“I think forgiveness is a great idea until you have someone to forgive.” Ed Dobson

I watched an incredible video on forgiveness today and I want to share it with you.  Ed Dobson was the pastor of a large church for many years before he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or “Lou Gehrig’s disease”).

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

When Ed stepped down from pastoring his church, he discovered the emptiness of life caused by unreconciled relationships.

How many of us have relationships that require forgiveness?   I know I have too many to count!

Enjoy the 10 minute video and I pray that someday we all can say, “The list is done” as we look for opportunities to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. ~Matt

“When I die, I don’t want people to be silent.”  Ed Dobson


Click on the link below the picture, then click on the play button (you won’t have to pay to watch the video).

Ed dobson

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LeaderShift interview wtih Orrin Woodward

What an important week in the history of America as Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille’s new book launched on April 16th.  Being a part of the LeaderShift book launch and knowing that the LIFE community is writing history is very special indeed.

Take a few minutes to listen to an interview with Orrin Woodward:


Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Charlie’s Angel – not all she’s cracked up to be!

You, my 3 readers, have the distinct privilege of reading an excellent article from my most awesomeness wife.  I have seen first hand how a woman can lead a fulfilling role in the home as a mother, wife, and home-maker.  Enjoy the article. Matt


I recently finished a book study on biblical womanhood and it was fascinating, to say the least!  A group of girlfriends, including one of my personal friends and mentors Lisa Hawkins, read the book True Woman 101: Divine Designtrue woman divine designComing from a background of gender competition (I can be the primary bread-winner in our family – and was for a time), it was refreshing to read how God uniquely designed women.  It was a wake-up call to me (again) that there needs not be competition between the sexes.  The book study was a great reminder to continue to strive to live my life as a woman of God, rather than as a woman of today’s modern culture.

I grew up during the 1970’s and the feminist movement had already left the station.  The movement was a rebellion against the traditional ideas about womanhood, marriage, motherhood and morality.  Would I have been a passenger on that train had I been of age? Possibly, but even though I was too young to realize it, I was already being carried along in a culture that was embracing new ideas about women.  As a child of the ‘70’s I yielded my Charlie’scharlies angels1 Angels lunchbox (I wanted to be talented, tough and attractive too!) and sang songs of gender neutrality and individuality from “Free to Be You and Me.”

Feminist ideals paved the way for my right to vote, the encouragement of a father who instilled in me the belief that I could grow up to be a female doctor in a primarily male-dominated profession, and a culture that normalized my desire to succeed, no matter what my gender.

I was inundated with messages that taught me to pursue my rights, my career and my independence as a woman.  As I grew up, the role of wife and mother never seemed attractive as I watched even my own parents “swap” gender duties.  You see, when I grew up, both of my parents worked outside the home.  Yet, my father had a more flexible schedule, so it was my Dad who greeted me after school, sitting at the kitchen table and asking how my school day was as I ate my snack.

Needless to say, I was confused about womanhood.

During the time of my medical training, female physicians were still relatively uncommon.   I remember trying to seek out female physicians to learn how they “balanced” work and home. I somehow sensed that I was still going to need to manage both and that advocating my domestic responsibilities to my husband or daycare provider wasn’t going to get me completely off the hook.

Sadly, I was so career-oriented at that time that getting married during medical school and starting to have children during residency was almost a distraction to my ultimate goal:  to become a pediatrician. Today, I think it’s embarrassing that Matt’s first gift to me (ever) was a cookbook, recognizing that I hadn’t learned that all-important domestic skill!  And I think it’s somewhat ironic that I chose a profession (pediatrics) where I could “practice” being a mom, just not to my own children.  I didn’t get too far away from my inner desire (even if unrecognized at the time) to nurture children!

I found an article from Kathleen Parker, columnist for The Washington Post, published in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 2/14/13, that was relevant to my recent book study.  Her article looks at the consequences of Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique”, written as a manifesto of the women’s liberation movement.  Parker writes that, despite marinating in the mainstream ideas of feminism, women of these last 50 years have experienced a paradigm shift away from feminism that Friedan and many other leaders of the feminist movement may not have predicted.

