids and work via the hospital. I thought I would get some good reading time in at the hospital but usually used it for power napping or managing social media updates for wonderful folks who kept us going with prayers, visits, meals, cards, flowers, etc. Reading wasn’t very high on my list and my progress and habit were watered down by life’s emergencies. Thankfully, we are through most of that and I am optimistic that I can return to very productive reading now.

Also, because it is the end of February, it will be goal review time soon. Stay tuned.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

January’s over…..time for goal review

It’s about time I got back to posting. I unexpectedly took a week off for no good reason other than I was focused on higher priorities — family, work and such. And this week has been challenging because Mrs. ASlowerPace is in the hospital after having surgery Monday. Because it was digestive tract related, her fun in the hospital will last most of this week. I have been playing Mr Mom and also commuting to downtown Louisville to visit my wife daily. Fortunately, she was covered in prayer by many devout folks (if I have not said it before, prayer works — not to get what we want but for us to connect with our Creator who intimately loves and cares for us). Her recovery is painful but on track and I hope to take her home after she is able to eat, digest and pass food.

But in the meantime, January has come and gone. I blogged a post or two at the beginning of the year about making some changes and focusing on goals and action rather than the society norm of broken promises and failure. And while I have not completed my entire 2012 personal goal list, here is a short summary and milestone check.

PERSONAL – 2012 reading list – started 12/27/11
While I have lost a bit of momentum off the first couple of books, I am still a week and a half ahead of my calendared book list. Link here to follow progress.

SPIRITUAL – Read through the Bible in a year – started 12/28/11
I am on day 36 (yes, I started before the beginning of the year) on my YouVersion OT and NT Bible plan reading. I have not missed a day and am already 10% with reading through the entire Bible.

FINANCIAL – Future proof my life

  • Meet with an attorney and have a living will for me and my wife. – COMPLETE 1/26/12
  • Meet with an attorney and have a will for our family created. – started 1/24/11 and in progress
  • Implement Financial Peace Jr. for our kids. – COMPLETE; implemented 1/02/12 and functioning flawlessly
  • Review of life, home, and auto insurance plans. – still outstanding

PHYSICAL – Exercise routine that maintains 190 lbs – started 12/27/11
While I have not hit 190 pounds yet, my declining slope of weigh tracking should get me there. And I have engrained the habit of morning workouts into my routine. See my Wii screenshot below.

There are more personal goals I have for 2012 and I will try to be as transparent as I can (without compromising too much privacy). The learning lesson for me this year is that action is SO MUCH MORE IMPACTFUL than planning or perfection.

I guess Nike got it right a few years ago with their slogan — “Just Do It”.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

2012 action…..

Well, 2012 is already over 3 1/2% complete. And if you have not done so, I would encourage you to be setting goals for yourself. And these goals should be in several areas of your life — because, after all, God made us multifaceted beings, not simple singularly focused creatures. The image below is most commonly associated with Zig Ziglar. It is the wheel of life and ideally should have goals in each area for us to flourish. If we neglect a “spoke” in the wheel, a flat tire results and we “thump, thump, thump” through life.

I have shared with you one of my 2012 goals – my 2012 reading list. I am almost at the end of my third book and am making good progress. Another goal I have for this year is reading completely through the Bible. I am on day #18 of an Old Testament/New Testament reading plan from YouVersion. I have not missed a day and it has been very enlightening, educational and uplifting. By the way, YouVersion is a great tool if you have a smart phone or tablet. I cannot tell you how it has opened up my Bible reading whether it is planned or just on the fly referencing.

Goals by nature are active and require action. No goal has ever been accomplished by thinking or knowing. Goals can only be accomplished by doing. While this might be restating the obvious, how many of us have been merely dreamers or thinkers? I know I have definitely been guilty of that in the past.

Well, this year is different (I’m sure you’ve heard that before). Already I am 1 month ahead on my reading list goal. I am on track with my Bible in a year reading plan. After stumbling with my cardio, I have strung together 10 workouts for the last 2 weeks. And our family’s implementation of Financial Peace Jr. for the kids is way more successful than I had imagined. (That alone is fodder for its own blog post.) What is different is that by writing down my goals, it allowed me to not only think and form them, but to visualize them, break them down, and create individual events of action. It is those individual events of action that have gotten me off my butt, reduced the distractions, and focused my time and energy to what I should be doing at that moment. It might be a chore, it might be a devotion, it might be a work project, it might be time with the family, or it might be a conversation with my wife — but all those things get my focused attention and action.

Two additional goals I am moving along are related to an iPhone app idea I had early last year and an idea with a local charity. Both ideas have just sat in my brain for too long and I was finally disgusted with myself to get them on my 2012 goal list so I could move them forward with action. Well, Wednesday I submitted my second proposal for the iPhone app. And Friday I am taking the charity President to lunch so I can pitch my idea. We’ll see how both those efforts pan out. I also have additional direction maps to act upon should the results not be optimal. What I am intent on is having forward progress on those items and focusing on “DO” rather than thinking, planning or knowing.

For me, 2012 will definitely be a year of action. Actually, it already is.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

More goal success…..

I was able to scratch another book off my 2012 reading list today — John Miller’s QBQ, Question Behind the Question. It is a great short read (just over 100 pages) on personal accountability – something this country is in severe shortage of. There are some very good stories in there on how there are people out there owning up and being personally accountable. It all starts with me and it all starts with you and it all starts with small actions.

Tomorrow at lunch I start in on the next book on my list, James Hunter’s The Servant – a simple story about the true essence of leadership.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net