MaKenna Running

I’m easily distracted. Multi-tasking is something I’ve found to be a two-edged sword. I can switch from an intensive project to a blip that must be dealt with and back again, but I can also easily be distracted down a rabbit trail that leads to no-where. I’ve come to understand you really can’t give two things 100% of your attention at the same time.

What I’m also realizing, though, is that not every goal requires 100% attention. Some of them require just enough to accomplish the task. So while you may not be able to DO 2 things at once, you can take steps to accomplish several important goals at once.

Take walking with my kids for an example. Recently I’ve had some knee issues and have not been able to take my dog for runs (another multi-goal exercise, actually). So I took my kids for a walk with the dog. Just look at all the things that helps me accomplish (in some sense of a prioritized list):


  1. Quality / Quantity time with my kids.
  2. Quality / Quantity time for my wife WITHOUT the kids (she gets them all day).
  3. Exercise for me
  4. Exercise for my dog
There’s also time to clear my head, time to engage with nature, time with God, and several other things, but those four things above really MATTER. They’re important, and they’re all accomplished simply by walking out the door with a wagon and a leash.




Yesterday was a full day. It started off with an 8:00 meeting with the athletic director and booster club leader at my high school alma mater. We were talking about opportutnies for ProtegaText to partner with the boosters in supporting Plainfield athletics while getting our name out there in front of our home-town community. Conversation went great, and this is becoming one of the first “large” pieces of the marketing puzzle of getting into schools and the families that make them up. Not only did it give us a chance to learn of the benefits of sponsorship, but it also turned into a great chance to share our story and even talk about how it might work across ALL of PHS athletics, and even the entire school. That wasn’t my focus or end goal, but it did open the door for future talks. I also really think we caught the attention of the athletic director when we mentioned coming in and doing a workshop for his coaches about safety in communication with athletes. It’s interesting the things you learn by watching people, and this one caused him to really perk up and engage.

What I truly loved about this opportunity was the favor we had, even going into it. We have strong ties to PHS, both me and my business partner. We’re already doing business in the school, we both have history and friends in the school, and come to find out, we even have friends within the leadership of the booster club. What a blessing. And then, beyond all that, we got the extra incentive we were asking for. Who would have thought that no other advertiser had asked to be on the inside of the front cover? Or maybe they did, or had, but we were just the one that had a good fit, being more of a value-driven service than just another ad for real estate or your next family dinner. S.D.G. This was a great meeting.

That meeting was followed by another at 10:00 with a prospect I’ve been working on for over a year. By “working on” I mean sending occasional newsletters, really… he had long since fallen off the “hot list” of potential prospects (higher-ups and elected officials getting in the mix kind of put a damper on things). He called me up last week to get together with the town council president, we did, and they bought into our idea of crafting a new website without even seeing a single SAMPLE of my work… well, my coding work, I guess. We talked at length about building the foundation for a good site with department involvement, community involvement, and great models. It just went great. Walked out the door with consulting work for a few weeks, along with a very good indication of where the whole project will lead as that goes well.

THAT meeting was followed up by a call on my Dixie Chopper that’s for sale. I need to sell it to finish paying for parts for my new Kubota, so I was ready to make a deal. The guy and I chatted for a few minutes, and then he told me he’d be over that very afternoon to pick it up. Fast forward to the evening, and he’s placing a stack of hundred dollar bills in my hand and driving off with a mower that’s been part of our country life for many years. He even offered to send me pictures if I got lonely without it. Good guy (assuming these bills aren’t really counterfeit, like he said some of them might be).

Many other things today… borrowed a camper to go camping this weekend, talked with Joe about the next couple of weeks and months of work, and am thanking God for his blessing and favor. 

I remember walking into these meetings in the morning. I had invited Him in. Made Him welcome. Told Him I needed him there with me. And He was. He helped me smile. To laugh. To tell stories. To be comfortable enough, even proud enough, in who I am and who We are to share our story without the need of a bunch of props, gimicks, or sales pitches. He helped me listen. To ask good questions. And to realize that within me is a spark, a flame that only needs to be fanned, of greatness. And that IS Him in my life, I pray. In everything, I hope He shines.


My Family, My Priority

“I am a loving husband and involved father, who places my family above all other relationships in my life.”

So goes one of the key “statement of truth” affirmations I have written on a post it and hung in my bath room mirror. One of at least three that I read each and every day, have now memorized, and am finding out that there are sorts of situations in life where reminding of me of that statement makes a decision much more black and white.

