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Top 7 = Choose someone who smiles like that when you lean in...

top 7 Nov 14, 2022

This week, as I reflect on the Top 7 from last week, I’m reminded of the journey of the past few years. Life now looks nothing like I anticipated it might— just 5 years ago.

Yet everything seems richer and deeper…

… fuller…

… and I feel like I’m walking in my purpose.

The pic above— it comes from a family reflection below— and is one of the biggest reasons for living at the next level.


Here’s my Top 7 from last week…


Fitness = lift your weights

This week I woke up around 5am— every day (you know, that daylight savings fiasco / time change).

I decided that, rather than laying in the bed and thinking about NOT getting up (and wasting the time), I could just get up, enjoy the time, and make the most of it…

I grabbed SEVERAL earlier-than-usual workouts in the garage this week (my usual workout space).

One day, though, I bounded down the stairs, kicked-up the big screen TV for another BeachBody jaunt, and was met with… nothing. The wifi was down.

I thought, “OK… am I going to go for a run OR do something else…?”

Heading back to bed was a non-decision. I wasn’t doing it. I was already up.

I looked outside. It was dark— and I didn’t have the right-weather clothing on. Plus, the running shoes were upstairs. I’d come downstairs prepped for BeachBody.

I looked around…

“Pull-ups and dips and free-weights it is,” I thought.

I’ve got a routine I can run through if / when I lift. I can hit a few 10-12 exercise variations and not have to think about “what’s next.” So, that’s what I did…

After the day, I was reminded WHY I like strength training IN ADDITION to (not the exclusion of) cardio and all the other things I do…

Lift… and you feel more fit.

Lift… and you feel stronger (you ARE stronger).

Lift… and you burn the fat faster, your frame holds sturdier…

Lift… and you actually sleep better as well…


Finance = work meeting cancelled = Ivey

Some of the best things are the spur-of-the-moment spontaneous things.

Early in the week, a meeting was cancelled. Second time in as many weeks that’s happened, and I’ve been able to step into my “default / auto-response” of what to do when meetings get punted…

I don’t get frustrated when the meeting gets punted, I do what I want to do with that time. I go and write. It’s my default response, now.

So, cancel a meeting on me, not a problem…

… I’ve got things to do— and I’ll fill that time with something that will generate income. 


Settled into my groove at this place, then got a text from Ivey, who was about to get off work.

Beth was running in a different direction, and I was free, so it all worked out for some unplanned 1:1…

Oh, and I DID get 20-ish pages (plus some more ideas) pounded out in the process…


Family = 2 years in, gets better each day

Last week, Beth and I celebrated 2 years. Quietly.

It’s how the entire relationship began, and it’s how it continued…

I’ve told MANY people now that we were very transparent, yet also private. In our culture, with social media and the pandemic of over-sharing, people get the two confused.

⭐️ Transparency means we’re fully known. We totally reveal everything to others.

⭐️ Privacy means we withhold that info from people who don’t need to know.

So, parents and close-friends and others who NEEDED to know actually walked this story with us…

… but we never made a relationship status notification or any other update on social media— until after the wedding.


Privacy. And transparency. At the same time.

We were transparent with the people who needed to know (more than one close friend / pastors actually "coached me" and said, "marry her!"-- I had to tell them we were about to do so!)


In our culture, again, people get it backwards. We tend to over-expose ourselves to “everyone” while not being fully known (and embraced) by the people closest to us, the ones who should know everything and walk with us…

(The bad side of this is that people get so much misplaced affirmation from strangers— i.e.,. “look at the cute couple,” etc., when, really, many of those relationships should dissolve so people can move to something healthier.)



Here’s one of my fav pics from the wedding.

Check her smile.

Always marry someone who smiles like that when you lean to kiss them.

I snapped this pic of Salter, b/c I think that Beth is actually his favorite human. Not sure why he’s in pajamas, but seeing her connection with each of the kids over the past season has been heart-warming.


Field = Disentangled has been sent to the publisher

If you’ve been following along, you’ve read about this project, the PTSD / Moral Injury Bible study from Crosswinds Foundation for Faith & Culture.

My friend Bob Waldrep launched the 501c3 back in 2008– and has been leading strong since then. At some point, almost accidentally yet totally providentially, he began serving veterans.

To date, he’s created three documentaries— one on PTSD, another on Moral Injury, and a third that’s about to be released which addresses the unique challenges “warrior families face” when the trauma comes home.

Here's the trailer for the upcoming documentary on Bob's Vimeo: 

Disentangled is a work that helps veterans “disentangle” from military service (and the wounds that often accompany it), so they can re-entangle back home. Using Paul’s admonition from 2 Timothy 2:4–

⭐️ No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him.⭐️

— the study affirms that entangling yourself in the service is right and necessary. But then you must unentangle and re-entangle.

It’s easier said than done.

I’ve been honored to co-write with Bob— and have learned so much from him and his process.

I tend to be fast; he tends to be slow and methodical.

I tend to just mind dump freely; he tends to pause and reflect and force us to “drill down” and think about what we’re saying.

This week I told him, “I’ve work with others that zig and zag and exert a bunch of sideways energy. In the end, most of that effort is wasted— with not much to show for the energy expenditure…”

“On the other hand,” I affirmed, “I’ve walked with you at a slower pace, methodically walking in the same direction… and going FARTHER while moving a bit slower, but also going DEEPER rather than merely hitting the surface…”

It’s been quite a revelation to me— and highlights that some of the best things do take time. We like microwave results and tend to bounce from one thing to the next, especially when it looks like something might not be working. Bob has shown me though… make a plan, trust the plan, and keep pressing forward…


Faith = Just to know Him

I had a great convo with another older, wiser friend this week as well.

“One of the things I constantly find myself guarding against is making sure when I’m diving into the Bible I’m not just looking and seeing things to teach. I don’t go to the text for that purpose,” I said, “but it almost defaults that way…”

“Don’t read and pray and think in those terms,” he said. “Just go with the goal of knowing your Heavenly Father more intimately, and of seeing His heart. Let whatever happens just flow from there.”

A great reminder…


Friends = canceled

Planned some things with friends this week, but the schedules didn’t quite work. So, a punt… and a step into other things.


Fun = date night

Last minute, we found ourself with some free time. One of the kids basketball games finished, everyone else was settled and doing other things…

… so we made a break for it.

Found a great spot, at the outside bar, at North Italia— one of our regular spots to hit quick.

A bit of a fuzzy pic, but proof we made it.



That’s the highlight reel for the week.

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

Download your free planner— the tool I use to manage the daily grind and then look back like this— at  

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