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Top 7 = What would you say to yourself 7 years ago?

top 7 Mar 13, 2023

This week's Top 7 includes mention of an HSV Advance + fire pit birthday + documentary in the can 

If you’re just now dropping in, each week I look back at the week behind + preview the week ahead— so I don’t miss anything— and look and highlight at least one thing for which I’m grateful in each of the 7 key areas of life…

πŸ’™ Fitness 


🏠 Family 

πŸ›  Field (work, career)

πŸ™ Faith 

πŸ‘Š Friends 

πŸŽ‰ Fun 

Here’s where it all comes from: 

I use a planner that has a “three things I’m thankful for today” at the end of each day. Then, at the conclusion of each week, I look back, do a weekly review, and pull together some of the best of the week. 

Each time I do this I’m reminded that there are so many massive— and minute— things to celebrate. 

(And, sometimes, there are things to recalibrate.)

Here’s the run-down from last week… 



Fitness = Long run, last Sunday + easy run(s) in Providence 

Saturdays and Sundays are the two mornings I like to go on long, easy runs… when time permits. It doesn’t always work out— sometimes we’re traveling, other times the weather isn’t worth the push, etc…

But, when it works, it’s magical.

Last Sunday morning, I took a long, 2-hour-ish run from my house, made the big loop past the Home Depot on 280, back by Target, then through the back of the hospital and into the neighborhoods…

… this Sunday, Beth and I were in Huntsville, doing a bit of recon work for an upcoming project as well as visiting family. So, I squeezed two easy (not long) runs in through one of my new fav spots in the area.



Finance = Beth gets it done, so I can get it done

Last week, Beth invested a few hours in the office (and kicked me out of our office, since I make too much ambient noise while working πŸ€ͺ). She sorted through more of the stuff for taxes and biz set up, while I worked on the new Amplify coaching program…

It’s rolling out this week (launches April 1) at

I spoke with a publisher last week about the project, as well— all four books, the courses, and more (i.e., doing some consulting for their authors).



Family  = 2 sneak outs 

I remember back when Em & Ivey were about 9 or 10… we started doing “once a month” sneak-outs. We began going to Chili’s (their favorite), and then they upgraded to the Cheesecake Factory. Now that they’re out of the house, we still do it… we still sync the schedules and make it happen. 

But what about Mini? 

She was always waayyy younger than the older girls, so by the time she was able to go out with us, there was a big age gap. We couldn’t stay out as late (i.e., catch a late movie after dinner), couldn’t take the convo where it needed to go (i.e., teen ears with kindergarten ears = major gap), so I always took her out on her own… 

A few weeks ago, Mini and I decided we were creating our standing sneak out time, too…

First Thursday of the month. 

Here is it… Cheesecake Factory. She hurdled over Chili’s and went straight to the top πŸ˜‚

The reason we call them “sneak outs” is a much longer story I’ll write about sometime in the future…



Apparently, I “owed” Salter a sneak out, too— for some unknown reason.  

“You promised we could go to the gas station,” he reminded me.

I had totally forgotten. But, he was certain I vowed to take him to choose some candy.

“There aren’t any bad ones here,” he said, pondering how he could eliminate a few choices and narrow down his options. 

In vain, I explained that— “back in my day”— we had a handful of options. The “candy aisle” was a small “candy shelf” that was about 2-feet wide: 

🍭 M&Ms (plain and peanut only— no mixed colors, no peanut butter, no white chocolate, no other spur-of-the-moment seasonal options 

🍭 Hershey’s and Hershey’s with almonds— no white chocolate, etc.

🍭 Kit Kat (end of discussion)

🍭 Starburst (one kind only) & Skittles (again, one kind— just the red pack with the rainbow of fruit flavors on it)

🍭 Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Mounds, and Almond Joy— if the store had “options”

The little man could NOT believe it… 



Field = Filming is in the can for “Trauma Comes Home”

Wednesday I rode to Grace Community Church, who allowed Crosswinds to use their space for some of the final filming of Trauma Comes Home— an upcoming documentary (Spring 2023) about PTSD + Moral Injury and how it affects everyone in the family when one person is hurt.

That’s Chris Turner on the left, a Marine (and musician) who’s featured in the film. Bob is sitting in the back center (founder and executive director of Crosswinds, and the brains behind this film and the other Crosswinds projects). That’s Brian on the right, the master cinematographer and editor…

Here’s Bob, off-camera, giving Chris a few cues, as he introduces parts of the film.

Chris has a new song that will be featured in the documentary, as well.



Faith = Come back in 7 years… 

About 7 years ago I began writing the notes that would eventually become Soul Wholeness… 

I was in a tough season of life— a failed adoption, other rumblings around the home front I couldn’t quite control or even assess, extra work-related weight, etc.

I began studying more about emotions and feelings and the heart…

… unpacking layers of some of the stuff that affects us that we don’t quite talk about. 



