Day 30 – “LAST”

Day 30 – “LAST”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.


This is it.

Day 30 of 30 Words for 30 Days.

My last post in this series.

It’s been pretty amazing, as I look back, to see all that has happened over just these 30 days.

Some of it has been related to COVID-19 and how the world is changing.

But there have also been three birthdays this month in our family, Easter and more.

If you’ve never pushed yourself to do something you thought you couldn’t do, I highly recommend it.

There were plenty of days that I just drew a blank as to what word to focus on, what to write, what was coming next.

But one thing was for sure.

The best way to stick with something is to commit to it and let other people know.

And it’s also amazing what can happen on Day 16.


The Day 16 Email

A funny thing happened on April 16th.

Like on a few other days this month, I was feeling down and ready to pack it in on writing for this series.

It had been a rough day in a number of ways and I was questioning whether anyone really even cared about what I was writing (or if I even did on that day).

I was honestly talking myself through the fact that it’s OK to stop. I gave it a good shot. No harm in regrouping and trying another time.

And that’s when I got a notification. From my friend Vincent.

It said that he had tagged me in a post in our private Facebook community.

So I went and checked it out… and my jaw dropped.

In his post, he basically said that he had mentioned me in his email newsletter (that I ironically hadn’t finished reading) and given me a shout-out for writing every day on my blog.

“Oh, crap!” I thought.

Then I sat there and just started laughing.


Don’t give up

You see, as I had battled that day with giving up, I had prayed and basically told God that if I should keep going with the writing, He would need to show me something. Anything.

And then that notification came. And I read the email.

And I laughed again.

It was the kind of timing that only a God who knows everything going on behind the scenes could pull off.

And that email, that shout-out was exactly what I needed right at that moment to get me unstuck and keep me going.

Vincent had no idea (and maybe still doesn’t) how much that email meant and how key the timing was. On that specific day. Exactly when I was packing it in.

I wonder who you know who is on their Day 16?

Who around you could you offer encouragement to today, so that it won’t be their last day?

Who is right on the edge and just needs that nudge from you?

Don’t miss an opportunity to be that voice, to offer that encouragement, to be the one standing with your friend.

I’m thankful for Vincent’s friendship and for that email on that specific day.

For me, it was everything. It meant that at least one person was watching, reading, noticing me trying.

All it takes is one.


So, where do I go from here?

I’m not sure quite yet. I liked writing every day and will continue to in some form, but not sure what that will look like yet.

For you, why not take a similar step.

Can you create art for 30 days or do 30 days of push ups?

Could you try smiling more for 30 days or sending encouraging texts?

Whatever it is, let me know about it.

I want to cheer you on, especially at Day 16.


Day 29 – “DIRECTION”

Day 29 – “DIRECTION”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.


What direction are you heading?

I went for a hike over the weekend at one of my favorite spots.

For the most part, the trail is well marked out.

But there were a few places where several trees had fallen or the trail had sort of disappeared.

It made me think about how things feel right now.

All of a sudden, a huge storm has swept across our country and proverbial trees are down everywhere, blocking what paths might have seemed clear before.

Now, we’re left scanning around, wondering which direction to go, both as a country and as individuals.

What will the next several weeks or months look like for us?

It seems that no matter which politician, news source or friend on social media you listen to, the bottom line is “we just don’t know”.

It’s definitely caused me to spend more time praying, as I seek God’s wisdom on how to lead my family well through this, how we can help others, what to do or not do,

I wish the path was clearer, but I have to believe that even those opinions that seem at direct odds with each other are still coming from a place of concern and wanting to do the right thing.

So, as you look at your own personal or family situation, be willing to take some time away from everything to think.

Maybe go for a hike or a drive or a walk… as long as you socially distance.

But don’t let the fallen trees block your view from what’s further down the path.

I believe brighter days are ahead and that we’ll get out of this… together.

As we go, let’s help each other navigate and find firm footing for the path ahead.

Day 28 – “PREFER”

Day 28 – “PREFER”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.


What do you prefer?

It’s a question that we’ll be asking ourselves a lot in the months to come.

As businesses and schools and our lives have made necessary shifts to help combat COVID-19, something has been happening along the way: we’ve been presented with new choices.

What has happened out of necessity has also opened up opportunities to make a shift going forward.

Maybe it’s businesses realizing that their employees work better from home or that meeting are more efficient remotely.

Maybe it’s families enjoying the new-found freedom from loaded schedules and taking time to decide what is valuable enough to fill those slots back up.