Parker writes:  “(We) were becoming unwitting hostages to myths that few were brave enough to challenge.  My own skepticism came to full fruition the moment I became a mother.

pink handcuffs“Unlike (Betty) Friedan, I wasn’t tethered to home but to a job.  Rather than resenting the prospect of staying home with a baby, I was stricken by the realization that I couldn’t.  The ‘strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning,’ words Friedan used to describe thwarted ambition, was for me the sense of having abandoned my son.”

That’s exactly how I felt as the desire to be home with my own 3 children grew to volcanic proportions in me.  I was struggling to balance work and home as my heart was being pulled more toward my own kids, longing to raise them myself.

In October 2009, Time magazine pointed out that, ironically, as women have gained more education, more economic independence, more power, and more freedom, they have become less and less happy.

That was me!  After trying to work 60+ hours a week as a part-time pediatrician and struggling to find time at home with my husband and 3 kids, I had had enough.  I realized that the common myth that life would be more satisfying in the workplace than in my own home was false.

As Kathleen Parker writes, “And while women have the same need as men to lead meaningful lives, the feminist mystique’s great failing was in advancing the notion that caring for children posed an obstacle to self-realization.”

My recent book study has helped me realize that there is no obstacle to fulfillment and true freedom when I follow God’s divine design for women.

I highly recommend the book! And I highly recommend finding a group of friends and mentors like those in the LIFE community to show you the hope and joy that comes with following your divine design to be a wife and mother!


Posted in Family, Following, Freedom, Friends | Tagged , , , , , | 44 Comments

American Freedoms & LeaderShift

“We waged wars on poverty not poor people…”

Below is a copy of the most recent blog post by Orrin Woodward.   The LIFE business recognizes there is a problem,  but what is so refreshing is the solution that we present.  Enjoy the videos with discernment as the language is not child-friendly.  It’s time for a LeaderShift in this country, who wants to be a part of the team to make sure it goes in the direction of a freedom shift and not a  force shift?

Matt Mielke


Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 22, 2013

Jeff Daniels believes America is in decline. In fact, he believes this so emphatically that some of his language in this video is not children-friendly. I apologize in advance for some of the wording in this video. However, the points he makes and the discussion around it are so valuable that I decided to post it. Mr. Daniels has pinpointed the effects of the Five Laws of Decline upon American society. Nonetheless, identifying the effects and solving the issues are not one and the same thing. The Five Laws of Decline must be rooted out of our culture, ending the plunder of working citizens on both sides of the political aisle.

LeaderShift is Oliver DeMille and my proposal on how to do just that. I am posting Jeff Daniels video which states the challenge and then the trailer for LeaderShift which responds to the challenge. Yes, America, and the West, have much work to do, but what a great time to be alive and play a part in the LeaderShift!


Orrin Woodward

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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, 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

Posted in Faith, Family, Friends, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

How much does it really cost to live?

I’m not an economist by any stretch of the imagination, but I know that something isn’t right about our economy.  We are losing are economic freedoms at an alarming rate and we are in the middle of a LeaderShift movement across North America as we discover the daily losses of those freedoms and the need for principle-based leadership in our country.

Almost six years ago I received a call about a leadership group that was expanding in my area.  My wife and I  joined and have been on a self-directed education ever since.  Today, we call that self-directed education LIFE, and it was founded by Orrin and Laurie Woodward, Chris and Terry Brady, Tim and Amy Marks, George and Jill GuzzardoBill and Jackie LewisClaude and Lana Hamiltonand Dan and Lisa Hawkins.

I remember very distinctly seeing a graph titled “The 45 Year-Plan.”45 year plan It visually described the age that people start making money, the “flat-line” of income that occurs during the average working career, how much less money a person makes during retirement, and the discrepancy between the cost of living increases and the average raises.  At the time, I remember hearing that the cost of living was increasing 7-10% each year while our average raises were only going up 3% each year.

