I wish I could sing and play this great song like James Taylor. James wrote a song that is appropriate for the news we discovered today that a special member of the Quakerdale family was tragically lost… Listen to what James says:
Now READ and meditate on these words in the song. I have always slipped right over the deep meaning this song provides:
You can play the game and you can act out the part,
even though you know it wasn’t written for you.
Tell me, how can you stand there with your broken heart ashamed of playing the fool?
One thing can lead to another; it doesn’t take any sacrifice.
Oh, father and mother, sister and brother, if it feels nice, don’t think twice,
just shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Then the third verse gets pretty serious for when we are in difficult times:
You can run but you cannot hide, this is widely known.
Tell me, what you plan to do with your foolish pride when you’re all by yourself, alone.
Once you tell somebody the way that you feel, you can feel it beginning to ease.
I think it’s true what they say about the squeaky wheel always getting the grease.
Better to shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna be just fine if you only will what I’d like to do to you.
In the last couple weeks I have been blessed with friends and family who have shared with me what was on their heavy hearts. I am thankful they have blessed me with this honor and I hope I shared in ways that helped their burden begin to ease.
I hope I showered them with some love. I know I can seem kind of stern and hard at times and I want to go public today saying… I am here for you if you need someone to share with. We weren’t meant to go through this life alone.
On a day like today when we lose a friend some things in life get more clear and more blurry at the same time. Often we realize things bothering us are not that bad, but we also have unanswered questions as well. I choose to trust that God knows a lot more than me and His plan is far above my understanding. I don’t have all the answers and I don’t need to have them either. What I need to do is my best and shower the people with love…
Here, I want to declare if you don’t know who to turn to don’t let your pride get in your way. Share your burdens with someone. Most people have close friends who will listen but remember I will listen as well. In my 50 years I have learned that, “things are gonna work out fine” is a true statement. They always work out and with a little space and time life is better than I could have dreamed.
“I wrote ‘Shower the People’ in 1975. Basically it’s a positive universal love kind of anthem. And if there’s a point to the song, aside from encouraging people to express whatever love they feel, it’s about contributing positively to the world, making things better.
And really the way to do that is immediately and locally. It’s not just to talk about what needs to happen on a global level. If you know somebody and you can improve their experience by your contact with them, then that’s the thing to do. Identify the people you care about and make them feel better. That’s how to make the world better. You don’t need to reorganize the United Nations.”
~ James Taylor
This week I have been on a personal retreat. The main reason is I needed to study for a 7 hour FINRA exam to help families and small businesses with financial strategies. I love financial stuff and I mentioned to one of my clients this week that I feel like a geek because I enjoy learning about these things so much, but I know how important finances are to families and marriages and that I can help them more as I expand my knowledge.
I learned a long time ago how valuable it is to do new things and do hard things! It was no different when I was learning human behavior, Psychology therapies and communication skills. Or when I started lifting weights in Junior High, got into mechanics, rehabing houses, guitar, life coaching, or online marketing… Each of these things took hours and hours of effort. Probably the most challenging endeavor for me is the guitar. It takes mental and physical skill and the guitar has so much depth to what you can learn about it. Compared to other things I’ve learned I don’t think I will ever be able to learn everything about the guitar.
So the issue I want to discuss today is what gets in our way of doing things we really want to do. What keeps people from stretching, learning and growing. I can’t tell you how often in my life (often daily) I have heard people say, I could never do that, (like learn a new skill, be a foster or adoptive parent, start a hobby, increase my knowledge in something, exercise or lose weight, or simply do something outside their normal skills and experiences. People use reasons like they don’t have the temperament, the patience, the ability or the resources. I think the thing I hear the most is that they don’t have the TIME.
People allow themselves to be consumed with so many activities that personal growth is sacrificed. One of the best investments you can make for the good of everyone around you is in yourself. I am not saying you should be selfish, but if you become a better more well rounded and fulfilled person you can better share yourself with others. True, sometimes personal growth must be sacrificed for a season, but most things do not have to be sacrificed forever.
