Devotional Tuesday – 5 Minutes in Psalm 34

God’s word weaves His presence, answers and hope into our lives. Get to know God by getting to know His word. There is no other way…

BACKGROUND: David wrote this Psalm at a real low point in his life after a great “high.” He had killed Goliath and was highly respected in all of Israel. Saul’s insecurities drove him to try and kill David. The man he served and honored as a King was trying to kill him out of jealousy. David escaped and tried to join King Achish, the King of Gath. David thought he would be safer with the enemies rather than in Israel. David though was recognized and again escaped (by faking madness) to the cave at Adullam. He went from one low point to another. Psalm 34 was his response.

1 I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.

Our lives, energy and capacity expand (grow and flourish) when we continuously praise. In good times and in bad, I will sing of God’s love.

2 I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:

My life reflects God’s glory. Even in distress, my praise shows the world that God is my Lord.

3 Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.

Millions are waiting for the church, the full body of Christ, to JOIN and spread the message of God’s deliverance.

4 God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.

In my weakness, I took a step to God. His grace multiplied my faith and freed me from fear. Fear defeated is faith released.

5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.

The smile of a trusting child warms the heart of any Father. God is our Father. He knows our thoughts; share them in vulnerable honesty. He’ll direct and guide you through (beyond) what you are feeling.

6 When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

I remember God’s previous deliverance. He has rescued me before. When I face challenges, my memory will not fail me. The marker I set in my heart (that place where I purposely remember God’s deliverance) bolsters my faith. He will get me out of a tight spot again.

7 God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

The amplified version ends this verse with “each of them He delivers.” That is God’s promise when we pray. Angles don’t protect alone but form a circle. Why would we pray alone? Get others to join you.

8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

When we see something good, really good, we run to it. Who is better than God? What is better than His presence?

9 Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.

The “secret password” to God’s door is simple…worship from your heart to His.

10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.

Lions are hungry and get hungrier when on the prowl. When they see prey they go on the hunt to be satisfied. I am a hunter of God presence.

11 Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.

We learn how to live our lives in God by emulating others already there. Don’t try to emulate their results. Emulate the effort required to get to the results.

12 Who out there has a lust for life?
Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?

God looks for those who want His life…searching Him out each day with passion and fierce faith.

13 Guard your tongue from profanity (evil),
and no more lying through your teeth.

God has standards. Find them and implement into your everyday world.

14 Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!

When we turn our back on our old life (our old way of thinking and doing) we don’t simply sit. We DO. Embracing (holding onto as if our life depended upon it) God’s peace. It surpasses (goes beyond) anything you could ever imagine.

15 God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.

God knows His friends because they seek Him with all of their heart.

16 God won’t put up with rebels;
he’ll cull them from the pack.

God understands our struggles. But there is a difference between struggling with a weakness (sincere attempt to overcome) and flaunting our weakness. God’s mercy is my salvation. His grace is my covering. My faith in both helps me to overcome.

17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.

Don’t think God doesn’t hear. He hears. He listens. He cares. He rescues.

18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Don’t try to heal your heart then find God. Find Him IN your broken heart. He is right there and ready to lift you up.

19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.

God knows we fail. He is there for us every time.

20 He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.

Our lives may look broken but God says that the foundation of our world will never be broken. Jesus is our foundation. Though beaten and abused, nothing broke Jesus from the grip of His father. God shielded Him so that He could get through His worst trial. God does the same for you.

21 The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.

Pay no attention to those who are evil. Their lives may “look” good but they are slowly wasting away. Jesus came so that you could have an abundant life. Walk towards Jesus and walk to abundance.

22 God pays for each slave’s freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.

We are free. Run to Jesus and realize (achieve, hold, reap benefit of) His freedom.

Fashion Friday – How to Tell the Difference Between a Sports Coat, Blazer and Suit Coat


Happy Friday Gentlemen!

I hope wherever you are this weekend, it will be filled with good time, good whiskey and good cigars.  If you live in a more temperate climate I hope you get some golf in as well.  Can’t wait for it to warm up to start taking my hacks this spring!

Anyway, as many of you know I am a HUGE supporter of the Trunk Club.  I highly recommend you check them out and give it a go.  I promise they will help you up your style game!

