Diverse interests (and projects) can lead to bondage.

We sometimes (many times?) believe that diversifying opens doors of freedom, because more is more, right?

Maybe not.

The bondage of chasing too many ideas (of spreading ourselves too thin) can lead us to miss the richness that only comes from the depth that single-mindedness brings.

One idea.
One focus.

Fear of losing out drives us to put hands into too many pots, to run in crazy mode, and to (eventually) become exhausted, with little to show, without a quality product.

Let go of the peripheral (the other ideas/side projects) and
acknowledge that you can’t be in all, of all, and gain all.

Single-mindedness may actually give you the biggest gain of all.

* Thup

Favorite songs are powerful.
They can pull out emotions that we didn’t even know existed.

They lift us. Drive us forward.
And embody the potential take us to the place of success.
(Faster and easier than we could have imagined)

Especially songs of hope.

If you’re short on strength today,
maybe listening to music and lyrics is in order.

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise from the ashes
and make a new beginning

We can’t deny it:
When lyrics of hope intertwine, knit, and meld with the music,
and we open ourselves to the possibilities,
something magical happens.

That moment when a doorway we didn’t know existed opens,
and we’re able to walk through.

If you’ve a looming project ahead,
maybe listening to music and lyrics is in order.

Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you’re stronger, stronger than you know

Don’t you give up now; the sun will soon be shining
You’ve gotta fix the clouds to find the silver lining

What kind of lyrics are you listening to, today?
Do they take you to a better place?

Hope is borne across lyrical winds, and we rise on their updraft.

If you’ve lost the passion, the drive, the force behind you,
maybe listening to music and lyrics is for today.

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end, even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new

That’s what faith can do.

You see, often times,
our lyrical doorways stay shut and fullness stays away,
until the music and lyrics access the soul.

If you’re leading  — in any capacity —
What’s creating your inner energy?
Maybe listening to music and lyrics can be a part of it.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try.

Everybody’s scared to death
when they decide to take that step out on the water,
but it will be all right.

Music + lyrics = potential power.
But it’s a power that won’t come to you. You have to go to it.
Maybe listening to music and lyrics is the right thing to do.

Life is so much more than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way, when you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end, even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new

That’s what faith can do.

More times than we know,
faith resides in the arts.

To rise higher, it’s imperative to step away just for a moment and
immerse yourself.
(It’s a good bet that, with the right music and lyrics,
you’ll emerge changed.)

And choose carefully.
Listen to the good ones.
The powerful ones.
The positive ones.
(Not the feeling-bad, feeling-sorry, oh-woe ones
taking you farther from your goals.)

Overcome the odds when you don’t have a chance.
When the world says you can’t,
It’ll tell you that  you can.

Even if you fall sometimes, 
You will have the strength to rise.

Music and lyrics aren’t just a spark.
They’re access to strength.


(Lyrics courtesy of Kutless, What Faith Can Do)


“To dream is to create the future.”

I don’t think so.

To do is to create the future.

I know quite a few dreamers, including myself, who have no problem finding (and exercising) the creativity
to imagine a magnificent future.

But it’s the ones…

who find the stepwise pathways,
who break the tasks down small enough,
who commit to the little steps,
who tick them off the to-do list,
who write out the “boring” schedule,
who run a calendar like a finely tuned BMW,
who return to the plan again and again,

who create the future.

Dreaming is fine. But doing is better.

* Thup

Truth can hide.

The outside can appear to be strong, but in reality it’s weak.
(Pain and uncertainty hovers beneath the cardboard exterior.)

The goal can appear to be clear, but in reality it’s undefined.
(Dreams can appear to hold flesh, but the dream’s skeleton isn’t wrapped with the muscle of action.)

The fear can appear to be monstrous, jaw-drooling, and ready to devour, but in reality it’s a miasma-filled Balrog dissipating in swift gusts when the warmth and heat of hope shines crisp on the fine lines of the future. 
(Time spent alone, in quiet thought that burns and dissipates mistruth, can redirect, redefine, and remove fraudulent, untrustworthy, counterfeit ideas that, ultimately, imprison us.)

Truth can hide.

Because you and I are used to seeing a picture of a coffee mug at the end of this blog, we can make the assumption that this blue mug holds coffee.
It doesn’t. That’s a picture of yesterday’s Chai Soy Latte.

Truth can hide.

Especially in the echo and lull of our day-to-day schedule.
Especially in the whoosh-whishing wind of our day-to-day hurry-ups.
Especially in the earthquakes of our emergencies and the spilt emotions of cracked histories.

Don’t let truth hide. Face it.

Make the weak ideas, attitudes, and beliefs strong.
Wrap dreams with action.
Spend time alone, waking up to the reality of what can be, when we embrace truth and run with it.


Okay. Deep breath.

