006: Growing With Friends Sep17

006: Growing With Friends...

http://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/media.medeor.co/gcoyl/GCOYL-006-Growing-With-Others-Braulia.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 15:21 — 14.1MB)In this episode, Brazilian powerhouse Braulia Riberio talks about personal growth through accountability groups and other personal connections. Braulia spent many years living in the Amazon rain forest working with remote tribes before moving to Hawaii. She talks about the expectations she felt growing up in a Jewish family and having to prove herself with the demands as the national leader of a non-profit ministry. The following are resources Braulia refers to in the interview: The Genesis Process (workbook): http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Process-Change-Individual-Workbook/dp/B002MB1TLO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372984654&sr=1-1&keywords=genesis+change+groups Brene Brown’s  Ted Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html Braulia’s...

Are You An Artist?

In his book Linchpin, Seth Godin shares a concept I think has profound truth. An artist is someone who gives life to another. Wow–someone who gives life to another! This thought was foremost in my mind when I saw a little video shared on Facebook. It shows a Chinese man making cotton candy. He doesn’t just whip out the confectionary treat as fast as possible. He takes time to add love and life. The nameless man is an artist. He takes something very ordinary—cotton candy—and turns it into art. His creation is art because of the life and love he puts into it, blessing all who witness his craft. “Art isn’t only a painting.” Godin wrote. “Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator…An artists is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artists takes it personally. You ability to be an artist does not depend on your ability to draw or paint. It rests on your desire to love and give life to others. You are capable of making a difference, of being bold, and of changing more than you are willing to admit. You are capable of making art.
– Seth Godin Painting by Kristina Storey. For more information on her work, visit her website at: http://kristinastorey.com Originals and prints of Kris’s work are available at: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/kristina-storey.html Linchpin is available from: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/linchpin-seth-godin/1100054084?ean=9781591844099 Check out Seth Godin’s blog where he shares daily insights at:...

005: Get Moving Sep10

005: Get Moving

http://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/media.medeor.co/gcoyl/GCOYL-005-GetMoving.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 26:28 — 24.2MB)In this episode, fitness instructor, Sandi Watkins, talks about creating an exercise routine that works for you. If you’re not exercising, Sandi will give you ideas and motivation to get you started. If you already have an exercise routine, she will challenge you to consider mixing up your workouts, maintaining good form, and strengthening your core. Sandi and Dr. Deb  discuss the importance of regular exercise for brain health and as key for being healthy in every aspect of your life. A book mentioned in Rewire Your Brain by John B. Arden. You can get more information and order it by clicking on the...

Are You a Busyologist?...

We are chronically busy. We are often tired. I choose to be active and tend to over-extend myself. But as I get older, I also give myself permission to take breaks from busyness to rest, restore my soul, and be with friends. That is exactly what I’m going to do next week when my college courses are on spring break. My friend and colleague Amy Roemer sent me this short article that is timely for me. I hope it is timely for you also. Just as I turned off the TV the other night I heard someone introduced as a “busyologist.” What? I listened a moment more and realized he was a physiologist. Still, it caught my imagination. So many of us can be described as busyologists. We do things just to stay busy. We over-commit because we’re afraid of having nothing to do (or for whatever reasons). If we happen to find a free moment, we fill it with Facebook or Pinterest or Angry Birds, or simply searching the web for anything we can think of. I think we take pride in telling others how busy we are. We are busyologists. No one seems to care what you do, as long as you’re busy. “Hi! Haven’t seen you in a while. How are you?” “Busy.” “Wow! I’m impressed.” Sounds silly when I put it into print, doesn’t it? Yet it’s so hard to get off the merry-go-round. If I take the time to sit and read for pleasure, I feel like I have to apologize for it. But no, I’m going to say it proudly, “I read a book today, just because I wanted to!” Are you impressed? You know what? It feels good to relax. It energizes you when you slow down...

