My Career Transition

Just like anything else in life there are times when things change. For me that change is a transition I am going through from full time ministry at Saddleback Church to full time counseling in private practice. I have enjoyed my almost 12 years at Saddleback Church and I am sad to be leaving staff. I have so many memories there and so many good and dear friends. But, as with any transition I am also looking forward to the next step and the beauty of this next step is I get to stay where I am and still attend and serve at Saddleback doing the things I loved to do only this time as a volunteer.

I am moving over to
Relationship 180 to work with their team of Marriage and Family Therapists and Milan and Kay Yerkovich who founded Relationship 180. Milan and Kay wrote a couple of books including How We Love and How We Love Our Kids. These books have helped many couples with their marriages and parents in raising their kids. I am excited to serve with them and the other licensed staff! It is quite a transition as I will be building a practice and moving away from a salary but I really feel God moving me in this direction. While this is a bit scary because it is new, I also know that my faith will grow in this process as well and I am looking forward to this new adventure! It also allows me to stay doing ministry to couples and families.

In addition to doing therapy, I am available to do consult on how to set up your Mac and Mac Server. I have been doing video tutorials on OS X Server and have helped people all of the world over the years and have decided to officially help anyone who wants to hire me to do their set ups. So if you are looking for someone to help you set up your Mac or OS X Server feel free to contact me.

So if you are in need of a therapist, or know someone who is, and/or you need help with your ministry or Mac or Mac Server set up, feel free to contact me at Thanks for all our support!

National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO)

Well I haven’t done much writing on my blog in the month of November. I put a few screencasts up but just couldn’t seem to get any writing done. The main reason was because of my participation for the second year in National Novel Writing Month. I love to write and I know that the more I write the better I will get at it. The usual problem with writing anything of length is the motivation and consistency to do so. I have found that NANOWRIMO really helps to motivate me to focus on a long writing project consistently for one month. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in a month. Now I know that sounds like a lot of words in a short period of time and it is. But knowing that others around the world are doing the same thing and being able to track your progress and theirs really makes it fun to try to get after a goal that big.

For the second time in two tries I have reached the goal and as a result have gotten a good start on a couple of books I wanted to write. Each region has groups that set up write in’s at local coffee shops or libraries. There was a Facebook page for South Orange County where people posted inspiration and their writing totals. It really was and is a neat community of writers all going after the same personal goal and inspiring each other to do the same. South Orange County wrote 15,256,586 words in 30 days with all of Orange County writing 26,709,767 words! Some pretty impressive stuff there.

t was great to be a part of it and to get 50,000 words towards a writing project I am doing jump started in a month. Thanks to everyone involved for the inspiration and sharing your stories. I look forward to NANOWRIMO 2012!

Nineteen Year Anniversary

Wedding 01
Nineteen years ago today, I stood before God, my family and friends, and pledged my love, life, and faithfulness to my beautiful bride and the love of my life. It was a beautiful day in September and I will never forget seeing her for the first time in her wedding gown as the doors opened and she began walking towards me. I remember thinking how beautiful she was and feeling like the luckiest guy in the world in that moment. I smiled so much that day that the muscles in my face hurt (and it wasn’t just from smiling from all the pictures that are usually taken at a wedding).

Our story was not necessarily unique as stories go but has enough uniqueness to make it uniquely ours. Cheryl and I grew up in the same church together. We both have pictures of events we were in at the same time, but as is the way of things as young kids, I had no use for girls at that time so I never really noticed her. It wasn’t until high school that I really “noticed” her. She was dating someone else at the time so I never really talked to her too much and I probably never would have as I was pretty shy in those days. It took a divine intervention to bring us together.

Cheryl’s school had a Sadie Hawkins Dance, which is basically an excuse for the girls to ask the guy who would never ask her to a dance because he was too shy or usually too dense to know she liked him. Cheryl and a bunch of girls from our youth group decided to put the names of some guys from the youth group into a hat and they had to ask the person whose name they drew to the dance. Now it is pretty obvious to me now that they put the names of people in the hat who they were sure didn’t have a date which is how my name got into the hat. I think I weighed all of 60 pounds and if I stood sideways you wouldn’t notice me except that my nose stuck out. So, in God’s divine providence, Cheryl drew my name out of the hat and she asked me to this dance.

Now I had no idea of the name drawing so I assumed she liked me. After all, why would a girl ask a guy to a dance if she didn’t like him? So I thought it would be a good idea if we went out before the dance and she said sure. So in order to impress her, I decided to take her to Sizzler. Sizzler for those of you who don’t know, is basically Denny’s with a salad bar. It actually sounds better than it really is. So we went to this place and I wanted to impress her so I ordered the biggest drinks they had and they give you a tray to take the drinks to your table while you wait for the food. As we got to the table I tilted the tray and the drinks began to slide off the tray. It all happened in slow motion because that is how I remember it. Coke went everywhere but all of the ice from the cups went into the purse of a women whose back was to us. Being the godly guy that I was I turned to Cheryl and said, “Quick let’s go before anyone notices.” We went and sat in the back corner. I was so embarrassed. As we were sitting there we saw the woman go to get her purse and see all the ice in it. She then looked up at her son and smacked him on the back of the head assuming he put the ice there. So I caused a kid to get busted for what I did on my first date with my wife!

