Why is it That We Miss the Target So Often?

Most of the Time it’s Because We Aren’t Focused on the Target

Why is it that we can so easily lose our focus? There are a few reasons for a lack of focus. It could be the millions of things that surround us every day that are working extra hard to get our attention. Or it could be because we’re bored, tired, wired, or busy.

Focus can be hard but it’s vital for accomplishing your goals.

Too often when we are about to accomplish our goal, we lose our focus and quit. Focusing and persisting can be hard but it’s worth the effort.

“A sailor who fearfully watches stormy seas lash his vessel will always steer an unproductive course. But a wise and experienced captain keeps his eye firmly fixed on the lighthouse. He knows that by guiding his ship directly to a specific point, the time spent in discomfort is lessoned. And by keeping his eye on the light, there never exists one second of discouragement.”

From the 7th Decision in The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews

I will persist without exception.

If you’ve ever come close to achieving something but didn’t quite reach your goal, you’ve probably heard the saying, “Close, but no cigar.”

Have you ever stopped to think about this phrase? And why a cigar?

The expression, “Close, but no cigar” means that a person fell slightly short of the desired outcome and therefore gets no reward.

The phrase most likely originated in the 1920s when fairs, or carnivals, would hand out cigars as prizes. At that time, the games were targeted towards adults. Yes, even in the ’20s most carnival games were impossible to win which often led the owner of the game to say, “Close, but no cigar” when the player failed to get enough rings around bottles or was just shy of hitting the target.

It’s easy enough to see why it’s hard to hit a target when playing carnival games where the odds are stacked against you.

But real life isn’t a carnival game.

In real life we can hit our target if we align our goals with God’s

Too often we think we have it all figured out only to find out later that we don’t, like Nicodemus the Pharisee in John 3:1-17. He was a smart Jewish leader and should have known what the Scriptures said. He said to Jesus, “You could not do miracles unless God were with You.” And Jesus replied, “You must be born again before you can see God’s Kingdom.” Nicodemus asked, “How can a grown man ever be born a second time?”

Jesus replied, “Everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life. God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life.” 

Close, but no cigar, Nicodemus.

When we disregard Scripture and live our lives contrary to its teaching, we will miss the target. There is a difference between knowing of God and KNOWING GOD.

Live your life so that you don’t hear God tell you…close but no cigar.

God held nothing back in His love for us, not even His Son! We should hold nothing back in our focus on the target.

We May Think Our Plans Are the Best, But Are They Really?

We Need to Be Careful About Being Too Set in Those Plans

We all deal with doubt. Sometimes it’s doubt in ourselves. Sometimes it’s doubt in others. Or maybe its doubt in God.

This is understandable. We’ve all been sure about something only to be disappointed. This leads to doubt.

In Pastor Lee’s message this week, he pointed out John the Baptist’s doubt in Jesus being who He said He was. In Matthew 11:2-11, while in prison, John heard about the things Jesus was doing. He sent his followers to Jesus to ask Him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

This was John, Jesus’ cousin. The same John that “lept inside his mother womb” when Mary entered the room pregnant with Jesus. Even John had doubts.

The Scripture goes on to confirm that Jesus is who He says He is.

People expected Jesus to be some world leader who would come in and take over. They were expecting one thing and God’s plan was different.

The key to overcoming doubt, is to not give up when things don’t go as we planned. This is hard. We think we have everything all figured out. Surprise!

When we limit ourselves to our humanness, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. God’s plans are big and we need to align our plans with His.

Our plans may not be God’s plans.

We’re sure that if we just keep on pushing, we’ll achieve what we want. This is only going to happen if it is also God’s plan. We need to persist but be sure to check to see if this is what God’s plans are. If we’ve done this, then…

We need to persist without exception.

“Great leaders – great achievers – are rarely realistic by other people’s standards. Somehow, these successful people, often considered strange, pick their way through life ignoring or not hearing negative expectations and emotions. Consequently, they accomplish one great thing after another, never having heard that something cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing!”

Andy Andrews, The Traveler’s Gift

God’s timetable is not our timetable.

