JP and Rachel Hennessy on carrying both grief and hope.

Stream and/or download the episode directly from iTunes here.

JP and Rachel Hennessy are in the process of adopting their first child. But this wasn’t their initial plan. They are mourning the loss of their unborn children while also anticipating what is to come. In this episode, we discuss what it means to carry grief and hope at the same time and how you can support the people in your life going through suffering.

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Links to things mentioned in the episode

Connect with JP and Rachel


Top Ten || June

Here are ten things I’m loving that will help you move the needle.

1) AirPods

I know, I know. This couldn’t be further from a cool, independent find. But for any of you out there who have these bad boys (which is many of you, I presume), you know just how amazing they are. Podcasts, phone calls, a soundtrack for your trip to the grocery store—AirPods are definitely too expensive, but definitely amazing.

2) Radical Candor by Kim Scott

If you’re a boss or aspire to be one some day, you need this book. Honestly, if you’re a human being, this book is worth your time. Kim Scott shares how you can create a culture where people love coming to work. She teaches you to both care personally and challenge directly in your relationships. I loved it and am a better employee and person after finishing it.

3) Because We Are Bad by Lily Bailey

OCD is a debilitating mental illness, and Lily Bailey courageously opens up about her lifelong struggle with understanding it, diagnosing it, finding treatment for it, and learning to cope with it. If you have someone in your life suffering from OCD, this book will help you better understand what they might be walking through. A word of caution: some of the content in this book isn’t suitable for children.

4) The Side Hustle School Podcast from Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau releases a short show every day highlighting an entrepreneur who has created additional streams of income without quitting a day job. It’s an inspiring show, and Chris gives you great lessons on how you can start a side hustle of your own. Which leads me to…

5) My Number Shirt

The Enneagram subculture runs deep. I’m a three, and my friend Corbin and I joined together to achieve a goal: launch a business as quickly as possible with as little overhead as possible. Hence, we’ve begun My Number Shirt as an experiment to help people show the world their number. Or at least the people who speak Enneagram.

6) Facebook Marketplace

It really is a virtual garage sale. Snap a photo of something you don’t have use for anymore, post it to Facebook Marketplace in just a few seconds, and watch as interested buyers start reaching out to you. If you’re looking to start a side hustle of your own or declutter your home, this is a great tool for it.

7) The public library

Truly. If you haven’t been to your public library in a while (or at all)–now is the time. Our local library allows for eBook checkout and has incredible resources.

8) GOOD from Jocko Willink

When things are going wrong, this is a great video to remind you to look at what positives will come as a result. GOOD.

9) Clifton 6 running shoes from HOKA

I put way too many miles on my last pair of HOKAs, and it was time for some fresh kicks. HOKA nailed it with Clifton 6. The extreme support may not win you many fashion points, but your joints will thank you. You feel as if you’re running on a cloud.

10) Spindrift Sparkling Water

Refreshing, healthy, and delicious–Spindrift Sparkling Water is a great summer treat you can enjoy without busting your diet.


Top Ten || May

Here are ten things I’m loving that will help you move the needle.

1) This shower head.

This is arguably the best $20 I’ve ever spent on Amazon. Start your morning with a high-pressure jolt of amazing. Installation takes two minutes, and your low water pressure is immediately transformed into an exfoliating morning ritual. It’s unassuming, but packs a mean punch.

2) When I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner

I dare you to read this book to an important child in your life without crying. It’s remarkable in every way.

3) Toggl

I’ve been using Toggl to take inventory of my time, and it’s made the process intuitive and simple. The mobile app and Chrome extension make knowing where your time goes a breeze. Their reporting tool allows you to easily gain insight into how to better invest a finite resource.

4) Garden City by John Mark Comer

If you’re struggling with overwork, sloth, or finding meaning in your job–Garden City is a book worth your time. John Mark Comer does a masterful job of unpacking the theology of work and its role in the Kingdom while also sharing a rich argument for the role rest plays in our lives. In this book, he recommends another book…

5) The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel

Abraham Joshua Heschel writes about building greater respect and adherence to the Sabbath in our modern culture. As a Jewish teacher, Heschel artfully considers the Sabbath’s implications. As a Protestant Christian, I took many lessons away from this book and am beginning to incorporate a greater appreciation for the Sabbath in my own life.

