Growing up in North Dakota, I took for granted living in a part of the world where we truly can experience all four seasons. I didn't realize how much I would miss the seasons and the changes associated with them until my wife and I lived five years in Kansas City. There we certainly had summer, but there was not a winter. And without winter you cannot have a spring. But what I truly missed was my favorite season: fall.
FARGO — Karl Pillemer is a gerontologist at Cornell University. In 2011, he and his team interviewed 1,500 adults over the age of 65, asking them what haunts them the most about their life choices. He then wrote a book called "30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans." Here are the biggest regrets of those interviewed: • Not being careful enough when choosing a life partner.
"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty back together again." I have a burning question for Humpty: Why was an egg-shaped character like you sitting on a dangerous wall like that? I know that hindsight is 20/20, but I can't determine any scenario where this seems like a good idea!
The question isn't if we will have problems. The question is when will we and what will they be? Life is a journey full of twists and turns, leaving us with a decision to make: Who or where will we turn when problems come? What will we do? What direction will we take? One of my favorite pastors and authors, Erwin McManus, said "We have to stop pretending that faith makes life easier. Your faith doesn't make life easier, it makes you stronger."
I am super blessed to participate in a book club and leadership roundtable led by Dr. Faith Ngunjiri, the director of the Lorentzsen Center at Concordia College, and Dr. Paul Dovre, Concordia College president emeritus. I am thankful for these two gifted leaders and each member of the group. Each of them bring a wonderful insight, perspective and wisdom I learn from and grow forward with.
FARGO — My greatest fears and life wounds are: the fear of rejection, abandonment, loneliness and failure. Growing up I felt "poor" so my entire life the spirit of money has whispered in my ear that money would protect me from my fears; money would insulate me from the pain of rejection, abandonment and loneliness, and as long as I had money I would never feel like a failure. Is that true? Of course not! Money makes promises it is unable to deliver with the goal of ruling our lives. This is exactly why Jesus said we cannot serve God and money.
FARGO — I did not grow up around men or women with military experience. As an adult I was thankful for and respectful of those who served our country in the military, but still had little exposure to those with military experience. That began to change when our son came home three months before high school graduation and told us he was meeting with an Army recruiter.
What a blessing it was to recently celebrate my wife's 50th birthday! As a pastor, perhaps in any profession and certainly in life, your spouse is your greatest attribute or your greatest anchor; your greatest blessing or your greatest barrier. I am thankful my wife is my greatest attribute and blessing. Prairie Heights Community Church has grown from a few people in our living room to weekly impacting over 2,500 people in Fargo and Bismarck.
When I think of what it takes to be a great dad, one of the key characteristics is a consistent commitment to connect with your children; to get into their world, their turf, their interests; to discover and discern their needs and hear their perspective; to be a great listener even when you are tired. As parents, it takes great self-leadership to connect with our children, but there is a powerful potential unleashed when we authentically connect with them.
FARGO — Our 4th-grade daughter Brooke started Taekwondo in January and she has learned several self-defense patterns. She will ask me at home, at the grocery store, anywhere the two of us are together, "Dad, can I show you my new pattern?" Children love to have their mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, watch them roller-blade, play T-ball, play a video game or jump on the trampoline.