Father’s Day! Neck Ties and Tea Cups

kelvin-knot

 

This weekend we will once again honor our fathers on Fathers Day. Like many of you, I will hear expressions of love from my own children, while also reaching out to my own dad. It is a wonderful day full of love and admiration.

Recently, as I was getting dressed for a wedding and working on a new necktie I bought for the occasion, I had this thought about neckties. Some people believe neckties were created to torture modern man (and I tend to agree with that as well). I also had this thought: perhaps God created neckties. Not to torture everyone who doesn’t want to wear a tie, but rather to be a rite of passage between a father and a son. I still remember my dad teaching me how to tie my first necktie, as well as the first time that I taught my son. A lot can go on while a father teaches his son how to dress up and look his best.

It really is more than just learning how to tie a knot; it’s about becoming something. Just like a necktie, I believe God may have created little tea cups to help fathers develop a rite of passage with their daughters. As they are drawn to the floor to sip imaginary tea with their princess, they are teaching much more than just how to hold a tea cup. They are conveying a thousand meaningful messages without even knowing it. In these moments, children are more than just taught—they are truly being fathered.

Fathering is more than just bringing about the conception of a child. It’s really about teaching the child to know who they are and who they can become. Each one of these moments holds a special time in which worth, love and value are transferred from father to child.

The heart of fathering truly comes from the idea and desire that life should continue beyond our own lives. To have your name or your character live on through the lives of your Children is the desire of every father, including our Heavenly Father.

Like neckties and tea cups, our Father God also creates things in our life that require his involvement and time. Each time we interact with God in regards to our life, our job or our marriage, he is not only teaching us how to do it, he is teaching us who we are and who we can become.

As I work with authors that are fathers, I encourage them to write for their children, both natural and spiritual. I do this because I believe every great message of influence begins with a simple desire to influence those whom God has given us to father. It just happens that sometimes those messages are also meant for thousands of others who are just like the children you love and lead.

On this special weekend, as we celebrate Fathers Day, I would like to wish every father a very special day. May God touch you and minister to you in a very personal and meaningful way. I pray that no matter what your past experience has been as a father, you will experience the joy and significance of being the kind of father who parents many into their future destiny.

I would also like to pray for everyone who has lost a father, or never known what it was like to have a father in the first place. It’s not a cliché to say that God is a “father to the fatherless”; it is his actual word and promise. While He may not teach you how to tie a necktie or how to sip tea like a princess, he will teach you much, much more. He will show you how special you really are, and will become the father you may have never had. In him you will find more then you ever may have lost. He is not a substitute—he is the original father of us all.

Happy Fathers Day!

Article originally written for Xulon Press Publishing Company.

The 365 Day Journey Begins Again!

Three years ago I made a decision to change my life by working on changing three specific areas in my life before I turned 50. I blogged during that year and named my blog 365to50. Since then I have repeated some of the principals I learned, but not the entire plan for an entire year. I just turned 52 last weekend and have decided that it is time to revisit the 365 Day Plan. It was a memorable journey and it changed the course of my life in several areas. One of the biggest areas was in the area of learning to become healthy through participating in Triathlons with my daughter Brittnee. We just completed our fifth event on Saturday.

Triathlon

Here are the areas that changed in my life by doing this for a full year before I turned 50.

  • I started competing in Triathlons with my daughter Brittnee. We just competed in our 5th Triathlon yesterday.
  • I finally got started on my first book. Although I didn’t finish it that year, I finally did start it. I am now over halfway with finishing it!
  • I started reading more books, great books that could change my life and make me a better person.
  • Most of all I learned the secret of having a full year to achieve life changing goals. There is a secret to making goals for one full year and I will be sharing some of the things I am learning from that process this year.

The 365 plan is simple but not easy. It is built around identifying the key areas you want o change in and spending a full year planning and tracking those changes. Because this principle is so powerful, I have decided to do it once again.  I also have decided to start blogging again while I am moving through this year. Since I am wanting to continue this blog, I am changing the name from 365to50 to 365toChange. It’s not about turning 50 anymore but now it’s about changing my life over the next year, one day at a time. I have a new saying for this year and for this journey.

