The Truth About Marriage Two Years Later

Ok, ok, I’m going off script just a bit today. Why?

Because Bailey and I have been married for two full years as of today!

First of all, it’s been so much fun being married to Bailey. She’s funny and quirky but also so caring and considerate. We’ve done all the cliched things together.

We’ve laughed together, cried together, fought together and learned together. So that’s cool.

I love her so much. Happy anniversary, Bailey Bug!

Throwback to our wedding day

In honor of today, I looked back at the post that I wrote on our wedding day. In my post “A Letter To My Bride On Our Wedding Day,” I love getting to see what was going on in my head just hours before we got hitched. Here are a couple of my favorite paragraphs:

Bailey, I love your heart. How you love the Lord and seek to follow him with your life. How you interact with people and truly show God’s love in how you treat them. I love your giggle but I love it best when I make it come out. You’re so thoughtful, mature and humble in your normal life. You are a true treasure! 

This is still true. She is still a true treasure.

Bailey, I know I’m not perfect and I’m confident you’ll realize this more and more as we go into marriage! I pray that as your husband, I can learn to serve you and give myself to you as Christ has done for the church. When I hurt you, tell me. When I fail, forgive me. When I’m discouraged, uplift me. When I lose track of the goal, point me back to Christ. That’s what I ask. 

This is also still true. I want Bailey and I to continually go back to Christ for the perfect example of a perfect marriage.

That day was so special. Bailey and I finally got to get married with all the people we love around us. We were surrounded by prayer (as you can see in the photo above) and I know that people still pray for us. It was awesome and a day to be remembered (though it was blazing hot outside).

Marriage is a promotor of growth

And here’s the connection to this blog — there’s been a lot of personal and relational growth in the past two years. I say this rather facetiously, but if you want to grow a lot, get married. Man, I’ll tell you what.

Marriage reminds you that you’ve got someone else to look after, not just yourself. It teaches you selflessness beyond what you may have expected (and I have not perfected this).

It causes you to realize that you’re not the only one losing out on hopes and dreams if you don’t work towards them now. It makes you more responsible because, once again, you aren’t the only one you have to look out for now.

Marriage is an incredibly humbling journey.

I joke about getting married for boosting growth. Of course that would be a horrible primary reason. But marriage will promote growth because when you get married, you can’t stay the same.

Trust me.

In what ways has marriage caused you to change and grow?

I want to hear from you in the comments! And as always, if you found any value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

click here for our wedding Music Video

I love our music video of our wedding day. A buddy of mine shot it and I edited it. I thought I’d share it here.

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The World Needs You to Love What You Do

What makes you come alive? Like really come alive?

I know people who absolutely love what they do. I have a friend who is an engineer and he was made for it. He comes alive when he’s designing a mechanical system that has to work a very specific way. I come alive when I begin to envision a story in my mind that can be told through film (I also come alive when talking drones). My cousin comes alive when talking about animal nutrition and the agricultural industry. My dad comes alive when he gets to help driven people obtain their goals. Bailey comes alive when she starts talking about interior design and decorating.

Everyone’s passions are different

This is the beauty of humanity — people have significantly different passions and interests. Some are in the arts, others are in the sciences. But everyone has a passion and we want to work in that passion.

You remember a blog post I wrote about finding your sweet spot? Your sweet spot is where your top talents and top passions align, and it’s what career coach Ken Coleman teaches every day on his show. Once you determine what your sweet spot is, it’s time to start pursuing it.

Remember: Master the simple

But mastering the simple comes first. Work your way up to it. My passion may be telling story through film, but I’m not the director of Marvel’s most recent record-setting film. I’m working on telling the stories of passionate people in the community (working on a video series for the future). My goal is to hone my craft and get good at the simple filmmaking strategies so that I can tell a great story in an engaging way. Start small. That’s what I’m doing!

This quote inspired this post. It’s by Howard Thurman, a civil rights leader in the 20th century:

howard thurman

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

Yes, the world needs certain kinds of people. But even more so, the world needs certain kinds of people who are passionate about their work.

