You must have seen a recent blog post written in the Huffington Post that absolutely blew up. I believe some TWO MILLION views or something absurd like that. Turns out that the guy who wrote it is connected through a good friend. We got connected and I asked Justin Ricklefs to write up a guest post for the MFD audience. In case you missed his burst onto to the world scene, CLICK HERE to catch yourself up. Below is his offering to us. Enjoy! – Alan

Written by Justin Ricklefs.  Reclaiming the things that matter most in business, wellness and home. Blogger at JustinRicklefs.com. Writer for HuffPost Parents and GoodMenProject.com.  Husband to Brooke. Daddy to four girls & one boy. Sales executive.

Something magical happened in the mountains of Tennessee this spring. Something I didn’t expect and something that no amount of money could buy. I was given a gift that I will cherish until the day I die.

We had been planning it for over a year. Reports, research, pros and cons, Google image searches. All led by our 10 year old daughter, Kamden. About 18 months before her 10th birthday, I read a book that has shaped my life in a major way. “Love Does” by Bob Goff. I learned a ton of lessons from that book, but one in particular was Bob’s concept of a 10 year old trip with your child. Anywhere they want to go. They get to plan it.

For financial reasons, we limited her search to the continental US. Really that was her only restriction. She immediately came up with a Top 10 list that included big cities like DC and New York. It also included nature areas like Yellowstone and the Niagara Falls. But the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee remained on the list through each iteration. She saw a picture of a log cabin, a kid on horseback, and another on a zipline. The rolling hills of Tennessee it was.

Walking pic

Once she knew the final destination, we had six months to plan the trip. She turned 10 in January, but it wasn’t until May when we launched our adventure. We moved from Florida back home to Kansas City in late April, so because of our recent move, Brooke stayed home with the other four. So at 4am on Friday morning, I woke sweet Kamden up in the pitch dark and told her we had a flight to catch. We flew direct from KC to Nashville. Rented a car and then drove the 3.5 hours to the middle of these mysterious mountains.

Horses were ridden, lines were zipped, good food was consumed, hot tubs were soaked in. Sure all of it cost us money. Less than a thousand bucks in all. But the memories we made and the bond we cemented was truly priceless. I watched Kamden’s sails fill up during that trip. She became a young lady in those four days in the mountains.

Swing pic

I’m not sure why it took me 10 years to realize it, but I was confronted by a new reality. If I could spend money on memories instead of things, that investment would pay an amazing return over time. It doesn’t have to be exactly at ten years old or exactly the way we did it, but here are four reasons why you need to take your daughter on a trip:

*1. It Allows Her to be Her* – In our home, we have five kids.  As the oldest, Kamden is often on point to help us out with the chaos in our home.  She is maternal by nature, so it’s common to see her with our youngest on her hip or helping get lunches packed for the next school day. But in the carefree, long weekend we had, I saw traits in her that get swallowed up in busyness.  That time allowed her to be fully alive and fully her.

*2. It Gives Her Responsibility* – We told Kamden that this trip would only happen if she did the heavy lifting of planning and researching our time. Of course we would have gone regardless, but this permission gave her the green light to mature, take ownership and lead.  It taught her how to prioritize, how to make decisions, how to ask for help.

*3. She Sees Beautiful Stories Unfold* – We saw a black bear and her two cubs.  We saw amazing sunsets.  We met remarkable people.  We encountered challenges on hikes.  Stories that she has told to family and friends since the day we returned home.  There is real beauty in the world.  And real adventure.  And it’s longing to be explored.

*4. Love Does.  We tell our kids all the time that love will win.  In a world full of cynics and critics, we’re trying to pour loads of love out. Love isn’t simply a feeling or a sentiment.  It does stuff.  It takes action for the benefit of others.  It moves.  It chooses.  It does.  Bob taught me that in his book, and we lived it in those mountains.

Dads, we won’t get these years back.  Get a trip planned with your little (or not so little) girl.  Better yet, let her plan in it. Would love to hear how it goes.  If it’s anything like our trip, it will change your life.

Justin – @justinricklefs on Twitter.

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Unstoppable

Dr. Don Worcester —  November 21, 2014 — Leave a comment

Are you stoppable?

Take a deep breath and a good look in the mirror before you answer that question.

I want to feel a deep, clear and resounding cry emerging from my soul that I am Unstoppable!