3 Little Words

Grant James is a well-known actor and friend of mine from Dallas. In fact’ he’s in Dumb and Dumber To with Jim Carrey that will be released in November. Jim recently had a health scare with a bleeding ulcer than landed him in the hospital needed 4 pints of blood. This is a follow-up to his Seek and Serve article from July 19th. Three little words can make a difference. You may have thought the three little words I have in mind might be, “I Love You,” and they are probably a good topic for a future article on sometimes-meaningless phrases. But let me propose the words, “How are you?” can be powerful if there is true interest behind them. Other versions are, “How you doin’?” “You doin’ okay?” and “Howdy” (short for: “How do ye?”). Not too long ago (after I’d spent some time in the hospital) I ran into a maintenance man at our apartment complex. “How you feelin’?” he asked. And then he did an unusual thing; he waited for an answer! He really wanted to know! Obviously, he caught my attention. People ask this question in one form or other many times a day. But who is really interested? In fact, we are so used to others not caring, that we don’t even answer. Do you really care how I am? Did anyone really ask Robin Williams—ask in a way that he could honestly answer? Okay, some people thrive on telling you just how they are. Groan! One of the funniest actors I’ve ever worked with would answer with a full, up-to-date medical report. That’s extreme! I learned very quickly not to ask that person the three little words. But that’s an exception. Almost everyone we know is dealing with some pretty heavy issues—issues they...

004: Life Coaching Sep03

004: Life Coaching

http://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/media.medeor.co/gcoyl/GCOYL-004.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 23:11 — 21.2MB)In this episode, Dr. Deb and Jeannette Slater talk about the power of life coaching. A life coach is one who comes alongside you to help you clarify what your goals are. Then the coach helps you discern the next steps to reach your goals. They’re also there to cheer you on as you live out your plan. Coaching is all about helping you take what you hope for, dream, or imagine and making it become a reality. Jennette has logged more than 1700 hours coaching individuals and teams to be more effective at accomplishing their goals since 1995. Dr. Deb has recently completed a 1-year coach training program. You can read more about life coaching here. You can also request a coach through Get Control Of Your Life by clicking...

Christian Stereotypes...

“I hate when people assume certain things about me without getting to know who I am. You probably hate that too!” So said 20-something youth pastor and writer, Brett Shoemaker, in a recent online post. Brett enjoys challenging the status quo, being controversial and trying to think outside of the box. I like him already. Get Control Of Your Life is about generating great content to help you grow a strong and fruitful life. But it’s also about sharing other resources we find that contribute to the conversation and give us stuff to chew on. So today we share a link to “10 Christian Stereotypes I Hate” by Brett Shoemaker It might help you realize some of your stereotypes may need adjustments. Or it may help you escape the box you think you have to fit into. Royalty-free image by Michal Zacharzewski; retrieved from...

The Podcast Is Here!

The Get Control Of Your Life Podcast is here! It includes conversations between Dr. Deb and all sorts of fascinating people who have worked hard to get control of their lives. They bring expertise in topics as diverse as volunteerism, exercise, life coaching, developing a vibrant spiritual life, and tools for success. We also have a cool intro by a real British guy! Not sure what a podcast is? It’s like radio that you stream or download from the internet. The cool thing about a podcast is you can listen to podcasts about very specific topics you’re interested in. Popular apps and services allow you to access podcasts about topics you are interested in. When you subscribe, you are automatically notified whenever new episodes are released. The Get Control Of Your Life podcast is about growing a strong and fruitful life. It’s available on this site. Click on the top right item “Podcast”on the menu or just click here. The podcast is available FREE to Mac and iOs (iPhone/iPad/iPod) (and even PC) users from the iTunes Store:  It’s available to Android and PC users via Stitcher. Download the free app here or listen directly from the Stitcher website. The podcast is completely free. No one will ask you for anything except to reflect on the content (produced to inspire you and give you resources to grow a strong and fruitful life). Have a listen. If you like it, tell a friend. And please rate the podcast and leave a comment; it will help our ranking and make it easier for others to find us. Image designed by Rita Burke of http://www.burkepromotions.com with assistance from Kristina Storey http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/kristina-storey.html Many, many thanks to the coolest techie guy I know, Rodney Blevins, for his many hours to make this podcast happen. Thanks also to our...

Do You Have A Dream?