What if everyone in this world was working on something they were deeply passionate about?

How much more impact would we have on each other?

How would it change the world?

I seriously wonder this every. single. day. It’s unrealistic, I know. But with every person we get into work they love, it creates a chain reaction of influence that’s impossible to measure due to its shear magnitude.

What are you deeply passionate about?

I seriously want to hear from you in the comments! I’ll respond. And as always, if you found this post had value, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Thanks to Bruce Mars from Pexels for the use of the main post photo!

2 Simple Actions for Growth in 2019

I find that it is too easy to focus on the big goals I want to accomplish in the coming year. The problem is when I think the big goals are the only things that will make a difference.

Contrarily, I believe that Mastering the Simple is what will make a difference because that is the foundation of Becoming an Expert in anything else. It’s the simple actions that will lead to bigger things. Make a simple goal of doing 10 pushups per day and it will create a positive habit that may grow into something bigger.

Here are 2 simple actions I am working on this year.

Action 1: Write one Thank-you note per week

Gratitude is a characteristic constantly attributed to successful people. Being grateful does something to you. Instead of focusing on what you want, it helps put what you have into perspective.

When you acknowledge what others have done for you, that makes a big difference in your relationships with them. People want to be acknowledged — by their boss, coworkers, family, friends, and even strangers. Maybe not always in a public manner but people do like to be acknowledged. A thank-you note is a thoughtful way of letting someone know what they or something they did means to you.

So I’m going to write 52 thank-you notes this year.

Action 2: Journal once per week

Well known leadership expert, Peter Drucker, said this,

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

In his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, leadership and personal growth expert, John Maxwell, wrote an entire chapter about the Law of Reflection. In it, he describes his process for reflecting. He reflects every week and at the end of the year, he takes an entire week to reflect on the year and what happened. Maxwell attributes much of his success and growth to reflection.

This is why I am reflecting in a journal once a week about what is going on in my life. My problem is I tend to do too much looking forward. I mean, that’s how things get done. However, if I don’t learn from the past then it won’t help me at all. Once a week isn’t much, I know. But last time I tried to do this, I told myself every day and it didn’t happen so I had to make some changes.

What are some simple things you’re doing that’ll make a difference?

I want to hear in the comments!

-Caleb

21 Impactful Books I Read This Year

This morning, I FINISHED the reading goal that I set back in January! This year I read 21 books. Here’s a short clip of my opinion of each one!

One quick thing. I liked almost all of the books I read for various reasons. I try not to pick up a book if I think I’ll hate it. Thus, most of my opinions are positive. Every book was impactful, however, some were certainly more than others.

The Treasure Principle – Randy Alcorn

This was the first book I read of 2018. It really got me into a generosity mindset. It drives home an eternal perspective of material wealth from a Biblical worldview. If you like books that will help you grow in your faith as a Christian, this is an excellent choice. It is the reason Bailey and I increased our giving this year.

Intentional Living – Dr. John Maxwell

I loved this book! Intentional Living works through questions in each chapter designed to prompt action in the personal development arena. I’ve read a couple other books by Maxwell and they always incite a sense of urgency for me. In fact, in one section, he encourages the reader to write the book he or she has always wanted to write. This encouraged me in my own book-writing endeavors and I finished mine in July!

Linchpin – Seth Godin

This book is about becoming indispensable in whatever field you find yourself. The author discusses the benefits of working in an area in which you are deeply passionate. He talks about how each and every person is an artist, not necessarily in what they do but in how they do it. For a more in-depth analysis, read my book review about Linchpin. Godin is a deep thinker and the books I’ve read by him are very conceptual in nature. If you prefer books that tell you exactly what to do (you know, like “15 Ways You Can Make Yourself Indispensable at Work”), you may not like his style of writing.

Capital Gains – Chip Gaines

This book is an entertaining read. I like Chip’s quirky humor because I have a very quirky sense of humor as well! Literally, I’ve been told that I am well prepared for the job of a dad when it comes to jokes. Chip gives an overview of what he’s learned from business to family since he was in college. Kind of a memoir of sorts. Rather heartwarming if you like an emotional read.

