My 2018 New Years Christ Like Project (annual update)

This is my New Years resolution list, but it actually is my focus list for life all the time. So don’t be overwhelmed by the length. Many of these things I currently do but it reflects my principles, my hopes, and the places in my life where I can connect myself to my identity in God more and find greater joy. It has been posted as a page on my blog for a couple years and every year I update the practices. This started by being inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, but if you are familiar with that book my project will look differently. What is important about my project is that it is not just about happiness, but more importantly to grow towards Christ and becoming Christ like. Thus, my intentionality guides me towards a life that in every way reflects the deep love and compassion, the awe and the wonder of Christ. So, not a happiness project but a Christ-like project.  I cannot begin to tell you how important this reframe is for me. My life is not my own, and it is not lived for myself alone.  I hope and pray that as I seek to develop myself I begin to see Christ’s image in me and in the life around me. (I do not share because I relieve you need to know the details of my life, but because I share I have accountability and encouragement)

8 Core Principles For Me

  1. Love Christ and his people.
  2. Be compassionate.
  3. Enjoy the process.
  4. Lighten up and have fun.
  5. Claim my voice.
  6. Get out of my head.
  7. Be aware of my body.
  8. Know what I want and need.

Growing Specifically: Habit Improvements


  1. Pray daily.
  2. Engage in stillness.
  3. Start each day with gratitude.
  4. Develop a Sabbath.


  1. Laugh out loud.
  2. Practice reframing.
  3. Dare to fail.


  1. Sleep better. (no phone after 10pm)
  2. Make checklists for the important stuff.
  3. Develop a daily routine.
  4. Call my family weekly.


  1. Hear the experience of others. (culture, religious, ethnic, etc)
  2. Look up and around!
  3. Be interested in the world. (listen to podcasts)


  1. Don’t stonewall.
  2. Scan for successes.
  3. Find fun together.
  4. Be physically affectionate.


  1. Play without phone distraction.
  2. Practice validation.
  3. Develop better patience.
  4. Be a teacher to the kids. (camping, games, school)


  1. Have fun with colleagues.
  2. Learn new skills.
  3. Practice saying no.
  4. Debrief my day.


  1. Read daily.
  2. Play board games.
  3. Work on a project at least once a month.
  4. Go off the path at least once a month. (new, strange, etc)
  5. Eat more sushi. (my New Years food resolution!)


  1. Be generous.
  2. Focus on others.
  3. Initiate hanging out together.


  1. Spend ahead, not in the moment.
  2. Give to church.
  3. Always have something on hand to share.
  4. Meal plan.

Pursue a Passion: Be outdoors!

  1. Play disc golf.
  2. Get a Texas State Park pass for hiking.
  3. Interact more with my dogs.

Morning by Morning (12/30/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Elana’s smile!
  2. The anniversary of Kristen and Jacob Schapson today, whose wedding I got to share in last year. What a great couple that has brought me great joy and amazement at what God can do when bringing two beautiful people together.
  3. Another year of disc golf and continued growth in skills and lots of luck. 21-14 is my final victory tally in the season series with Josh Day and lots of fun throughout, even when I played terrible!
  4. Xavier, who celebrates 15 years old today and deserves to celebrate! He is a remarkable, resilient, and funny kid whose friendship is a lot of joy for me.
  5. The leftovers from Christmas dinner that Belinda brought for us. Super delicious sweet potato casserole, broccoli rice and cheddar casserole, and buttery mashed potatoes. I loved my lunch today.
  6. Afternoon relaxation.
  7. 3 day weekends.

Morning by Morning (12/29/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The Planet Earth II series that has been on Netflix. I love the imagery and wonder that come with a series like that and didn’t even know they were doing a sequel!
  2. Kevin Bridges, a chaplain friend who helped me learn the ropes of chaplaincy and navigating a full time job and emotional breaks at work. I respect him greatly and respect the compassionate work he did. Also, he has my favorite hockey smile when he takes out the false teeth! Happy birthday Kevin!!!
  3. Hot tea. I loved it before but on cold days it’s even better.
  4. The dead grass in the backyard. Seriously I have to let go of the green yard all the time thing. Nature has seasons. I’m grateful nature took it into her own hands this year to put my crazy ideas into place.
  5. Playing Ticket to Ride with one of my favorite families at the hospital tonight. This family are my people. They are fun, encouraging, full of laughter, and deeply faithful. And they love games, love life, and love me. So grateful for them!

