I have a New Blog

Hey Everyone! I create a new blog called Bruce Bucks! Please come join me on my new site, as I will be posting new blogs from there moving forward. Please feel free to follow me on twitter as well and I will gladly follow you. I look forward to sharing my new blog with you. Let me know your feedback.



I have Moved

Hey everyone! I created a new blog! Please come follow me at www.brucebucks.com.

My Goals Need your Help

Sorry all you readers, but I am going to ramble about my money situation again. The main goal right now is to pay off our Student Loan debt. My wife just recently got a teaching contract for the year, so we are excited about the consistent income that will come in throughout the year. We believe that we can make good progress on paying off our student loan, but we have to stay focused. Once we start making more money it is easy to relax and think we have arrived, but we have a long way to go. The last three months we have only been able to throw $200 at our loan, and it makes you feel like you are not moving anywhere. Do any of you ever feel like your in a financial ditch? I am in it right now.

The goal during this next month is to put a plan in place that will lay the ground work for paying off our student loan. We have to try to plan for most expenses coming up this year. The fall brings about more expenses with Christmas on the way. Traveling to see family is going to cost us $1000, and that does not even include the gifts. Those of you who have saved all year for your Christmas fund, hats off to you.

Here are my goals for this 2010- 2011 year. Save $5,000 for our emergency fund. Pay off $10,000 in student loan debt. These goals may sound simple for many of you out there, but this would be a huge accomplishment for us. I will use this blog to monitor our progress and if all you could please keep me accountable to them.

What savings plans do you have in place for this year? I know 2010 is almost over, but what do you hope to achieve financially, or in your personal life?

Thanks for stopping by


Delayed Gratification

I have to announce that I have been so proud of my wife lately! We recently moved into a new condo, (new for us, not a newly built condo) to check it out click here, and my wife has happily been decorating it fairly inexpensively. All our furniture was found on craigslist for a fraction of the original price. Her new hobby is searching for deals on craigslist. The reason I am proud is because we currently have a older TV on our entertainment piece (I think that is what she calls it), and it is more than obvious that the TV is too small for the piece of furniture.

This piece of furniture was built to perfectly hold a 46" Samsung LED TV, but currently we have settled for a 22" memorex wanna be flat screen. We could have easily gone out and bought a brand new flat screen TV with one of our credit cards, or signed up for a 0% interest for 12 months deal, but we decided to wait and pay cash. My wife and I both know that once we get a flat screen, we will eventually want cable, then HDTV, then a Blue Ray player, and on and on. We want to be able to afford these small luxuries without getting in over our heads. Some of you might be thinking, why do you even need a flat screen? We don't need one truthfully, but it is something that we want to save up for. Just like many of you who went out and bought a new macbook pro. It is a luxury, but not a necessity. My wife loves decorating and making our place feel like home and this TV has been ruining the entire feng shui of our condo. I am proud of her for being patient with me as we save up for it. Our place does not look perfect in her eyes yet, but one day soon. A little delayed gratification will make it so much better to walk out of the store with a paid for flat screen TV.

What are the small luxuries in your life that you had to save up for? Was the delayed gratification worth it?

Thanks for stopping by, I would love to hear your comments.


I have no Motivation!

My motivation for working and saving money has been lacking a lot lately. I need to set myself goals in order to stay motivated. Does that mean I have no self ambition or drive? Or am I just normal? Do I want to be normal? Sports used to force me to work out, because coaches would push you hard in practice. Now I have no one to push me, but my only motivation now is fear of looking like this guy.

In order for me to get to the gym and start saving money it takes a conscious effort in order to make any progress. It seems to come so natural for so many other people, but maybe that is just me complaining about my financial situation, and pretending that everyone has it easier. I have recently set a few new goals for myself. I just started working out again, for now I have chosen two nights a week to go to the gym after work. We have a gym at work, so it just makes sense to stay later while the traffic clears. So far so good, hopefully I can make it a habit. I have set certain weights that I want to be able to lift, and a particular distance that I want to be able to run.

