Saturday, July 28, 2012

Balvin Cafe Menu

This is what I created for my kids a few weeks ago when Mom was gone for dinner time.

Balvin Cafe Menu

All Meals Cost 3 Hugs and Kisses

Main Dish
- Chicken Nuggets
- Hot Dog
- Mac n Cheese
- Chicken Patty
- Bagel Pizzas

Your choice of...
- hummus and chips
- carrots and dip
- orange slices
- BBQ chips

- orange juice
- juice barrel
- water

Friday, July 27, 2012

Canvas Church Supports Culver's, Culver's Supports Canvas Church

Reposted from The City - Canvas Church:
Many of you visit culvers here in Northfield on a normal basis. My family is usually there every sunday after church, and are so excited about the event that the owners Steve and Jim Wernimont are hosting! As pastors kids, they are wanting to build community with local churches and their members. So, here is their offer! 
1) bring in your weekly bulletin (guest guide) anytime to recieve 1$off any chicken dinner. (even if you order more than one is my understanding)
2) The church who’s members bring in the most bulletins by 10pm on August 19th will recieve a free culvers ice cream social at the church!
3) additionally 1$ for every bulliten will go to the winning church toward a mission project of their choice!! 
Progress is being posted at culvers, so be sure to keep your eye on it! LETS REPRESENT CANVAS GUYS!!!! 
Remember this is only good at NORTHFIELD location.
Hopefully you all like chicken!! :)
See you at CULVERS!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anatomy/Names of the Perfect CEO

Interesting post on some of the most common traits among global CEOs. Statistics seem to indicate that things like height, name, and facial size play a role in the success people have.

This post has a list of the most common CEO names.
Here, according to LinkedIn, are the top names for CEOs, both globally and in the U.S  [See:Top 10 Names for Other Professions]: 
Top 10 Global Male CEO Names1. Peter
2. Bob
3. Jack
4. Bruce
5. Fred
6. Bill
7. Ron
8. Christian
9. Alexander
10. Don

Top 10 Global Female CEO Names1. Deborah
2. Sally
3. Debra
4. Cynthia
5. Carolyn
6. Pamela
7. Ann
8. Cheryl
9. Linda
10. Janet 
While male CEOs tended toward the more casual monikers, female CEOs showed the opposite trend. 
"Interestingly enough, female CEOs appear to prefer to use their full names and not nicknames, which could signify that they want to be taken more seriously and want co-workers to think of them in a more professional light," Nuessel said.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Preload Your Decisions with Action Triggers

Have you ever wanted to make a change of some kind, but had trouble executing or sticking to the change?  Maybe you need to use the concept of preloading decisions with action triggers.

In the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip and Dan Heath share the idea of preloading decisions as a way of shaping the path for people during change efforts.  The idea is simple.  Preloading a decision involves setting up action triggers in your life.  It is sort of like an "if this...then that" mentality.

Here's an example.  Say you have decided that in order to live a healthier life, you want to start running.  The way you preload that decision is by setting up action triggers in your daily routines that will reduce the likelihood of you not running.  One action trigger might be setting an alarm up on the other side of the bedroom so you are forced to get out of bed and begin moving to turn it off.  Another could involve you laying out your running clothes the night before as a way of guiding your behavior in the morning.

The idea of preloading decisions utilizing action triggers has all kinds of implications for the behavior changes we'd like to make in our lives.  I have been trying to get up earlier and spend time thinking, reading and working alone.  To do this I know I have to get to bed sooner, and so I have set the action trigger to not use the computer after 10pm.  Also, I fill the coffee pot and set it on delay brew so that when I am struggling to wake up I know I have fresh coffee waiting for me.

There are spiritual implications here too.  I don't know that I've met anyone who loves Jesus and also blatantly says they want to sin as much as possible.  No one wants to disobey God, but in the moment of temptation we all fall in some way.  However, by simply preloading of decision to strive for holiness with some action triggers, many people can live more joyful, obedient lives.