Maybe it’s parents looking at different educational options, recognizing how their child learns best or uses their time most effectively.

Maybe it’s deciding that you’d rather have your favorite food delivered in the future instead of going out.

Maybe it’s people working remotely for the first time and realizing that they really enjoy the freedom it affords to maximize their time and strengths.

Whatever it is for you, as you go through this week, take time to ask yourself “what do I prefer?” in these different areas.

And then be willing to make changes necessary to move in that direction going forward.


I know there are plenty of things I can’t wait to get back to, like going out to eat or coffee with friends or family, seeing all of my church family and my Sunday school kids in person each Sunday and more.

But I’m also learning more about myself with these new ways of doing things and looking forward to exploring how to lean into the things that I prefer.

What about you?

What do you prefer?

Day 27 – “LIFE”

Day 27 – “LIFE”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.


Today is the day.

Today is my birthday.

Today I celebrate 47 revolutions around the sun (or sun around the Earth if that’s how you see the solar system).

Forty-seven years is a lot of time to take in some life and think some thoughts about it.

So, in honor of that, I’d like to share Shawn’s 47 Thoughts About Life:

  1. Don’t be afraid to change. You never know what can happen on the other side of fear.
  2. Don’t waste your life trying to like kale chips. Spoiler alert: you never will.
  3. Enjoy beating your boys in basketball when they’re little. Once they’re bigger than you, it won’t happen very often… but it will still happen 🙂
  4. Take time to do the things you enjoy. It will energize you in ways you didn’t anticipate and fill your tank.
  5. Friends are a gift. Find ones that value you and build into those relationships.
  6. Listening is a skill. It’s not about just hearing words, it’s about caring about the one who is sharing them.
  7. Eating green beans as a kid won’t keep you from going bald. And sometimes bald grandpas lie to their grandsons. Just saying.
  8. Rainbows are like a glimpse into an alternate universe.
  9. I’ll always be amazed by how a newborn comes out and can put a death grip on your finger without even trying.
  10. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Next time you’re down, watch a movie that will make you laugh until you cry.
  11. No matter how you’ve screwed up today, tomorrow is always a new day with new opportunities to make things right.
  12. Question the status quo. Be willing to step on toes when they need it. This is where breakthroughs happen.
  13. Learn about the Five Love Languages and how you’re wired. It will help you understand so much of life and relationships.
  14. Don’t let the fact that “someone is already doing it” keep you from trying something new. If ten different pizza places can coexist in a small city, then there’s room for your take on your idea.
  15. Being a dad can be hard and you may not know if you’re doing it right. Just pray, love well, be there, encourage and know that those seeds will grow.
  16. Always believe that there are things you can learn. From any situation. From anyone. At any time.
  17. You were created for a reason. You were God’s idea and your value comes from Him. No one can take that from you.
  18. When you feel like giving up, don’t… yet. Pray first. Seek wise counsel. Sometimes we need to end things. Other times we need to push through.
  19. I believe in Heaven, all food will be fried but will also be good for you. It just makes sense.
  20. I think parts of Heaven will look familiar. I believe that the best things about Earth will be in Heaven. Just without all the junk.
  21. When this world fails to satisfy us, disappoints us, lets us down… as C.S. Lewis puts it, “the most probably explanation is that we were made for another world.
  22. Always be curious. Never stop asking why. Turn over the rocks in life and see what is underneath them. Find out what makes the world tick.
  23. Encouragement is one of the greatest forces we possess. You never know the power of your words to change the course of someone’s day… or even their life.
  24. Be a reader. Learn from your peers, from those who have gone before, from those who think differently than you. Be willing to be challenged.
  25. If you’re feeling stuck, try a new perspective. Go take a hike, go for a drive, take a walk. Spend some time away. Then approach with new eyes.
  26. Marriage is a blessing. And marriage can be tough. Give the benefit of the doubt. Love well. Always put your spouse first. Don’t hold grudges.
  27. None of those things are easy. But worth it. Even if you feel like the only one fighting for your marriage, don’t give up. Keep loving and trusting.
  28. Make plans. But make them subject to change. Don’t miss the journey on the way to your original destination.
  29. Sometimes this world won’t make sense. Remember that it is a broken world and not how it was designed to be.
  30. Bacon is amazing. That’s it.
  31. I’m a few years past 45, but Five for Fighting was right that I often feel like I’m “chasing the years of my life” (from 100 Years)
  32. When I feel lost in life, God always brings me back to the Bible. Everything I need to hear is there if I’ll listen.
  33. Music has a way to move us that few other things can. Let it move you.
  34. We were made to create by a Creator. It’s in our DNA. Whatever that is for you, get busy and do your thing. Share your gift with the world.
  35. Forty seven thoughts is a lot. I thought I’d be done by now, but I’ve still got twelve more. So here goes…
  36. If you love someone, don’t waste an opportunity to let them know. You don’t know which time might be your last.
  37. Never forget your firsts. They hold a special place in your life. First car. First job. First love. First time eating bacon (which might have been your first love).
  38. Don’t be selfish with what you’ve learned. Find people coming behind you to build into. Teach, encourage and inspire.
  39. Look for opportunities to serve. And then do so without expecting anything in return.
  40. Take risks. Try something new. Push your boundaries. Mental and physical.
  41. Take time to rest. Take a nap. Sleep longer. Don’t over commit. Unwind.
  42. No one will understand you like Jesus. No one will give as much for you as He already has. No decision will be as important as following Him.
  43. Begin each day by surrendering your plans and asking God what’s next. You never know how He’ll impact your life or others in the hours that follow.
  44. Treasure your kids. Find out what makes them unique. Love them where they are, unconditionally. Be there for them. Have fun with them. Listen to them. Laugh with them. Trust them. Lead them.
  45. Life is happening all around us. Slow down or you’ll miss it.
  46. Make a difference in life. Leave a lasting imprint in the lives you encounter.
  47. Trust God.

