Joel Lund

Christian Books & Bibles, Children's Books

Author Profile

Joel  Lund

Award-winning author JOEL LUND grew up in the Seattle area, where he frequently crashed his bicycle flying over jumps he built with friends. In between his sophomore and junior year of college, he traveled around the country in a band. Later, he earned his Master's degree from Regent College, in Vancouver BC, and worked 15 years in youth ministry. His second career was in the financial services industry. He was awarded "Top 10 Idaho Author" for his first book, "The Ultimate Survival Guide For Youth Ministers" His second book, "Watson's Way; Life Lessons We Earned From Our Brilliant Dog," won a "Top 3 Idaho Book" award. He’s won numerous North American Book Awards. He also writes young adult fantasy fiction ["The Gargoyle Chronicles" series], under his pen name, Brandon King. He is a galleried artist, musician and person to too many pets. He has spoken to more than 100,000. With his wife, he is the co-founder and CEO of Prepare For Rain, a business dedicated to helping others transform their lives into who they know they can be: fulfilled, whole and making a difference. Find out more at: http://www.prepareforrainpress.com/

Books

Watson's Way

Children's Books

Who wouldn't love to learn from this gentle teacher? Kids spend a lot of time wondering about how to be a good friend, how to communicate effectively, and what it means to be successful in life. Truth is, even a lot of adults wonder these things. What if you could learn all this from a dog? Well, you can. Discover why the world's canine guru has so many fans around the world.

Book Bubbles from Watson's Way

Just Say "Ahhh!"

As the world seems to get crazier by the day, the wisdom of Watson makes more and more sense to me. Even with his dental visits, he'd approach them with his eyes wide open. People don't always do that. Some squeeze their eyes shut, as if somehow not seeing what's happening around them magically makes it disappear. That's not how real-life works. So, take it from Watson. Just say "ahhh!" and keep your eyes open. #dogs #ahhh #watch #eyesopen #stayfrosty #canineguru #slowdown #observe #staywatchful

Better Than A Movie: Walking the Dog

If you've never been a dog's person, you've missed out on one of the greatest entertainments the world has to offer: walking the dog. Because the odds are high that sometime during your dog walk, you will encounter someone else out for a stroll with their pooch. And that is when the magic happens! i hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. :-) #thewalk #dogsonpatrol #sniff #humoronfourlegs #canineguru #adoptionsaveslives #dogsrock

The Enduring Value of the Paws Pause

If you've been reading my book bubbles about Watson's Way, you know that I'm an advocate for pet adoption. In fact, I believe that becoming a dog's "person"—which is much more than viewing yourself as the dog's owner—actually makes you a better human. And this self-improvement has many benefits. First, having a dog in your life encourages you to learn patience. Second, you grow more compassionate. Third, you get healthier and probably will lose weight. How's that? Well, it's simple. You'll take breaks for walking your pooch. Probably more than once a day. So, your pause for their paws gets both of you outside, in the fresh air, and helps you both get exercise! And that's the enduring value of the paws pause. I should trademark that! #pawspause #dogs #walkies #healthy #canineguru #adoptionsaveslives #readabook #beworthy #becomeabetterhuman

When Sharing Really Is Caring

I don't remember anymore when "Sharing Is Caring" became a culturally iconic phrase. It's not always true that sharing is a real demonstration of caring. Usually, yes. Always, not so much. But learn from the #CanineGuru, Watson, how to put sharing into real caring. ;-) #dogs #canineguru #lessonsatthewaterdish #water #summerheat #stayhydrated

Nature Vs Nurture?

The debate over whether nature is stronger than nurture has never made sense to me. It seemed an unhelpful and false argument. If you spend any time around a dog, you'll know soon enough that it's both nature and nurture, not either or. Watson's internal conflict about what to do when the doorbell rang served as a case study. But it was never clear if it was his nature or nurture doing the bold whimpering. The lesson he taught us was that it was (almost) always better to let curious win out over nervous. #dogwisdom #canineguru #watsonsway #ilovedogs #adoptashelterpup #dogdna #nature #nurture #curious #nervous #nocontest

A Dog's Life

Besides wishing to make people smile while reading about Watson and his endearing ways, I hope to convert people who say "I'm not a dog person!" into lifelong fans of canines. My sense is that for quite a few of those folks (maybe even most of them), they understand intuitively that dog's life spans are shorter than humans. And they, sadly, unconsciously decide to abort the nearly certain pain of loss that will come from being a pet's person...by never outliving the pet they didn't adopt. Trust me when I say that the loss of a furry friend is, indeed, hard to bear. However, it is worse to not ever had the joys that come during your canine's life. It is so worth the tradeoff. #dog #walkies #funonfourlegs #peemail #humansbestfriend #adopt #watchout! #love

What's Your Passion?

