Tag Archives: the-life-business.com

Sticks and Stones and Other Things

“…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart…”  1 Samuel 16:7

Recently, my wife and I attended a 2 hour parenting seminar at our church from author Jonathan McKee, founder of www.thesource4parents.com, an exceptional resource for parenting in today’s complex age.  Jonathan is a cultural expert and has exceptional insight into today’s tech savvy youth and how we as parents need to pick up our game or risk loosing our kids to the “world.”

On one of his blogs, Jonathan posted an incredible YouTube video that has gone viral on the internet on the topic of bullying and self-image.

How many people do you think are effected, either from their past or currently, from bullying, name calling, or being made fun of?  My guess it’s in the billions.

Watch the poetic video below, I believe we can all relate.

The problem is enormous and the cost to society is immeasurable.  How do we combat it?  The more I think about it, the harder it gets to think of anything worthwhile to say.

I believe it is a heart issue.  It stems from the constant media stream of self-absorbed cultural pragmatism.  We are conditioned to see others as objects and not people with feelings and a fragile ego.  The irony of today’s media message is the best way to feel good about yourself is to make others feel bad about themselves.

Well I believe we can change that message.  Let’s start by listening to a great song sung by Britt Nicole.

You were walking on the moon, now you’re feeling low
What they said wasn’t true, you’re beautiful
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you’re feeling
words like those won’t steal your glow, you’re one in a million

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(gold gold you’re gold)

Well everybody keeps score, afraid you’re gonna lose
just ignore they don’t know the real you
all the rain in the sky can’t put out your fire
of all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(gold gold you’re gold)

So don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not loved
and don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not enough
yeah there are days that we all feel like we are messed up
but the truth is that we’re all diamonds in the rough
so don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out
you glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
this is for you, wherever you are

Oh, oh, yeah, yeah, oh, oh,
you’re gold

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
(so hold your head up high) so hold your head up high,
it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(gold gold you’re gold)

So don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out

Songwriter(s):Daniel Muckala, Jess Cates

Other things we can do:

  • Find a GREAT church; one that encourages you to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Find a group of people who are positive and accepting.  I recommend the LIFE leadership and personal development communities that are springing up all over North America.
  • Actively pray for a friend that you can share your thoughts and feelings with and they’ll listen without judgement but with compassion and empathy.
  • Become the friend you want others to be, try to take the focus off of yourself and focus on serving others.

Here’s to a better tomorrow.  Find a stranger, or friend, and look for something good to share with them.  Who knows, you may do more than just  save their day, you may save their life – literally.

Feel free to share in the comments section below a story of people who poured into your life positively, or, how you have invested in someone else in a positive way.

May God richly bless your day.  Matt

“Let’s kick him out of the cabin!”

This may sound weird, but one of my favorite things to do is to follow my wife around wherever she goes.  If it sounds like I’m stalking her, well, I am!  My reason is not only that she’s totally beautiful and I love spending time with her, but she has a brilliant mind.  I follow her with my new iphone (which I love), recording her thoughts.  Michelle has a wonderful ability to synthesize information that appears random, and to communicate it in simple, easy-to-understand thought bites.  Enjoy this article on “perspective” from Michelle.

This story is about perspective when parenting children.  We are all familiar with the saying, “Is the glass half full or half empty?”  The answer is a matter of perspective.  How do you handle those difficult situations when it seems like the “glass is half empty?”  How about parenting challenges when in the moment it seems impossible to see the good in the situation – are you ever thankful?

The Bible reminds us to “Make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.” (Ephesians 5:19-20)

Years ago, our family went on a camping trip with our 3 kids who were 6, 4, & 2 years old at the time.  We invited Bill and Jill, a married couple from our church that had struggled with infertility and had no children of their own, to share our cabin with us.  So, we thought a weekend with kids would be an adventure for them!  And it was!

Our cabin had 3 bedrooms, but they weren’t private.  The rooms were divided by partitions that didn’t go all the way up to the ceiling, so sounds and light essentially passed from room to room.  It was hot, about 90 degrees with no air conditioning, and it was dirty.  But, despite all this, we had a fun weekend.