6) “The Complete Guide to Deep Work” by Fadeke Adegbuyi

More than simply gaining a competitive advantage in our work, the ability to disconnect from everything but a single task also helps us stay focused on the things that matter. Fadeke Adegbuyi writes a compelling piece about how to practice greater Deep Work in your life.

7) “Want to be more productive? Don’t go paperless.” by Chad Hall

With the growing role of digital technology in our culture, you might feel compelled to ditch the paper all together. Resist the urge. Chad Hall generously shares the way he incorporates both paper and digital tools to stay on track.

8) Measure What Matters by John Doerr

Whether you’re leading a large company or leading yourself, measuring your progress toward big-picture goals is an important step in seeing your objectives come to fruition. In this book, John Doerr shares examples of ways organizations are using OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) to succeed. His case studies have implications for anyone looking to achieve lofty goals.

9) MyFitnessPal

In addition to tracking my time, I’ve also started tracking my diet more closely. The best tool I’ve found for doing so thus far is MyFitnessPal. It connects with many other applications making workouts simple to log. Entering foods is quick and intuitive as the application has over 10 million foods in its database. You can set health goals and understand the distribution of your macros. Honestly, I’m impressed. And the more I use it, the more it becomes a natural part of my day.

10) George Coffee + Provisions

Photo by The Dallas Observer

My friends, Christian and Laura Hemberger, started this perfect place a couple years ago here in Coppell, TX. George is everything you want in a coffee shop. It’s got a quaint, hometown feel and serves gourmet drinks. When you step in, you feel like you’ve been welcomed by an environment that is classy but not pretentious. Reserve a room for a meeting or spend a few hours writing–George is the perfect place. Plus, it helps that my parents live in the same neighborhood and it’s now just a few minutes from our house. If you’re in Dallas, George is worth the trip.


The biggest barriers to investing your time in things that matter.

I invite you to take inventory of your time by participating in a short-term challenge: track where every moment goes using the tool Toggl for at least one week. Today’s post is an opportunity to expand further on why knowing where your time goes is an essential component of living a life in alignment with your values.

Time is one of the only resources that isn’t relative.

Money is relative. Having more money than someone else makes you richer. Having less makes you poorer. With money, position changes based on an ingredient that can fluctuate greatly and (occasionally) instantaneously.

Time is different.

Everyone has 24 hours to spend each day. You and I can have varying sums in our bank accounts, but we will have the same amount of time in our calendars. Cash might be able to buy us better seats on planes, but it won’t be able to buy us longer days. There is no lottery ticket to win millions of minutes.

With the time allotted to you, how are you spending it?

The more life I live, the more I realize how limited time is on this earth. I’ve absorbed news in the last few months of loved ones and strangers dying suddenly and without warning. In mourning these losses and celebrating these lives, I’m also reminded once again that death isn’t a future reality for only some of us.

By being alive, we all have the certainty of dying. It’s simply a fact.

Our physical bodies, barring the return of Christ, will face a physical end. This end isn’t something to avoid contemplating or obsessively fear. But we should believe death to be real, and we should remember this means our moments in this body aren’t infinite. Whether sudden and unexpected or slowly anticipated, there is a close to this chapter and none of us are exempt.

With the time we have, we have choices about where and how we will use it. If you were to pay attention to every step of your day and look at where your time is actually going:

What would you change? What would stay the same?

Often, time can easily go into the abyss of mindlessness absent of intentionality.

Investing time is hard. Spending time is easy.

If you take the challenge with me to track your time as an experiment, I imagine—like me—you’ll find out how badly your body and mind follow distractions and change course. We all can fall victim to the pull beckoning us to spend time on things we don’t need. In fact, over the course of working on this very piece, I looked up after an hour of researching things on my phone for no reason.

