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A Parent List

Our lives as parents must not be about perfection, but about the courage of affection. We live our affection clearly and courageously through confession of the following, and we must do so imperfectly because that is the nature of life. Remember that affection is no...

Life Doesn’t Stop

The river of life never stops and the cycles of living move in never-ending circles. The sparrows keep chirping in the nearby trees while a casket is being lowered into the ground. Life itself stops for no one, but we can. A famous, ancient story tells us about...

Hope

As I sit here in Starbucks sipping on a Grande coffee, I remember back to the months and days that led up to my addiction being exposed.  There were many nights I stared at my computer screen hoping that the next image would bring me relief. No matter how many images...

10 Things Wilderness Taught Me in 4 Days

Recently, I organized an adventure trip for male leaders through Wilderness Collective . In four days, we covered more than 275 miles from Sequoia National Forest to Yosemite National Park. We traversed rugged terrain on enduro motorcycles that lead us over mountain...

Four Parental Responsibilities

What follows are four gifts that we can give our children (of any age), and those gifts will be delivered imperfectly: We can take responsibility for our own feelings. We don’t have to make our children responsible for our emotional conditions. Your feelings are your...

Parenting with Heart, Part 3

It was a beautiful spring night in early April. The trees were budding. The days were getting warmer, but the nights were still cool. Heather and Emma Claire were at a movie. I (Stephen) was bowling with our youngest sons, Henry and Teddy. Elijah was off at a friend’s...

Laying Claim, Not Blame

When you or I say to someone, “I feel sad” about some loss, or “I feel lonely” about some disconnection, we are simply laying claim to our own internal emotional experience. The “I feel” statement, followed by our reference point to...

A Friend’s Prayer

A good friend recently took the time to send me a prayer that he has been praying for himself and his friends for some time. I’m very grateful to be someone he prays for. He told me to pass it along, so other friends and loved ones could be reminded to pray for...

A To-Not-Do List

I was taken recently by the question of what my “To-Do” lists really do for me? I’ve made them and crossed things off for years. There are seasons in which these seemingly helpful lists prove a profitable exercise; a place to deposit the endless undone things I must...

Big Results from Simple Actions

The following is a list of ten qualities that make leaders worth joining and make participants valuable to leaders. These ten simple actions are what leaders and participants do who create vibrant, sustainable, productive environments in which excellence is the norm....
Failing Well

Failing Well

No one naturally seeks to become mediocre, the diminishment of excellence. Anyone who thinks that they seek mediocrity, i.e., the uninspired, indifferent, average, lackluster, or forgettable, is confused as to who they are and how they are made. They are actually...

Parenting with Heart, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I (Stephen) was having a conversation with one of my sons and Heather in the kitchen. We were going round and round, and the conversation was precariously teetering on the verge of a blowup. My son looked me square in the eye and said, “You only...

Parenting with Heart

This is an excerpt from Parenting with Heart: How Imperfect Parents Can Raise Resilient, Loving, and Wise-Hearted Kids, by Stephen James and Chip Dodd  One of my sons (Chip’s) and I went on a fly-fishing trip a few years ago. He was out of college, gone from our...

Four Realities

There are four realities in living life that we cannot overcome. They are fixed factors of living on earth. We may waste our lives attempting to defeat them, instead of living well within the context of them. Experiencing living within their parameters can actually...

Letting Go and Holding On

I work with a lot of people around the dynamics of transition, whether it be vocational, relational, or spiritual. My deep sense is we are constantly in some state of transition, even on a micro-level, like the transition from breath to breath. So when I consider...
Encompassing Love

Encompassing Love

Please read the words below about the power of love from Song of Solomon 8:6-7. In an intimate whisper, the words tell us about the deepest connection and richest surrender our hearts can ever make. They call us to receive and give our hearts to love. To the...
Cicadas

Cicadas

Cicadas are the bugs that come out of the ground, some every year, and others on 13 or 17 years cycles. They crawl to surfaces of tree bark or brick walls, cling to them and go through a transformation. They split open from forehead, down their backs to the “tail...

The Practice of Saying No

My good friend refers to me as a “foodie” but not in the traditional sense that I really love good, trendy restaurants, trying experimental flavors and unusual menu items. Nope. We both know it’s code for “picky eater that will eat at one of six places in town if...

Taking Love for Granted

What a gift to be able to take love for granted. Much of my life, I thought that for me to take anything for granted was somehow an expression of ingratitude or callousness towards something or someone. Or ingratitude or callousness towards me, if someone took my love...