What do you think?  What action triggers are helpful for you in the fight against gossip, sexual immorality, the desire for popularity, anxiety, fear, pride, the love of money, the failure to show concern for others, anger, and a variety of other sins?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review - Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

One of the best books I have read in 2012 is Chip and Dan Heath's book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.

The book is built on the premise that the biggest obstacle to change is people's minds.  The Heath's talk about how the rational mind and the emotional mind fight against one another to derail change.  They use the analogy of a rider (the rational mind) trying to make an elephant (the emotional mind) move in a certain direction.  When the rider and the elephant are not working in concert with one another change is almost certainly doomed.

The book is broken out into three parts: 1) Direct the Rider; 2) Motivate the Elephant; and 3) Shape the Path.  These three sections are filled with anecdotes, case studies, and compelling information from all fields of study highlighting the importance of directing the rider, motivating the elephant, and shaping the path for change to occur.

Before people change they have to understand what the change is, and why it is necessary (direct the rider).  Possibly even more important is the fact that people must be emotionally connected to the change (motivate the elephant).  They have to have an emotional buy-in.  And lastly, change agents should look at what things they can tweak or alter in the environment to make the change seem like less of an intrusion (shape the path).

Switch is a phenomenal book that every leader, parent, pastor, and individual leading any sort of change should read.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Connection Between July 4th Party Food and Spiritual Gifts

A few days ago my wife spent almost the entire day preparing food for our July 4 party.  I couldn't wait to eat all the amazing dishes she created!  I am blessed to be married to a woman who is an amazing cook.  I guess that makes me double blessed, because my mother is an excellent cook as well.  Maybe all that good food explains a little something about my waist line.

What is cool about the whole thing is that making all the food and hosting a gathering isn't draining to Stephanie because she is operating out of her physical and spiritual gift mix.  Sharing with others is at the heart of her personality.  Stephanie is a hostess, an extrovert, a generous giver, and a person who delights in others delight.  She will get great joy in seeing the great joy I have enjoying a plateful of her treats!

When people operate out of their unique personalities and gift mix life has a completely different feel to it.  It is life giving, not life draining.  You feel a sense of purpose and focus.  You don't have to drag yourself to act.

Hospitality is not my strongest gift.  I don't act like a troll and sit under the deck when people are over, but it takes much more intentional effort for me to engage with the group than it does my wife.  Conversely, I can sit and write this post in an enjoyable fashion that Stephanie absolutely cannot understand.  It's all about personality and gift mix.

It is always good to remember that God forms each person by His own design, and that the personality and gifts of others are to be admired but not envied.  Each person should strive to be the very best version of themselves that they can be.

Friday, July 06, 2012

8 Ways You Can Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse

Remember the TV show Diff'rent Strokes?  It was the story of a wealthy white businessman who took in two black boys form Harlem after their mother (who was the businessman's housekeeper) died.  The star of the show was Gary Coleman who played a character named Arnold.  Arnold was famous for giving his older brother a funny look and exclaiming, "Whatch you talkin' 'bout Willis?"

There was one episode of the show that had a serious impact on me.  It was a two part episode about a bicycle show owner who befriend Arnold and his friend Dudley with the intention of sexually molesting them.  I don't know if I fully comprehended the concept of molestation at the time, but I always knew something was seriously creepy and scary about the bicycle show owner and the theme of episode.

The idea of a child experiencing sexual assault or molestation is one of every parent's worst nightmares.  The story of Jerry Sandusky has put the act of sexual molestation and the existence of sexual predators prominently into the mainstream, and it serves as a reminder that more often than not our children are exploited sexually by someone they, and their parents, thought they could trust.  This alarming fact means parents need all the wisdom they can get when it comes to the decisions they make and the freedoms they give their kids.

Pastor Justin Holcomb and his wife Lindsey write and speak widely on the topic of sexual abuse, its affects and what people can do to begin a healing process in their lives.  Their book, Rid of My Disgrace, was called by one reviewer, "a tremendously helpful resource that takes a sober look at the hope of the gospel in the face of the ravages of sexual assault."