When we’re walking through a grocery store or mall with a list of things we want or need, we find direction and clarity about why we’re shopping. The list gives us direction, a goal. We enter into a store on a mission.

This list of objectives keeps us from letting ads or salespeople at kiosks draw us off course. We don’t even really think about them because we know why we’re there.

The same is true about time.

When we have a mission, we’re better stewards.

When we wander around without a plan, we can get distracted and spend it on things we don’t really need or want.

Here are common traps that tempt us to spend time unwisely.

Contemplating decisions before they need to be contemplated

We can waste far too much time and energy worrying about things we can’t control. Wait until you actually need to consider something to actually consider it. Doing the worrying and researching when both are irrelevant (for now) only zaps time and can keep you from experience the joy before you today.

Spending time on the internet without a reason

If you’re on the internet and don’t know why, you’re probably wasting time. Choosing to spend time on the internet for leisure can be a fine choice. Mindlessly finding yourself there is a recipe for wasting time.

Worrying and talking about things completely out of our control

Like contemplating and worrying about decisions before they need to be made, worrying about things out of your control is only going to suck time and energy. Drama in another department, something going on in the life of a stranger, a situation happening where your actions will do nothing to change it–all of these are examples of things completely out of your control.

If the answer to the question,

“What contribution can I make to improve this situation?”


“There isn’t one,”

then you should let it go and lock in to what you can control.

Checking email more than necessary

Leave your email offline most of the time. More often than not, checking email is a chance to peek inside a mystery box with little value. Check it less. Check social media less. You can get by with far less email and social media than you think, and you’re probably spending more time than you think trapped in Inbox Land. I know I am.

Doing the wrong things

Making the incorrect things inefficient simply gets you off track faster.

Simple question: Is the thing I’m doing right now the right thing to do?

If not, stop doing it.

Believing it all depends on you

Believing you’re the savior of the world (or your office or house) only burdens you with the belief that you are the most important ingredient in the recipe of life.

It’s actually good news that you’re not. I’m not. We’re not.

A savoir complex is not only exhausting, it also can cause you to use time poorly. Believing it all depends on you often leads to believing you have to do everything. Failing to allow other people to step into their God-given gifts by absorbing all tasks on to yourself leaves more work for you than can be accomplished with excellence. It can also be a barrier to deep relationships with others in your life.

Believing nothing depends on you

The flipside is laziness.

If you believe everyone else has responsibility and you have none, you become prone to checking out and letting your time slip away into the Land of Leisure.

It doesn’t all depend on you, but you have a unique contribution to make.

Staying “busy” but unfocused

Noise and music are similar, but different.

You can bang on a piano for thirty minutes and get tired producing nasty sounds. You can also use the same amount of time to intentionally press the right keys and produce a beautiful song.

“Doing” doesn’t do anything. Doing the right things does everything.

If your goal is to feel frantic, you can easily meet your goal. If your goal is to make progress, you will face resistance.

Press into it.

Do the hard work of knowing what’s best to do. Your goal isn’t to live a life absent of downtime. Your goal is to live a life filled with things that matter.

Do the things that matter.

Putting tasks over relationships

What matters in the end is less about what you got done and more about how you cultivated relationships and the way you made the people around you feel.

Getting tasks done with excellence is excellent.

Making tasks the only thing that matters doesn’t get you to greatness, however.

Your work will be there again tomorrow. Protect time with your family and friends.

Stay focused and don’t get distracted, sure. But sometimes the Holy Spirit prompts you to allow interruption. The sidebar conversation with a colleague can be worth it. The long lunch, the extended phone call, the weekend with friends–all can be inefficient from a task- perspective but essential ingredients to a meaningful life.

Choose to allow yourself to be inefficient in your relationships. They matter more than your to-do list and don’t play by the same rules.


When it does come to tasks, though, relentlessly focus on how to make your process and outcomes better. Batch similar tasks together, figure out how to automate what you can, and guard your attention like it’s the most valuable thing you own.

