Monthly Archives: February 2016

Have a tough time following through on ideas for change? Try this…

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Typically I’m pretty good at following through on things.  Julia always says that it amazes her that I can just set my mind to something and then do it.  “I think I’ll build a rock climbing wall in the garage”…done.  “I think I’ll start working out regularly to get in shape”…done.  I’m glad she sees me that way, but there are TONS of things that I want to do but never follow through on.  I always say that when faced with a choice, people will ultimately do what they want to do most.  Picking a movie to watch, you’re going to choose what you want most.  Even if you choose Dirty Dancing…if may not be the movie YOU want to watch, but your desire to please your wife and spend time with her is what outweighs the choice of movie…so ultimately you are still choosing what you want to do most.

So, when I have something I want to change about my life, it is really disappointing to me when I don’t follow through on it.  It tells me that there are other things that I’m choosing instead.  Based on my actions, I can tell you the following about me:

– I prefer keeping my money than giving it to a homeless person on the street.

– I like spending my Saturdays at home as opposed to going out and serving somewhere.

– I would rather NOT spend money on flowers than buy some to give to Julia, even though it makes her feel special.

– I prefer to forget about the idea of teaching my son things and will sit back and let Julia do it.

I am not proud of any of these statements.  But, I have to keep it real and this is what I observe about myself based on what I do.  They are all areas I WANT to make a change in, but have had a tough time figuring out the motivation to do it.

Through the last 2 years of blogging, I have found out something about myself.  I am much more likely to do something after I talk about it.  When I write a post about an area I struggle in or one where I am offering advice on a subject, it brings attention to the issue.  As a result, I think a lot about it.  Also, I’m publicly announcing what I’m working on…or sometimes making statements about what I do or am going to do.  Now…I HAVE to do it!  This is both frustrating and awesome at the same time.  Sometimes I want to be lazy and selfish.  But accountability helps me turn the selfishness into selflessness.

When I wrote about not throwing your wife under the bus or not saying I told you so, it helped remind me to do the same.  When I wrote about the importance of dating your wife and how I need to work on my listening skills, it requires me to get these issues together.  I can’t advise other people on something if I can’t do then myself!  Sometimes the extra motivation and accountability is just what I need to make a change.

However, even then, there are areas I still struggle at.  I wrote about getting your wife flowers, but I still am the worst at this.  I wrote about why it’s so important to be the spiritual leader for your family, but I feel I fall way short at this.  So…it’s all still a work in progress.  But, I will continue to put myself out there even if it means that my failures are more public.  I feel the chance of success is worth the risk of failure.  

My advice to you:

If you have something you want to change in life (the way you treat your wife or kids, the way you spend you time, etc), it can be very helpful to SPEAK it.  I’m not saying you need to start a blog, it can be much simpler than that.  Just talk with your wife or kids or friends about what you want to do differently.  Formulating the idea into words AND telling someone can help immensely.  So if you want to do something…give it a shot!  What is the worst that can happen…you put yourself out there but don’t succeed?  Remember, “failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” – C.S. Lewis

Are there TV shows that Christians should NOT watch???

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Ok…keeping it real here…I’ve been hesitant to write this post for a while.  For one…I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.  And also…this is a topic where I have a tough time following my own advice.  When I put something out there writing about it, it forces me to hold myself accountable.  To be honest, sometimes I just don’t want to do that!  But…here we go!

Custom-Your-Favourite-Photos-font-b-Posters-b-font-The-font-b-Lost-b-font-fontI like watching TV dramas.  Specifically, I like serial shows that tell one big story over time.  Action is good, suspense is good, and anything with surprises and twists that you don’t see coming is awesome.  Every fall I get excited about the new shows starting…(hoping that one will be the next Lost).  With Tivo and Netflix there is a seemingly endless possibility of shows to try out.  But, I battle with something…are there socially acceptable shows out there that I (as a Christian) should NOT watch?

Philippians 4:8 reminds me, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  Does that mean it is a SIN to watch a tv show that is not “pure” or “honorable”?  Because…there is NOT a lot out there that I would consider pure.  And Luke 6:45 tells us, “The good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure in his heart; and the evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil in his heart; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart.”  But, to get better perspective, I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 10:23 that says, ””All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.”