August 28th marks the 51st anniversary of the landmark civil rights march on Washington, where Martin Luther King delivered his most remembered speech, “I have a dream.” I’ve become fairly familiar with the famous speech in recent years, playing it for my community college students as a brilliant and well-delivered example of a speech (and to inspire them to something bigger than themselves). If you haven’t seen it in awhile, I encourage you to watch it online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs On that sunny 1963 day, thousands of Americans converged on Washington D.C. to march for civil rights—equal opportunities for all Americans. This followed more than 1300 protest that had already taken place in other locations.* My friend Mike Miller was there, having ridden on a bus he organized from Mississippi. He said the excitement [of the dream] was palpable, as was a little fear of what opponents might do. There was power in the speeches and the crowd of more than 200,000. “We joined a mass of people larger than anyone had ever been part of,” he told me. The crowd in Washington was there to resist the status quo. The status quo included legalized and rigid racial discrimination, a tiered class systems that preferred some at the expense of others, corrupt justice, voting discrimination, and a pecking order that gave part of the population the worst schools, the lowest jobs and the crummiest places to live. Even as a white person I experienced “red lining” in the section of the city where I lived; it was predetermined by people in power in smoke-filled backrooms to be “the black part of town.” And it happened. The status quo is comfortable. But world-changers don’t go with the status quo. As Ingrid Bergman’s missionary character, Gladys Aylward, said in the 1958 film, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, “You have to interfere with what is wrong if you hope to make it right.” Martin Luther King began his speech by following his notes, but then his passion kicked in and so did his improvisation. According to Clarence Jones, King’s lawyer, speechwriter and confidant, the words “I have a dream” were not even written into the speech.** The words came as King got fired up and spoke from his heart. It could only come out of his mouth if it was in his heart. In an 18-minute speech delivered at a TED (Technology, Entertainment. Design) event in 2010, Nancy Durante started with the line, “You have the power to change the world.” She then went on to compare the structure and similarities of King’s, “I have a dream,” speech with Steve Job’s 2007 iPhone launch. Both were masters at describing and contrasting WHAT WAS with WHAT COULD BE. King talked of a world where people would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. “I have a dream,” he kept repeating. In his iPhone launch, Jobs described innovations that would revolutionize our lives. He quoted a famous Wayne Gretzky saying, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it’s been.” That is how Jobs lived his life. I just finished a book by Seth Godin titled, Tribes: We need you to lead us. Godin talked about two kinds of people: those who maintain the status quo, and heretics. Those who maintain the status quo are satisfied with how things are, or else they are complacent or too lazy to challenge what is. Heretics are those who imagine something different. They are visionaries, leaders, innovators. Think about some heretics you may know by name: Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Jesus, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King. Heretics have guts. In an interview series with National Public Radio this week, Jones said all that for years, all the phone conversations between himself and Dr. King were recorded by the FBI (the United States Federal Bureau...

003: Living a Balanced & Healthy Life Aug27

003: Living a Balanced & Healthy Life...

http://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/media.medeor.co/gcoyl/GCOYL-003.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 20:10 — 18.5MB)In this episode, Dr. Deb visits with Liz Cochrane about personal adjustments Liz made to live a balanced and healthy life. Liz and her husband Steve lived in India and Nepal for 26 years, developing a Christian non-profit from just ten people to over 2,500 staff working on over 200 ministries and projects. They now live in the U.S. working with ACE Development to fight global poverty issues. Visit their website at http://www.acedevelopmentfund.org. One of the resources we mention is Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the two halves of life. You can order it by clicking on the...

Feed Your Soul

How do you feed your soul? What gives you life instead of sucking life out of you? Just like you need food and sleep to be healthy, so you need to feed your soul! I enjoy quite Sunday mornings, time with friends, audio books, time in nature, and of course, music. I especially like to play my, “soul food” play list on Sundays and other times when I need to block out the world, quiet my soul, and focus spiritually. It’s a collection of music that touches my soul and encourages me. I love to take my dogs for hikes in the mountains, (though that doesn’t happen enough). I enjoy a cold beverage or two with close friends. I read books that are deep and shake me out of my little boxes. I take time each morning to nurture a devotional life. I sit, drink coffee, read and pray. It’s an awesome way to begin the day. What gives you life? What feeds your soul? Sometimes we are so focused on meeting others’ expectations, living up to obligations, and caring for others, that we fail to feed and care for ourselves. It is only by being healthy and well fed that you can truly give yourself to others. Think about what gives you life. Then schedule some time to it this week. Don’t give in to the, “I don’t have time,” argument. You can’t afford not to.   Photo by Solenberg; retrieved from...

