Friday, January 9, 2015

Pray For PCO!

Thank you to all of you who are joining together to Pray for our school, students, and staff!  I've received responses from some of you that I think could be helpful to others so allow me to pass along the information.

One teacher is making an effort to listen to Praise & Worship music on the way to work to start the day with a servant's attitude.

One teacher is using their popsicle sticks with students names on them and randomly drawing them out to pray for students by name.

One teacher has shared the text messages with their church so that more people are praying!
(Anyone can sign up to receive reminder messages by texting @pray4pco to the number 81010.) 

One teacher is praying for a different theme each day:

Monday - Praying for students.
Tuesday - Praying for local churches, businesses, volunteers, parents, etc... in the PCO community.
Wednesday - Praying for staff and their strength, patience, wisdom, and compassion.
Thursday - Praying for school, district, state, and national leadership in Education.
Friday - Praying for Families of students and staff.

If you're like me, sometimes you don't know exactly where to start or what to pray about.  There are so many things sometimes I don't even know where to start.  Over time I've learned to pray about what to pray about.  I ask God to reveal people and situations to me and I go from there.  Sometimes this awareness provokes action and other times I just commit to pray until the situation is resolved.

It's kind of like eating a Reeces, there is not a wrong way to pray. (I can't back that up with scripture. :) )

As you continue on this journey, know that there are dozens of people praying with you and for you on a daily basis!

God is doings great things at our school and in our community and He is doing it through you!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Creature of Habit

Today I'm reminded that I am a creature of habit. 

Almost everytime I'm in the North Dallas area, I like to stop at this little coffee shop just off 75. It's called Frogg Coffee and Creeperia. It's good. Not the best I've had but solid. It has above average coffee, good creepes (which you don't see everywhere) and a great atmosphere. 

The food, coffee, location, or atmosphere doesn't make it special. It's the fact that it's a familiar place in a not so familiar location. I truly enjoy it. When I'm in North Dallas it's my "Central Perk", my "Restaurant", my "the max" if you know what I mean. 

The same can be said when I'm at home in OKC. Although there are hundreds of places to eat in the 405 metro area, I regularly can be found dining at about 10 places. (Saturn grill, pei Wei, QDoba, chickfila, Saii, tai pei, cafe oasis, wills coffee house, starbucks, & BJs) 

Again, there are other places to go and probably even better places but those places do not have the same familiar feeling. 

I love trying new things. In fact, I found all of these places while trying new things. But at some point (consciously or subconsciously) you begin to desire familiarity. 

Although I believe in keeping things fresh and trying new things, I also believe in  fighting the "grass is always greener" mentality. When a tradition is good and working then stay loyal and keep it up. When all around is changing and there is stress at work or in life, It's these familiar places that allow me to keep my sanity.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Cost of Assurance

Today I learned that assurance can be expensive.

Our crazy, rambunctious 2.5 year old busted his lip on the playground. We didn't know if we should take him to the ER or not. We did because we wanted to "be sure." 

So we took him and they gave him a Popsicle and sent us home. That is by far the most expensive Popsicle I've ever purchased. 

Even though we felt a little silly, my wife and I were not mad that we took him to the ER. Because of the many times we go to the Doctor or ER or wherever, we are really paying for a feeling. A feeling of assurance that our Son is okay, healthy, going to get better, etc. And the cost of that feeling can be expensive but for us is totally worth it.

In fact, the cost of not knowing, watching, waiting, wondering if we should have etc can cost a lot too. Maybe not in money but in time, energy, worry, stress and the like. 

So we payed our copay and will get a bill from our insurance. We will attribute it to the time that Beau majorly busted his lip and got a Popsicle in the ER. But deep down we will know, even if we don't talk about it or even think about it, that we just wanted to be able to say that we did the best we knew how to do to make sure our son is healthy. 

It may be expensive, but its something that you can't put a price on. 

So thankful for insurance, ERs, doctors, nurses, Popsicles and the ability to afford each. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Introvert Life

Today I learned that as an introvert it is better to throw a party than go to one.

We invited our entire neighborhood over for dinner. As an introvert, making conversation and getting to know new people is not really at the top of my list.  In fact, it drains the energy out of me.  Being alone recharges me.  

However it really doesn't bother me when my wife the social butterfly wants to invite people over.  Why?  Because if it is at my house then I can control the situation.  When I don't feel like talking to someone there is always a party task I can do to keep me busy and sneak away for a few minutes to recharge my batteries and come up with new things to say.  (Yes, I actually come up with a list of possible questions in my head.)

I'm learning a lot about being an introvert.  It's really quite fascinating to me.  Like for example I get more nervous meeting someone new than I do speaking to a large crowd.  Yet, I prefer few, deep conversations over many surface, small talk conversations.

