Several times over the past couple of weeks, Alex has burst into the room where Angela and I were, and exclaimed, “This is the BEST… DAY… EVER!!!” Usually, it has to do with achieving a new level on a video game, combined with having a favorite dessert, and maybe one other delight. Whatever the case, in his mind it was the best day ever. What’s funny to me is that happened again and again… apparently each day topping the previous “BEST… DAY… EVER!”

Truth be told, I find it hard to believe this tops the days when we’ve gone fishing. And I find it even more difficult to believe these days trump Christmas or our trip to Disney World a few years ago. There’s no way anyone would say these days compare… except Alex.

And I love it! I love that he’s not living in the past. For him, each day holds the potential to be celebrated… to be the BEST… DAY… EVER! In fact, it’s almost as if he’s looking for those days to be great. He’s hoping they’ll be great, even if they haven’t been the most exciting yet. Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hopes of the godly result in happiness.”

What are you hoping for today? Are you looking for today to be great? Is there anything that could happen, no matter how small, that would make you want to celebrate?

You know, it doesn’t always have to be something big. Maybe you have a great hair day… BEST… DAY… EVER! Or maybe the person ahead of you in line buys your coffee… BEST… DAY… EVER! Or maybe you get an actual, old-school, handwritten note in the mail… BEST… DAY… EVER! Or perhaps you have your teeth cleaned at the dentist, and they say you don’t need any additional work… BEST… DAY… EVER! Or maybe you aced a pop quiz… BEST… DAY… EVER!

Today, get your hopes up, and look for all those little things that might add up to making this the BEST… DAY… EVER! Then get up tomorrow, and do it again. Let every day have the potential to be your BEST… DAY… EVER… and you’ll find you end up having a lot more of them… like Alex.

Thanks for the cool reminder, bud… This just might be one of my BEST… DAYS… EVER!

I don’t really enjoy exercising. I know its benefits. I need to exercise, but just because I need to doesn’t mean I like to. Some days, the win is that I exercised at all instead of not exercising.

Yesterday was one of those days. I really didn’t want to exercise, but I hopped on the stationary bike because I needed to do it for my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. I had already thought to myself, “If I can gut out 10-15 minutes, I’ll call it done.” Then my goal extended to 4 miles completed. (I typically aim for about 6-7 miles in about 22-23 minutes.)

Just about the time I met the 4-mile mark, Alex came in the room to get some of his school supplies to start his day. He saw me sweating it out and asked me, “How far have you ridden… and how long are you gonna ride that thing?” I replied with my distance, and told him I really needed to go another couple of miles and another 6-7 minutes. To which he exclaimed, “I don’t know how you do that!”

I thought for a moment, and then I answered, “I guess you just keep on peddling. You just don’t stop.” He said, “Yeah, but isn’t that hard?” Using my much-needed breath, I told him, “Yep, but you keep on going anyway.” That seemed to satisfy him, and he left me alone to… keep pedaling.

But now I had a little extra sense of being able to finish. I knew that… if I would just keep pedaling… if I just wouldn’t stop… I would get in my distance and my time. Sure I was sweating more than I wanted to. Sure I was tired of pedaling. Sure I wanted to stop and eat ice cream. But I kept pedaling anyway.

And guess what happened? I made it. I hit the 6-mile mark in just over 22 minutes. Now, that may not be impressive to you. You may be some kind major-ninja-exercise-guru-master who laughs at my distance or time with an air of superiority. But I just needed to exercise yesterday. I did it because I needed to do it… not because I wanted to. I didn’t feel like it. And I would have probably given up earlier if Alex had not walked in the room at that moment. But because he did… because he asked me those questions… because he unknowingly nudged me to do what it took to finish strong… I did better than I expected.

Maybe someone reading this today feels ready to quit doing what you need to do. You’re ready to throw in the towel. You’re beyond ready to give up. You’re tired. Your win today was getting out of bed and getting dressed. Beyond that, your expectations for the day include doing what you have to do to survive or get by. And you don’t even want to think about tomorrow… or next week… or next month… or next year.