Myers-Briggs 2

So now you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test. If not, click here to take a free online version (also known as the Jung Typology test).

002: Living With Purpose Aug20

002: Living With Purpose...

http://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/media.medeor.co/gcoyl/GCOYL-002.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 11:27 — 10.5MB)In episode 002, Dr. Deb interviews John Henry about Living With Purpose. John is the director of student mobilization at University of the Nations. He introduces students to overseas volunteer projects. They both make a difference in peoples’ life and experience personal transformation. John invites you to explore a lifestyle of generosity to make a difference in the lives of people around you. It’s a reminder that you bring things to the world no one else does! Be yourself and give of yourself! This episode was recorded in Hawaii, so you’ll get to hear some of the ambience of the islands! For more information on John’s work,...

Myers-Briggs 1

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test to help you learn about yourself and others. You can use the Myers-Briggs to help you understand: How you get energized How you gather and process information How you make decisions, and How you communicate. Generally, it help explains how you do life and how that is often different from others. There are several personality profiles out there. What makes the Myers-Briggs unique is that it is the most researched and written about. It has been tested extensively; there are many, many websites and books about it. The Myers-Briggs is based on physiological types theory described by Carl Jung. It has been used extensively in business, counseling and team building since the 1940s. The MBTI is owned by The Myers-Briggs Foundation and is generally administered by MBTI-certified consultants. However, there are some tests online you can take for free. I recommend the 72-question test provided by Human Metrics. Although the questions are “yes” and “no,” the results rate the degree of your preferences, unlike some other sites. I recommend you take the test. Even if you’ve taken the test before, try it again as your score can change. (In theory your score is not supposed to change. However, I have found that as people mature and find themselves in situations where they have to do less adapting to others, their true self emerges. My score has changed on two of the four dimensions.) If you are married or in a significant relationship, ask your partner to take it too. Learning about and discussing your preferences can be an eye opener into your relationship and help explain many of your thoughts and behaviors. NOTE: Personality test should never be used to pigeon hole a person, put...

Risk

What are you willing to risk? While this may be a legitimate question in a poker game, it is also an essential life question. We all know that risk is both a verb and a noun. We understand that risk involves taking action that is uncertain; it could result in positive or negative outcomes. We’d like to think that every risk situation is approached with a firm calculation of potential outcomes. But we know we’re not just logical beings; we are complexly emotional. We also know that we make decisions based on limited information. Teenagers engage in reckless behavior, from driving too fast to unprotected sex. That is because the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain responsible for risk assessment and decision making— is not fully developed until age 25. But many adults exhibit the same types of irrational and irresponsible behavior as adolescents. Smoking, eating too much (or the wrong things), ignoring relationship red flags, and making unwise financial decisions, are just some of examples. I know someone who is too afraid to drive; yet she has made risky life choices that have resulted in chronic stress and financial strain. The risk-assessment part of her being seems to be broken. We tend to underestimate potential negative consequences for things we want. We just do them. In other areas, we fail to accurately assess what could happen if we don’t take care of the things we already have. A common example is not backing up your computer. With more and more of our lives stored on and dependent on technology, why doesn’t everyone back up? Cloud backup and external hard drives are super-easy and incredibly affordable. You can get a 500GB external drive for under $50 in the U.S., and a 1-2T drive for...

001: Getting Beyond The Zombie Life Aug13

001: Getting Beyond The Zombie Life...

http://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/media.medeor.co/gcoyl/GCOYL-001.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 14:13 — 13.0MB)In this premier episode, we bring a conversation between Dr. Deb and lifecoach Jeannette Slater. We all get stuck and start living life on auto-pilot. In a sense, we start acting like zombie. This dialogue is a call to wake up from the zombie life, try new things, and breathe new life into your...