“Change a day and you can change a year, Change a year and you can change your life”

Here is what I am planning to do in the next year before I turn 53 years old next September.

  1. I am going to finish my first book before the end of this year and start my second book by February 2016. My goal is to have one book published and my second manuscript finished before I turn 53 next September.
  2. Lose Weight! I am determined to not give up the fight to win this battle. My goal is to lose around 1 to 1.5 lbs per week over the next 365 days. That would move me from being 282 to being about 215lbs. This goal also includes goals for Healthy Eating, Regular Exercise and Better Sleeping Habits.
  3. Work on developing a new outlet for ministry that I feel called to develop. One where I would deepen my own ability to encourage and coach others as I define what this will look like and how it will function.
  4. Read and review 12 books that I find to be impactful and life changing. My goal is to share what I learn from them for anyone wanting to change their own life.
  5. Deepen my relationship with God! I am looking specifically to deepen my ability in Spirit led prayer. This month I am specifically praying for Law Enforcement Officers. As the year continues I want to grow in my ability to follow God’s leading in prayer.

While these are the 5 areas that I will be focused on during the next year, there are other areas I also plan to grow in over the next 365 days. Those areas include my Marriage, Career, Family and Finances. For this blog I will be sharing everything I learn as I continue this journey for the next 365 days. I encourage everyone to follow along and please provide feedback. Your feedback will not only help me but others that will be reading my blog.

NEXT WEEK: I will answer the question I most often hear from people that I am coaching for life change. The most often ask “I want to change a lot of things in my life, which ones do I work on first?”

Blessings,

Coach Don

Top 4 Reasons Why Writing a Book this Father’s Day Could Change the World

This Sunday we’ll celebrate fathers. Some of you will take dad out for his favorite steak, while others will simply call to say “I love you.” For me, my favorite was the year my kids surprised me with a new grill. They sent me out into the backyard to cook steaks on my old, rusted-out grill. When I realized there was no gas in the tank, I had no choice but to run to the store and exchange the empty tank. When I returned with the full tank to connect it to the grill, I found in its place a brand new, shiny, chrome-brushed grill that was twice the size of my old one. I’ll never forget it.

Some of you will not be able to celebrate with your father the way my kids did with me. The reasons can vary; perhaps a dad has passed away, or you’ve never even known your father. My prayers go out for anyone facing those feelings today, and I hope you’ll feel the healing hand of God. I’ll touch on that below.

In light of this special day, and what it means to so many, I was inspired to think of the ways books about fathers can have an influence on fathers and everyone that celebrates them.

1) Books can influence fathers for years to come. If God has spoken to you about writing a book on being a great man, just think of the effect that could have on current or future fathers! Xulon recently released a new title by Pastor G.F. Watkins titled The Alpha Male, and the Women Who Get Them. It’s a great book about what it means to be a man. I believe it will help thousands of men avoid the pitfalls that can destroy generations.

2) Books can pass on legacy to your children’s children. On a weekly basis, I speak to someone who wants to leave a legacy in print for future generations. The desire to see one’s offspring carry forward the honor of the family name is a core desire of almost every father; even if their actions in life say otherwise, it is there. The father who takes the time to write it now, however, is sending a message in an open time capsule which allows future sons and daughters to look in and learn.

3) Books can honor forefathers from past generations. I have worked with several authors who were writing a book to honor the men who came before them. The desire to honor and preserve the legacy of a father, grandfather or past ancestor is a desire not easily quenched. Those who carry it feel called to be the one who ensures future generations hear the stories. If you feel called to write as a tribute to a father or grandfather, there is no better day to start than Father’s Day!

4) Writing a book doesn’t just impact others—it also impacts you. The first person affected by the book you will write will be you. The act of writing brings healing and understanding like no other act can. Some of you will write a book and become a better father yourself, while others will write and find the love and understanding to forgive a father who needs to be released. All kinds of things happen in the heart of the writer when they write. “The first words you write are the key to unlocking your own heart and soul.”