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What emerges from my own soul is more timid and less impressive than I would like it to be.

The unpleasant and uncomfortable reality is that I have been stopped many times and in many places.

There have always been reasons, none of them very noble or satisfying.

 

I have been stopped because I was tired of trying and failing.

 

I have been stopped because I was afraid that I would fail.

 

I have been stopped because someone told me I could, or I told myself I could.

 

I have been stopped because it would be really hard or really costly to continue.

 

I have been stopped because I believed a lie about God, or myself, someone else.

 

I have been stopped because I lost my courage,

Because I lost my way,

Because I lost my hope.

 

I have been stopped too often and by too many things. So I am praying and asking God to help me stop, stopping.

I am asking Him for help because he was really good at not stopping. He ended up rejected and betrayed by everyone he loved, blessed and served. No one came to his defense when he was accused and arrested, no one challenged the powers that condemned and crucified him, no one stood with him or by him as he was stripped, whipped and nailed to a Cross between two condemned criminals.

No one, they were all Stopped. But none of their stopping, or my stopping, or your stopping, stopped him.

He was the one person both then and now who is truly Unstoppable! He was the one and only person qualified to pronounce a verdict over the significance of his life and his death. His verdict was and is true, that there is now no barrier that can now stop us from entering freely and boldly into His Thrown room of Grace, Mercy, Power, Love and Hope.

The Unstoppable One has removed all the “Stops”.

Jesus last words may have been his most important

“It is Finished.”

The Gospel promises us a Fresh Start for every place we have been stopped. We are dads with daughters; we need lots of Fresh Starts.

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We are not done as dads and it is not over. So lets say yes to a Fresh Start wherever we have lost momentum, connection, hope or vision.

As soon as we begin again, we are Unstoppable!

 

Peace and grace,

Dr. Don Worcester

 

 

 

I love the tv show “The Voice”- last week a contestant sang this song and it reminded me of this video. Colbie Caillat is a name almost every adolescent girl would know. She is a popular singer and well liked. She recently came out with a video that is a great video to show any woman! Watch the below video……

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try this link if the video does not play : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXoZLPSw8U8

“When I shot the first scene with no hair and makeup on in front of an HD camera in my face, flashed with bright lights, everyone was watching,” she told Elle. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, I bet they’re all looking at my blemishes, thinking that I should cover them up, or that I should put some volume in my hair.’ But it also felt really cool to be on camera with zero on, like literally nothing on. And then when it got to the full hair and makeup, I actually felt gross. I was just so caked on.” (Huffington Post)

In a world full of photoshop pictures, surgeries and make-up this is a great reminder and encouragement for the girls and women in our lives to be comfortable with who they are, as they are.

Pass this along,

Kristy Fox

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Recently we had a magical day at the Magic Kingdom. You may remember a previous blog post where I shared about “Rosa” and her girls and the privilege he have had to walk with her for the last 5 years. To catch yourself up, READ HERE. Despite her circumstances, she has done a great job in raising her sweet girls. The odds are clearly against her and she is battling. I am proud of her.

Recently it was her girl’s birthday. They are one year apart, yet nearly share the same day of birth. They are now 4 and 5 years old and secretly we have been waiting for them to get old enough to take them to Disneyland. A day at Disneyland is clearly far out of their reach and we couldn’t wait to make this happen. Incidentally, Rosa (mom) has never been there either, so we were excited to take them all.

After we parked our car, we boarded the tram taking us to the main gate. Rosa said, “I am so excited I want to scream!” We barely got out of the parking structure and the excitement was nearly boiling over!  We started off with the iconic and obligatory picture in front of the park with the ever watchful Mickey made of flowers.

Front of park

Next up was the standard picture in front of the castle and the magic was on!

Alan with girls

Before we waited in long lines for short age appropriate rides, we made the rounds seeing the available Princesses. The girls knew them all and they loved seeing the “real ones” in person.

Princesses

We took pictures and got autographs. The Princesses were sweet and engaging. The girls LOVED it.

Here are a few brief thoughts that I hope these girls will one day know. Likewise, I hope your daughter knows this and I hope that you will help in this process of understanding.

The truth is that these two young girls are the real Princesses. Not the kind that wear poofy dresses or have theme music. And not the kind that customers stand in line to see. They are not the kind of Princess that will appear as an action figure, on lunch boxes & underwear or star in a movie.

