5 Ways To Make Thanksgiving Awesome

Holidays. This one word can bring of flood of emotions. But, I believe if we maintain the right perspective and use our time well, we can make Thanksgiving awesome.

How? See my 5 ways to make Thanksgiving awesome below.

basket of breadBe intentional with your thanks. Often we are so busy we only stop to sleep. Being thankful when you don’t pause to consider what you have in your life can seem stale and old hat. My suggestion is to think of something now before you get to the table so you can have ample time to actually have something real to say, not something made up on the spot.

Slow down. We often want to run from one event to the next accomplishing the holiday rather than savoring it. If you have multiple places to be on Thanksgiving, find a small morsel of time to relax. Maybe even go on a walk and just breathe, don’t talk.

Remember what you have, don’t think about what you don’t. If you are able to read this post, you should dance, you have sight! Can you hear? This person could not hear for 29 years. You most likely have some place to go and someone to share food and drink with. That, aside from all of the awkward family situations that may arise, is awesome. Be grateful.

Do Something Fun. Growing up, my extended family were big bowlers. After a Thanksgiving feast, we went bowling. I am sure I was terrible but I remember those times fondly. Doing fun things together like going to the movies, hiking, playing board games, creates common experiences. So do something fun!

Hug Longer. This may be awkward. But I mean it. When you see people be sure to embrace them. Hugs can go a long way to easing tension and even lower blood pressure. Don’t just go for the simple embrace or side hug silliness, hug longer because it’s healthy and if someone traveled from across the country it may be a while until you see them again. So Hug!

Do you have ways that make Thanksgiving memorable or awesome? Please post them below.

The Best Thing Any Writer Can Do Is Be Generous

For the past few days I’ve been home with my kids. It’s been delightful. I took a few days off to be with my newborn daughter. I’ve been paid by my employer to play with my kids, read to them, wrestle, go on hikes, fight dinosaurs, dress princesses and even pull my kids around in the brief dusting of snow we have.

Praire Snow

This break from work also provided me a chance to have lunch with Chad Allen, Editorial Director at Baker Books  and blogger. He has a great site, Check it out here. During our conversation I realized I have a lot to learn about the world of blogging but also something I didn’t expect. He told me to focus not on my content, or certain tools, but on serving.

Many of the writers I follow online either write fiction or have their own online business. The ones I am drawn to the most are those who live generously. They don’t flaunt it but some have built schools in Vietnam or Kenya with their audiences. One is currently promoting buying candles for women who were victims of human trafficking.

This resonates with me deeply. Creating a platform for me to stand on and boast about my books has always felt a little funny. I am proud of my work and I want to sell books someday, but I have no intention of building an empire of ME.

I have big plans in 2016. Plans to launch a new website and a podcast. I also have plans for releasing one to two e-books. You’ll also have an opportunity to join me to support a great cause. More on that in future posts.

Please subscribe to my blog via email (top right corner of site). It’s the best way to get content as not all of it makes it to my various channels of social media. I’ll never share or sell it.


Another Journal

It started with a halfhearted promise to my wife. I wanted to do something significant for my newborn daughter so I promised to write in a journal every day for the first year of her life. Today I am writing in one for my fourth child.

Writing can be a funny thing. Like anything we want to change in our lives, a simple daily routine can seem monotonous, minuscule drops in a bucket.

One paragraph, one page.

Nothing of importance.

But what began with a single word is now a little pile of journals.


I don’t have a lot of words packed in the bindings of these books but I hope they will be cherished. After all, they are about birth, the struggle for sleep, trying to slow down and savor the quiet moments, and the joy our brief lives can have.

I have written hundreds of thousands of words and will certainly write more still, but there will be nothing I am more proud of than these simple looking journals.

Why You Should Keep Writing Despite A Full House

On Saturday, my daughter Emily was born. It was surreal. One moment I was sitting there, the next I was staring down at this helpless little creature with chestnut hair and deep blue eyes.


