Showing posts from 2010

Twelve years!

Twelve years would seem to be a long time. For me, it feels as if it were just yesterday in many ways. It was twelve years ago on the 24th that I completed my final radiation treatment after several months of battling cancer. My journey started with a lump and then moved on with surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, prayer, tears, fear and hope. (not necessarily in that order) Being a cancer survivor is very much part of who I am as a person.

I will not rehash my story since I wrote extensively about it last year. I simply want to thank the Lord for continuing to bless me with this wonderful life. Quite honestly I still struggle at times to understand why I was chosen to be healed and to beat the statistics.

The life we have is an incredible gift and cancer survivor or not we should all live as if it could be taken away at any moment.

Would you live your life any differently if you knew you were terminal? Fact is we all are but just don’t know the date. Make the most of the gifts you …

If you really knew me...

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

Henry David Thoreau

If you really knew me…..

This is the most well-known line from the Challenge Day program thanks to the MTV program of the same title. The students do not walk into the room and then suddenly just open up to tell the world their inner fears, hidden dreams and personal battles. The statement only begins after several hours of skillful door opening by the Challenge day team.

I saw these doors open with the students in my “family” group as we moved through the day. They opened their hearts and soon were sharing challenges as well as support for each other. For the sake of the promised confidentiality, I will not write about who I was with or what was said. What I will say is that I know their attitude about teenage life was different by the end of the day. The common theme was. “I did not know so many others had these same issues.” “Now I don’t feel so alone.”

As adults facilitato…

Taking the Challenge

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to serve as a volunteer facilitator for the Putnam City North Challenge day which was sponsored by the Putnam City Schools Foundation The Challenge day program has been around for more than 20 years and recently became even more well known thanks to a feature program on MTV of a visit to PC West. The target audience for this amazing day was the freshman class which is one of the largest to attend PC North in several years.

It is hard to be a kid these days. This is something I am well aware of as a person that does a lot of work with youth. Having seen the show and spoken to a previous Challenge Days volunteer, I had a pretty good idea of how the day would go and the questions that would be presented. My initial guess was that most of the kids would have seen the MTV show and as a result would also have known what to expect. It turns out that I was still surprised of the result of the day. My surprise I would say was not near as great as that …

Who am I?

Who am I?

I took this picture recently at an OU football game. I don’t know of you have ever had a chance to see the new scoreboard there but the thing is HUGE.

Who am I?

This question struck me as I saw it blazing across the scoreboard. It reminded me of the many times in my life that suddenly I have found myself asking this question.

Who am I?

I have struggled with this most of my life and have actively sought through a variety of methods to answer the question. There have been many hours in prayer asking God and there have been assessments such as Disc and MBTI. (I am an INFP btw)

And yet I find myself asking…

I have finally come to the realization that self-actualization will never happen for me. I am indeed wired to question and to seek. I wish I knew why the Lord wired me this way. Why He chose to give me this driving desire to always question who I am and what His purpose is for me but in the end it does not matter since I am who I am.

Many people experience depression this …

A fear of flying

A few years ago a friend of mine decided to build a remote control airplane. My buddy is one of those obsessive go all the way type of guys and wanted to build this thing right. He even went so far as to create a little workshop area in his garage with special lighting and a tall table to make the work easier. I joined him a few times at the RC club airfield to watch others flying these little machines of wonder and to talk excitingly about what it would be like when his own balsa marvel was complete.

Weeks went by and after awhile I kind of forgot about the plane and the whole flying project until one day while at his house I noticed the plane on display in the garage. It looked fantastic with the paint gleaming and every graphic placed just right. I of course asked him, “What is it like to fly it?”

He stumbled a bit as he explained that he had yet to fly the plane and after some deep contemplation had decided he most likely never would.

“What!” I exclaimed.

It turns out that whi…

15 Years Ago Today

15 years ago today Michelle and I began our journey together as Mr. & Mrs. Copeland. It all started as a set up blind date on my birthday for lunch. Her good friend Jennifer was a co-worker of mine and for months had been telling me about this person I just had to meet. I was always a bit of shy guy when it came to asking girls out so a blind date sounded like a good idea to me.

The years since that lunch date have been better than I ever imagined. Together we have built a rich life full of trials, errors, laughs and most importantly love. One of the most amazing things about these many years is that we do still enjoy each other and believe steadfastly in our future.
On this special day, I just want express my thankfulness to God for the wonderful woman He planned for me even before I was born. I am also thankful to have such a great wife that through it all still is there loving and supporting me.  I am indeed a blessed man.

Help yourself to happiness

Have you seen the latest ad slogan from the good folks at Golden Corral? As a guy that has struggled with weight and self-image due to my weight for most I my life I found the slogan striking.

Help yourself to happiness

Help yourself to happiness—by gorging at an all-you-can eat buffet? Thanks but no thanks Golden Corral.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with food like many of you. First it was a bit of ignorant bliss since I grew up in a traditional Oklahoma chicken fry and mash potato house. I did not understand eating healthy because no one around me was doing it. Finally in college I took the big step to be in control of my health and sought some professional help.