This week in my coaching experience I am exploring my family life development. As I walked through the initial survey, I found more positive things than I presumed I might. I’ve heard over and over and over again that “time” is perhaps the best thing thing you can offer your family, and it seems to be one of the things I have tremendous opportunities to offer my family, either because of “must do” types of things each day (i.e. feed the baby) or “can do” things, such as the rather flexible schedule I have that allows me to work at home a couple days a week and cut out an hour and a half of commuting time each day. What I found myself asking, though, was something along the lines of, “even though I have all these opportunities, am I taking advantage of them to their fullest?” As I explored that, I believe what I’m finding is what I’ve found in many other areas of my life… I have great opportunities, but for the most part, I spuratically take advantage of those opportunities. I don’t have too many established habits, although there are some, and even though they may “seem” small, I think they are probably much greater than I’d allow myself to think. Things like:

  • I have gone for 11 years of marriage without a TV in my bedroom. It has provided the opportunity for numerous conversations that could otherwise have been zoned out or cut short by the evening news or weather. While not an end-all solution in itself, I can’t deny the impact this decision, and stick with it, have had.
  • I eat dinner with my family every day of the year. Well, not every day. But probably at least 300 – 325 meals a year. Whether it’s gathered around the kitchen table, cramped into the car in a parking lot wolfing down sandwiches, or a special night at the park, spending this time together matters. I don’t think it matters if there is a specified agenda to discuss or a rule that we can or can’t have the TV on… again, it’s the time that matters. What I wonder, though, is how this will “stick” or become more of an effort or forced occasion as our kids grow up. I don’t exactly want a Leave it to Beaver existance, but at the same time, I want my kids and wife to know what is important to me, and to know why. And I suppose that means I should make sure I know that as well.
  • I go to bed at the same time as my wife. This one’s caused some headaches… literally. I love opportunities to get my sleep in and start my day before the first hint of dawn, and my wife makes a great night owl. I enjoy the night life too, but there are those days when you know your morning will suffer if you stay up late, and that the only reason your staying up late on that particular day is because of something you’re really not personally invested in. I’ve given my wife a hard time on it, almost forced her to go to bed without me sometimes when she (or I) is sick or something, but again, for the most part, this is an unwritten rule in our home. And I should probably quit fighting it and recognize it for what it is: a blessing. I know many families that don’t even have the opportunity for this type of shared life with their spouse because of work or other obligations. I also know families who consider it quite normal to fall asleep in the chair and wake up in the middle of the night, TV muted, and spouse in the opposite corner of the house, in bed, alone.
  • My family has gone on several adventures together. Whether it’s a week long trip to Disney or our first roadtrip with the second child, we’ve done a lot together. There are some freedoms we haven’t achieved or made happen yet, such as a two week vacation or one completely free of the business email check or cell phone… but in all honesty, I think we do a lot together. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but as I look into the future, I don’t want to sell ourselves short. Besides vacations, we’ve ventured into horse ownership and mini-farm / garden adventures together, for example.
  • My wife and are committed to our marriage, and we’ve seen that commitment tested. Trials will come. So will tests. Whether they are by outside forces pressing in or personal failures and weaknesses raising their ugly head, all these pictures of a nice little world, including the white picket fence around the front yard, will be put to the test. We’ve been down this road. We’ve seen how close a family can come to falling apart, and the critical decisions at critical moments when it really is do or die, make or break.

All those good things considered… Where are we? Where do we want to go? Having dinner together, going to bed together, or not watching TV in the bedroom are good and dandy, but WHY? What is the bigger story they’re part of? What do I want to accomnplish with my family?

The “Where are we” question is a good one to start with. I think we have a lot of good habits, but we’ve probably got our share of bad ones as well. For myself, things like body language, looks, and sarcasm that I give without consideration to how it will come across can become a big blow to those I love most. The same could be true with plain worn-out-edness from work at the end of the day, and coming home to a wife who is also worn our from her more-than-full-time job of being a mother. As I look into the future, I see how coming up with specific things that I, and we, want to accomplish as a family will help us find the push through those hard times, as well as the motivation for the bigger things in life.

So what are some categories of goals I’d like to accomplish with and through my family? Here are a few, based on what I’ve considered recently, as well as a brief look back through my ever-increasing dream inventory:

  • Reach out to kids without a stable home environment through love and hope.
  • Develop an intentional use of time together each day so that all recognize it’s value.
  • Take a two week vacation to a place far, far away.
  • Develop methods to better “leave work at work”, both during the week and on vacation.
  • Plan our future together – short and long term – money, time, goals, etc.
  • Be a couple known for listening, understanding, and even giving counsel to other couples and/or teens.
  • Spend more planned time one-on-one with my wife.
  • See my children come to know (and be known by), love (and be loved by), and serve their Creator.
  • Develop regular one-on-one activities with my children.
  • Encourage my children to find and pursue their dreams, even at an early age.
  • Encourage and help my wife find/rediscover and pursue her dreams, no matter how far-fetched they may seem.
  • Understand my own need for personal discovery, and recognize that each of us will have to make some journeys on our own.

I believe the next step I’ll be doing here later on this week is coming up with some actual goals and steps to pursue and achieve some of these areas I’d like to see us accomplish as a family. So I’ll probably be coming back to this shortly. But for now, that’s us, where we are, and some of the places I’d love to see us go.

This was originally written in September of 2010, but I’m bubbling it back to the top as it’s still sooo important to me.