After months of galavanting around the nation with my spirited, tireless, life-loving son on America’s Got Talent — and meeting all kinds of wonderful people with all kinds of wonderful skills and talents — I’m back. Back to doing dishes. Back to making sure kids are on top of their schoolwork. Back to writing, creating, and building worlds in books and online.

And back to raising my coffee cup to you, as we meet together.

After riding the gusty, whirlwind experiences filled with sweet relationships and delightful moments shared, it’s time for life to return to normal. Right?

Um. Not really.

Because, I ask, how do you take back all of the love and sweetness of new friends? And how do you erase the brilliance of excitement when a hundred people around you are firing on all cylinders, the lights cascade, the music pumps, and the magic electrifies even the air you breathe?

Heavens, I’d never want to take back or erase a second of it all. It’s more like, welcome to the new normal. 

Whether I like it or not, life is changed forever.

We all have unexpected experiences. Life gets splattered with them, good and bad. We hope and pray for the good while trying to avoid and slog through the bad. Most likely, the good and bad eventuate as a mixed up, haphazard, awkward savoir-faire, pouring with a splash into a concoction that reminds me of something that I did as a kid.

Whenever we had a party, we’d take out the bottles of pop (or, if you’re not from Michigan, soda), and pour together as many kinds as we could. We called it suicide. Not sure why, but the name embodied the mixture’s crazy taste.

Life is more crazy taste than anything else, isn’t it? The good and bad, all mixed up together. An insane fusion that you sometimes simply don’t even want to try to make sense of. It’s best to just drink it down, enjoy the wacky blend, and relish its reality to the fullest.

Whether you’re a man or woman, single or married, homebody or traveler, show-up-and-give-it worker or specialist-seeking entrepreneur, Everyday Joe or CEO, you know that once you’ve experienced high-level creativity, synergy, and magical moments, you can never go back.

But life isn’t about going back, is it?

I’m sitting in a coffee shop with a brand-new journal. The smell of its crisp pages waft past and mix with the cinnamon scent of my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. My hand itches, hovering, ready to script new goals… ready to sketch out the new story line with characters already chattering conversations at the bar in my head… ready to lean the binoculars against the bridge of my nose and sight the new speck on the horizon that promises to be the top of a mountain.

We can never return.
We don’t need to return.
There’s too much waiting for us.



I promised more on online courses, so here it is.

The development of online courses, though only 10 years old, is fast and furious.
(You have to know this, to know the most important point at the end of this short post.)
Read on:

~14 years ago, college programs went online.
~ Thirteen years ago, technical training burst onto the scene (think Lynda).
~ Nine years ago, Kahn Academy published free online courses with primitive formats (whiteboard, anyone?)
~ Five years ago, individual groups began platforms online courses (think Udemy).

It’s safe to say, online courses exploded with a less-than-gracious ka-boom across the Internet.

The past four years, though, have been the most important in online course history. Why?

Because everyone and their dog can now create an online course. 

OY. That’s good and bad.

Good because it opens doors for you to share what you have.
People can learn from you.
Bad because a ton of people are out there teaching online —
and not doing it well.

So, now, a bunch of “experts” have run to their keyboards create “How To” courses for would-be online teachers. I’ve seen more than a couple dozen “how to create your online course” courses splatting across the Internet this past six months alone. And most of it is people capitalizing on an innocent, vulnerable, humble thirst to share what you know and make money at it.

Honestly, I’m Horrified with a capital H. 

Because, as a writer/creator of online courses for many years, I can tell you — much of it is c.r.a.p. and it makes my heart break that people are spending their hard-earned money to buy these programs. (Yes, I’ve checked them out. Talk about BIG HOLES in the information and, in the end, you still don’t know how to get your knowledge and ideas into something that you can put up and have people pay for it.)

Be careful. The courses on how to develop courses can be a waste of your time and money. Most of the programs on how to teach online are about format — not about how to narrow your ideas and present them in a way that people can understand, enjoy, and love (so that they tell their friends and come back for more).

In other words, most of these programs DON’T teach you how to break your ideas down into something 
* Clearly laid out
* Technically easy to follow
* Linear and single in its ideas
* Powerful in its points, so that your readers can take action and get results

Because online courses have exploded, you now have to deal with the “noise” of a bazillion poorly-laid-out programs. We don’t need MORE online courses.

We need well-designed online courses that shine brilliantly with content and draw people naturally. No grape juice, please. We need fine wine.

If you have any skill — and I mean ANY — that you can describe and teach, taking others along your path, then you have the potential to make wine from the grapes of your knowledge and experiences.

But there is a “good” way and “bad” way —
a so-so way and a brilliant way —
a non-financially stable way and a financially-sound way —
to create online courses.

My own personal passion thumps in my chest when I talk about this (can you tell?) —
Because the idea of you sharing what blazes in your heart truly inspires me.

More next time.
Thanks for taking a few sips with me.

As I sit drinking coffee at my kitchen table, something weighs heavily on my mind. It has to do with money.