Back in November of 2013 Hamilton Nolan wrote an article on Gawker about how men shouldn’t wear sport coats with jeans. When I read the article I had to seriously question Nolan’s fashion sense and analysis.  Here is just an example of his hyperbole: “The more fiercely a man argues in favor of wearing sport coats and jeans together, the more plainly the flaws of his character are revealed.” Seems a bit strong, Hamilton.  I certainly don’t recall ever seeing Bernie Madoff in jeans and a sports coat and we already know many of his character flaws, just saying.

His article angered me but I didn’t bother to write about it at the time.  However, just this morning I saw that Michael Barkin who is the head of sales at Trunk Club addressed the issue himself. This made me ecstatic as someone else with more street cred has called bullshit on Nolan’s article.  Although he isn’t the only one.

Hopefully this blog entry will help you better understand the differences and dress accordingly.  Fair warning! I am basically taking his ideas and tweaking them for the purposes of this blog. Pictures are courtesy of Trunk Club.

As I stated earlier I complete disagree with Nolan that sport coats and jeans don’t go together.  On the contrary they look great with jeans!  The key to matching a sports coat with jeans is making sure the textures of the two garments work together.

I have to admit that even I wasn’t sure the difference between a blazer and a sports coat.  Thus before we spend to much time in the details of texture let’s spend  a few minutes discussing the three type of jackets and what makes each unique.  If you read Nolan’s article you will get a sense there is a lot of confusion about this as well.

Sport coats have patterns, unlike blazers, which are solid and have contrasting buttons. Suit jackets are a different story altogether. They are smooth, have tonal buttons, and should never be worn with anything other than matching suit trousers.  I mean if you see some dude wearing a suit coat and jeans you know that he has no clue what is going on.

The real crazy thing about the Gawker article is that the pictures which accompany the article show two men wearing jeans WITH suit jackets – not sport coats.  Either Nolan didn’t spend much time research his article or he has no clue about which he writes.  I suspect it is a lot of both.  Anyone with fashion sense knows you aren’t supposed to wear a suit jacket with jeans.  It just looks terrible and anyone doing so should not be taken seriously, regardless of their profession.

To understand the difference between suit coats and sport coats look at the picture below.  There are two sport coats designed by Trunk Club and custom made for a couple of it’s members.

Men's blazer
Sport Coat – matching buttons but with a pattern

I mentioned the importance of texture when wearing sport coats and blazers with jeans. Whereas suit jackets commonly are made out of mercerized wool, making them smooth and incompatible with denim, the sport coats shown here have a full texture that would match nicely with jeans. A blazer can also work exceptionally well with denim—again, provided that the texture of the blazer complements the texture of your jeans.

Men's blazer
Blazer – texture with contrasting buttons

Navy blazers, by the way, are the ultimate in versatility. You could have three navy blazers in your closet and it would make sense because of how often you can wear them.  Just as everything goes with dark jeans, it’s the same with shirts and a dark blue blazer. Anything you wear underneath is going to match.

Well that is basically it.  If you want to rock the sport coat and blazer with jean, go big or go home!  Just whatever you do, don’t wear a suit jacket with your denim.  No one can unsee that.  Also if you want some guidance on wearing dress shoes with jeans (again there needs to be texture) I recommend you check out this following blog.

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Discover Your Purpose as a Man

what-is-my-purpose

Guess what day it is, guess what day it is!  Happy hump day everyone!  I hope you are having a great week!  In NYC, Spring is just around the corner and I know almost everyone here in the Northeast is looking forward to warmer temperatures.  Personally, this has been the best winter EVER during my seven years here!  A lot of snow and the weather was cold enough that the snow stuck around for several weeks which is the way God intended.

We are going to continue our series on the Purpose and Power of Men and start discussing how we as men find our purpose.  As always I want to hear from you so leave some feedback in the comments section or tweet us @BetterMenNow I look forward to hearing from you!

 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

We can make all the plans we want in our heads and our hearts but if God’s purpose is not behind them we will never find fulfillment nor live up to our true potential.

It can be a scary thought but it is entirely possible do do good things your entire life but never end up doing the the things that are best, based on God’s purpose for your life.  We have to be careful about getting  busy doing good things that aren’t the best (or perhaps even right) for us as individuals.