On the final morning, Matt had gone for a run which left me with our kids waking up at their usual time – very early – and they were very hungry.  I worried that our 3 noisy kids, all demanding breakfast immediately, would wake up Bill and Jill.  “I want a doughnut!”  “Pour my milk!”  “I want that cereal!”  “I don’t want that!”  I was working as fast as I could for about 30 minutes, juggling their requests and emphatically reminding them to keep it down.  I don’t know who was louder, their whining, or my whispering “SHHHHH!” As you can imagine, I was getting frustrated and I hoped (but was doubtful) that Bill & Jill were still sleeping.  I was exhausted as I finally shuttled the kids into a bedroom and tried desperately to get them dressed to send them outside.  The boys were fighting on the top bunk as I was trying to prevent Anna, our 2 year old, from climbing up to join them.

As you would expect, one of the boys started crying while the other, brandishing his Star Wars light saber for full effect, yelled, “Let’s kick him out of the cabin!”  I wanted to scream, “You’re both kicked out of the cabin!” But, I held back, knowing I had an audience in the other room listening.  I felt guilty and thought how Bill & Jill, a couple who for so long wanted to have children of their own, would never understand why I wanted to kick my dear children out of the cabin!  What kind of mother thinks like that?

For about a month we always wondered what Bill and Jill thought about spending time in the eye of “Hurricane Mielke” that weekend.  Did they think we were terrible parents?  Or, maybe they didn’t want to have children anymore after that weekend.   But then we received a letter from Bill that I have saved ever since.  Here is part of what he wrote:

There is a ton that God was doing there, but perhaps the most memorable will be the joy we experienced having kids around us.  We were continually blessed with opportunities to share in the kids just being kids.  I remember Sunday morning, lying in bed listening to the breakfast exchange.  What may have sounded like chaos to some was a welcome interruption to the silence we start each day with.  I lay there, feeling like I had this awesome peek into another world.  I was hesitant to get up because I didn’t want to disturb its delicate balance (plus people were getting kicked out of the cabin and I didn’t want to end up on that list).  Please thank Adam, Alex and Anna for being such great kids and showing us Christ by just being loving kids!!

What a perspective shift! That morning, I felt under-appreciated and defeated as a mother, dealing with selfish and insensitive children, yet Bill and Jill saw them as a “welcome interruption.”

Have you been there?  Did you ever need a fresh perspective, a God-like perspective, in a difficult situation?

I’m sharing this story not because that morning was so unique and the only time that I’ve felt like this.  But, as I’ve reflected on that morning and Bill’s letter, I’ve realized that I needed a fresh perspective with many situations in my life.  I needed God’s perspective!

It took a stranger to remind me of the blessing in the midst of the chaos.  I was humbled to realize that on that morning, someone else viewed my children as blessings from God more than I did.  Psalm 127 says “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”  Do I always view my children as gifts from God?  Do I always love my children just as God loves me?  Do I raise up the chaos, the decibels and the dirt as a joyful song to the LORD?

Since that morning, I read a devotional that reminded me of that day:

For noises day and night, and loud music, and loud noise that passes for music, today I offer this racket to you LORD as the praise of “everything that has breath” in this house  (Psalm 150:6) and thank you with each decibel of devotion.  I give thanks for what I usually complain about, for what I can’t seem to control or change, for all the daily indignities of raising kids, for the humility and servant hood of being a mother.  May God accept this list of ordinary annoyances as holy, sweet music of thankfulness.

I am so thankful God has entrusted me with my children and has given me a quiver full.  I am glad that I have this story to remind me in those moments of frustration that God loves the noise and dirt and energy of children – even when I don’t!  I’m glad I was reminded yet again that sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective!


Amazing what one honest man can do… with a cause!

The American Civil War (1861-1865) resulted in over 1 million casualties.  The General’s from that war most talked about today are Ulysses S. Grant (Union) and Robert E. Lee (Confederate).

