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Why Credit Cards are Dumb

Why Credit Cards are Dumb

You probably shook your head in disagreement when you read the title “why credit cards are dumb”. The truth is we’ve been targeted by the culture with the belief that credit cards are a good thing. But let me challenge you and tell you why they are not. [click to continue…]


Signs From God?

Signs from God

Do you ever get signs from God? Most of us have at one time or another. They can be difficult to recognize sometimes. My wife has told me that the first time she saw me we were at an Acapulco restaurant. She thought I was cute. The sad thing is I don’t remember that meeting. I wasn’t there for her. I was there to meet another girl. [click to continue…]


God Still Answers Prayers

God still answers prayers finding the lost teddy bear

Here is another guest post by my wife, Clarissa.

The other night as bedtime neared, Noah went looking for his favorite bear which he calls “Teddy”. We looked all over the house, under the beds, behind the couches, dug through the toy boxes, checked the laundry room, the cars, the bathrooms, and even went through the pile of stuffed animals already in his bedroom!

We couldn’t find Teddy the bear anywhere! [click to continue…]

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Why a Budget is so Important

Budget Sign why a budget is so important
A couple of months ago I wrote a post called “3 Basic Principles To Get Control Of Your Money“. The second item from that list was to get on a written budget. I want to expand upon that and let you know why a budget is so important. A budget has become one of the best tools that my wife and I have ever been introduced to. It continues to be one of the main sources of strength for us and has helped with our marriage. [click to continue…]

Why Do Words Hurt So Much? A Form of Bullying

Do you remember that little ditty from when you were a kid? You know, it went something like this: “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Yeah, there you go. You sang it in your head, didn’t you? I wonder who came up with that saying? I bet it was someone who was picked on and that was their way of trying to cope. Once in junior high a kid asked me to take off my glasses and then he waved his hand in front of my face and said “Can you see me?” (We’ll duh. I wasn’t blind I thought to myself).
A few years later after I graduated high school a friend’s sister told me that my nose was so big that a G.I. Joe could jump off it! LOL. Bless her heart. She was like 5. Words can hurt. People can be mean. I was in the band and I played the clarinet. I had glasses and I was short. I was shy and I was not popular. I was called names like Nerd, Geek, and Dork. Nerd was my LEAST favorite name. I remember as a young adult how upset I would get, even years later, every time someone called me “Nerd”… even though they always said they were just “joking”. Something about me made them think of that specific word. Eventually I got a little tougher and stopped caring so much what others said about me. I found my identity and who I was and embraced my uniqueness. But it wasn’t easy.
So many mean things are said to us throughout our life. Someone saying some mean words to you can be a form of bullying. Especially in our younger years. Junior high and high school can be brutal. Each of us copes with it in our own way. There are ways to prevent bullying, but let’s focus on your feelings and how you deal with them, then you’re in a better position to tackle the big issue (of bullies). So, when it comes to how you handle hurtful words, remember these few tips:
1) Admit to yourself that words can hurt.
2) Remember that there are only a few people in your life whose opinion should matter. Talk with them about your feelings.
3) If what someone says about you is true and you don’t like that truth, then change that about yourself (to an extent).
4) If it’s not true, then it shouldn’t bother you.
5) If you don’t care if it’s true, then don’t worry about it.
6) Be yourself!
Is this an all-inclusive list? Of course not. All that wouldn’t fit into a single blog post. This is just the start. No one said this life would be easy. Words can hurt. Always remember that God has made you in His image. You are special and perfect in His eyes. Never forget that!
What words hurt you? How did you handle it?

Being Thankful for the Challenge of Raising Children

Mother and Son face to face

Well, to kick off the new site, I thought it would be great to have a guest post by none other than my wife, Clarissa. Enjoy!