You don’t go out and buy a Ferrari if you need a front end loader to get the job done.  Likewise if you need a dump truck but you purchase a Maserati you likely aren’t going to be successful in your tasks.  Just because what we do looks good, doesn’t mean it is helping us get the job done that God created us for.  God is not impressed by all the good that we do, He desires us to pursue those things he has placed on earth to bring to completion.Clear-Sense-Of-Purpose

Jesus knew this to be true when he began to explain to his disciples that he would eventually be crucified.  Peter jumped up and exclaimed he would never allow this to happen.  In today’s Christian lingo he would have said something like “Don’t speak that over yourself, Lord!”  Many of you know the story, Jesus was quick to rebuke him saying “Get behind me Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23)

Jesus was basically telling Peter and the rest of his boys that he knew what his purpose was and why God had placed him on the earth.  More importantly he was explaining to them distractions would not be tolerated.

There are two important keys when finding and discovering our purpose as men.  First we have to remain constant in our purpose and must be sure to reinforce it.

1. Remaining Constant

Read the story of Nehemiah chapters 1 – 6 when you have time.  He served a very important purpose in his life.  However, like all of us he had opportunities to get distracted.  This man was cup bearer to the king of Persia.  Most of us have no idea what being a cup bearer entails or why we should even care.   However, cup bearers were an officer of high rank in royal courts, whose duty it was to serve the drinks at the royal table. On account of the constant fear of plots and intrigues, a person must be regarded as thoroughly trustworthy to hold this position. He must guard against poison in the king’s cup, and was sometimes required to swallow some of the wine before serving it. His confidential relations with the king often gave him a position of great influence. The position of cup bearer is greatly valued and given to only a select few throughout history. Qualifications for the job were not held lightly but of high esteem valued for their beauty and even more for their modesty, industriousness and courage.

We see Nehemiah was doing good and serving a good purpose under the King of Persia.  Yet when he received word that the city of Jerusalem was falling apart, under attack and set on fire he prayed to God to grant him favor with the King to allow him to leave his duties and attend to the city.  The King granted his request and Nehemiah immediately headed for the city to rebuild its walls.  This was the purpose God had laid on his heart.

Yet when he arrived and started to do his work many of the men in Jerusalem questioned him and opposed the work he was trying to do.  First, they spread false rumors and tried to slander him.  Yet he pressed on.  Then they plotted to take his life but Nehemiah was aware of their plans and armed his workers to protect the work he was doing.  The men of Jerusalem then set a trap that works against even the best of us today, they suggested a meeting to discuss their differences, “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages…” (Neh. 6:2)  These  men hoped to drag him away from his protection and ultimately harm or kill Nehemiah.

Nehemiah replied, “‘I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?’ Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.” (Neh. 6:3-4)

There was nothing inherently wrong about having a meeting. Many likely would agree having a  meeting under those circumstances might even be proper and “the Christian thing to do.”  Yet Nehemiah knew better and understood he could not suffer from distractions.

He remained constant.

2. Reinforce Your Purpose

When it comes to fulfilling your potential you must often take it upon yourself to reinforce your purpose.  There will be many distractions that will vie for your attention.  As we have already discussed many of these will look “good” but that doesn’t mean you should engage them.

All his life Christ knew his purpose and that was reinforced over and over again throughout his lifetime.  His name meant savior.  In Matthew the angel tells his father to name him Jesus because he will save people from their sins.  Later in his life when he was about twelve years of age he went with his family to Jerusalem with his parents for the Passover.  On their way back home, his parents assumed Jesus was among the large group of family and friends traveling back to their home.  When they realized he was missing they traveled back to Jerusalem to find Jesus in the temple courts.   His parents couldn’t have been happy to find him there given the considerable time wasted in traveling back to Jerusalem.  Yet when they asked him why he didn’t follow them when they left the city he replied “I must be about my father’s business.”

You might be sitting there not knowing what your purpose is or even second guessing what you thought your purpose was.  Don’t worry we will discuss keys to finding your purpose.  In the meantime you should ask yourself a few of the following questions:

– Do I know what God’s purpose is?  Do I know what kind of business my Father in Heaven is running?  What is my role in that business?

– Are you still changing jobs, careers or majors every two or three years?  Why do you think that is?  Are you constantly looking for a job transfer?

– Do you still question what you are about and why you are on earth?

