In case you haven’t heard the awesome news, Toby Mac just topped the billboard charts with his latest album - Eye On It . Although I don’t agree with how the media seems to be a little snide in their article about it, I do agree it is something that isn’t happening often and is worth getting special attention.
I happen to love Toby Mac music. It’s great music – the beats, the melody, and most of all – the lyrics that I don’t have to worry about my kids hearing. Seriously why do so many songs that sound great need to have ridiculously inappropriate lyrics? Why can’t they put the bad lyrics on those songs that have terrible melodies too?
Anyway – the reason I’m happy for Toby Mac for this accomplishment is because I can only imagine how hard he has had to work as a Christian artist in our culture to reach such a level of success. The top of the charts are often reserved for whatever freak show wrote the most recent catchy melody with scandalous lyrics about sex, drugs, or money.
Don’t get me wrong – I like the catchy melodies too – despite the lyrics. As Christians we should get excited about the talent of other Christians more often instead of always just being so focused on whatever our broken culture is idolizing at any given moment. For once they’ve recognized someone who actually makes good music and has a good message, so I’m proud and happy for Toby Mac.
Check out the album -Eye On It .
It was July of last year that Shawna and I reached debt freedom except for our house. I know of no better time to celebrate it than Independence day. July 4th will forever have a new meaning to me. It is not only a reminder of our country’s independence but a reminder of our personal freedom from debt. Thank you God for both.
Happy July 4th everyone!
Judging from all the blogs I follow, apparently the thing to do near the end of December is list the top posts for the whole year. I didn’t start back to blogging until April, and didn’t do it very regularly, so this list might seem like half of what I’ve actually posted for the year. Oh well, here it is – the top 10 posts of 2011:
- Mobile Phone Privilege – I’m pretty sure Zack Morris made this one so popular, but I like to think it’s the fact that mobile phones are a privilege not a necessity. I’m a little disappointed that this one wasn’t closer to the bottom of the list.
- Mark & Shawna Asbell Are Officially Debt Free – This is the most exciting thing that happened to us all year, a major milestone in our lives. I still can’t hardly believe it and I’m so grateful for it. I’m selfishly a little disappointed that this one wasn’t at the top of the list. EVERYONE should be so excited for us and want to read about it :-)
- “No” Is Easy When “Nothing” Is There – It’s no less difficult saying no when there is money in the bank than it is when there is NO money in the bank.
- Get Help Now - Stop putting off getting help because of your pride, heart issue, or lack of trust. Get Help Now!
- My Parents’ 40th Anniversary (series) – My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this year and I wrote a little series to honor them and their example.
- Boomerangers (series) – This 2-part series addresses a concern many families are facing these days. What do you do when your grown children move back home?
- Daddy’s Barber Shop - One of the little ways I’m frugal and ever little bit adds up to a lot over time.
- Kyle Got Married – My brother-in-law got married and I reflected on some important words of wisdom from my wedding day.
- One Major Step Closer To Divorce - A pretty strong case for why couples shouldn’t have separate finances.
- Intentional Relationship - We have to be intentional about our relationship or it will “unintentionally” fall apart.
Happy New Year!
If you check this blog often I’m sorry it’s been a couple of weeks, and thank you for coming back. I took some much needed time off, from everything. Shawna and I got away for some relaxation, and we spent some time with family for Thanksgiving. It seems we got to have more meaningful conversations in one week than we’ve probably had all year. I’m so blessed to have a loving and supportive wife.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too. We all can benefit from taking a break every now and then. It helps us re-energize and refocus. There is a great statement my friend Joe learned from one of the great church leaders out there, whose name I don’t recall at the moment, and Joe reminds me of it often. ”A change of place and change of pace brings a change of perspective.” I hope the posts to come add value to you and reflect how much I care about your success both financially and relationally.
Several weeks ago I had the privilege of torturing myself through a 3.5 mile and 35 obstacle US Marine style course called the Goodwill Mud Run. It was a blast considering the cuts and pains, the fact that I was not in shape for it, and the mud in places I didn’t know mud could go.