So if I’m going to draw an acceptability line based on these concepts…is it “ok” for me to watch Veggie Tales?  I’m going to go out on a limb and say YES.  What about watching hardcore porn…is that “ok”?  I’m going to say…NO.  So…what about Modern Family…CSI…Scandal…The Walking Dead…House of Cards…Orange is the New Black…Game of Thrones?  Where does the YES turn into NO?  There is a very wide range of gray out there.

I’m not going going to draw a line in the sand to tell you what YOU should or shouldn’t watch.  For one thing…I believe that line is going to be in different places for different people.  And also, it’s not my place to make that call.  But, I do want to challenge you with 2 thoughts about the subject…

1.  There NEEDS TO BE a line:

Cross-the-LineI often choose what to watch without regard for this line…without regard for what is good for me.  As a result, I am subjecting myself to sinful influences of various natures.  Maybe it is “permissible”, but that doesn’t mean it is good.  And if something is not good, is it really worth me using my time to consuming it?  Is it good for you to subject yourself to a TV show or movie with a lot of violence in it?  Is it good for you to hear a lot of bad language?  What about something with sex or nudity?  Sure it’s easy to SAY you can watch something without it affecting you…or claim you can see sex and nudity without lusting…but is that really true?  I think an important distinction is to decide what content can potentially affect YOUR walk with Christ, your thought life, and the way you act, and then avoid shows with that sort of content.  And the best way to figure this out is to pray about it and listen to what convictions God gives you.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because something is “popular” or it wins awards then it is good for you to watch.

2.  Be aware of your influence on others:

If you have decided it is ok for you to watch certain shows, that DOESN’T mean it is ok for everyone.  Romans 14:14-15 says, “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.  For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”  Paul is referring here to what people eat and the sinful influence it can have.  So, if that applies to a relatively innocuous subject such as eating, I feel it applies even more to somethingBreaking-Bad like what you watch.  Different people are tempted and influenced by different things.  You may be able to watch a show with violence and it not bother you.  But, someone else may become disturbed by the same thing.  Or, it may affect their personality and bring out more violence in them.  The same thing could be said for bad language.  When you tell people how great something is, you are giving it your seal of approval, which is in turn encouraging them to watch it.  So if that show has content in it that could be bad for them, you are encouraging them to consume something they shouldn’t.  

It’s similar to alcohol.  I don’t feel drinking alcohol in moderation is bad.  However, if you’re with someone who is an alcoholic and you’re drinking and going on about how good it is and how they should try it…you probably should have gone with a sweet tea instead.  Don’t cause someone else to stumble by what you do.  The TV shows you watch and talk about should be no different.

Imagine you’re at church and the pastor shares a quote from the movie The Wolf of Wall Street.  That action would be essentially telling everyone, “I have seen this movie”, “I like this movie”, and “I think you should watch this movie”.  The same can be said of any of us within our sphere of influence.  When you tell people about your favorite shows, or make comments on social media about them, you are telling everyone who can hear, “I watch this show”, “I like this show”, and “I think you should watch this show”.

Guys, this applies to your role as a leader of your family too.  What you watch impacts not just you but your family as well.  Your wife and kids will be influenced by your choices.  Even if you don’t watch with them, your kids will know what shows you like, which teaches them what is acceptable as they grow up and are able to make their own choices.

Now don’t think for a second that I’m encouraging you to watch whatever you want but just make sure to keep it a secret!  If you are watching things you shouldn’t, keeping it hidden is NOT the way to handle it.  For this advice to be helpful, it needs to be used in conjunction with advice #1 above (there needs to be a line).  If you are watching something you think is sketchy that you’re not sure you should…the answer is NOT to simply keep quiet about it so you don’t cause others to stumble…the answer is to STOP WATCHING IT.  However, if you feel that what you are watching IS appropriate for you, but you think it COULD be inappropriate for others…THAT is when I suggest keeping it to yourself.  As Paul says later in Romans 14 (vs 22-23), “The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.  But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

