My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
purchase it at B & N, Amazon or (click on image of cover)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are you on Mission?

One way to help keep a focus on your purpose in life is to develop and compose a Personal Mission Statement. The Personal Mission Statement zeroes in on your core values, principles, and key items you wish to accomplish with your life. In Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he likens the Mission Statement to that of the Unites States Constitution, the core values of our country.

This Summer I have been going through his son, Sean Covey’s, book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens with my teen daughter. This is a positive book to help teens understand the 7 principles to living life with more purpose and finding more potential in their futures. I have enjoyed this time with my daughter discussing principles which will allow her to have the best life possible. We just finished the chapter where Sean describes the Mission Statement. I like how he brings out that it can be put into various forms of a poem, a song, listing of positive bulleted statements, or a poster to tap into young people’s creativity.

Before working on the Mission Statement there is a need to work on concepts that go into it. Take time to brainstorm a list of values that are important to you. What are some of the positive strong qualities that set you apart from the next person? Make a list of 10 of the most important things in your life. Think over and list 5 core principles that are unchangeable and are the basis for your worldview and lifestyle.

Just as the Constitution is the standard for our country the Personal Mission Statement is the standard to guide our sense of purpose through the storms of life. Our world is always changing but a mission statement can help remind us of the inner strengths and principles we believe in that do not change. It can help us keep moving towards our goals and pursuits in our life journey by providing a guideline to keep on track with what is important to us.

The Mission Statement also helps us be more responsible so more can be accomplished of what we really want for our lives. Stephen Covey quotes Victor Frankl in his section on Mission statements. “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” We are responsible for our choices and following our personal beliefs. Understanding our responsibility to follow our mission statement encourages a deeper motivation and commitment to live our daily life by the principles and values important and keep a vision towards being goal centered which is important in living more than ok.

Keep your Mission Statement in a place you can review it often. Place it at your desk, as a wall poster hanging in your office or bedroom, or laminate a small version to place in your wallet or purse. This way you can review it on a regular basis and keep in fresh in your mind as a guiding force in your life. Does the Mission Statement ever change? As we go through shifts in our lives aspects of our life change but our core principles are usually constant unless a major philosophical and spiritual shift occurs. As we review our Mission Statements during periods of shifts there are new items that may need added and others replaced.

Here is a rough draft to my Personal Mission Statement:
 I seek to live a life pleasing to God as I follow the principles of Christ like living to the best of my ability.
 I seek to be a positive loving support to my wife and daughter in the journey God has for them.
 I am committed to grow in my creative and critical thinking skills in helping others grow to reach their God Given potential of living more than OK.
 I desire to live a more simple life to appreciate the savoring of God moments in life.
 I desire to live a thankful life for all that God brings into my life journey.

Get on Mission in your life. Take time to work on your Personal Mission Statement. Start by listing your core principles, values, things and people that are important to you. You can then write it out in a poem format, listing of declarative statements or in a narrative form. If you are really creative maybe do a poster using drawing along with your statements. Here are some examples of mission statements that may help in your constructing yours:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Worldview Beliefs Shape Our Spiritual Life Journey

I have mentioned that I look at life from a Christian perspective. I believe Spirituality is an important aspect of the Living More Than OK life. Our morals, how we treat others, our purpose in life stems from the spiritual side of life. Personally belief in Christ’s death and resurrection in providing me a fix to the broken relation with God the Father is an all important driving force in my life.

In recent years I have read the works of the new atheists, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins. I was interested in their arguments against religion. I wanted to compare them with Bertrand Russell’s writings as I read his Why I am Not a Christian? back when I was searching my doubts on Christianity years ago. I found nothing new in their recent books. I saw just the same extreme hate, misconstruing scriptures out of context and emotional ignorant statements that they states as fact when they are just personal beliefs. The same things they complain about religionists, the hate and emotionalism, they do in their writings but even more exaggerated.

The atheists are more rabid against Christians possibly as we are the dominant faith in the West. What amuses me is how in their writings and atheists I have heard on TV point to those who believe in a religion as following beliefs, (these beliefs are foolish in their viewpoint). On the atheists side they say they promote science so atheism has no aspect of belief. They act like it is known fact!. It is to that point I appreciated recently reading Peter Hitchens’ book- The Rage Against God. He tells of his journey from atheism back to the Christian faith that He and his atheist brother, (Christopher Hitchens) grew up in. I recommend this book as an insightful spiritual pilgrimage from atheism to Christian faith. In it he so rightly states the atheism just like religious faiths that believe in God are beliefs. He states, “As he has become more certain about the non-existence of God, I have become more certain that we can not know such a thing in the way we know anything else, and so must choose to believe or not. I think it is better by far to believe.” All of our world views are based on belief. Ask an atheist what is the scientific proof that proves there is no God? They can’t respond as there is no proof that God does not exist.