So weird how each of us are wired, gifted, and designed.  But the coolest part is, after 31 years I'm finally learning how to maximize my introvertedness.  Through some personality tests, strengths finder, and skills inventories I am learning how to make the most of it.  As I do this, I'm learning to stop making excuses as to why I'm not good in certain situations.  It's making me grow as a person in many ways.  

There is life as an introvert.  You just have to know yourself and learn how to best utilize your personality.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spiritual Leadership

Greetings Men!

There are some great opportunities to grow this fall at BFC.  I will be teaching a class on Spiritual Leadership on Wednesday nights beginning September 10th @ 6:45.  It will be a great time of learning and growing together as we discuss the essential fundamentals of spiritual leadership.

There are also some other great opportunities listed below that you may want to check out.  (If I wasn't teaching I'd have a hard time deciding which to attend.) Whether you choose to attend this class or another one, will you please commit to talking to a few of your friends about what you learned last year and encourage them to attend one of the classes?

Childcare is provided for each class.  Please model spiritual leadership to your family as you grow by attending one of these fall classes!

Spiritual Leadership
6:45-8:15 pm                             Room 026                       September 10-November 5
Brett Bradley leads this eight-week study designed to help men of all ages become the spiritual leader God intends them to be in their families, workplaces, community, and church. This study is facilitated with a combination of teaching, discussion and weekly challenges. All ages of men are welcome, and there is no cost or registration necessary.
How To Read the Bible for All It’s Worth
6:45-8:15pm                              Room 123                       September 10- November 5
Taught by Tim McCoy, this interactive class will answer the questions we all have about reading the Bible, such as: How did the Bible get to us? What was going on when it was written? Where do I find a particular book in the Bible? How can I know what God is trying to tell me when I read? This is a great class for anyone who wants to read the Bible for all its worth, whether they’ve been a Christian for 50 years or 5 minutes. There is no cost or registration necessary.
Men’s Bible Study – Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole
7:00–8:00pm                             Room 122                       September 10- November 5
The Gospel is good news for men. Men of all ages are invited to join this study based on the book Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole by Eric Mason. Each week will feature a different speaker and a personal testimony from pastors, leaders, and members of our church. There is no cost or registration necessary.
Legacy Journey
6:00-8:00pm                              Room 121                      September 10- October 29
This is Dave Ramsey’s seven-week, biblically based class that teaches you how to leave a legacy for generations to come. Based on the foundation of Financial Peace University, Legacy Journey provides a biblical framework for living intentionally now so that later you’ll be able make a lasting impact for your family and in the world around you. The cost is $100/kit (one kit per family required). Register at  and click on “Find a Class.”

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Little Things, Big Difference

Since the beginning of 2014, I've made a few small adjustments in my life that have produced big results.  Over the past few years I've read about the concept of big improvements starting with very small changes in a few books (The Tipping Point, Switch, and The Power of Habit) but I was reminded again of this concept during a powerful sermon at church called "Small Things BIG DIFFERENCE".  Click here if you want to check it out.  

Over the next few blog posts allow me to tell you some of the small changes in my life that have produced big results.  These areas include health & fitness, time, productivity, spiritual, marriage, and parenting.  I will start by talking about time because I think it has helped shape the rest of the areas.

This year has been my most focused and productive year yet. In 2014 I have exercised more, eaten healthier, read more, played more, explored more, and planned more. I have also been more strategic with the resources of time and money.

I feel less stressed and overwhelmed.  I may not get everything done at the end of the day or the end of the week but I do have a greater sense of accomplishment.  The changes I made are nothing special in that they are simple but they are very special because they made a huge difference.

Do you want to know what small change made such a big difference?

I wake up 30 minutes earlier.

Thats it.  No magic potion or spell.  No elaborate formula.  Nothing drastic or exciting.

So I know what you're thinking because I thought it to.  "I'm not a morning person." Well neither was I.  But as it turns out you can retrain your body to be a morning person.  I was resistant at first but two things clicked in my mind for me to be willing to try this.

  1. I'm not losing sleep.  If I go to bed 30 minutes earlier I still sleep the same amount.  So I'm not actually more tired. My mind just knows its early so I tell myself I'm tired.  To remind me, I set a bedtime alarm.  This helps me stay on schedule and ensure that I get the proper amount of sleep so I can't use that as an excuse. 
  2. Fewer things fight for my time in the morning whereas many things fight for my time at night.  I am much more productive between 6am-7am than I am from 10pm-11pm.  Fewer people on social media, fewer things on TV, fewer people to call, fewer people awake, etc.  Plus I have a brand new batch of willpower in the morning whereas I may have depleted my daily allotment by 10pm.   

This restructuring of just 30 minutes of my time has opened up time for many other small changes to take place, some of which I will tell you about in future posts.

