Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 10 Moments of 2010

2010 is nearly over and a new year is upon us.  January 1 will bring New Year's Resolutions and goal setting.  Lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, and get out of debt are always the most popular. (Here is a great resource for for breaking bad habits.)  I'm a huge fan of setting goals and believe they are necessary for success but I think there is something that you should do first. 

As we begin a new year don't forget to pause and reflect on the last year of your life.

What were your favorite moments?
What challenges did you face?
What changes did you make?
Who did you meet?
What did you learn?
Where did you go?

Answer these questions and remember the moments that changed you and shaped you over the past year.  As you write these down I think it's fun to rank them.  My wife and I started a tradition a few years ago and we create a Top Ten List at the end of each year.  We individually create our own personal list of about 20 memories on our own time and come together to create a Top Ten List as a family.

As you do this 1 of 2 things will happen:

1.  You will look back and be thankful for all that God has done in your life.  You will remember all of the blessings and challenges that you faced and look forward to the adventures that lie ahead in 2011. 

2.  You will look back and not be able to remember much.  Not because your memory is bad but because you spent too much time working, watching TV, and Facebooking that you didn't have time to meet new people, visit new places, experience new things, or make a difference in someone's life.  If this is you then begin to set goals so this doesn't happen again in 2011.

This is a great activity to do individually, with your spouse, or even with your whole family.  It is always interesting to see the favorite experiences of those that are close to you.

So before you set your goals and make your resolutions, take the time to remember the most important moments and create your own Top Ten of 2010.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top New Year's Resolutions for 2011

Here are the top New Year's Resolutions for 2011. 
(There were 10 but I combined some to make it 5.)

1.  Stop Smoking/Drink Less Alcohol
2.  Lose Weight/Exercise More
3.  Enjoy Life More/Spend More Time With Family/ Help People
4.  Learn Something New
5.  Get Out of Debt

Here are a few resources that have helped me with each of these.

Get Healthy! (I combined resolution 1 and 2 because the goal is to get healthy.)
1.  If you know me you know that I am a huge fan of P90X.  There are 12 workout DVDs, a fitness plan, and nutrition program.  It is difficult and you might have to start out doing every other workout but if you follow the program I guarantee you will see results.

2.  The Belly Off Program from Men's Health.  I did this 8 week program a couple of years ago and lost 20 pounds, while gaining strength.  The nutrition plan has delicious food and  A LOT of it!   Women's Health has similar plans for healthy eating and exercise. 

I have never experienced an addiction to smoking or drinking alcohol.  I do know that in order to break an addiction you must seek help from God and someone stronger than you in that area because if you could quit on your own you would have done it already.  Lay down your pride and get some help.

Enjoy Life!
 1.  The book A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller is about enjoying life and living a better story.  Check it out from your local library.

2.  The book Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren is a fantastic book to begin your year.  I have read it four times and refer to it throughout the year.  It is a great way to help you find or reaffirm your purpose for your life.

3.  The book Chazown by Craig Groeschel is also a great book for beginning a new year or new season of your life.  Chazown is Hebrew for Vision and it provides a step by step process for developing a vision or plan for your life. 

These 3 books are all about enjoying your life, spending time with family, and helping people.  3 birds with one stone!

Learn Something New!
We live in the information age so there is no excuse for you to not learn something new everyday.  I use Twitter, Podcasts on iTunes, blogs, and the library and it is all FREE!  If you want to learn something new simply type it into Google and you're on your way.

Be Debt Free!
1.  Financial Peace University is a program by Dave Ramsey that will teach you ways to get out of debt, save money, and build wealth.  You can also read his book called Total Money Makeover which is a broad overview of FPU.

2.  Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a book that will change your perspective on money.  It is not for everybody but I really enjoyed it and it has some great financial principles.

3.  The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach is another great book to help you with your finances.  It is not a get rich quick book but rather shows you how to build wealth over your lifetime.  It provides many resources within the pages. 

Again, these are all resources that have personally worked for me.  I wouldn't have shared them if they didn't help me experience success in these areas.  If one of them works for you please share it with someone else.  Please remember that in order to keep your resolutions and reach your goals it is your responsibility to be disciplined enough to take them seriously. 