I was confused. During this same time, the government was reporting that the average raises were keeping up with the cost-of-living increases, cancelling any negative effects of inflation.  It didn’t make sense to me personally as I learned that more and more families were living paycheck to paycheck and running out of money before they ran out of month.

Recently, I found an answer to my confusion.

Peter Schiff is a well-known economist who recently shed some light on the possibility that our government isn’t accurately reporting the cost-of-living, downplaying the actual increases and therefore trying to create a false sense of confidence and comfort.

Watch the video and then click on the link below his video to read Schiff’s  commentary on this topic.

Click on Schiff’s commentary below to get more details to the problem.

I believe its time for the public to start a self-directed education so we can identify when something doesn’t sound right.  As best-selling author Orrin Woodward describes his latest book LeaderShift as a vehicle:leadershift

“…to provide new thinking to an old problem, using the Five Laws of Decline…….[LeaderShift] isn’t just a book, but a movement to restore the freedoms lost over the last 100 years (read 1913 for more details).”

As my kids play sports, I tell them, “You need to play better than the referees bad calls.”  In the case of our lives, we need to become better informed to make decisions, in case the referees of life (government, teachers, employers etc.) make the wrong decisions that affect us.  Take control of your future and don’t leave it in the hands of someone else.  Start your Life self-directed education today.  Godspeed on your journey.

Matt Mielke

Posted in Finances, Freedom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Teachable Moments with Children

“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink….but you can salt his oats.”   Orrin Woodward

lead a human to knowledge

There’s a Leadershift happening in our country and I’m so thankful we have the LIFE business to help us with the transition.

How many of you have come across a situation in life where you know the right thing to do, yet you don’t do it? For whatever reason we as humans have an innate ability to “know” a lot of great things but often times never apply that knowledge at the appropriate time.  But when we do, the results are spectacular.

I love my children.  They provide so much joy and happiness and so many  “teachable moments,” as LIFE founder Orrin Woodward calls them.

Recently, my 14 year old son was playing a basketball game for his Christian home-school team- The Saints.  The game wasn’t very close as Adam’s team outmatched their opponents, winning by a large margin.  I could tell something was happening on the court as I heard one of the opposing players say to his coach,”Tell #5 that he better shut-up.”  Sounded like a little “trash-talking” was going on.  My son is number#31, so I felt a bit relieved that “my boy” wasn’t causing all the fuss.  Yet, I was concerned because these boys were playing on a Christian home-school team and they should be playing to represent Jesus Christ.

As the game progressed I could visibly see the opposing players getting more frustrated as one of the players “leaned a shoulder” into my son as he walked by him.  It was the kind of action that inferred, “Watch out, you want to fight?”

After the game, the opposing coach came over and detailed how our boys were taunting and trash-talking their players.   I could see why his players would be offended, but it was nothing super serious though.  After all, it’s the heat of the game and it’s nothing like we see professional athletes do on TV.    

Not a big deal right?  Not so.  The situation was a big deal to me because these boys are supposed to represent the core of great sportsmanship, self-control, and grace.  They play for a Christian basketball team called the “Saints” for crying-out-loud.  In the locker room I shared with our boys what the opposing coach said, shared my thoughts, and presumed that was the end of it.   Until my son told me he was “one of the boys.”  Geesh.

Needless to say, I was disappointed in his behavior.  We’ve had many discussions over the years regarding good sportsmanship, encouraging others, leading by example, playing above the referees, and so on.

What was done was done and it was time to move on and I prayed it wouldn’t happen again.  I also prayed for another opportunity to play that team and a chance for Adam to make things right with the players and coaches that he offended.

The opportunity came the other day.  A few days before the game, I seized the chance for a “teachable moment” and encouraged Adam to find the player and coach and apologize.  Adam knew the right thing to do but completely rejected the idea because his pride was in the way (You can lead a horse to water…).  He wanted to protect his ego and not look stupid, rather than develop his character and integrity and do the right thing by attempting to fix the relationship

I tried not to press the issue because I wanted this to be his struggle and victory.  I didn’t hear anything from Adam until we were on the way to the game and he decided he was going to apologize.  I could see this wasn’t easy for him as he sat quietly not listening to the typical pre-game music.  I complimented him on his decision but raised the bar by asking, “What about the coach?”  Adam  threw his head back into the seat saying, “Awe Dad!”  The rest of the car ride was deafeningly silent.