What would happen if you restructured your time to wake up 30 minutes earlier?  Try it for a week and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Paleo Diet

I normally wouldn't share nutrition or diet info on my blog.  However, it is something that has made a positive difference in my life so I can't help but tell you about it.

I started out 2014 on the Paleo Diet.  In short, eating Paleo means eating meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts while eliminating all grains, dairy, and refined sugars.  You can only drink water, herbal tea, and black coffee.  This sounded extremely difficult to me but due to a lack of energy I felt as though I needed to reset my body so I was up for the challenge.

So for the month of January I only ate meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts and drank only water, coffee, and herbal tea.  That's it.  And it was awesome!  I had so much energy.  I slept better. Woke up better.  I felt more alert and productive.  It was a great experience.  So much so, that I have continued many of the practices from the Paleo Diet.  To me, its less of a diet and more of a lifestyle change.

A few questions that people have asked me along the way.

Did you lose weight?  
Yes.  I won't tell you how much because for me this wasn't the goal.  I assumed I would lose weight but the goal was simply to eat healthier and increase my energy level.  Losing weight was a bonus, except for the fact that my pants don't fit anymore. :)

Were you hungry all the time?
No.  I did not restrict how much I ate.  I figured that I was eating healthy foods so I ate as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted.  What I found is that eating real, nutrient rich food filled me up much quicker than the man-made products.

Where did you get your recepies?
Pinterest.  Just enter Paleo into the search bar on Pinterest (or google for that matter) and you'll find there are tons of simple recipes available.  Most are super easy.

Did eating Paleo cost more money?
This is a great question because typically eating healthy does cost more money.  The answer is that it cost about the same.  It does cost more to buy fresh produce and meats.  But you save money because you don't eat out as much or purchase bread or dairy items.  For us, we noticed a slight increase in our grocery bill but a decrease in eating out at restaurants.  It was basically a push.  However, it did cause us to eat home more often which probably decreased the use of gasoline.

What surprised you the most?
The biggest surprise is that many of the foods I once loved before, I honestly don't care for.  Not because it doesn't taste good (although my tastes did change) but because I know how it makes me feel. So for example, chicken friend steak was one of my favorite meals because it tastes good.  But it makes me feel tired, overly full, and just blah as opposed to a grilled meat and vegetables.  I've found that many times I make a decision about how food makes me feel afterwards rather than how it will taste.

Would you recommend it to someone else?
Absolutely!  I am not a doctor or nutritionist.  But the Paleo Diet seems to make sense to me because you basically eat all natural foods.  I personally didn't eat organic or worry about eating local.  You also don't have to worry about counting calories, adding up points, or keeping track of your meals.  You just eat natural, nutrient rich foods that people have been eating for thousands of years!

7 Things I Never Did Before Becoming A Parent

I has been less than two years since I have become a parent.  I have learned so much in these 20ish months about a lot of important things.  I have also realized that I do a lot of random, minor things as a parent that I never would do before.  I guess Justin Beiber was right about one thing. Never say never. Let me give you some examples.

  1. Park next to the cart rack.  At the grocery store I never parked next to the shopping carts because I always wanted to avoid door dings.  But when you have a baby or toddler you either don't want to carry them back to the car or you don't want to attempt to make them hold hands and walk because that rarely works and they go limp and you're either dragging your child because a line of cars is waiting or you're picking them up while they are screaming and shoving them into your car like you're a kidnapper.  (Don't act like I'm the only one this happens to.)  So for me, its best to just park next to the cart rack.
  2. Use the drive-thru.  This might seem weird but I'm kind of anti-drive-thru.  I personally don't think it's much faster for food and they are more likely to mess up your order.  Also, I like to go inside to the bank to build relationships.  But with a little boy that likes to run and climb and throw a quick trip to the bank or restaurant can be quite the adventure.  So much so that I find myself going out of the way to go to the drive-thru.
  3. Consider the food I order.  Fortunately we aren't quite at the stage where our one year old needs his own meal.  Consequently, Katy and I make sure to order food that he would like so he can have some of ours.  So I have to ease up on the spicy foods, sushi, and beef/steak for foods that are easy on baby teeth and tongue.  
  4. Drink and eat after someone.  I'm an only child so I'm not the best at sharing, especially when it comes to food and drinks.  And by sharing I mean drinking out of the same straw and eating with the same fork.  It sounds gross and I never did it before becoming a parent but it seems like a daily occurrence these days.  As it turns out, it hasn't done much damage to me.
  5. Celebrate bodily functions.  I'm not very modest, but I can certainly say that I have been more excited and cheered more for wet diapers, dirty diapers, and productive coughs and sneezes than I ever have before.  It's a sign that all systems are go and toxins are leaving the body.  What's not to celebrate!?!
  6. Dance.  I hate dancing.  Not that I'm against it or think its bad or think its pointless.  I hate dancing because I'm not good at it. I might actually like dancing but I'm so bad at it that it makes me hate it. This white boy has no rhythm.  But my son hears music and loves to dance and I love to watch him do it.  So therefore, I dance my heart out.  
  7. Not be bothered by crying babies.  Before I had a child I was so annoyed when someone would have a crying baby in church, at a wedding, in the movie, etc...  But I didn't know what it was like.  Now that I know, I completely understand.  I understand that you get tired of spending so much time in the lobby or you know they've had a rough morning/day so you don't want to send them to the nursery.  So now when I hear a crying baby, I kind of grin.  Not because I'm twisted but because it reminds me of what it was/is like.
I'm sure there are more but those are what come to mind.  What do you do now as a parent that you never thought you would?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