Ask yourself: Now that I’m doing the right thing, how can I do the right thing quicker and better?

Setting few boundaries

Without saying no to most things, you’ll find yourself having said yes to unimportant things.

Protect your time and invest it in what matters most by setting firm boundaries with love, willing to occasionally bend to meet the needs of someone else.

Starting the day without a plan

A journey without a map is a decision to get lost. A day without a plan is similar. Dave Ramsey often says you should tell your money where to go or you’ll wonder where it went. The same is true with time. Five minutes spent planning your day can save you from hours thrown out the window.

Beyond tricks and tips, it’s most important to remember time is a finite resource.

Like money, stewarding time is about giving it away, investing it for the future, and spending it for the glory of God.

Lastly, don’t let this mentality create guilt, shame, and anxiety in your life. At breakfast with a mentor recently, I asked what wisdom he’s learned in the last few weeks that I could benefit from.

His answer?

Have more grace for yourself.

Take a deep breath. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s going to be okay. Stewarding time well isn’t about slapping yourself in the face every time you waste an hour on Instagram. It is about uncovering the deep, rich joy found in focusing on what matters.

Know what you should make efficient, and know what’s better inefficient. Long, slow mornings can be great. Relationships matter, and they can’t be turned into a perfect system. Sometimes God speaks into our day and invites us to let our to-do list stay undone in order to do the work of the Kingdom.

All of this is, as Andy Stanley says, is a tension to be managed–not a problem to be solved.

If nothing else, remember that time is short. Steward it well.

Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash


Recognize the value of time.

Stream and/or download the episode directly from iTunes here.

Knowing where your time goes helps you understand what you truly value. In this episode, I challenge you to embark on a time audit in your life to take inventory of where you’re spending your finite hours.

Subscribe: iTunesStitcher – Overcast

Links to things mentioned in the episode



Begin with the end in mind.

Stream and/or download the episode directly from iTunes here.

Traditional goal setting asks us to start with the end in mind. What if we started with the very end in mind? As you set goals for the new year, I invite you to consider your own death and its implications on what you choose to do this year and, more importantly, who you desire to become.

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Links to things mentioned in the episode



Top Ten || December

Here are ten things I’m loving that will help you move the needle.

1) Jabra Elite Active 65t Headphones

If your New Year’s resolutions include getting more active in 2019, let the Jabra Elite Active 65t bluetooth headphones be your accessory of choice. These bad boys carry a five-hour charge on their own, but the carrying case they come with recharges them two more times. I’ve used wireless headphones in the past for running that just didn’t cut it. Jabras stay in your ears somehow and sound incredibly good.

You’ll look like a nerd with this next one, but I can’t recommend highly enough…

2) The Sport2People Running Pouch Belt

Carry your phone on your runs safely and comfortably with this incredibly uncool but incredibly useful running pouch (*cough* fanny pack *cough*). My previous running belt became frayed over time and appeared to be constructed cheaply. Not this one, my friends. Your phone will be safe, and if you want to carry a car or house key, there’s a pouch for that, too.

3) Ancient Minerals Magnesium Bath Flakes

Going from an exercise fanny pack to a bath tub accessory puts me squarely in the “not young anymore” category, but I’m telling you—Ancient Minerals has created gold with this product. I’ve been going through some health issues over the last few months, and magnesium baths have helped calm my muscles and my soul.

4) The Bible app’s study plans with friends

If you use the Bible app on your iPhone or Android device, did you know you can go through study plans with friends? I went through an Advent study with a friend of mine, and it opened the door for discipleship opportunities in the future. You choose a plan, invite friends to join, and move through it together. Within the app, you can see who has completed the reading for the day and have the opportunity to respond in a group chat roll. It’s a great way to move through the Bible with people you love.

5) Katherine and Eugene Tsay’s story

How often do you and your spouse talk about money? Beyond that, how seriously do you strategically plan your giving together? Katherine and Eugene Tsay shared their story with Generous Giving, and the video inspired me to be more strategic with generosity and stewardship in my marriage.