There is a very good chance you will be doing meaningful and important work when you discover your true purpose in life.  Some men are lucky and it turns out they have known their purpose since they were younger (like Jesus).  For the rest of us, it will likely be a different journey more similar to Nehemiah.  He was happy as cup bearer (which we learned was a very important role) and was content to serve out his days in that role.  But then he heard from God and knew immediately what he ultimate purpose would be.

Seek God in prayer this week and ask him to reveal his purpose for you.  Do your best to not make it complicated.  Often times the answer is right under our noses but we are too busy looking at something else to see it.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Andrew

Mark-Twain-Find-Your-Purpose-Inspirational-Picture-Quote

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Fashion Friday – Proper Use of a T-Shirt

For the love of donuts, don’t do this!!

 

Happy Friday Gents!

I hope for your sake you haven’t forgotten that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, by far one of the most overrated days of the year. You should be doing romantic and wonderful things for your significant other year round so this day comes with little to no pressure.  I digress, that is not what today’s blog is about anyway.

On most Friday’s we try and hit on something fashion related and today is no different, granted I haven’t done the best job of writing consistently on Fridays.  One of my biggest pet peeves with men (when it comes to fashion) is not understanding the proper way to wear a white t-shirt or “under shirt” when wearing a button up style shirt or foregoing an under shirt all together (more on this later.)

This is the look you want, no t-shirt peaking out.

 

There are only two options when wearing a dress or button down shirt.  You should either wear a v-neck style t-shirt or an A-shirt (also known as a tank top).  You should never, ever wear a crew neck style t-shirt.  If you aren’t going to be wearing a tie and if you aren’t buttoning your shirt all the way to the top (you should never button your shirt all the way to the top without a tie, Poindexter) than you have to wear one of the aforementioned styles of shirts.

Even if you aren’t going for a formal look, the goal should always be to look sharp and sleek.  Straight and smooth lines is the name of the game especially if you are trying to connect with the opposite sex. Having your white t-shirt poking out of your collar is not going to get you laid, genius.

Trust me, if you see Scarlett Johansson at the other end of the bar you are gonna want to be looking sharp, not sloppy.

Before you think this is okay when wearing a tie, be sure you know what your after work routine will be for the day.  If you are planning to go out and unwind after a long day of work and unbuttoning the shirt and losing the tie is on the agenda you want to look like this and not this.

 

Let’s discuss another related item on the fashion front.  The white undershirt serves as additional sweat protection during warmer weather or when under pressure.  I remember several years ago when I was working for a consulting company based out of Chicago, I found myself on a  project in Houston, Texas, in August.  I think the heat index was 130 (no I am not kidding.)  Taking two steps outside immediately caused you to break into a sweat.  The kind of sweat where you can feel the sweat beading up on your back and rolling down into the neither regions of your ass.  It was an unstoppable force.  These two senior consultants I was working with, were in there late 50’s, overweight and wearing white dress shirts sweaty-businessmanwith no undershirt of any kind.  By the time we arrived at the client’s office these two “professionals” looked like they had just run through a sprinkler.  I mean you could see one guys nipple and the other guy’s chest hair through the shirt.  Worst part was they didn’t even seem to care!  I was so grossed out.  I would never have allowed consultants to come into my company dressed like that.  It was beyond gross!  Wearing a white v-neck t-shirt or a-shirt can save you from this kind of embarrassment.  T-shirts can also help to avoid the yellow pit stains that will send your Dolce & Gabbana shirt to an early grave.

Finally, I know some of you might complain about the “see-through” concern many of us face.  This is especially true if you are a white dude; I am as white as the day is long so I feel for you.

Look I understand, you don't want to look like this guy.
Look I understand, you don’t want to look like this guy.

There are some solutions (first don’t wear such a deep v-neck) so don’t panic.  Depending on the dress shirt and the color of your own skin you can try wearing a light grey undershirt.  This sometimes will contrast with your pale skin and hide the shirt a little better (but not always.)  Generally if your t-shirt isn’t skin tight however, you won’t have a problem.  If you are also rocking a blazer or sports coat that will eliminate some of those problems too.  If you really want to dial up the style you can add a nice vest to the ensemble and eradicate any fear of a see through shirt.  Of course the most radical approach is simply not wearing boring white dress shirts.  Spice it up man and be bold!

What other fashion tips do you have?  We want to hear ’em so post them in the comments or tweet us @BetterMenNow

Have a great weekend and until tomorrow, make it a better day.