For Mark’s birthday, we had a friend offer to take Matthew, Noah, & Abigail for the night so that we could have some time to ourselves. I loved having some alone time with Mark. Loved the quiet moments just the two of us had. I felt blessed by the dreaming and goal-setting we did as a couple. Definitely enjoyed the things we can get done without the kids under our feet…you know, the constant calling for mommy or daddy, needing our ears to listen, vying for our attention, and needing our help for their very survival and existence. But I really missed our kids though.

As much as I enjoyed that time with just my husband, I also gained some perspective on how our life would be without those constant interruptions. Being a parent is definitely challenging, it definitely takes a willingness to set aside your goals and desires and really focus on those little ones that God has entrusted to you. They are learning how to take care of themselves, to try new things for themselves, and how to be themselves.

Who are they learning from?

The next time I’m sitting at home feeling interrupted by our children, I hope I remember this moment, when I’m missing them, missing being needed by them, and wondering most of all how they are doing out there without us. I hope I remember that each interruption, each cry, each need is an opportunity to teach them to be the unique individuals that they are becoming and to show them how much I love them. I hope I also remember that although having children is a challenge, life would be so boring without that challenge! They are a blessing.

Thank you God for the challenges of raising children!

What you are thankful for? Please leave a comment below!


Seasons of Life: Parenting Young Children

I came across a blog called The Actual Pastor. The first post I read was titled “To parents of small children: Let me be the one who says it out loud”. I found myself nodding and agreeing as I read it. So, with the author’s permission, I have re-posted his blog post for you all to enjoy. And to all you parents out there, young and old, read his words and tell me if you can’t relate to most of what he says! (This is a longer post)

The link to the original post is here.


“To parents of small children: Let me be the one who says it out loud” – by Steve Wiens.

I am in a season of my life right now where I feel bone tired almost all of the time. Ragged, how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-the-day, eyes burning exhausted.
I have three boys ages 5 and under. I’m not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter & chaos. I was that person for years and years; the pain of infertility is stabbing and throbbing and constant. I remember allowing hope to rise and then seeing it crash all around me, month after month, for seven years. I am working on another post about infertility that will come at a later date.

But right now, in my actual life, I have three boys ages five and under. There are many moments where they are utterly delightful, like last week when Isaac told my sister-in-law that “My daddy has hair all over.” Or when Elijah put a green washcloth over his chin and cheeks, and proudly declared,“Daddy! I have a beard just like you!” Or when Ben sneaks downstairs in the morning before the other boys do, smiles at me, and says, “Daddy and Ben time.”

But there are also many moments when I have no idea how I’m going to make it until their bedtime. The constant demands, the needs, and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day.

One of my children is for sure going to be the next Steve Jobs. I now have immense empathy for his parents. He has a precise vision of what he wants — exactly that way and no other way. Sometimes it’s the way his plate needs to be centered exactly to his chair, or how his socks go on, or exactly how the picture of the pink dolphin needs to look – with brave eyes, not sad eyes, daddy! He is a laser beam, and he is not satisfied until it’s exactly right.

I have to confess that sometimes the sound of his screaming drives me to hide in the pantry. And I will neither confirm nor deny that while in there, I compulsively eat chips and/or dark chocolate.

There are people who say this to me:

“You should enjoy every moment now! They grow up so fast!”

I usually smile and give some sort of guffaw, but inside, I secretly want to hold those people under water. Just for a minute or so. Just until they panic a little.

If you have friends with small children — especially if your children are now teenagers or if they’re grown – please vow to me right now that you will never say this to them. Not because it’s not true, but because it really, really doesn’t help.

We know it’s true that they grow up too fast. But feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn’t feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long. Not every moment is enjoyable as a parent; it wasn’t for you, and it isn’t for me. You just have obviously forgotten. I can forgive you for that. But if you tell me to enjoy every moment one more time, I will need to break up with you.

If you are a parent of small children, you know that there are moments of spectacular delight, and you can’t believe you get to be around these little people. But let me be the one who says the following things out loud:

You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out a way for your children to eat as healthy as your friend’s children do. She’s obviously using a bizarre and probably illegal form of hypnotism.