As far as saving money goes, my 403(b) helps, but I need to save more cash. My goal for the end of 2010 is to have $5,000 in savings. I need to either setup an auto savings plan, or become more consistent with transferring money to savings. Currently my wife and I are throwing money towards debt, and bills but not enough towards the savings fund. This month we have to buy 4 new sets of tires, which will cost us $1300, and is a total progress downer. Then Christmas is coming up, so I guess there will never be the perfect month to save, but I just need to make it more of a priority. So I ask you experienced savers out there, what tricks or methods do you use to help make saving money a priority? How do you stay on the incline and not flat or declining? Do you have auto-savings plans? Do you pay yourself first?

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to your feedback.

(picture from scrapetv.com)

I LOVE MY 403(b)!

In the last month my Roth 403 (b) benefits kicked in for work. I contribute 6% of my paycheck and my work will match it with 7%. I must say that I am loving this new savings vehicle. I love that it never hits my checking account. At times when I take money from my checking account and move it into Savings, it feels like I am taking money away and taking all the fun out of life. Sometimes my wife will see that we had a large deposit in our account and she will take a fresh breath of air, and then find out I took a bunch and moved it into savings, and I become the kid that you don't bring along to parties.

I love my 403(b), because it is consistently growing. I check the account every few weeks or so and I can see that it has moved up a few hundred dollars more. It is encouraging because I know my Net worth will be growing little by little. My savings can go up and down at times, because of unforeseen circumstances, car breaks down, or currently we need new tires for both cars. The 403(b) will not be impacted by my daily life, it will continue going about its own business.

Sure I will not see this money for a long time, but that is the great thing. If I could access this money now, I would figure out some excuse to use it on something I really "NEED". I can think of plenty of ways to spend a couple hundred bucks every couple weeks. So for those of you out there with 401(k)'s, 403 (b)'s, or automatic savings plans, have you told them you love them lately? But seriously do find that when money never touches your checking account it is easier to save money?


Hey everyone! Just a quick article on leadership check it out http://bit.ly/aqPuPt. Hope you are all doing well.

I Confess!

"But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God."- Elizabeth Gilbert

I confess I am currently reading Eat, Pray, Love. Go ahead and laugh, but since I started the book, it has been inspiring. It is an honest book about the difficulties we all face in life. At one point in time we all have questioned the American life. It is easy to become unsatisfied with the American life, that we almost feel forced into. We go off to college, get married, start a career, buy a house, have kids, raise your children until they move out, retire, travel, move to an old people community, and then die. The American life is laid out perfectly for us in this nice neat little box.

Eat, Pray, Love is about an individual who became unsatisfied with the mundane planned out life, and she wanted out. She wanted to travel and experience more than the American dream. She wanted to experience cultures, foods, and spirituality beyond what her current life could offer. This is one of those books that makes you dream, and seek new life changing experiences.

I love being married, and I love the life I have lived so far, but I want to always remember that I do not have to live like the average American. I do not need to settle on a career and work there for 30 years and then retire. I do not need to have kids 1-3 years into marriage. There should be no pressure to do these things, or expectations to live up to them. The quote above reminds me to use my heart to view life. See life as an opportunity to love and enjoy the world. If I allow myself to enjoy the different cultures, places, and people around the world I know I will see God in new ways that I have never experienced before. God is not an American. God is all over this earth, and in the small cracks and remote places of this earth, and Eat, Pray, Love is a fresh reminder of that.

So for those of you who have read the book, what are your takeaways from the book? For those of you who have not read the book, first I encourage you to read it, and second, what are your thoughts on the quote above? What are your reactions to this post?

- Matt

Days off

On days off all I want to do is enjoy the simple things in life. Work days are filled with rushing around... Driving in traffic.. And very few hours to relax. On days off I try to read, walk, ride bikes, and take each day as slowly as possible. Just finished cannery row by John Steinbeck and I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of those books that makes you get caught up in the small joys in life like great food, friendship, fires by the river, beer, and great adventures. I highly recommend it. I hope to fill my days off with more good reads, so any suggestions out there for good books, good albums, good foods?

