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Mar 6

Over My Head

Posted on Friday, March 6, 2015 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

AnnMariePookieI took a left turn into an unfamiliar parking lot. I pulled into an open parking spot. With some uncertainty I stepped out of our car.

I walked around the landscaped wall. Turning right I entered what appeared to be the backyard with a very well designed wood deck positioned to my left. Seeing a door into the building I turned the corner.

Smiling in front of me was fourteen year old AnnMarie. (Pictured on the left next to Rachel)

AnnMarie  walked directly up to me and asked, “Hi! Who the @#$% are you?” That was my introduction to TreeHouse.

Mar 5

I Want To Become

Posted on Thursday, March 5, 2015 in Emotional, Intellectual, Relational, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

150-1Tuesday I began a series called “10 for 25.” It’s a series of ten lessons I have learned in my twenty-five years at TreeHouse. Today: Who do I want to become?

As a child I wanted to be heroic. When I played super-heroes with some of my neighborhood friends. I wanted to be bold like Hawkeye, fly like Nighthawk and have the courage of Captain America. I still love the Avengers, in fact I’m reading issue 150 (see photo) today.

As heroic as I fantasized becoming, I’ve learned that it’s more important to Be Yourself rather than try to be someone you’re not.

Mar 4

Be Yourself

Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, TreeHouse, Values

Untitled-TrueColor-47In the movie Batman Begins, Henri Ducard tells Bruce Wayne: You traveled the world now you must journey inwards to what you really fear; it’s inside you there is no turning back…If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely. Are you ready to begin?

Beginnings are important. Yesterday I began a series called “10 for 25.” It’s a series of ten lessons I have learned in my twenty-five years at TreeHouse.


Mar 3

Expect the Unexpected

Posted on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 in Education, Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

Untitled-TrueColor-23I’m in the midst of a ten-month curriculum re-write and most of my writing time and energy has been focused on that project rather than #mysilentscream. That said, when TreeHouse graciously offered to throw me an “open house” to celebrate my 25th anniversary at TreeHouse I began to think beyond the present and reflect on the past.

In the past twenty-five years I’ve learned an incredible amount about myself, my family, my friends, the staff I serve alongside and the teens and parents that we serve. As I thought about it I decided to think through ten important lessons I learned in those twenty five years. This series is called “10 in 25.”

Feb 11

Better Than A Job

Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 in Emotional, Relational, Values

heart - daisyI love my job. I love being employed. I hope that you have satisfying and meaningful work. This is not an essay for simplicity nor against having a job. This is a tribute to a friend giving up a great job for a great woman.

Awww if you want, it’s true.

It’s a risk.

It’s a sacrifice.

No job is “perfect”; hence without problems.
No relationship is “perfect” nor problem-free.

But, if you have the chance to build a lifelong love with someone while working a mundane job OR work a great job to return home lonely or to a contentious home, which would you choose?

Jan 16

Headlines You’ll Never Hear

Posted on Friday, January 16, 2015 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

TooDelighted By The Disappointing Silence Of An Absent Dad

Buoyed By The Blessings Of Being Bullied

Encouraged And Empowered By An Eating Disorder

Today if we turn to CNN, Fox News, Yahoo or Reuters, those are three headlines we will never read. And, if we did, they would only be news because of the absurd unlikeliness of the headline being true.

Last night some friends gathered and shared their stories. Our friends Kyle, Emma and Ellie stepped forward, up from the darkened rows of their seats and into the spotlight. In the glow of the stage lights surrounded by friends, fans and flawed people like them they spoke.

Jan 12

Too Many

Posted on Monday, January 12, 2015 in Emotional, Music, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values

44toomanyI’ve found myself dissatisfied with my house recently. My wife and I have been watching HGTV home remodeling shows streaming on Netflix.

I usually love my house, but when I see some of the marvelous modifications the designers and artisans create I wonder, “why not me too”?

I wonder, why not me? Is it…

Low priority?

And, that’s just my house.

Those same questions apply to my level of fitness, my clutter, my incomplete projects and my unfulfilled dreams. If I settle for what I have – without working for what could be – I’ll never improve on what is.

Dec 31


Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, TreeHouse, Values

construction-410029-m2014 has been a busy year. Sometimes it’s felt like this picture, a pile of rubble that caution-tape couldn’t hold back.

That said, I feel very blessed; #mysilentscream was again blessed by thousands of readers in more than eighty countries.

I had no idea what 2014 would contain. At the dawn of 2014 I’d never…
– heard of ISIS
– expected $2 a gallon gas prices

Dec 18

Number One

Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2014 in Relational, TreeHouse, Values

AshNickChristianProfessional sports leagues have a new player draft to give teams an opportunity to refresh their roster, and bring new skills, abilities and opportunities to their team and prospective players.

When teams and their draft choices are a great fit championships are built. When they are not, writers and fans relish the opportunity to vent in articles like, “10 worst No. 1 picks in NFL draft history.

Careful research, interviews and thoughtful analysis are essential.

Intern Draft

Nov 25

Thanksgiving Drama Defense

Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values

angry-girl-1098247-mAlmost every week I hear someone say, “she made me…” or “he made me…” as if they could.

Without a doubt we influence one another, but far too often we justify bad attitudes and hurtful responses because of the attitudes and decisions of others.

This week when tempers flare during your holiday gatherings here are three strategies to drop the drama:

1. Choose to use a soft voice.

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.“ 1

Regardless what the other person chooses you can chose a soft and kind tone in your voice.