Weekly Thoughts

The intersection of work, life, sport and spirituality.




Micah, what do you want to be when you grow up?

My 4-year-old son looked at the tile floor deep in thought. Suddenly, he looked up with his eyes bright with anticipation. “A Jedi daddy. When I get bigger, I’m going to be a Jedi just like Luke Skywalker!”

I love the conversations I have with Micah. It is refreshing to see the world through his unjaded eyes and to get a glimpse into a soul where the whole world is ahead and dreams are alive with vivid color.

Thinking back to my own childhood, I answered that same question several times. A fireman, a doctor, a jet pilot, an architect, and a surfer were just a few of my dream professions. What child would have said ‘a director of business development and marketing’ anyway?

Outside of my lofty career goals, I strived through my youth to latch on to other activities to define who I was as a person. In junior high, most everyone is defined by some sort of activity. The jocks, the cheerleaders, the stoners, the nerds were just a few groups.  As we all looked to find our place, I locked on to what I thought the coolest people in school were…the skaters. I loved skateboarding from an early age. I was fascinated with surfing as a small kid, and living in Colorado, skateboarding was the next best thing. Skateboarders were counter-culture but still friends with all the other social groups. They did cool tricks and had cool hair. That’s what I wanted to be.

I was a skateboarder through junior high and transitioned to being a snowboarder in high school and college. I moved to California and became a surfer, and then became a triathlete. When being a triathlete wasn’t doing it for me anymore, I became a competitive cyclist, shaved my legs and started racing with 200 other shaved legged adult males. I moved to Colorado and became a runner, no… a trail runner, no…an ultra-runner…well…you get the idea.

Through all my various ‘identities’ I’ve had over the years, one place I have struggled is latching on to what it means to have an identity in Christ. What does it mean to be a ‘Christian’? It seems like such a small thing, but one area that I have struggled with is the stigma of some other Christian people and not wanting to be put in the same bucket as them. From the people holding up “You’re going to Hell” signs at football games to a few encounters with other Christians I have known over the years, I have struggled with embracing the identity.

But God is showing me something different. Hypocrisy and imperfection are results of the broken human condition. All of us have sinned, and part of my problem was putting too much stock in other people – specifically ‘Christians’- to do it right. I know full-well the extent of my own sin, and thank God for the grace He gives to cover it. Grace I should extend to others as well.

I’m beginning to realize three things:

  1. Having an identity in Christ means that I am a work in progress. I am an imperfect person pursuing a perfect God, and that’s okay.
  2. I have an opportunity to learn from my own past experiences and try and show the grace of Christ where I feel others have fallen short.
  3. Just because another person identifies with the title of ‘Christian’ and preaches hate does not mean I am like that person. It is like someone that calls themselves a runner but sits on the couch all day, eats junk food and does one 5K per year. That person can claim the title, but their actions don’t reflect the identity.

I’m starting to ‘own’ my identity and have more confidence in bearing the image of Christ, and that’s a good thing. I can be defined by what I do by being selfless, showing love, and embracing truth. I’m not perfect by the world’s standards, but thanks to grace, in God’s eyes I am. It’s pretty liberating and I’m humbled to be called a ‘Christian’. I’m an imperfect person pursuing a perfect God who loves us.

So next time someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up my answer is, “I’m a Christian, regardless of what I do professionally or recreationally, that’s all that matters most.” My prayer is that my son can say the same thing someday.


2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here

Achieving More

I had a business lunch with a gentleman this week that has done multiple endurance races. For this post, I’ll call him “Joe.” Joe calls himself an ‘adventurer’ and is always searching for that next thing to stretch his own level of comfort. He recently started a company to take business executives out on adventures and to teach them about living life to the fullest and reaching new goals that may seem impossible.

Joe talked about very successful business leaders he knows that ‘have it all’. One guy he talked about makes $20M/year and has achieved the peak of his professional dreams. He went on to tell me, “But something is missing. Deep down inside of each of these guys, there is a hole they are trying to fill. Even though they ‘have it all’, they can’t figure out what’s missing. It’s my job to help them find that missing piece through adventures. After they have achieved it all, I help them achieve more.”

