Once And For All

If you’re anything like me, God often uses music to communicate something I need to hear or need help putting words to in my own life. Today was one of those times. As I drove into work, I listened to this song for the first time: https://youtu.be/4oaRYLEIeis

I immediately downloaded it and began playing it on loop for the 45 minute drive. I’m not ashamed to tell you that tears filled my eyes as I listened to the lyrics so beautifully describe the desire of my heart, but so often not the actions/words I live out.

If you have a couple minutes, I encourage you to listen to this song. Really listen to the lyrics. I know it can help you recenter on Christ, like it did for me this morning.


To Lauren (Lauren Daigle):

Thank you for your sincerity in these lyrics and your heartfelt delivery of them!

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Life’s Too Short

Bob PinoI’ve been thinking about my Dad a lot lately. It’s been 5.5 years since he passed away from cancer, but that wasn’t the first disease he/we battled with in his life. The realization came to me the other day that he was my age when he was hit with Multiple Sclerosis. As a kid, I watched my Dad go from a guy I could kick a soccer ball with, to a hospital bed for 3 months, only to come out in a wheelchair for many years to come. In that time, they also determined he had diabetes that would require injections multiple times a day indefinitely.

My Dad was never accused of being “healthy” in any form. He did drugs for years, ate too much, didn’t exercise, was angry and yelled a lot. Too many things to pass off as just “being Italian.” Even so, being a child watching him have mobility, energy, dignity stripped from him, was heartbreaking. I had to be “the man of the house”. My Mom and I had to do everything. I mean how many kids are lifting their Dad in and out of bed, or the bathtub, or the toilet? How many are loading wheelchairs into the car, check the oil in the engine and air in the tires, etc? How many go from a fairly normal income to below the poverty line because their Dad no longer works and Mom can’t because she’d had to become his nurse? I don’t say this as a sob story, it’s just my childhood story.

What smacked me in the face is that he was MY AGE when this started! Whether his (reckless) life caught up with him or whatever it was, he was hit hard. Only later in life to see good progress in his MS but then get hit with cancer multiple times, finally leading to his 59 year old death.

What’s now on my mind? How unhealthy I am. There are things in life we can’t control, but food & beverage intake, exercise, how we handle our finances, etc are well within our power to control. I don’t want my kids to live the life I did. I don’t want them to have to grow up too fast. I don’t want them to lose me too early. Outside of my wife, Amy, they are the greatest blessing in my life.

So, will this all change overnight? Of course not. Can this change if I commit to consistency for my sake and their sake? Of course it can!

Before I end this, I do have to put the silver-lining on this cloud. In the last 10 years of his life, my Dad was a different guy in many ways. Most importantly, he took his KNOWLEDGE of God, Jesus, & Church and turned it into a RELATIONSHIP with them. While his physical body was failing, his spiritual one thrived. Silver-lining indeed.

I loved my Dad, even with all his shortcomings, because he was my Dad. But, I’m proud of my Dad, because his last decade modeled a committed life to his Creator. I can’t wait to see him one day in Heaven…without pain, sickness, and disease. BUT that day is going to be a long long time from now. I will not allow myself to undermine my health and my family’s future anymore!

If you read this whole post, thanks…but also, get back to whatever you should be doing . Life’s too important (& short) to stare at your phone all day! :)

Written by Andrew Pino

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Not Another Resolution

AA017935Ah, New Years. It’s that lovely time of year where well intentioned resolutions, die a slow (or truthfully, fast) death as life rolls on. Can you relate?

I wish I could tell you that as I look back over the many years, I see nothing but completed objectives and fulfilled dreams. I wish I could say that every time I set my mind to it, I was able to change this habit or that behavior. Unfortunately, I know all too well the regret of leaving something incomplete.

What starts as a truly motivating desire to see improvement in a relationship, a project, a personal goal…ends in a “oh well, maybe next year” or worse “I wish I had stuck with it“.

Have I depressed you? I think I just depressed myself!

So, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to let 2017 be another year of the same old thing? Or, are we going to take this annual “reset” and be greater than our 2016 self?

If you’re reading this post and thinking, “I never keep the resolutions I set“, then let me throwout some ideas so you can tell your subconscious “it wasn’t my idea“…”I’m just doing what someone else suggested“. (Note: if that sounds ridiculous, then you haven’t ever had the internal dialogues that plague so many of us when it comes to motivating ourselves. I can motivate others, but sometimes motivating me to exercise or read a book or whatever, is like coaxing a donkey to climb up the Himalayas)

Alright, here are some suggestions that may help you on your way to becoming a better you in this new year:

  • Exercise 3-5 times per week. Everything stems from your health. If you are in better shape, you will think better, relate with people better, sleep better, etc etc.
  • Read 1 book every month. Might be easy for some, but for many it’s a daunting thought. Reading is a fantastic way to increase your mental capabilities, vocabulary, stimulate creativity, etc. (extra credit: read the bible weekly, if not daily. no other book can encourage you and challenge you all at the same time. the time spent in this activity is invaluable.)
  • Spend more time with good people. I mean the people that “give” life, not suck it out of you. Don’t surround yourself with gossips, negative thinkers, etc. Place yourself in an environment that lifts you up and gets the most out of you.
  • Speak life. In every situation, you have the opportunity to change the atmosphere. Speaking life into other people’s lives will encourage them (and you).
  • Give away money. Yeah, that’s what I said. Tithe at your church, give to missions organizations, donate to folks trying to adopt, etc. Giving away a portion of what you worked hard to earn is a transforming exercise in seeing the world beyond your small part of it.
  • Be a better leader. Whether you are a boss or an employee, you have the opportunity to be a leader. Start this year by being intentional with what you say, how you act, etc in the workplace.
  • Remember to breathe. Working hard is great, it’s awesome to accomplish a ton of stuff. However, that is not all that life is about. Take time (on a very regular basis) to chill out. Go for a walk, take a nap, go to the movies, roll around on the floor with your kids, take your spouse on a date…breathe.

Certainly not an exhaustive list, but hopefully one or a few of them have sparked something in you. (I know they have in me)

I wish you luck as you begin this year, desiring to live intentional. May the grace and peace of God be with you everyday.

Written by Andrew Pino

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2 Tips For Dads

IMG_2722There are a lot of things that play into you being a good Dad, but for this post I just wanted to focus on two of them…

1. Get Down On Your Knees

There is nothing more engaging to your kids, than to get down on your knees to interact with them. Whether you are hugging them, building something with them, giving horsey rides, etc. Getting down on the floor with your kids speaks volumes to them and helps them know that they are important to you.

2. Get Down On Your Knees

I know you’re wondering if I made a copy/paste mistake and put the same thing twice. No, it’s no mistake. The single greatest thing you can do for your kids, is get down on your knees and pray for them. You will make mistakes in your parenting (boy, have I) but God is the perfect Father. He will not only restore your bad decisions, but will more importantly protect your kids in ways you never could.

The added benefit to #2 is, if you do it in front of your kids, you will also be modeling how they should live their lives. Teaching them that connecting with God in prayer is the only way for us to truly be the best version of ourselves in any area of life.

Both of these two suggestions take time and effort to do. It won’t just happen if you “want” it to. You will have to decide that it’s mandatory for your parenting. Distractions will come, but stick to this and I promise you it will change the way you relate with your kids and they will love you for it!

Bonus: This isn’t why you should do it, but an added benefit to you doing these two things will be your wife’s response to it. I can speak from experience…brownie points abound!

Written by Andrew Pino

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