Money comes, money goes. (Most of us hate the “go” part of money flying out of our hands, don’t we?) We all need cash to live, and it seems most of us spend cash way too fast.

(Can you relate?)

Gah. Money can be tough to come by. It’s hard work, to make a living.

Now here’s the truth: Most artists and creators are stuck between making a living and a living of making (creating).

Think about it.

We work jobs that aren’t the apple of our eye. Work is work; creating is a luxury. We bite the bullet, grit our teeth, and a dozen other metaphors that say, “I’ll do this other job — the job that isn’t the creative talent job — because I have to.” What you do for your creative job is more like a fun hobby (that costs us more than it makes us, in money).

But. Wait. A. Sec.
It doesn’t have to be that way.

Four years ago, I did the smartest thing I’ve ever done, when it comes to money. I started creating online courses. Set in eternal Internet vineyards, the courses grow grapes turned to wine. (Hang with me here for a sec.)

Just as well-grown wine sits and gets better, the opportunity of well-written online courses sits and gets better. If your course is even somewhat good — it gives superb info, is easily followed, and creates results — word of mouth takes over. It sells. Again. And again. Multiplication takes over.

Online courses support me, now. I believe it can be that way for you, too.

So. What’s on my mind is how to get across to you all the potential that exists in making money with online courses.

Listen: A super successful and smart person I know has SO much information to share with others in an online course. I’ve sat under his teaching. It’s superb. I’ve seen and read his work as an author. It’s superb. I’ve seen who he’s connected to. It’s superb. I’m convinced he’d make SO much money. But he, personally, doesn’t believe that online courses can really bring in cash, at least for him. Even though he’s successful and brilliant, he thinks that people wouldn’t sign up for his courses.

Oh. My. Gosh. I’m like, are you kidding me, dude?

I WOULD BUY HIS COURSE! And watch it again. And again. No lie. Even though I’ve already heard this guy talk and know him personally. (Especially because I’ve heard him talk and know him personally!)

So why does this very talented, well-known guy shy from making an online course? I want to talk about that. Because maybe it’s the same for you.

Because online courses can be, like they are for me now, your bread and butter. Giving you time to make a living by a living of making.

More on this next time. 
(I hope your appetite is whetted. Because I believe that everyone has something to share — and someone out there wants what you have.)

* Thup

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”
― Emily Dickinson

“Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”
― Virginia Woolf

 “Let me tell ya. You gotta pay attention to signs. When life reaches out with a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back… I’m telling you.”
― Matthew Quick, The Silver Linings Playbook


You know what I’m talking about. It’s the searing flash of serendipity — where people meet, words overlap, and stars align in something so brilliant with possibility that it takes your breath away.

It’s when those pieces come together as if they were simply waiting. Waiting for the perfect time to step onto the stage.

It’s experiencing the Perfect Storm — the good kind — where a critical state of affairs, that un-wanted crisis, that unsought moment, that set of circumstances that felt tight and taught and tough — that moment drives you to think in new ways, creating the fusing of unpredictable factors, creating a new direction and opportunity that you simply can’t ignore.

And you stand, toes on the brink, wondering if you dare take that step.

Take it.

Because when the synapses of your experience and expertise cross and spark,
and 1 + 1 + 1 suddenly makes 111,
your moment is more than an idea.
It’s a future.

Don’t miss this.

* Thup

When was the last time you were truly bold and confident?
Not mediocre.
Not distracted.
But decisive and clear.

The vision hasn’t changed.
You’ve changed.

(Get back to what you know to be and do.)

Grasp. Capture. Live.

No more sauntering on the passion path.
The calling — the vision — still exists…
Not out there, somewhere…
But close.

Consider this a poke.

* Thup

Two words
float, fly, and flit around,
“authenticity” and “passion.”

It’s a shame. Because their meaning and their expression in reality
is intensely, truly, most surely needed,
to be alive in the highest sense.

To be true, honest, and open in how we interact, with all that is in us. Our best effort. The open heart. No pretenses, no agendas.

Only moving in the honesty of our minds and soul-nature —
melted together to, without manipulation or self-levied protection,
putting ourselves out there…regardless of our endogenous fables and flaws.

Doing. For all to see. For all to embrace.
For all to take shots at.

Being authentic and passionate, honest and kind,
invites criticism.

(And it will come.)

Those who are truly brave are those who know the potential criticism and,
regardless of the fear of exposure, step into the unknown
with the gift of themselves riding on hope
that, somehow and someday,
those who need your love-gift most will open their palms,
letting their fingers relax and fall, to grasp, envelop, and own it.

And if they don’t. Well. That’s okay.
Because you did your part.

Writer, write.
Photographer, photograph.
Musician, play.
Dancer, dance.
Sculptor, sculpt.
Thinker, think.

Entrepreneur, create.

(I dare you.)

* Thup


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