Check Out Punch Debt in the Face

My guest post is up today at Punch Debt in the Face's website. Kinda of a fitting reflection on my one year anniversary. All newly weds deal with this issue of personal finance in Marriage. Go check it out and let me know what you think. I would love to hear your comments.

We have Moved!

Ashley and I just moved into a new place last weekend. Thanks to my dad's help we were able to get everything moved in one day. 5 trips from the old apartment to the new one was all it took (4 trips, two full cars each trip, all day thursday). You could say we have upgraded in the world. We still live in a one bedroom, but the square footage is a bit bigger, and the place is newly remodeled.

Moving can be expensive. Especially when they charge you a two full months rent to start off with. For big city people or California that can be one full months income. It definitely makes you rearrange your money around in order to meet those demands.

Has anyone ever done direct deposit for their rent before? It starts taking the money out a week in advance before it finally drops the money into another account. The money has to be available a full week prior to when it is due. This can be tricky as well, because sometimes paychecks do not come in until the friday before. Lessons learned in this new place. We love it and how to spend a few years here...

Here is first look....

I am sure there will be many more to come. We are off to Seattle Saturday Morning to watch Debt Ninja get married. Have a good weekend everyone.


Guest Appearance

In the next week I will be doing a guest appearrance on Debt Ninja's blog Punch Debt in the Face. Newlywed Finances is the topic. Be looking out for it.

Ashley and I recently moved into a new place and we are very excited about it. I will post pictures in the next few days....

Lost Touch

Sometimes we lose touch with the things we once held dear to our hearts. This post will not consist of some sappy story, but I believe that I have lost touch with aspects of life. Let me explain...

I was at a friend's house today and I picked up an old book that I had not read in awhile. The book consists of some deep and insightful truths about life, spirituality, and love. Holding the book in my hand reminded me of how inspired I felt about life when I use to read those chapters. I wanted to live differently because of these stories and truths. The book was My Utmost for His Highest. Sometimes the book can be over your head, but other times the truths are simple and relevant. I love contemplating God and life and how they interact. These thoughts cause me to dream, wonder, and change.

I love to read, because it is like you are listening to another persons thoughts and imagination. I've always wished that I could be better at putting my thoughts into words. I always feel like I fail to truly articulate exactly what I am feeling. I read a book by the pool this weekend by Hemingway, and it was so nice to get caught up in a story, forget about my own reality, but at the same time compare that story with my life.

My point is that I feel like I have let some of those passions die for a bit in order to focus on other priorities. My passion for life is the people that I interact with from day to day. I love sharing life with others, and I want to continue to connect my life with people. I have lost touch with the reality of God, life, and people and how beautifully they interact with each other, but I am sensing a bond beginning to grow again.

Thanks for listening. Please share.

Im a Kid Again

One of my many things that I put on my list to do this year was fix my bike. It has been rotting away on my front porch since we got married. Spiders made it their home with cob webs throughout the spokes. Birds frequently use the handle bars to perch and poop. Ashley got a new bike last week, and named it Ruby, so that inspired me to fix up mine. It makes so much more sense to take your bike to the beach than your car. You never have to worry about parking, and you are more mobile around town. After work yesterday I started calling around to price out how much it would be to fix. Got some $60 and $50 offers for new tires, new tube, an inner lining, and they said it could be fixed by next week. I decided to wait until this morning to check out a local shop and I am glad I did. I walked my crusty bike into the shop and was out of there in 20 minutes with new tires and tubes. Tires were $12 and tubes were $4.50. Ashley and I road our bikes to the beach, to lunch at Pizza Port, to a friends house, and then back home. Bikes give you this weird sense of freedom, and make you feel like a kid again. :) I decided that I want to ride more often, and now I can. There are so many benefits to riding bikes. Save money on gas, no pollution for the air, and it is good exercise.

I know you all probably have a bike somewhere in the garage or in your backyard. I encourage you to pull it out and take it for a spin. Ride it to the grocery store, or around the block. I need some help coming up with a name for my bike. Like I mentioned before Ashley's bike is the Schwinn pictured above named Ruby. Mine is an old Shogun road bike with a lot of history connected to it. Anyways, thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to completing many more items on my list for 2010.

