3 Things To Do Before January

The new year is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking of all those resolutions you want to make. You know the ones you make with the best of intentions and then get side tracked only a few hours later by the cookie aisle at the store. That one might only be me, but I’m sure you can relate somehow.

Here are the three things I am doing to start the new year off.

1. Choose a Word
A few months ago I was reading about the idea of choosing one word to focus on during the year instead of a laundry list of wishes. Since I’m already blessed with a short attention span, creating a list of things I want to work on is overwhelming. Plus, weight is always at the top of the list, and I should be working on that anyway, not just because it’s January.

For 2014 I’ve chosen the word BRAVE. As I have grown this year as a leader, writer, and a father I have learned that I can be cowardly at times, (I am singing, “If I…Were the King…Of the Forest” right now incase you care.”) I habitually back down from confrontation and find myself doing anything I can to keep the peace. I cannot be an effective leader tis way. Which is why I want to work on it in 2014.

Like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone, “This is it, Don’t Get Scared Now.” I need to step it up and be courageous this year. 


Sarah Bareilles – Brave

2. Establish a Goal
Choosing a word to focus on for the year is great, but I need to set some goals to ensure I’m living it out. Goal setting is a proven method for improvement. It helps direct your focus and attention towards the results. While it may seem like I’m cutting hairs between setting a goal and making a resolution, I’m not. Resolutions tend to be large statements and  according to a New York Times article, by March, only 50% of those who made a resolution are still sticking with it. Goals are smaller, attainable  things. Think of it as the difference between a resolution of “I’m going to lose weight in 2014” and a goal of “I’m going to lose 2 pounds a week.”  Goals just have a more achievable ring to them.

3.Road Map How to Get There
I have a word, I have a goal, now what? I need to establish a plan of attack. How will you lose those 2 pounds a week, or in my case not back down from confrontation? Having a plan will help me stay on track and give me a of  measuring results/progress. Now your plan will look different from mine, the important part is writing it down. Writing out your goals and the plan for attaining them is a powerful way of  motivating you to stay on track. (Check out Michael Hyatt’s post on this here.)

That is what I am working on before midnight December 31st. I write my goals and the results along the way in EVERNOTE where it syncs to the cloud so I never lose it and keeps it password protected.

Have you given any thought to what word is right for you in 2014? Share it with me in the comments below.

Happy New Year!

With Great Anticipation…

Tonight I sit in my office at home, unable to sleep. Not because I have had too much coffee, or from heartburn keeping me awake. I’m awake because I’m to excited to sleep. In a few hours my small family of 3 will become 4.

I’m amazed that even though we’re adding to our family, love multiplies. I do not have to love Shane less to give love to Shiloh.

I wasn’t blogging when my first little man was born, but over the years I have written many letters to my first son Shane. He is such a blessing to me. I promise to get back to church and production related stuff soon, but I’m overjoyed now and have to share.

Shiloh,
I want you to know how much I love you. Though we haven’t met in person, I have dreamed about you, prayed for you, and even talked to you. You don’t respond with words, but as I would place my hand on your mommy’s tummy you would kick and roll with excitement. That gives me such joy, I can’t wrap my head around the fact you’re alive in there. In a few hours, I will hold you in my arms and look at the miracle that you are. I have wondered what your personality will be like. Will you have your mother’s ability to organize or my sense of humor, will you have my eyes or her nose? So many questions that never have to be answered because they have no bearing on my feelings for you. I will mess up buddy, please forgive me. I don’t do it on purpose, but what I will do is everything I can to be a dad you’re proud of. I want to be your hero, and your friend. Shiloh, you’re about to change my world and I welcome it! I love you buddy.

– Dad

 

Do you hear what I hear?

Christmas is here, and after today it’s time to put away the CDs, delete the playlists and in my case store the vinyl records. But while we’re still officially in the Christmas season, I need to air some issues I have with one carol in particular. This carol used to be a favorite of mine, then as I sat in my car one day waiting for it to end, listening intently to the words I found myself scratching my head.

According to ASCAP’s (THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS) Top Ten most played Christmas songs of this year, the only song that mentions Jesus’ birth comes in at number 8. Hearing this deepened my frustration since the song “Do You Hear What I Hear?” is not an accurate representation of Christ’s birth. (See what the other 9 songs were here)

The song plays like a game of telephone, starting with the night wind asking a little lamb, “Do You see What I See?” then the lamb asks the shepherd, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” The shepherd goes to the “Mighty King” in his palace warm and asks, “Do You Know What I Know?” The King then declares to the people everywhere, “Pray for peace people everywhere…The child, sleeping in the night, will bring us goodness and light.”

The song starts simple enough, wind talking to lamb, that’s believable right? I can even get past the lamb talking to the shepherd, I am sure it gets lonely out there and they may have conversations all the time. When the shepherd goes to the king is where the wheels begin falling off the bus. The writers of the song go the extra mile to let us know that the mighty king lives in a palace warm and the that this child is freezing in the cold. What do they suggest to bring the child? Blankets is what you want to say as a human with a heart. But… NO! Silver and gold, they declare that they need to take him silver and gold. I guess maybe he could buy a blanket with his new-found fortune? Also, why not offer to bring this child into your palace so warm that just HAD to be mentioned earlier?

Now to the Jesus stuff, if this song is about the birth of Jesus, the writers are cray, cray (that means crazy in case you’re lost). We know from the Gospel of Matthew that Herod the Great was king at the time of Christ’s birth. He was not about to welcome the birth of the savior and gave orders for  the child to be killed. Herod also never met the shepherds, only the Magi who saw the star, not the shepherds (A star, a star, Dancing in the night, with a tail as big as a kite.)

This song that I thought held such rich meaning to me in the holidays, is actually a horribly inaccurate retelling of Christmas Eve. It now ranks right between Marry Did You Know and  Christmas Shoes.

I will let it go for the next 11 months, I promise I won’t dwell on it. There are more important issues in the world for me to devote brain power on, like figuring out who the heck Randolph is in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Merry Christmas!

9 Services and a Baby

I love this time of year, it evokes such memories and warm feelings. Now I am not looking at Christmas through rose-colored glasses and I haven’t spiked the nog. My past is dented with some not so cheery memories but I choose to move past those. The Christmas I choose to remember is full of happiness.

There is a reason that even the music of this season is timeless, it takes to a place of pure joy. Whether it is Bing Crosby or Michael Bublé singing, you can picture yourself in the song. I am in my happy place.

Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post Cover – Via www.saturdayeveningpost.com

Since I work at a church, this is also our busy season. I am in service 5 of a 9 service run that will encompass my week of Christmas. It’s a lot of work, but it is my favorite time of year because of the meaningful work we do. We have planned and rehearsed, laughed and fought, but in the end things are working like a well oiled machine. My team here at Northview are amazing and make it a more magical place to be than Disney World. The guys I lead and work with are a huge blessing in my life.

Here is the opener from this year’s service:

While on the subject of blessings, my wife and I are also celebrating the impending birth of a baby this week. Our second child, Shiloh Miller is due to arrive on the 27th and I could not be more excited! His big brother is ready for him to be here too. Our lives will be very different this week and I’m ready for it. (We’re also happy that it’s Jesus’ birthday too)

Finally, I appreciate you the reader. Many of you have commented, shared, or told me in person how much you enjoy this site. I cannot tell you how humbled I am by the fact that you read this, the ramblings of an ADD amateur writer. I thank you, and am excited to continue writing in the new year.

From myself, my wife, and our two kids, have a Merry Christmas!