Mindblowing deals on Black Friday, you can’t miss!

I would have been a bawling baby watching the true story of Laura Dekker and her round-the-word solo sailing adventure, at age 14(!) if my wife wasn’t in the room with me! I  was choked up during the whole movie. What a story! This sweet and pretty teenager has a will like iron. She fought her government in order to be able to battle the sea, by herself. She had a vision and made it happen. She is the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe by herself. Wow.

Maidentrip is a documentary worth every second of your time to watch. I love true stories like this, I try to watch them whenever I can.

Even though I am so inspired by long distance sailors, or backcountry thru-hikers, or iceberg ice climbers, I sometimes feel convicted that my life could be so much more adventurous, but it’s not. I see other humans (like me) on the same chunk of rock in space as me (Earth), who seem to be squeezing the most out of the realm of possibility. I wonder if I am wasting my own little life, when I could be doing much much much more.

A friend of mine was visiting the amazing hand-built Bishop Castle in Colorado. He said that he was talking with the creator, Jim Bishop, who had done this entire amazing project by himself. He said that Jim told him, that we all build our own castles. Each one of us has one. We create things in our world every day. The only difference with him, is that he chose one project, just one thing, and did that nonstop for the last 40 years.

Jim Bishop is right. If any of us did just one thing for 40 years we could produce amazing visual results. People could see for miles around, the hard work the creativity and passion we each have for life. Sadly, sometimes I can get lost in the lie that my own little world is just bland and basic. I can forget the story of my own individual path and see it fade into a grey fog of normal-ness.

Yes, we did get a TV bought on a Black Friday deal. Yes, that is just as gut-wrenchingly ‘Merican, as it gets these days. I am aware that I don’t want my whole world to be about the next ‘thing’ I get to buy. It’s such a rotten pleasure. A quick flash of adrenaline when the new stuff arrives, then it sucks away our drive and any adrenaline. I sink back comfortably with pillows all around me and let life move by while watching someone else conquer the world…


It’s not too late. I am building a castle right now. I am circumnavigating my own globe of existence. It certainly hasn’t reached the depth and breadth of the playground I’ve been given. I hope I don’t lose that angst when I watch a 14 year old spindly girl and her Guppy sail around the world. I hope I don’t get lost in my comfortable living room for the next 40 years. I want to be Thankful, that I have some adventurous spark still left, and at least gravitate toward the creation of something amazing. Even in the smallest of ways.

Both of these stories started out so small. ‘A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.’ I do intend to be taking that step. I see how possible it is. I hope I can keep remembering that… even when setting up my new high definition mindblowing timesucker… 🙂

Have a Great Day, A Beautiful Day, That God Has Made, For You 🙂


Aaron Nichols

I will NOT blog about same-sex marriage… Oops!!!

The definition of Marriage, adjusted to include couples of the same sex, is an issue that I will go and place a vote on tomorrow morning. Our denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has approved this change at our General Assembly. It is now up to the individual Presbytery’s to ratify (or not) the new version of the definition of marriage to the constitution of this church….

Why did I volunteer to go and make this vote?

I was caught up in the moment. The feeling was huge, decisive and emotional. No one else was really jumping at the chance to be in the heat of this flame. I said, as a ruling elder, that I would go… I have regretted this decision almost from the instant I made it.

I stated to our leadership group, that I did not have my mind set on how to make this vote as of 4 weeks ago. I had not put much thought into the issue at all. I was totally unqualified. I had done no research. I was a beginner to the process altogether. I didn’t know if I would vote for or against the amendment. I also said that if someone else who was more sure about it, someone who’s soul was set, then they should take my place and go vote.

It has been a loooong month since I made the commitment. I have been struggling and learning and trying to look at the issue from both sides. I have read our bible, another book and articles online. I have talked with people in our congregation, in Sunday School and a specific meeting of debates. I have talked with our pastor and the other brave soul who is also going place her vote. I have gotten emails and and texts about the issue in this last week outlining ideas held by my fellow worshipers at Westminster Presbyterian Church. My wife and I have done lots of late night contemplations on it too… And I have been telling myself NOT to blog about it 🙂

Anyway, as you are probably aware, this is a hugely divisive issue. This could be the death knell for many struggling congregations. It can tear people apart and set them properly on one side or the other of a deep canyon of belief. It is a big deal. I do not take this vote lightly at all. I also do not claim to do the issue justice in my dinky friday morning blog post. I am not going to detail the exact picture of my opinion as it sits this morning.

