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Top 7 = Summer sports, steak dinners, showing up for others

blog top 7 Jun 20, 2022

This week's Top 7 features some reflections on summer sports, steak dinners, and a bonus reflection on what it means to "show up."

Here's the run down, one entry (at least) from each of the seven key areas of life.



Fitness = Summer sports 

Miriam made the summer basketball team, which has meant a lot of “back and forth” from the house to the school— and a lot of court time for her. 

Last year she tried volleyball and decided, “That’s probably not my sport.” 

She enjoyed it. Loved hanging out with the team. But, like she said, that’s probably not her sport. 

Enter basketball and the summer tryouts. 

The coaches— for each of the sports at Oak Mountain— do a great job of keeping the kids engaged over the summer. They strike a great balance of realizing that it’s actually summer— so kids will be on vacation and at the beach and seeing family and everything else— as well as the fact that “hey, we’re going to be here… and this is a great thing for your kids to do instead of playing video games and just staying up all night and sleeping in really late into the day….”

Two of the boys have been shuttling to wrestling. 

One of the boys has boomeranged back and forth for basketball AND football.

And Mini has gotten in on the action as well…

Here she is, inbounding a pass.

And, on the far side of the court, another…

I would love to have a few “better” pics than these, but I’ve opted to— as much as I can— watch the “real” event and enjoy it, more so than watching the kids’ moments through the lenses of a smartphone, while recording something no one will actually look back at, and thereby guaranteeing I miss the moment.

(I’m always surprised by how many people attend concerts and sporting events and other great experiences YET MISS THEM because— even though they’re there they STILL filter the entire experience through a small screen they hold in front of them. ๐Ÿคท‍โ™‚๏ธ)



Finance = the new mailbox 

The old one was fine. Straight up. 

But I installed a new one this weekend-- for a one big reason. Namely, to save time and money.

Beth set up a full-blown shipping department downstairs in our house. That means, among other things, we can run promos and send books and shirts and planners and just about everything else that's on our website to anywhere in the world. 

And, she's made it super-efficient. 

Rather than having to go into one login (i.e. Wix / Shopify) and see where something needs to go, or rolling into another one (i.e., Kajabi, my web platform), we can run check our ShipStation and it's all there. In fact, it actually notifies us when someone wants something. 

Until TODAY-- as of the writing of this-- that meant lots of trips to the post office, as well...

In other words, time and money.

No mas. 

As of now, we can send them straight from the house. Sure, if there's extra stuff or bulk orders and all of that, we'll take them or drop ship straight from the publisher. But, by doing this install ourselves we saved a hundred or so...

... and, by having the increased capacity, we'll save the hour round-trip it usually takes (plus the gas, the loss of a work-hour, etc.).


By the way, we use that mailbox to send out the LifeLift books... 

Pay the shipping and handling, and we'll send you one.

Go to to claim yours and tell us where to send it.



Family = Noah to Outback 

Noah’s (seems to be his fav) place = Outback.

Specifically, he likes the steak.  

๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐Ÿฅฉ 


We exchanged a few texts Wednesday morning and set it up, potentially, for that evening… 

“I’ll feed you if you want to meet up.”

That’s about all it took. Free food. Especially steak. 

Sitting across the table from Noah, 1:1, I’m pleasantly surprised at how much he’s grown— and how he’s been processing where he is now and what his potential next steps are. 



Pausing and enjoying things like swimming, late night basketball games, and friends…  


I decided…

The kids are all getting older. 

I mean, I know that. It’s obvious. Each time they’re gone for a week and come back they look like they’ve “aged” up quite a bit.  

But, looking at it from a bigger picture, longer-term… 

โœ… They’re moving out (3 already live outside the home + a 4th is about to, within the next 7-8 weeks)

โœ… They’re gaining new interests and trying new things (i.e., Mini’s exploration through volleyball into basketball and who knows what else she might try and discover)

โœ… They’re spreading their wings

I decided, anyway, to make some of these moments more intentional. To calendar them. The dinners and the 1:1 times and the moments that it’s so easy to push off (because we’re all busy) but are always so good and relished when we pause and plan for them.



