Tough Choices

a few years ago, as a church staff, we read Carly Fiorina‘s book, Tough Choices. this morning i was reminded of the themes she touches on in this memoir, and it is still so challenging and helpful. it was fun to pick it up and flip through the book today.


here’s a few (of many) quotes i had underlined back when i read it the first time:

There are some people who would argue that a manager’s job is to use fear to motivate people, but I believe a leader’s job is to help people overcome their fear.


Never threaten if you’re not prepared to follow through. Never threaten if reason can prevail, but if you must, threaten something that really matters and stick to it.


Once change is advanced, retreat is fatal. Sometimes you just have to burn the boats.


A leader’s job is to set the frame so that the people a leader serves can do the right jobs in the right way to the best of their abilities. A leader’s job is to build lasting capability into the organization he or she serves.


There is always something to laugh about, even in the most difficult of times. It’s especially important to find the humor in the tough times because laughter helps people manage stress.


Responsible directors and reasonable people do not reverse in a few days a decision that has taken nine months to reach.


Values are signposts to guide people’s behavior when the rules aren’t clear and the supervisor isn’t present.


Not everything is easy, and not everything happens right away. Not everything happens exactly as you think it will, but when people work together, focused on a common goal and inspired by a worthy purpose, then truly everything is possible.

Get the book for yourself here!


2 Callings, 1 Marriage

our marriage is not perfect. we love each other deeply and are committed to one another no matter what. but it’s messy. and, like anybody, if you look at the pictures we post on social media and assume that represents our every moment, you’d be sadly mistaken. in fact, we had such a good fight the other day (2 days ago) that i finally had to just leave the house and throw some things. (it actually turned into me throwing a lot of things in a pile in our back yard and setting the whole thing on fire, nearly torching the whole friggin’ forest behind our house, but that’s a post for a different day…)


amidst all that, there’s something i think we’re actually starting to get right. at least conceptually.
it’s still messy, though.
and we still have A LOT to figure out with it all.

2 callings, 1 marriage.

i watched this video by shauna niequist a year or so ago, and then promptly passed it along to shanna. that video, along with a couple formative books and blogposts that we had read, drew us to something we had somehow missed all of our years growing up in the church and learning about ministry and marriage.
here’s the script we inherited and lived from for 10 years, the one we now are questioning:
  • man gets called into ministry
  • man finds a wife
  • wife drops what she’s doing (or planned to do) and follows him
  • wife helps husband by cleaning the house and writing notes to women in the church
  • if and when the kids come along (cuz, of course they will, right?) her help shifts to taking care of the kids full time and continuing to clean the house
  • meanwhile, he pursues his calling 100%, and she supports it
of course these are generalizations, but you get the idea:

HIS calling trumps her calling. end of story.

but what this video did for us was simply beckoned us to ask a different question:

is it possible to create space for TWO callings in ONE marriage?

 we didn’t know… but if there was, we wanted to find out!
again, it’s messy… but here’s where we are right now:
while we continue loving and leading our kids together, and while i continue pursuing the calling God gave to me for the church, shanna is pursuing a completely different and equally important calling. and it has helped her come ALIVE! her purpose bucket is much more full, and it’s so fun to watch her passionately lead.
what does she do?
she’s serving as an advocate for children’s relief international, an organization we’ve fallen in love with over the years, one filled with great people doing some great work for some of the world’s poorest. she spends her days identifying stateside donors and vision casting to them the role they could play in meeting the needs of those in deep poverty by…
  • providing college scholarships for young people graduating high school with a vision to reach their community for the common good
  • spreading awareness about a fantastic work called spark of hope
  • helping new ministries for AIDS orphans get off the ground with the proper resources and funding
  • interfacing with national leaders and CRI staff
she was even able to jump on a plane this past summer to spend 10 days in mozambique while i took some time off and finagled my schedule to catch up on work while also keeping the house and kids going.
again, it’s messy. and every day seems to present a new challenge with this dynamic.
it’s definitely not the easier path.
but it’s so refreshing.

and it just feels right.