I have learned a couple really powerful messages in this process that I do want to share. Same-sex marriage is such an inflamed topic that there have been many conservative churches leave our denomination over it. In effect, the opposition to the idea has largely left the conversation. I was astounded to learn this. A formerly tight balance of ideas has now shifted to leaning much further in the progressive direction. This has not happened because of richly debated and keenly discussed compromising. It hasn’t come because one party’s reasoning and openness has melted the hearts of the other side. There hasn’t been new insight gained from the Holy Spirit that has washed the consciousness and left us all viewing the issue with fresh clear vision.


The debate is largely over, because the balance is gone.


I want to take note of how this has happened. I want to be aware of the greater lesson at hand. I want to enlighten myself to the real vote that is happening tomorrow and for the years to come within this denomination, and within society itself.

I want to remind myself that God may be asking us a greater question in all of this. Can we continue to work together, even with significant and deeply emotional differences of opinion? It seems we are answering this question with a resounding ‘No’ right now. It seems as though we are saying, ‘If I can’t have my way, then I am going to leave and find some place where I do get my way.’

Is this really possible as a long term solution to problems like this? I will tell you personally that I do see how big of a rift this issue can cause. I have seen the fire in the eyes of both sides. Yes, I have gotten your emails and facebook messages about it. I have not responded to any of them, but I have carefully read them and thank you for sending them. I am independent in my mind, as usual, and didn’t want to respond with any promises to vote your way or against. In fact, until just recently, I was still quite undecided and confused…

After lots of struggle and fighting with myself, God has laid my mind to rest. I do know right now, how I want to vote tomorrow. I do know that I have my own version of a loving and supportive answer to this question. God helped me see, but it wasn’t until I could really relate it to my own life, that any fogginess could clear.

The next thing that I know for sure, is that I cannot let the votes on this issue make me decide whether or not to continue to work within the church itself. I do understand both sides now. I see why both sides want what they want. I am not mad about it. I do not see a reason to be less than loving to either opinion.

It will be hard still.

Our family restaurant has been through some similarly tough problems. Although the guys in the back do make a bunch of tasteless gay jokes when they work together, that is not what I am talking about here. There have been two strongly opposite ideas at work since I became a full-time partner in the business. We have had knock-down drag out fights over opinions. I wanted so many times to be gone, or to have my opposition be gone. Just like those who have left the church denomination to detach from something they couldn’t work with anymore, I really get that.

In the most heated of our battles, my father-in-law (the Big boss) asked us to find a way to work it out. I wanted so badly to see his support and favor land on one side or the other. God could make this an easier fight too, if he could just silence every question on either side. We want that lightning bolt to come and show us his truth in plain sight, as long as it lands against our enemies. As much as I wanted it too, in our family restaurant squabbles, that strong opinion siding with me or against me, didn’t come.

Instead we were left to continue battling. We did and do still, day by freakin’ day. As I write this post, I still have not found perfect harmony in this business, or with the church either. Overall though, good work is being done. We are feeding people. Our continued effort to simply put one foot in front of the other has been key. Even with cussing and threats and rebellion and retaliation in the smallest and most subtly of ways, we have found the smallest reasons to keep going forward, and they have been enough so far.

I thank God for the struggles now, it is making some recent good moments that much sweeter. My brother-in-law and I are probably a stronger team now, than we ever have been, and yes we still have a long way to go. I respect the improvements he has made. I also am grateful for his resolution to keep working even though I have been super-duper ugly and angry at times.

It’s a small world after all. There is only so much room for us to move away. This spherical design brings us back to where we started, again and always again. All of us are in this crucible together. We have bigger issues at hand. I want to say today, that I will take my little teeny tiny stand on the same sex issue tomorrow. I will place my ballot and vote. I will have grown through this process.

Please pray with me, that we will all somehow find a way to keep working together within the colorful dysfunction that we have been blessed with. God could fix this all real quick, if His intention was to do all the work. I think He wants us to find a way, to make a way. Can we strengthen our character to look to Him up there, and yet keep things functioning some way, some how, down here?

Through Jesus Christ, The Way, The Truth and The Life, I pray so.


Aaron Nichols

This is a waste of your time… and mine

What’s the freakin’ point! Get to it already! We are vury vury busy these days and we don’t have time to dilly-dally around and spend precious extra seconds to hear what you have to say. I want to get the core guts of the idea right up front. I want to know if I can space out and move on to other things, or lock my focus in for more and more in-depth understanding… and then decide to bail out before the punchline comes anyway…

In this very first paragraph of my blog today, I express something that has been bugging me about my own writing or my own way of being as I have observed it to be, for awhile now. I notice that I spend a lot of words on here each week to unfold my ideas. I eat up several inches of digital real estate every Friday morning, with usually over a thousand words. I do try to have one main clear point in each of these blogs. I wonder why I employ so many letters, spaces and punctuation to do it?