My prayer is that many of you will decide to begin your writing journey this Father’s Day, and experience all that God wants to do within your own heart.

A great reason to write and publish a book!

Have you ever considered the impact that your own writing or journaling would have upon your own family and your future generations? I often think about the impact of my own writing and the future impact of the book that I am working to complete now. in fact, while working on my book recently, I looked over at my young granddaughter and began to wonder. What will she think about my book when she’s older? Will she pass it to her grandchildren to read? Will future generations talk about what I have written the same way I love talking about my ancestors book?

The book my ancestor, Dr. Charles Wesley Pope, wrote is a family treasure that reminds me to keep pressing forward on my book. As I think about his book and its impact on me, I realize the books that each of us are writing will create eternal ripples destined to effect generations to come.

1. Our books and writings will let our future family know who we are through what we have written. Think of the people you have come to know only through the books or music they wrote.

2. Our books and writings will pass our faith and what we hold dear to those we will never meet in this lifetime. A book gives us the chance to pass the baton of our experience well beyond our years.

3. Our books and writings will inspire our grandchildren, and even great grandchildren, perhaps causing them to dream a little bigger. Some will even dream of being just like us, another author passing on their faith to the world and continued generations.

I encourage you to consider writing something and for you that are brave enough to take the challenge, I encourage you to write and publish your own book. What has God done for you or showed you that you really want your descendants to know about. You are the only one that can write it. Maybe your own book will be on the shelves of descendants all over the world. I know John Wesley’s is, what about yours?

365to: Round Two!

Photo credit: Tyler Neinhouse
Photo Credit: Tyler Neinhouse
Today I kickoff my next round of blogging. I took a little time off after I hit my 50th birthday to reflect and just focus on things that needed my attention. I am now focused on my next year-long journey, leading up to my 51st birthday in September of 2014! I’ve discovered that so much can get done in the span of a year when I live intentionally. 

This year I have four goals that I am focused on.
1. Finish my novel “The Family Tree” and begin my second book.
2. Continuing to work on getting healthy by losing weight and eating better.
3. Having a year where I purposefully focus on choosing my words wisely.
4. Reading 12 new books I haven’t read before. I will provide reviews on this blog.
5. Having set times of silence and solitude so that I can deepen my ability to reflect and hear God’s voice better.
I plan on sharing more about these five things, and what I learn as I focus on how to actually accomplish these goals over the next year. I encourage you to follow along, and tell me about your goals, dreams, and you how are accomplishing them as well!
What landmarks or milestones are you trying to live intentionally for? Tell me below!

 

 

 

 

The Book That My Wife Dared to Write!

I have an amazing wife who I am very proud of. When I first met her over 30 years ago, it was her faith that really challenged mine and caused me to deepen my belief and relationship with God. It has been an amazing adventure with Tracee and I am very blessed to call her my partner and my best friend.

momanddad

Several years ago Tracee felt a desire to write her first book. The story was about a little boy who lived in Africa named Akeem. A fictional adventureThe Adventures of Akeem is the exciting story of a young boy growing up in the bush country of Africa who learns about God and discovers to hear God’s voice for himself. The first of three books, it begins a story that ends with Akeem becoming not only a man, but being used by God in a very special way.

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The Adventures of Akeem. (Click here to purchase on Amazon!)

Tracee would get up early every morning as she worked to create the story, and also to seek God’s voice as He directed her to write. I still remember her getting up as early as she could to work as long as possible before her day began. Once she finished writing Akeem, she then had to travel down the path of getting it edited and into the hands a few publishers. Like many new authors, she met the same disappointment that many find when they try to introduce their book to be published. It was complimented and even praised, but they were not going to publish it.

Have you ever felt like all of your work and all of your effort ends with failure? That even though you have given your best and everything you know to do, in the end it just doesn’t work out like you would have hoped it would have?

Tracee knew that she was supposed to write this book and that it was destined to help young people find God and learn how to hear His voice and discover their destiny. But it’s hard when others don’t see the same thing that you see.

