Monday, December 31, 2007

New Opportunities

This isn't designed to be the ultimate guide to which opportunities are right for you or me but rather to provide some points to ponder from my most recent read...

When opportunity and passion line up with our prayers it is difficult to have restraint.

The problem is that our emotions can cloud the situation and opportunities must be weighed against something far more objective than just the circumstances. I always think I know how things are going to play out but I have made decisions (100% convinced I knew the outcome) and it turned out I was 100% wrong. An open door is not always a door that requires us to step through it. Don’t believe me? Read 1 Samuel 24. Three factors should be considered.

Think about it:
1. The Law – There are laws we are not and should not break and no matter how great the opportunity, if it violates the's not something we should be doing. In David’s case, you can not kill a king or rebel against the thrown without breaking the law.
2. Principle – Follow the golden rule. Think about how you would want treated in a similar situations because life has this amazing way where we find ourselves in the shoes of those we have authority over.
3. Wisdom – Seek to be the example and listen to the counsel and mentorship around you. David was in a position to take the thrown by killing the king. If he killed the king what kind of an example would he be?

At the end of the day there have been awesome opportunities that Sharon and I thought were a 'God Thing' that once reviewed and weighed began to take us in a different direction. As a leader I have to remember that forward motion and progress will often tempt us to bend the rules and eventually lose our integrity.


Sunday, December 30, 2007


What a fun movie to sit down with the family and watch. Family friendly, non-violent, and filled with life lessons. In the movie, our main character 'Remy' the rat was asked who is he? His answer was, "I know, I know, I am not a human...I'm a rat" to which the response was, "NO, you are a chef!"

I meet new people all the time and had to laugh because every time I ask them, "Who are they?" the response is always what their profession is (what they do). I think the response should be something like this:

I'm a father and husband!

Aren't these who we really are? Or has our work begun to define us?


Thursday, December 27, 2007


No don't turn and run away...I am talking about getting away.

CHANGE in Place +
CHANGE in Pace =

Sharon and I just got back from our 2008 Planning Retreat. Are you thinking that, 'Only companies do that'. Well I think more couples should deliberately try this and see what comes out of it. We left the kids with my parents and went off for a 2 day/1 night get -away to:
1. Strengthen our relationship
2. Have some quiet time
3. Re-charge our batteries
4. Review our 2007 goals
5. Set our goals for 2008

WOW! What a wonderful time. We started the evening off by writing our 50 or more dreams (sky was the limit) and anything goes. We did it seperately and then sat down and shared them with one another. More than 80% of what we wrote was the same but worded differently. It is amazing how much we are on the same page.

BIG DREAMS (just a few of them):
1. Large home on a golf course with an elevator
2. Trip to Isreal
3. Own a professional sports team
4. Attend the World Cup
5. Visit the White House
6. Start a Ministry focused on supporting missionaries & pastors

Before we called it a night we talked about what our priorities are and our plan to detail out our goals for 2008. We reviewed our dream sheets, listed our roles (spouse, parent, student, employee, etc), and then set goals for each of these roles and ties action steps to accomplish these goals. It sounds like a lot of work but the results are worth the investment and so far we have an amazing ability to set and hit big hairy odacious goals 'BHAGs'. are a few of our 2008 Goals:
1. Lose weight (not telling you how much)
2. Get in better shape
3. Family Vacation
4. A specific $ amount in investments and savings
5. A specific $ to give to church and charity
6. 50 books in one year

Hope this helps...if you have questions about setting goals, having a retreat, or want more insight; let us know.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Hurried, Heart Felt, Humbled, or Hurt

If 4 people witness a car accident you will get four different renditions of the facts. The Christmas season is one of those times of the year that if you ask 4 people about the holiday you will get three different responses (or more)...Hurried, Heart Felt, Humbled, or Hurt.

Hurried - Are you one of the last minute hurried shoppers? The whole season starts in a mad dash on Black Friday or worse yet it doesn't happen at all because of work until Christmas Eve.

Heart Felt - The big family gatherings or quiet intimate moments with the immediate family.

Humbled - A season of thankfulness and joy for all the blessing over the past year.

Hurt - We realize that the holidays can stir up emotions and tension with the family.

There are probably other ways to describe the holidays and maybe you experience more than one. We were 80% done before Thanksgiving and the remaining items are really the harder ones. This is really a result of Sharon's organizational skills (I tend to be the hurried shopper). I think the best gifts we give are these last ones we work on because they are truly heart felt, personalized gifts like the albums with a voice recording narration done by the kids, Sharon, and I for each photo.