Let me share a personal experience I’ve had with this:  I read a few of the Game of Thrones books.  It’s a very intriguing story with interesting characters and a compelling plot, but it is far from wholesome.  Game-Of-Thrones-logoThey are filled with greed, evil, and sex.  I was willing to overlook this for the sake of the excitement of the books though.  I guess it seemed to have a minimal effect on me to read it (at least that’s how I justified it).  When it was made into a big budget TV series, of course it’s going to be exciting.  So, I watched a couple of the episodes, but was overwhelmed at how wrong it felt (to me).  The sex and nudity was prevalent and the evil felt that much worse to see it instead of read it.  I didn’t want anyone to know I saw them and realized that was probably a sign that I shouldn’t…so I stopped.  I didn’t want influences like that inciting lust or filling my mind with evil character and violence.  So now I cringe whenever I see someone on Facebook going on about how amazing the show is.  Not because I feel they shouldn’t be watching it (hopefully they are considering point #1 above and making a good decision for themselves, plus it is not my place to judge what is right or wrong for them), but it makes me worry how many people are being drawn into watching it by hearing how awesome it is from people they know and trust, only to have it fill their mind with evil, violence, sex, and sin.

But at the same time, I will watch The Walking Dead without hesitation.  It is probably the most violent show I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t bother me and I don’t feel any conviction about it hurting my walk with Christ.  Still, I try not to “recommend” it to other people because the content definitely isn’t “good” and could easily be something that does bother someone else.

My advice to you:

Don’t assume that the popularity of a show or the fact that someone you know likes it means it is good for you to watch.  It may seem silly to do so, but spend some time in prayer asking God to reveal to you if there are shows you watch that you should stop.  And if you do watch things that YOU feel are ok, but you realize others could take issue with, I encourage you to be careful with how to promote them to others.

Building your own custom-made built-in closet

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I know this doesn’t fit my “husbandology” theme for my blog.  But, I just finished a cool project and wanted to post a how-to article about what I did.  So, I figured I might as well put it here!

In our new house I wanted to finish out our master closet.  It is really big, but had a lot of wasted space.  I got inspiration from an article on thesawdustdiaries.com (which Julia found on Pinterest) and wanted to do something similar.  I got a lot of good ideas and tips on building it from that site.  Here is the “before” picture.IMG_0822

Also, I must mention that I am no expert at construction or woodworking.  Any tips I give in this article is purely from what I experienced.  I am sure there are LOTS of better ways to do much of what I did.  So, if anyone who ACTUALLY knows what they are doing reads this, please don’t laugh too hard at any of my suggestions…as misguided as they may be.  :-)


Step 1: Design

I got the measurements for the room and figured out what I wanted to do with the space.  I drew it out, then changed it, then drew it out again, then changed it again, etc…  I ended up with this.

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Step 2: Materials

Next I had to plan out what material I needed.  From reading various articles online, I decided to use 3/4″ MDF for the main construction, 1/2″ MDF for drawers,  select pine for small trim and poplar for drawer fronts.  I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t wasting boards by making the wrong cuts in the wrong places, so I planned out my cuts ahead of time…which helped me get a true list of how many I needed.  Here are my cut sheets…IMG_0819 IMG_0820 IMG_0821

Here was my materials list:

3/4″ MDF 4’x8′ – 14
1/2″ MDF 4’x8′ – 7
1/8″ hardboard 4’x8′ – 7
Select Pine 1″x2″x8′ – 27
Poplar boards 1″x8″x8′ – 5
Poplar boards 1″x12″x8′ – 2
Drawer slides and pulls – 20
Dowel rods – 8
Primer (oil based) – 5 gallons
Paint (latex) – 6 gallons

One huge Home Depot trip later with a 10% off coupon (plus 5 more trips as the project went on) and I was ready to start!

Step 3: Pre-paint

MDF does not work well with water apparently.  If it gets wet, it raises the grains and makes it really rough.  So, if you want to paint it, it is best to prime with an oil based primer first.  So, to prevent having to do millions of tedious coats on the finished product, I decided to pre-prime and paint the boards first.  I knew I would still have to touch up at the end, but had hopes that it would make it easier.  This turned out to be a great call!  It was still a pain to paint, but not nearly as tedious as the final painting was.

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Bare MDF boards
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Primed and painted MDF boards


Step 4: Construction

This was the toughest part…physically.  I was so thankful for my Dad coming over to help as 3/4″ MDF boards are ridiculously heavy!  The closet was divided into sections, so we would cut the boards for a section at a time, then assemble that section before moving on.