What would you add from your years on this earth?

If you’ve never thought about it, take some time and write out your own.

Day 26 – “SATISFY”

Day 26 – “SATISFY”

During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.


What does it mean to be satisfied?

One dictionary defines satisfying as “meeting the expectations, needs or desires of someone.”

For many of us, during the COVID-19 era, we’re singing along with the Rolling Stones as they proclaim that “I can’t get no… satisfaction.”

I’ve found that, as many of those things in my life that would usually bring satisfaction have been pulled away, it’s shining a glaring light on what I really rely on for my well being.

I think there are some universal things for all of us that might make us feel better on any given day.

Sunny, pleasant weather. A delicious meal. Doing something we love.

But with our current crisis, we’re also seeing how many other (even little) things we count on to satisfy us.

A few for me:

  • Going to a local coffee shop to think and write
  • Watching my kids play sports
  • Watching basketball on TV
  • Playing basketball at our local rec center with friends
  • Going out to eat as a family, just because or to celebrate birthdays
  • Getting together with friends
  • Taking my daughter to the library or the trampoline park


I wonder what those things are for you. What is on your list?


What truly satisfies

As I sit here on a Sunday morning, anticipating joining in online with our church in several hours, I’m struck by how much God has revealed to me about myself in the last months.

And often how little I truly rely on Him to truly satisfy me.

It’s ironic, because His resources are limitless and not affected by a virus.

His love for me can’t be quarantined or kept six feet away.

More than anyone else, He wants me and loves spending time with me.

He offers me everything that will fill my heart: peace, fulfillment, meaning, rest, joy, acceptance, healing, love.

And yet, so often I let temporary satisfaction from other things fill this hole in my life.

Only to find that when those things fade away, I’m still empty.


The 5000

Jesus’ disciples faced a situation a few thousand years ago that makes me think of today.

They were surrounded by thousands of people who had come out to hear Jesus teach. But they didn’t have a way to feed them.

The restaurants too far away and Door Dash wasn’t around yet (or the internet or cars or free delivery).

And Jesus was asking them to take care of dinner.

How could anything the disciples could do satisfy the appetites of all of those people?

They were at a loss.

Except for one glaring thing.

The very One asking them to feed the crowds was also the Source they were overlooking.

You probably know the rest of the story.

A kid offers up his small lunch, Jesus blesses it and multiplies it and the masses are satisfied.

For me, it’s maybe not so much a few fish and bread that I need to offer up, but instead just a little faith.

When I’m willing to acknowledge that all of these things that I’m missing right now will never truly satisfy me, that… that is when Jesus can take my small pieces of faith in Him and multiply it to fill my soul.


One day

One day in the future, these things that I enjoy will gradually come back.

Some Saturday in the future I’ll be playing basketball with my friends.

I’ll be watching my kids play sports.

I’ll be writing a new blog post from that coffee shop.

And I want to be able to know, on that day, that those things are nice and all… but that even if they were taken away again I’ve found my satisfaction in Jesus alone.

Happy Sunday everyone.