During the warm-up I watched the scene unfold.  Adam went up to the player he offended and apologized.  Then he found the opposing coach and did the same thing.  Both player and coach acted quite surprised.  There was a little buzz on their side as athletes and coaches pointed at Adam, smiling as the message of his apology spread throughout their team.  I knew after that Adam had earned a victory no matter what the final score would be.

The game ended with our boys having another lopsided victory.  Yet, there was a different feeling during the game.  One of sportsmanship, hard playing and healthy competition.  After the game I went up to the opposing coach and apologized for my responsibility in Adam’s behavior.  He smiled and told me how he brought his team together before the game and let them know,  “They apologized, It’s all OK now.”  The coach released them of their anger and resentment  diffusing what could have blown-up into something regrettable.

It was a proud moment for Dad to see his son think and act like a leader at such a young age.  Adam showed me what true wisdom (information applied) and humility look like in real life.  Adam was given the right information, thought about it, and acted appropriately which provided a great teachable moment to share with others.

Pride is a huge problem that plagues our culture and prevents us from acting appropriately with the right information.  I’m so thankful the LIFE business helps families and individuals navigate the prideful waters of life.  LIFE is self-directed education that helps teach individuals to identify problems and find solutions.  It teaches us how to think and apply.  I’m not sure how that scenario would’ve played out without the LIFE business, but I do know it gave me the skills to lead the horse to water and help him drink.   Join the movement and experience your own life victories.

Matt Mielke

Posted in Faith, Family, Following, Freedom, Friends, Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

A Little Pep-talk on Encouragement

A couple of years ago I was inspired by LIFE business co-founder Orrin Woodward to write an article on encouragement.  Its a topic you can’t get too much of.  Without it you can slip into hopelessness and despair and with it you can move mountains.

The root word for encourage comes from an old French word corage – which means heart.  To have courage can be thought of as “to have heart.”  The prefix ‘en’ in encourage means “to make or put in.”  To encourage someone can be literally translated as to give heart or to put heart in someone.

Read the post from my good friend Dan Hawkins, LIFE co-founder and fellow encourager.

Matt Mielke


As I watched this video I could not help but smile and think of the all the people in the LIFE business who have encouraged me over the years.  Greg was kind enough to send me this link and is a friend who has always had a smile and a kind word for me.

It will take courage to accomplish in todays world and become awesome! Encouragement is the best way to help others muster up the courage to go out and succeed in LIFE.

Enjoy this video and remember to be an encourager of others! Make 2013 your year to be awesome!

God bless,

Dan Hawkins

Posted in Family, Following, Freedom, Friends, Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Obesity and the 8F’s of LIFE

Recently a friend of mine forwarded a news story that was aired on CBS national news.  Look at the image below and what do you notice about his office? Click on the image below to watch the 2 minute news clip of Congressman Billy Long.

cbs report with LIFE book

What a great message about battling adversity.  Watch it again and look at what books are displayed in his book cabinet.  Did you see the LIFE book prominently displayed!?! LIFE by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward

This post is not making any assumptions that Congressman Billy Long is involved with or endorses the LIFE community, or that the LIFE information has played any role in his current life victories.

However, this post is about life changes and how getting the right, principle-based information and associating with the right people can help us achieve and maintain life changes.  The LIFE self-directed education is designed to do just that.

Fitness is one of the 8F’s that the founders of LIFE have included in this self-directed education.  In regards to fitness, obesity has become a world health crisis.  In December 2012 the results of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study 2010 were published in the British Medical Journal LANCET.  One of the findings showed that obesity has become a bigger world health crisis than hunger.  CNN Health recently reported:

The report [GBD] revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades. Middle Eastern countries are more obese than ever, seeing a 100% increase since 1990.