More”, I thought to myself. More.

What I found interesting in the conversation is that Joe is starting to associate fulfillment with ‘more’ accomplishments. These accomplishments are physical in nature rather than business related, but it is still in the vain of more accolades. I can’t keep from coming back to the root of his original statement, “Deep down inside of each of these guys, there is a hole they are trying to fill. Even though they ‘have it all’, they can’t figure out what’s missing.

I personally know people that achieved amazing physical feats of endurance. I know people that have completed dozens of Ironman races and ultra-races. What is interesting is that even a lot of these people are wondering what is next. There is a hole they are also trying to fill, and it’s never enough.

Stop for a second and think. What if there is truly a deep longing and desire in us that we are trying to fill? What if we are all trying to fill that desire with MORE? More work, more money, more athletic accomplishments, more charity work, more being better parents, spouses or whatever it is you pour yourself into?

What if that desire and longing was divinely placed in you to connect to God, the creator of the universe? A God who will give you purpose and acceptance no matter what job title you have or how many medals are on the wall? A God who hard wired you for relationship and a perspective that the things of this world don’t matter as much as we think they do?

In the mist of all the things I personally strive for at work and athletically, I am already complete. I love a good challenge, but I don’t need more. I personally don’t have a deep need or longing to find out what’s next in order to feel peace. Sure, I had to die to placing huge importance on the things most of the world values the most, but the freedom I have is unexplainable. God has stamped my heart with grace.

I think Joe is right in saying “Deep down inside of each of these guys, there is a hole they are trying to fill.” Where he has it wrong is in thinking more accomplishments will fill the gap. What fills the gap is feeding the spirit.

When I look at the sunrise, I have joy in my heart and amazement that I know the creator of this beauty.

When I finish a race, I praise God for crafting such an amazing matrix of nerves, blood, muscle and skin that is capable of amazing things.

When I look at the world and politics, I have a peace in knowing that no matter what happens in the world while I am here, I am still in God’s hands and I will live eternally in His presence.

When I look at my bank account, no matter the balance, I know it is enough.

I have a joy that surpasses circumstance and a peace that is indescribable.

I don’t have all the answers, but one thing I believe is true– the only path to true fulfillment is relationship with Christ. With that, you will never need anything more.

Philippians 4:19
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.


What are your divers?

Since I work in marketing, I am always working in a strategic mindset trying to determine ways for my firm to position to win more work. My job is to dig pass the issues or the surface level project at hand to uncover the real reason the client wants or needs to move their project forward. In other words, “what are the project drivers?” “Why are they doing what they are doing? The answer could be anything from aging infrastructure they are worried about; to new regulations they have to meet. 100% of the time, there is a REASON they are looking for a consultant to assist them with the project. My job is to find that reason, and help position my firm to be the best team to address that driver.

As I headed into the office this past week, I was thinking about one of these project pursuits and my brain shifted gears to think about my own personal drivers. Why do I do what I do? What drives me to want to work out all the time? What drives me to work long hours at times and sacrifice personal time? What drives me to buy a cup of coffee for the guy behind me in line at Starbucks? What drives me to want to spend quality time with my family?

It is not an easy answer or even a uniform answer for all of my actions, but there is always a driver. Sometimes it is a driver of selfish ambition or a competitive desire to just win, get ahead or climb on top. Other times, I am driven by love and just a pure selfless desire to help, serve and bless those around me. The one thing I recognize is the pure conflict within my soul to want to do good and to fulfill my own desires.

One of my Facebook friends posted this on her page this week:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life: “A fight is going on inside me.” he said. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, and superiority. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, generosity, and truth. The same fight is going on inside you – and every other person. ”The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old chief replied, “The one you feed, Son.”

The apostle Paul in Romans talks of the same struggle: (Romans 7:24)

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

What are your drivers?