What books, programs, or resources have helped you reach your goals?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Personification At It's Finest

If this isn't funny I don't know what is.

My Favorite FREE Things

Here is a list of my favorite FREE things of 2010.  These 6 things have changed my life by making it easier, better, fuller, and more enjoyable.  The great thing is, if you are reading this then you have access to all of these things as well!  The items are in random order.

1.  The Library - I recently rediscovered the library and have literally saved hundreds of dollars.  Obviously you are aware that you can check out books for free and even audio books on request.  Books are $15-$30 these days and that adds up.  However, did you know that you can check out most major CD's and Movies as well?  They may not have them in stock but you can request them and they will order them for you.  It's unbelievable!  On top of that,  most major library systems are getting electronic copies of books for the iPad and other e-readers so you can temporarily download books!  Head to your local library and rediscover it's greatness!

2.  A Million Miles In A Thousand Years - This is my favorite book of 2010 and borderline my favorite book of all time.  Author Donald Miller writes about how to live a better story.  It is an easy read but very thought provoking and challenging.  I literally couldn't put it down and read it in 2 settings.  Check it out for FREE @ your local library or if you have to buy it you can get it for less than 20 bones online or at your local bookstore.  You can learn more about the book and the author at

3.  Twitter - There is so much more to Twitter than telling people your every move.  Twitter guru @ScottWilliams describes Twitter as a river of constantly flowing information.  This year I read more via Twitter than I read books or magazines combined.  Twitter also allows me to learn directly from high profile leaders that I wouldn't normally come into contact with on a regular basis.  Words of wisdom from leaders such as Seth Godin, Rick Warren, Rev Run, Kevin East, Andy Stanley, David Busic, Craig Groeschel, Scott Williams, etc... are at my fingertips.  You can also stay current with friends, celebrities, professional athletes, and your favorite organizations.  Twitter also keeps me up to date on national and local news, sports scores, and the latest coupons.  Open a free account online at

4.  Air-1 Radio - I found out about Air-1 about 4 years ago and I haven't listened to another radio station since.  (Unless I'm in the Dallas area and I listen to Mix 102.9 to hear the velvet voice of my good friend Josh Hart.)  All the music they play is uplifting, encouraging, and positive.  My day is better when I listen to Air-1.  In OKC it's 90.9 FM but you can check the station in your area or listen online at  

5.  Groupon - Okay this really hasn't changed my life that much but I had to include it because the idea is so genius.  Groupon provides consumers half-price coupons to restaurants, spas, stores, and other services while providing customers and major advertisement to vendors.  Talk about a win-win situation!  This is great for everyone involved.  I personally like it because it allows me to take my wife on dates to upscale restaurants that we would never go to if it weren't for the half price Groupons.  For more information check out

6.  Google - This seems obvious because Google has changed the life of everyone with a computer.  However, did you know that Google is SO MUCH MORE than a search engine?  Google Earth is mind blowing!  Their e-mail service is the best in the business.  You can create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents and have access to them online with Google Docs.  You can create online invitations, sign-ups, surveys, and teachers can even create online tests for free with Google FormsThis blog is even powered by Google!  These are just the few features that I have used.  Check out all that Google has to offer here.

What FREE  things have changed your life this year?

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorite Things

One day I will be a billionaire and be able to give away my favorite things to my friends and random people like Oprah does.  Until then, I'm going to simply make a list of my favorite things for you to put on your Christmas list so that someone else can buy it for you.

These 5 things have changed my life by making it easier, better, fuller, and more enjoyable.  The items are in random order.

1.  Sleep Number Bed - This is the ingenious idea where you can control how soft or firm your side of the bed is.  This is perfect for Katy and I because I like a hard mattress and she likes it super soft.  Soft or firm, it is by far the most comfortable bed and the bad thing is we have trouble getting out of it in the mornings!

2.  You're Beautiful Bracelet- My wife Katy has a passion for helping girls realize their true beauty.  We live in a world where the media defines beauty by looks and external appearance.  My wife and her assistants want girls to believe that they are beautiful because they are God's beautiful creation.  One way to spread this belief is by making bracelets that simply say YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL with the scripture Psalms 45:11 "The King is enthralled by your Beauty."  This bracelet serves as a daily reminder to girls of all ages that their true beauty is found in Christ and not in looks, style, weight, boys, their past or any other lies. Although I do not wear one myself, I love seeing people wear them and love observing the conversations that arise because of them.  