I believe most people understand the health concerns related to poor diet, lack of exercise, and eating too much.  Yet, with all the awareness, why is the world heading into an obesity epidemic?  Researchers from around the world are looking into the health crisis trying to find the causes and identify some solutions.

Not to oversimplify the problem, I believe the answer lies within the individual.  In America marketing companies have multi-million dollar campaigns to  program us on how and what to eat.  Food is cheap, conveniently accessible and, in some cases nutritious.   Also, we are programmed to live very busy lifestyles with Moms and Dads working outside the homes, always on the run, and not able to prepare meals for the family and oversee what our children are eating.

What if the LIFE self-directed education provided the right information to help individuals and families turn that scenario around?  What if the LIFE income opportunity provided the means for Moms and Dads to become job-optional and stay home, lead their families, and still have the money coming in to support a healthier lifestyle?  Would you join the cause?

I certainly did.  And so have tens-of-thousands of individuals across North America.  Men and women from every age group and ethnic background are uniting to spread the concept of “compensated communities” to the rest of the world.

Congressman Long’s story ties in so well with what Orrin Woodward and the LIFE business represent: real people setting goals, fighting real problems, struggling through the obstacles, overcoming and maintaining those life changes so they can achieve success over a lifetime.

2013 will be an amazing year for many people, in particular for members and friends that are a part of the LIFE community.  At the end of January,there will be LIFE leadership conventions across North America that I encourage you to plug into.  I am proud to represent a business that gives the average person a chance to become a winner and reach higher levels of success than ever before. Matt Mielke

Posted in Family, Fitness, Friends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Leadership Guru in the Making – Dan Hawkins

Wow, my mentor has grown again!  His leadership blog was selected as one of the top 50 Leadership blogs to follow in 2013!

Most of my 3 readers know that one of the most influential and profound influences in my life is Dan Hawkins.  dan hawkinsI met Dan about 6 years ago when I was introduced to a leadership development project he was spear-heading in the area (we now refer to that as the LIFE business). Dan was 10 years my junior, talked fast and had a lot of posture.  He knew where he was going and he committed his life to follow the examples set forth by LIFE founders George Guzzardo and Orrin Woodward.

I specifically remember a moment when I was questioning my own leadership journey.  Was I doing the right things and was I following the right people?  Dan, with all the conviction and confidence one can have over the phone,  said, “Matt, I have chosen to follow Orrin Woodward because he has always delivered on his promises.  In fact, anything he has ever promised, he has delivered above and beyond that promise.”

I liked his answer.  Up until that time I never committed to anyone but me and I never bought into anyone elses vision except my own.  I was a rascal, alone and frustrated.  But Dan demonstrated humility to follow in the foot steps of someone else who has fruit on the tree.  He willingly set a new path for his life to grow and change and that encouraged me to do the same.

Dan recently shared one of his personal goals for 2013.

One of my goals is to continue to improve my writing and sharing through this [Dan Hawkins Leadership] blog. I believe in the principle Orrin Woodward teaches: “Ideas have consequences.”   The LIFE business and its founders have committed their  lives to bringing better ideas to the world to make a difference.

Now, Dan Hawkins’ leadership blog was selected by Evan Carmichael, from The Entrepreneur Blog, as one of the Top 50 Leadership Blogs to watch in 2013

Today, Dan pursues excellence in the areas that we call the 8F’s and has become a role model for thousands to follow- including me:).  Someday I believe Dan’s story will be written in book form and it will be hard to believe the transformation that has taken place in his life.  I joined Dan a few years in that transformational journey called leadership development and have “hooked my wagon to his train.”  My hope is to spread the “Dan Hawkins phenomena” and the cause for “leadership and transformation for the masses” as far as I can.

My question to you is this: Who are YOU following?  Do you have  mentors that have “fruit on the tree” in areas you are pursuing?  Are you humble enough to buy-in to another person’s vision?  Are you willing to follow their example long enough for you to develop your own extension of that vision — your own belief & commitment?  I have!

Godspeed on your journey to reach new heights of excellence in 2013!  Matt

Posted in Family, Following, Friends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments