Saturday, October 31, 2009

ProMoting ProLife

As long as I'm on a roll blogging I thought I would share again.

We recently completed another store that has a great message. Check out Lutherans for Life's store at Their official site is

At this site you can purchase apparel and gifts of all types to promote the Bible's Pro-Life message. They have designs that range from just their logo to some stunning full-color graphics of Christ holding a baby in his hands. See above... Notice the nail holes in Christ's hands.

Be sure to check out the little girl holding the Bible and don't get mesmerized by her beautiful eyes. It is just so incredibly cute and the Bible is so prevalent in the design. Putting God first.

This site has many designs and many types of meaningful gifts for the upcoming holiday season or for that new or expecting parent. Be sure to check it out soon.

College Christians

I Am Saved logo

It doesn't seem like it's been almost two months since we last posted. Time flies when you're having fun... or when you're not feeling well. I continue to struggle with my chronic illness but continue to find pieces of the puzzle that will lead to my getting well.

Most of the time I attempt to think Half Full ( see previous post ) but sometimes it gets very difficult. Enought about me let's talk about designs and provoking thoughts. Our niece has opened her own store offering inspirational, Christian-based designs. I'm very proud of her for professing her faith openly at the age of 19 (or 20 I forget). I didn't have the strength to do it and would have been too worried about what others thought of me.

Sydnie attended Iowa State last year and she developed a design for fans of Iowa State and God. You can check it out at her store... 'N' God's Time. It says "I am Saved". As an ISU grad I bought one of her shirts and am proud to wear it!
She also has a version for Hawkeye and University of Northern Iowa fans plus other fans of the Bible. I think she has some real talent and her willingness to spread the word is awesome!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Coming to All Our Senses

If I haven't said it before - and I think I have - I am truly blessed to have two brilliant children.

My oldest, Jeffrey, is an intellectual genius that has an incredibly high IQ and learns things at a very fast pace. Usually the first time he's exposed to them. He reads a book on a topic and then recants it back in more detail than I usually prefer but I find it fascinating the detail to which his memory goes.

My youngest, Sam, is as creatively genius and gifted at composing music as my oldest is intellectually smart. He "wrote" his first song before he turned seven. He doesn't actually "write" them as much as they just sort of flow out of him. We're fortunate we live in the technology age as we've connected his electronic piano to the PC and then have a program that records all his key strokes as he plays them. He cranks out beautiful three-part masterpieces in about a half an hour. I've watched him do it and it is awesome.

Why am I bragging about how brilliant my kids are????

I guess it's because it really doesn't matter how smart or talented we are if we don't have common sense AND choose to use it. I try to impress this on my kids every day.
For most of us this 6th sense isn't so common at all and if fail to apply it what will happen to us? To our families and to our world? Unfortunately, I think we're starting to see the answer.
So... I encourage everyone to keep their eyes open, listen to what's going on around them, stop and smell the roses sometimes, stay in touch and do things in good taste. BUT... if we don't exercise our common sense the rest of what we have won't matter.
Common is the 6th Sense... are you going to use it or lose it?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Keeping the Faith

Right now life is feeling "prickly". There are many things that seem to be poking at me trying to drag me down. I've had a rough couple of days at work; I hurt my back badly over the weekend and am in almost constant pain; my husband has been struggling with his health since last fall; my son is dealing with food allergies that make it difficult to feed our family; I drive by a house twice a day that is a constant reminder of hurt feelings which dredges up old hurt feelings from many past relationships; I've had to work overtime to get things done at work which is keeping me away from my family at home, and when I get home I'm too tired to do much of anything...

It just feels like things are piling up and trying to drag my mental attitude into negativity. So I'm working harder and harder to pick out things to keep my thoughts positive. I know that these rough days at work are temporary - this task is almost complete and I'll be able to move on to new things; I know that my back is improving and I'm seeking treatment for that to help (my sons assisted with massages last night!); my husband's health is trending towards improvement; we're exploring acupuncture as a treatment for our son's food allergies; and I'm trying to focus on the many wonderful relationships that I have now.

