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Mar 8

Short-Term Benefits, Long-Term Consequences

Posted on Sunday, March 8, 2015 in Emotional, Relational, Spiritual, Sports, TreeHouse, Values

Untitled-TrueColor-63Choices, like yours and mine, often make sense at the moment of decision, but too often impulsive decisions come with unexpected consequences. This is part-6 of the “10 for 25” series on important lessons I’ve learned at TreeHouse.

The Moment Of Decision

I love softball. Several years ago while playing in a softball tournament I was faced with a decision that has affected thousands of people since.

Let me explain.

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.

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.

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.

Aug 27

12 Ways To Encourage A Child (Ages 0-118)

Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 in Relational

quantitative-58283_640Angry teens.
Parents in pain.
Explosive children.
Perplexed neighbors.

What can we do?

Every child I’ve met wants to be affirmed that they are lovable, capable and worthwhile.

We can start there.

12 Ways To Encourage A Child (Ages 0-118)

“You Are Lovable!”: Give attention to their character.
– Who they are has greater value than what they achieve.
– Accept mistakes; show grace.
– Bad decisions, poor choices and mistakes can be great teachers.
– Offer unconditional love. Trust can be conditional, love cannot.

“You Are Capable!”

Aug 26

Broken Mirrors

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Values


He could hear the yelling from the neighbors’ house every night.

Shouts of anger.
Shouts of pain.
Shouts of passion.
He wondered,
“Was there any gain?”

The Cost of Turmoil

Teens, families, friendships and all kinds of relationships suffer because of the lack of peaceful conflict resolution skills. Conflicts arise, those involved feel hurt, disappointed, afraid or frustrated, and it quickly turns into anger. Anger often erupts in retaliation or brutal honesty. Alienation increases, relationships are broken, and scars are formed.

Aug 25

Mirror Clash

Posted on Monday, August 25, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Values

mirror-56762-mIf every time you looked in the mirror you saw someone different looking at you at would add to your stress too.


The process of adolescence is complex and unpredictable. The young person experiences physical changes that catapult their childish frame into that of an adult. The intellect intensifies to form logical patterns of thinking and begins to formulate future plans. The teen also struggles to form an identity separate from that of a child or a mature adult. Meanwhile, the teen is faced with issues of morality and must make critical decisions about sex, drugs, and other social behaviors.

Aug 11

Captivated by Love

Posted on Monday, August 11, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values

heart - daisyToday I’ll be visiting with some special friends. One of the subjects we well undoubtedly discuss is love: Family love. Parental love. Dating love. Romantic love. Marital love. The love for the arts, and love for the artists who create it.

I’m sure we will talk about love.

Tomorrow, my wife, Amy and I will celebrate our 326th month wedding anniversary. We’ll talk about our love.

After all this time you think maybe love would be a breeze, but no.

Selfishness creeps into my heart and mind so easily.

Jun 12

Push Through Your Fear

Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2014 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values

think-1313532-mYesterday I would have screamed, “Don’t Act Like A Jerk!” if I wasn’t so aware of my tone of voice.

My tone of voice and the underlying thoughts and feelings have tripped me up more than I’d like to admit. Before I got around to admitting it, in this post, I asked: What should you be seeing in your own life? What do you let stand in the way of seeing it?

Hopefully you’ll think about that a while, but in the meantime with an honest assessment in hand, I’ll tell you how I’m dealing with my contribution to the turmoil I tend to create.

Jun 11

My Tone

Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values

sad face-110104_640What are you adding to your team? We all have something to add, but are we contributing and aware that we are?

We all have our quirks
. In a team setting, how do your quirks add value and how do they add drama?

Unfortunately, too often those quirks can make us look like jerks if we let them.

My “Tone”

Wow, do I hate those words. Not because someone doesn’t have a right to say them. Nor that they shouldn’t say them to me, but now, because they brought it up, I have to take an honest look at myself.