Retire Inspired – Chris Hogan

This is an excellent book for anyone who doesn’t understand finances. I know so many people my age who don’t know how to prepare for the future financially. Retire Inspired puts in laymen’s terms the process for reaching financial security and achieving the dreams that you have. It really got me fired up for ensuring Bailey and I are saving enough for the future. As Chris Hogan puts it, “It’s not an age. It’s a financial number.”

The Power of Who – Bob Beaudine

This was one of the top two most mind-blowing books I read this year. The Power of Who is such an unbelievably simple concept. Beaudine talks about the six levels of relationships that everyone has. He says that networking isn’t everything because those who you give your business cards to don’t have enough emotional connection with you to help just because they care. He focuses on Who Friends. These are the people who actually care about you and want to help you in whatever ways they can.

Beaudine encourages the reader to go to his or her circle of Who Friends and ask for help in whatever way. If you’re looking for a specific kind of job, ask your Who Friends and see what comes up. Each of your Who Friends has their own Who Friends which gives you opportunities that you may have never gotten otherwise.

The Gates of Hell – Concordia Publishing House

This book’s subtitle is “Confessing Christ in a Hostile World.” This was a deep read. It compiles writing from various pastors who tackle some challenging topics. Some include the world’s view on sex, the church’s work, and the effectiveness of international mission. This is one of those books that can be difficult to understand if you don’t have a background in theology (which I don’t!), however, I liked it because it gave me a different perspective on how we as Christians are to communicate with those of other worldviews.

Platform – Michael Hyatt

This is an excellent resource guide from Michael Hyatt who has a lot of experience developing a platform online. If you aren’t interested in developing a platform (blog, YouTube channel, reader base, podcast following, etc.) you likely won’t be interested in this book. But if you do, it’s an easy way to get a TON of information about how to get started in blogging or developing a following on Twitter, etc. It has quite a bit of practical advice for building a platform without spending an unbelievable amount of time on it every day.

Talk Like Ted – Carmine Gallo

Personally, I want to work on my presenting and public speaking skills in general, so I picked up this book based on a recommendation from a podcast. Gallo gives an in-depth look at the characteristics of killer speeches given at Ted Talks. He covers nine simple ways of boosting the effectiveness of your next speech based on the highest-rated Ted Talks in history. It is worth the read!

All Marketers Are Storytellers – Seth Godin

Like I mentioned in the snippet about Linchpin, Godin has a very conceptual way of writing. In this book, he gives a lot of good information about how we can improve our effectiveness in our marketing. There isn’t a list of steps though, so if you like lists of how to move forward, you may not like it. But if you are a marketer, you’ll likely glean some valuable insight into how you can set up an effective marketing plan to hit as many eligible customers as possible. Also, you MUST read Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller if you want some mindblowingly simple strategies for improving marketing.

The Pumpkin Plan – Mike Michalowicz

Honestly, I got this book because the Kindle version was on sale and I heard about the author from a podcast I frequent. Plus, it was focused on small business so I gave it a shot. I really like books that put things into practical terms and this one fits that category. In it, Michalowictz talks about his development of the “pumpkin plan” after a conversation with a pumpkin farmer. The plan, in essence, is killing off the small pumpkins in order to invest all energy into the fewer large pumpkins. In business, he says this is “firing” those clients that require a ton of energy to serve and focusing all your energy on your best clients so you can attract more clients who are alike. He gives practical strategies for implementing the “pumpkin plan” in small business. This book comes highly recommended by me for those working on a startup!

The Christian ATHEIST – Craig Groeschel

Groeschel tackles the issue many people find prevalent in their lives — being a Christian Athiest. That is, as the subtitle so clearly states, “Believing in God but living as if He doesn’t exist.” I like Craig Groeschel quite a bit. I think he has thoughtful sermons that are very applicable to modern struggles. Also, he is an entertaining author — more than most. However, I didn’t find that this book helped me grow in my faith much. He makes some good points as he covers topics that many Christians face (forgiveness, doubt, fear). But being a Christian from a very young age, I know a lot of what he said, so I didn’t learn much of anything new. What he does well is reminding Christians how we are to model our lives after that of Christ.