Shut Up!

Maintaining sanity in a noisy world is more and more challenging. Everybody wants a piece of us, from advertisers to kids to needy friends. It’s ok to have boundaries. In fact, healthy people have lots of healthy boundaries. We are the most over-stimulated people in history. We think we have to be available to everybody all the time. Enough! If you struggle with too much noise in your life, try giving yourself permission to say later or NO! (If you won’t give yourself permission, allow me!) It’s ok to turn off your cell phone and other devices. or wait till later to respond. People die in traffic because they think a text can’t wait. Make wise decisions with your time and resources. While it’s good to be generous with others, their needs do not necessarily set your priorities. Look for ways to quiet your mind. Maybe leaving the TV off (especially early morning and late at night) will give you much needed time alone with your thoughts. Take time each day to be still and think about your priorities. Try relaxing techniques like prayer, meditation or yoga. Take time for yourself. You only give life to others when there is life inside of you.   Photo by Russian photographer, Maria Beliakova, of Jet Media. Retrieved from http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1070268...

Seek and Serve

I recently had a brush with my own mortality. I wasn’t aware of it, but I was told the surgery was just in time. Since then, I have been flooded with prayers and well wishes from literally hundreds of friends and acquaintances. It’s been overwhelming. And I’m grateful.

You Can Do It!

I did it! My fancy automatic espresso machine was jacked; it seemed to have a problem, and I couldn’t figure out if it was mechanical or electrical. Turns out, it was neither. It was coffee; stuck coffee. Yup, the thing they don’t tell you (up front) when you get one of these complicated systems is the kind of regular and periodic maintenance you need to perform. But I fixed it! What motivated me was not wanting to ship the machine back to Seattle where it was purchased. Besides, I had just thrown out the box (after almost 6 months)! So I educated myself. I did online searches to find articles and videos to solve my problem. Then I performed the surgery. And did I mention I fixed it?!! Some things are not worth our time (if you can afford an alternative). And some things are above our skill level (like fixing my garage’s concrete foundation). Other things are just a matter of researching and believing in ourselves. You have incredible value because you’re made in God’s image. That’s not an issue. True self-esteem comes with doing a job well done. It grows when we stretch ourselves and accomplish things we didn’t know were in us. It comes from fixing your fancy coffee machine, forgiving, or rising to some other challenge. We are our own worst enemies because we doubt ourselves. We have to rewire our brains to believe what others (especially God) see in us. Now go do that thing you need to do. You can do it!   Royalty-free image by Borb Krisztin; retrieved...

Never Enough

We’re never satisfied. Enough is never enough. Life seems to be a constant chase for filling what can never be filled. For some it’s food. For others it’s shopping, sex, drinking, being with people, working, or collecting. We never quite reach what we’re striving for. Seriously, how many pink shirts do you need in your closet? The Germans have a great word for this while English does not. Sehnsucht, is what we might describe as “addictive yearning.” Read on; this article isn’t what you think. The renowned 17th-century philosopher, inventor physicist and mathematician, Blaise Pascal is said to have written: “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man that cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God.” However, it seems that what he actually wrote in his Pensées (Thoughts) was more like the following: “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself” This unfulfilled longing can lead us to unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Franciscan Priest, Richard Rohr calls them addictions: “Addiction uses up our spiritual desire—the drive God put in us for total satisfaction, for home, for heaven, for divine union.” Many religious people view the “questing” part of our personalities as something God installed to drive us to him. HOWEVER, not everyone sees this unmet, addictive yearning as of God. Northern Irish philosopher...