I drive 45 minutes to and from work. I don't like the fact that it adds to the length of my work day, but there are so many things that I enjoy about my drive. I watch the flowers change in one spectacular garden on my route; I watch for the many beautiful horses, big and small; I check the pond to see if my heron is there (one day had to slow way down to miss hitting a huge snapping turtle crossing the road); I observe the structure and details of the barns as the sun hits them; I wave at the crossing guard by the school I pass; I look for deer in two spots; and I enjoy my music!

I figure the harder things stack up against me and try to pull my attitude down, the harder I'd better work to keep it positive. I'm tired. I'm hopeful that things will turn around again by the end of this week! But if it doesn't, I will keep working hard to stay positive.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Recommended Reading

I never have enough time in the day to read all the things I want to read. I don't pay for a newspaper. It usually ends up spread out all over the floor and it is full of mostly bad news (and I'm a journalism major!) and advertising many things that are not necessary. And I'm in advertising!

I get books recommended to me all the time and I've bought several of them or check them out from the library. They usually end up just sitting on a shelf. Fiction is not an option as the books I want to read I'm seeking a purpose to giving up my time in the hopes of gaining knowledge and improvement in return.

But you know what? I still don't read much. Between my day job, homeschooling my brilliant 13 year old son; taking care of my two boys after school, monitoring the dogs; trying to start a new business venture; dealing with a long-term chronic illness; making most meals around the house and trying to be a loving husband. It doesn't leave much time for reading. But, I do believe you make time for what is most important to you.

Our family started attending a new church over five years ago. It was time for a change in churches as we weren't being fed by our current church family so we started to look elsewhere. Nothing against our old church... I even served on their council and chaired several committees and even taught 6th grade Sunday School before I had my own kids.. but we weren't feeling supported.

The first church we tried was also the last church we tried. We noticed a strange "occurrence" when we were walking into our first service. Almost everyone walking into church was carrying a "book" and we weren't carrying anything. What could this book be? Upon further review we found it to be a Bible. I didn't even know where mine was. It was pretty humbling.

You see our church teaches directly out of the Bible and encourages daily Bible reading. Something that my old church didn't really emphasize. So... we decided we wanted to be a part of this new church so we better track down our Bibles and dust them off and open them up.

But... where should I be reading? What would help me the most? Some of my friends and one of our pastors encouraged me to read in Proverbs every day. As many of you know Proverbs has 31 chapters and that matches up nicely with 31 days in many months... sometimes I have to read more than one chapter in the shorter months but their short! :)

Read one a day... month after month and it will transform the way you think. Proverbs was written by Solomon - who many believe to be the wisest man to walk the face of the earth. Most chapters take less than five minutes but I caution you to slow down and evaluate every word.

Some of my favorite verses include "grey hair is a crown of splendor" and verses about "quarrelsome wives". Mine is not! But also "iron sharpens iron" and "motives are weighed by the Lord".

Our design "A Proverb A Day" encourages me to read my Bible every day and I hope it will for you as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Old Game Shows

Truth or Consequences
A couple of years ago I participated in a Truth Project class. This is produced by Focus on the Family and hosted by Dr. Del Tackett. I really enjoyed the 13 weeks of the class and highly recommend it to anyone interested! They cover a Biblical view of many aspects of life including science, American history, and politics. It was very enlightening for me and our class had many great discussions.

The key point in this class is that the Bible is Truth and you either believe that it is 100% truth or it can't be truth at all. Jesus stated that he is the truth and told Pilate that "for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth." There are many people out there who want to take parts of the Bible and say this is truth but that is not; or this used to be truth back in Jesus' day, but it's not really applicable now, today.

The Bible also says "small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." So it truly is Truth or consequences. Choose truth! Choose life!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Helping Others Help Others

Our world would not survive without non-profit organizations. What would we do without schools, churches and other not-for-profit civic organizations? They help others...

It's no secret the economy is hurting right now and people are scared about their futures and cautious with their monies. Giving to these organizations who help others is down significantly and they can't help as many as they would like (or need to). It's a vicious circle... actually a downward spiral.