Hey, if you're tired of the cabin fever, be like Watson! Go chase a ball around. And around. And around. Until you lay down, panting so hard you nearly barf. Or you could just play tennis. #chase #canineguru #dogwisdom #funrun #chuckle #tennis

Tired of All the Anger?

Maybe (!) you've noticed that everyone seems angry about something, someone or even somewhere. And maybe you just need a break from that. If so, going for a walk is a great idea. If you can take a dog with you on the walk, even better! But you don't even have to leave the house! just wander around your home to see how everyone is. Check in. Are you solo? No worries. Make the rounds using the phone, text, video chat...you pick. All I'm saying is that maybe you could use a solid dose of demonstrating love. If everyone tried that for an hour or two, some of that anger might dissipate and we could communicate better. #canineguru #dogwisdom #barkless #wagmore

Don't Be Like Denathor

If you're familiar with The Lord of the Rings movie series, you know who Denathor is. If you don't, it's high time you watch the series. Because Denathor's mind is eventually thrown over from fear, distrust, envy and loads of other human qualities that didn't serve him or those around him. There was a better path for him to take. So, don't be like Denathor. Unless by imitating Watson imitating Denathor, you entertain yourself and those around you with his epic sneer. #sneer #barkless #choose #peace #calm #delusions #lovemore #smile #laughmore #breathe

Watson's Advice: Wag More

Are you tired of the daily news cycle of doom, gloom, and boom? Feel like raging against _______ (insert what you annoys you most today)? Perhaps a better approach to the trials of daily living is to follow the advice of the #CanineGuru. First, recognize that daily living brings daily trials. That's a good place to start. Second, do your best to share, rather than demand your own way. It's not that barking is always bad. But after a while, it loses its impact. On the flip side, though, can you imagine a time when sharing would lose its impact? #wagmore #share #barkless #canineguru #think #amwriting #pause #breathe #becurious #calmdown #goodadvice #dogs

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

If you find happiness harder to come by these days (and who doesn't?), our canine guru has a simple path to follow. Just use the appropriate level of caution...since you're not a dog and all. ;-) #happy #dogs #canineguru #getoutside #donthurtyourself #freshair #readagreatbook #barkless #wagmore #watsonsway

Why Grandparents Love Watson

During this time of "lockdown" or whatever it's being called in your world, it's even more important to grandparents to connect with the "littles" in their life. When our family committed to bring the life lessons we learned from Watson, we envisioned children sitting in the laps of their grans while listening to Watson's endearing lessons. Happily, technology makes it possible to still get that precious time together in a virtual way. Why not grab a copy and read "Watson Hyper Pants" to your littles? You have almost a month's worth of lessons! ;-) #littles #grandkids #love #storytime #online #virtual #newroutines #stayconnected #staysafe

When You're Released From Sheltering

As more and more communities, counties, states and countries open things up, consider going out like Watson. Engage every opportunity like a true adventure. And because you'll probably be deploying a LOT of your own crazy energy when you finally go out, be careful about where it takes you. :-) I hope you enjoy this little blurb from Watson's Way. Consider grabbing a copy to read to the littles in your life. Maybe outside under a tree, with a dog nearby. ❤#outdoors #released #freetoroam #freshair #adventure #crazyenergy #dogs #canineguru

Bark Less

Chances are very high that you all of your "pre-Corona" habits have been dented, if not radically changed over the past month. Let's face it, the changes have been huge. That brings a lot of strain with it. In this excerpt from Watson's Way, we see how Watson deals with intense demands on his world. We certainly learned from his methods for dealing with stress, strain and difficulty. How about you? Grab a copy of Watson's Way and learn more from the Canine Guru! :-) #dogs #caninewisdom #stress #habits #barkless #bequiet #subtle #diplomacy #winning #communicate #pottytime

Kid-Friendly, Parent-Approved

During a time of such distress for adults and growing boredom for kids, it's nice to know that Watson can bring you winsome kid-friendly, parent-approved life lessons. Because Watson is the Canine Guru. ;-) Enjoy the Watson stories, and use them as conversation starters in your family. You can even turn them into devotionals you can return to year after year. #dogs #familytime #shelterinplace #boredom #covid19 #worry #thistooshallpass #goodfriday #happyeaster

