My Gratitude to My Teacher


I am thankful to my English and American Literature teacher Dr. Debra Young. She made a huge difference in my life that I am eternally grateful for.

So far this year I have read 36 books and last year it was 30. I never had any desire to read. I had heard all the famous saying, ‘Readers are Leaders.’ However, I had always thought reading was a waste of time. I could not have been more wrong, because reading has changed my life.

When I was a kid I struggled with reading and also had a stuttering problem. I can remember getting behind the other students in the reading classes. After awhile I stopped trying and developed a distaste for it. Often we fear the unknown or what we have difficulty understanding. I read one book in high school and that was Animal Farm by George Orwell. I enjoyed that book but could not bring myself to read anything else because I did not understand different author’s writing styles and the thickness of books was intimidating.

I was a junior in college when I took my first Literature class. I had heard the horror stories from other students who did not like to read about how difficult the classes were. But then a student informed me that Dr. Debra Young was the teacher to get for both English and American Literature. I took her classes. Young was such a great teacher that she put my mind at ease with her teaching style and brought out a curiosity and desire to read.

There is nothing specific that she communicated but rather her passion for reading and the lives of the authors sparked my interest. It created in my heart a passion to know and to read for myself. The more I read the better at reading I became and the quicker that I was able to read a book. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Young for inspiring me to read and indirectly removing my mental barriers. Thank you for making a difference in my life.

Today I probably buy too many books for me to read, but there is an excitement in wanting to know the knowledge that the author will be communicating. If you struggle with reading like I did then let me assure you that while it may be intimidating cracking open a book that it can change your life. Below are a few tips I use when reading.

  1. I use a highlighter and tabs to denote excellent quotes and observations. It helps me to keep up my pace.
  2. A good author will typically tell you in the first sentence of a paragraph what it is about and then summarize it in the last sentence. Therefore, you only need to read two sentences.
  3. You will be able to get the gist of a what a write is saying and thus you can skip portions of the book.
  4. Get into a disciplined mind set. This is key because in our world it can be difficult to read due to constant distractions. Put your phone in another room.
  5. If a book is making you tired then it could just be the book like ‘War and Peace’ or it could be that you are not reading fast enough and your mind is getting bored. Therefore, use your finger to help your eyes as you read.

I personally use these tips when reading. You have the ability to read anything as long as you set your mind to do it. Thanks.


My Gratitude Rock


A Gratitude Rock is a reminder to be thankful and to adjust my thinking.

Almost two years ago I made a commitment to only think positivity. I realized that I had a tendency to dwell on negativity. It makes sense because my mind wants to naturally drift there because that was the thinking I grew up with. Negative thinking only breeds more negative thinking and that will give us bad results in our lives. Why? It is what we are focusing on. We receive what we focus on.

As a kid I felt much judgment in my life and my world reflected that. It seemed as if nothing I did was right and the more I pondered judgment the more I found it in my life. I experienced this again in my second stop at a church I worked at in California. I talk about this experience more in depth in my new book The Power of Ownership (see link below to get a free copy). The more I dwelt on what I did not want the more I received it. As the saying goes, “Everywhere you look, you will see what you are looking for.” If you are looking for something to be thankful for then you’ll find it. If you are looking for someone to judge or to be judged then you do not have to look far.

The Way to Move out of Judgment is to move into Gratitude.

Recently I found myself wanting to dwell on negativity. It was my old way of thinking that was creeping in. I decided to pick up a small rock and use it as a reminder to always be thankful and to bless others and circumstances. I realize a gratitude rock is not a new concept, but my simple act of picking up the little stone has made a huge difference. I carry it with me wherever I go and it reminds me to give thanks.

I encourage you to find your own ‘Gratitude Rock’ and carry it. Let it serve as a reminder that in whatever situation to give thanks. Also check out this great ‘Free’ read on Amazon. Thanks!

How Blessing can Empower you


The simple act of blessing a person can transform your outlook in life.

Thanksgiving is this week and I thought I would share a life hack that will empower you in stressful situations. It is the art of blessing. Jesus said in Luke 6:28 “Bless those who curse you…” In our world it is an eye for an eye or we’ll get even. The world seems to operate in a reactionary way. Often our reactions to events or things is not the best. A person says something about us and we want to defend ourselves. “We are not a doormat,” we tell ourselves. You would be correct, you are not a doormat for people to walk all over. However there is a better way to respond to situations than just to react.