You are not a terrible parent if you yell at your kids sometimes. You have little dictators living in your house. If someone else talked to you like that, they’d be put in prison.

You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out how to calmly give them appropriate consequences in real time for every single act of terrorism that they so creatively devise.

You are not a terrible parent if you’d rather be at work.

You are not a terrible parent if you just can’t wait for them to go to bed.

You are not a terrible parent if the sound of their voices sometimes makes you want to drink and never stop.

You’re not a terrible parent.

You’re an actual parent with limits. You cannot do it all. We all need to admit that one of the casualties specific to our information saturated culture is that we have sky-scraper standards for parenting, where we feel like we’re failing horribly if we feed our children chicken nuggets and we let them watch TV in the morning.

One of the reasons we are so exhausted is that we are oversaturated with information about the kind of parents we should be.

So maybe it’s time to stop reading the blogs that tell you how to raise the next President who knows how to read when she’s three and who cooks, not only eats, her vegetables. Maybe it’s time to embrace being the kind of parent who says sorry when you yell. Who models what it’s like to take time for yourself. Who asks God to help you to be a better version of the person that you actually are, not for more strength to be an ideal parent.

So the next time you see your friends with small children with that foggy and desperate look in their eyes, order them a pizza and send it to their house that night. Volunteer to take their kids for a few hours so they can be alone in their own house and have sex when they’re not so tired, for heaven’s sake. Put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they’re doing a good job. Just don’t freak out if they start weeping uncontrollably. Most of the time, we feel like we’re botching the whole deal and our kids will turn into horrible criminals who hate us and will never want to be around us when they’re older.

You’re bone tired. I’m not sure when it’s going to get better. Today might be a good day or it might be the day that you lost it in a way that surprised even yourself.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

You’re not alone.

To view Steve Wiens’ blog, click here. Check him out on Twitter @stevewiens


I don’t know about you, but I could sympathize with most of what he said! While I don’t drink at all, I sure do look forward to bedtime for our 3 kids, because that’s “Peaceful Time” for us. That is, once they stop talking, playing in their beds, and getting that last drink of water. Parenting can be exhausting.

Can you relate? Please leave an example in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!


Live Long and Prosper


I’m back. Sorry I’ve missed the last couple of scheduled posts. I’ve been busy with a big work project. So let’s get back into it.

You’ve all been educated and brought up to speed of my love for Star Trek, as evidenced by the recent post I so cleverly titled “Star Trek“. Well, I came across the following post on a blog that I follow by Focus on the Family called Dad Matters. All you dads out there should check it out. It’s pretty good. The below post titled “Live Long and Prosper” does a great job comparing the aspects of Star Trek and real life, but more specifically, being a dad. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did!

The link to the original post is here.

Mr. Spock has a lot of good advice for dads about parenting. No, not Dr. Benjamin Spock – Mr. Spock of the Starship Enterprise. In fact, while the characters on various Star Trek TV series and movies are far from perfect, they do include some positive reflections on family.

OK, so I’m a Trekkie – “a fan of the US science-fiction television program ‘Star Trek,’ ” according to Oxford Dictionaries. To be honest, I’m counting the days until the May 17 opening of the newest Trek film, Into Darkness.

Maybe you’re a fan; maybe not. Still, my guess is that you are just as concerned as I am about not skipping a beat on the home front and making Proverbs 22:6 a reality in your home: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

As we seek to do this, think about how the following common Star Trek themes can spur on a father (and husband) to “be there” for his family:

1. Mr. Spock showed us the wisdom of keeping our emotions in check and ensuring they don’t get the better of us.

2. Capt. James T. Kirk taught us never to walk away from a fight, no matter how bad the situation might be. He also felt the enormous responsibility of caring for his crew.

3. The crew of the Enterprise was willing to sacrifice for one another for the sake of their “family.”

4. At Starfleet Academy, cadets went through a “no-win” training exercise designed to test their character. As dads, we, too, are concerned about building character and faith.