Andrew

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What the Hell Am I Doing Here?

Stlouis

Back in September I wrote a blog about the difficult decision my wife and I made to leave the greatest city in the world (NYC) and move the one of the most violent and strange cities in our nation: St. Louis, Missouri.  You can read that blog here.

We have been here for almost three months and to be honest it has not been great.  My friends and family all know that I am not a fan of St. Louis or the state of Missouri.  My wife isn’t crazy for it either but I am easily the one who dislikes it the most.  I cringe every time someone asks how I like St. Louis.  In my very bones I want to be honest and say how terrible my experience has been so far, but I usually wimp out and say “It’s been an adjustment” instead.

In writing this blog today I hope that it will help someone else out there who may be struggling with a difficult decision or someone who has already made such a decision only for it not to be looking good thus far.  Besides, I think writing honestly is always a good thing for people to read, even if it might come back to hurt be professionally at some point.

It is not an exaggeration to say I regret the decision to move here at least 3 times a day. Sometimes more often depending on the level of idiocy I deal with on any given day here.  Now you may think I am being harsh but I swear to you I am not.  You can read my Yelp review of our apartment building to get a better understanding of the stupidity we had to deal with in regards to our management company.

I am in a constant state of missing New York and our friends there almost every day.  On the weekends I don’t think about it as much as I do during the week.  Although on most Sundays you will find me missing my home church of C3 Manhattan.

I mean I grew up in Minnesota and yet I still find St. Louis to be a strange place!  People still think and act like it is the 1960’s here. There is so much racial division in the city it is really tragic.  That doesn’t even include the Ferguson mess.  I have no desire to raise my bi-racial daughter in this kind of environment.  It certainly doesn’t help that we have had so many bad experiences here in such a short period of time, starting with the Michael Brown indictment decision the very first weekend we lived here.

When we first considered moving to St. Louis our biggest concern was how we (and our children) would be treated, since we are a mixed race couple.  Our concerns were founded on how many times we get weird looks and the occasional racial comment from white people when we would travel back to Minnesota.  There were many times my wife felt very uncomfortable simply based on the way people would look at her there.  Well it turns out the problem in St. Louis isn’t white people not accepting us, rather it is the “African-Americans” who have a problem with it.  Sharlay and I have both been shocked by how many times I get mean-mugged from a black person or how many times we will hear them make disparaging remarks under their breath.  It doesn’t even matter the persons age. I have gotten mean-mugged from pre-teens and senior citizens and everywhere in between.  It is quite ridiculous.  Before you think I am just being dramatic several of our friends who are non-white and have grown up in the St. Louis area all agree the racism is black against white and not the other way around.  There doesn’t seem to be any answers or resolution coming to this issue either.  People are too angry, too set in their ways and overall just not progressive enough in their vision or thoughts to come to a rational compromise to work out these issues. It’s as if people (white people) here just think if you ignore it long enough it will go away.  Meanwhile, the lack of action is now empowering the poor and disenfranchised to get more violent all over the city and not just in the poor and crime riddled neighborhoods where it used to be contained.

Several weeks ago Sharlay and I went to go see American Sniper at the Creve Coeur AMC theater.  When we arrived it was sold out sopromo245992733 we went home.  The next night someone was murdered outside the theater.  This is a quite suburb where this kind of thing “never happens.”  Well of course, except when it does.  The perpetrators not only killed someone but blew out most of the glass windows in the entrance to the theater.  Had it not been at 11:45pm who knows how many people would have been killed or seriously hurt.

Meanwhile people downtown are getting carjacked and killed.  One of my clients barely escaped with his life when he pulled away from a carjacker who then proceeded to put two bullets into my client’s car. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt but since that happened two blocks from his home he has since decided (no kidding!) to move to a new place. Seriously, Google carjacking and St. Louis and you will come up with at least 7 different stories in the last month-and-a-half.  Before moving here I knew St. Louis had a reputation for being violent and crime ridden but I had no idea just how bad it would be.   I didn’t think it would literally be happening all over the city.

The worst thing for me about the crime is how often violent crimes happen in public places (i.e. movie theater etc.)  Some poor night manager was killed at Drury Inn on a night when there were 6 fatal shooting in less than 12 hours.  I drive by that hotel several times a week on my way home from kickboxing classes or while running errands around town.  People are so used to the violence they barely bat an eye.  People who live in the suburbs don’t care because it’s not their problem (of course until it is.)