We tend to want things and we want them now. This is another part of thinking we know better than God. There is a balance between knowing when to push forward and when it’s not time yet. If we can find that balance, we will live a less stressed life.

This past weekend I saw the movie Father Stu, which is based on the true story of a boxer, Stuart Long, who became a Catholic priest. Stuart had a difficult life growing up and after giving up boxing he went to California to pursue an acting career.

While working in a grocery store, he meets a woman named Carmen. He falls for her and falls for her hard. To the point that he joins the church as one of her requirements to date. His plan is to win her at all costs and it begins to work.

After Stu lands an acting role on an infomercial, he faces discouragement and goes to a bar one night where a mysterious man advises him not to drive home. Stu ignores the advice and drives drunk on a motorcycle, crashing into a car he’s thrown off the motorcycle and then run over by another car.

Severely injured, he drifts in and out of consciousness and has a vision of the Virgin Mary, who tells him that he cannot die in vain. This leads Stu to “change his plans” and to become a priest.

This story is a great example of how God’s plans can be different than ours.

Align your plans with God’s earlier rather than later. It reduces the chance for doubt.

How Many Times Should You Try Something Before You Quit?

Successful People Accomplish More Because They Persist Without Exception

This is an interesting question. How many times is too many…ten, fifty, a few hundred, how many?

Depending on who you ask, the answer will be different.

For example, if you ask one individual in England, how many attempts should be made at passing a driver’s text, he will tell you…157. Why? Because it took him 158 attempts to pass.

It is reported that he spent over $5,000.00 in fees to accomplish this.

This is some serious persistence.

We don’t know exactly how many times the lady went to see the judge in Jesus’ story in Luke 18:1-8. What we do know is that she wouldn’t take no for an answer seeking justice from the judge. Persistence like hers pays off.

Whatever we’re trying to do will happen if it aligns with God’s purpose and we persist.

Wanting to align my desires with God’s is one reason I include the “serenity prayer” in my daily prayer time.

God, grant me:

Serenity to accept the things I can’t change,

Courage to change the things I can,

Wisdom to know the difference.

Help me to:

Live one day at a time

Enjoy one moment at a time

Accept hardship as a pathway to peace

Take the sinful world as it is

Trust that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will

In everything Your will be done


Persistence is a choice that we can make.

It is the 7th Decision (link) in Andy Andrew’s book, The Traveler’s Gift. I think this excerpt from the book explains it as well as anything…

“I will persist without exception. I will continue despite exhaustion. I acknowledge the fact that most people quit when exhaustion sets in. I am not “most people.” I am stronger than most people. Average people accept exhaustion as a matter of course. I do not. Average people compare themselves with other people. That is why they are average. I compare myself to my potential. I am not average. I see exhaustion as a precursor to victory.

How long must a child try to walk before he actually does so? Do I not have more strength than a child? More understanding? More desire? How long must I work to succeed before I actually do so? A child would never ask the question, for the answer does not matter. By persisting without exception, my outcome—my success—is assured. I will persist without exception. I focus on results.

To achieve the results I desire, it is not even necessary that I enjoy the process. It is only important that I continue the process with my eyes on the outcome. An athlete does not enjoy the pain of training; an athlete enjoys the results of having trained. A young falcon is pushed from the nest, afraid and tumbling from the cliff. The pain of learning to fly cannot be an enjoyable experience, but the anguish of learning to fly is quickly forgotten as the falcon soars to the heavens.

A sailor who fearfully watches stormy seas lash his vessel will always steer an unproductive course. But a wise and experienced captain keeps his eye firmly fixed upon the lighthouse. He knows that by guiding his ship directly to a specific point, the time spent in discomfort is lessened. And by keeping his eye on the light, there never exists one second of discouragement. My light, my harbor, my future is within sight!

I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith. In Jeremiah, my Creator declares, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” From this day forward, I will claim a faith in the certainty of my future. Too much of my life has been spent doubting my beliefs and believing my doubts. No more! I have faith in my future. I do not look left or right. I look forward. I can only persist.