Responding rather than reacting is the key. Now responding does not excuse a person’s bad behavior. To respond means to speak without judgement and emotion. It is not like a robot but rather to have strength under control. You let your emotions roar out and allow your pride to defend but what does that accomplish? You are momentarily satisfied and now have offended others.

In that moment before you choose to react take the time to bless that person or event or thing. Blessing stops the negative thought cycle. It reminds me of that scene in the movie A Field of Dreams where Timothy Busfield’s character says “When did all the baseball players get here.” His perception was it was an empty field yet Kevin Costner’s character had done all this because of what he witnessed.

We tend to see things not as they are, but as we are.

Taking a moment to bless another or situation means to allow yourself that moment to heal. It doesn’t mean that you excuse the poor behavior, but it empowers you to recognize what is really going on. I keep a gratitude/ blessing journal every morning I wake up and write down 10 things, situations that I am thankful for. I find that whatever challenge I am having that it is not a challenge at all.

It takes me about 3-5 minutes to write everything down. In doing so I realize I now things differently and have found more peace. The same can happen for you as well. Like anything it takes practice and the more you do it the more easier it will be.

Thanks for reading!

Starting the New Book


I have started a new book that I am calling You are Beautiful. It is a book about releasing weight.

I am about 4,000 words into the new book, which equals to about 14 pages. Recently I told someone about this idea of a weight loss book and their response was ‘why don’t you write a spiritual book?’ I was not surprised by the response, but came back with that it is all connected and our spiritual lives have everything to do with our ability to release weight.

I want to make this very clear, there is no size that you must be, but just be you. I can hear the question, ‘But Dan you said this is a weight loss book?’ Yes, it is and through the book I show you how you can lay those emotional burdens down. In doing that you will find the most beautiful person…yourself.

I’ll be blogging more as I continue to write this book. I have found myself tearing up I write it. I did not understand the emotion that I would experience of it. I hope it will be a blessing to you when it comes out because I have been blessed.

Stress is Not Real


Stress is not real. Yes that is correct and not a misspelling or click bait. It does not exist. I’ll explain below why it is true. 

I know what you are thinking, ‘Dan how can you write that stress is not real?’ It feels real and at this point someone might point to their job and talk about all the stresses from it. Or it could be a relationship you are in and there is so much stress because finances are tight or you might even feel as if one spouse is not meeting your needs romantically. Whatever stress you think are feeling is real right now let me tell you that it is not real.

The reason why stress does not exist is because it is masquerading as fear. Stress is in reality fear. If you want to stop “stress” then ask yourself what is it that you are really afraid might happen. When I have felt “stress” it was because I was afraid something might happen and of course the thing I feared never did. I “stressed” myself out for nothing.

Most of my stress or stressors revolve around a false belief I had when I was a boy, which was that “I was not good enough.” When traced my back all the times I was stressed it revealed to me that I was afraid to fail. I was not good enough therefore, I developed a fear of public speaking. When I did speak I would feel the stress. It took practice, but I was able to get past the fear and stress.

Stress is a serious matter because it can cause physical harm. People have died due to the affects of stress. It is why James Allen said in his book, As a Man Thinketh, that fear has been known to kill a man faster than a speeding bullet. May be your situation is dire and you think there is no way out. My friend, there is and stress does not have to be apart of your life. You can live the stress free life that God has created you for.

How do we stop the stress or fear? Here are some simple steps I use.

  1. Know that what you are feeling is not stress but fear. This is an important one.
  2. Ask yourself why you are afraid. What event from your past is this stress connected to. You may have to map out your life with events to connect the dots.
  3. I think about the worst thing that could happen. I am reminded of
  4. I remind myself of God’s love for me. I fill my heart with love, because the bible says in Romans that ‘perfect love casts out fear.”

I’ll be honest with you that is can be difficult, however, it takes being self-aware of the moments in our lives to remember these new habits. You had a lifetime of living in stress now it is your opportunity to live in love.

The Power of Gratitude


The more I am grateful the more energy I have tend to have.

