From Grace to Gratitude

A year ago I was on a list to be deployed (I’m an officer in the National Guard)… yet wasn’t.

Five months ago the company I started nearly four years prior was acquired by DeveloperTown.

A month ago my wife and I bought our first home.

A week ago we brought our second child into that home.

A day ago I caught the reflection of my face in my son’s eyes and felt the weight of fatherhood.

And this morning… this morning I paused.

I paused because when life is moving this fast it’s easy to think I’m the author of the good things and receiver of the bad, and that could’t be further from the truth. This tweet from Jeff Vanderstelt puts it well:

In giving thanks we express joyful humility because we admit we were in need and received from another what we did not have.

In each and every one of the circumstances listed above I was on the receiving end of an insane amount of grace. Amazing, talented, selfless people have gone out of their way to help me and if my daily reflex isn’t gratitude, I’m being irrational.

The only rational response to grace is gratitude.

Pausing daily affords me the opportunity to remind myself that the goal of my life isn’t my own happiness or comfort. That my purpose should trump momentary passion if I want to do valuable work.

So this morning won’t be the last time I pause in gratitude. It can’t be.

Because a year from now my son will be one and my daughter nearly three.

A decade from now I’ll have had the opportunity to work with clients to bring hundreds of products to market.

A century from now the only thing that will still matter will be how I served others and my God.

So from now on, every day is Thanksgiving for me. And if I have to eat obscene amounts of great food every day in order to remind myself, I can live with that.

Posted on December 2, 2014 .


"Your last day may be at sixty-five when you retire or thirty-five when you're laid off. Either way, you're coming home. What and who you come home to will be determined by what and who you cheat between now and then."

-Andy Stanley, Choosing to Cheat

Posted on June 12, 2013 .

Status quo is safe

A little over a year ago I typed out some thoughts for New Ink about dealing with the status quo. As we prepare for another  year of audacious thinking, I thought it would be good to revisit this post: 

Status quo is safe. Status quo is comfortable. Status quo is poisonous.

Maintaining the status quo is like shoveling water out of a sinking ship. The sad thing is that the majority of businesses, politicians and churches have become expert shovelers.

They brag about how fast they can shovel water out of their sinking ship and even have the audacity to tout the quality of the pail they’re using. All the while unaware of just how out of touch they really are.

Why do we as humans do this?

The answer is that people hate change and status quo is the savior of tradition.

Hidden behind the seductive allure of tradition is the poisonous reality of what happens when you resist change. You sink. We get so comfortable with our way of doing things that we stop thinking critically. We stop asking, “Why?”

“Why do we do that?” 
“Why do we think this way?” 
“Why don’t we try this?”

Start asking, “Why?” and if the knees of those in control begin to tremble, it's time for change.

Think. In what ways have you or your company simply upheld the status quo? When did you stop asking, “Why?”

“Why” is dangerous. 
“Why is uncomfortable.
“Why” is survival.

Posted on January 17, 2013 .

Riley Breaks Out

One night a few weeks ago I came home to a note from our neighbors saying our dog kept opening the door from the inside. They had to bungie-cord the door to a railing to stop her from getting out!

So, I set up a camera, left the apartment and here's what happened... 

When my wife and I got our one-year old Border Collie / Lab mix, we had no idea this is what we were getting into. If this is what she's doing on her own, we can't wait to see what we can teach her! 

Posted on September 21, 2012 .

Heart and Soul - 2 Years Later

On this date two years ago my dad preached a sermon at First Baptist Church in Downers Grove, IL. The crowd consisted of people young and old that had come from both near and far. But this wasn't an ordinary sermon. On that sunny Saturday I had the privilege of having my dad preach my wedding. Near the beginning of his message he mentioned a song that reminded him of my (now) wife Katie and I. You've probably heard the melody, but feel free to press play and keep reading:

The tune is familiar, but it isn't often you hear the lyrics, written in 1938. They go like this:

Heart and soul, I fell in love with you, lost control, the way a fool would do, Madly... Because you held me tight, And stole a kiss in the night..

My dad told stories of Katie and I throwing ourselves, heart and soul, into everything we do. That we were so obviously wired to dive head first into life. He went on to say... well, I'll let you read for yourself:

"Nick and Katie - continue to live and love heart and soul. If you do, perhaps 70 or 80 years from now, when a child looks at a faded photograph of this day way back in 2010 and asks one of your children or grandchildren about those beautiful people in that picture...

Asks what their marriage was like, what that couple who wed on that day in July were really like... May your love and passion for each other and for your Savior still speak. Perhaps... it will be as simple as a melody, played out in the next room." (At this point Heart and Soul was played softly in the background on the piano.) "Through tears, smiles and sweet memories may your children say:

"Ah. It was a great love story. For they loved each other and they loved their God, heart and soul. And oh and heights they climbed together."

May God make it so."

I wanted to post this blog to remind myself, and publicly remind Katie, that I am committed to her, heart and soul. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect women to be my wife and the mother of our child.

Here's to our next great adventure, Heart and Soul.

Posted on July 17, 2012 and filed under Family.