reading: When Work and Family Collide

 As a new husband, there’s all kinds of things that I don’t know. Just ask my wife.

There’s a lot of things that I do probably wrong, and things that I do backwards, I’m sure. And right now, we have a pretty hectic, crazy schedule that really doesn’t allow us a lot of quality time together. It doesn’t help when we take on one more thing, or when I agree to work another day one week, especially when it’s the day that Alyssa and I get to spend the most time together.

When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley was a Godsend book for this time in our life. Stanley talks about how everything in our life – especially work and family – are constantly vying for all of our time. Time is the measurement to both family and co-workers of how much you seem to care. So when family has to give up time because of work, they feel cheated. And vice-versa. The ultimate thesis that Stanley proposes in this book is, “You must choose to cheat at work rather than at home.”

While I wish I would have read this book before marriage, I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to read it before life gets even busier, before demands at work increase, and before I have a career that I genuinely am passionate about. The importance of keeping family in focus, Stanley’s reminder to “do work” and “love family,”and being mindful of priorities are pillars to build a healthy family foundation.

I recommend this book to anyone who is already in a marriage, has kids, or is heading in that direction. It’s a quick read (I read it in 90 minutes) and it’s well worth the time!

More Info
Read Chapter One
Author Bio

Overused Words pt 1

1ep·ic

adj \ˈe-pik\
 Definition of EPIC
1: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an epic <an epic poem>
2a : extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope <his genius was epicTimes Literary Supplement>
b : heroic
Homer and The Iliad are epic stories.
Gladiator is a movie that tells an epic story.
The pyramids are epic structures.
iCarly is not epic, Nickelodeon.
Comparing two common things does not make for an epic showdown.
Your high school rivalry is not epic.
Stop it.

Sneezed: Doing Virtuous Business

Capitalism has been seen in an increasingly negative light recently, especially with businessmen and women being described as “greedy, malicious, harsh” etc. In the book Doing Virtuous Business, author Theodore Roosevelt Malloch presents the idea that there is an alternative to the stereotype of capitalism and the business world.

The principles that Malloch presents aren’t new, groundbreaking ideas by any means, but they are ideas that need to be kept in mind. Normally at business conferences and seminars, you don’t hear any mention of business ethics. Malloch sets out to change that, one business at a time.

Somewhat of a dry read, this book obviously isn’t for everyone. But if you’re involved in business at any level, at least browse through it and glean the principles to keep you on a virtuous path in the workplace.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Cluttered Home

I stepped inside a beautiful house the other day, half dark blue siding and half brick, yard well-taken care of (as well as it can be in Denver in winter), with a basketball hoop in the driveway, in front of a three-car garage. There was a covered patio in front of the house, with a grill and patio furniture, and through the windows you could see long drapes. It could have been a picture out of a magazine, or a finished project on HGTV.

The inside of the house, however, was thrashed.

I’m talking thrashed like, it wouldn’t surprise me if I saw this house on Hoarders at some point in the future. The near future. It looked like the carpet hadn’t been vacuumed in months, boxes were piled high in every room, and some in the hallways, toys were strewn all over, pictures and posters were cluttered together on every wall in no particular fashion or order. Dis-as-ter.

It made me sincerely grateful for a wife that loves a clean, orderly, and well-decorated house.

And it’s funny to me how often people, and especially I myself, do the same thing with our lives. On the outside, we can look picture-perfect. But on the inside, we’re cluttered, messy, and have some serious spring-cleaning to attend to. Like hoarders, we’re afraid or ashamed to let people see what’s on the inside of our home, what we’re like really. Because they’ll probably be taken back, maybe a little offended, and most likely grossed out by the smell.

But when we can be real with others, that’s when the healing begins to happen, the spring-cleaning starts, renovations get underway, old furniture gets replaced, new carpet gets installed, and you find that being real is much easier, more relaxing, and smells a whole lot better than a cluttered, locked-up home.

The Medium is the Message

Gandhi is quoted as saying,

I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Recently, for work, I went to a recording studio just outside of  Denver. Upon arrival, we realized it was a recording studio for yoga and meditation music and ambiance, as well as audio/video recorded lessons on getting in touch with your inner peace and striving for nirvana. A statue of Buddha smiled chubbily at me in almost every room I walked into.

The one thing that stood out to me more than anything in that studio, though, were the employees. Every single one of them was calm, cool, and collected, and each friendlier than the next. It could be that they’re just really friendly to guests, or maybe it has something to do with the dispensary down the road (although I doubt it.) The employees did make the whole “inner peace” thing sound and look pretty effective and appealing.

In his book, Flickering Pixels, Shane Hipps writes that the medium is the message. Whatever you’re trying to say, it’s how you say it that really conveys the message.

I really can’t believe I’m referencing this, but if you’ve seen the Mormon episode of South Park, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The Mormon family doesn’t win over their neighbors’ hearts and minds with their Joseph Smith nonsense, but instead with hospitality, caring, and love.

You’ve probably heard someone at some point reject Christianity because of Christians, whether they live double lives, or are self-righteous, Pharisaical, whatever. And you, like me, have either heard or given the response, “Don’t pay attention to Christians. We’re messed up just like everyone else. Instead, just pay attention to Jesus and read the Bible.”

What a cop-out.

As the Church, we are to be Jesus to the world, not to just point the world to a page number and pat ourselves on the back for memorizing book-chapter-verse.

The medium is the message. How did you portray Jesus to the world today?

 

31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo

If you’ve been blogging for a couple years, you and I probably share some frustrations/questions, such as:

– Why won’t people comment on my posts?
– What should I even write about?
– Is it even worth it to keep a regular blog schedule?
– (Insert frustration or question about the meaning of the universe, but more specifically, your blog)

You’d probably be grateful for a seasoned blogger to come alongside you and help you out, step-by-step, through your blog, right?

Help has arrived.

Bryan Allain, one of the funniest guys I know, has just released his blog-help book, 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo, to help with all your frustrations and questions about blogging, being a blogger, helping out other bloggers, and something about stabbing a pony with a frozen unicorn horn (you’ll just have to read it). You can pick up the eBook on Amazon here.

All the things I’ve ever struggled with on this blog, Bryan (@bryanallain) answers in this book. I’m convinced that Bryan’s blogging advice will save me months and years of trial-and-error with my blog, and I’m convinced it will do the same for you, too. At the end of every day/chapter, the blog coach gives homework – “Today’s Mojo Action” – practical advice on how you can work to improve your blog and the experience for your readers on a daily basis. I have already implemented some of them, and will work on adding more as my own blog grows and changes.

One of my favorite quotes from the book: – If you talk about your blog with the excitement of an emo teenager talking about his geometry homework, no one will ever go out of their way to check it out.

If you’re serious about your blog, no matter how many readers/subscribers/comments you have on a daily basis, pick up this book. Bryan has some great practical advice that can take your blog to the next level. Check it out. Drop my name to Bryan when you do. He’ll send you an autographed picture of the two of us. (Just kidding.) But seriously.