Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Raising Boys by Design: What the Bible and Brain Science Reveal About What Your Son Needs to Thrive



I am the father of a young son, so was particularly interested (hopeful) when I first saw this book. The book has some solid information and ideas that are useful. But there was never a point that it grabbed me or compelled me or made me really want to go out there and be this incredible dad - a bit short on the inspiration side of things. Yes, I want to be a great dad, or I wouldn't be reading books such as this. And no, I don't necessarily need external motivation for this, but in the day-to-day life of parenting it is nice to get a boost here and there. And this wasn't it.

More than anything, the book was largely a reminder of things I already knew at some level. Sometimes those reminders are helpful and timely, and that makes the book worth reading. One place the book was spot on is where it talks about the need for churches to find ways to better connect to men. There is a lot of room for improvement in many churches in this category. The segment on rites of passage was also one of its stronger points.

I was not paid for this review, but did receive a free review copy with no obligation to leave a positive review.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

12 ways to improve yourself from successful people


Great article from Mind, Body, Green on how successful people improve themselves.

Whether you're trying to better your health, career, or yourself—there are some recurring secrets and habits that successful people use, and I thought it would be helpful to list them here.

1. They use small habits to get big results.
I love this quote by Seth Godin: "Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We're proud of you for having them. But it's possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that's really frightening you—the shift in daily habits that would mean a re-invention of how you see yourself."

The "shift in daily habits" is the hard part. But it's also key in creating a better version of yourself.

Before Jerry Seinfeld got so famous, he used a daily ritual of writing a little bit of material every day to refine his material. When completed that, he would write a big "X" on his calendar. He continued to do it everyday because he didn't want to break the chain.

2. They hold themselves accountable.
Writing down the reason you want to make a change in your life creates accountability. Next write down when, where, and how you will complete it.

3. They don't rely solely on willpower.
A well-established body of research tells us that willpower is a finite resource. In the face of multiple stressful stimuli, our willpower wears out. Roy F. Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University, says, "Making decisions uses the very same willpower that you use to say no to doughnuts, drugs, or illicit sex."

So when it comes to changing your dietary habits, for example, rely less on willpower—instead change your path so you're not tempted by sugary treats multiple times a day.

4. They take it slow.
Once the habit is ingrained, you can try to tackle new habits, but wait at least three weeks before you even consider that. New studies show for a habit to be automatic it may actually take much longer than 30 days. A study led by Phillippa Lally, PhD, a psychologist at University College London, found that it actually took people 66 days (9.5 weeks) for a behavior to become automatic.

5. They use cues.
In Charles Duhigg’s best–selling book, The Power of Habit, he refers to the three steps of the “Habit Loop” as: cue, routine, reward. An example of a cue: placing your clothes on the floor so when you wake up in the morning you're easily "cued" to start your habit of exercise.

6. They practice introspection.
This can be in the form of meditation or any form of self-examination. For example, the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, says that his meditation practice helped develop the core values of his brand. Also, many people credit Apple's sleek design to Steve Jobs' zen philosophy and meditation practice.

7. They share their habits with like-minded people.
Napoleon Hill coined this relationship “a mastermind.” It's a meeting with people who share similars goals. Some successful people like Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie credit mastermind groups as a key factor in their success.

8. They visualize how they will overcome small hurdles.
You will have naysayers. You will have challenges. How will you solve them? Visualize the problem and mentally rehearse how you will solve it.

9. They reward themselves.
Don't just reward yourself for completing a "30-day challenge" (or something similar), because after the challenge is over, you will inevitably fail. The whole premise of this is life transformation is that there is no end goal. Instead celebrate the small wins.

10. They know that failing is not final.
Expect to fail along the way. If you never fail, the habit was too easy. Just get back to it and don't self-loathe. For motivation, remember the words of Winston Churchill, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

11. They enjoy the process.
We can get so stuck on an end goal that we make ourselves miserable getting there. That's a set up for failure. Enjoy the process of improving yourself. As Warren Buffet once said, "We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds."

12. They express gratitude.
Express gratitude with even just one sentence a day. Define why you are grateful, what you have accomplished, and the hard work you've put in.

The key to changing yourself is not to create someone new or become a "super person" but to actually become a better version of yourself.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Page CXVI - Lent to Maundy Thursday - sweet music!

One of my favorite bands has a new release out - details below!

Dear Friends,

We are thrilled to announce Lent to Maundy Thursday releases today! Thank you again to all of our IndieGoGo supporters for partnering with us to make this project possible! You can buy the physical and digital album here:

www.pagecxvi.com

Or purchase it on iTunes and other digital stores like Amazon! 
Also, we want to take a moment to thank David Wilton, our engineer, co-producer, and mixer on this record. He has been with us for five years and we are deeply grateful for his gifts, talents, and time! Check him out here: http://saintidas.com/saintidas/St._Idas.html as well as his worship project Loud Harp http://www.loudharp.com 

As well as our dear friends Aaron Strumpel for his trumpet and charisma http://aaronstrumpel.com (stayed tuned his upcoming project produced by our own Latifah Phillips!) 

And Cameron Schenk (violin) and Keith Thomas (cello) for their beautiful string parts!
We look forward to the last installment of our Calendar Project coming out April 15th, GoodFriday to Easter! Until then may you all be blessed.
Blessings,
Page CXVI

Monday, December 02, 2013

To You Who Bring Small Children to Church

Found here originally.

There you are sitting in worship or Bible study. Your child, or toddler, is restless. Perhaps they’re even a little boisterous. You try to silence them, and nothing. You try to pacify them with food or toys, and nothing. Eventually, you resort to the last thing you wanted to do: you pick them up, and before a watching audience, you make the march out of the auditorium. All the while, you’re a little embarrassed. Maybe you’re a little frustrated too. You might even think to yourself, “There’s no point in coming to church. I get nothing out of it because I have to constantly care for my kid.”

I want you — you mothers and/or fathers — to know just how encouraging you are to so many. The little elderly woman who often fills alone beams with a smile at the sight of you wrestling with your little one. She’s been there before. She knows how hard it can be, but she smiles because to hear that brings back precious memories. To see young parents and their small children brighten her day, and she may have just received bad news this week about her health, but seeing the vitality of young ones removes — if but for a moment — her fears.

The older man who always seems to be grouchy notices you too. He’s always talking about how children in this day have no respect or sense of good. But, he sees you — a young family — in church, and you don’t miss any gathering. Like clockwork, he can depend on the sight of you and your young family. You give him hope that maybe the church isn’t doomed after all, because there are still young parents who love God enough to bring their restless children to worship.

Then there’s everybody else. Some people will honestly become frustrated by noisy children in church. They have this warped idea that reverence includes absolute silence. It doesn’t. When parents brought their children to Jesus, the disciples rebuked them (Matt. 19.13-15), but Jesus rebuked His disciples. He said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” The term translated “children” in Matthew and Mark is paidon. The root of the word “pedagogue” is from this word. It defined children of either an infant state, or more particularly, it was with reference to those who were half-grown and could be either males or females.



When Luke wrote his account of this narrative, he used the word brephos; which means “infants.” Luke wasn’t contradicting Matthew and Mark’s account, because Luke wrote that they brought the infants “also” (Luke 18.15-17). They would have squirmed, maybe even cried. This was likely why the disciples rebuked the parents; as well as that they might have thought that the children were too young to understand the blessing Christ pronounced over them.

Bring your children to church. If you don’t hear crying, the church is dying. As hard as it might be for you as a parent who’s half-asleep, keep on doing what you’re doing. You are an encouragement, and you’re starting off your children’s lives as you should.