As our "mission" has been stated before we want to improve the way the world thinks. We started our designs - and continue to develop designs - with that purpose in mind. We have had an overwhelming response to this blog and I want you to know that I pray for each visitor that comes to this site.

As some of you know... we had our designs but we didn't have a way to market them in a way that we could manage and a method turned up. If you haven't seen our online stores check them out at and Also, see our first post the story behind the stores. We're so excited to have that store tool to offer our designs to the world through the internet - and improve the way the world thinks - in a way that we can afford.

Once we got over our excitement we started thinking that there were other organizations that could benefit, too. I've been on many boards and committees of non-profit groups over the years and by far the biggest hassle was FUNDRAISING! Who was in charge? What would we sell? How to handle the money? Who would coordinate volunteers? And so on. But without fundraising the doors wouldn't stay open. Uggggh!

I've also sold promotional products (products with messages, etc.) to many groups over the past 15 years and found that selling them something in advance with the hope that they could resell it and recoup not only their money but make money, too, was a risky venture at best.

And let's not even talk about the kids going door to door selling candy bars, popcorn or cheese balls and loosing the order forms or the check (or both) and the parents losing their minds!

If you can relate to any of this we have a solution.

(pause, for effect)

We'll build an online store/gift shop for your organization that will help you raise visibility and raise funds. Imagine your own designs and messages on apparel (more than t-shirts) and merchandise being made available to your "community" 24/7/365 through the internet. We're building these stores at no cost and their's no "hidden charges" either. All you have to do is tell your "community" about it!

There's so much more detail that I can't go into here but if you're interested check out We've created this "show and tell" type store to present the capabilities. This store concept can be adapted to fit your needs.

The basics are
increase visibility and raise funds...
no charge to set up a store...
no inventory requirements...
no setup charges on orders...
everything is built to order...
all monies are handled by the store...
no distribution of product...
and... you collect your check every month!

Let us help you raise visibility and funds for your organization so you can continue to help others. If you'd like more information e-mail me at I'd be honored to work with you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Make a Joyful Noise!

Make a Joyful Noise
This design has a lot of history behind it. I love to sing and crank the music in my car. Music has always been part of my life - my mom played the piano and my dad played the ukelele and both sing well. My nine-year-old son has been composing music on the piano and keyboard for a couple of years and is fabulously talented! My mother-in-law is a great singer and piano player and my father-in-law...well...he can't carry a tune in a bucket but he still makes a joyful noise.

I love the music at our church. The first time we attended, our older son commented on how much he liked the music and asked if we could come back. That was tremendous progress for him to be excited about church. And it's so much fun to hear the same worship music on my favorite radio station KNWI 107.1. It helps me keep focused as I drive to and from work; it reminds me of what is the most important part of my life and what I want to concentrate on throughout the day.

This was originally designed for my sister-in-law Jean and nieces Tracy and Sarah. They are all fabulous singers! I was planning to make a Christmas ornament for them with this design but our family system got changed up a bit and we ended up with different people. But those three certainly inspired me on this one.

Psalm 98 paints such a vivid picture of worship being joy-filled and loud! It doesn't say "make a perfect noise" so don't worry about your pitch - just sing with a worshipful heart!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Right and Wrong

Most of the time the right thing to do is also the toughest thing to do. It usually makes for an interesting battle inside my soul.
As I've grown to be a stronger follower of Christ, I see multiple examples of this in the Bible. But nothing is more evident than when God gave his only son to die on the cross for our sins. Now that wasn't easy! But it was the right thing to do. Jesus died on the cross to save us because we were incapable of saving ourselves due to our sinful nature. Jesus set the ultimate example.
I am challenged to do the right thing everyday. In my job... in my parenting... as a husband.
Why has it become so easy to lie and cover the truth today? If given the choice I'm tempted many times to not do the right thing. I need a constant reminder. I need to go to church. I need to read my Bible. I need to surround myself with good friends that will hold me accountable for my actions.
Most of all, I need to realize that I will not always to the right thing but I need to want to do the right thing. When I don't do the right thing I need to beg for forgiveness and call on the the mercy of family, friends or the person I've wronged but ultimately beg for God's grace and do everything in my power to learn from my mistake so that I don't do it again.
It is said we should learn from our mistakes. I agree completely. What do you think? Where would we be if we didn't? Do the right thing even though it's likely not the easiest choice. See where the world ends up. See how you turn out.
Buy this design on many items at to serve as your reminder