American Civil War 1861-1865

After the war, Lee was loved and hated at the same time.  Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs proposed that 200 acres of Arlington, Lee’s family property, be confiscated for a cemetery (Arlington cemetery) and serve as a reminder for the price that was paid for Lee’s disloyalty.  Yet, after the war, Lee wasn’t court-martialed, executed, or punished, but became president of what is now known as Washington and Lee University.

“Every one should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in hope that it may find a place in history, and descend to posterity”  ~ General Robert E. Lee to General Beauregard, 3 October 1865.

I was watching the movie Gettysburg with my two boys the other day and was struck by the profound wisdom embedded in the dialogue.  After you get over the fake beards, and get use to the Southern accents, a beautiful, yet tragic, story emerges on the battlefields of the Civil War. Both sides fighting for what they believed was right.  Men left home in pursuit of honor through courageous acts of bravery on the battlefield.

If you study the history of the leadership from both sides of the war, you’ll find the best and the worst of all human qualities.  But General Robert E. Lee stands out above the rest.  Volumes have been written about his war strategy and genius.  His leadership accolades are unquestionable, but the quality that stands out the most to me – his Character.

I’ve been reading a book with my 2 boys authored by Richard Williams titled The Maxims of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen.  Williams captures Lee’s thoughts and writings in almost devotional form.  I have to admit, reading Gen. Lee’s prose was challenging.  Lee thought, spoke and wrote at such a high level I need to sit with a dictionary with my two boys and frequently stop to dissect Lee’s message and translate it into today’s vernacular. The outcome of our study together is accomplishing same as thing as I’m sure it did 150 yrs ago when Lee penned his words: Growth in our thinking.  Williams captures many different areas of Lee: Humility, Education, Christian Faith, Duty, Wisdom and others. I want to share one character trait, duty, that Williams shares when Gen. Lee was called upon to testify at Jefferson Davis’ preliminary hearing for treason after the Civil War.

…The attorney was baiting Lee in order to exonerate himself and make it appear that [Jefferson] Davis was primarily responsible for the war and its outcome.  General Lee….stated: “I am responsible for what I did; and I cannot now recall any important movement I made which I would not have made had I acted on my own responsibility.”  Gentlemen must be willing to take responsibility for their failures, as well as their successes – regardless of the potential costs.

Lee could have “passed the buck” and let Jefferson Davis take the responsibility for the war, yet, Lee took responsibility for his actions.  His decision to command the Northern Army of Virginia forever changed the lives of so many families as the flower of their youth were lost on the battlefield.  How would you have responded knowing you were one of the biggest reasons for the loss?  Would the country you fought against allow you to come back and live a relatively normal life, or, would you have been run out of dodge.  Would your legacy be of a criminal, or, revered as one of the greatest men in history?

“Amazing what one honest man can do with …. with a cause.” Gen. Beauregard regarding Gen. Lee

Lee disseminated truth and a cause which earned him an honorable place in history.  Today, I have the privilege to work alongside men with “Lee-like” qualities.  Orrin Woodward, George Guzzardo, Dan Hawkins, Chris Brady, Bill Lewis, Claude Hamilton and Tim Marks are creating a legacy as they have stood in the gap for truth and integrity exhibiting all the qualities Gen. Lee did 150 years ago.  Their cause is to develop over 1 million leaders for our future seeking truth and the pursuit of principle-based living.  Men, women and children are being impacted by the thousands because of their teaching and wisdom through the LIFE business.  It is such a relief to know that courageous men and women do exist in today’s predominately leaderless world.

 Now more than ever, we need to take action to develop our “Lee-like” character and follow others to change and create a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.  Perhaps, like Lee, if we pursue a principled based life, our cause will find its place in history.  Start your journey with LIFE and Godspeed.

False Hope vs Hard Work – the “LIFE song” of our business

I just read a post on Dan Hawkins blog regarding the accomplishments of new Turbo 100 leaders in the TEAM leadership system, Gary and Erika Severson.  This last weekend I was able to hear them speak live in front of about 1700 people in Madison, WI and what impacted me the most was their humility.  The Seversons have applied hard work, serving others, over a number of years to reach their milestone and I know this is only a stepping stone.