Here’s my perspective, we all do what we want to do. We make TIME for what we want to make time for. We spend our resources on what we choose to spend them on. So the next time you start to say to someone, “I’d like to do that or I always wanted to do that BUT…
Please stop yourself.
Don’t put that BUT in front of you.
You know where your butt belongs? Right behind you! Remind yourself your but needs to be put behind you and you need to move forward with your best effort.
If you let buts get in your way you will always wonder what it would have been like if you’d have tried. And most of those dreams, question marks or things can still be tried at any time in your life. You can always start learning and growing without upsetting everything you have going. Just be willing to stretch and take small steps to learn about it. Get a book at the library or google about it. Consider a life coach or someone you know who can help you grow and make baby steps toward your goal.
If you’ve pushed a dream or idea down because you let a but get in your way… Make the change today and I am going bet that your family and friends will help you get it done. Share your dreams with those around you and start stretching beyond where you are today. If you need or want a life coach… I would be glad to talk to you about it, but be sure to reach out to someone and share your desires because we are made for relationship and important things are done in relationship with others.
Thank you to my wife and kids for supporting me and giving me this week alone to stretch, learn and grow.
We were travelling home from a softball game last night and saw a beautiful sunset. Pictures don’t do sunsets justice. You can not see the expanse of the sky or the amazing colors and hues. Even more amazing are the changes that happen in real time right before your eyes as the earth turns and the sun reflects of different clouds and particles in the air.
Sunsets are the end of the daylight. Not permanently the end of daylight, but they are the end of the day. We always get a new sunrise to start the next day! I connected the sunset last night and a passage I read today in a devotional by Max Lucado in his book called Grace for the Moment. Max is a master of words and I enjoy this devotional book.
I started to think about how so often in life we forget to keep things in perspective. We make our plans (which we need to do) and we have hopes (which we are blessed to have) and these things don’t always come out the way we plan. What are we to do or think when things fall apart? What about when a big plan we had for our life isn’t working out.
I am blessed with years. I don’t feel old and to many people such as my father I am young. Still I am blessed with experiences knowing that the things I am going through and have gone through are here for my good. I can now look back at how a very intense and driven young man acted. I acted as if time would pass me by and leave me and I pup up some really hard deadlines and expectations on myself. Now today I take sunsets and the devotional above to tell me that time never leaves me as long as I am willing to learn and grow.
So if today you are going through a tough spot like our family of late… don’t try to rush through it. Don’t try to ignore it either. I encourage you to not singly only imagine a time when that tough spot is gone. Instead grab hold of it and jump inside it. See what makes it effect you like it does. Learn about it and yourself. See how you can learn from it.
God has plans for us that sometimes look like tough spots, but without them we could not become who we are meant to become. You are being made for good things! Find out how your tough spot can make a difference.
Next thoughts: One thing the devotional is saying… God shared things with us in the Bible and He still speaks today through His Holy Spirit as well, so learn from your tough spots, but even better, learn from the tough spots people experienced in the Bible as well.
In my opinion it is far better to learn from other people’s tough spots instead of having to go through them yourself.
In the last several months I’ve had something of a new look on life. It started by reading a book that illuminated something within me that was there but I couldn’t describe it.
Some of you may have heard that all my childhood I grew up with my mom asking me, “what are you going to be when you grow up.” Now some might take that question as oppressive. Some might take that as pressure to perform. I don’t exactly know how I saw it when I was young because often my answer was “I don’t know.” Starting back as early as I remember my answers changed from a fireman, to the president, to a musician, to Mechanic, to Psychologist, to Non profit executive, Financier, to Real Estate investor and even in the last year another change to adding financial strategies to my list. For years now I’ve shared with many how I looked back on that regular question from my mom as an encouraging. It was a boundary breaking open ended feeling of opportunity and belief she placed in me just in asking the question and letting me have my answer. She believed in my potential. I needed it like every kid does! All I know is that the new language I’ve learned is that my mom saw the world much more as a world of opportunities, limitless potential, and unending acceptance. She had an abundance mindset!