6) This Abide video on dealing with anxiety

Abide is an app designed for Christian meditation. They’ve also released many YouTube videos of their content. This video in particular helped me better understand anxiety and gave me some specific tools to fend it off. If you’re struggling with anxiety and/or worry, take some time to reflect on the content of this video.

7) “Hide Your Phone When You’re Trying to Work. Seriously.” from Tim Herrera

Tim Herrera introduces his piece by saying, “Yes, it’s a little extreme to lock your phone in a drawer. But I’ve learned that it’s the only way I can truly focus and be as productive as I want to be. And unfortunately, the same is true for you, even if you don’t realize it — or want to believe it.”

Your phone is distracting you even when it’s simply sitting on your desk next to you. Maybe achieving what you want to achieve in 2019 can be helped along by locking up your phone more often.

8) Munchkin

Games are a great way to connect with the people you love and step away from digital land for a little while. Munchkin was one of my favorite Christmas gifts given to me this year. The entire game is built upon two different decks of cards and dice. Don’t let the simple set up fool you. The learning curve is a bit steep, so only pick it up and play it with people who would also enjoy something like Settlers of Catan. Be prepared to fight monsters and beg your friends for help.

While we’re at it, another great game with a bit less complexity is…

9) Codenames

Give your partner a single word you hope they can use to connect multiple words on cards in the middle of the table. Here’s the catch: you can’t use any of the words on the table as a clue. The first team to get all the words allocated to them on the board wins. If you like making obscure connections and feel as if you’re a pretty good mind reader—this game is for you. It doesn’t move fast. You have to enjoy intense, silent concentration for long periods of time. But the suspense will keep you engaged, and you’ll have something fun to do with your friends.

10) Verses

If you want to memorize more of the Bible in 2019, this app will help make that happen. The developers have gamified scripture memory in an effective way. The app is free and comes with KJV version, but you can purchase additional translations as well.


How Advent challenges our traditional definition of productivity.

We’re in a busy stretch. 

It’s a time for Christmas parties, out-of-town guests, gift giving, and non-stop holiday music. With just over a week remaining until the 25th, we can easily see symptoms of the season everywhere we turn. 

If you’re like me, you love it all. What’s not to love about the most wonderful time of the year? But as Becky Kiser reminded us on this month’s podcast, if we’re not careful–we can find ourselves swept up into the hustle of December without experiencing a sacred holiday. Without intentionally stepping back from the craziness, we’ll blink and it will be the middle of January.

I’ve been going through an Advent study with a friend, and one of the most notable realities of the Christmas origin is just how upside-down it is. 

An angel finds an unsuspecting and everyday woman and tells her she’ll birth God’s Son. As a virgin, she’s presumably fearful when she tells her fiance about the pregnancy. Joseph, upon hearing the news, plans to quietly call the wedding off until another angel tells him to stick it out with Mary, become her husband, and parent the child. When it’s time to give birth, the couple can’t find space in a hotel as they travel–so Mary ends up giving birth to Jesus in some unknown place (historians think it was a barn or cave) and puts the King of the world in a box usually used to feed animals.

Before Mary got word of the medical miracle about to take place in her womb, the world waited hundreds of years in silence for some sign of God’s Son on earth. Instead of coming as a military leader or scepter-wielding royal ruler, Jesus entered the world as a carpenter spending the first three decades of his life as an entrepreneur who would eventually have “no place to lay his head.”

Thousands of years later, we’re still celebrating this moment in history. It’s a stretch to say “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” is commemorating the birth of our Savior, but the season is intended to draw us back to the reality of the Baby in the manger. 

The humble and magnificent entry of Jesus does more than simply shock and awe us. It also teaches us about what productivity in our lives means, especially as we try to define the word a different way–different than a common definition of scrambling around as fast as we can to get as much as we can done.

Here are a several ways Advent can shape our definition and application of productivity.

Status means nothing

If God would send His son to be born among animals, we can safely assume He has little care for the trophies and status symbols we often make top priority. 