I’m not saying it is bad to be competitive or want to get ahead. I am saying however that it is bad if it is ‘driven’ from the wrong place. Are we using those passions to bless others? Are we humble in our ambitions?

As the holiday season is upon us and we reflect on the blessings we have been given, let’s take the time to examine our hearts. What drivers will you feed this season? Why are you doing what you are doing? Step outside yourself for a moment and feed the good wolf. The world will be a better place for it, and God’s love will shine through.

Like little children

The past few months have been some of the best months so far as a father. Watching my son discover the world one item at a time has been entertaining and I probably cry laughing at least once a day. Obviously, we cannot remember what it was like as an almost two-year-old, but nothing can compare to the but the innocent unveiling of the world and its creation to a toddler.

Imagine a world where everything is new. You open the door to a windy day and see a piece of paper carried along by the current and you stop to watch in wonder. The birds in the trees are singing their songs and you listen intently and marvel at their playfulness. The clouds in the sky form little shapes and you imagine the story being written in the heavens. Your interactions with others are sparked out of mystery, trust and joy.

I know God connects to each of us in different ways. He most often connects to me through nature, and I still get giddy inside every time I look up at the mountains or see a sunset. I will never grow tired of the outdoors and the sense of adventure that awaits in God’s creation. For others, it may be personal relationships that God uses the most to connect.  I think He looks down on us like we are toddlers in a new world, and gets just as much joy when we recognize the little things as I do as a father.

The hard part for us adults is slowing down and being aware enough to recognize His blessings. Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” I know many preachers and Christians will interpret this to say “don’t sin” or “don’t conform”, but what if the ‘pattern of this world’ is floating through life and not appreciating the blessings God gives? ‘Renewing your mind’ is critical to seeing the world anew every single second- just like my son.

Matthew 18:3 says “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Like little children dependent on their parents, loving and trusting of strangers, immersed in the beautiful awe of creation- yet unique? Like little children too innocent to be overcome by fear, failure, rejection and hate? Like little children smiling up at the sky when a bird flies by and sings a song?

Watching my son grow up is such a wonderful thing. It is amazing how such a little person can challenge my own faith so deeply and hopefully help me live more purposeful and committed. I can only hope to become more thankful and see those blessings that I may have overlooked in the past.

Keep it new.  

This is life

I’ve had three months to reflect since my last Ironman. This one was particularly special to me. Training was super difficult due to my full-time job, Micah at home and the need to fit eating and sleeping in the mix. We moved to Colorado, so I really did not have anyone to train with. When I wanted to go for a ride or run with a new acquaintance the conversation would stop short when I mentioned the distance of the workout. Finding running partners for 16-18 mile Sunday runs was impossible, so I spent long hours each week training alone.

When you are alone for 15-20 hours a week, you have a lot of time to think. While I love the terrain in Colorado and being close to family, I miss my friends in San Diego tremendously. I spend time flipping back and forth between thoughts about how much I love my new home, and how much I miss my old one. In some ways, the chaos of training for my Ironman took my mind off the emotion that comes with trying to rebuild your life somewhere new.

After the race, I went into a small depressive state. In some ways, I am still there. After you cross a finish line that big and experience the release of hearing your name called on the PA system, it is easy to get lost. There is no point to your workouts any more. You step on the scale to a bigger number each morning. You have an extra beer at night to escape but the reality of finding purpose is hard to come to terms with.

I have spent time asking what is next. Is another big event the answer? Is this all there is to life? Go to a job during the day, watch my son play around for a couple of hours at night put him to bed and then fall asleep watching The Voice just to repeat it all the next day? I felt so alive when I was training and now I feel so numb.

I understand what it means to fight depression. It runs in my family and unless you have battled it personally, it is tough to comprehend. Even talking to family about it is tough. “Why would you ever be depressed? You have a wonderful job, an even more amazing family, and a son that fills your heart with so much joy you want to explode.” And yet some days I don’t feel like getting out of bed. I have just recently come to terms with the fact that I have fought this disease most of my life. I can remember times in High School when I did not feel like getting out of bed and facing the day. Even thinking back further in my past, I have struggled to stay happy and connected to every moment.