5. Capt. Jean-Luke Picard knew his faults and limitations, and did his best to face them and work through and despite them.

6. William T. Riker, Capt. Picard’s “Number One” right-hand man, was loyal to his friends – even to a fault.

7. In every episode and every movie, children were recognized to be of great value. The Starfleet crews did everything they could to protect them.

8. Capt. Benjamin Sisko was a single dad and a great father – one who allowed family responsibilities to take precedence over Starfleet duties.

9. Capt. Katherine Janeway knew the fine balance of sticking to her principles while making occasional compromises for the good of her crew and mission.

10. All of Star Trek is about adventure and risk-taking for the greater good, even to the point of “boldly going where no one has gone before.” We can see this in Jesus’ parable of the talents, as He commended the risk-takers, but not the one who “buried his talent“ (Matthew 25:14-30).

Again, whether or not you’re a Trekkie, I hope these 10 observations encourage you as you seek before God to lead your family in such a way that you all “live long and prosper.”

Dean is grateful to his good friend and fellow Trekkie Dan Robbins for contributing to this post.

– The author, Dean Ridings, was a contributor of Dad Matters blog for Focus on the Family. Dean Ridings and his wife, Kim, have four children and live in Colorado Springs. To learn more about Dean and his ministry with The Navigators, go to www.navstaff.org/ridings.

From the Dad Matters Blog at community.focusonthefamily.com/b/dad-matters/default.aspx. © 2013, Focus on the Family. Used by permission.

Thank you to Dean for allowing me to re-post this. Please check out Deans site and the Dad Matters website as well!

Live long and prosper!


My Run-In With The Law

this is NOT the actual police car that picked me up.

When I was on spring break in Jr High, I went to my grandma and grandpa’s house for the week. It was a normal visit. I don’t really remember what I did that week. The only thing I do remember is what happened one afternoon. I decided to walk to the corner store, Hank’s, to buy some candy or Star Trek cards, I forget which one. One of the neighbor kids wanted to come along. He was a few years younger than me. We started walking and as we were on the main road, my little friend decided to pick up a rock and throw it into the busy street. It happened so fast. I said to him, joking of course, if he was going to do that again, he should warn me. He said “ok, here I go again.” I looked over and he picked up a pine cone. I jumped behind a bush to hide. He threw it into traffic. But this time, it hit a car. The car slammed on his brakes. The tires screeched. It made a quick u-turn. The drivers eyes’ locked onto us. We ran, trying to hide in a nearby apartment complex but he found us. He called the cops. A police officer came and took the drivers statement. He put us both in the back of his squad car and took us home. My neighbor friend was taken home first. His grandpa didn’t look very happy. Then it was my turn. The police officer left me in the back of his car as he went to knock on my door. My heart was racing. I was so scared. But no one answered. He came back and said he would be calling my grandparents that night and that I better have told them what had happened before he called. He let me go and drove off.

What was I going to do. Should I tell them what happen? Should I ignore it and hope that the police officer wouldn’t call. No. That was too risky. I had to tell them the truth. I wasn’t a liar. So I decided to tell them exactly what happened. But how would I tell them that I was a criminal now, who ran from the police and was probably going to jail? Do you know what the first thing that came to my mind was? To read the bible. Yep. As young as I was, the bible was where I turned to. So I opened it up and just picked a page. I mean, that’s how it works in the movies right? Someone has a problem, a bible falls to the ground, and a gust of wind (while inside the house mind you) blows the page open to the exact spot that God wants you to read. NOPE. Not for me. Figures right! The first page I opened to was like the Book of Numbers or something. I mean, boring. Not what I needed at that point. So I checked the small concordance in the back. It lead me to this verse. It seemed to jump off the page. Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)- “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Wow. That’s what I needed to hear. So I remember praying for the rest of the time I was waiting for my grandparents to get home. I prayed for the courage to tell the truth and if possible, by God’s grace, that they would understand and not be mad. So, they came home. I didn’t waste any time. I thought it’s like a band-aid, just do it quickly and get it over with (which is ironic because I don’t like pain so I usually wait until the band-aid falls off days later from being wet and old. Interesting).