The Newly Weds Trip to the Beach

Over the weekend Ashley and I spent some much needed time at the beach. I usually do not mind going with ashley and doing what the girls call "Laying Out". I usually bring a book and my ipod to pass the time. This weekend we stayed for 3 hours!!!! I read a few chapters and listened to some music for awhile, but that was all the "laying out" I could handle. I walked around for awhile, went from one end of the beach to the other. I come back and ashley has yet to move. How do women sit still for so long? They could lay there forever. I told ashley that we needed to have some sort of activity that we played during these "laying out" sessions. I saw some couples playing volleyball, frisbee, and paddle ball. I think I will convince her to try paddle ball or whatever its called. I am a guy and I need some form of sport to play or game to keep my interest levels high. So what about you all, any other people out there experience this? I understand you all do not have access to the beach, but I am sure you have similar experiences.

The Balancing Act

In one week I will be starting a new position within the University that I work for. There has been a lot that I have learned about myself and my career throughout this transition. The first thing I learned is I hate interviewing. It is weird for me. You have to basically go into a room and brag about yourself for a half an hour. I am not a bragging type of person, and I feel uncomfortable doing it. In an interview you have to brag though, because they need to know why they should hire you.

Through this transition of jobs I have learned a lot about career choices. I tend to become content with my job once I have learned my responsibilities and I know I perform them well. I was hesitant to take this position at first, but I received a nudge. Change is good and it keeps you learning and growing. This new position will keep me growing and developing. I will be challenged again and start to develop new skills. I encourage all of you out there to take a risk and try something new if it is available to you. It might be different at first, but if it is a good development opportunity, then go for it. (Thank you Ashley for pushing me :) )

I try to remember to keep my life in perspective and not allow my career to take over. I tend to go through phases where I can get obsessed with certain things in life, and put too much emphasis on them. I should care about my job and I should do it well, but that does not mean that it should consume me. I am learning to find a balance between career development and my big picture perspective on life. My career should not dictate my life.

So I ask you? What risks or big changes have you made that you have learned from? Was it hard or relatively easy? How do you balance your career with the rest of your life?


April has been a crazy month. At the end of March we went on a great trip to see my sister and brother in law as well as my nieces and nephew. We had such a great time with them. Another surprise was we were able to see David and Alyssa and their new addition to the family, Zachary.

Since April began we had family in town the first week and then House-sat the next two weeks. During this time I went back to school to get a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. First class in about 7 months and I must say I hate school.

I do not enjoy doing papers again that is for sure. It has kind of thrown Ashley and I's whole routine off a bit. I can no longer just come home and hang out, because I have to come home, eat dinner, and then work on homework. The main reason I am going back to school is because it is free. I have to take advantage of that right?

This brings up the question, would you do anything just because it is free? Is there anything in your life that you choose to do, and would otherwise not do, just because it is free?

I hope to post more frequently. My class ends this week and I have a month off. :)

Busy, Busy, Busy

I started up school this month and my free time has been taken over by reading textbooks again. Why I am going back to school? It is Free! I will try to post soon. Sorry for the long break.

Paralyzed By Shame

Our Pastor spoke about Shame this morning and it really challenged me. Shame can be paralyzing. Shame is not the same as guilt. Guilt is a feeling after you have done something wrong. Shame is the feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with me. What causes Shame? My pastor was saying that Shame comes from the Human need to feel valued. We should feel valued by God and find our worth in God, but more often than not, this is not the case in our lives. Our value comes from our Job, our appearance, our talents, and our friends and family. If any of these areas fail, our lives become shattered, and our sense of value begins to crumble.

A lot of my value comes from wanting to please those closest to me. I am afraid of failure. I want to please those around me and so in my quest for perfection I am scared to take risks. I do not want to take the wrong job, because I do not want to disappoint or make the wrong decision. I settle for good enough, in order to maintain my value. My inadequacies force me to try to earn value in other areas of my life. Fear of failing keeps me paralyzed, as I seek to please people. I need to know that someone needs me, or that I matter to someone, in order feel my worth.