Years later I struggle everyday to make the healthy choice.

I fight lifelong bad habits and a connection with food as comfort when bored or stressed. Of course I am not alone in our obese America. The numbers are terrifying and in reality we as a nation are slowly killing ourselves by not respecting our bodies. …

Thoughts on 13

Conner turns 13 this week and this birthday is weighing heavily on my heart.

Last weekend on the Scout campout he was put in charge by the Scoutmaster as Senior Patrol Leader (SPL). As he organized and instructed 30 + adults and Scouts I was amazing and wondered “is this really my son” (Scouting is a youth run program and the boys plan and are in charge of everything) I so enjoyed standing afar just watching him as he interacted with everyone.

It is amazing to think that just 12 years ago at this time I was battling cancer with treatments and planning for the worse. At the time my only prayer was to live long enough that he would remember me. My father died when I was very young and I have no memories of him.

Now as he enters the teen years he is becoming more and more his own person and I can see glimpses of the man he will be very soon.

Sitting here today, I am so thankful the Lord chose to give me this time. I want to treasure every moment and be the best father that I am capable of…

Ten minutes and change

The weather guy last night said we are losing about 10 minutes of daylight a week now. “A sure sign that fall is coming”. Wow it certainly does not feel like fall outside with the sun blazing and temperatures in the 100’s. He was right though, fall is marching towards us and there is no holding back the inevitability of the new season.

Changes in life and work are a lot like those ten minutes a week. Sure, we have the big wham bam changes but in reality the movement comes in small subtle increments over a long period of time. Pounds lost come in small choices like a salad vs. a cheeseburger at lunch. A broken relationship comes in random negative comments and missed opportunities to uplift one another. We have all heard about not sweating the small stuff but in so many ways it is the small stuff in life that makes the biggest difference over time.

I think for this week I am not going to worry about big things and instead will just focus on the 10.

The best advice this year

“Take it from a guy with 5 kids. You hope they grow up and move away someday but you want the wife to stay”

This was some great advice a few weeks back from a twitter friend as I was having a bit of an internal debate about taking a trip with just the wife while our son is gone on a trip of his own with Scouts. The son was a little mad that we would consider going on a cool mini-vacation without him. This was not something in his 12 years of life that we have ever done.

The trip idea is to celebrate our 15th year of married. Truly the advice was a wake up reminder to me that yes the time invested with son is of paramount importance. At the same time, the investment in our husband/wife relationship deserves the same attention. After all, it is our intent to spend the rest of our days on earth together.

How many couples focus so much on the kids that when they grow up and leave they are left with no common interests and goals? How many couples after years of kids no longer know how to woo…

Living with the brake on

I have been working hard this summer to improve my fitness and loose a few pounds. My routine is to alternate between running and cycling. Saturday is my long ride day and I hit the street as soon as there is enough light to ride.

For several weeks the riding did not go so well. My frustrations about this difficulty became so great that I was growing concerned about my health. Was something wrong with me? Why so hard? I thought that my fitness was improving! I bonked so hard on one Saturday ride that I had to give up early and head back to the house with a completion of only 35 miles for the day.

Then one day while passing by my bike in the garage I suddenly for some strange reason gave the back wheel a little spin.

It moved maybe an inch. OOPS!

Turns out that for who knows how long the back brake had been pressed against the wheel. I had been in essence riding with the brake on for weeks.

You can imagine how that next ride went for me after fixing the break. Suddenly I was blazing dow…

Person praise vs. Process praise

The other day I ran across an interesting study about the effectiveness of person praise vs process praise. Here is a link to the study if you are interested in reading.

In a nutshell, the hypothesis was that children would perform better and would be willing to take on harder tasks if the feedback focused more on strategies and effort (process) vs trait (Person) related feedback.

Think, “Wow Sally! You did great on the exercise! I can tell that you are great person” vs. “Wow Sally! You did great on that exercise. The extra effort you did to study the process involved made a real difference in making you successful”

I have taught this for years at the Situation/Action/Result (SAR) model. Following this simple model while giving feedback is very effective.

Sally you knew the test was going to be a hard one didn't you?
I really appreciate the way you took extra time to study
You got and A thanks to the extra effort!

An even better technique would be for Sally to…

You are important

If you have read my blog any at all you might guess that I would have a lot to say about the importance of fathers.

I would like to challenge all the current and future dads out there to take a moment and reflect deeply on your role. You have a generational impact on your family. How will you choose to make use of this responsibility? Will you run away seeking the shinny object in your life? This object could be your career, your hobby, your neighbor’s wife and any of the thousands of other distractions that get men off track.

Chasing the object will never match the importance or the joy you will get from a loving child that is looking to you for leadership and teaching.

The bottom line is that you are important!

Don't believe me? Check out the research

Still don’t believe me? Ask your wife or child’s mother

Still don’t believe me? Look into the eyes of your child and ask him/her

Our children and boys especially are experiencing a crises caused by a lack of positive father leadership.…

A father's day perspective

This is a pretty good video a kid made about growing up without a father in the home and the great work mom has done. It seems appropriate for the week.