Anyways, I told them and to my shock and dismay, they weren’t mad. They said they understood, that they believed me, to be more careful next time and to be wise in my actions and what I say (because I told the boy to warn me next time. Probably not the best thing I could have said). Holy cow. That was it. All that worrying and pacing for nothing.

Do you want to hear something funny? The police officer never called. At least, not as far as I know. God is faithful. Go to Him in everything. Pray about everything and worry about nothing. He is always with us and will never forsake us, no matter what the outcome of our actions might be. And please know that I am not good at praying and reading my bible consistently. I still struggle with finding the time to do it. Did that one event magically change me into a super praying person. Hardly. God is continually working on me, but writing this post has reminded me of the power of prayer. What was the fist thing my mind went to? God and His word. So to all you parents, grandparents, and guardians out there; don’t underestimate the power you have on your children. Teach them and live out the principles and lesson that you hold dear and then they’ll have a better chance in this world. I’m glad I had that foundation instilled in me. Because if not, I could have went to jail!  🙂



Data Action

Finally , after 4 years since the last one, the newest movie in the Star Trek franchise is now out. It officially opened on Friday (yesterday). My wife and I saw it the night before at the 9:50 pm showing. That was the “almost midnight pre-showing”. We’re dedicated Trekkies! This is the 12th Star Trek movie to date. For those who don’t know what Star Trek is, I would politely ask you what planet do you live on? Those who do know what it is, I commend you. And to those of you that know me, well, you know I love it. It is one of my most favorite things in this world. Star Trek: The Next Generation is my favorite by far. That show got me through Junior High and High School. It was my escape from this world. It would take me to a place of adventure! I had some good missions with the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. Lieutenant Commander Data was my favorite character. He was an android (kinda like a robot, but better). I, myself, was an officer on-board the starship Enterprise, but I was specially assignment to Earth. But when the time arose, I would “beam” onto the Enterprise and assist them as needed. I formed friendships with the crew. Yes, I role played in my room, by myself, following along with the story line of that week’s episode. I had a uniform (with the LCDR rank insignia), a toy phaser, tricorder, and a Data mask. I even created a personal log of my travels (basically a diary). I wish I still had those logs. It has shaped who I am today to some degree and it has always meant a great deal to me. I know all this sounds weird and maybe a little creepy. I can’t explain it. Kids made fun of me back then, but I didn’t care. I still get teased from time to time now, but I’ve embraced it. So, suffusive to say, Star Trek is a big part of my life.

When I learned they were coming out with a new, re-make of the original cast (Kirk, Spock, Scotty, ect) in 2009, I was a little skeptical. But, I have to say I loved that movie a lot. So I was really excited for this new one (yesterdays) to come out as well. It was really good. There are more bad words in this one than the last movie, which is disappointing. But the action and special effects are awesome. The cast has a great dynamic with some added humor. The story was good with a mix of the original Tv series, movie story-lines and inside jokes, but with some new content and plot twists. For me, I am inspired by a group of people so dedicated to each other, their crew, their family, their mission, that they would risk their lives for each other at any cost. The movie teaches us about loyalty to others but also about the dark side of humanity and how it can be our down fall and so destructive. It gives us a warning to control our emotions so that they do not control us and to not let anger, rage, and revenge consume us.

I’m going to see this newest Star Trek movie again because there is so much you miss the first time around! It’s nice to escape reality once in a while and step into another world. But be careful not to let fantasy become your only reality. And while Star Trek was a big part of my life, I’m glad I didn’t get so wrapped up and obsess over it because it would have distracted me from my real life here on earth. I would have missed out on some pretty cool adventures of my own. But who knows: maybe some day we’ll be able to venture off into the unknown of space on some sort of star trek! Beam me up Scotty… Warp Speed ahead… ENGAGE!