Don’t give up. Whether it is finding the right job, improving your marriage, completing your education, or pursuing a lifelong dream, all you have to do is keep going. Yes, it may be hard, but you can do it. Yes, you may be tired, but you have what it takes to finish strong. Just keep pedaling. You’ll get there. The key is to just keep going on anyway, no matter how hard it feels right now. And when you reach your goal… when you finish strong, having done more than you thought you could… you will be so glad you did.

P. S. – In those moments when these words of encouragement are not enough to motivate you, ask God to help you. He will strengthen you and help you reach the finish line!

We have several friends who are currently serving as foster parents. It is amazing how they are investing their lives in the lives of these children and teenagers. It is temporary investment for permanent life-change.

Recently, I was talking with one of my foster-dad friends, and he was telling me about one of the kids they are caring for having a total attitude meltdown. Whether you are in favor of physical disciplining of children or not, you cannot discipline that way with foster kids for a lot of serious reasons. So he told me about how they handle correction in their family now…

When one of the kids displays a bad attitude or a wrong action, they address the issue by stating what was wrong. Then they do something powerful… They ask the child if he/she would like a do-over. If the child accepts the do-over and makes things right, they reinforce that right attitude and action with encouragement.

As my friend told me about an actual instance when this had been applied, I couldn’t help but blurt out how that is exactly how God treats us when we display our own bad attitudes or wrong actions. He’s not waiting to strike us down with a plague or fire from Heaven. He lovingly, patiently points out where we were wrong and then asks us if we would like a do-over. He’s the God of second chances… and third chances… and hundredth chances. But He doesn’t stop there. When we finally get our attitudes and actions right, He lovingly reinforces our right choice with encouragement.

Sure, you were wrong, but you don’t have to stay wrong. Take the do-over today. You don’t have to live in guilt and shame today. God is not waiting to take you out back to the woodshed and give you the whippin’ of your life. He stands ready instead to give you a do-over and a dose of encouragement. And isn’t that what we really need?

To all my foster parent friends, thank you for the amazing example of God’s love and grace you are to me! Keep up the great work. You are making a difference for eternity.

It’s football season. At our house, that means NFL. I’m not interested in the politics… I just watch it to relax and have fun. Now, the boys like watching with me, but they are not quite as captivated by all the finer points of the game. They do, however, love to play.

So, we have created a little ritual of our own. At commercial breaks, or halftime, or when a game is over, we play our own scaled-back games of football. We play inside because it’s air conditioned, and because we have a pretty decent size living room. One of the boys plays offense, the other defense. I am all-time quarterback… and referee. It’s that last part that creates the issues.

Basically, it doesn’t matter what call I make on any play… one of the boys usually gets frustrated with it. We often have to replay the down because I couldn’t see a play well-enough to call it accurately. The replay is mostly because I don’t want an argument from either one of them.

We’ve been working on having a better attitude. In most cases, that means not getting mad at the referee or at the opponent for making a great play. I’ve been challenging them to work on being good sports. Truth is, they both have some pretty decent skills. But I know that attitude trumps skills in life… even in football. A player can cost their team the game by losing their cool.

So, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday afternoon when Alex announced to me that they had decided to play with great attitudes and do their very best not to get upset during the game. I wondered how it would play out, but sure enough, they were young men of their word. They played the whole game with terrific attitudes, acknowledging calmly they wish a call would have gone another way, but moving on to the next play… or even congratulating the other player on a great play against them.

At one point well into the game, Alex said, “You know, Daddy, it’s way more fun playing football with a good attitude.” Austin agreed, and I beamed with pride at the lesson they had learned.

You know, life is way more fun when we have the right attitude… when we treat people the way we want to be treated… when give others the benefit of the doubt, knowing that no one is perfect except God… when we are big enough accept outcomes, even though they didn’t go our way. The Apostle Paul wrote that we should make it our goal to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus. That’s a tall order, but God wouldn’t have said to do it if He wasn’t going to help us be successful at doing it.

This week, let’s determine right from the start to have a great attitude… at home, at work, at school, in the store, wherever we are. Let’s choose to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus. My prognostication is that we won’t even get to the end of the week before we declare like Alex that life is, “way more fun!”

This past weekend, we had a massive garage sale. Friday in particular was brutally hot, and we spent most of the day outside. Although I must admit, I tried to stay in the actual garage with a fan blowing on me as much as possible.