There are three men that I read regularly in my email. Steve Chandler, Seth Godin and Dusan Djukich. All three of these guys send ‘blog’ style email messages that can improve or impact or at least cause some mental intrigue in my life. I get tons of emails, every day, spam mostly, yet I stop to read their words. They tend to write from the heart. They speak clearly and powerfully. They give useful information, that you can employ to author transformation in your own life. They use few words.

In the same amount of text that you have read from me so far today, these three guys might have each made a profound point, with little fuss. I recommend them to you.

For me though, I must enjoy the flowery arrangement of syllables and poetic rhythms. I seem to want to play with the language, and exercise my limited primitive vocabulary. I waste your precious seconds and beat around the bush. Sorry for that.

Truly some days, I don’t know what my point is, until I have written several hundred words. I sometimes need to clear out the mental junk, and let the rusty waters run before something fresh comes through the pipe.

Usually though, I am avoiding and putting off and trying to butter things up. It is weakness. It is excuses. It lacks confidence and clarity. I could just say, exactly what it is that I mean to say, in just a few words. I don’t need all this extra gar-bage in between.

What is my point? What purpose did I intend to convey? How powerfully will I chose to express this message?

You can measure these things by how quickly and deeply these words cut into the juicy idea I am serving up. Usually it’s a bunch of preparation, and very little main course.

The first step to making some changes in my world, are to notice and to be aware of the way things are. Then I can decide if I want to ever so slightly adjust my course of action. The tiniest movements today, can lead to colossal distances in the location of some future arrival.

If I am avoiding the inevitable, it is wasting everyone’s time. Get to it. Let’s get it over with and move on to the next challenge. Placating and being passive aggressive, is a rubbery and challenging existence. Boundaries set firmly, give us strength to exercise against.

Always the best path between point A and B, is a Straight Line, according to the most clear and most concise truth-teller I know, Dusan Djukich.

Maybe next week, you will only have one pair-a-giraffe to read instead of many. Maybe it will be even better yet. Maybe I’ll fail and flail around, making you endure lots of aimless words and not-so-fancy phrasing…

Till then, Take Care 🙂


Aaron Nichols

In case my blog post today, didn’t help you or jumpstart any creative inner monologues, here are some from the fellas… And they won’t take you long to read 🙂

Steve Chandler:

Most people go through the day hoping nothing will be much different than yesterday. Especially inside themselves! They aren’t out to grow or stretch or learn (all the same thing), they are out to chill and maintain.

 The problem with that popular approach is that there is no true maintaining. If you are not going forward, you are going backward. Without learning to grow, you are slipping back down a slippery slope to powerlessness.

 I need to know how to learn….to learn how to expand what you can do. Learn how to get stronger and bolder. Lose face. Suffer humiliation, because that’s where true, true strength grows from. When I try something new.

 “Every act of conscious learning,” noted professor of psychiatry Dr. Thomas Szasz, “requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.”

Steve Chandler
Seth Godin:


Can you change?

Are you stuck with your habits, your knowledge, your weight, your fitness, your interpersonal skills? Is your future a slightly different rerun of your past?

We spend an enormous amount of time and money seeking to reinvent and upgrade ourselves, working to give up something, start something, build something or change something about who we are and what we do.

And we usually fail.

It’s tempting to say, “this is who I am, habits are hardwired, it’s in my DNA, I’m going to live with it.” Tempting, and an easy way out. 

Change is hard, sometimes nearly impossible. But if even one person as far behind as we are has dug in and done enough work to finish that marathon, to change that habit or to learn that skill, it means that it’s not impossible. Merely (astonishingly) difficult.

Knowing that it’s possible is 86% of the project.


And the most concise “one-inch punch” you can read online, Dusan Djukich:

“Feeling bad about something is a waste of life. Change your behavior. Do what’s required.” – Dusan Djukich

“You can speak from ‘game changer’ or you can speak from cliques. The latter won’t make a difference.” -Dusan Djukich

“Constantly choosing comfort over growth is what creates most emergencies.” – Dusan Djukich



It doesn’t matter how much you give…

Anyone else tired of the hearing the same old message this time of year at Church? Stewardship campaigns usually start now and we will hear something about giving spoken each Sunday during worship. The talks will be about pledging our tithe and maybe increasing our offerings and tithes over the next several weeks. I will hear about it at our church, and you probably will hear about it at yours.