A Parent's Best Friend

Need to calm down your littles before bedtime? When our daughter was little, we read stories to her. We leaned toward whimsical stories that included a focus on faith. I'll never forget when held the long list in my hands. After suddenly losing our beloved Watson, I had gently encouraged my daughter that she jot down the things she wanted to remember about him. She returned with pages of them! When creating our "Watson stories" we absolutely wanted them to include a journaling section and a Bible verse to prompt a conversation between a parent (or grand) with their little, most likely at bedtime. And, happily, we've heard from parents that Watson has become a best friend to them, too. Because not only do you have cuddle time with your littles, you can share a faith lesson with them that they take into their slumber. #dogs #canineguru #littles #devotionaltime #faithfocus #slumber #cuddle

House Patrol

Now that you're stuck at home at some level, take this lesson from Watson, the #CanineGuru. Go on patrol once in a while if you have others stuck in the same dwelling with you. It's pretty easy to get a bit stir crazy when you're sheltering in place or working from home, unless you've already used to it. So, like Watson, make sure you're doing a quick pass through once in a while. Nothing serious or invasive. Just check in on the wellbeing of those with you. And if you're flying through this virus thing on your own, then hop on the phone or Facetime to check in on a loved one. Because we can all use some of that kind of devotion these days. #dogs #wfh #sip #housepatrol #spot-check #wagmore #barkless #devotion #faith #hope #love

Heightened Caution

To come to terms with this new age we're in, I gave it a name. Not long ago, we were all in "BC" (before coronavirus). Now we're all in "FC" (fighting coronavirus). Some people are in denial and living as if FC won't affect them. By now, it's clear to me that we all need to engage in heightened caution (FC), in the same way we see Watson doing with the dentist. Lots of people would do well to go very slowly into life, with eyes wide open, for the sake of everyone around them. Grab a copy of Watson's Way and see what other lessons he has to share. Read them to the littles in your life. #staysafe #gurudog #watsonsway #caninewisdom #chinup #laugh #wagmore #keepthefaith #usecaution

Fear and Trembling

There's a lot we can learn from dogs. And with the onset of a new and frightening pandemic, now is as good a time as ever to be reminded. #dogwisdom #fear #trembling #caring #behaviors #watchoutforeachother #virus #washyourhands #keepyourwits #sneakagrin #bebrave

Calm Among Panic

In this season of global fears about a real viral event, we humans would all do well to learn from a dog called Watson. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. Get a copy for the freaked out persons in your life. #panic #calm #choices #dontgonuts #verify #keepcalm #washyourhands #dogs #caninewisdom

Ultimate Fitness

An important life lesson we learned from our dog, Watson, is that ultimate fitness isn't just about being in great physical shape. It actually has more to do with our interpersonal "fitness." Have you noticed the world seems to be getting more angry and self-focused? Well, to make sure you're not becoming one of those angry people, get a dog into your life. Volunteer at the local shelter. Visit a friend with a dog and see how sociable it is. And if you have the ability (space, time, commitment), adopt a pup of your own. Soon, you'll have ultimate fitness, with a passion for playing ball...and with a passion for others, even an elevated patience for the angry ones. #dogs #fitness #passion #people #wagmore #barkless

The Daily Valentine

Hey, there! Valentine's Day is about more than romance. It's about finding...and bringing... happiness in the world around you. When people fail you (and they all eventually will...which includes you and me, if we're being honest, right?), a dog will not. There is something nearly mystical about the unfettered, unfiltered, and enduring affection of a dog. If you're a dog person, you already know that. If you're not a dog person, start learning about how to be a great dog person. Only an abused dog might disappoint, and that's because a human first deeply disappointed the dog. #dogslove #valentines #amwriting #wagmore #barkless #bringinghappiness #wagginglove #loveonfourlegs

What Really Matters

When we lost our beloved dog, Watson, to a sudden onset of cancer, he was still young. He was a true member of our family. His loss was devastating. On the drive home from the vet, where our boy lay still and free of his pain, I said softly to my daughter, "Honey, maybe you could make a list of the things we want to remember about Watson." She nodded, tears on her face. A few days later, she handed me a list of 150+ little memories. In just a few years, he'd made that big of an impact. Receiving the list from her, I began crafting short stories tied to each of her written memories. The result is this book, the first in a series. You see, dogs are like that. They don't let go. #cherishthem #honoring #caninewisdom #loveon4legs #dogs #kids #family #wagmore

Uploading

A primary goal of mine, through writing Watson's Way, is to convert people into dog lovers. Why? Because I believe that dogs help us connect better with other people. This happens, in no small part, because dogs are (with few exceptions) incredibly generous, patient and forgiving. And what's not to love about that? I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way and consider grabbing a copy for the non-dog-person in your life. You'll be glad you did. And so will they. #dogs #connection #generosity #patient #forgiving #laughter #awesome

Fear-Inducing Fish?