Doing the right things the right way for the right reasons often results in greater influence and power, but not always. 

The chief goal of a productive life isn’t to climb a ladder or gain visibility. 

A productive life is defined by doing important and impactful things out of obedience to Christ and out of love for one another. 

Sometimes these things come with acclaim. Sometimes they don’t. But acclaim isn’t what matters.

Patience is a virtue

The world waited for a Messiah and many people eventually missed Him when He arrived. It can be challenging to wait.

Go-getters want to go and get right now. But contrary to a traditional understanding of productivity, the spaces intended for patience are to be valued and cherished. 

Waiting, when not done from a place of laziness or sloth, is important. It grates against our desire to always be getting things done, but it points to a different reality of the Kingdom.

God asks unsuspecting people to do seemingly crazy things

One day, Mary is an average person. After a single encounter with an angel, she’s a pregnant virgin anticipating the crazy reality that she’ll give birth to God’s Son. 

God is in the business of asking unsuspecting people to go and do things that seem wild to everyone else. Often, these things also seem impossible. 

Making progress on meaningful things will often come with people questioning whether the things you’re doing are possible or within your realm of ability.

On our own, we don’t have what it takes. With God, however, all things are possible.

Taking action can mean ostracization 

Joseph and Mary signed up for second glances and judgmental stares when they agreed to stay together through Mary’s pregnancy. 

How many people do you think actually believed God put a baby in Mary’s womb and it wasn’t a result of premarital sex? 

Choosing to do the right thing–and choosing to move forward with the right thing–can mean being misunderstood. It can mean social isolation. It can mean being left out or dismissed. But these aren’t reasons to avoid taking action. 

We must do what’s right, even when it isn’t easy or popular.

Worship isn’t a distraction

The Magi followed a star to find Jesus and brought him nice gifts. They went to visit Jesus in order to worship Him.

This journey wasn’t a misstep or detour. It was important. In fact, it was the most important thing they could do.

Doing, doing, doing can lead us to view worship, time reading the Bible, and intentional prayer as just another thing to do–a box we check in the morning before we get on with what really needs to be done.

As the Magi show us, the ultimate goal is to follow the Bethlehem Star and go to the places God is leading us. The only way we can keep our eye on the prize is to remember our admiration of Jesus is the ultimate motivation in all things. 

We have joy for the journey

Going out and doing meaningful things isn’t fueled by obligation or guilt. When it is, we’re destined for burnout and pride. 

When the Magi get to Jesus, it says they were “overwhelmed with joy.” 

A task list can be viewed many ways, but when we’re ultimately doing things out of the freedom we have in Christ–we find ourselves fueled with joy rather than strapped with the weight of what lies before us.

May you and the people you love be refreshed by the upside down nature of Christmas. And may we all be overwhelmed with joy.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash


Becky Kiser on sacred holidays.

Stream and/or download the episode directly from iTunes here.

Becky Kiser is empowering people to celebrate holidays in meaningful ways. In a world often pushing us toward busyness and materialism over intentionality and gratitude, Becky helps people celebrate major events with thoughtful actions and a godly foundation. She released her newest book, Sacred Holidays, in October—and it’s a timely resource for your Christmas season as you seek to slow down and celebrate Christ’s birth with joy.

Subscribe: iTunesStitcher – Overcast

Becky Kiser’s background

Becky Kiser is intent that women would fall in love with God’s Word, then feel equipped and empowered to live it out. She believes that women can live out their own wild story, just like the ones we see of God’s chosen in His Word, as they love Jesus and love people. She is the founder and CEO of Sacred Holidays—a ministry dedicated to helping women find less chaos and more Jesus during holidays through Bible study, community, resources, and lots of fun! She is determined to help women keep all the whimsy of the holidays, but help make them sacred—holy and set apart.

Becky has a background in marketing and ministry, and is a certified Myers-Briggs life coach, bringing each of those experiences into her writing and speaking. Becky and her husband, Chris, live in Houston, TX with their three girls.


Links to things mentioned in the episode

Connect with Becky