I have even been asked to speak on Stewardship during this season a couple years ago. I talked about how when I was going through a process to eliminate my own debt, that I wasn’t gaining real traction until I started to incorporate tithing into my personal financial plan. Blah blah blah… we’ve all heard it before, tithing ten percent is God’s plan for us to develop a character and an attitude about the money we earn and how to use it responsibly as He has designed…

Again, Blah blah and BLAH! I’m sure you don’t want to hear the same old story from me again. I wasn’t asked to speak this year, and that is fine.

I did enjoy a heartfelt speech from Mr. Wade Hepner. He used his stewardship speech opportunity to show us in detail, how our church and especially our Pastor Tim Soule has helped guide and support his spiritual walk through the darkest and toughest shadowy valleys of death. Man, I hear ya bro. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being so real. THANKS for not forcing us to listen to another textbook example of the definition of a tithe and some lukewarm encouragement to give…

I will use my mini platform here to share an idea that came to me during some recent mentions of stewardship…


In my personal opinion, in my personal experience, in truth I want to tell you something I have exercised and profoundly come to expect.


Up until maybe five years or so ago, I had never even considered giving as something I would regularly do. I didn’t see it as something important. I did spend a lot of my own money in ways that lots of people could enjoy, but I didn’t really give it away for others to do with as they wished.

Now I do tithe ten percent, as accurately as my wife and I can figure. If more comes in, we give more. We do tithe to the church we attend, but I don’t believe that has to be the way everyone does it.

Again, I have noticed that IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH I GIVE!

Along with our tithe we do try support other little fundraising things that are going on with people we know. If the Youth Group is doing something to help pay for their mission trip, we want to participate. If your kid is selling something in order that their team or their class or their group can do their work better, we want to give to that as well. I don’t want to buy their catalog items, but I do want to give to them, cash money.


If we are out in public and a waiter or waitress or carhop or hostess is serving us, we want to give a tip that is nice every time we are in that situation. Every time we can, we want to give a slightly unexpected amount. It doesn’t always have to be $100, but how fun would that be? Yeah!

Again, I seem to be noticing always that IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH I GIVE!

If I am in line at the store, and someone is having trouble getting their card to run, or they are waiting next to me to pay, I like to go ahead and buy their snacks or drinks, or maybe gas too. I haven’t done the gas thing recently, but I would like to.

In case you haven’t heard me, IT DOESN’T MATTER how much I GIVE.

I am lucky that my wife smiles and says ‘That’s nice’ when I tell her that I have done one of these little things in the day. I want her to know where OUR money has gone. We pool it all, there is no hers or mine. So, when I give our money to someone or something, I am using OUR dollars to do it. I make that call, and she supports it. I am one LUCKY man.

She must also understand at a very deep level that, IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH WE GIVE.

The funny thing is that, even just a year ago, we didn’t have much money to give. I had messed up my income stream and was struggling and only had my debt freedom as anything positive in our financial world. Income was low, lifestyle was minimal. Now we have more than enough. We did give back then too though. We tithed that ten percent. We gave enjoyed the way it felt to give when we had little. It feels even better then, when it is a bigger piece of the little pie.

We at one point asked prayers for our careers and in some ways, even twisted and ironic ways, those prayers have been answered 🙂

I do have a punchline for my repetitive quote about how it doesn’t matter how much we give…

When I am using my money, my cup to pour out and help fill the cup of another, I find that mine never goes empty. It just doesn’t. If I take stock and look at our numbers in our account, I find that more and more is in there, even though I give more than I ever have in my whole life. It is very strange. I find it fascinating. I don’t believe it sometimes. I think I should end up with less, the more I give away. Although counter-intuitive, it just seems to be soooo true.

It just doesn’t matter how much I give, because I can never outgive God. I can never expend more than he can replenish and re-bless me with. I cannot in all my mighty mouse little power, begin to let go of something that God can’t resupply. I don’t want to do this in order that I test him, or in order that I ‘get’ something that want to come to me. I don’t need to see God prove anything or even to prove to you, that this is true.

It does however seem to work, every single time, no matter what.

I just have not been able to outgive God. It’s like the reverse of casino gambling. If I am betting against the house, they always win in the long run. If I am betting, not with my own money, but with God’s blessings backing me up, I cannot lose.

There is my stewardship message in a nutshell. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH YOU GIVE. YOU CAN NEVER OUTGIVE GOD.

Have fun everyone. Enjoy being the blesser. Share with a light heart and you’ll find that you get more back than you ever gave out. Try it today 🙂


Aaron Nichols