In the 8 years I lived in New York I can only think of one time I ever felt like I wasn’t safe and on that occasion it was because I was in a fairly violent part of Brooklyn.  Already in the three months since we have been here I have felt unsafe on several occasions to the point that I often carry a gun in my vehicle now.  On Sunday I am taking a class so I can get my conceal/carry permit here in Missouri.

In New York I always felt the police officers in the city were there to protect me (and the populace of NYC) and that I could trust them to do the right thing if I was a victim of a crime.  Here in Missouri I feel like I am just as likely to be shot by a cop as I am to get help.

They also do this odd thing here in Missouri when people meet for the first time.  They ask, “Where did you go to high school?” The sole purpose of this question is so they can make an instant judgment about you and the kind of person you are.  By asking this question the person is trying to determine your social, racial, economic, religious upbringing etc simply based on that one question.  Yet people here don’t think asking that kind of question, for that purpose is offensive!  That is how backwards it can be here at times. Look, I have lived in four different states, traveled to 45 more of them and spent significant time in 4 other countries.  Despite all my travels I have never come across anything so asinine in my life.  When I ask people “Do you realize how offensive it is that you ask that question for the very purpose of judging everyone you meet?” I just get a blank stare like they don’t quite understand. “It’s just Colored Onlysomething we do here” as if that response couldn’t have applied to slavery, violating civil rights, Jim Crow, refusing women the right to vote and/or genocide.  Not cool Missourians, not cool.  Come out of the Dark Ages.

Don’t even get me started about how bad the drivers are here in this state!  I cannot believe the level of incompetence I see on the road everyday.  The most basic things when it comes to driving (i.e. establishing yourself in the intersection before making a left hand turn) are totally lost on people here.  If you can’t pass a driver’s test in Missouri than you truly have no business being on the road.  That is just the bottom line. Speaking of below average…

The majority of people here are more than happy to settle for mediocre when this state and city could be so much better.  This applies from the terrible pizza, to crime, to schools and to life in general.  It’s almost like they don’t believe they deserve to have the best of anything and that is okay with everyone.  It is just very odd.  I have certainly experienced that in other Midwestern and Southern states but it still blows my mind.

In addition to all of those things we have really been struggling to find a church here in St. Louis.  While that might not seem a big deal to some of you reading this, it is a major problem for us.  I love serving and being involved in my church.  Sharlay also understands and appreciates the importance of having a local church to call home.  That is where we will find the majority of our friends and also opportunities to reach out to others.  I was really hoping that our move here might involve the opportunity to get heavily involved in a men’s ministry in a way I wasn’t really able to in New York.  Yet so far nothing.  None of the churches we have attended have any sense of community and almost all of them have had some very strange aspect to them.  Of course the one church we really liked turned out to have a pastor who has a terrible reputation for unethical behavior

In my blog I referenced at the start of this entry I wrote about the importance of having a “long game.”  In other words, it is important to not see things in the short term but to try and see the long term benefits of an opportunity.  I still believe that to be one of the most important aspects of any kind of major decision.  However, my experience so far in St. Louis proves that isn’t so easy to do.  I really hope more than anything that my wife and I will end up loving it here.  If we stay longer than three years (which is doubtful at this point) I hope my daughter loves it here because she is 90% of the reason we moved out of NYC.  Every day I ask God “Why are we here?”  I am faithfully waiting a response and trusting he didn’t move my family out of our favorite city only to be unhappy where we landed.

There are certainly benefits to living here that we didn’t have in NYC such as more space in our apartment, cheaper rent and overall a less costly standard of living.  Not sure those things are worth the stuff we have been dealing with in St. Louis so far.  I don’t just miss NYC I miss the East Coast in general and the kind of life we had there.  We just don’t fit in St. Louis and it is obvious we aren’t from here when we are out and about in public.  Hopefully all this will change and a year from now I will be writing about how great our life is in St. Louis.  For now, we just aren’t planning to stay long.

For anyone else out there suffering through a tough period in their life I hope you will stick with your decision and see it to its end.  It isn’t easy but you (and I) will be okay.  Life isn’t over.  Things will get better, even if it isn’t right away.

Love you guys!  Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Andrew

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