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic

Pledge of AllegianceIt's back to school time! I find it to be an exciting time; I always loved school! My kids aren't so thrilled... But I love fall, sweatshirts and jeans, the changing colors of the leaves, football (better yet, the marching band!)

This design started percolating around the 4th of July. I had wanted to have a new patriotic shirt to wear for the 4th and started thinking about what I would want that to look like. The pledge of allegiance popped into my head and I started wondering what I could do with those words. The flag was a natural - easily patriotic - and provides a great backdrop for the text. I didn't get the design done in time to have my shirt for the 4th, but I'm planning on wearing my new red shirt for casual Friday at work this week. And with school starting across the country (my niece and nephews started yesterday!) this is a perfect design to talk about!

I don't know what the policies are in school these days. My son says they still say the pledge each morning. I found an online map that indicates that some schools have a law that states kids have the option of saying the pledge or not. I can see pros and cons about that. Mostly I feel that as a citizen of the U.S. we should all be proud and thankful to live here and the freedoms that we have! I'm thankful to the people serving in the military willing to lose their lives if necessary to defend our rights and freedoms and protect our country.

Our country was founded by great, God-fearing men who set up a wonderful democratic system. It is my hope and prayer that we can move closer to their vision for our country.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Self Discipline

This is a tough one for me. I think I designed this as much for myself than for my family or others.

I started my own business back in 1994 and found that becuz it was a one person business I was basically a full-commission salesperson. Someone had to sell my products and services and that someone has to be me. Uh-oh... no more goofing off on the 8 to 5 job. I had to become DISCIPLINED!

Well, like any full-time commission scenario there are the usual ups and downs. Some checks were very good and some weren't so good. If only I could stay consistent all the time (read: disciplined) I would have a great check all the time. Sounds easy...

Well, I shut my business down in 2000 and you don't shut down a business becuz you're making too much money. We weren't! I was working 80 hours a week but living in the poverty level. I grew tired of working for my employee's paycheck and although I thought I was disciplined, I wasn't. Things were inconsistent and run by the seat of my pants. I was robbing Peter to pay Paul and just barely hanging on financially. It was time to pull the plug.

The decision hurt. When I look back on it I question what happened? I was a hard working, caring boss who wanted what was best for my clients and my employees. But, I think what I wanted most was what was best for me. I was disciplined and determined to show the world how I could make it and my discipline was geared toward everyone else.

I never took the time to look inward to see what my true motivation was. Proverbs 16:2 says that all a man's ways seem innocent to him but the Lord weighs his motivation. What was my motivation? I started asking why I do the things I do and found that my discipline was a self problem and I needed to stop blaming everybody else and accept the fact that it was up to me to change things... Lord willing. Once this became clear to me I started looking at my kids and wife and found that we all had a similar problem. Taking it further if all of us in this world would just practice discipline of the self rather than point and poke at others what a difference this would make.

So... how about we all take responsibility for our own actions and keep our discipline to our self. Watch what happens!

This design can be found in our I-cubed brand at Take care and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

To Boldly Go...

I'm Following the Leader
We've been going through the book of Matthew at church. I am really impressed by the calling of the disciples. In each case, Jesus invited them to follow and they did. No questions asked. I especially like Matthew 4:20, "At once they left their nets and followed him." But later, a rich, young ruler approaches Jesus to find out what he can do to get eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell his possessions, then follow Jesus. The man went away sad, unwilling to follow.

I find myself questioning why I need to follow. I tend to be more of a leader than a follower and find that role hard to give up. Recently I felt God calling me to follow him and give up some things in my life. I was willing, but not able. Today I find that every day I'm in prayer asking God to show me what I can do THAT DAY to follow. I see that I'm interested in a big change; a drastic change. I see that God is interested in daily, sometimes minor, but consistent change.