Two things have been tremendous in fighting the battle. My faith gives me confidence that there is a greater purpose here. I look at each day as an opportunity to serve, and love others. I try to die to myself and let God lead. The second thing that helps me is sport. While I’m not the best athlete in the world, cycling and running provide me an outlet to fight my demons head on. The longer and more challenging the workout, the better. Make it hurt. I have never felt so alive as I do after a workout so long and hard all I can do is lay on the floor in exhaustion. The drug of crossing the finish line at Ironman is one that will keep me coming back for more. However, sometimes I wonder if this is really an outlet, or if I am simply running away from my fears and reality.

I’m writing about my battle for the first time in hopes that this will be my first step in overcoming the disease. If I am ever left without sport as an option, I need to face the reality of life and quit running from it. I need to look at my beautiful family, thank God for the air He gives me to breathe and know that is enough. As we rebuild our lives here in Colorado, I know there will be the usual ups and downs. We will meet new friends, build new memories, run new races, and see the sun rise many times. This is life.


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”


The moment finally arrived. I scraped together my hard-earned pennies and headed to the Apple Store last week to buy my latest technological gadget –the iPad 2. I’ve been drooling over the little tablet for a little over a year now, and figured next to having my own little R2D2, the iPad would be my personal assistant to solve all my A-D-D organizational flaws.

I’ve always been a tech geek. About a decade ago I remember sitting in my living room with a buddy of mine as we sent computer files between our laptops with the latest invention of infrared transmitters. We put our laptops within the required six inches of each other and hit the ‘send’ button and watched in wonder as the invisible airwaves carried electronic documents from one computer to the other.

“Dude, information is flying through the air right now,” my buddy said. “Crazy man.”

No we were not on drugs. Just a high dose of computergeekism.

Fast forward 10 years and I am now staring at my iPad download information from outerspace at an alarming rate. We are in the age of wifi, 3G, 4G, 5G, somethingG, I need it nowG, give me more bandwith consumerism. Everyone has a smart phone iSomething to make life more convenient and require less human interaction. Text data, phone data, little particles of meaningless chatter data are now filling the air in front of us every second of the day.

Staring down at my new iPad I started wondering if Google Earth was actually populating my head as it flew into my device across the space-time continuum. I guess I’m still in awe of this little tablet device and the interworking of technological advancement.

Somehow all of this works. Somehow we are all connected. America, Europe, China, and a little island or two I’ve never heard of are bound together by the threads of wifi and Google. We are all connected by 3 and 4G speeds, Skype and little handheld devices. It’s the invisible glue.

What if you just decided that you didn’t believe in wifi? You decided that these electronic carrying particles of space are a myth. You decide that you only believe in the things you can see. You passionately live your live ignoring the possibility that there is ‘electronic’ glue in the universe. Does your belief change the reality of its existence?

I believe in an absolute truth. Just like I don’t know all the interworking details of how the heck my iPad works, I know that there are waves flying through space that make it happen. I don’t need to know much more than that, but when I see it work, I know there is something there.

Look at the world around us. A lone sperm turns an egg into a human with lungs, feet, eyes, a brain, and a full circulatory system that just so happens to survive off of the air that fills this rock that we walk around on. The air we breathe is purified by a little seed that grows into a tree that sheds its weight every winter. The sun rises and sets on a planet full of life and an organized system of creation.

Yes, this was designed for a purpose. That’s the faith I have inside. Like the invisible waves that make their way into my iPad, God fills my heart with wonder of the interworking of the universe we live in.   iFaith.


Psalm 19:1-6
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words;  no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,  their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.  It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.  It rises at one end of the heavens  and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

SUV Environmentalism

I went to a business conference this past week at one of the local military bases to hear more about the future trends in Military construction opportunities. Everyone in my industry knows that military construction spending is at an all time high, and just about everyone is trying to figure out how to get a piece of the action.