Can you imagine being afraid of fish? No, no. Not sharks, but fish. And not any kind of fish. Afraid of...goldfish? Well, here's a story about a dog afraid of goldfish. But it's what he does with his fear that is most interesting. We learned a lesson from Watson's goldfish phobia. Will you? I hope you enjoy this excerpt from multi-award winning Watson's Way. Get a copy to share with the littles in your life. #dogs #goldfish #scary #cuteness #fearinthefishtank #curseofnemo

A Dog's Winter of Discontent?

Not many people I know are thrilled about the winter months. Even if they're avid skiers, dealing with the disruptions of snow on a day-to-day basis gets them pretty grumpy. On the other hand, not a single dog I've known shares that sentiment. This was certainly true for Watson. Until we put on his snow booties. For a few minutes, we'd witness the winter of his discontent. ;-) Then he'd forget the booties and revel in the snow. Every time. #dogs #snow #laugh #dogsinthesnow #lifeandliberty #prancingthroughthesnow #happiness #attitudematters

Dance Like No One is Watching

Have you seen the meme: "So I took the advice that I should dance like no is watching. My court hearing is on Tuesday"? Yep, it cracks me up, too. Happily, in the case of dogs getting their weird dance moves on, the results are simply funny. No law enforcement is required. ;-) Watson sure had special moves. The more hyper he got, the more epic his moves. Soon, the laws of physics were defied. And delirious laughter followed. I hope you enjoy this little excerpt from award-winning Watson's Way. Grab a copy for yourself. And thank you for your support! #dogs #mayhem #dancing #dwts #funny #consequences #allaboutthebone

Yeah, Baby! A New Year's Comin'!

If you, like me, find the need to change calendars every year a bit tiresome, maybe you (and I) need an attitude adjustment. Because it's coming whether we like it or not, right? This reminds me of one particular lesson from Watson. Think of it as his version of interpretive dance. ;-) I hope you enjoy this excerpt and consider grabbing a copy of the book to get more lessons on Watson's way of dealing with life's challenges. #dogs #dance #dinner #yearend #newyear #2020 #gurudog

Family Reunion Got You Worried?

Not everyone looks forward to family gatherings during the #holidayseason. If that sounds like you, consider using Watson's way of breaking through boundaries: sit in their lap. :-) I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way and consider grabbing a copy for yourself...and the peskiest person in your family. #dogs #laptime #happyholidays #family #kids #merrychristmas

How to Welcome Holiday Guests

Over the next few weeks you might be hosting a holiday gathering or two. Since you probably never received any training on greeting etiquette (I sure didn't!), consider this excerpt from Watson's Way as your crash course in the best practices for welcoming your guests. And grab a copy of Watson's Way for other great insights and helpful canine guidance! #dogs #holidays #welcome #guests #Christmas #gurudog #smile

Facing Down Your Nemo

Perhaps you're feeling some anxiety about 2019 coming to a close. Not only is a new year coming, but so is a new decade. And the world seems less stable now than 10 years ago. That's why having a dog can be so helpful. They keep you focused on the present moment. Plus, they can teach you many lessons about how to face your fears. Did you know that a 70-pound dog could be afraid of a fat goldfish named Nemo? It's true! I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. Don't have a dog? Why not go to your town's shelter and adopt a forever friend? And grab a copy of the book to read to your new pal. #dogs #foreverfriend #holidays #2020

Home Is Where The Dog Is

A happy home makes for a happy dog. And vice-versa. There is a magic chemistry between the two. Look up the speech made by George Graham Vest. He makes the best case for this magic a dog brings, in his "Tribute to the Dog." I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. #dogs #home #happy #dogonpatrol #faithful #truefriend #sharingiscaring

The Warmth of Music

Albert Schweitzer said, “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” It was easy to see Watson take refuge in music. He went to where the music was. That was his way of seeking refuge from the cats in the house, too. :-) I hope you enjoy this excerpt from multiple award-winning Watson's Way. Get a copy for the dog (or music) lover in your life. Just make sure to have music in the background. #dogs #music #weekend #reading #love #cats #livemusicisthebest