Less Than You Are

It’s common for many to grow up with phrases repeated over and over to them: “Who do you think you are?” “I don’t want you to get a big head” and “You don’t know very much do you?” These get stuck in our heads and affect what we think of ourselves and how we do life. Unfortunately, they are only partially true. We don’t really understand our worth. I’m reading through the Bible’s New Testament and came across a very interesting phrase. It’s in The Message translation; it offered me a fresh perspective. “I don’t want you to become part of something that reduces you to less than yourself.” That’s what the apostle Paul wrote to the Christ-followers at Corinth in Greece. Because we don’t understand our worth, we engage in thoughts and activities all the time that reduce us to less than ourselves. Lying, cheating, exaggerating, hating, fighting, despising, bragging, withholding, clinging, being arrogant and selfish. All these are practices that reduce us to less than ourselves. It’s why things like pornography are so insidious. (You really are better than that.) You were created for real relationships, not fake ones. What are you thinking or doing that reduces you to less than yourself? Are you in a toxic relationship? Do you engage in unhealthy behavior? Are you stuck in a job that’s killing you? You have incredible value. You have aspects of the divine in you. The planets, plants, animals, and angels are awesome. But they are not made in God’s image as you are. Consider your worth. Then consider the things that reduce you to less than yourself and make changes.   1 Corinthians 10:20 in The Message Royalty-free image by “beermug” (real name not listed); retrieved...

Real Food

The irony was overwhelming. I walked into a popular fast food restaurant to use the facilities while traveling. It was a small town in Kansas surrounded by lush, fertile farmland. I immediately noticed that almost every person in the place was overweight. The crowd was not dining on fresh fruits and vegetables full of rich nutrients, fiber and life. Instead, people were munching on highly processed chicken nuggets, deep friend potatoes, soda, and Big Macs made with standardized ingredients shipped from thousands of miles away. The contrast between the surrounding land and the sight in the restaurant was jolting. I can imagine the diet-related diseases many in the place struggle with: heart disease, diabetes, diverticulitis, gout and who knows what? We have bought the lie. We have traded the goodness and power of a juicy strawberry and lush, alive salad for fast, cheap comfort food with a long shelf life. The conventional American diet consists primarily of corn, white flower, sugar and mass-produced meat. I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries about our food. I’ve found it shocking to realize most of it is controlled by a handful of multi-national agro-conglomerates. As I drove further, I landed in the city of my birth in the heart of the American Midwest: Iowa. I passed miles and miles of growing fields. Instead of crop diversity that encourages a balanced ecosystem, the fields have two crops that are rotated endlessly: corn and soybeans. Farmers are forced to buy hybrid and GMO seed from big corporations and get sued if they try to save any seed for replanting. They grow “Roundup-ready” seeds that won’t die when the weeds are sprayed with chemicals. That’s a scary thought. It’s hardly the scene that greeted my great-grandfather who landed here a...

There is no map

Does the thought of finding your own way in life excite you or freak you out? Some people are very comfortable with rules. They would prefer someone to just tell them what to do. Are you like that? Do you take comfort in just doing what’s expected of you? Do you long for a clear path that has already been cleared? I think there is great pressure in society to conform. From the time we start school, we are expected to perform in certain ways. We are rewarded when we behave, color within the lines, and serve as good members of the group. Life is not like the childhood chance game of Candyland. As Seth Godin wrote in his book, Linchpin: Are you indispensable?, “You pick and card and do what it says; repeat. This is early training in agenda-following; indoctrination in obedience. We teach kids that the best way to win is to endlessly pick cards, follow instructions, and wait for it all to turn out ok. What a disaster!” We think if we stay on the track, life will go well. Then it doesn’t. The fact is, life if hard and unpredictable. Shit happens. There is no map. There is no one standing over us to constantly tell us what to do. You were born with a brain, a heart, freewill, creativity, and the opportunity to make your life what you want it to be. You have the chance to create your destiny. Nobody is going to give it to you. You have to work for it. We accept a different scenario when we follow others’ expectations, try to hard to fit in, or give up. Yup. We try to do the right things, but life knocks us down. Knowing when to...

Delayed Gratification...