If I am honest I wondered how my wife and I were going to get through another baby. Not that we don’t love them, we absolutely do, but four is a high number. The responsibility, the balancing of time between kids, money. Oh yes. Money.

I decided I should take a step back from my writing to make room for Emily and the morsels of sleep I’ll need.

But then I changed my mind.

Here’s why.

My children are getting older and they watch me closer than ever before. How I love their mother, the jokes I tell, the way I treat an inexperienced waiter, how patient I am in traffic. But also what I love and the passions I chase.

So I am going to keep writing because I love them. I will keep planning and dreaming and taking action because they are watching me and I want to be a good example.

How To Make More Time For The Things You Love

If you are reading this chances are you want to do something extraordinary. The problem is that you need margin in your life to make it happen and just don’t have the time.

How do you create this space?


No one can conjure up another three hours each day unless you are Hermione Granger with a Time Turner. But what we can do is cross examine how we spend our most precious resource and see if it matches our long term goals.


Get ready. This may be painful. Do you watch The Walking Dead? Is Sunday ‘football day’? How much time do you spend on Facebook? These are the lost moments, or hours, that we need for our passions.

If you want to go after your dream, something has to go, at least at first. There is no possible way to continually add new items to your agenda. When you have your empire up and running, perhaps you can sneak in a little football, but not now.


Now is the time for action. Now is the time to push harder than ever before or as Jon Acuff puts it, we must hustle. The best way to do this? Evaluate the time we spend on things other than our spouse, family, and job and then ask ourselves if several hours of football-like activity is worth our long term goals.

Are you losing time each week? How can you reclaim those hours and put them to good use?


On Chasing Transformation Not Information

Recently I noticed a disturbing trend in my life and I wonder if this is common in your life too.

I get excited about an idea. I grab books, follow blogs, jot down notes, even form some loose goals around this new idea. Then another, more interesting topic flashes across my computer screen and I chase it for a while.

Some say this is ADHD. But I have another theory. I find a thrill in learning something new. But I am after information, not transformation.

But isn’t transformation what we are after in the first place?


It’s Okay To Love Information

Often times I become enamored with the joy of learning and gathering information and miss the point of what the writers of these materials are saying. They call for action and initiative so I read their e-book but nothing really affects my life.

I may even take notes and stew on them for a bit before moving on to the next interesting topic. This is great. I’m filling my creative well. The problem is I am merely stockpiling and not using my ammunition.

What To Do With The Ammo

If we are all honest, there may be a bravery issue here. But more than that I think we all need to be aware of our follow through. Is what we are learning, or doing for that matter, worth the investment of our time?

I want to do more. This includes an e-book, a new website, and producing podcasts within the next four months. This is what I must remember when I consider what my goals are and how I spend my time and what I am learning. Are they all in sync?

Is the information you learn from a book or podcast impacting your life? Is it merely information or is it transformative?

What You, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allan Poe Have in Common

Despite the fact that we seem to think otherwise, we have the same amount of time in a week as the greats, one hundred and sixty eight hours.

We may have more distractions today, but they had cholera and diphtheria.

Often we blame the lack of time for not getting things done, but I’d like to argue that we have all the time we need, if we use it appropriately.

This past week I decided to sit down and parcel out my time. I was determined to prove to myself that my writing projects were suffering because of my lack of time and not lack of commitment. So I made an Excel spreadsheet.

After I divided up everything, spending time with my wife and kids, eating, and the occasional shower and teeth brushing, I had 1.75 hours left in each week day. I have weekends but sometimes we are traveling or out of town. I used weekdays because I wanted time I could count on to create a solid schedule.

At first I was depressed. How can I have that little? Life is busy and full and I love it, but that was a punch to the gut.

Then I added it up. 8.75 hours.

I sat back. I have ample time to write 3 blog posts, and work on my books. Add in the occasional free weekend and that time rises to 11.25 without using an afternoon or two.

So I failed. I wanted to prove to myself that I did not have sufficient time to write. Now, I realize I have all the time I need just like every writer before me. It’s up to me to use it well.

