The Letters

/The Letters

Lincoln’s 2nd Inauguration

On Saturday March 4, 1865, a humid day with the Battle of Appomattox still more than 30 days away and Lincoln’s assassination 5 days beyond that, Lincoln gave this famous speech. Its structure and depth hold insights that we can apply today. It is instructive to our personal perspectives because from this distance we can discern and weigh without excessive partisan energy that always colors the present. Current partisan energy biases men’s minds, so looking back 152 years allows us the freedom of discernment without that bias. “Fellow-Countrymen:”, he begins with the democratic ideal of equality. By addressing his [...]

By | November 17th, 2017|Personal, Relational|


Are you born with motivation or is it something you can develop? After several decades of observing, I don’t have conclusions, but maybe some insights that might help you with your motivation.  It’s a nature/nurture kind of question: Are you born with the maximum amount of personal energy that drives you to wake up early and get after each day or is it something that must be coaxed and coerced into life with various techniques of threats and rewards? By my framing it as nature/nurture you already know that I think it’s both. We have a certain inherent disposition for [...]

By | November 11th, 2017|Personal|

The 45 Foot Dilemma

A plane must gain 50 feet of altitude by the end of the runway or face potentially devastating consequences. If for whatever reason takeoff does not occur, it doesn’t matter to the passengers why it hasn’t happened, blame is hopefully for tomorrow, only that impending tragedy has arrived. And now, as the margin for error has vanished and life and death decisions play out in an instant, the pilot holds the key to the future path of many lives. This metaphor has room to run. The pilot could be any one of us. As a young man, I can [...]

By | October 27th, 2017|Personal|

Projecting Success

The head jut. The way you carry yourself projects to the world how you feel about yourself: confident or insecure, disciplined or a little lazy, meticulous or possibly unaware. After 20+ years of being average in my awareness, I had average posture. The mid-thoracic area between my shoulder blades was weak, so I comfortably slouched in front of the computer. My belly sagged, shoulders rounded, and pelvis turned under. Even though I was working out in karate and running marathons, my posture sucked. I wasn’t projecting vitality. I was well on my way to some problems. No doubt you [...]

By | October 20th, 2017|Personal, Physical|

Adventure Mindedness

I do not want to die having not lived. I don’t want to look back on my life having never mattered to the full extent of my potential. I want to take this life God has seen fit to provide me - my strengths and weaknesses, my insights and ignorances, my loves and my doubts - and do what I can to make the world a better place all the while having fun in the process. Is that too much to ask? When I think of adventure, I think of travel to locations you’d see in a magazine. A bucket list [...]

By | October 14th, 2017|Personal, Relational, Spiritual|


Ok, so I’ve grown up a little. I have a long, uncomfortable history of saying or doing something that if I had a little more self-awareness, I’d have been humiliated. But somewhat fortunate for me, I’ve had the self-awareness of a tree stump. It’s only somewhat fortunate for me because I’ve come to conclude that I have hurt my trajectory in life with my immature mindset. I’ll explain that, but first some examples of embarrassment and my thinking that went with them. I’m highlighting my thinking from back then to see if you have similar thoughts. If you do, it might serve you [...]

By | October 6th, 2017|Personal, Relational|