If you would like to purchase a You're Beautiful bracelet for yourself or a special girl in your life they are $5 and all of the proceeds go to support organizations that support true beauty.  I'm giving away 5 of them here on my blog.  Simply leave a comment below and you will be entered into a random drawing.  The drawing will be Sunday, December 26 @ 10pm.  If you're a winner I will contact you to get your information and you should have your bracelet before 2011. 

3.  iPhone - I hate to be that guy but I can honestly say my life is different because of the iPhone.  It is an iPod, phone, e-mail, GPS, gaming device, Facebook, Twitter, planner, Bible, notepad, newspaper, alarm, TV, and so much more all on one sleek piece of equipment.  Although I prefer the iPhone, I'm sure most smart phones do the same these days.

4.  Mission Trip - My wife and I spent 10 life changing days in Costa Rica this summer with Pine Cove's ONE:8 Trips.  We learned what it was like to be immersed into a completely different culture where we could not rely on our own strength.  It is something that totally changed our perspectives and we are forever different because of this experiences.  A mission trip doesn't have to be in a different country.  Spend some time out of your comfort zone and in another culture or sub-culture in your own city or state.  Volunteering at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or any other place where there are people in need is equally as challenging and rewarding.

Katy and I at a volcano in Costa Rica.

5. Visiting History - I realize that not everyone likes history as much as I do (former social studies teacher).  But there is something about being able to see the places that we read about and be in the setting of which epic stories took place.  I love the Star Spangled Banner but now even more so after visiting Fort McHenry in Baltimore where the famous battle took place that caused the song to be written.  I recommend Washington D.C. because basically all of the museums and monuments are free to explore.  Any place on the East Coast should be filled with history but you could visit a place in your city or state with some historical significance. 

Flag @ Fort McHenry in Baltimore
Again, I wish I could afford to buy all of you gifts or send you on trips so that your life could also be changed for the better.  Be on the lookout for my future post which is My Favorite Things: Free Edition.

Remember to comment below if you're interested in winning a YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL bracelet.

What are some of you're favorite things?

Monday, December 13, 2010

What Are You Made Of?

Let's see what you're made of.

The only time this phrase is used is when someone is about to experience some adversity.  A time when you are going to experience so much pressure, so much pain, so much stress, so many tough decisions, so much frustration, so much sadness, or so many obstacles that it is going to peel back everything except the basic foundation of which you are made.

To see what an athlete is made of, see how they perform under pressure with the game on the line.
To see what a politician is made of, watch how they lead a country at war and in a recession.
To see what a marriage is made of, watch how they treat each other when money is tight & kids are ill.
To see what a teacher is made of, see how they teach that rough bunch of kids at the end of the day.
To see what a ________ is made of, watch how they react when ________________.

The end of the year holiday season is usually a time when stress is high, tempers are short, and it is easy to see what people are made of.  Take some time to reflect and see what you are made of.  If you are rarely stressed, frustrated, sad, negative, or buckle under pressure then chances are you simply need to keep on doing what you're doing.  If not, then it's time to go back to the basics and begin to rebuild your basic foundation.  Here are a few ways to do that.

Form Good Habits - A habit is something you can do without thinking.  Perhaps you can develop habits of getting more sleep, making your lunch, praying, exercising, and spending time with family.  If these habits are developed in good times, they will continue in tough times.

Repetition - In order for a habit to stick you must repeat it over and over until you are able to do it without thinking.  Then when tough times hit, you will subconsciously continue with the good habits without even thinking about it.

Be Disciplined - No one is going to make you do this.  No one is going to build a foundation for you.  If you want to strengthen what you are made of it starts and ends with you.  

Be Accountable - Although it is your decision to make and your foundation to build, it sure is easier if someone is doing it with you.  Challenge a friend or ask a family member for help redeveloping your physical, spiritual, or emotional core.  

Let's see what you're made of!