In-Flight Refreshments

For people, getting a snack in the middle of a flight breaks up the monotony a little. It brings a bit of refreshment. For dogs, the flight is the refreshment. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way, and consider getting a copy for a dog lover in your life. #dogs #joy #airborne #happy #flight

Dogs Versus Space Bubbles

In a world that seems to be growing in isolation and tribalism, it's nice to remember that dogs care nothing about either. Why not adopt a dog from your local shelter? And if you like this excerpt, why not get a copy of Watson's Way? Keep the party going. :-) #dogs #spacebubbles #wetkisses #wetnoses

A Canine Denathor?

What if your dog played an epic, deeply flawed human character from an iconic movie series based on an iconic book series? Well, you'd have a front row seat to one of the funniest sight-gags, ever. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. Grab a copy for a dog lover in your life. #dogs #lotr #whatif #insanelyfunny #reading #familyfun #quiveringnose

The Hard Work of Love

As we drove home from the vet, after saying our far-too-young goodbyes to Watson, our beloved friend, I encouraged my daughter to write a list of things she wanted to remember about him. A few days later, she handed me a list of more than 150 memories, written in her pre-teen script. My part was then to take her list and turn each memory into a short chapter. Grieving the loss of a pet is hard work. Writing about it is also hard. But because we found few resources, we wrote Watson's Way hoping that others will find comfort in his lessons. Eventually, we intend to turn Watson's Way into a 5-book series. Yes, he had that much to teach us in the few short years we shared together. If you enjoy this excerpt, please consider getting a copy for someone grieving the loss of their fur baby. #dogs #love #sharingiscaring #furbabies

Summertime Energized!

Do you, like me, feel more energized on summer mornings? Great! Our dog, Watson, has a lesson to share with you. I hope you consider getting a copy of Watson's Way for yourself or a friend. #summer #dogs #hyper #priorities #thechase #barkingjoy #weekendreadermarathon

Give Peace a Chance

This excerpt from Watson's Way gives us a lesson in why humans might do better to approach conflict more like a dog does. Even though we may not always be successful in our efforts to bring peace, we should be like Watson. Risk the effort every time. I hope you enjoy this book bubble and consider getting a copy of Watson's Way. #peace #dogs #doglogic #givepeaceachance #risktheeffort #weekendreader #belikewatson

Nervously Bold...Or Boldly Nervous?

Here's a bold claim: all people should be "dog people." I suppose an exception could be made for someone who is literally allergic to all canines. Maybe that's a thing. i don't know. What I do know is that being around dogs helps (most) humans become better humans. We become more compassionate. More aware. More in tune with the world around us. We get out more. And, most importantly, dog people laugh a lot. Because dogs are, when left to their own devices, hilarious. Case in point: Watson and the front door. My, oh my, what a thing to behold! Grab your own copy of "Watson's Way" to learn more. PS: I was badly bitten by a dog when I was 5 years old, and I still hold to my bold claim. #dogs #humans #learning #laughing

The Wonder of Canine Kisses

Maybe it's just us. But we hope not. Please now it's not like we wish this one you, but do you have a friend or relative that behaves with cringeworthy boundaries? Which is a nice way of saying they don't have any. I'll never forget the moment an uncle-in-law, who I'd never met, came straight up to me and kissed me on the lips. Yikes. Well, dogs have no sense of boundaries. Or propriety, for that matter. But in the case of dogs, it's all good. Because they're not invading your space like humans do. They're inviting you into theirs, as a full member of the pack. I hope you enjoy this excerpt! Please consider getting a copy of Watson's Way for yourself or a friend. #dogs #nosekisses #canineaffection #love

Hard Choices

Some people argue that by writing a book like this, I'm "humanizing" Watson. The people that think this way consistently haven't cared for a dog of their own. What they miss includes how often people act like dogs. An example of this has to do with not making eye contact. You'll see what I mean in this book bubble. I hope you enjoy this book bubble! #dogs #foreverhome #adoptafriend #weekendreader #daretomakeeyecontact

Communing With Opponents

While you might think you know something about how the world works, especially how it works between those with opposing worldviews, once you invite 4-legged creatures into your living space, well, your world changes. And so does your viewpoint. We've learned a lot about how to roll with life from our dogs and cats. #community #dogsandcats #worldview #letsjustallgetalong