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Cutting the boards in the garage
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We had to be very careful to get the front of each board aligned with the sides. Otherwise, the trim at the end wouldn’t sit flush.
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The first section built…woohoo! :-)
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The second section done!
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We predrilled for all screws so we didn’t split the boards
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Cutting slots to fit together the shoe cubby boards
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Fitting together the shoe cubby
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In order to fit the sections together tightly, we would clamp them together before screwing in place.
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Initial construction done! This is the left side…
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…and the right.

BTW…I just want to point out how awesome my wife is for getting me a table saw last year! Without that saw, it probably would have taken me twice as long…and wouldn’t have looked nearly as good.  It is simply amazing!  :-)


Step 5: Drawers

The drawers were THE part of the project I was most nervous about.  I didn’t want them to feel rickety or unprofessional.  Since I’ve never built them before, I was worried.  But, I was really happy that they turned out great!

This part of the project took a lot of work…and a lot of learning as I went.  I got my plan from the same Sawdust Diaries site.  I got the plans to build the drawers here and installing them here.  This saved me A LOT of headache!  Even then, the last 10 drawers I built were WAY nicer than the first 10…because of all the things I learned as I went on.  The first step was cutting the boards (100 total for 20 drawers!).  Then, cut a dado along the bottom.  Cutting dados sounds fancy and difficult, but it wasn’t too bad.  I should clarify…having a table saw…it wasn’t too bad.  Without one…it would be the worst!  Then, take them a drawer at a time…assemble with glue then I used finishing nails to hold them together.  I was blown away by how solid they were!

My first (and only) real problem I ran into was here.  I built the first 10 drawers and planned to install them before doing the rest.  But, when I went to install them, 6 of the 10 were 1/16″ of an inch too long!  So, I had to tear apart my beautiful and solid drawers, cut off a sliver, then reconstruct them.  It was not a good day.

After that, the last 10 drawer were awesome!  I knew exactly what length they needed to be and had the construction process down.  I actually really started to enjoy making them at that point.

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A stack of drawer pieces freshly cut
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Dados cut into all the side pieces. Some of them have vertical dados too to install dividers
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Before any gluing or nailing, I made sure to check the length
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Made sure to use the square before attaching any sides
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Finishing nailer…the greatest invention ever (besides the table saw)
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Once 3 sides are attached, I would slide the bottom piece in place
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Before gluing the last side, I would do one last measurement to make sure it was the right length
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Putting down glue for the last side
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The finished drawer with divider that can slide in and out. Although I should have made the slider space a tiny bit larger. After paint and poly finish on it…it was a little too tight. I had to use a hammer to get a few of them in there.
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For installing drawers, first attach the rail to the drawer. Here is the jig method I used to keep uniform spacing and keep all drawers level. The jig for the drawer had an extra 1/4″ spacer which is the difference in length from the rail to the bottom of the slide.
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Attaching the slide to the cabinet (without spacer)
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Woohoo! It fits!
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5 drawers installed
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All drawers done! :-)


Step 6: Trim

I was really looking forward to the trim step because that was when it was going to start looking good…covering up all the mistakes.  :-)  I used the nailer to attach them, then wood putty to cover up any gaps anywhere.

I also built fronts for the drawers out of poplar.  I sized them slightly larger than the drawers themselves and attached from the inside with screws.

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Step 7: Paint

Paint, paint, and more paint!  Did I mention how glad I was that I “pre-painted”?  I first used wood filler and caulk to help fill in gaps, holes, and spaces.  Then, I painted it like crazy!  The roller work was nice, but trim paint took me about 6 hours to do one coat!  After the paint was dry, I did 2 coats of  Minwax polyacrylic sealant to keep it smooth and protected.

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Half of the shoe cubby painted…this makes me happy :-)
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Paint and poly coat done…with drawer fronts installed


Step 7: Finishing!

All that was left then was installing the clothes rods and drawer pulls…then doing lots of cleanup.  Here is the final result!

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Finished drawers with pulls and dividers
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The left side finished…
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…and the right side finished
The right side, view from the window
The right side, view from the window

I hope you enjoyed seeing my project.  Feel free to post questions in the comments below if you want to try it for yourself!  :-)

For anyone interested, I put in about 80 hours of work on the project.  And the total cost was around $1,600 in material (not including any tools or saws).

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