Sure these feelings sound ridiculous, but we all feel inadequate, or below other people's standard. We allow those standards to paralyze us from really living. The truth is that we will never match up to these expectations, and that our sense of value will never be fulfilled. We are going to fail in some way at our job, in our marriage, and with our family.

Living without shame comes with a realization that God is our Redeemer and restorer. We are not perfect, but God has already made up for our imperfection. We are all sinners, but we all can be restored by God.

The Road to Restoration includes living lives free from Shame and finding value in the love of God. I am not trying to simplify life, because living without shame is not easy, but I desire to fully accept God's love for me. I need to be satisfied with that alone.

Off Line- Update on life.

Sorry everyone, I have not had access to the internet at my house for most of the week. The "Internet Guy", came this morning and fixed everything. Lots has happened this week that I must share. My sister and her husband celebrated their 10 year anniversary on Thursday. Isn't that crazy! I wonder what life will be like for Ashley and I in 10 years. Kids? Probably!

My youngest Niece turns 3 today. Happy Birthday Regan. My cousins David and Alyssa just found out that they were selected to adopt a 14 month old boy named Zachary. I could not be more excited for them. Ashley said she will be shopping for Zachary this weekend. My other cousin Whitnee is due to have her baby boy soon. So much is happening its hard to keep up with everything.

We got our Tax refund yesterday and My Bank account has never looked so full. It pumps me up, because now we can pay off our final credit card. God has definitely provided for Ashley and I. P.S. Ashley loves her job and is doing such an amazing job as a teacher. She works six days a week and is such a hard worker. I could not be more proud of her, and I love being her husband.

My other sister is now moving to Philadelphia, we are sad that she will be so far away, but now it gives us a reason to go visit.

I hope to take some pictures this weekend and post them on here. Hope all is well with you all.

Remodel and Restoration

Hey I wanted to just check in real quick and see what you think about my newly remodeled blog. All the thanks goes out to Punch Debt in the Face, Ninja helped me with the set up and design. As you can see I changed the name at the top. A little background to the name. I really feel like life is all about restoration. Many aspects of life are broken, and God really wants to restore us back to who He created us to be. I believe that I am here on Earth to Love and help in that restoration process. Restoration might be sought out by restoring Justice in Uganda, restoring peace in Sudan, or helping restore a broken family by offering support. This blog is also about my own life and my own journey towards restoration. Learning how to love, allowing others to love me, and believing that I am loved. Restoration is dependent upon a community of people seeking out the needs of others. I seek to help restore the lives of others in the way that I live. Dictionary.com defines Restore as, "to bring back to a former, original, normal condition, as a building, statue, or painting." I want my life to reflect love, peace, friendship, justice, comfort, and hospitality. I hope to be apart of the restoration story and, I ask you to join me in this journey. I hope to learn with you, and grow with you.

2010 Final List

Here it is:
  1. Pay off Car loan
  2. Plan periodic Date Nights with Ashley
  3. Blog Throughout the entire Year
  4. Go Snowboarding at least once
  5. Play tennis or basketball more often (every other month at least)
  6. Eat more Fish and less Beef
  7. Go somewhere I've never been (Arizona, Philadelphia)
  8. Fix my bike
  9. Drink more water and tea, and less Caffeine.
  10. Tithe consistently
  11. Volunteer to Serve food to homeless
  12. Make my Dad's Famous Strawberry pie from scratch.
  13. Read a Classic Book
  14. Take advantage of living by the ocean (Picnic at the ocean, run on the cliffs, go boogie boarding)
  15. Visit my mom at her new house
  16. Go to NHL hockey Game (only big Sporting Event that I have not experienced, besides Soccer..haha)
  17. Try new foods. (2009 I had Calamari for the first time, something like that)
  18. Stay in touch with old friends. (Easy to get busy with life and get disconnected to those who used to be really close to you)
  19. Find a restaurant or place that my wife and I can call "Our Place".
  20. Do some sort of "Man Craft". Build a picture frame, or grow something.