Comeback Dog

Everyone loves a great comeback story. Well, with a dog, "comeback" can serve as a well-used command. In Watson's case, he didn't need us to use the command, because it was already coded into his DNA. I hope you enjoy this book bubble! Please share. #dogs #comeback #hilarityonfourlegs

Dogs Make Promises, Too

If you're not a dog person yet, consider that dogs keep their promises, while humans sometimes don't. While writing "Watson's Way," my promise to future not-a-dog-person-yet readers was to give them a window into the world of a dog. That's true even with this blurb from "Watson's Pee-Mail." Enjoy! #dogs #promises #faithful #companion #writing

The Music of Love

As we approach Valentine's Day, the holiday with perhaps more music written for it than any other holiday, think about how music influences you. What kind of music do you love the most? Why is that? Who do you like to share it with? There's an old bumper sticker that declared, "Live music is the best!" Watson would agree with that. #music #dogs #love #valentines

For Parents of Grade-Schoolers

When I wrote Watson's Way, I saw it as devotional book, particularly suited to parents with grade-school kids. With the pace of life getting in the way of spending time with our kids, having stories to read and share together is a gift. That's what Watson's Way can be for you. Whether your kids are tucked into bed or sitting in your lap doesn't matter. What does matter is reading a short story about Watson's funny habits and then talking through the journaling questions at the end of each chapter. As a parent, you'll learn a lot about your kid's thoughts, fears and dreams. And your kids will fall in love with a gentle teacher. #dogs #love #quiettimewiththekids

Dogs Humanize People

There's a long Greek word used to describe humans who "humanize" animals. I think people who like to aim that Greek word at other people, like it's a bad thing, simply don't understand animals (or people, for that matter). They especially don't understand dogs. They've never had a dog. They've missed out on all that can be learned from a dog. They've not been loved by a dog. And that is a terrible loss, indeed. From our broken hearts at the sudden loss of our beloved Watson, we wrote this book to show just how much a dog can humanize its persons. And it is a beautiful thing, indeed.

Musical Dogs? What?

It's only when your dog lives with you--not in a kennel outside, but in your home--that you really get to know their personality. And trust me, every dog has a distinct personality. In the case of Watson, he was the consummate music lover. All the tuneful sounds we provided seemed to bring him auditory delight, from head-banging to classical. Still, it was obvious he had a favorite genre: live guitar music. Could he know that was our favorite genre, too?

Storm on the Horizon

Have you seen those memes on Facebook asking if you like the sound of thunder in the distance? Maybe you, like me, take delight in distant storms but not so much when they're directly overhead. In my experience, dogs are not fans of thunder, no matter how far away. But sometimes, a storm warning for a dog comes when another dog appears on their horizon. It sure did for Watson. His response to such impending threats was priceless.

Game of Denathor

Dogs are like mirrors...furry, wet-nosed mirrors. One of the most amazing things about dogs is that they make us more human by helping us see ourselves differently. "Dog people" tend to see the world with more whimsy and humor. Because that's how dogs see the world.

Space Bubbles Are Overrated

The human need for personal space is real, of course. But demands for personal space have real limits. There are more than 7 billion people on earth, after all. On the other hand, dogs have no need for personal space. They also could care less about our desire for personal space. Because, well, our space IS their space. #inyourface #bigwethello #dogsteachusabetterway

Dogphobic Person Adopts Dog Anyway

Although I have the scar to prove I was bitten by a dog at the age of 5, I grew up with dogs. My wife did not. Her parents did not. So for her, dogs were viewed as kind of like lightly domesticated ravenous wolves, emotionally speaking. That's why it was a BIG SURPRISE when she decided the right dog for us weighed about the same as our young daughter. What a brilliant risk to take! Watson dissolved all those years of fear and filled our family with laughter, joy and love. Because that's what dogs really, really, really want to do. And Watson did.

Hypersonic Cats Vs. Peacenik

Cat lovers know that their feline housemates don't require much. Generally, they love to be left alone for great swaths of time, with the understanding they should only be "bothered" for food. That is unless there is friction amongst their ranks. Hissing. Chasing. Chaos. Then they need a referee. And the best referee in a cat fight isn't a human. It's a dog.

The Struggle Is Real!

You know how hard it is to get excited about exercise? You ever reach over, hit the snooze button, and then regret it later? Yes, the struggle is real. That's one of many reasons dogs are called our best friends. Their enthusiasm for exercise (what humans call "play") is contagious, if not downright comical. When I wrote Watson's Way, I wanted to share real moments of our life with this really amazing dog. Lots of those stories are about "play." See what you think, and please consider reading Watson's Way. #dogsrock #turnstruggletoplay

The Politics of Naps?

