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How are you? “Busy.”

It’s the common answer to “how are things going with you?”

“Oh, I’ve just been busy.”

For most, a short explanation as to why you’ve been busy typically follows: work, family, life in general.

For my wife and I our “busy” schedules seemed to be spinning out of control. For months we had to “just make it to _____” and fill in the blank. [After the project was over, vacation, the weekend, etc]. During one two-week stretch we were in the same town – same house, but we only saw each other for a few minutes throughout the course of two weeks.

Finally, one Thursday evening, following a massively over-committed parade of events, something gave.

Unlike other evenings where we were side-by-side, but really weren’t “there“, we turned off all distractions and did some serious soul-searching. We realized that evening was our first week-night together in over a month.

What followed was the realization that we really were . . . wait for it. . . “too busy.”

I believe in and am privileged to work for a company that stands behind “work-life balance”, but we all know that there are times when 100% just isn’t enough and doing a great job requires just a little more. So you do what you can to manage your schedule.

My wife did have to make some changes to her work schedule, and thankfully her boss completely supported her and even helped her get into a new position that would help with her schedule.

For us though, what we needed was “non-work-life balance”.

Emily (My wife) and I are very passionate people. When we commit to something or rally behind a cause, we are all in. However we were “all in” to so many things that we really became barely-in to events and the people that mattered most.

Seemingly for the first time in our “adult life” we had to truly prioritize our commitments. Which, for me, the fear of disappointing people that I love, and losing the events I cared about had me rationalizing why I needed to stay involved.

Luckily we have a great group of friends and family that support us and understood when we told them that we had to back out of some commitments.

After clearing many things from our schedule, we now enjoy an event that we haven’t experienced in months and seemingly even years – “down time”. Time to, not be lazy and just watch tv, but to give attention, full attention, to people, including our son, and our spiritual life that suffered from our over-committed schedules.

Our hope is that taking a step back in life will really give our relationships “new life”.


A Challenge to Conquer

Today I signed up for my first half marathon. The Weather Channel Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day. There is a bit of an overwhelming feeling that comes with it. But, that just presents itself as a challenge – one to be conquered.

So, over the next few weeks/months, I will be posting my training schedule, fears, successes, and overall thoughts. Read if your interested, ignore if you’d like, or offer suggestions/advice from the ones you’ve done in the past.

If nothing else, posting will help me stay motivated and accountable.

Resolutions: Believing & Achieving

I recently asked my long-time friend, Amanda Wyler, to be a guest author on my blog. Amanda’s creativity and drive to achieve her goals has always been an inspiration to me. So, when she told me she was going to write about New Year’s resolutions, I said “perfect!” Because, to me, there’s no one more qualified to talk about setting and achieving goals (both personal and professional) than Amanda. Read her personal blog, Amanda Lives Well, to see what I mean.

Hope You Enjoy!

With New Year’s Eve only a few short weeks away, I can’t help but look back and evaluate the past 11 months. This past year has been an amazing adventure of achieving my 2009 Resolutions. I’ve challenged and pushed myself toward things I once thought impossible. Sure, I’ve made mistakes and fallen (sometimes flat on my face) but I’ve learned to get up, dust myself off and try again. In doing that alone, I’ve learned so much – not only about the situations at-hand but also myself. I’ve discovered how I react to things and what it takes to really succeed: having a clear definition of goals, determining methods of motivation, learning perseverance and enjoying success.

I’m choosing to approach 2010 as a stepping stone; something to build on top of my personal and professional victories of the past year. My first step in doing this is creating a tangible list with answers to this simple question: how can I take my goals one step further? Thinking on a small scale keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. Slow and steady wins the race!

Naturally, once a goal of any size is created, it needs motivation and accountability to grow. Whether having accomplished a long list of goals or merely embarking on a goal-setting journey, self-reflection is incredibly important. Take some time to understand what makes you tick, what excites you and motivates you – and use it to your advantage! Believe anything is possible. If you believe, you will achieve. Additionally, voicing your goals to a trusted audience, blogging about your progress, and keeping a checklist of mini-goals are all great ways to stay accountable.

Furthermore, the old adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” may be overused, but it’s true. The part people fail to mention is, when “trying again”, rarely try the same method twice. It’s important to get creative and think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to experiment with ideas until you get it right.

Finally, what an amazing feeling it is to look up one day after all the baby steps taken and realize you’ve reached your ultimate
destination: success! I believe there is a season for everything and after accomplishing a goal, there should be a season of celebration!

Life is all about cycles and, in order to constantly evolve into a better person, I anticipate each year will continue to bring new steps to take toward new goals. No matter the scale, never give up. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

German composer Robert Schumann once said, “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.” Twenty-something musician-turned-designer, Amanda Wyler believes her purpose in life is to do just that. Whether it’s through music, art, or design, she strives to encourage others and make this world a little brighter, one smile at a time. Amanda resides in Nashville, TN and is a freelance graphic designer with her company, Artistic Amanda Designs. She may be contacted through her website,

Does Our Budget Make My Butt Look Big?

While sales for most businesses during our recession have been slowing, America’s plethora of convenient foods are profiting. Chips, Donuts, Fast Food restaurants, and other junk foods are all reporting a surge in sales during 2009.

I have even fell victim to the “Dollar Menunaire” ad campaigns once or twice (that’s all I will admit to). And though eating healthy is important to me and my family, buying those foods can be very expensive. In a recent article on, Bob Goldin, VP at the food industry research firm, Technomic, said

“value is what counts to consumers right now, and, unfortunately, in the minds of many consumers, a lot of these lower-priced options are just not as healthy, but they’re still buying them.”

While riding into work today, I heard four radio commercials about a “dollar menu” or two-for-two food prices. It’s tempting and extremely easy to whip my car into the one of those places and wolf down 24 grams of fat for only $2.

But, if you’re like me and are caught in a tension between budgeting but not wanting carrot sticks and water for most meals, you need to plan ahead and eat smart. posted some great tips using the acronym SMART BUDGET to remind us of ways to eat and shop smarter.

S – Seasonal Fruits, Veggies and Fish
M – Meatless Meals
A –  Ads and Coupons
R – Reuse and Recycle
T – Trim the Take Out Meals

B – Beans and Legumes
U – Underscore Calcium and Milk Foods
D – Divide Your Own Snacks
G – Grains and Breads
E – Eat Fruits and Veggies
T -Try Something New