I am following my leader. It's not easy and I'm not like the disciples - I ask questions. But I'm learning, and I'm changing.

This design is set up to declare boldly to those who see you that you are following the leader - that Jesus is the leader in your life. And on the reverse, an invitation to follow too.

Come Follow Me - Matt 4:19Who are you following?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What's in a Name? (part 2)

A couple days ago I explained the rationale behind our Inspirational/Motivational line of apparel and merchandise - I-cubed. You'll have to read earlier to learn about that.

I don't want to leave out the other line/brand that we call FoG Apparel and Merchandise. FoG stands for Fear, Fan, Friend and/or Follower of God. Hopefully, you're at least one of these and we pray that you're all four.

Note the importance of the capital G in FoG. We do this out of respect to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. His name is always worth of capitalization and nothing less. The tagline is "Our Choice is Clear" meaning if we're wearing or using a FoG item than we are Christ followers. These items serve as reminders to act in a way that shows our commitment to Christ. Hopefully, they will also serve as possible motivators to others who see them and God will use them in unique ways to lead others to him.

If we are fans of the Iowa State Cyclones or the Chicago Cubs we wear their logos, messages, and color proudly. Most of us work for a business or organization and have several items with that logo. My question is this... if we are fans of God and want to work God than shouldn't we do the same for him? Let me know what you think?

This is why FoG is our clear choice.

Friday, July 31, 2009

What's in a Name?

First of all I want to thank all of you out there who have visited this blog. I'm super excited about how many people have taken time to read our posts. I would like to encourage you to respond if you'd like to. We'd love to hear from you!

Keep coming back and keep sharing with your family and friends! Together we will improve the way the world thinks!

Our first post talked about the story behind the stores but I'd like to explain the thinking behind the name of our inspirational/motivational line of apparel and merchandise. We call it I-cubed. Our goal with I-cubed designs is to Impress, Impact, and Improve.

We want our 100% original designs to impress upon people to do the right thing. Most are based on common sense and things we may have learned a long time ago but forgotten. Maybe we chose to and maybe we didn't.

We want our I-cubed designs to impact people in a positive way with the ultimate goal of improving the way the world thinks! I-cubed designs will serve as a reminder to both the person who is using or wearing the item or perhaps serve as an inspiration to someone who sees the messages and cause them to act in the right way and/or do the right thing.

Who knows, anything can happen! How do you improve yourself? Use our I-cubed designs to remind you to do the right thing or give them as a gift to a friend that could use some encouragement.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Changing Directions

Repent: a drastic change in direction
This is a "Pastor Troy" design because he uses this phrase in his messages. One week he commented that he would like to name a dog Repent. He said he could picture the dog running out in the yard or field and calling the dog's name, "REPENT!" and watching it do a 180 and come running back.

Isn't that what God wants us to do? As we go off running in the world, chasing what the world has to offer, He wants to be able to call our name and see us come running back. I see this repeating in my life. Many years ago we experienced serious financial difficulties and we needed to turn away from the world and the material things that had been pulling us away from God and return to Him. It was great to make those changes and strengthen our faith in that time of trial. But as things improved, it became easier and easier to get pulled back to that.

Once again we are experiencing trials and having to choose which way to go. It's easy to get frustrated and want to run away, or chase after something the world seems to offer. But God is calling my name and I'm turning back to Him.

When in your life have you had to drastically change your direction to follow God?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thank God its....

Ever wonder where the saying "Thank God It's Friday" came from?

Do you think the other days get jealous? What about Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday? Is Friday reserved just for God and and we have to find something or someone else to thank for the other days?

I hope not!

I suggest we Just Thank God. It doesn't matter whether or not it's Friday or not. It doesn't matter whether or not it's sunny or rainy; dry or wet; cold or warm; funny and easy-going or sad and difficult. Just Thank God.