Recently I have found myself having complaining thoughts. What was fascinating was discovering that my energy was low. I was always tired and it seemed as if there was never enough coffee for me. Even a nitro brew would only bring me a short pep.

Then I changed my focus from the complaints to being grateful and it was as if someone turned the light on. I had all the energy I needed. I was not exhausted physically but exhausted from pondering all the negativity. The more grateful the more I was able to do.

I have a morning ritual of a gratitude list and I go through that in my quiet time. I had gotten away from it a few weeks ago and the next thing I knew I was discouraged and feeling tired all the time. Now my energy is high and I find myself looking forward to the day. Below are some strategies you can implement for yourself.

  1. Make a gratitude list and each day thank God for the individuals, things, or whatever.
  2. Find something to look forward to in your day. It could be just coffee. Or something that you do enjoy about your job. Forget about the things you do not like to do and focus on what you enjoy. I get to do this thing. Rather than ‘Oh great, another meeting.’
  3. Redirect your Thoughts. When I have complaining thoughts I notice them and that is my cue to remind myself of how much I am blessed. A negative thought comes from somewhere deep in your heart. You do not need to berate yourself over it, just notice it and remind yourself.
  4. Understand Stress has it’s root in Fear. Stress much like fear is not real. Let that soak in. Stress is not manufactured by a situation or other people but by us. If I want to have less stress in my life then go back to the Gratitude list you made. Also ask yourself what is it that you are fearing? Is it stress about your job? Then what is it in the job that is stressing you? Most of the time my stress is from the fear that I am not going to be good enough. When I pin point it then I understand that I need to love myself because God already does.

Gratitude takes the focus off of a situation and reminds us how great life is. When you are tired remember what you are thankful for and say a prayer of thanksgiving. You will be surprised how the energy will naturally flow afterwards.

Retirement: What is Your Purpose


Your life has meaning both in and beyond your career or job. In fact, your job is merely something to occupy your time while you fulfill your purpose.

A sad truth is that many people make it to retirement and never have learned or realized their purpose in life. They might have thought that getting to retirement was the purpose. Retirement is not the reason you are here on this earth. You were meant for more than just a 9 to 5 job.

What does purpose mean? Purpose is a reason you get out of bed in the morning. If you are waking up because your alarm clock is sounding off then that is a bad reason to get out of a cozy bed. Our purpose is rooted in why are we here on this planet. It is no accident that you are here, therefore, there must be a meaning or something for you to do.

For example, I am a Student Pastor. Now this blog post is not meant to be a religious diatribe, but rather to help you understand that wherever you are and whatever you are doing that your life matters. Because your life matters then it does mean something more than merely a dull routine that we perform each day.

Getting back to my example, I have come to understand that my purpose on earth is to help people and I currently do that through serving youth and young adults. I do this in a variety of ways but it is why I am here. Someday when I retire I will still have a purpose, which is to “help people” but in another way. If I am only here for myself then I have missed the point about the blessing of life.

You might say, “Well Dan, your career concedes with your purpose, but what about me?” Yes my career and purpose do work together, however, I have come to comprehend that the seemingly insignificant interactions with people have become meaningful. For example, getting coffee or food at a restaurant, I have perceived that my interaction with the barista or server could be meaningful if I am aware of the moment. There is a reason why the person has crossed my path. It could be to encourage them or help in someway. If I am open and aware then I can respond. Everything and everyone is important.

Life is not about get the gal or guy, get the car, get the house, get the great job, get the retirement, and then get the hell the out. I woke up one day severely depressed as a pastor. This led to a journey about discovering who I was and why I was here on this earth. I found out that life is not about what I get but what I give. Oddly or not, I came to understand that the more I gave the more I received back.

Retirement is great if you can put yourself in that position. However, if you are unhappy in your job then you will most likely be unhappy in retirement. The pit fall of retirement is that in can be more “me” focused. This contradicts the flow of life because it is not about me or you.

I encourage you to ask yourself, why are you here on this earth? There is a greater reason than to collect stuff. If you would like help in your journey then please feel free to contact me at Put in the subject heading, “Purpose.” Whether you are retired or on the way or not even close it is never too early, too late, or too anything to discover your purpose.