For me, faith will always be a sounder guide than reason because reason can only go so far—faith has no limits. I will expect miracles in my life because faith produces them every day. I will believe in the future that I do not see. That is faith. And the reward of this faith is to see the future that I believed. I will continue despite exhaustion. I focus on results. I am a person of great faith.”

It is up to you to decide how many times you should try something before you quit.

Just remember that this is a decision that you can make, but I recommend that you run it by God first.

How Do You Make Your Dream Become A Reality?

It’s A Choice You Make…Or Not!

It doesn’t matter if you’re dreaming about building a new home, a successful business or a great life, you have to choose to make them a reality. The importance of intentionality to dreams is critical to the outcome.

This week I’ve been working on finalizing the proposal for my niece Hannah’s out of the box home. This is the dream house that is going to be built using salvaged grain bins and some conventional construction. We began discussing this project a year ago. Some will think that’s taking too long. It’s important to realize that dreams don’t magically become a reality overnight. Dream building is a process that requires time.

There are 5 things needed when choosing to turn a dream into a reality:

1st you need to realize that it’s your responsibility. You’re responsible for your dreams becoming a reality. This doesn’t mean that crazy unrealistic dreams will happen (see needs 2 and 3). On the other hand too often we let our own limiting beliefs keep our dreams from becoming a reality. You are the only one who can control your own thoughts. Our thinking dictates our decisions and we are where we are because of those decisions…good or bad.

2nd you need clarity of purpose. I believe our dreams are one of the ways God tells us what His plans are for our lives. If we believe what it says in Jeremiah 29:11, “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” If our dreams are in alignment with God’s plans, then there is no reason they shouldn’t become a reality. God will move mountains to make our dreams real. It’s up to us to be ready to move ourselves.


3rd you need guidance. Often when building dreams, we are going into unfamiliar territory. Whether it’s building your first home or starting a new business, you probably won’t have the experience or knowledge needed. Dream building can be a lot safer and more fun if you have an experienced guide. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go climb a mountain with out a guide that had been there and done that.

4th you need to act. A dream won’t just build itself, it requires action. This is one of the scariest things about turning dreams into reality. People generally approach action in one of two ways. Either they jump right in without thinking or they don’t do anything while over thinking it. Experienced guidance can help balance these opposing positions and help you to move forward with your dream while minimizing disasters. When faced with doing nothing or doing something you better choose to act if you ever want your dream to become a reality.

5th you need to persist. I think this is the most important one. If you ever hope to get your dream built you will need persistence. There will be disappointments that will cause you to want to quit. There will be times when you are so tired you don’t think you can do one more thing. You can begin to convince yourself that it wasn’t real…it was just a dream. This is the point where most dreams die. Somehow successful people continue moving forward when others quit. Sometimes God see’s fit to give us a wakeup call.

As Hannah and I work together to build this project it will be the building of two dreams, both hers and mine. We will each take RESPONSIBILITY for our part. We will continue sorting things out and finding the CLARITY for the dream. We will accept and give GUIDANCE when and where needed. We will intentionally ACT to keep moving closer to the completion of those dreams. Above all we choose to PERSIST and never quit until our dreams become reality.

If you or someone you know needs help finding solutions for building dreams, contact us in the comment section below.

It’s Time To Rise and Shine and Enjoy New Beginnings

I Can Only Imagine How Bright Things Will Be With God’s Light On Them

This Sunday was about new beginnings… It’s the beginning of Pastor Lee’s fifth year as a valuable part of our church family. It’s the beginning of Epiphany, the commemoration of the coming of the Magi, the first manifestation of Christ to the gentiles. It’s the beginning of a new year full of so many possibilities and opportunities “I Can Only Imagine” what wonderful things 2019 has in store.

The key to it being a great year is the attitude in which we choose to approach it. We can concentration on the negative empty part of the glass or focus on the positive water portion. To make this point Pastor Lee told a story about three men each carrying two sacks, one in front hanging around their neck and the other on their back. The Legend of Three Men and Their Sacks, https://nice-inspiration.blogspot.com/2018/12/an-old-legend-about-three-men-and-their-sacks.html

The first man carried the good things his family and friends had done in the sack on his back and in the front sack he had all of the bad things that had happened to him. Because the bad things were always in front of him they got all of his attention. This kept him from making much progress in life.