They are the real kind of Princesses. In the system of royalty, a Princess is the daughter of the King. The King is in charge and commands respect. Everyone bows to the King because of his position. In the system of the Universe, God is King and one day every knee will bend and every tongue will confess this true. He commands respect because of His position.

In the bible, there are numerous references where God & Jesus refers to us people as “Child” and “Daughter.” A daughter of the King is a Princess!

These sweet girls I took to Disneyland are Princesses in the Universe. And your daughter is as well. My hope and prayer is that our girls will understand their rightful place in the universe and live into it. They should be respected and honored as a daughter of the King. And they should not pay any attention to anyone who does not treat them with the same respect. Maybe you could remind your girl of this fact.

Be the protector and defender of Royalty!

Long live the King!

Alan

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Silent Witness

Dr. Don Worcester —  November 14, 2014 — Leave a comment

Jim was a big guy. My office seemed smaller with him inside. His hand engulfed mine as we greeted one another. He wasn’t angry but he was stressed. He and his wife sat down on my couch. The couch got smaller, the room got quieter. I waited for this couple to find their words, their starting place. They exchanged a nervous glance with one another. They were desperately wanting and needing to tell their story. They had lots to tell. They were waiting for one another at this unmarked intersection.

Jim’s wife took the first step. “ Our daughter is struggling….” was as far as she got. Her voice trailed off into sobs. Jim said nothing but his head dropped and his huge shoulders rolled forward like collapsing glaciers. Jim’s wife repackaged herself and after several minutes began to spill out the history and details of their daughters struggle. Jim sat silent for two hours while his wife reviewed and recounted three years of clinical notes and history regarding their daughter.

Jim was a little surprised when I asked for his insights and observations about his daughter and her struggles. His wife had been the one coordinating and communicating with all the teachers, counselors and doctors. He was quick to point out that he was just a “ Construction guy.” His wife was the one who read all the books on parenting. I pressed a little further on him. He became flustered and finally blurted out, “ I don’t know how to parent like my wife. I am just trying to stay out of the way and not mess things up.” Jim had made some mistakes early on trying to confront and motivate his daughter. His attempts to step in and turn things around had not worked out so well. These early missteps had turned him into a Silent Witness.

Jim had come to believe that his greatest contribution was to step back, step out and let someone else help his daughter. Over the years I have seen lots of fathers come to the same conclusion. Highlight this in your brain. Tattoo this on your favorite body part. Your daughter has one father. It is you. There is not a book, aboyfriend, an expert or even a great mom who can replace you or make your contribution. There are lots of great influences that can and should be part of your daughter’s life. You my friend will always be irreplaceable.

Jim slowly but faithfully found his courage and his voice with his daughter. Turns out she did not need him to be perfect. Healing rarely requires perfection. Truth and love spoken together, even imperfectly do a good work in all of our hearts. Keep Speaking. Keep Loving.

 

Dr. Don w.

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How Are Your Margins?

kristyfox —  November 12, 2014 — Leave a comment

margins

I heard myself say today to a friend, “I feel like I have my margins back”!

I looked up the definition for the word “margin” on dictionary.com and it said 1) “the space around the printed or written matter on a page”  2) “an amount allowed or available beyond what is actually necessary ”

In a book I have been reading called “Teen-ology” by Jim Burns, he quotes a physician and author Richard Swenson  ” Today, most of us routinely spend 20 percent more than we have, whether in money, time, or energy,” he said.  “When life is continually maximized, however, there is no margin for priorities, relationship, depth, worship, rest, contemplation, service, or healing.” (p142)

The culture we live in doesn’t seem to value margins, but we need them.  I feel like the past few months I have been living without space in my life, schedule, and mind for ‘margins’ and it has taken a toll on me as well as those around me.  Are you in that space as well?   Are you over-committed and feel like you have no extra space to think, dream, pray, or be mentally and physically available for those around you.   Do your family a favor and create some space in your life.

We have a tendency to fill all of our extra space with tasks, projects, and extra “stuff” but I am going to try and make space for the important things that tend to happen in the margins of our lives.   Want to join me?  Let’s make a commitment to create margins that will allow for the unexpected, important, incredible things that can happen in that space.

Thanks for leaning in,

Kristy Fox

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