I would really like to have an iPad. In fact, I’ve thought about this quite a lot in recent weeks and spent a fair amount of time researching the models and scouring the Internet for the best prices. But do I really need one? And is it a priority? Of course I could use one, and my lizard (animalistic) brain is successfully justifying my “need” for one. But the more developed parts of my brain (and character) are trying to overrule the impulse. Sometimes we need to choose to wait– delay the gratification.  In the 1960s, psychologists at Stanford University conducted a study in delayed gratification. They gave children a cookie. The kids were then told if they did not eat the cookie when left alone, they would get two cookies. Predictably, most ate the cookie and only few got the second. In tracking these children, researchers found those who were able to resist the temptation to eat the cookie immediately did better in school and were more successful in life. Delayed gratification seems to be a key for success. Self-control is not easy. We are naturally selfish and impulsive. And we are constantly bombarded with marketing campaigns trying to convince us to buy buy buy, eat eat eat, and consume consume consume! Poverty is a complex issue. It’s not a lack of things, but a lack of life skills. Certainly many people in the world live in places where systems keep them down. Others choose to live self-sacrificially to invest in others. But a very huge contributing factor to poverty is a lack of self-control. People live paycheck-to-paycheck because they spend money as soon as they get it. Many are unable to think long-term; they give in to immediate gratification. They can’t pay the...

Germs

We need to have a healthy view of germs. There are good bacteria that are essential for life. They make is possible to grow food, break down that food in our bellies, build our immune systems, and compost plants in the life cycle. However, there are bad bacteria and viruses that make us sick. Some people are germaphobic, washing their hands dozens of times a day and using antibacterial cleaners on everything. Overuse of antibacterial soaps are actually harmful as they destroy good and bad germs. People associate bathrooms with germs, so they clean the toilet and sinks. But what about the door handle, faucets and light switch? (Consider that 10% of people don’t wash their hands after using the toilet.) Here are some items we often forget to clean and should: Cell phones: When is the last time you cleaned your cell phone? Think about all the places your cell phone has been: on public counters, in pockets with money, in the bathroom when you use it to pass the time. Your cell phone has 10 times more germs that the average toilet seat. Remote controls: We grab and use them when our hands are in various states of cleanliness. Remember to wipe them down next time you clean around them. Door knobs and handles: We touch them; our friends touch them. Yet we forget they are even there when we clean. Give them a good wipe down with an antibacterial spray as part of your cleaning routine. Car surfaces: We jump in our cars after shopping, running errands, handling money and meeting people. Use cleaning wipes on that steering wheel, shifter and other things you touch often. If you use public transportation, be aware of what your’e touchng and clean your hands...

How Do You Take Your Scriptures?

Varied interpretations of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian scriptures have been the center of controversy for centuries. Sunni and Shiite Muslims view the Qur’an very differently and defend their positions to the death (the cause of much us-vs- them hatred). In Jesus’ day, Pharisees and Sadducees rarely saw eye to eye. The sheer number of Christian denominations shows how people interpret passages differently. So how do you take YOUR scriptures? As a communication teacher, I know everyone interprets every situation through their own lens of personality, experience, culture and other variables. As a Christ follower, I understand people view passages differently. They even view the bible itself through different philosophical and cultural lenses. I know people who think that every time they open the bible, God directly talks to them in that moment. Instead of learning from the stories and trying to glean the principles, they over-personalize every passage to be some narcosistic work of God for them in that moment. As biblical professor emeritus Dr. Gordon Fee used to say, “It cannot say what it did not say.” In other words, you have to consider the original audience and intent of the author when reading the bible (or any text). I think a balanced perspective is well articulated in the following passage from a little book called, Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation, and God by Bryan Berghoef: “The Bible—or we might say, each book within the Bible—was written by a particular community of faith, for a particular community of faith. It was written in history, by human beings, each and every one of whom had their own agenda, bias, and perspective. Does that mean it is not from God? Not at all. But it does mean that its message is not always going to be clear, unified, and simple. There are texts that don’t just appear contradictory—they are contradictory! For those with a simplistic view of the Bible, this is a problem (that some go to great lengths to explain away). But for those who see the Bible as voicing the experiences of people who have encountered God throughout history in a diversity of ways and over hundreds and thousands of years, it should be expected. “The reality is, I love the Bible—it’s my favorite book in the whole world—and I think it has impacted our world more than any other book, and I think it continues to speak powerfully today. And if it is such an important book, an avenue through which we access the divine, then we ought to take it that seriously. Taking it seriously does not mean we just simply say, ‘There it is—God’s Word! If it says, ‘Jump!’ we’ll jump.” That might appear on the surface to be taking it seriously, but it is also a bit naïve (taking it literally is not the only way to take it seriously). “It is actually more respectful to the Bible to care it about it so much that you are willing to take it on its own terms, as an ancient text, as something that was written in a particular historical setting, in a particular language and in a specific context.” Pub Theology is available from Barnes and Noble and other...

