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 (9/11/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Joshua Stewart, a friend from ACU and friend from Southwest Central whom I appreciate and love watching grow into his marriage and fatherhood.  He’s a very good man.
  2. The compassion of my mother in law Belinda who will always jump to action to love on Ryan and Aiden (and Elana and I) when they are sick.  She is great and so sweet to them both.  We are blessed to have someone so close who will take good care of our sick boys.
  3. Barbara Brown Taylors book, An Altar in the World, which has been a very moving read in challenging me to see the life I experience with different eyes.  What a fantastic book!
  4. Balloons. They’re fun. Ryan loves them.  I love them!

Morning by Morning (9/8/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Our awesome neighborhood that is both quiet and full of kids, with lots of really great people. And it stayed dry enough in Harvey, and that counts for something too!
  2. The encouragement I received for my birthday two weeks ago but I am still loving.
  3. The continuing help of volunteers across the city cleaning up the flooded homes and caring deeply for displaced families.
  4. Our new CPE residents that will be serving at Texas Children’s.  They are a great group and I look forward to getting to know them well.
  5. Pics of Ryan sleeping!!

Morning by Morning (9/4/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The many opportunities to help others after the hurricane.  These are good chances to remind myself of what we as humans and as Christians are called to do. Plus, as a person who does work that is emotional and social, manual hard labor feels therapeutic and meaningful.
  2. The awesome volunteers who are blessing those helping with home made sandwiches, snacks, bottled water, free snow cones and all sorts of other stuff. These people are encouragers and supporters and remind me of the many different ways we can be neighbors.
  3. A needed three day weekend.
  4. Scrambled eggs. Delicious!
  5. Steve Sandifer and all the hard work, pastoral care, wisdom, and laughter he brings to our church and me!

Morning by Morning (8/31/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Tom Sharon, the chaplain who I served rideout with.  It was an absolute privilege and humbling to serve with a faithful and compassionate man who carries himself with understanding, wisdom, and commitment.  I couldn’t have served with someone more encouraging! The Cardiovasular Units are so blessed to have him!
  2. Doug Foster, one of my Church History professors at ACU. Doug was also a mentor and encourager.  I remember he would make us do weekly essays and grade them 1-5, and  5’s were rare but given when deserved.  He helped me learn to write integrating info and history, not just repeating it.  I owe a lot of personal growth to him.
  3. Jeff Childers, another of my history professors at ACU.  He taught more of the history of the NT and religious history.  It was Jeff who helped me integrate and think about other faiths with perspective.  Also, he helped me see that history has many facets and lenses. And that history is fun!
  4. The HBO series From The Earth To The Moon, which I started watching again yesterday and gripped me with fascination.  Well made!
  5. Nick Matthews, an RN who I deeply respect and love for his passion while being laid back.  Happy birthday! (And prayers for your heartache now Nick!)

Morning by Morning (8/28/17)

Today, I am at the hospital riding out Hurricane Harvey while Houston gets inundated by water.  There are many things to be grateful for in the face of this devastating hurricane:

  1. Elana, Elana, Elana.  Her ability to watch Ryan while I am required to serve at Texas Children’s is humbling in the least.  She is covering me as she usually does and covering more than her fair share and loving on Ryan as a great mother while I work.  It’s not lost on me and while I am here I feel awful about not supporting her at home during this weather, but fundamentally I am grateful for her.  I love her!
  2. Praying with staff who are desperate for news of safety for their family and their homes.  During these prayers and times of gathering around the units, I find that there are people who are handling so much trauma, so much uncertainty, so much crisis during this time and yet emerging resilient.  Their strength and their love reflected in tears is beautiful inasmuch as the grief is heartbreaking.
  3. Assisting physicians do free writing as a way to manage their own stress and overwhelming emotions.  Today, I got to watch a physician lead his own fellow physicians into places of vulnerability, and it was a privilege to be there for support and encouragement and listening.
  4. The pictures of Ryan that Elana sends that sustain me with smiles and comfort.
  5. All the people and friends who have contacted me and sought out to send their prayers and thoughts my way.

Morning by Morning (8/25/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The surprise birthday party that Elana threw for me last night!!!! It was awesome to have everyone greet me as I opened the door and hear the singing of happy birthday and receive the awesome gifts and feel the humbling love of everyone around me.  What an awesome blessing!!!
  2. The way the staff in the PICU cope with everything that comes their way with flexibility, strength, hilarity, and big hearts for little kids.  I’m glad that if I have to come to the hospital this weekend, I will be enduring a storm alongside them.
  3. The disc golf bag I received from Elana- i feel like school kid with a new back pack!
  4. The opportunities I get to celebrate Ryan’s growth and development, and not missing them by things feeling life is going too fast.  “Good job Ryan” is a great phrase to share and I love his feeling of joy when he hears his father and mother be proud of him.

Morning by Morning (8/24/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Jae Kim, a friend from Pepperdine who I always looked up to and admired for his vision, his wisdom, and his loyalty to his friends.  He moved up to Seattle and became quite the adventurer and I continue to marvel at his life continues to be shaped by his passions.
  2. My colleagues at the hospital who provided me with birthday pound cake and berries to go on top! I appreciate their support and joy!
  3. Elana’s flexibility, since I might be pulled to the hospital this weekend for the tropical storm and she’s willing to adjust and watch Ryan during the weekend if need be.
  4. The many kids who are ventilator or teach dependent and regardless of developmental levels, live courageously and reflect Gods beauty. I believe God speaks through them as much as anyone, and I am humbled to meet some of them.

Morning by Morning (8/12/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. A wonderful day with Ryan, including good toilet training, shopping and him pushing the cart, playing in the backyard, the pool, and building a cardboard airplane.  I love my time with him!
  2. Getting to hang out with DeAndre, Keyshon, and Taylor at the pool today. I marvel at their fun and resilience, but I am also very impressed and grateful with their gentle encouraging interaction with Ryan.
  3. Dinner with Elana and Carleigh and Levi! I can’t wait to officiate their wedding and I am so blessed to have gotten to know them outside of TCH!
  4. Japanese Sea Perch sushi.  Really really good!

Morning by Morning (8/7/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. A great weekend with a bunch of friends on the beach in Galveston, where we got to laugh a lot together, celebrate Ryan’s birthday, spend lots of time at the pool, spend quality time with Aiden and Ryan, watch Ryan brave waves at the beach, walk hand in hand with Elana along the sand, and enjoy the calming waters with good friends.
  2. A Sonic soda on the way home that helped with the post trip exhaustion.
  3. The Ciudad de Angeles orphanage in Cozumel who does the heroic work or caring for children who need support, and doing it well. I appreciate their work and their love of children and their love of God.  I appreciate our church friends who went to support them earlier this summer.
  4. The voices who encourage compassion towards those with mental health issues and challenge our behaviors and disregard for them.  This weekend reminded me of this with a couple of experiences I observed.