The second man had the good things he’d done in the front sack. This allowed him to see them and share them with others. The sack on his back had all of his mistakes. The weight of these was heavy and slowed him down.

The third man was walking much easier and making better progress. When asked about his sacks he answered, “The sack in front is great. There I keep all the positive thoughts I have about people, all the blessings I’ve experienced, all the great things other people have done for me. The weight isn’t a problem. The sack is like sails of a ship. It keeps me going forward. “The sack on my back is empty. There’s nothing in it. I cut a big hole in its bottom. In there I put all the bad things that I can think about myself or hear about others. They go in one end and out the other, so I’m not carrying around any extra weight at all.” This appears to me to be the best way to live.

The only way we’ll ever accomplish the things God as put us here to achieve is by asking for His guidance and persisting through difficulties. When researching for last week’s blog post, “Living Life Well Is All About Perspective” I came across a person that is a great example of persistence and perseverance. His name is Nick Vujicic, http://www.nickvujicic.com/. He was born with no arms or legs and has accomplishing amazing things. He’s a great inspiration. If he and God together can do the things they are, then what’s my excuse.

In Isaiah 60:1-6 it says that this Baby that the Magi went in search of is the light in the darkness. He is the Guiding Star in our a dark world.

It’s the beginning of the rest of a super great life and I’m seeking this Light to guide my path.

Why Me…Why Not Me?


What Can I Do to Improve My Self-confidence?


Why is it that so many people struggle with low self-esteem or the lack of self-confidence? I know that different people deal with it in varying degrees, but I think everyone deals with it. People who appear confident have just figured out how to deal with it better.

The huge amount of self-help books, speeches, programs, etc., speak to this struggle. I have been battling with this feeling regarding these blogs. Why is it that so few people are reading them? Then my inner evaluation begins. The content isn’t any good. The writing stinks. It doesn’t make any sense. The topics aren’t relevant. Am I wasting my time…and on and on.


Our book club just finished reading Cara Brookins’ book “Rise: How A House Built A Family”. The club collectively thought I might struggle reading this book (part of the reason it was picked 😊). You know, me being a professional builder reading about a woman and her four kids building a house using “how to” videos. I just want to say; this book is now in my top ten. Cara and her family really impressed and inspired me! Inspired me so much so that I gathered up the courage to email her (way out of my comfort zone).

And you know what.

She replied…to me…to little ole’ me and not only that, we had the opportunity to have a Skype conversation with her during our review of her book during book club. How cool is that! If she can build a house…I can write a blog.

Her current projects are based on her “firm belief that everyone who wants to can build themselves a bigger, better life. And the feeling…of being stuck and frustrated is exactly what most people are feeling. It’s a sign you’re on the right path, because feeling discontent creates action.”

Helping people build a bigger better life is exactly what I plan to do with my coaching, consulting and constructing here at Solution Building.

Her building of this house is proof that what is required to get past self-doubt is choice and action. We must decide to do something, something big, something as big as a house and then do it. It doesn’t matter how good the information in the self-help program is, it’s not going to do any good if it isn’t put into action.

God did not put us here to fail. Satan on the other hand is a master of using our weakness to keep us from doing the great things that God wants for us. Like our low self-esteem to keep us stuck. We must decide if we trust and believe. If we do, then it is up to us to start building.

Another one of my top ten books is Andy Andrews’ book, “The Traveler’s Gift”. It was turned down by fifty-one publishers before it was accepted.


Okay if Cara can push through the months and months of building her own home and Andy can go through fifty-one rejections I can keep blogging. Nobody said that persistence was easy, but it’s the thing that separates quitters from successful people.

I can persist – I can succeed – WHY NOT ME!

If you have any feedback on my blogs or if there is some specific topics you would like for me to write about let me know in the comments below.