In the middle of the day, a dear family friend stopped by and visited with us for awhile. She is the sweetest lady you could ever meet. She is thoughtful, gracious, considerate, and never to be outdone when it comes to generosity. After her visit, we all commented how fun it was to have her stop by.

Later that afternoon, she texted me to let me know that she was picking us up some ice cream and would be by to deliver it to us shortly. I told her she didn’t need to do it, but she insisted. And sure enough, about ten minutes later, she rolled into the driveway with her delivery. For the record, it wasn’t just ice cream… It was Blue Bell. I grew up in Texas, and so the jingle… “Blue Bell, the best ice cream in the country,” actually means something to me.

I thanked her profusely, as did the boys. What she didn’t know until I told her, was that when I slipped inside to gobble down a quick lunch earlier, I wanted some kind of dessert. I had thought to myself, “It is so hot, some ice cream sure would be good.” But I knew none of us would be going to the store that day because of the garage sale, and so I figured ice cream was just out of the question. It was just a fleeting craving and a fanciful whim… so I thought. Until she brought ice cream.

I had not said a word to anyone about ice cream. I didn’t have to. The One who knows all things delights in every detail of my life, according to Psalm 37:23. He knew that He could nudge her heart to buy ice cream, and she would do it. So He did.

She did not know that I needed that ice cream reminder that day to remind me that if my Heavenly Father can cause someone to bring me the dessert I wanted on a whim, then He can tackle the other part of that verse, which says He also directs the steps of my life. It was a subtle reminder, but it was not lost on me. He threw it, and I caught it.

So when is ice cream not just ice cream? When it reminds that person receiving it of how intimately involved God is in their life. You see, it wasn’t just ice cream she delivered Friday… It was love… It was encouragement… It was hope.

So, this week, let’s be sensitive to those nudges… because we never know when it is not just ice cream.

Note: Clearly Spiritual Post

Hang in there! Don’t give up! The Lord impressed on my heart this morning that someone needs to know He hasn’t let you down… He’s just setting you up for something greater!

You may feel like God has forgotten about you. You may think He isn’t doing anything about your situation. You may have even asked where He is and what He is up to.

So, He invited me to be a part of letting you know that He is at work on your situation. He loves you. You matter to Him. He values you. He is putting all the pieces together in the right order for you to be the best you can be.

I know it may be a struggle to hope or believe. But you ARE going higher.

Now help a brutha out… If this is for you and your situation today, would you comment, message or text me to affirm that I heard clearly from the Lord? I’ll pray for you.

So last week I pulled up the remains of our early summer garden… along with a ton of weeds which had grown in amongst the plants. I’d like to tell you that I was being spiritual and doing like Jesus mentioned in a parable where the master told the workers to just let the weeds grow with the plants, and they would separate them at the harvest… but that’s just not true. It was hot, and I plain ol’ got tired of pulling weeds each day.

The garden had started out so beautifully. I had tilled and re-tilled. We had pulled out grass and weeds. We made wide paths and nice hills. It looked so great. And as the plants grew initially, I was so keen to make sure we kept the weeds out.

But then it got crazy hot, and it got easier each day to just let this little weed or that little weed go till the next day. Only it was still hot the next day. Plus, we were getting veggies from our plants. So who cared if there were a few weeds?

I’ll tell you who… this guy… last week when I began to clean out the garden for our late summer & early fall planting. There were so many weeds! I worked for hours till my shoulders and neck and back and knees ached. I sweated my clothes through. I couldn’t even finish. I will still have to go back with the tiller to get some of the more densely weeded areas. It will still be hot. And it won’t be any easier. In fact, it will be harder.

In much the same way, we can let little things go unchecked in our lives over time. A bad habit… a poor attitude… not keeping spending in check. If we would just deal with those little things as we go, one here or there, it wouldn’t be that tough at all. Sure, it may not be fun at the moment, but it will certainly be easier than a major overhaul if we let things build up and multiply.

So, stop today and do a little weeding. What negative thing do you need to pull up & toss out of your life? Don’t put it off. It will still be hot later. You’ll sweat less if you just tackle it now.

Weed now, or weed later. It’s your choice. I say we just weed as we go. You’ll be glad you did later!