How #Hosting Orphan Children Changed Our Lives

A few years ago, my wife and I were in the middle of adoption paperwork waiting to adopt our second child internationally, and third overall.  We decided that while we were waiting we should host two kids from a foreign country.  An older girl and older boy.


People thought we were crazy.

Maybe we were.

Then we did it again.  We hosted two more teenage boys, as well as another in the middle of it because of required international business travel by another family.

Following that we adopted two teenagers, and hosted another child.

Our family size is now 2 adults and four children.  We don’t have all the answers but we believe that serving as a host family is a critical service.  We get to touch the lives of children who have faced a unique hardship.  It’s not easy.  It’s not always pretty.  And it’s certainly not glamorous.  And they touch our lives.

Now its another time where the opportunity to host presents itself.  We’ve chosen once again to host, and host two.  A child from China and a separate child from Ukraine.

As in the past, we’d appreciate your support.

Find out more:

Great #Bicycle Giveaway

*MAJOR UPDATE*  All the funds were raised!

Recently our family participated in the “Great Bicycle Giveaway” and we came up short for the second year in a row.


Why would you need to do a bicycle giveaway?  You may think an average American family of six would just go to a local retailer and pick up a bicycle just like everyone else.  There are several reasons that solution just doesn’t work for us.

The main reason is because our daughter is blind.  She has been blind since birth,  She’s not low vision, she’s NO VISION.  It’s something that challenges her and our family on a daily basis.

Yet our daughter is more than simply a blind girl.  She has excellent grades, has been student of the week, and sings in her top choir at school.  Just let that sink in for a moment.  She can’t read or even see the notes and words, yet learns them by ear.  Ever seen music in braille?  I haven’t yet.

These are just a few things from school.

Did I mention she roller skates with mom?  She can climb to the top of the portable rock walls.

Unfortunately, a lot of people without knowing her, just look at her and assume she can’t do this activity, or can’t do that activity.  They don’t challenge her to do more, and be more, to not be defined by blindness.

Our sister-in-law set up a page to help us and our daughter do something most people would say a blind person will never do – ride a bicycle.

Please share our story and desire.  We’re super close to getting a specially adapted bicycle.  Any help, any prayers, any sharing, whatever it is you feel compelled to do – we’d greatly appreciate.

Check it out here.

Change A Life Forever – #Hosting

There is a world of pain, hurt, and loneliness.  It’s not confined to any one group, to any economic status, or any continent.  It is felt however by one single group – orphans.

hosting image

There are several kids participating in a host program waiting for anyone to bring them to America for the summer.  The thing about it is these kids are in a unique situation, they are older children.  This means most people are totally scared and that the likelihood of them finding forever families is significantly reduced.

My family and I have participated in host programs since 2013.  We’ve hosted special needs children, boys and girls, and ages from 7 to 16.  Each has presented their own unique challenge, but each has left us with wonderful memories.  We have also adopted after participating in a host program, but it’s not a requirement.

I am sharing this because there are two kids who are waiting to be hosted and I strongly believe it could be the greatest experience for a family.

Please share this post, consider hosting, and share support for those who are opening their homes, families, and hearts to children in need of a mom and dad.  Offer them at least a glimpse of love, and it is sure to change both your lives.

Here are some links to find out more:


Under New Management – From Silos to Networks – David Burkus

This original post was inspired by concepts from chapter six of Under New Management. This case study examines Proctor & Gamble’s attempts to turn around their lagging business by abandoning its culture of secrecy and embracing an open, collaborative environment where ideas could be shared – even from outside.


From Silos to Networks: How Proctor & Gamble Shed its Culture of Secrecy and Created a Non-noncompete Environment

Noncompete clauses in employment contracts is a practice as old as business itself. Evidence suggests however, that noncompete clauses hurt not only departing employees but also those who stay with the company as well as the company itself. That’s why more and more leaders are creating non-noncompete environments in which information is shared freely, even with outsiders.