Be Kind

“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.” So said writer George Saunders in a commencement speech at Syracuse University in May 2013. Saunders told the story of a new kid in his 7th grade class who was ignored and occasionally teased for her quirkiness. All these years later, Saunders still feels guilty for not being more kind to her. He touches on a tendency all of us are familiar with—not being kinder when we have opportunity. “What I regret most in my life,” he said, “are failures of kindness.” The speech made such an impression it went viral after the New York Times printed a transcript. Now the kindness message has been turned into a book and a short animated video. The book is Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness. It is available from Barnes and Noble and other bookstores. You can read the transcript of the speech here; it’s a good reminder about a very important principle; whatever you do, be kind. Watch the short animated video here.      ...

What Do You See?

Before I bought my car, I really never noticed Kia Souls on the road. In fact, cars were just cars. However, once I started car shopping, I seemed to noticed everything on the road. I noticed the similarities and I noticed the differences. And I really noticed the Kia Souls. We tend to see what we’re looking for. We are exposed to so much stimuli, there is no way we can take it all in. Just think of the millions of objects and people you see while just driving down a road. But we rarely see them. We have selective perception. That means we only notice what is important to us, is entertaining, or meets a particular need (like when I was car shopping). I will write later on the incredibly important aspect of perception in our lives. Perhaps when you were a kid you took long road trips with your family and played a game out of spotting particular objects. Suddenly whatever you were looking for was everywhere! We are just kids grown tall. We tend to see what we’re looking for. What are you looking for? Conflict? Comparisons? Criticisms? Or are you looking for acts of kindness? Gratefulness? Creativity? Beauty? We find what we look for. If we do the same things over and over, we tend to see the same things. I heard about a man who everyday took a different route between his home and office. That way he was sure to see different things on a regular basis. That was a recommendation when I took a creative communication class. Do things differently. Take a different route. Brush your teeth with the other hand. When we expose ourselves to new situations, we have the chance to see new things and think...

World Beat

There is a rhythm to the universe. Sometimes we humans connect to it. Sometimes we don’t. Here is a great example of everything in...

Think Like A Child

A growing body of research shows that children are naturally inquisitive and creative. However, schools have a way of educating kids right out of their curiosity and imagination. 1 A whopping 84% of children score high in creativity in kindergarten. But only 10% maintain that by the second grade. 2 The British government conducted a study and found that young people lost their ability to think in “divergent or non-linear ways,” a key component of creativity. 3 This sheds new light on what Jesus might have suggested when he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” 4 I’m currently reading How To Get Ideas by Jack Foster and noted the following statements as a personal challenge to think like a child. 5 “Children don’t have blockages because they don’t know about before, only now. “They break rules every time because they do not know the rules exist. “They stand up in the boat and rock it. They shout in church, play with matches and pound the piano wit their fists. “They paint trees orange and grass purple…They have a sense of wonder abut the things most of us take for granted. They ask and ask and ask.” As Neil Postman said, “They enter school as question marks and leave as periods.” Our challenge is to become a question mark again. Give yourself permission to ask questions and think new and creative thoughts.   1 Robert McGarvey “Creative Thinking” USAIR, June 1990,  p. 36 2 http://people.goshen.edu/~marvinpb/11-13-01/Effects-of-Stereotypes.html 3 http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/Database/thinking.html#wither 4 The Bible: Matthew 18:3 5 Foster, Jack (2006). How To Get Ideas. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler Publishers   Royalty-free image posted by Ned Horton of Horton Web Design http://www.HortonGroup.com; retrieved from...