Let me throw something in along here that is important also, Because I don’t want to mislead you in my example about the main topic of abundance. I’ve changed what I do many times as mentioned before. Because what I do isn’t as important as who I am. Thankfully my parents taught me to be a person of integrity and character which allows my doing to be relatively insignificant. Who I am drives me in what I do.
So my question to you today… are you thinking small? Are you limiting you? In the last few months I’ve spent time with business owners who are stuck in small thinking and because of that they keep making the same mistakes. I have been carrying around this quote for the last few days that says, “You will never exceed your self image.” I’ve met teenagers who have limited their future because they won’t allow themselves to move beyond their present skills and abilities. I have watched families unwilling to take the steps necessary to improve their lives and so they remain stuck. These people live in the opposite of the abundant mindset. They reside in the scarcity mindset.
Scarcity is a mode of thinking that hinders growth, success and causes people to burn out and stop their own progress. People who live in scarcity often think that there is only a certain amount of luck (or money, or jobs, or life mates) to go around and when someone else finds success they used up some of the limited supply of good stuff. Scarcity feels left out in a very scary world of problems and fears. Scarcity says that I need to hold back and live in a constant state of self preservation and sometime scarcity causes us to throw caution to the wind and make dangerous decisions. Scarcity says I’ve tried that and it didn’t work. There is a huge world of “what ifs” that scarcity worries about. Scarcity says that there is no reason to make the big effort required because things won’t change anyway. Scarcity says I am who I am and I can’t change or improve or break through to the next level. Scarcity judges others when they have some thing nice or when they are different from us. Believe it or not, scarcity says if you don’t agree with me or validate my feelings you are are my enemy. Scarcity is a scary scary place.
So another way to ask the question in the title of this blog: Are you stuck in a scarcity mindset? Good people with good plans and hearts of gold have allowed scarcity to creep into their lives and hold them back.
In the words above I’ve talked to you more about scarcity than abundance. I encourage you learn more about an abundant mindset. It will help you move from not enough time or energy to do the things you want to realizing what is possible when you think abundantly.
Procrastination gets the best of us all doesn’t it? I shouldn’t eat that, but I do. I need to clean the garage, but I don’t. I need to do the taxes, but I get an extension. I need to research or learn about this, but I am so busy. I need to exercise, but …..
Life pulls at us from all directions and so often we neglect the things that are so most important to everything while spending time with insignificant issues like television, social media, napping, or stressing about things that are our of our control.
So today I want to focus on some things that need to be focused on. In our world of distractions we all get things out of kilter now and then and we need to pull things back on track. If we are growing and putting our best effort in these three areas we will find a rich life in all aspects.
I remember vividly when I was in graduate school full time working full time and feeling completely overwhelmed. What did I do? I’d watch TV late into the night when I could be studying or sleeping or exercising or focusing on the right things.
For me there are three MAJOR things you can’t neglect because they impact everything else. These are things we tend to ignore until there is a problem and I want to encourage you to move these things to the top of your priority list.
First, your physical health. I know you have at least on acquaintance who smoked like an over fed diesel engine until the day they had a heart attack. They quit cold turkey even though they were told for decades to stop! Why do we wait? Why do we deny eating poorly and sitting instead of physical activity? You know if you don’t have your health… you have huge limitations that impact all your relationships and life in general. I am not talking negatively about anyone, but if you had to choose between healthy and unhealthy it isn’t a hard decision. Yoga is a great way to start excercising!
Second, your financial health. Have you known someone who was just too uncomfortable with their finances so they simply ignored them? It is the same type of behavior with your health. We can’t let our financial decisions be arbitrary or passive just because we don’t know or don’t want to spend the time. If you don’t know you need to invest the time to take care of your finances or find someone to come alongside you and give you the support you need. Maybe this area requires getting a new job or getting new education to change your vocation. Maybe it means getting help from someone who has the skills you don’t have in finance. Maybe you just need to focus on this area and become more financially healthy though personal discipline. Im not talking about needing to be rich, but if you had to choose between having what you needed and less it isn’t a hard decision either. The book Sacred Cows is an amazing disovery book about finances and has many of the topics I teach families about with the leap model, which is discussed in the video below.