Of course I honestly admit I can not prove God exists. I believe it. In Christ we are to live by faith. Although, we are not called to live an unreasoned faith. I have had my times of doubt in the past and looked at the opposite sides of other religions and atheism and came back thinking Christianity made the most sense to me.

When I was young I remember looking up at the stars and night thinking there has to be something or someone great behind all this. When I have seen the Grand Canyon or recently visited Niagara Falls again I look at the majestic beauty and say how can anyone say a God does not exist. Nature seems to shout out like a billboard for God that He is! Appreciating nature won’t tell us what kind of God He is. That is where God would need to reveal himself. As a Christian I believe God has revealed Himself through the Bible.

Secular Atheists try to write of religionists and primarily Christians as nuts and fools. The reality is Christianity is a reasoned faith. The Apostle Paul used logical arguments with the Jews and the Greeks to persuade people in his days. Today there are great Christian thinkers like Ravi Zacharias, Charles Colson, Josh McDowell, and others who stand up for a rational faith. Ravi in his book The End Of Reason answers back to Sam Harris’ writings. Ravi shares his life story of being an atheist and shows how the emptiness of it never fulfilled him as his life in Christ has done.

The hate atheists show towards God is the funniest thing that puzzles me. If they do not believe God exists why are they spewing such hatred towards God? IT doesn’t make sense. Just state your case and let it be. Reading their God rants I picture in my mind a rabid dog frothing at the mouth barking wildly at a brick wall. What is this non-existent God doing to the poor atheist? Or is it that the true God is speaking to the conscience of the atheist and that is setting off their wild rants??

Several of the atheist writers mention how disappointed Christians will be when they die and they find out nothing exists in the afterlife. When I read those statements I ponder to myself will I really be disappointed. If the atheist is right will I be disappointed after I die. Will I feel regret that I did not have the pleasure of falling flat on my face drunk in a pool of vomit? That I missed the pleasure of nearly dying from an overdose of drugs? Or maybe missing the pleasure of sexual freedom with all the accompanying sexually transmitted diseases? Yes the true joys of living free without God??

Definitely I will have no regrets? Even if they are right Christianity has allowed me to live a life of purpose. My faith has given me a basis for living justly and showing kindness to others, it is the basis for living a thankful life for all of the good in life and nature. I can really enjoy life to the fullest and be happy and better yet with no hangovers! I turn the question around to the atheist. What if they are wrong and they find themselves before the God they told others did not exist? Often in their books from their comfy leather writing chairs they follow Bertrand Russel’s argument. They say they would stand firmly before God and politely tell Him he had not given enough evidence to convince them. Yeah right! In reality put them before God and they will be sprawled out on the ground sniveling and crying for their eternal destiny.

We won’t fully know what is beyond until the curtain falls on this life. The important issue is to understand your belief system and see how it fits with your purposes in life. Does your worldview make sense or are you living a lie? Doubts will come but they help us think through critically what we truly believe.

Take some time to think through your belief system your worldview. Try to draw a picture of it or write a poem about it. How do your beliefs affect your purpose and happiness in life? If you are curious about what this Christian thing and Christ is all about --try reading through the book of Mark or John in the Bible. As you read through reflect over who Jesus is and who he said he is?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Appreciating and Creating Art

Art is an area of life that adds greatly to the quality of our existence. I have always appreciated art talent in others. I say in others as art is one area I am not talented in. My stick figures look sad. One reason my art grades were so low when I was young; as I could not stand my art so I would often throw it away rather than turn it in to the teacher.

Appreciating art is a different story. One of my favorite past times in Chicago would be to go visit the Art Institute of Chicago. I even had a yearly membership. I could spend hours walking through the various collections. In front of some of the major works they had benches were you could sit and soak in the visual expression the artist had created. I enjoyed going over the details in my mind and then expand to the big picture so as to capture the emotion and story the artist was trying to communicate. My trips to the art museum were times to de-stress or times to quiet myself within to think more clearly when I was going through difficult issues. Art has that cathartic value in our inner healing.

Recently on our vacation to Niagara Falls we met a gentleman, Don King, who was showcasing his mother’s artwork. Her name is Polly King. I bought a print entitled “Sacre Coeur” that she had painted in France. It is a picture of a sacred church in Paris. I purchased it as my wife has always wanted to visit Paris and I thought this could be motivation for her to reach her goal someday. Her paintings had such a variety of colors and I could understand why by a short poem she wrote that was listed on the back of the painting.

God must have loved color very much
-he created so much of it
Vast skies with their ever changing bluse
-the silver greys
With their sunsets of
Oranges, pinks and purples
The mountains now green, purple, blue.
The grasses and flowers of limitless colors
And tints
And trees with their stark lines
In plumes of green, pinks and yellows
And now orange, scarlet.
What a wonderful world he has created for us.
-Polly King-
I thought it wonderful that her son is keeping her art story of the beauty of art alive. You can see her art work at

For me art is gifted people reflecting the beauty of God’s creation as can be seen in Polly King’s statement above. I understand there are other definitions of art, as some in the post-modern realm feel art is all about shocking people. I will grant they have a point that art can be communication of sometimes shocking issues that need to be addressed. Yet I feel sorry for those that stay focused on the shock value and miss all the beauty God has for us to enjoy so we can flourish in our life journey.