As I look back on that experience I’m reminded of a few financial relationship principles we need to keep in mind:
Sometimes It Ain’t Pretty
The crazy thing for me about the mud run is the obstacles weren’t the hard part. I was fine as long as we were on an obstacle. I can push right through that sort of exertion. It wasn’t the cuts and pains or even the mud that made it difficult for me (although I did get about a gallon of it in my mouth on the very first mud-hole). Where I struggled the most was during the running from one obstacle to the next.
I hate running for the sake of running, so I just don’t do it enough. There’s really only two things that effectively motivate me to run – Shawna (when she is running), and playing ball (usually basketball). When it comes to the constant and steady pounding of the leg muscles for running long distance, I suck.
Needless to say running 3.5 miles with zero training before the event was not pretty for me. It didn’t matter that I had mud in my bleeding cuts and every time I spit there was as much mud as saliva. I felt like my lungs were refusing to absorb oxygen in protest of what I was putting my body through. My chest had that awful cold feeling you get after running hard in cool weather for about four days after the event. It was terrible.
Sometimes working through life’s challenges is going to be ugly and we’re going to have to do things we don’t like to do because it is necessary to reach the goal.
Finishing The Race Eventually is Better Than Not Finishing At All
The Mud Run is very much like a Marine training course. They even have real Marines in uniform out there yelling at you all through the course. I don’t know the background on the Mud Run, but I guess in the spirit of the Marine way you don’t run this race as individuals – you do it in teams.
My team was awesome. I was not. My friend organized the team and must have either thought I was in better shape or he wanted to get me in better shape – all at once.
I was the slowest runner on the team. What little ground I was able to make up by going through the obstacles faster than my teammates was quickly lost by running so much slower than them from one obstacle to the next. I tried my best to keep up but about halfway through I realized if I didn’t slow down to a pace I could sustain my legs might give out, I might hurl, or worse (my family has history of heart issues and I already have the cholesterol).
It didn’t feel good knowing that I couldn’t get there faster. I could have pushed it and might have been fine, but I had reached a level of pain that was as far as I wanted to go. It felt like as much as I could bear at the time.
Sometimes we need to push ourselves harder, but sometimes we need to accept that reaching a goal is going to take longer than we want it to. It’s better to get there eventually than to not get there at all.
Finish The Race Together
My three teammates knew we had to finish the race together, and they were very good sportsman to me – the team anchor (not in the good sense – like I was an anchor they were having to drag ). They challenged me to push myself and they encouraged me to keep going. That helped me more than they know. If it wasn’t for them I might still be out there meandering my way through the course and asking myself “Why am I doing this?”.
Surprisingly enough my friend who invited me to be on the team asked me to do it again in the Spring. That is either true muv (man-love) or he doesn’t know anyone else dumb enough to say yes. I accepted the challenge and promised I will be in better shape for it next time (maybe a lighter anchor).
It matters that we have accountability in our lives. It matters that we have support around us. It matters for whatever goal is in front of you now and whatever the next goal is after that.
Work through the ugly stuff, make steady progress toward the eventual goal, and finish together.
Question: Have you ever participated in a mud run or other race and had a similar experience as me? Will you hold me accountable to getting in better shape for next time?
This might be news to some, but the McRib sandwich has made it’s occasional comeback…for a limited time…just like every other time it makes a comeback. It’s a great marketing tactic, using limited availability to create huge spikes in demand for a product that would perform mediocre on an ongoing basis. For the true McRib sandwich fans it’s an opportunity they take advantage of as often as they can while they can. This type of marketing is all around us. ”Act now while supplies last, for a limited time only.”
Sometimes I jump on these types of things too, and sometimes regret it, but I won’t be jumping on this one. Here are 5 reasons I will not be taking advantage of the McRib limited time offer:
- I do not normally eat at McDonalds.
- I am not a fan of McRib.
- My arteries will be better off without McRib.
- The air quality will be better off if my stomach doesn’t have to digest a McRib.
- For about $12 more than the cost of McRib I can get a full rack of REAL quality ribs at a BBQ restaurant, and that sounds like a much better use of my eating out funds.
The top 3 posts of July 2011 on this blog are:
#1 - Mark and Shawna Asbell Are Officially Debt Free - We still can’t hardly believe it, and in case you’re wondering about the party – we thought we’d wait until fall when hopefully things cool off a little…
#2 - Boomerangers - Nobody wants their kids to have to move back in when they’re grown, unless they’re strange, so I shared some possibly unwanted advice about what to do in that situation.