Between the positive effect of mobility on individual employees’ motivation and productivity and the positive increases to intellectual capital for firms even when employees depart, an increasing amount of evidence favors companies and leaders who offer more freedom to their people. They benefit from creating non-noncompete environments — cultures where ideas are openly shared even with people outside of the organization.

A program developed by Proctor & Gamble has taken the idea of the non-noncompete environment to another level of commitment. For many decades, P&G was noted for its culture of secrecy, including strict rules for conversations about company products and programs outside of the workplace and rules against conversations with employees of competitors. Not surprisingly, that level of secrecy led to stagnation in the P&G product line and a decline in innovation.

By 2000 the effect of that decline had even affected the company’s financials as the company saw its stock price drop by more than 50%. In 2000 the company leadership fell to A. G. Lafley, a longtime P&G executive. His vision for turning the company around involved also turning the culture of secrecy around. Lafley believed that, to stay competitive, the company had to recognize that it needed its competitors. He calculated that, instead of P&G’s 7,500-person research and development operation, there were potentially over one million people whose knowledge the company needed to tap into. So “Research and Development”   became “  Connect+Develop.”

The goal of Connect+Develop was to have over 50 percent of Proctor & Gamble’s innovation coming from ideas generated or developed outside of the company. To achieve this, P&G needed to replace its silos and walls with networks. The company created several lines of communication with academic researchers, suppliers, and sometimes even competitors dedicated to finding and cross-pollinating ideas. The goal was to work on ideas that could meet the needs of consumers, whether or not the idea came from in-house, and develop those ideas adjacent to an existing P&G brand. For example, P&G partnered with the Italian chemical company Zobele to build up its Febreze brand by launching several new air-freshening products under the Febreze name. The partnership would be credited with turning Febreze into a $1 billion brand name, and it wouldn’t have been possible without partnering with an Italian chemical company that, under the old mentality, would have been a competitor.

Connect+Develop has worked so well that the company launched its own online portal where anyone could submit ideas. Instead of forbidding conversations with competitors, the company is now committed to partnering with anyone, from research labs and academia to competitors large and small. This turnaround in mind-set was accompanied by a financial turnaround as well. Since launching Connect+Develop, P&G has more than climbed back from its decline in valuation, much of which has been due to hitting Lafley’s target: more than 50 percent of P&G product initiates now rely on collaboration outside of the company.

Companies such as Proctor & Gamble have embraced the idea of the non-noncompete environment, benefitting greatly from a culture in which employees can openly share information, even when they’re no longer employees. The experiences of these companies provide an encouraging example of current research in practice. Despite the apparent ubiquity of noncompete clauses, evidence from economics and psychology suggests that the benefits of noncompetes usually fail to outweigh the costs on the people who sign them and on the companies that promote them. Greater benefits, in fact, come from giving talent and information real freedom and building non-noncompete environments.


David Burkus is the author of the forthcoming Under New Management. He is host of the Radio Free Leader podcast and associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University. Please visit his website at


Cultivating Great and Amazing #Experiences

Recently my wife and I visited Waco, TX the home of Chip and Joanna Gaines owners of Magnolia Homes and Magnolia Market.  Chances are you have heard of or seen them on their HGTV show “Fixer Upper”.


What we found when we visited their shop located at “The Silos” impressed us on every side.  Their building is beautiful.  Their location is family friendly with ample room for kids to run, as well as on site food options in the form of food trucks.  Lastly, but most critical was their store’s customer service.  Everyone was smiling, working, and friendly.

How does a trip to Waco, TX fit with this blog?  What can we learn?  Two words.

Experience.  Memories.

The environment created by the Magnolia Market at The Silos in Waco, TX allowed our family to have both an excellent experience, and create memories as a family.

This forces the question – what are we doing in our interactions with customers,  coworkers, and family members that creates an environment for positive experiences and good memories?  Are we designing our organizations with this is mind?  I’d love to hear your opinion, or a story of an organization that gets this point through and through.

My Take on “The 3 Gaps” by Hyrum Smith

One of the greatest needs I hear about from people as well as read about in books is how a person wants to have purpose and meaning.


