My First Vlog – A Hawaii Travelogue

This week I’m trying something a little different on the blog. In my last post I shared about how I get to travel to Hawaii at least once a year to recruit students to George Fox. This fall my office started a fun activity of sending video updates to each other from the road so we could share about our travels.

One of my far-fetched dreams is to be a travel show host – last year I even sent an audition video to one of my favorite travel shows – so I was excited to contribute videos from my trip to Hawaii. During the trip I sent about one video a day to my office, creating sort of a travelogue and it gave me a chance to pretend I was a travel show host. Just for fun I thought I’d share just a few with you to give you some of the highlights. Hope you enjoy!

 

Why Was I Discontent in Hawaii?

I have a hard time being content. It seems like no matter how much I have or how great of a situation I’m in I can find a way to wish I had more or wonder if there is a way to make my circumstances even better.

I’m very privileged to get to spend a couple of weeks in Hawaii each year for work but for some reason this tendency seems to rare its ugly head while I’m there. I realize how absurd that sounds but that is the point of this post so hang with me.

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It is so easy to become discontent in any situation. Sometimes we just need to stop and take stock of our surroundings to realize just how lucky we are. This is the park I got to hang out at when I finally decided to stop driving around looking for a better place. I can’t believe I was concerned it wasn’t good enough.

It happened on a Sunday afternoon on my most recent trip. I was staying at an incredible hotel with beautiful grounds – pool, beach, etc.  – if any of my bosses are reading this we got an excellence group rate through the college fair 🙂 I had to check out at noon but my flight to the next island wasn’t until 6pm. Continue reading →

What Happens When We Pursue God

It was late in the afternoon one day on our family beach vacation this past July. As often happens when I’ve been sitting around relaxing for a while, I started to get a little antsy and needed to move.

In these situations usually I’ll take a short walk on the beach or go for a quick jog and that does the trick, but this time was different.  Not because I didn’t get the exercise I needed but because of something else entirely.

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God loves to hang out with us as much or more than we like to be with our kids. I took this picture shortly after Calum caught up to me on the beach.

Before leaving I asked if anyone wanted to go with me but everyone was engrossed in their own activities and didn’t feel like joining me. I would’ve enjoyed the company but was also fine to venture out on my own.

So I headed down the beach enjoying the fresh air and peaceful sounds of the waves crashing on the shore. About 10 min. in to the walk I heard someone shouting, “Dad, Dad!” I wasn’t sure if the shouts were directed at me but they sounded like they could be coming from one of my kids so just in case I turned around to check. Continue reading →

Why Giving is Better than Receiving

I think by nature we’re all pretty selfish beings – at least I am. It makes sense because on some level we have to be selfish to survive. We need food, water, shelter, etc. Our instincts drive us to self-protect. The problem I’m discovering is that in the long run self-interest leads to a pretty unhappy life.

I’ve posted in the past about how hard it is to be selfless and I’m compelled to write about it again because it really is that hard and it is still a day-to-day struggle for me.

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Talking the focus off ourselves and helping others is an important key to real happiness. (Seth helping me mow the lawn)

I really want to be selfless, to put others first, but more often than not I find myself slipping back into thoughts of self-interest and even self-pity. Worst of all this applies most intensely to my closest relationships. Continue reading →

Do You Need Permission Slow Down and Take Care of Yourself?

August and September are busy months in my line of work – college admissions. We’re busy wrapping up the details of our incoming class and beginning to focus in earnest on the new recruiting class already. It is a time of sort of “burning the candle at both ends” while these overlapping priorities splash against each other.

It is also a super busy time at home as the boys are starting school again and soccer and other activities are picking up full force. Needless to say, we’re running on all cylinders on both fronts.

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Do you need permission to take a break and do something to take care of yourself today? What would it take to let that happen?

Over the last few years I’ve noticed a pattern in myself. About mid-September as the busyness begins to stack up and wear on me I start to feel a little overwhelmed and anxious. Continue reading →

Why Guys Need to be More Real With Each Other

In my last post I shared about how I’ve struggled with my definition of masculinity and often not felt like a “real man.” Thankfully God is redeeming that in me. As part of that process I’m realizing that my insecurity in this area has contributed to me at times being isolated and not in real or close connection with other guys.