Field = Purpose, Audiobook + book + video course now ready to roll

Monday I ventured downstairs, press record, and read. 

I read for 5 hours and 46 minutes, to be precise. 


Purpose is the intro to LifeLift… the overall course that empowers you to truly understand who you are (as God sees you, not as we often see ourselves or others often see us), affirm His presence and power in your life, discover your unique skills, and live your purpose… 

This book, is the intro to all of that. And, whereas LifeLift is 500+ total pages, 20+ videos, etc… 

Purpose is concise.  

๐Ÿ”‘ three main ideas— referred to as “keys” to help you unlock your purpose 

๐Ÿ”‘ keys you already have— you just need to be made aware of them  

๐Ÿ”‘ 3 online assessments to point you in the right direction (free + they open personalized coaching videos for you, based on your responses) 

๐Ÿ”‘ 6 larger teaching videos (15-20 minutes each) you can access FREE to help review (or preview) the chapters 

๐Ÿ”‘ available as a book (for you to read and/or discuss with others) AND as a workbook (for a group teaching environment) 

Learn more at   

That’s the book, BTW, and my iPad, sitting on the “workbench” downstairs.  

Two years ago when I began renovating the house, Levi saw the long (14-15 foot wide) bench— with THAT CARPET on it— and said, “We need to keep that.”

We were actually doing some reno, to the garage, so we pulled the workspace off the peg wall that was there (a trim carpenter used to live here, and took great care of the home + made massive upgrades himself), built the walls we wanted to construct, and put it back. 

I used this space when I remodeled the home Fall 2019– and then, again— when I constructed the Tiny House summer 2020. 

Now, Beth uses it for our shipping station, for all the books and shirts and stuff we ship from our online store…


Full disclosure: I’ve not yet taught this information in a public setting… 

… but, got a phone call THIS WEEK, just as I finished the recording(s), to pull the trigger (fast) and go teach it mid-August. 

And, Beth will be going with me— and also teach ๐Ÿ’™.



Faith = Church at A2

Last Sunday we rolled over to A2, a church nestled behind Superior Grill on 280. 

Let’s just be real. The past few years have been a whirlwind of trying to locate a church to call home. 

๐ŸŒช Attending a church as a temporary landing place while making a transition, only to discover that it was built more on bumper-stickerisms than the Bible…  

๐ŸŒช Covid / pandemic / etc. 

๐ŸŒช Getting married and trying to discern where we best fit together, especially after we BOTH moved

๐ŸŒช Kids to consider, etc… 


Beth and I decided to just go on a quest. To find a place— imperfect like us— where we can just set some roots and walk in relationship with people for the next season. 

It doesn’t have to be forever, but it does need to be consistent. 

It doesn’t have to be perfect (no place is), but it does need to be managed and led well.

It doesn’t have to be big or small or any other prescribed size, but it does need to be real… 


No decisions, yet.

But, we did walk in and were invited to stay for a big lunch they had. So, we did. And we met some of the nicest, most endearing, gracious people. 

Long, easy conversations. 

Unhurried, un-rushed…

In the moment. 

It was a great experience— and totally different than the “hustle” culture that’s invaded— yes— the church as a whole… the culture that sometimes confuses the notion that we build the church— and not Jesus (compare with Matthew 16:18), that actually believes the “big church” service we do is the most important aspect of the week (no pastor would say that it is, but look at where the time and energy and resources all go and it reveals a different story), and that still sees “nickels and noses” (or “butts and bucks”) as the primary measure of whether or not God is “blessing” that church….


I don’t have all of the answers. Shoot, I don’t actually have ANY of the answers… 

But, I do get this sense that there’s something more than what we’ve been conditioned to think and feel and expect from “church” as a whole…



Friends = Kent + Bev drop by 

A few weeks ago I sat down for lunch with my friend Kent Mattox— who leads (and even founded) Word Alive Church in Oxford.  I wanted to tell him about LifeLift— and did— to get his feedback. 