So that is how it all started. We dated for six years until I could graduate from high school and college. I remember the day I proposed to her. I had already taken her dad out for breakfast and asked for her hand in marriage. I was ready to get engaged and wanted to make it special. I told Cheryl we were going to Santa Cruz to hang at the beach and then go to dinner afterward. There was a special spot at a Christian Conference Center where Cheryl and I spent a lot of time talking together along a creek. I knew I wanted to propose to her there so I had my friend Jimmy take the wedding ring and a huge shell and set it on the beach of that creek with the ring in the shell and wait for us to come so I could propose. The plan was perfect and I figured she would have no idea.

One thing about my wife is the fact that she has a way of smelling out any surprise. Her parents tried to throw a surprise party for her and all I had to do was take her out for dinner and bring her home to a house full of all her friends. I did well all the way up to where we were going into the door and she wanted to make me go first. I asked why and she said so everyone on the other side of the door would say surprise to me not her. She really can sniff this stuff out. Well on the day we were going to the beach she was getting all dressed up with full make up and everything. I was pretty dense at that time and thought, “Oh good. She will look great when I propose,” not thinking that she was thinking the same thing.

When we got to the Conference Center, where we always would stop when we went to Santa Cruz, she was looking around everywhere on the way to our spot. Then she asked me point blank, “Where is Jimmy?” She even knew my friend was there! Well we get to beach and the shell is there but she doesn’t see it because she was too busy looking for my friend. I start to worry that she will either find him or he would pass out somewhere in the weeds so I point out the shell to her. She sees it and says, “Cool my mom loves these things.” She picked it up and the ring fell out and by the look on her face I knew I had her. I got down on my knee and proposed. Now most women would say yes and the violins would start playing with hugs and kisses. Instead of yes, she says, “Did you ask my dad?” Now I have an audience in the bushes and this didn’t quite go how I thought it would. I told her I did and thankfully we then had the violin moment followed by a voice from the bushes saying, “Can I come out now?”

We have story after story like that. I am so blessed to be married to my best friend and such a beautiful woman as Cheryl. She knows me better than anyone else and knows what I need to hear at the times when I am the most high and the most low. She has a way of looking at me that tells me when she is proud of me and her eyes are the most beautiful I have ever seen. To say I am lucky is an understatement. I can’t imagine my life now nineteen years into my marriage apart from her. It doesn’t mean we haven’t had our lows in addition to our highs, but we have chosen to work through those points and it has led to a strength and comfort with one another that everyone really dreams about. This strength and comfort only comes through a track record and a history and history is only built over time. I am so excited today to be married to my high school sweetheart and look forward to another nineteen years and beyond of building this history we have that we call our marriage! I love you Cheryl, and happy anniversary!

Relationship Weekend

I had quite a fascinating weekend this past week doing talks on relationships. The weekend started with talking to the singles at a retreat they were having. I talked about the fact that we all have been trained to some extent to see male-female relationships from a romanticized point of view. We see romantic comedies that show us that soul mates do exist if you look hard enough for Mr. or Mrs. Right and you will have one big conflict and then your life will be a happily ever after. The problem with thinking that God has one right person in the world for you is that it only takes one person to marry the wrong person to mess the whole thing up. So we spent a lot of time talking about how how men and women relate and how to have a healthy relationship.

On Saturday I got to talk to women in the church whose husbands are not believers on the topic of “Appreciating an Imperfect Man.” We had a large turnout for that event and it was fun looking at Abraham and Sarah and wondering what their conversation might have looked like after Abraham asked Sarah to pretend she was his sister to save his own skin. We talked about the fact that Sarah could have defined Abraham by his successes or his failures and that too often we define our spouse by his/her failures and rarely celebrate his/her successes. It went very well with 45 minutes of Q&A and I stayed another hour and a half answering questions.

Then on Monday we did our next Married Life Essentials Event on Spiritual Intimacy and talked about how we relate together as a couple to help one another become more like Christ. It was another great turn out and I had more questions after that not only in person but also by email the next day!

In all of this I can see that it is important for us to see our relationships as part of our spiritual health instead of a means to get us what we think we want. With all the people I talked to person after person had issues because somewhere along the way they believe that relationships should go the way they have scripted them in their minds instead of seeing them as opportunities to grow us to be more like Christ. My prayer is that these events and training’s will help more couples to be able to see and articulate what a healthy marriage looks like so they in turn can help other couples to get out of this distorted view on marriage.

Welcome to My Website

Well I have finally gotten around to creating my own website and blog. In this space I will share my thoughts on all kinds of things including my devotional thoughts, marriage & family, and technology stuff. From time to time I hope to post some write ups of the programs I use and how I use them and maybe even experiment with video podcasting as a way to help my dad and father-in-law.

I have included a section on my writing and speaking which I love to do as a Pastor at Saddleback as a way to archive and share some of the things I am doing in ministry. It is an incredible blessing and challenge to be a Pastor not to mention a Pastor at a very large church (21,000 on the weekend as of this post).

Another thing I will use this site for is to publish some of my devotional thoughts as I spend time with God. I follow an annual reading plan which I will make available on the site if you want to follow along and then I journal the things God has placed on my heart that I am thinking about and wrestling with. To only see the devotional pieces just click the link in the sidebar under categories that says devotionals. I usually journal 4 times a week, Monday through Thursday and would love to have you read along!

I hope this is start of a habit that I can eventually pass on to my kids so they can see the things I was thinking and writing about. Keep checking back as I will try to add and update things as much as possible.