The third area I believe we all tend to neglect has to do with our spiritual health. So many times I have heard people say I’m not ready to make a spiritual move. I need to make sure if it is right or I need to change my ways before God will accept me. Or I am repulsed by the people around me who value spirituality and because of them I reject god altogether. I actually think Spiritual health is our most important area to spend time. Growth in this area has impact on every area of our existence, not only how we treat our self, our family, our neighbor, our enemies and even the earth. Our morals and our essence come from our spirituality. Anyone who says they are not spiritual is in denial. A person may be spiritually deprived, but everyone is spiritual. Richard Foster is believed to be the most leading speaker and writer on Spiritual discipline.
For ultimate health we need to have a balance in our lives where we aren’t over indulging in anything and sacrificing healthiness somewhere else.
You know the same thing is said about all three of these issues: I am just so busy. I think that is important and I’ll get back to that after my job stress drops, or when I have more time, or this time of year is just a difficult time. Sometimes we will neglect one of these big ones for one of the other big ones and we just can’t ignore any of these three areas and live to our potential.
These things are related. You see when your physical body isn’t on track it is harder to think clearly and feel like doing the right thing. When your finances are not well planned you are hindered by fears and questions of how things will work out and lack of resources hinders you from helping others as much. When you are not well grounded spiritually you lack the anchor for making ethical decisions outside your personal preferances and desires.
I compare a scarcity mindset compared to an abundance mindset to these important areas of life. Do you believe that most things are a win lose scenario? Do you think others lose when you are successful? This is a scarcity mindset. When we tell ourselves lies like we don’t have time to focus or put effort into the most important things we buy that scarcity mindset. When we become convinced that our experience with God is the only way that God can interact with us we have a scarcity mindset. When we resolve that unless someone agrees with us they are our enemy we have a scarcity mindset.
So I encourage you today to focus on these big things first and avoid slipping into the thinking that you don’t have enough time to do what you should be doing. That you are helpless to change. That you are destined to always be the victim. I encourage you to flip the switch and begin the learning process to grow and change and expand your world as you focus on the big things. Feeling helpless, fearful or trapped is what famed Zig Ziglar refers to as “stinking thinking.” Take charge of these important life aspects and make them the first things you focus when life tries to distract you.
By the way, I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on on this blog. Do you suggest I add other areas that are the most important things? Do you disagree with my three?
I don’t know why, but all my life I’ve refused to wear plaid. I have had plaid avoidance for most of my life.
Could it be those Happy Days shows where Richie, Potsie and Ralph the Mouth all wore plaid? Was it the Plaid flannel shirts from my childhood years when I didn’t get to decide what I wore? Today as I walked past a mirror I noticed. I am wearing plaid!
I don’t know how I picked up my plaid avoidance, but as quickly as it came I lost it ! What happened?
Changes are happening in me. Some (most) things about me stay the same, but then others shift like tectonic plates below the surface of my identity. I am continually becoming!
So, what does this all matter you say? Why are you writing a blog about plaid avoidance?
It goes to say that we are ever-changing and ever-growing and to deny ourselves or those around us to grow and changes is unrealistic and devalues our personal growth. Change is our prerogative and it is healthy. No one should hold our changing against us. No one should be allowed to pigeonhole us in one mindset, skill set, political group or persona. I guess what I am saying is that shedding my plaid avoidance shouldn’t be held against me even though I’ve had it for probably 30 or 40 years. Plaid avoidance has been a strongly held value of mine for a long time and I just changed!
In our very public culture it seems to me there are people who are continually choosing sides instead of choosing to care for each other. Why can’t we be accepting of one another and public figures and allow each other to have different views and opinions? Who’s to say our opinion today will still be the same tomorrow?
Do you want to be judged on things you did or believed years ago that you don’t now? No! you’ve grown, experienced, learned and refined yourself. You are better today than you were! The same is true of everyone including those with whom you disagree.
Hey, I wear plaid!