Lots of famous political leaders routinely took naps, including Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Napoleon. But I bet they never had to navigate the dangerous, political minefield of where they took a nap. Or worry about who might horn in right beside them. :-)

Dogs Make Humans Better

Recently, we heard someway say that dogs don't live as long as us. Inwardly, we wondered why they would want to state something so obvious. Soon it became clear that even though they have a dog, they keep it outside and invest very little emotion toward their dog. Which really misses the point of having a dog in the first place. It's also why animal shelters are full of rejected dogs. But here's the thing...becoming a dog's "person" means you willingly commit to investing your heart (not just some food and a little of your time) into your dog. The payoff you'll receive back from your dog is priceless. Trust me, you will become a better human because of your commitment to your dog.

Breaking News! Dog Loves Hugs!

Some scientists believe that humans need 4 hugs a day to survive, and 12 a day to grow. Dogs like Watson love to receive hugs. As many a day as humanly possible. Another reason dogs are wonderful and we're so healthy. ;-)

Canine Plays Movie Villain!

It's funny how some people think that dogs don't have personalities. Not only do dogs have their own personality, the really smart ones can pretend to be someone else very convincingly. Even a movie villain.

A dog guy?

People who say they "don't like dogs" often had a bad experience with one when they were young. One day, when I came home from 1st grade, there was a basset hound in our front yard. I'd never seen it before. But since it was in our front yard, I reasoned, as any child would, that it was only polite to greet it. It growled when I reached down (slightly, since I wasn't a tall 1st grader) to pet it, the dog growled. I pulled back, and it stopped growling. Puzzled, I tried again. And again, the hound growled. Now I was annoyed. This trespassing dog SHOULD allow me to pet it! By golly, I was going to pet it. Despite the immediate growl, I pressed on for the prize of patting the hound on its head...and watched my right hand disappear into eternity. Half an hour later, I was getting a shot in my bum. I'm still a dog guy, even after my amazing power of ignoring.

The Wisdom of Sharing

When we're little the grownups around us teach the importance of sharing. As we get older, we remember the lesson and how important it is (even though we might choose to ignore it sometimes). But did you know that dogs can also have this wisdom?

Yeah, Like That

Are you lucky enough to have a socially awkward friend? Says the wrong things. Laughs too loud. Acts weird...a lot. No? Get a dog. They'll do all that, and more. And you'll love them for it. But it's the other side of this that really counts. You see, when you act weird (and you do, you know), your dog will love you all the same.

Tired of email? Try pee-mail!

In an age full of "smart phones" that seem to make us, well, not so smart, it's easy to get discouraged at how difficult it is to communicate well. Dogs don't have such troubles. Maybe that makes them smarter than us in some ways. There is something to be said for being direct.

Do you speak dog?

It is said that there are 89.7 million pet dogs in the United States. That means a lot of folks have a furry pal under their roof. Maybe more than one. Anything from a tiny lap dog to a massive Mastiff. But do they all speak dog? We learned how to speak dog from our dog, Watson. He can teach you, too.

The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers

Christian Books & Bibles

A youth minister's career is typically less than 5 years. And that's not because they "graduate" to adult ministry. It's because they burn out. Going the distance requires setting specific and unique boundaries. This book gives them to you with humor, real stories, and loads of inspiration.

Book Bubbles from The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers

Fences in the Sanctuary?

Having grown up as a "PK" I'd already been exposed to the kind of "What boundaries?" stuff that comes in church life. Then, I spent 7 years full-time in youth ministry. And then...I added another 8 years, as the spouse of the youth minister. So, yes. Erecting fences in the sanctuary—even if they're invisible—is to be commended. Highly commended. If not for you, the long-suffering youth minister (or pastor), then for your family. Just do it. If you wait until your family members say something about it, they've absorbed too much damage on your behalf. #boundaries #goodfencesmakegoodneighbors #sensitivity #awareness #love #payattention #seizetheday #notyourmonkey #enoughisenough #youthministry

The Seven Last Words

As our world is subjected to an unprecedented number of tectonic medical and social forces, the church has a golden opportunity to stand up, reach out, and seek to bring peace. Now is not the time to hunker down in the fortress or invoke the seven last words. #riseup #goforth #engage #newhabits #listen #keepthefaith