This design depicts an open planner to a Friday (perhaps even a Friday the 13th!). The pages are filled with obligations but on the right is a post-it note with the crucial reminder that we should put on every page in our planners, datebooks, I-phones (my wife really wants one) and PDAs.

It says, "Don't worry what day it is..." The bottom line of this design says it all in bold letters. Just Thank God. I've been currently struggling with a long-term chronic illness and have remembered this design often! It's helped me get through the tougher times. The bible says in both Romans and James (and likely other areas) that we are to give thanks to God for all things... not just the good but also all the rest... it's part of a process/plan that he has in place for us.

It's easy to be thankful when things are going the way you want them but refer to James 1:2-8 during other times...

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

We are commanded to Just Thank God! I hope you do today. To view this and our other designs check out our websites and today. We hope you'll find jus the right item to remind you to improve the way you think and/or gift item for that person in your life who could also benefit.

Be thankful today even though it's Saturday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bee Leaf

Bee Leaf
Admittedly I had the kids in mind when working on this one. I don't remember whether Brian or I came up with the overall concept but as soon as the words were said, I had this picture in my head.

It's just a simple graphic with a simple message. Meant to draw people in and raise some questions. It's currently only on the FoG site, but we'll probably put it on I-cubed as well.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Parental Rights (and wrongs)

I grew up the youngest of five children. Each of my four older siblings had two kids before I had my first child. (I finished up with two.) I babysat my nieces and nephews many times when I was in high school and college. I was comfortable being responsible for kids of all ages even down to infants. The one thing I always noticed (or thought I noticed) was that my nieces and nephews all listened better to me than they did their parents.

Based on all my experience parenting was going to be a piece of cake. I mean, if my nieces and nephews listened to me when I was just their uncle then it was a "given" that my kids would always listen to me when I was their Dad. Right?

When my oldest son was born I was the happiest guy in the world and there is no better feeling in the world when you hold your kid and they fall asleep on your lap. No one tells you how difficult it can be when your kid isn't perfect or the challenges start to come... and they definitely do.

My oldest was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6 and has had problems adapting to school. He has difficulty with authority and loses his temper often. There was a time when I was afraid to answer the phone because I was certain it would be someone (school, teacher, neighbor, etc.) telling me how rotten my child was and therefore implying what a terrible parent I was. It happened so often that I started thinking perhaps they were right.

What I finally decided was that he was my child and no matter what he is awesome. He has faults and he is brilliant in his own way and he is a gift from God. Although I may not like what he does and how he behaves and I question often whether or not he can control his behaviour - I think the answer varies depending - he is my child and I will always love him. NO MATTER WHAT!

Parenting is the toughest job in the world. Parenting is also the best job in the world. Bottom line is that we must all take responsibility for our kids whatever they are like and Make it Apparent We're a Parent!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Sunday Sunrise

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.In 2008, we were fortunate enough to participate in an incentive trip won for a great sales year. We traveled to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic! It was a fabulous experience and we not only enjoyed the location - delightful rooms, wonderful pools, tremendous restaurants, and the best beach I've ever seen - but also the company of other sales reps. It was great to reconnect with friends from previous trips and catch up on their lives.

Our trip began on a Thursday and ended on a Tuesday, so it included a weekend stay. Unfortunately, the bulk of the "business" portion of the trip occurred on Saturday and Sunday! After checking the schedule, we realized that business meetings were scheduled for Sunday morning. In addition, we didn't find any mention of religious services.

So what do you do when you're from Iowa and spending a Sunday in a foreign country, in a beautiful resort with access to a fabulous beach? We opted to rise before the sun and catch the sunrise on the beach and have our own private worship service - just us and our God and His magnificent sunrise! He delighted us and we delighted in Him! It seemed that He was clearly telling us to rejoice in this glorious day he had made... just for us.

One of the photos we took that morning is incorporated in our design we call "Rejoice" - This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Half Full - Thinking Positively

Half Full Think Positive My best friend (and first friend), Jeff, died of natural causes back in 1987 shortly before he turned 21... or maybe it was shortly after. It doesn't matter. We were born 9 days apart and lived right next door to each other for several years until he moved across town. We were still best of friends - which included fighting every day and making up the next - until my family moved away when I was nine years old. We played Star Trek as kids and I was ALWAYS Kirk and he was ALWAYS Spock... we never died. But unfortunately, he did.