Ok so plaid isn’t as controversial as animal abuse, immigration, gender equality, genetic engineering, evolution, terrorism, politics or religion. Plaid is my metaphor for the behavior I am witnessing in our culture concerning these and other controversial issues.
I when I had plaid aversion did I walk around telling people they were wrong for wearing plaid? Did I do blogs, call the police or the local television stations, or write social media posts against plaid? Did I post pictures of people looking bad in plaid and insult plaid lovers or degrade them?
Here’s the big one: Did I associate people who do or do not wear plaid an indicator of their acceptance of me personally. “If you accept plaid you don’t accept me.”
NO! Absolutely No!
If we disagree it doesn’t mean I don’t care about you or that I can cut you down or demean you!
Oh, I know it is likely you will say the big topics in our culture are more important than plaid. Yes they are, but let us stop driving wedges between us. Stop identifying how we disagree and focus more on the things that unite us.
So my thoughts today are this:
1. Notice and embrace the change in your life. Change is a sign you are growing and maturing! Don’t be afraid of change even if it is a little confusing – like plaid!!!
2. Notice and embrace the change in others! Avoid digging up dirt on people and judge them on their past or even present behaviors, beliefs or ethics. Stop rehashing things from the past. Let others make changes too. Let people grow. We like to watch recordings of junk someone said or did 10 years, 5 years or even 6 months ago and revel in their ineptitudes. We like to say I told you so or catch someone in failure. Remember, these people are growing and changing just like you! LET OTHERS GROW AND CHANGE! Stop being so critical of other people’s past!
Staying with the Happy Days theme check out this video about how people grow and change… with Tom Hanks!
3. Upgrade people and downgrade agenda pushing. Embrace people and stop criticising their behaviors and beliefs! People are worth far more than whatever you agree or disagree with them about. Stop puking your opinions on everyone with whom you do not agree! Take a look and notice the only ones listening are those who agree with you!
4. Approval and acceptance are not equal. We can treat people with respect and not hold the same values or opinions. Do not equate approving of someone’s opinions with accepting them as a person. Opinions, values and personal ethics are not the same as the act of loving or caring for another person. Parents know this! Parents love their kids even if they don’t agree with their choices or ideas.
Let us return to a higher level of relationship.
Let us focus on human value and care for one another.
Let us affirm one another.
Hello, it has been a while since we have had a blog on our site. Not a lot of good reasons why… well actually we have had a lot going on… so I am going to share some.
The first exciting news to share is that Quakerdale has been making some extreme and huge strategic moves. I love to think strategically, so this is in my sweet spot!
It was the March Quakerdale Board meeting and Strategic Planning sessions when the board decided they were no longer going to seek state contracts as a means to serve children and families. This was HUGE. Right in the face of another big change in the Iowa welfare system the board said, “Enough, no more will we compete with other worthy organizations for underfunded state contracts.” The board decided to instead to seek to fill the gaps and serve people who are not served though privately funded ministries.
This was a big deal and it meant, for the short term, that we would close more cottages on our campuses in Manning and Waterloo. In the long term, the plans they made will expand the reach of Quakerdale to help many more than ever before! Those March closings have already allowed us to help more kids and families than we were before because we have fostered some new ministries on our Waterloo campus!
Next at the November board meeting they decided to make another HUGE strategic move. They decided to form a new Christian Community Foundation that will probably have the name something like Josiah White’s Quakerdale Foundation. (The name is not as important as the strategic decision.) The community foundation will provide a place where the assets of Quakerdale will reside for risk from liability in our litigious culture. It really is difficult to buy much more than $1 Million of liability insurance and working with kids and families can be risky. The community foundation will be a place where donors (Old and New) who want to carry out the Great Commission can give their dollars and feel assured ministries will be supported through their gifts. This is different than most secular community foundations who often have restrictions on helping Christian causes. So the new foundation will become a granting entity sharing gifts buildings, land and dollars to all kinds of ministries. The Foundation will also provide other ministries to have a restricted account at the foundation to protect their assets from litigation also.