No matter what you are experiencing this Christmas...take time to experience being humbled by how awesome life is and what amazing things have happened.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thank You in 2007

Today I was enjoying a message from Mark Batterson on 'Joy'...first I loved how engaged the boys were with the message. They usually don't sit with me but being Christmas weekend we had a change in venue. We were talking about how easy it is to come up with 3 things that went wrong; even on the best of days. How often we forget to be thankful and when we are thankful, how quick we are to generalize the great blessings. So I wanted to take two minutes and challenge everyone to make a list of things in 2007 they are grateful for. Make a list of 100 or more so that you are forced to get specific. Here is the start of my list:

1. Help in packing/moving to DC & help unpacking on this end
2. My Honda - 230,000 miles and still going
3. Two new employee hires in DC
4. Grace from those in authority over me
5. My wife's support and understanding in multiple areas
6. Sybella sleeping through the night during the 1st six months
7. The opportunity to visit friends in Kentucky
8. Sharon's new ring and my new car
9. Benign tumors
10. Great elementary school for the boys in Vienna

Remember, our focus determines our reality. J. Todd Ferrier said, "We are what we think; as we desire so do we become! By our thoughts, desires, and habits, we either ascend to the full divine dignity of our nature, or we descend to suffer and learn."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

ATS - DC Christmas

Every company has a humble beginning, an owner's vision, and the rest is history. ATS was founded in the early 80's by Rick Leenstra in Silverdale, WA (Seattle Area). In 2006 I joined the Executive Team of ATS as the Director of Business Development. We were 17 strong and Lacy was our only employee in DC. Lacy is the one in the background with glasses and a big smile!
This month as we enjoy the holiday season and a blessed 2007 we are 65 strong and we held our first annual ATS - DC Christmas Part at i Ricchi. Just a quick thank you to Dave Mather, Lacy Dove, and Maresia Johnson for helping make this year special.

A thank you to the Board of ATS for allowing Sharon & I the opportunity to join the team and a thank you to the management and employees of ATS that have made this year so incredible!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Starfish & Spiders

It sounds like the opening line to a bad joke: What do the Apache Indians, Craigslist, Skype, and Al Qaeda have in common? The answer goes to the heart of my most recent read: They're all decentralized organizations that have survived and even stood in the face of, 'spiders', a rigid hierarchy and top-down leadership of big business organizations who set out to crush these 'starfish'.

A quick teaser for those of you looking for a good were the big ideas I am walking away with from this most incredible research and book:

1. How the Internet has leveled the playing field, what is driving communities, and how to capitalize as an entrepreneur in the same environment.

2. How and why my company and many other companies will have to change in the next 5 to 10 years in order to grow and thrive.

3. A better understanding of the decentralized nature of an terrorist network and how these organizations are best countered against.


Back from the D.R.

Yes they have returned to the states. My folks are back from the Dominican Republic and will be in the states for several weeks as they travel to see family, friends, and those who support their ministry in the DR. It is wonderful to have the family in town for the holidays and even more exciting that the kids get to spend time with their grandparents.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


FSM is a new term I picked up..."Father Son Moment". Sunday night the boys asked me to play BATTLESHIP. You know, the game we all played at some point growing up. As a sidenote, we played on the actual set that my brothers and I played on when we were growing up. It is always fun to watch their mindset, strategy, and how the accept winning and losing. I work very hard to find time every week to sit down and engage one on one with the boys.

I am all for working hard, providing for your family, and putting your time in to be successful; however last time I checked there are 168 hours in the you realize that if we all spent just 1 hour a day with our children that would be less than 1/2 % of our week?

Everyone has time to sit down and engage with children. Take time over the holidays to have quality time with the children.


National Christmas Tree Lighting

This past Thursday (December 6) was one of those great events you see on TV and always wish you could see in person. Well now that we are living in the Nation's Capital and taking time as a family to be part of all of the wonderful events that go on around here. The National Tree Lighting Ceremony began in 1923 with President Calvin Coolidge. Thursday night we took friends and family to join the President and his family as the President lighted the National Christmas Tree. Let me tell you it was COLD! VERY VERY VERY COLD! Just take a look at how we were all dressed...

We arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon and with the sun shining it was comfortable and everyone was smiling. As the sun set the temperature dropped below freezing and with snow on the ground I think all of us lost feeling in our toes. The event is so much more than just pushing a button and turning on a light. Carolers from Washington's National Cathedral and the St. Alban's Christmas Choir opened the annual tree lighting ceremony. Just want to say thank you to Chris and Lora for joining us this year. The singing and celebration lasted about 90 minutes.

The boys and I sang, clapped, and rocked back and forth to the Carols. I am not sure how much was for the purposes of having fun and how much was directed at keeping warm :-) While there, I reflected on just how blessed we as a family and as a nation truly are. I was overcome with happiness and joy for all the many blessings we have had in 2007.

This is definitively a new annual family event!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy Brithday

Yes, today is Sybella's birthday!

No exciting cake photos because we decided to wait until her grandparents return from the Dominican Republic for the 'BIG BASH'. Where has the last year gone? She is clearly her mother's child ;-) She has spunk, personality, and an opinion. I let Sharon have an easy day while Sybella had a pretty focused Father-Daughter Day.

As a final note...she decided to take her first step today! One year old and one step. Who knows, maybe by next year we will have a two year old who takes two steps. Something tells me we will have a little one running around the house for Christmas.