2010 List

I was reading a few blogs the other morning and "Always a Planner" was talking about making a list of things to do in 2010. The idea was to do 20 lists of 10, so in total 200 items. The 200 items could be small things like, eating at a specific restaurant or trying a new recipe. Today I have the day off and I am going to work on my list. I will probably cut it down to just 20 items for this year. 20 things I would like to do, to see, to experience, or just attempt this year in 2010.

I will post my results by the end of the day. Join me and post your own list of things you would like to do.

Forgiveness was Radical

I have been Reading Peter Rollins Book "The Orthodox Heretic", for awhile now. I have just been reading bits and pieces at a time. The passage below really challenged me and encouraged me to love in a transforming way.

"Jesus' understanding of Forgiveness was so radical because he did not need people to repent before he would accept them. He did not require a change in their behavior before he loved, respected, and related to them. Yet, it was precisely this unconditional love and forgiveness that seemed so potent and transformative, often being the very act that drew people to repentance (a word that means to have a change of heart)." - Peter Rollins, The Orthodox Heretic

I agree with Rollins on the point above. I really believe that he is speaking the heart of Christ. Jesus did not look into the eyes of a "Prostitute" and see a prostitute, but he looked into her eyes and saw one of God's children that he dearly loved. Jesus showed people how much he loved them and accepted them despite their sins and failures. Christ never said, "Change your life and I will love you." The love that Christ showed to others was so transformative that people desired to change their lives to be like him.

As a believer in Christ, why do we want everyone to believe exactly what we believe before we accept them? Why do we indoctrinate people? Why do we try to conform people to our beliefs and standards of living? Why don't we love people no matter what their beliefs are, or no matter how they live their lives? Why don't we stop trying to transform people ourselves? If you want to transform someone's life, love them, and let the love of Christ do the transforming work.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this quote from Rollins Book and on anything else said here on this post.

American Dream

What is the American Dream? The American Dream is to work hard in order to make a lot of money, so that you can purchase a nice house, a nice car, and eventually retire and reap the benefits of your hard work. The American Dream can be very appealing. Since I got married and started working full time, I feel a deep urgency to provide for "My Family", meaning my wife. As a Husband you want to make choices that benefit your family and help bring security to your lives. Its almost as if my instinct turned toward pursuit of the "American Dream". I want to work harder in order to make more money, so that my family might be more "comfortable". When I took a moment to reflect on my life, I thought, why am I in pursuit of this vanity? This is not going to make me happier, make my marriage happier, or even make my life better. This pursuit to accumulate will drain me of my happiness. Lets set something straight, I am not saying that work is bad, or working to save for a house is bad. My mindset was off, and my focus was off. I work in order to pay for necessities, and I work hard because of the pride that I have in how I represent myself. These are not bad things, but if they become my goal and my aim, then I am just running no where on treadmill. My Dream is that my life might be a representation of love. The way I work might be a representation of love. The way that I use my money might be a representation of love. I want my life to be a whole lot less about me, and more about others.

So I ask you, have you ever found yourself pursuing the "American Dream"? How do you personally keep a balance in life, without losing focus on goals that you might have?


Do you ever have moments in your life when you could care less about acting in love towards someone? I have times in my life where I am so in the moment of something going on within me, that nothing could get me to love. I guess it is my stubborn nature, or selfishness. My selfishness tells me that I do not need to love in that moment, because what I feel about a situation is more important. I hate to love when I am pissed off, or not at all in the mood. Love is the last thing on my mind. You might be thinking that I am heartless or how could someone not want to love, but the truth of the matter is, we all have these moments. We all are selfish and can become consumed by moments of anger, hatred, stubbornness, and selfishness. The way that I am wired is I need time away from a situation to recollect my thoughts. I need a moment alone to be contemplative. The other night I had a moment where I walked outside and I looked up and saw the stars. I stopped in the street and realized that the world was bigger than these small moments of frustration or selfishness. So what if I don't get my way or people don't act the way I want them to. For some reason it took the stars that night to bring my life into reality. The reality of this world full of hurt and pain much greater than my arguments. The reality of a great need to share love with others and be love to others. So tonight I thank the stars for reminding me of the world greater than my own. Thanks for letting me reflect with you.