Do you have things that suck your time away that don’t match the goals you have for your life?

Do You Have The Someday Syndrome?

I’m no so sure why Annie was excited about tomorrow. I get the context, but tomorrow is a day that never actually shows up. Sort of like our frenemy Someday.

As in, someday I’ll to go to Europe. Someday we’ll get this debt paid off or sit down to write that book or clear the garage. It’s a safe statement, with none of that proactive or deadline nonsense.

Have your ever had the someday syndrome?

look at the futur 1

Lately, I’ve become fascinated with people that act. They don’t live in the realm of someday. They may form a plan and gather information but they take action. They don’t tuck it in a drawer.

I’m reading a book The 15 Success Traits of PRO Bloggers by Jonathan Milligan. If you are a blogger I’d suggest picking it up. Why? Because it has a ton of great application. In one instance he shares what got him started.

He told a friend after work that he was ready to go and fail at something. That’s when he knew he was ready to act. To Jonathan, it suddenly became more frightening to not act, than to act and possibly fail. Let that sink in for a moment.

Where are you today? Is there something you always have wanted to try but just cannot bring yourself to commit to it? Have you relegated it to the land of someday?

Consider the other side. Could you live with yourself if you never did it?


Are You In The Game Or Safe On The Sidelines?

I played soccer my freshmen year in high school and sat on the sidelines for most of the year.  I was short and thin and I’m fairly certain a small gust of wind might have blown me over.

I don’t remember feeling bad about it but I do remember that I always I tried to encourage the seniors, give them water, and pat them on back when they came off the field.

When I got into my first game I was terrified. I was certain every one of my opponents was faster and stronger and could jump higher than I could. I wanted back on the sidelines. It was safer there. There was no pressure and I couldn’t fail.

I believed these things because I was afraid. I didn’t want to let my team down or my parents down.

FC Barcelona Stadium

I think this application is true for our lives in any capacity of bravery. When we don’t get in the game and we stay on the sidelines we are safe and comfortable. If we get in the game, life becomes real. There are stakes now and people we can disappoint.

What if we launch that business and fail? What if we let our family down? What if this is the wrong promotion or job? What will other people think?

These are the questions that plague us. The negative side of the what if’s. But what if these are the wrong questions?

We should be asking these instead.

What would happen if we don’t launch that business? What if we don’t take that job? What if succeed, what would that mean for us? What if we never did ___.

The next time you start to become “sensible” make sure it is not a response to fear. If you are launching a website or book or business and start to give into fear, consider the flip side of the lies in your head. It may just give you the bravery needed to step on the field.

The Real Story Behind Any Overnight Success

If you’ve turned on the television, even by accident, in the last ten years you’ve seen The Voice, (Insert Country)’s Got Talent, American Idol, etc.

There are many reason people watch these shows. One reason is the rags to riches tale that encompasses the life of the winner. They were John Doe and now they are Sebastian Cool with a record deal and a million bucks.

They cue the music, show a misty eyed youth, tell about how ____ happened to them or their family and now they have just scored a record deal.

It’s a great story but only half of it.

My Poetic Tragedy

We get to see the story unfold in a matter of months or a thirty second backstory clip. What we don’t get to see is the back stage.

The back stage often goes forgotten. To the audience it appears as if they got up off the couch, decided singing would be fun, then won a Grammy.

I get it. The backstage has no pizzazz. It’s unflavored yogurt, not Greek, key lime awesomeness.

But because of these quick overnight success stories, we forget about the toil. The hours, days, and years singing/writing/painting alone.

No one shows us the gig attended by seven fans, the book signing with one person who asks us for a pen. But, these too are the stories that happen.

Stephen King threw his book Carrie in the trash. It went on to become an international best seller.

Van Gogh created over 900 paintings and over 1100 sketches but sold ONE in his lifetime. He is one of the most recognized artists in the world today.

Be consistent. Go for resilience. Build rhythmic practice in the shadows so when the light shines you can look like a pro.

Because at that point, you are.

Just remember the back stage, where you came from.