The most recent decision is that Quakerdale will empower each of our ministries to become free-standing dedicated non profit ministries able to recruit their own focused board members and operate with more flexibility and freedom. The board set a goal that we operate everything normally for 2017 and January 2018 we hope to start the new foundation and the new ministries. This act alone reduces a whole level of administrative costs and makes these ministries and the foundation more efficient and less costly to operate.
Soooooo….. Starting January 1, 2017 I will begin the task of making this transition for Quakerdale. I will be leading Quakerdale and forming these new entities for the 2018 launch! BUT there was one final thing that I felt responsible to do. I had cut so many employees and reduced the administrative size of Quakerdale that I needed to reduce my cost to Quakerdale or leave altogether to reduce administrative costs.
Months ago I realized that I was too expensive for the new and evolving Quakerdale separate from government contracts. You see even though we help about 2000 more kids and their families each year than we did when we had a budget that was $4.5 Million dollars more we still need to cut more administrative overhead. I had to either leave for another job or find a way to reduce my costs to Quakerdale. I developed a plan to reduce my costs to Quakerdale by 40% starting in 2017 and the board approved that too!
My solution t took a lot of open minds and months to work out. Back in about March 2016 I started talking with a person on the Quakerdale finance committee who does financial strategies with families and small businesses. Basically he does the same type of stuff with families as I do with non profits! So we started talking about this with the approval of the Quakerdale board.
Beginning January I cease being a traditional employee and become a contract Executive Director of Quakerdale. I will also begin doing financial strategies for families and small businesses. It is going to be a lot of fun, because I’ve always done macro strategy and leadership for non profits, and now I get to do that with families in a way that is really unusual.
If you are curious this link takes you to a video describing what I do for families and small businesses while I continue as a contract employee with Quakerdale.
There really is not competition for this type of financial strategy work. It is a neat ministry! The team I am working with see this as a calling to help families and small businesses. That’s why I call it a ministry because that’s why I work at Quakerdale! I want to make a positive impact on others with my work for the Lord!
People I teach financial strategies to do not incur any charges . I help them learn how to use the money in their budget to meet their goals with tried and tested approaches.
It is not a one time meeting. This financial strategy process is referred to as a “life walk together.” A few meetings to get things in order and then annual meetings there forward… strategically responding to the changes that occur in our lives. Meetings are usually in person, but sometimes can be done on the internet!
The things Jennifer and I learned from my mentor and LEAP practitioner changed everything for us and make it possible for me to make this change! I wish we’d have known about these principles and approaches when we were younger.
I would sure like to take the long walk with you. The tools that exist today are amazing and the software allows us to test our plans so it takes the guess work out of financial strategies!
You will be amazed at what you can do with the right strategies. The tools and strategies are applicable for all ages and all types of goals.
Thanks, friends for your support and encouragement as our family goes through these changes. We get to continue to live at Quakerdale and carry out our ministry and also expand our reach to help individual families with their financial strategies too!
We are trying to raise $9500 to replace some threadbare carpet in the first building built on our New Providence campus in 1939! We also plan to give a small gift of thanks to each of the office professionals to decorate their office who make all the Quakerdale campuses work!
When I was growing up my mom would often ask me in a manner that sounded like anything was possible, Robbie, who are you going to be when you grow up? My parents made me believe anything was possible. I had goals that changed all through my life including after college, and after graduate school too!
Back in my first year in college I remember having a life changing experience. I was required to do a personality typology test which revealed to me that I was an introvert. I didn’t even know introversion existed! Oh the relief I found and still find in my introversion. You see for the 20+ years prior I lived in a family of extroverts and I had believed I must be one too. When I realized there were introverts in the world and I wasn’t an oddball it freed me up to be me!
Peter Daniels talks about this phenomenon in his book, “How to reach your life goals.” We must dig deeper to find out who we are and what OUR goals are because we are programmed to perform to others expectations. Daniels says we must ask ourselves the question, Where do my desires really come from (p.18)?
So where do our goals and aspirations come from? Who do you feel called to be? Set aside those visions others have provided for you, or the ones you have erected like I did. Who do you want to be when you grow up? Almost anything is possible!