I showed up early and shook some hands, exchanged some business cards, and eventually took my seat at a table close to the front of the banquet hall. They had a Military General that would be delivering the keynote speech that morning, and I was excited to hear his perspective on energy use and our government’s role in decreasing dependence on foreign oil. OK so I know I’m a geek about this stuff, but as a former Boulder resident, public transportation, bicycles, and ‘green’ initiatives are important to me. I’m the only guy at my office that tries to ride my bike to work and takes the trolley around town to meetings. It’s just how I roll (pun intended).

Major General Anthony Jackson went on to give a speech that was beyond compelling. He talked about the wars our country is fighting around the world, the blood that has been shed, and the direct and indirect links to natural resource control. While we are combating terrorism, we are also working to preserve our appetite and hunger for oil and the countries that control those resources. I was struck that this was not a ‘PR’ pitch. Rather this was a high level General that worked in the pentagon talking about the closed-door discussions on military strategy.

Without getting too political, General Jackson went on to inspire people that we can all do things to make a difference in our dependence on foreign resources. He bought a hybrid car, put solar panels on his house and telecommutes when he can. He is not looking to save money, but rather to decrease his personal footprint. He may never see the payback on his investment, but he knows that if everyone made a few changes, we can stop some of the unnecessary global conflict.

Jackson got a standing ovation at the end of his speech. People were buzzing with excitement.

I left the meeting and walked past a parking lot of SUV’s on the way to my own car to drive back to the office. I wondered how many of the people in that room would be trading their SUV’s for electric or hybrid vehicles over the next year because of the General’s speech. Unfortunately, I may be a cynic, but I think changing behavior is a lot more difficult than inspiring people with a 45 minute keynote speech. Behavioral change takes work.

It’s not unlike sitting through a feel-good sermon on a Sunday morning to get you ready for the week. The “hoo-rah, I’m gonna be a good person this week” inspiration melts down when your boss makes you mad on a Monday morning.

The problem I believe is not the desire to be a good Christian; it is the lack of commitment to the lifestyle. It starts with the little things like volunteering your time, and continues to things like being disciplined about where you feed your mind and what you are saying about others. Does your world focus around you? How do we expect to love the world around us when we don’t step outside our comfort zone and consciously decide to change and move our focus externally? While 80% of American’s claim to be Christians, we live in country full of divorce, gossip, greed and selfishness. It’s like we are a bunch of SUV driving business people giving a standing ovation at a speech about environmentalism.

What makes you different?

Matthew 7:5
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Paying Attention

I hate being sick. If catching the seasonal head cold isn’t bad enough, having to stay at home all day curled up drinking green tea and watching daytime TV is enough to make anyone go mad. One thing for sure, I have plenty of motivation to get back to work after channel surfing for 18 hours.

Posting my self-loathing sickness status update on Facebook, I had a number of friends write comments back to me ranging from ‘get well soon’ to ‘hey, don’t forget Oprah comes on at 4’. Gotta love my friends.

Sitting there bored with nothing better to do, I thought I’d flip the channel to Oprah, take a photo with my phone of the TV and text it to my buddy to let him know his girlfriend was on. Everything went according to plan, except my plans to flip the channel back to the other less-than-engaging show I was watching. Oprah had me roped in.

Now I have never in my life watched an episode of Oprah all the way through, but there are firsts for everything. Oprah had a show on vegan diets, where our meat comes from, and the health benefits of eating vegan. It was fascinating to see the process that our food goes through before it gets to your table. Humans consume over 9 billion animals a year and seldom do we ask the questions where our food comes from or what we are putting in our bodies.

Now I was not shocked by the process of butchering cattle, nor was it inhumane enough for me to swear it off as evil, but it was eye-opening to observe it on camera. Cattle are raised like crops, harvested like crops and eventually they get to your table.