“The 3 Gaps” by Hyrum Smith is a quick read at only ninety-nine pages and asks it’s reader the following question, “Are you making a difference?”

The book is broken into three chapters which focus in on the three gaps: beliefs, values, and time.  In each section Hyrum introduces the gap, gives an illustration of the gap and then offers practical steps on how to close each respective gap.

What helps separate this book from others are what follows in each chapter – a personal account from one of three separate individuals.

In this way you read a real life account, and how this specific individual closed their respective gap.

The intent is to offer you a dose of reality, exposure to the emotions of those experiencing a life event, and what they learned from that event.

To conclude the book you are challenged to write down what stood out, reflect on that for 36 hours, and then to go out and teach what you reflected on to at least one other person with 48 hours.  This focuses on a powerful idea – what is the point of knowledge, if it’s never applied?

One of the most interesting things I found in The 3 Gaps is a reference to a personal constitution.  This concept is covered in depth in a separate book by Chris Edmonds, “The Culture Engine”.  Essentially a personal constitution outlines your values as a person.

If you’re interested in making a difference in your own life, and consequently in the lives of others, you’ll enjoy this quick read and it’s powerful first person accounts of those who’ve closed the gaps in their life.

***I have two copies that I would enjoy sharing with someone in the audience.  All I need you to do is either leave a comment saying you’re interested in a free copy, or send me a tweet indicating the same.  I will randomly select the person, and then contact you for mailing information.

Pain vs. Misery?

Pain vs. Misery?

In 1978 Rabbi Harold Kushner published a book called When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  The book stayed on the New York Times Bestseller list for many months.  It was the first of many books that explored this topic.  One of the reasons, no doubt, for the success of the book is that is addresses a question that comes to everyone sooner or later.  Why is there pain in my life?


Rabbi Kushner points out in his book that pain, in one form or another, visits every life.  It may be physical pain, caused by illness or accident.  It may be emotional pain, caused by the death of a loved one, or by the loss of a long-cherished relationship.  It may even be mental pain, caused by the difficulty of making a “Sophie’s Choice” in which each option brings with it a bad side effect.

Misery is different than pain.   Pain is related to a specific instance or circumstance.  Misery is the dwelling on it, the allowing it to take over a life, to color everything else that happens.  We have all known people who could not get past a painful experience.  It’s as if the experience, whatever it was, is happening to them over and over.  First, it makes them miserable.  Then it begins to affect the people around them.

So, how do we keep from allowing our painful experiences to linger on?  I have found that the best medicine is often the most difficult to take.  It involves looking outside ourselves for someone else that we can help.  Perhaps it is someone who is dealing with pain of their own.  Or it is just someone who needs a friend.  Or it is a neighbor who needs a visit and a listening ear.  The fact is there are always unlimited ways in which we can reach out and help others.

There are organizations that help groups of people that are always looking for extra help.  Is there a group in your town that helps tutor children?  Perhaps you could help there.  Is there a group in your area that gathers and distributes goods to areas of the world where disaster has come to call?  These groups always need additional help.  Is there a way that you can tutor students in a particular skill you have, or just in reading or arithmetic?  The fact is that looking outside yourself is the best antidote to prevent pain from turning into misery.

The other thing we can do in such situations is to maintain and expand our network of friends and associates.  Misery generally seeks solitude.  Misery tends to cut people off from their social circles and, in some cases, from their family members.  In the book The 3 Gaps there are first person examples of people who moved past their pain into productivity and happiness.  It can be done.  When I re-read those stories, I am reminded of the boundless potential in each one of us.  It is something we all need to remember.


Hyrum Smith is a distinguished author, speaker, and businessman. He is the co-founder and former CEO of FranklinCovey®. For three decades, he has empowered people to effectively govern their personal and professional lives. Hyrum’s books and presentations have been acclaimed by American and international audiences. He combines wit and enthusiasm with a gift for communicating compelling principles that incite lasting personal change. You can visit him on the web at


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