day 136

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This week has been a difficult week for our marriage. Anyone who is married knows you have those weeks where things are just hard and you can’t seem to get along. When we get into fights one thing that clears my head is to go out and drive around. We dropped Liam off at Vacation Bible School and decided to do that with Laura. She made an interesting observation while we were driving around. At this point in our drive I saw this field, much different than most of the newly green fields of spring, stopped and got out to take a look and a picture. When I got back in the car Laura told me that she hadn’t even seen the field. She was so focused on herself and what she wanted she didn’t and couldn’t see the beauty around her. There’s very little we can’t truly control and when we try to take control of what we can’t or what’s not ours to do we focus on ourselves instead of what’s happening around us. That typically leads to negative thinking instead of positive. And as we discussed yesterday we want to surround ourselves with the positive.

Chris and Laura

day 135

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I’ve always been fascinated by perspective. Ever since some of my first art classes in school it has fascinated me how perspective can completely change the look or outlook of a picture or situation. This is one of my favorite roads on one of my favorite routes that I ride my bike on. If you were to look at this road from a map or aerial view you would see a long stretch of straight road. Nothing special. If you look at topographic information it’s completely flat and has even less interest. But taken from the perspective of my bike the road looks completely different.

Sometimes I think it’s helpful to look at what’s right in front of you. You don’t climb a mountain all at once and you certainly don’t achieve any personal change or goals right away. It’s good to see what’s right in front of you. But then again there are moments where it’s important to back up and see the bigger picture. How miniscule one day is to your entire life or history. When mistakes are made are you going to let it define more than just a dot on the entire stretch or will you move on and see the bigger picture? That’s why I love perspective.

Chris and Laura

day 134

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What is it about fish swimming that mesmerizes us? Is it the effortlessness that they pass through the water? How their lives flourish in a place inhabitable to us? Their variety or color and difference in shape that causes interest? I’m not really sure what the answer is but they do capture our imagination and attention.

This “look down” fish certain does spark the imagination. It’s fascinating though that it’s becoming a more popular fish to keep in aquariums because of its interesting shape and metallic color and the fact that there is no danger of it becoming endangered. Even with that fact though it only thrives even in captivity with schools of its own kind, kind of like us. Sometimes we would like to think we can be loners and would be better off by ourselves but we were meant to be around others, in community no matter how hard that can be.

Chris and Laura

day 132

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Returning home from a great trip or an amazing vacation can always be a downer. The inevitability of catching up with work back in your normal every day life sets in and a kind of depression can creep into your attitude. It can be even worse given tired kids in a packed car on a long drive home.

I was thinking about that fact heading home this weekend but realized it’s all a matter of perspective and we do have the power to control our thoughts. I snapped this picture while heading down the interstate and it reminded me that life is about the journey not a destination. And the journey home is part of that journey that we could miss. Miss a big opportunity to see or experience something unique.

I think one of the reasons for “the big letdown” after a vacation or trip is that we alter who we are and what we do on these trips. I’m not saying that stopping work to sharpen the axe is a bad thing at all. But we were created to work. It’s not some evil thing. And our routines keep us normal and centered. As we look forward to our summer vacation coming up this year I want to make sure that our daily routine doesn’t change that much. Sure we won’t be going to work but there’s other ways to enjoy that journey to, from and during that will keep us on track.

Chris and Laura

day 131

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We all had an amazing time visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Columbus and exploring the Columbus Zoo. The boys devoured every moment and have not yet stoped talking about what they saw and the fun they had. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you see someone you are close to but haven’t spent time with in a while. Distance will do that to people but it’s amazing how we can pick up right where we left off.

I noticed something in Theo yesterday, about his personality specifically, that I certainly need to emulate more and more. Theo when walking up to an exhibit or enclosure didn’t understand why he couldn’t move past the barriers and get as close to the animals as he desired. Most of the times he didn’t even see the glass there. He wasn’t fixated on the fence and what was keeping him safe but instead fixed on the animals: his goal. We spend so much of our time asking ourselves should we instead of making the commitment and asking how can I. Theo certainly was asking the right question and left his safety up to his Dad who always has a vigilant eye out for what’s best.

Chris and Laura

day 130

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A guy by the name of Rory Vaden talks a lot about “taking the stairs”. Doing the hard work in the short term to get the results you want in the long term. Our culture is focused on the opposite today. Focusing solely on short term fulfillment we are creating disasters for ourselves in the future. I see this every day with the people I meet and try to counsel and advise.

I believe everyone has areas in their lives where they are choosing short term easy over long term success. I know we have and do. One of the things we have focused on in this 12 weeks is waking up early and setting a wake up routine. While it was extremely painful in the beginning there is a compounding effect that takes place when you consistently make small decisions to do the hard work in the short term.

Our bodies are now used to waking up early in the morning and we consistently have two hours before the boys get up or anyone else for that matter to get a lot done. Our most productive time of the day is right away. We still value sleep and physical health, we just don’t stay up late or watch endless TV anymore. These decisions were hard initially and every now and then we don’t feel like doing it but there’s more excitement about waking up in our household than there ever has been.

This parking lot is testament to what we are trying to do, live differently than others. We do our grocery shopping early in the morning when no one is around and there’s no traffic. It’s saved us a ton of time and there’s a peace to it when no one else is around.

Now I’m not saying we do everything perfectly because we absolutely don’t. This is one area we have focused on to be better. But we also know there are a lot more to go. But we are excited for the challenges and the short term work that’s ahead of us.

Chris and Laura

day 129

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When I saw this tree from afar I immediately had framed this picture in my mind. I didn’t know exactly what it would look like but for some reason I thought it would be an interesting perspective. This tree set on a hill is a great analogy for what we continually go through in life.

I love hills. When I’m riding my bike or running I seek them out. Not necessarily for their view from the top (which isn’t always glamorous) but the journey up the hill. There’s nothing like the feeling of conquering that fear of getting started with something difficult, then settling in to the routine of doing it and enjoying the journey. I feel like too many people never start that upward journey because of fear of the difficulty or they stop far short of where they could have traveled. It’s always about the journey not the destination.

Chris and Laura

day 128

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Contrasting colors can be very visually appealing. The differences in each draw out another level of beauty not seen when surrounded with the identical. These contrasting leaves really drew me in because of their stark differences in size, shape, color and texture.

On our journey to work towards excellence to achieve our goals Laura and I have talked a lot about what makes us different. Sure we note our similarities but those pale in comparison to our differences, especially in having polar opposite personalities. But that’s what makes us incredibly strong as a couple, as best friends, and as a team. There are many times we try to fight our differences, looking at the ways the other is different as a weakness and vulnerability. It leads to inevitable conflict. But when we surrender the notion that we should be the exact same we realize we are stronger because of our differences. We should embrace those characteristics and fully utilize our differences.

Chris and Laura

day 127

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Farms in early spring bring a lot of beauty to an otherwise barren piece of dirt with the crops coming up in their neat rows. It’s amazing to see the growth happen right before your eyes. With the full sun and hot weather the corn in Indiana seems to sprint towards the skies. It reminds me of how quickly my boys are growing up and getting taller- becoming bigger little people each and every day. Each season and part of a season brings something special. While we can anxiously look forward to what tomorrow or the future brings, worry and too heavy a focus on it will only bring the opposite of our hopes. Farmers might look at the fields and wonder what harvest might look like but there is beauty in these young stalks. Being present and enjoying the moment are what we are made for.

Chris and Laura