In turn, he shared one of his latest projects with me. 

That led to some writing and content development…

… effectively, me taking his ideas and placing them on paper, putting them in a form people can use… by creating a tool.

(We’re in the editing / refinement phase now— as we moved quickly— and we’re about to have a few groups “test drive” the 4-week “transformation manual” we’ve put together.) 

This week, we met at a Starbucks to look at the edits / changes / adjustments to add-in (which was totally enjoyable in and of itself, aside from the project).

Kent looked at his watch…

“What time do you need to leave?”

“I’ve got another hour,” he said. “Bev is picking me up to go to Birmingham at 4:30.”


We were in Pell City. Halfway between his house and mine. 

“We’re going to Ross Bridge,” he clarified. “We’re going to go out to eat to celebrate our anniversary and then spend the night there…" 

“You’ll be just a few miles from my house,” I said. “You’re literally going to drive right by it when you get near the Summit. I don’t want to mess up an anniversary trip, but— when you’re done— on the way back— stop by.”

“Would love to meet your wife and see the place,” he said. “Let’s do it.”

On queue, at 4:30, Bev walked through the Starbucks door. We spoke a few minutes, and she agreed. She wanted to meet Beth, too. 


The following afternoon, Kent texted, “We’re on the way. Be there in 23.5 minutes.” 

Then, we spent the next 2 hours or so, un-rushed, un-hurried, just visiting…. 


I mention “friends” on the Top 7 post a lot— and it’s one of the 7 key areas of life. 

The problem is that: 

โœ… we often change the definition of “friend” to mean something more like “acquaintance” as opposed to someone who can really speak into our lives— where iron truly sharpens iron, where we BOTH come out better on the other side… 

โœ… we don’t readily make time for friends— some of the best stuff happens when we pause what we were doing (i.e., it’s more efficient to just stay in the car and get home) and create the sacred time + space to connect… 



Fun = Friday afternoon + evening = kid-free 

Friday afternoon, our house was empty. And Friday night. And Saturday morning. 

I tell you, it’s rare. 

Sometimes, 15-20 people occupy the house, the numbers swelling to radically MORE than the number of people actually in the family. 

Other times, there are just a few… 

But, the times when there is NO ONE present, are rare.  

Beth and I rolled up to North Italia, one of our faithful standbys. We laughed (and lamented) that Seasons 52 (which we passed) is now— for all time— off the list. 

We ate and talked, dreamed and discussed…

… went home and watched a movie. I made it all the way through, Beth fell asleep as soon as the opening scene began. 


Saturday morning, we bumped to a nearby coffee shop, plotted a few more projects, and then called it.

And the house, again, filled back up. 



And a bonus mention… 

I wrote about this on the 29th of May, but Beth added another layer to it in a post this week, via her Instagram. 

She said (she’s a GREAT writer), as she posted the pic below: 

๐Ÿ“ฑโœ๏ธ ๐Ÿ’ป

{May 25, 2022} 

Graduates. Siblings. Friends. 

Obviously they haven’t always been graduators (as Salter would call it).

Nor have they always been siblings, or even friends…

But when I look at them today, my view blurs the line between what was & suddenly feels as if it’s always been.

The last few years have taught us many things. But the one relevant to this memory is the power of showing up.

Both of them…. Showed up time and time again, willing to figure the dynamics out.

It may not seem like a big deal to you scrolling + reading. But those who have older children who are brought into the same space because their parents married each other know the significance in their choice to get to know one another on their own terms in their own timing.

So today, I’m celebrating the power of choice… And the sense of accomplishment this pic will always remind me of.



That’s the highlight reel for the week.

 Again, I pull all of this together when I look back, during my weekly review, at the Top 3 moments from each day. Then, I place them here… 

You can download the planner (we actually sell hardback versions of them, too, in our online store) at 

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