In a blog post Lindsey writes, 
We’ve written quite a bit about sexual assault on the Resurgence because it is a huge issue (1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been or will be assaulted during their lifetime). Heartbreakingly, many of the victims of this epidemic are children: 15% of those assaulted are under age 12, and 29% are between ages 12 to 17. Girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault.
The sad truth is that without a doubt, you, or someone in your life has been the victim of sexual assault.

As parents it is our responsibility to do all we can to protect our children from this horrific act.  And with that responsibility in mind, Lindsey shares 8 things parents can do to protect their children.  Please visit her blog post for further explanation on each of the 8 points.
1.  Explain to your child that God made their body.
2.  Teach proper names of private body parts.
3.  Invite your child's communication.
4.  Differentiate between good touch and bad touch.
5.  Don't ask your child to maintain your emotions.
6.  Throw out the word "secret."
7.  Identify whom to trust.
8.  Report suspected abuse immediately.
For more information on things you can do to protect your child visit
For more resources from the Holcomb's visit Sexual Assault at

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

One of My Parenting Goals: Making Memories

This morning as I let the dog outside I noticed the dark blue sky.  I heard the sound of chirping birds.  I saw a thin layer of wetness covering the grass after a brief morning rain.

It made me think of the many mornings I woke up and stepped out of a tent somewhere on a family camping trip.  Even now as I write I'm transported in my mind back to many mornings of unzipping the tent as quietly as possible, slipping on my shoes so I wouldn't have to walk in wet itchy grass and making my way over to the fire pit, hoping there would still be some warm embers I could use to get a fire started.

I'm so grateful that I had parents who invested in creating memories for my siblings and I.  Planning those camping trips, and hauling around 4 kids plus their gear, couldn't have been easy (nor cheap!).  My parents worked hard to give us those experiences,  experiences that we didn't even realize would impact and stick with us forever.

Now that I'm a parent I'm trying to do the same thing.  My wife Stephanie and I have a little saying that we use to motivate and remind ourselves that everything we do is impacting our kids.  We say, "making memories."  That idea keeps us laughing and moving forward in times of spontaneity, changes of plans, and frustrations with kid behavior.

We try to do things intentionally that will create memory making experiences.  We visit the zoo, the museum and new parks to play at.  We go on nature walks and swim at the pool or water park.  Last summer we took the kids on a "mystery trip" that included two nights at a hotel, the movie theater, and going out for ice cream.  About once a month we put the kids to bed, wait 15 minutes, and then get the kids up for a "pajama party."

My hope as a father is that my children's memories would be filled with a full measure of the love and joy I share with them, and that those memories would outweigh those that come from my mishaps and short-comings.

What about you?  I'd love to hear your best childhood memories.

I'm also always on the look-out for new memory makers for my kids.  Share some of fun things you've done to "make memories."

Monday, July 02, 2012

Making Memories - June 2012

- Hyland Park Reserve playground, picnic, and rowboat w/ Papa and Nana Balvin
- Stephanie painting the front room and entryway hallway
- Destination Burger - shooting guns, eating burgers, and looking at horses
- Going to the park with the water cannons in Apple Valley
- Graduation parties galore
- Dinner with our friends the Monaghan's
- Swimming at the Northfield Pool
- Baseball games
- Jacob graduated from Eels, the highest level of swimming lessons he could attain
- My Mom getting a new job
- Being selected to open the brand new Walmart store in Lakeville
- All the kids starting soccer
- Izzy getting her ears pierced
- Meeting our friends the Faber's at the MN Zoo
- Going to Madagascar 3
- Dundas Dukes game with our friends the Kraby's
- Seeing a calf being born at Mary's grad party
- Swimming at Giarmo's going away party
- Isabelle doing art lessons at the Northfield Arts Guild
- Isabelle dress shopping and lunch with Nana Barb
- Jacob had Northfield Raider football camp
- Andrew had Nature Camp at the River Bend Nature Center