Morning by Morning (12/27/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Restful sleep, which I have received the last two nights after a fun but not sleep-full on vacation!
  2. Having a working furnace on a chilly and rainy day like today.
  3. All of Ryan’s children’s books, all of which I love reading with him. This Christmas we got two extra ones that are very cute. Reading with a child is a special gift!
  4. My uncle Junior who emailed in his video to the kids acting as a fully dressed Santa Claus with an encouraging message for the kids on Christmas Eve. What a really cool gift!
  5. This!

Morning by Morning (12/26/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. David and K Pipes Christmas card, which was an encouragement and sweet blessing to me. I appreciate this couples resilience and faithful honesty, and in this season, the joy of their presence!
  2. The welcome back from the PICU nurses which made me feel such a part of the unit. I love being a part of this group.
  3. Ryan talking so much these days. He is a highlight unto himself with how he chirps and chats and even entertains himself.
  4. Pam K, who was my Secret Santa this year and found USC dress socks for me, along with a can of Vanilla Coke Zero and a granola bar. Score for me!

Morning by Morning (12/25/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Jesus. A baby born, hope emerges like light in darkness. What a wonderful message of Advent hope, joy, peace, and love as we wait upon his return!
  2. A good Christmas week with my family in California.
  3. Impressive and calm traveling by Ryan and Aiden, both going to California and coming back to Houston. They traveled like adults and handled themselves so well.
  4. Singing 12 days of Christmas last night with the whole extended family- so many laughs and so many good moments!!!
  5. Good memories: trips to Pepperdine, parks, hang outs with cousins, late nights with Joe, tomfoolery with uncles and aunts, newborn visits, seeing friends, and laughs with Mom and Dad.
  6. Seeing Chris seem so grown up having worked on his car and maturing into a wonderful young man. I’m so proud of him.
  7. Looking out the windows of an airplane in flight. I am mesmerized every time.

Morning by Morning (12/22/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. A good quiet day with the wife, kids, and my mom. It’s been a great day to see my mom connect even more with the kids and enjoy the SoCal sun for the afternoon.
  2. My moms inside Christmas decorations that reflect the meaning of the season and have a beautiful charm.
  3. Naomi Walters Facebook posts about conversations with her kids. They are always little laughs and smiles and lots of head nodding as a fellow parent of a toddler.
  4. The arrival of a little girl to Nirica Borges (a Critical Care physician at TCH) and her family. I respect Nirica and her caregiving so much, and I join in great celebration of this wonderful gift to her family! I am excited to see her joy in motherhood!
  5. Waiting for my brother Joe to get home!

Morning by Morning (12/21/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Great time with Elana today, albeit in a lot of classic LA traffic. We got to drive to Pepperdine, walk the campus, and drive home in massive traffic, have great conversations and enjoy Malibu Seafood. I loved the day with my wife!
  2. Spending some time catching up with Cambry and being proud of my friend for his wisdom, humor, and his great friendship.
  3. Grilled albacore at Malibu Seafood!
  4. Mission Inn Lights and hot chocolate- a perfect combination!
  5. Hearing Ryan laugh when playing his Papa John and Reesa Reesa (my parents). I love that he loves playing with them.

Morning by Morning (12/20/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Some really awesome sushi at Starfish sushi yesterday afternoon, including a chef’s custom roll and some mind blowing pan fried in garlic edamame!
  2. The hills and mountains of SoCal that bring me such joy and shocks my flat lander wife.
  3. Ryan’s ease with all the family that has visited so far, including hanging out with his grandparents ad nauseum.
  4. Hangin out with Jacqui, my sister in law, yesterday, and getting to hear what is going on for her and in her life and being really grateful that Josh is married to her and that she is a part of our family.
  5. Being home! (Can you tell?)

Morning by Morning (12/18/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The opportunity to reset and start anew. This chance in my life is a chance to lean into one of the key parts of the gospel, and I’m grateful that I have the chance to learn.
  2. Being on a plane waiting to get underway to California!
  3. Having great uncles and aunts who shower us with love!!
  4. Going all out for Secret Santa- I hope and pray that Tom got plenty of joy out of his gifts and singing telegram!