As I reflect on the Severson’s victory, I go back to a sermon I heard by Greg Marshall at our church a couple of weeks ago.  The theme was about “worship” in life and who and what do we worship.  Greg, who is a musician, referred to our life as a song – “a life song.”  A song, he described, has a chorus and verses.  The verses represent a story to be told and the chorus represents the main idea or theme.  So as we sing the verses of a song the storyline unfolds and is interrupted by the chorus, or the main theme, to bring us back to a teaching point.  Interesting, I never knew that about music.

What’s your “life song?”

Greg challenged us to describe our “life song.”  What is your story?  Who do you worship?  What would the chorus, or main theme, of your life look like and what message would it convey?  Greg introduced an ancient Greek word proskyneo which means “to bend toward.”  As we walk through our life day to day, we “worship” or bend toward something.  The question is do we bend our lives (worship) toward God and his eternal purpose or do we bend toward ourselves for pleasure and comfort.

In the past, my life story tended to bend toward…. ME!  My natural tendency is self-serving and seeking pleasure.  I had friction in almost all of my relationships. I was judgmental of others, lacking patience, and I was kind to others only if there was some kind of reciprocation.  My work was only a means to a paycheck; otherwise I wouldn’t have sacrificed so much time away from family.   Life, when serving self and pleasure, becomes compartmentalized and pragmatic. We tend to measure the effort and sacrifice put into something based on what return we’ll get from the effort.  It leads to a very discontented life filled with shallow relationships and false hope.

On the other hand, when we bend our life toward a purpose, beyond ourselves, we find fluency to life.  In the Bible, God wants us to bend or lives toward him through serving others first, and having “fruit of the Spirit” as the apostle Paul describes in a letter to the people of Galatia.  When our life song focuses on something greater than ourselves, then our work, relationships, ministry and pleasure become interlaced.  Our work becomes more purposeful, our relationships become more fulfilling, and life becomes more meaningful.

What do the verses of your life song read like?  Is your chorus singing of self-pleasure and comfort?  Or, are you like Gary and Erika Severson who have decided to bend their life toward worshiping God through serving others.  By pursuing purpose beyond themselves through the LIFE business, Gary and Erika are providing real hope to people who desperately need it.

Orrin Woodward’s LIFE and leadership breaking records!

Orrin Woodward has completed the first month of the the-life-business.com and Dan Hawkins blog comment sums it up well.

LIFE is the collected knowledge of over 100 years in the networking field producing one of the most exciting and successful businesses in history! What makes this so viable is the products LIFE offers are incredibly valuable inside and out of the network that markets them.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my journey in the LIFE business is the privilege of sharing life changing information with people.  I am currently reading the “friendship” chapter of Orrin’s new book – Resolved 13 Resolutions for Life.  I have learned more about being a true friend in the first handful of pages than I did through a lifetime of rough experiences.

A summary of Orrin’s Eight principles of true friendships.

  1. True friends share a common bond.
  2. True friends accept one another withholding criticism but abundantly spreading grace and forgiveness.
  3. True friends protect each others’ weaknesses while enhancing each others’ strengths.
  4. True friends encourage and serve each other.
  5. True friends listen with empathy, learning the hopes, struggles, dreams, and fears of each other.
  6. True friends celebrate one another’s success without a hint of envy.
  7. True friends are trustworthy (gossip separates the best of friends).
  8. True friends are loyal, respectful and will proactively defend the integrity of the relationship by addressing misunderstandings before they fester.

If only I would’ve read this 30 years ago.  How many mistakes I’ve made over the years, relationships I’ve wounded, bonds I’ve broken.  The good news, we have a God and a life that is full of second chances.

I have experienced more fulfilling friendships in the last 5 years with our journey in the Life business then I did in my entire life before the business.  I am so thankful for our mentors, and founders of the Life business, Dan Hawkins, George Guzzardo and Orrin Woodward, for their courage, wisdom, persistence, and principles that they live by and have taught openly to hundreds of thousands over the years.

The Life business is truly making a difference in the lives of individuals and our country as it brings back the pursuit of integrity, character and truth as something worthwhile and significant.  God Bless.  Matt