#3 - Boomerangers Part 2: The Way They Should GO - I’m still taking my chances on teaching my kids the way to GO no matter how painful it might seem.
Thank you for reading.
This is a previously posted story worth sharing again. One major change from that time until now is I have an office building behind my house, so my work environment is safer…..
Previously posted 10/10/2007:
That’s right – the title is Doo-Doo bird. Not Doe-Doe bird. I’ll explain.
I work from home most of the time. I have a desk in my garage so when the weather isn’t too hot I can retreat to the garage for extra quietness and a change of scenery. Yesterday was a not so hot day so I was out there. Sometimes I like to turn on my fan, open the back door to the garage, and raise the motorized garage door high enough to create a breeze from the back door to the garage door (I like fresh air). Yesterday I had those doors open and for the second time I got a visit from a bird.
The first time this bird came I didn’t know it had come under the door, so when I unknowingly walked close the bird started flying around – freaked me out cause there was a freaking bird in my garage. It was flying around my head and freaking out too so that made both of us freaked out.
This time I noticed the bird perched on the other side of the garage on my toolbox. So I calmly got up from my desk and proceeded to the garage door opener to raise the door all the way and encourage the bird out the door. It didn’t work. The bird started flying around in circles freaking out as soon as the garage door started making noise.
To keep from getting the flapping bird all over me, like it did during the first encounter, I decided to just go inside until the bird found its way out. I waited until the bird circled past and tried to make a break through the door. The stupid bird managed to make it in the house with me in the half second I had the door open. I couldn’t believe it.
With a lot more room to fly around in the vaulted ceilings of our living and dining area I thought the bird would calm down and find its way out. No such luck. I opened all the doors leading out. The bird just kept making laps at ceiling level. Before I knew it the bird had b-lined it down the hallway and ended up in Devin’s room.
At this point I was mumbling cuss words to myself (I’m not perfect). As I made my way down the hall I grabbed a blanket and a pillow and closed all the other bedroom and bathroom doors. I was going to try and gently swat at the bird with the pillow and/or capture it with the blanket so that I could get it back outside.
When I got to Devin’s room the bird was making laps at ceiling level and stopping to take a rest on top of a shelf every few laps. I swatted and whistled trying to scare the bird out of the room (I was no longer afraid of the bird flapping all over me – I was ready to do whatever it took to get it out). About that time I noticed some dark splatter spots on the wall and realized the bird was dropping bombs on every few laps. Now I was pissed – no other word for it.
Any understanding and compassion I had for the bird up until this point flew out the window (the window the bird should have flown out of). Immediately I remembered that Devin and I now own a machine gun similar to this picture. My brother gave it to us because Devin loves to shoot it (under close supervision of course).
I ran back to the garage, grabbed the gun, ran back to Devin’s room, and proceeded to unload on this stupid doo-doo bird. It was hard to hit while it was flying but each hit stunned it so it was having to stop more often. I would wait until it stopped on the shelf and get a good solid direct hit or three on it (rapid fire machine gun) before it took off again. Finally the bird fell over I guess in shock from all the little BB’s. I scooped it up with a garbage can, took it outside, and threw it as far as I could. It spread its wings but didn’t fly. I don’t know if it ever got up – I was too busy cleaning up its crap.
Call me cruel or whatever – I don’t care. What would you do if a bird was flying around and CRAPPING IN YOUR HOUSE?
After much hesitation I have decided to re-open this blog to the public. Near the end of 2008 I had been blogging regularly for about 2 years, but unfortunately I had started posting things I should have filtered through a brain cell and kept to myself – mostly about politics. I didn’t want this to be one of ‘those’ blogs, so I took it completely offline with the goal of rethinking how I would do this.
Several months ago I started re-posting everything worth keeping from the old blog. I’ve written a few new posts but until today I have kept the blog private so that no one could read it. That is really dumb I know, but I didn’t want to be hasty with this again. Ultimately I’ve decided that the stuff I want to write is not going to help anyone if I’m keeping it to myself, so here it is open for reading again.
I’m still undecided about whether or not I should come up with a relevant domain other than my name. Maybe anyone who reads this can help with that. In the meantime I guess with a domain like markasbell.com maybe I’ll keep the writing relevant to who I actually am.
Thanks for reading.