"I do it! I do it!"

"I do it! I do it!" "Noooo! Self. Self."

Phrases such as these are often heard around our house these days.  As our son gets closer to the two year mark (the teachable twos we'll call it), my wife and I are beginning to see that we are raising a strong willed child.

Although he still needs help with many things like getting dressed, bathing, changing his own diapers, etc... he makes it very clear that he does not need help getting in and out of the car, using the stairs, buckling into his seat, opening doors, or using utensils such as a pencil, fork, or bat.  In fact, if we try to help him with any of these tasks he kind of has a meltdown....minus the kind of.

The more I see this behavior and the more I think about it, the more I realize that even as a 30 year old man I do the same thing.  Now I don't go around having meltdowns saying "I do it! I do it!".  But I do sometimes have that attitude internally.  When someone tries to help me with something, whether it be a friend, family member, co-worker, or stranger, my first reaction is always "No thanks. I got this."  I can sometimes take offense and think "What, you don't think I can do this on my own?".  These are unnecessary thoughts, especially because those that are trying to help typically have great intentions.  Just like I have great intentions of just wanting to help my son.

As we get older and more "mature" I wonder if we grow out of this or just learn how to hide our feelings and emotions better.  Whatever the case, as I teach my son the correct way to respond to someone offering help, God is teaching and/or reminding me the correct way to respond when I need help.

As a teacher, I found that I learned more about my subject area in my first year of teaching than in my 4 years of college.  Likewise, I'm finding that the more I try to teach my son, the more I learn about myself in the process.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Power of Education

I was recently in San Diego for an education conference.  San Diego is such a beautiful city with beautiful weather.  I heard on the way from the airport to the hotel that the city has one of if not the largest population of homeless people.  The reason having little to do with the city and everything to do with the weather.  As I was exploring the downtown area I noticed a few homeless people sleeping on cardboard boxes and under sleeping bags. Maybe one or two about every block, especially early in the mornings.

One morning I wandered a little further on the outskirts of downtown.  I could see this unique looking building from my hotel window and I wanted to find out what it was.  After a while I turned the corner and saw this big, beautiful building.  It was the one I could see from my hotel window and it sure was farther away than it looked.

I turned the corner and looked up at the top of this unique building.  It was awesome!  As I looked down in front of me to see where I was going, I noticed dozens of homeless people laying on the ground in front of this building.  They were sleeping on the ground in the middle of the sidewalk, curled up against the building, sitting on the steps, or under a makeshift tent across the street with a tarp connected to the chain link fence.  I bet there were more than 50 homeless people in front of this one building.

As I walked along I looked up to see what kind of building it was.  I looked for a sign to see if it was some sort of bank, church, shelter or kitchen.  Then I saw it.  To my surprise this building was the San Diego Central Library.

It didn't take long for me to see the not so funny irony.  Dozens of homeless folks outside of the library and hundreds of non-homeless folks inside the library. Talk about the perfect picture to show high school students the importance of reading and education!  I wanted to take a picture of this moment in time but decided against it.  However, it will be a picture engraved in my mind forever.

As an educator, I have dedicated my life to helping people prepare for their future.  I don't know how to "cure" homelessness but I have a pretty good idea of how to prevent it.  I want to do my part to make sure my students have options and choices and don't have to end up homeless outside of the library or settling for a life they aren't proud of.

Now I don't pretend to know their stories or why they are homeless.  It could be a lack of education or maybe they all had high school or college degrees but got caught up in addiction, illegal activity, bad business in a poor economy, or some other unfortunate events.  Whatever their situation, my guess is there are some books in that library that could change the course of their journey.  Maybe I'm oversimplifying it.  Or maybe people make it too complicated.  Knowledge is power.  Education changes destinies.  Never stop reading and learning.  The deck may be stacked against you, all the more reason to read, learn, and work even harder.