If Marriage does not teach you what love is, I do not know what will. Marriage and my relationship with my wife has taught me more about love than any other relationship. Marriage has brought my own understanding of love full circle. The intimacy of telling your spouse that you are going to spend the rest of your life together is transforming. You have chosen to love that person no matter what mood you are in or what they have done for you. I experience love more and more with Ashley each day, because I know that she chose to love me with all my flaws and imperfections. She loves me for my quirky ways and weird personality. There is so much comfort in life when you know your wife is committed to who you are. I too am committed to Ashley and love her for the same reasons. Sure we argue and I am still a stubborn human being, but being able to work through our differences together draws you closer together.

The marriage relationship and the commitment level is similar to our relationship with God. I feel as if I have a taste of the same intimacy that God wants to have with me. To be honest there is a fulfillment that comes from knowing that someone else has chosen to be with you for the rest of their life. I am proud to say that Ashley is my wife and I love her for the fact that she wants to be my wife. To know that no matter what happens to us in life, I know that she loves me.

So I ask you, What have relationships or marriage taught you about love? Have they taught you more about love or less?


This Month Ashley and I have started to become more "Health Conscious". We both just decided we would like to eat better foods, fresh foods and less processed foods. I think is it pretty amazing how your body tells you what it likes and what it does not like. If you eat a lot of sweets in one night you sometimes get a stomach ache, because your body might not be able to handle all the sugars. My body loves oranges, blueberries, granola, yogurt, salad, chicken, rice, and etc. It is not that we are trying to lose weight, but more we want to give our bodies the nutrients that our bodies rely on to function better.

Exercise is another way that we bring health to our bodies. Every Sunday night Ashley and I go to a Free Beginner Yoga class. It is 75 minutes of free yoga. I cannot tell you how much I love Sunday nights now. I walk away feeling relaxed, stronger, more flexible, healthy, and I even feel a clarity of mind. I feel as if I can use that time to reflect on my life, my spirituality, my relationships, and find a peace and comfort. I was a skeptic of Yoga, but it really does challenge your body and let me tell you, beads of sweat rain off my body.

Last week Ash and I ran to the beach and back, and it was so nice to be outside and enjoy the beautiful ocean setting. A healthy and active life not only brings health physically, but also psychologically, relationally, and spiritually. Running to the beach to see the sunset can be a spiritual experience. Running to the beach can be a time of meditation and clearing the stress out of your life. Running to the beach with your wife can strengthen each others bond as you share experiences together.

So I ask you all, what are those things that you practice to bring health to your body, or your life? Do you try to drink more teas with high antioxidants? Do you take time to paint each day to help yourself relax and let go? Whatever it is you do, I hope that we all can find some ways to enjoy the simpler, more Health-Full ways of life.

Purposeful Community

I hope you all had a great holiday season. Over the break I got the opportunity to spend a couple weeks with Ashley's Family and my family. I also got the opportunity to spend time with close friends. It was so nice to connect with people and just relax, watch movies, play games, and just enjoy each others company.

In reflection I want to make sure that I make opportunities to spend time with people. Whether Ashley and I open our home to people to have dinner together, or we just meet friends for a drink. I find that my most enjoyable nights or days are full of friends spending time together. Talking about life or just acting stupid, I love when those times end up in discussions about life and you walk away challenged.

These moments cannot be created or fabricated. I believe we must purposefully position our lives to open up our homes to others, and allow for opportunities to spend time with people. I will admit that I do not always do a good job of this. I am selfish and want "My Time", and do not want to be bothered by others. When you have had a long day of work, the last thing that you want to do is come home and "host" people at your house.

I want to ask you all, should there be a balance of purposeful community, or should we always be open to commune with each other? I want to say that we should always open our home to one another, but at the same time you wonder if there needs to be some sort of balance. I would love to hear your thoughts.

My own challenge is to open my life up to others more often, and not become so settled in my own status of Life.