Then, in the middle of it, it felt like the ground fell out from underneath me. In the course of about a 12-month period (all while I had been studying this), everything in life changed. Some things changed for the worse; other things changed for the better. Some things got turned right side up (they were upside down, I just didn’t know it). Other things… well, it took more time for them to adjust.

I’ll shoot straight: it was ALL hard.



I was in the middle of a project with an essential oil business at the time where I produced a short video course AND a small book each month. Over time, I realized I could teach and explore more about whatever I wanted to write about, so I leaned hard into the areas of emotions and continued studying…

… and writing. 

… and even developing a few courses. 

Rather than writing from the standpoint of a professional who had been through school in THIS area (I have my Masters— in theology, not counseling), I wrote as someone journeying through the clutter, trying to sort it for myself…

πŸ‘‰ I had been working through my own junk in the trunk 

πŸ‘‰ I had take a psych eval to assess where I objectively was

πŸ‘‰ I had pulled people close and let them speak into my life, pointing to the things I couldn’t see about myself.  



I eventually wrote one book, then another… then another… all of them small. And then combined them into this one, Soul Wholeness. 

It talks about: 

βœ… The importance of emotional health (we think a lot about physical health and even relational and spiritual health, but not emotional health)

βœ… The three common types of soul wounds we’re ALL likely to encounter 

βœ… The path forward for each 



The entire book was— IS— over 20 chapters. But, I recently pulled the “guts” of the book to make it accessible. And, as an audiobook, it’s available at no charge. 

Access it on my website at 



Here’s why:  

When I was in the middle of the storm years ago, I couldn’t see my way out. You almost never can.

You can’t fathom that you’ll still be standing in 7 weeks, much less 7 months or 7 years from now…

… NOR that life could actually be BETTER.

But, I’m proof that even though the “perfect” never comes this side of Heaven, “peace” and wholeness can.



If you think it will help you— or someone you know— go to



Friends = HSV + Advance

Way back in 2014, I began— with a team of 2 other guys— hosting a series of 2x / year events for men. 

Advance, we called them— because they were designed to help men move forward in life (in each area of life, not just one).

About 25 (or less) attended the first (awesome) event in Memphis. We then made our way to Birmingham, Kansas City, Dallas, San Diego, Nashville, Atlanta, Seattle… eventually to Minneapolis… and hosted 300+ men.

I hit the tough season I mentioned above and stepped out of the movement. But, I always thought it wasn’t done, that there was more to experience through it, more connections to be made… 



Over the past few months, guys— even men who never attended the events before— began reaching out, asking about rebooting the Advance. And, after a bunch of talk and prayer and wondering… 

… it seems to me that it’s time.



Last weekend, Beth and I met our friends Randy & Tammy (Randy is the pastor who officiated our wedding), visited a few venues, spent some time eating and drinking and laughing, and then sat down for a few hours— pen & paper in hand— and mapped a few things for the future of the movement.

This is a pic of us in front of a hotel that won’t work— no suitable event space, even though it’s a great facility otherwise. 

Give me a month or so. 

I’ll start posting and pushing out more info about the movement, as well as some sponsors and other partners who will be helping us pull it off.

For now, you can see the Advance resources at— which will be a good place to bookmark. Even later, it will have a re-direct to the newest, updated info.



Fun = Mini’s “other” birthday party 

One of the new JCrew2 traditions is the “first Sunday” of the month hangout at the house. All the kids know they can come eat, enjoy each other, etc…

And, that’s generally when we celebrate birthdays as a fam.

Last week, I blundered. I assumed that Mini’s “birthday night” at the Hibachi grill was THE birthday. She assumed we would ALSO have a family night.  

I texted all the kids that morning: “I need your help. I thought we had already celebrated this, but hadn’t. I need you to help me pull a birthday party off super-quick!”

Problem solved. All the kids converged, and we ended-up with 12-ish people at the house to eat pizza, enjoy cake, sing, and celebrate Mini…


Here are a few of the older gals with Mini. The guys are probably all chasing the last of the pizza. 

Side note: fire pits are some of the best places to hang out and enjoy people. 


Bonus = the downstairs bathroom (almost) done, but absolutely functional  

We (finally) have a workable bathroom downstairs. If you’ve followed along, you remember we had a flood (from a broken pipe) that took the downstairs bathroom out of commission for a few months.  

❌ The bad news = we couldn’t use it / the downstairs was a mess

βœ… The good news = everything downstairs got upgraded / the downstairs now looks better than any other area in the house.

This week, the slate countertop was cut (Tracery Stone) and installed. 

The mirror came from World Market— and had to be replaced because the hangars on the back of the first were broken. 

We’ve still got to clear coat the concrete floor, as well as complete a few more touch-ups, but it’s totally usable, now— including the Bluetooth speaker in the vent fan 🎢




That’s the highlight reel for the week.

πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯

Note: I’ve updated the link below.  

Test drive the Advance planner for just $8, using the link below. All the details are at   




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