If you have had the urge to be creative in the physical arts of drawing painting, pottery or interested in computer graphics take an art class at a local community college. You can also see if there is a local association of artists that may offer classes in art. Don’t take the “I’m no good at art as an excuse not to try” (I am the only one allowed to do that—believe me if you saw my stick drawings you would agree!).

You can also learn to appreciate art by visiting a local art museum or when you are visiting a major city visit one of the major art museums as in Chicago, Dallas or New York City. You may also want to take out a book on art at your local library. Take some quiet time at home to reflect over a collections book of a famous artist and enjoy their talent and the message they have in their paintings.

There are also many resources on the internet to learn more about art. Here is a listing of a few art links you may wish to explore:

Enjoying artwork can help relax you from the stresses you face each day. Art can help you slow down the pace of your life and build up skills of savoring the good things in life. Artwork can inspire you to reach your dreams and goals. As I mentioned that is one reason I purchased a print of Polly King’s work “Sacre Coeur” for my wife’s dream of visiting France. Tap into your creativity today!


Take a book of artwork by a famous artist out from your local library or find some artwork online. Spend some time reflecting over the art. Choose one painting to focus on and spend 15 minutes looking at it. In a journal write down what was the artist trying to say in the painting. How did the artwork speak to you in your present situation. Did it help relax you? Did it inspire you in some way?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Passion for Life – Dig In

Do you have a career or outside of career passion in your life? What gets you excited about living? Part of Living Life More Than OK is having something that energizes you. It is an engine that drives your purpose for living. For some people it is their career. They have a sense of calling about the job they go off to every day. For others they consider their job from a practical standpoint to pay the bills and their passion may be a hobby or a volunteer service they do outside of their job.

Our passion in life helps us to dig in to life and make the most of this life journey. A song that comes to mind about having passion in life and really digging into life is “Dig In” by Lenny Kravitz. When you have a passion life is more like a party to enjoy rather than suffer through. I often use this song with University students to show them how to enjoy digging into their school life on campus. Below you can click on the title to hear a video of the song and take sometime to reflect over the song

Dig In By Lenny Kravitz

It's time to face it Come on in and Join the party
Life has been waiting For you to care Don't try to fake it
Jump on in and Get it started There's so much lovin'
For you to share There is nowhere to run There is no way to hide
Don't let it beat you Say "Nice to meet you" And "Bye"

Once you dig in You'll find it coming
Out the other side And once you dig in
You'll find You'll have yourself A good time

Wake up and shake it You didn't make Your contribution
There ain't no time For you to spare If you ain't part
Of the game Then how can you Find a solution?
Nobody said that It would be fair

When the mountain is high Just look up to the sky
Ask God to teach you Then persevere with a smile Yeah, yeah, yeah

Once you dig in You'll find it coming Out the other side
And once you dig in You'll find You'll have yourself
A good time Once you dig in You'll find it coming
Out the other side And once you dig in You'll find
You'll have yourself A good time

Once you dig in You'll find it coming
Out the other side And once you dig in
You'll find You'll have yourself
A good time Once you dig in You'll find it coming
Out the other side And once you dig in You'll find
You'll have yourself A good time

Once you dig in Yeah, yeah, yeah And once you dig in
You'll have yourself A good time Once you dig in
You'll find it coming Out the other side And once you dig in

There so much in the song to help us grow in life by reflecting on its meaning. Lenny is a master musician and great lyricist. If we learn to be passionate about life even though it requires the hard work of digging we will have a good time. Also as with positive psychology, it doesn’t say life is a warm fuzzy breeze all the time. Life has its difficulties but we are responsible to join in and create solutions that work for us. Sometimes life is unfair yet we can find solutions to redirect our reations to life's unfair times. I especially like the reminder that God is there to help us persevere when the mountain may seem too high.

Take a look at your life and see if you are digging in or allowing life to cover you up. Come on in and join the party.

One final note before the reflection . I came across this video on msn Check it out as it shows how Lenny Kravitz is a class act and down to earth musician. A youth Choir from the First Baptist Church of Lewisville, TX was performing Lenny’s song “Fly Away” in New Orleans as part of an outreach. Lenny Kravitz happens to hear them and he comes by and joins them. Truly showing life is about having a good time. This must have been a great encouragement to the youth musicians to experience Lenny Kravitz join them for a jam session.

What are you passionate about in your life? What does “Digging into life mean to you? Write down a couple new passions you would like to explore for your life journey.