I’ve often believed the lie that if I opened up and shared the true parts of me and was vulnerable with other guys they would think I was weird or weak and reject me.

I’ve also often hoped that I’m not the only one who has felt this way. Through conversations with friends and some research I have discovered that I’m definitely not.

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Me with some great, longtime friends.

According to an article in Salon.com  “adult, white, heterosexual men in America have the fewest friends. Moreover, the friendships they have, if they’re with other men, provide less emotional support and involve lower levels of self-disclosure and trust than other types of friendships.” Continue reading →

Why God Wants to Heal and Use our Brokenness

If you’ve followed my blog at all you’ve probably gathered that I can be a pretty sensitive and emotional guy. At times throughout my life that has been a source of intense shame and frustration for me. Often I’ve felt like I don’t fit in the world of “real” men. I like music, art and creativity. I’m not that of an great athlete, I don’t like to talk about sports that much and I don’t hunt or fish.

I’ve blogged in the past about how God can use our areas of weakness and for the longest time I have thought that being emotional and sensitive is a huge weakness of mine.  But recently I believe God has been challenging me to both broaden my view of what it means to be a man and also to see the version of a man that he has made me to be as a strength.broken-mirror-4-1317204

John Eldredge says ““It is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer. When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves that is when we become powerful. “

This has definitely been a place of brokenness for me but it is also my “true self.” A former pastor of mine used to say, “God doesn’t make junk.” I’ve often thought that God made a mistake when making me this way and wished he made me more like “normal” guys. But today I’m claiming that I’m not junk and neither are you! God made us the way we are and wants to use all of us, even, or especially our places of brokenness to help others. Continue reading →

The Power of Place

I love adventure, experiencing new places, trying new foods, meeting new people, etc., and I’m fortunate to have had many great ones. But as I write this post I’m sitting at a place I’ve been hundreds of times that for all intents and purposes really hasn’t changed much in my lifetime – my family’s beach house.

In a world where everything changes so rapidly and we’re always moving quickly from one thing next, there is something refreshing and reassuring about a place that hasn’t and doesn’t really change that much.

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My boys playing in the same waters I grew up playing in.

The house was built in the 1940’s by my great-grandfather as a place for his family to relax and get away from it all. It’s been passed down through the generations and my kids are the fifth generation to enjoy it. Both the house and the surrounding area hold a very special place in my heart. I have so many memories there of special times with friends and family, of adventures and times connecting with nature. Continue reading →

Why We Can’t Trust Our Feelings

I’m a fairly emotional person. Actually, if I’m being really honest, I’m very emotional. I can experience very intense feelings – both good and bad – all in the same day and sometimes even in the same hour. Sometimes that is a good thing because they help me experience positive situations intensely but the flip side is I also experience the negative ones very deeply.

For much of my life I’ve pretty much followed my feelings wherever they took me. Sometimes they have taken me to a good place but more often than not that hasn’t been the case.

My mom used to say that feelings are the caboose, meaning in most situations they are the last thing that should be considered or trusted. I always kind of brushed off that wisdom but in the last couple of years I’ve discovered, as in so many other situations, she was right. While I do believe our emotions are an important and valuable resource in helping us experience life (both the ups and downs), I’ve come to believe that in many situations we cannot trust them, especially the negative ones.

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“Putting the brakes” on our emotions is hard work – like climbing up a wall . But it is worth it and it gets easier with time.

Certainly there are circumstances where our “gut reaction” is right and we need to follow it. Those feelings tend be grounded in reality and can be trusted much more. For example, if you are walking down the street and see an angry dog growling, you will feel scared and be tempted to turn and walk (or run) the other way which is probably the right decision. Continue reading →

The One Thing That Rejuvenates More Than Anything Else

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do a devotional for my office retreat. The theme for the retreat was “rejuvenation” and as I started to think about what to share I wondered, what is the one thing that we need most to refresh and restore ourselves? Almost instantly, the thought hit me, we need to hear from and connect with God.

In our society that is increasingly busy, distracted, stressed and anxious, what could fill us up and get us back on track better than connecting with the creator of the universe, the one who made us and knows exactly what we need?

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Being in nature is a great way to connect with God – Mt. Hood, OR

I think even those who are not Christians would probably admit that a touch from the divine or something bigger than themselves (whether they call it God or not) changes them in a way that nothing else can. Continue reading →