Parental Crisis

When I wrote this many years ago, the world was much different than it is today, in loads of ways. But not utterly so. It's a myth, and a dangerous one at that, to think the world has completely changed. For instance, the media still portrays parents as clueless, especially dads. In this chapter, of The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers, we focus on the needs of parents. In it, I list out 8 areas that parents need help from a strong youth ministry program. Let's start with the first one, because without it, none of the rest have a chance of setting roots and growing. #youthministry #parents #faith #church #crisis #sharedneed #desperate #commongoals

Unfriendly Gatherings

Anyone in ministry will resonate with this bubble. Because, well, people being what they are, these things are inevitable. But that doesn't mean you're always prepared. That's why I wrote this book. As much as anything, it was cathartic for me. Not everyone you serve, Youth Minister, is rooting for you. It's what you do with that knowledge that matters the most to your impact of your ministry. #youthministry #reasonhecame #treadlightly #holdloosely #persist

What's Your Why?

When I was doing "full-time youth ministry" (I volunteer now), the average length of a youth minister's career was 4 years. Yes, you read that right. But it gets worse. That average 4 years of ministry was conducted in 4 different churches. Yikes! That was an appalling situation and provided the WHY for writing this book. Yet, there's more. Today, the lifespan of a "career youth minister" has actually shrunk to less than 4 years. Unexamined expectations continue to crush the life out this critical minister...and ministry. And the kids lose. But the stakes have never been higher.

Getting By...With Help

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote an iconic song about the importance of supportive friends: "Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends." (*earworm*). It's weird how many youth ministers, working so hard to build community with the groups of kids they serve, don't pursue being in a community of their own. Or is it?

"What can you know about raising teens?"

Conventional wisdom isn't always all that wise. When it's wrong, though, it tends to be epically wrong. Especially when parents of teens believe that a 20-something youth minister can't know much about the challenges of parenting teens. But maybe that's also an unexamined bit of conventional wisdom.

Spill In Aisle Six!

Youth Ministers serve so many more than the kids. You've got parents, church staff, church leadership, peers, the community... it adds up! And early on, it freaked me out. All the spills! So when I wrote The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers, I wanted to bring a life-long map to help navigate all the challenges of ministry. Beginning with accepting the truth that you'll never know everything...and that's OK. See if you relate to this excerpt and please consider reading The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers. #youthmin

Programming Kids

Kids get programming every day. Too often, the programming is delivered through their smart phone. Other times it is pushed on them by their peers. Where does your youth ministry programming fit in? How do you fit in? The bad news is that you must decide. The good news is that you get to decide.

Beware the Worship Team

Since I first wrote this chapter, lots of choirs have been replaced with "worship teams." Which makes the perils of running across the grain of this group of people even more perilous to the youth minister. #worshipteam #outtamyway

No Lone Rangers Allowed

For some, youth ministry is a team experience. Maybe you inherited the team from your predecessor or maybe you've nurtured your team. But if you are in a small community or serve a small church, your risk for going solo is high. Unfortunately, engaging in youth ministry can be a very isolated--and isolating--endeavor. And that's not so good.

Your Evil Reeboks

Of all the "shareholders" a youth minister must keep in mind as they make decisions about, well, just about everything, it is the regular church member that may be the most important. Because there is a strong correlation between their involvement and their expectations. In other words, the less they're involved in the activities of the church's youth ministry, the more outrageous their expectations will be for it.

The Removal of Walls

Are boundaries needed in youth ministry? Yep. There are places where we absolutely need walls, or build them where there are none. Yet, it is also true that we maintain some walls at the expense of those around us, as well as ourselves.

The Perils of Family

Youth ministers too often treat everyone as if they're "family." In a way that makes sense, since your work is focused on deepening relationships with the kids you work with, their parents, and the community you all live in. But they're not your family. Nope. And it is a peril to not be clear about that.

Foreign wars...at church?

Youth ministry comes with a LOT of expectations. From the kids. From the parents. From the staff. From the clergy. From the community. But the most debilitating expectations don't come from outside the walls of the church, or even inside the church. They come from inside the head and heart of the youth minister.

Short Circuits

Edward de Bono was a wise man. Our expectations can easily become the tail that wags the dog...but without any of the cuteness. Especially when our expectations are unexamined and unchallenged.

The Point of Youth Ministry

Sometimes in the crazy schedule of a typical youth minister, we forget why we're doing what we're doing. And that's never good.

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