I'll never forget the day I heard. It felt like someone sucker-punched me in the gut when I wasn't looking. It took many years to feel like I could get that breath back. I truly felt like a part of me died that day as well. I helped carry my best friend's body to his grave. It was my first experience with death.

I kept all my feelings inside and didn't tell anyone. Not even my closest friends or my wife. I struggled with my job and hated my work. I had the "pleasure" of dealing with panic attacks and other physical side effects of cooped-up stress but when I went to the doctors they couldn't find anything wrong.

Six years after my friend died I checked myself into the hospital. The 6th floor... the mental ward. I didn't know what to do. I was having trouble controlling my thoughts. I wasn't suicidal... rather, I was afraid to die. However, the interesting twist was that I was also afraid to live. I was diagnosed with depression and was given anti-depressants. I took them for almost 15 years up until about 6 months ago... but that is a story for another time.

Several years back I started to understand that blaming others for my depression and position I was in was just wrong. My wife and I started our own company, had a couple wonderful boys, and I started realizing that truly it isn't what happens to you that matters in life but how you deal with it. You always have a choice.

God had blessed me with the ability to creat graphics that were kind of "quick and witty" and so I declared it was time to improve the way the world thinks. I was going to do that by offering our designs on items and keep positive messages in front of people to remind them how to think.

This was the basis for the Half Full -Think Positive design. You have a choice. Choose wisely! Check out this and all the rest of our designs at the sites included at the top of this blog.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Diana's Pillowcase

My aunt Diana was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October of 2008. Shortly after that, I heard that she was having trouble sleeping at night and I could imagine the kinds of fears that might fill her mind upon waking in the middle of the night. The more I thought of it, the stronger the idea of creating a pillowcase that might bring her comfort became. I wanted to create something special for her, something that might bring her comfort at night, something akin to a child's blankie but in adult form.

I researched some verses that I thought would encourage comfort and rest:
  • Isaiah 43:5 - Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
  • Psalm 4:8 - I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
  • Matthew 11:28 - "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
  • Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Most importantly, the main verse reminding that "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him". Romans 8:28.

Why is it that some good people have to suffer when others don't? Why is it that some bad people don't ever seem to suffer? My parents always said that life isn't fair. I hated hearing that. I thought life should be fair. But it isn't.

I don't know whether the pillowcase brought comfort to my aunt. I certainly hope so. And I hope that others might find it inspiring and comforting and use it to help and encourage the people who they love who might be struggling as well.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Story Behind the Stores

Do you ever have pictures or images pop into your head when you hear a story or listen to someone talking? My husband and I do - often!

We've been inspired to help improve the way the world thinks. It seems so much that you hear and read is bad news - descriptions of awful things and awful people. It's very easy to think that the entire world is falling apart and there's nothing good left in it. We are motivated to point out those good things and remind people to "think positive" and "stop and smell the roses". We really do only have one life and I, for one, want to live it joyously and noticing all the wonderful things around me!

So, over the years my husband and I developed these images, graphics, that are geared towards keeping our mind on the good things. But we didn't know how to get them "out there" where others could utilize them. We were not interested in running a retail business, nor did we have the funds to invest in a bunch of inventory that we would have to store and try to sell somehow. We felt like we had good ideas, but no outlet.

A few months ago we discovered a resource that has allowed us to build an online gift shop featuring our designs. There was no cost to develop the site and there are many products available from the manufacturer. These products can be purchased one at a time or a few at a time so there's no bulk ordering required. And the manufacturer handles all the orders, processing the payment, creating the goods, and shipping directly to the recipient! It seems we found our perfect solution - an online store where we can promote our designs, help improve how the world thinks, and make some money. All this at no cost to us. We are thrilled!

So, we have established two online gift shops - one for evangelical designs at and one for motivational designs at I hope that you will take a look and see if any of our designs encourage you to think more positively and enjoy each day!
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