What do you do when you feel like your dream is real but it’s not given any doors to go through? What do you do when you feel like your dream is trapped in a cocoon that won’t open, so that your dream can become a living reality.

Sadly, many people let their dreams die and—even sadder—they choose to never dream again. Tracee could have let that dream die and taken those first rejections as a sign of permanent rejection. The truth is that one or two or even a hundred rejections are never the sign of total rejection. The secret of success is simply: those who never quit, who never give up, usually in almost every case end up succeeding in one way or another.

Tracee never gave up and eventually, over 13 years later, her book was published by the company that I work for, Xulon Press. She never let the lack of belief by others stop her personal belief. Her dream came to life last year as she worked with a group of editors to present the final manuscript. Now, a year later, she got her first royalty check from sales that occurred last quarter. I could not be more proud or excited for her, her dream of publishing her first book, and receiving her first royalty check.

Tracee

Rejected in the beginning by publishers but accepted and desired by readers in the end. That is success! Don’t let your beginning determine your end! Don’t let the publishers of life decide if your dream is worthy or not to be read.  In the end, they are not the final judge of whether your dream is real. Never give up on the dreams that God has given you. For even if they die for a season, even if they are delayed, if those dreams are from Him, He will resurrect them and bring them to life. No publisher can stop Him from publishing your dream!

Tracee’s book, The Adventures of Akeem can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and directly from Xulon Press. It also can be purchased in eBook format.

21 Days and Counting

In just over 21 days I will finally be a grown-up, as I will turn 50 years old on September 5th. Wow! It has been an amazing year and I have learned some incredible things about life and myself. I am so glad that I did this 365to50 project, and I am planning to do it again next year as I set my annual goals to achieve before I turn 51 next September.

My goals for this year were:

  • Lose weight and get into better physical condition
  • Write my first book
  • Grow closer to God

I am so happy to report that I have made steady progress in all three of those areas. I have lost weight, and now I am in good enough shape to compete in triathlons. I have the story line for my book “The Family Tree”, and I have had breakthroughs with God that I so desperately needed and wanted. All in all, its been an awesome journey!

I am so glad that I didn’t let momentary failure keep me from moving on. I shudder at the thought of what it would have been like to face 50 while extremely overweight, with no book idea at all, and no closer to God than when I turned 49. That would have been a wasted year, and I have had my share of wasted years. You see, it’s not that I had to get everything right and hit every goal along the way, I just had to move from where I was at. To have stayed in the exact same place without moving forward would have been failure and another wasted year. While I have not entered the promised land of being a 205 lb author who knows God like Moses did, I am miles away from being a 299lb man with just a dream and ideas that were on hold. I tell you, there is no feeling like being miles away from where you never really wanted to be.

So, what do you want to leave? To leave the place that you don’t want to be in, you need to do these three things:

  • Love the Dream! Do more than just hate where you are at: you have to love where you are going. While it’s true that sometimes you will move when your misery factory gets bigger than your fear factor, misery alone will not make you move. You have to have a dream and desire that you love
  • You have to be willing to risk failure. So many people, including me, fail to move because they don’t want to fail. Every successful person’s path to the dream they desire is built by the bricks of failure. I have failed over and over this past year, but here is my secret. I fall forward. Yes, I fall down, but I fall toward my goal. Thats why, despite failure, I am miles away from where I started from.
  • You have to move! You have to take one step! My goal for every triathlon was to “Compete and Complete” every race I entered in. I never let the fact that I was far from winning keep me from entering the race. I may actually win a race one day, but I have to compete in and complete a lot of races on the way to achieving that goal. What are you failing to compete in or complete because you feel like you can’t win? Movement is winning! Just ask Lazarus!

I am now focused on a 21 day challenge to really hit the boosters as I hit 50 and start my next goals for 51. Follow me over the next few weeks as I really begin to reveal what I have learned from this journey.

What place are you trying to leave today? Leave me comments with your story below! Don’t forget, you can also follow me on Twitter here.