Influencer – Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, Switzler

This is an excellent book for those who care about influencing others. The authors cover the ways people are influenced and give tons of examples and case studies to back up their claims. I liked the book and would recommend it. The challenging thing is that you and I encounter people every day that respond differently to influence. There is no cookie-cutter solution to the best way you can influence those around you and inspire them to do something specific. However, this books gives an great starting point.

A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating – Molly Fletcher

Molly Fletcher comes from the sports negotiating world and brings with her a lot of experience and advice. I read this after having listened to Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (an ex-FBI hostage negotiator) and was a bit disappointed with the organization of the ideas and recommendations. Never Split the Difference was a book that I would HIGHLY recommend for anyone to read. It gives very specific advice that applies to any situation. Plus, it comes from an ex-FBI hostage negotiator who couldn’t take no for an answer or people would die. I thought Molly Fletcher’s book gave a lot of great advice with stories galore, however, I thought the application was a bit lacking.

Experiencing God – Henry Blackaby

I LOVED this book. I wrote a blog post about it recently in which I highly recommended it as a faith-building resource (after the Bible, of course). Blackaby gets deep into Scripture as he encourages the reader to pursue God more fully. He gives practical methods to seek God’s voice through His Word, through prayer, through circumstances, and through His church. It completely changed my perspective on faith in more ways than one. If you want a deeply challenging book, give this one a read.

Everybody Always – Bob Goff

Bob Goff is someone who I would consider rather eccentric. Eccentric but caring. It comes through his writing which makes this book an entertaining read. In it, he talks about how we as Christians are to love “everybody always” as Christ does. This is another book that is a great reminder of how we can put faith in action, but I didn’t think it was a very deep book. It’s really focused more on action than theology.

The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod

I’ve been wanting to use my mornings more effectively. Elrod explains his S.A.V.E.R.S. method of spending time in the morning before his normal activities. This stands for Silence (essentially meditation), Affirmations (positively speaking to oneself), Visualization (mentally preparing oneself for the future), Exercise (getting the blood flowing), Reading (learning) and Scribing (writing and reflecting).

Some of these things seemed a little weird to me while reading them. But using the morning to positively start the day has helped a lot of people improve productivity so Bailey and I made a modification of “The Miracle Morning” for ourselves. For the last five weeks or so, on work days at least, we’ve been getting up early together to get our days kicked off right. This involves working out (or doing something active like pushups), reading the Bible together, praying, and reading a normal book. I’ve found that it has indeed helped improve my perspective and makes me feel somewhat productive before even starting my work.

How the Mighty Fall – Jim Collins

I love business books and Jim Collins as an author. I’ve read Good to Great and Great by Choice, both of which I would recommend to a business enthusiast. This book covers the consistent poor decisions made by great companies that fell into bankruptcy. Collins uses some excellent analogies in his books to paint a picture of the concepts he teaches. He continues the practice in this book which is why his writing never ceases to improve my understanding of good business strategies.

The 12 Week year – Brian Moran

In this book, Moran talks about how to improve productivity during the year by splitting it up into smaller chunks. This is because it produces urgency to get goals done instead of pushing them off till the end of the year. In his case, he recommends a “12 week year.” He also goes through steps to set up the reader’s 12 week year and to make the most of it.

I like the concept. We will see if I use it in the coming year to pursue my goals.

The $100 startup – Chris Guillebaeu

Ok, ok, I haven’t actually finished this book yet. But I have a week left before the start of the year! This is a motivating book for those interested in pursuing other passion-based streams of income. Guillebaue is an experienced side-hustler and gives practical steps for starting a business in this book.

I love it so far!

What’s next?

Wow! That was a long blog post! By writing it, I hope I motivated you (at least a little?) to get into reading more this coming year. The amount of information you can glean from experts is unbelievable and motivating. I can’t wait to hit the next set of books in 2019!

What books do you recommend I read?

I want to hear from you in the comments below!

-Caleb