It is primal, lacking in today’s home, and gives us a time of renewal.

There is something about building a fire. I recently got a chance to get away for a couple of days with my wife to a cabin with a large fireplace. It reminded me of times and people who have passed into memories. The act of building and enjoying the fire was an experience that had a profound effect on me.

The process of gathering and storing wood for a fire are largely forgotten skills in western society. We have the comfort of thermostat regulated homes that take no effort. The fire gathering process wasn’t hard for me during my stay…

Are you recovering or recharging?

We all need downtime. It is not possible to keep going at a high level without some sort of rest. No matter how you rest, it is an important component of your life.

First: Find Rest

In order to rest, consider setting a rhythm to your week. Start by examining your week. Do a time study, throughout your day record what you are doing, your level of mental alertness, emotional reserves, and your physical status.

Take time to journal and reflect on where you are in your day and week. What things are currently taking your attention and time? …

Anyone who knows me in real life, knows that at some point I am going to mention the book “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry”. John Mark Comer’s book challenged my life which resulted in a lot of change in my personal life. The concept of taking action to eliminate hurry from my life was amazingly profound. But what if I applied the concept of ruthless elimination to other things? Email, for example.

The Costs of Email

We all know that email is pretty much free, right? Sure, I might pay for Outlook but it doesn’t cost anything to send and receive an email. …

When we look at something everyday, it can lose it’s uniqueness due to the veil of familiarity. What to do when everyday life creates a fog that keeps us from seeing beauty and truth.

When I travel to a new place, I love to observe the houses and neighborhoods. I look at the details of the homes to see what is unique to that area.

One of my favorite places to visit is north central Pennsylvania. As I would drive through the area, a combination of brick and wood created a scene that I still correlate to that area.

I looked at those areas with a wonder because they were new to me. They existed outside my “normal” and familiar life. …

2020 had me in a place of stagnation. It might have been the same for you.

The stagnation of the last year left me feeling rudderless, at the hand of whatever wind was blowing that month, day, or moment. I don’t want to dwell on the results of 2020. Instead, I want to look forward.

Starting today, I am engaging in the practice of writing. At least three times a week, I will transition ideas from my head through my arms into my keyboard ultimately ending up here. Not as a vain attempt to better the world through my opinions and observations, but rather as an attempt to embrace these fleeting thoughts. …

Mentoring is a word that is filled with personal historical narrative. Your experiences drive your expectations when you hear about the act of mentoring. You had a coach that helped you to level up your game? Mentoring may mean tips for improving while giving guidance on the field. Your last boss helped you to overcome some bad work habits through contemplative observation? Mentoring takes the form of questioning and seeking a path forward.

No matter your past experience, mentoring means time spent sharing with each other.

The next generation of thinkers and doers in your field are hungry for your…

I had a friend pose this question the other day:

The kids are at my parent's house for the day. Do I recoup or get things done?

He was torn between two realities. The first is that he needs to recoup. These times are tough. We have no space. Sure, we might be isolated but isolation revokes the notion of space. He needs to engage in activities that will recharge his whole self.

The second reality is that he has a (now) unique opportunity to get things accomplished. This far into a pandemic, the list that was whittled down, is…

Your list of things that you need to get done is huge. The number of lines is growing faster than the items crossed off.

We are stuck in a rut, focusing on the here and now, instead of the long term future. So, here is a novel idea: put down your list for an hour today.

Take that hour to work towards a long term goal.

Your to-do list is filled with the here, now, and what’s next. It isn’t listing your steps towards long term goals. It is filled with today, not the long term future.

But change and progress require that we work towards the future. If our…

The Redemptive Power of Christmas

And why we feel let down by the most wonderful time of the year.

The holidays. You may dread them. You may love them. But what you may not realize is that you have come to expect this time year as a time of redemption.

This past year you have accomplished a lot of things. You were busy. Probably busier that any year before. You rushed from thing to thing, trying to enjoy life but finding yourself falling farther and farther behind. Then you decide that this December will be different!

This is the time…

There are certain times in life that it is necessary to take stock of things. For me, turning 40 is one of those times.

Here is some of what I know so far:
* I have far more questions than I have answers.
* A night of sleep makes all problems seem less like mountains and more like mole hills.
* I love a well designed….well, anything. If something is created that anticipates how I will use it and it makes that use easy, I love it.
* I have not yet accomplished what I have set out to do.
* PB&J can be eaten…

Joe Stoup

A life-long learner who helps others gain knowledge and put it to work. Instructional design is a my passion. Priorities are God, family, friends, and bourbon.

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