There was a lady on the show who had written a book about being a vegan that was the ‘expert’ on the topic. I thought it ironic that she was not a nutritionist, but a proclaimed ‘lover of animals’ wanting to live in harmony with all life forms (except plants of course). Various people on the show took a challenge to eat vegan for a week and most felt better physically after the week was done.

OK I’m a cynic.

As an athlete, I hear about every sort of diet you can imagine and how they are all good for you somehow. All natural, gluten-free, no meat, all meat, vegetarian, vegan, low-fat, high-fat, low sugar, etc. What I don’t think people often realize is that the one thing in common with all diets is that people are PAYING ATTENTION to what they are eating. When you are paying attention, you typically consume less bad stuff and more good stuff. You don’t eat as much and you feel better.

Oprah brought up the needed realization of where our food comes from. As believers, our food that we live on should come from a spiritual source. When we stop paying attention to the source of our food, we start living in the world, worrying with the world, and we get tangled up in the world’s drama. When we are living according to a higher purpose, we are getting our food, our advice, and our power to live from a place that allows us to rise above it all. The key to it all is once again PAYING ATTENTION to what we are eating.

Am I eating too much TV, talking too much gossip, and spending too much time listening to negative people? Or am I eating up the promises and love that God has given us through his word and relationships with others. Am I taking nutrition advice from human sources and not listening to God Himself?

I do know that when I am PAYING ATTENTION I feel better. And man, I love feeling better….


PSALM 121:1-2
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
   where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth.

The Deep Blue Sea

I’ve never been huge on the sport of swimming. Often referred to by triathletes as the ‘necessary evil’ of triathlon, the swimming leg for many of us is the one leg that separates the elite athletes from the rest of us. I know plenty of people (including myself) that can bike and run well, but we will never truly be great unless we can swim faster and more efficiently.

Somewhere about mid-summer, I typically find myself back in the ocean for open water swim workouts. While I love the ocean, there is something about swimming in the vast blue sea that can be daunting. There are no pool edges, no lifeguards, and no ropes to grab onto if something should go wrong. There are waves to contend with, and beneath those waves there are a variety of sea creatures lurking in the depths.

Despite all the elements, I have seen some beautiful things swimming in the ocean. Bright orange fish, sea lions, dolphins, leopard sharks and starfish. It took some time swimming out in the ocean to get past my deepest fears of the unknown. That was until this summer.

About a month ago, the lifeguards on the beach that I typically swim at spotted two 15-20 foot great white sharks just off the coast. For those people that don’t know about great white sharks, they typically have huge teeth and can eat you if they get hungry. In addition to the shark sightings, there have been jellyfish the size of trashcan lids and tentacles longer than 10 feet in the same waters. They are extremely rare for San Diego waters, but they do sting.

I stopped swimming in the ocean and hit the pool.

The whole situation made me realize how sometimes ignorance is bliss. If I would have never heard about the sharks, I would have kept swimming. If the jellyfish had not been on the news, I would have kept swimming. I would have not been crippled by fear.

The flip side to all of this is that while ignorance is sometimes bliss, ignorance still remains ignorance. The things we don’t know can indeed hurt us. I didn’t want to be the idiot losing a limb and have the world tell me “yeah dude, what the heck were you doing out there anyway? Didn’t you know there were sharks in the area?!”

I think sometimes as Christian people, we get scared to know more. We are comfortable with where we are at as Christians and don’t want to know more about the dangers lurking in the water. We don’t want to know about the sharks, or have to be accountable for having to live up to a new standard of faith. The second we know about the sharks, we have a duty to adjust our course and rely even deeper on Christ.

The beautiful thing about Christ is that He promises to take care of us.  The more we learn and know, the more we realize that it is by his Grace that we are alive in the first place. We have to give up control. We have to swim in the ocean, and yes there are sharks.

I would challenge people to step back and look at the things that are crippling them spiritually. Learn all you can, and face your fears. Jump in the water and let go.


1 Peter 1:13-16
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Blog at

Up ↑