Teaching integrity

The message at church last week was about integrity and it got me thinking about the topic…

On a cold and rainy Saturday a couple of years ago my son and I decided to take in a movie. This is not an unusual thing for us since Saturday’s have traditionally been father/son-days for us. There were few people in the theater and as we walked out of the show I noticed the movie next door to us was about the start.

Suddenly the idea of popping right into another movie sounded like a lot of fun. I quickly made the suggestion and the look of excitement on his face was priceless. When we got in the theater we noticed another dad and his kids had done the same thing.

I don’t remember the movie being particularly good. The enjoyment from my son had to be that we were getting away with seeing two movies for the price of one.


Suddenly I realized what I was doing. In a way I was teaching my son that it was ok to steal. Sure it was only movie but the reality was we were there and had not paid for…

How to prepare your son for marriage

As a dad, I have many responsibilities when raising my son. One I take very seriously is preparing him to be a Godly and supportive husband in the future. The fact is: The way I treat my wife today is the way my son most likely will treat his wife in the future. I desire my son to grow up and someday marry an incredible woman that will love support him.

My wife gets this fact too and together we have a somewhat deliberate strategy that luckily comes pretty naturally to us.

Here are a few tips:

1.Love each other in public: Tell her you love her in ear shot of your child. Let him see that you mean it!

2.Compliment when alone: I love complimenting Michelle when she is not around. I tell my son what a wonderful (and beautiful) wife she is and give examples why.

3.Never EVER put down your spouse: Your child is not the person to have a “Your mom is so___” conversation with. Don’t forget there is a difference between being a friend and a parent.

4.Respect her beauty: I just hate to see guys t…

Like father—like son

My son is in the 7th grade this year and more and more is becoming his own person. Glimpses of him as the child he was have become harder to find and as a view of the man he is becoming takes center stage.

There are things about my son’s behavior that irritate me at times and as his parent it is my duty to point out these fallacies much to his chagrin. Such has been the way of the father-son relationship for as long as there have been fathers and sons.

Some fathers unfortunately take this role too far and the relationship eventually falls into a pattern of conflict that can be very hard to break. The pattern of conflict works to create the “Father wound“ and can impact a boy well into manhood.(more on the wound on a later post)

The other day I came to the realization that many of the things I lash out the hardest to Conner about are really inner anger points at me. Sure, part of parenting is to help our children not to repeat our own mistakes and to grow into a better life than we exp…
My next door neighbor passed away last week. He was 88 and had lived a long and meaningful life. He was only next to us for a few years but I learned much from this great man.

Fred's bride of 68 years is the sweetest woman you would every meet. A delightful smile, quick to hug, and always cheerful. I can see why a man would love her so much and for so long. Francis also has dementia and most every time we met it was at if we had never met before. The cool part is this meeting with her was always with the joy of meeting a new friend.

Francis "Now remind me who you are again?"

Fred--"Why honey, this is David. He is the young man that lives next door to us"

Not long after this a hug and a hello would follow from Francis.

Throughout any conversation with Francis there were many repeated questions. Each time Fred would lovingly and patiently answer the question as if it were the first time in his life he had been asked. I am sure that when alone most of their conversati…

"We can take it"

My family recently spent several days at Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas for some spring break fun. I love taking time off with the family and the planning for our vacation time has always been something I do. It is my thing.

My goal is always low cost, high adventure, and high opportunity for long lasting family memories. This year we chose caving, bouldering and a backpacking hike overnight. This was going to be the second time for my son and the first time for my wife.

The hike was especially a challenge. We backpacked with all gear on our backs including our food, water, tents, and more. I knew it would be long but had not anticipated the hills of western AR. I have done a lot of hard physical things and carrying a 35+ pound pack 9+ miles to our day one campsite was indeed one of the my more difficult experiences. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for my family, the more difficult things get the more enthusiastic I tend to become no matter what I might be feeling inside. My mantra…

What do you do?

This is a common question that I am sure each of you has been asked many times over the years. Chances are you proudly respond, “I am a _____ for _____” In my case I am a Training Manager for Sprint.

Indeed you are a _____ for _____ and you are oh so much more.

You see there is a big difference between where you work and what you do. We all know where we work but very few people have taken time to deeply consider what they really do.

When people ask me what I do, I surprise many by saying, “I enable the success of others”.

I learned this many years ago in college when I was paying my way through as a janitor. My boss one day posed the question to me and I of course responded, “I am a janitor, I sweep floors, scrub toilets, clean up after babies are born in OB and when accidents happen in the ER” (Go ahead—soak on that image for a bit)

He said all of this was true but in reality my job was to save lives. “Huh?” From there he explained the importance of cleanliness to prevent staph infec…

The Crossover

During the month of February thousands of 5th grade boys will experience the crossover. This is a traditional Scouting ceremony where a Webelos Scout crosses from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

I had the opportunity to see my first crossover of the year on Monday this week. The symbolism of this event is striking and brings me chills each time I witness it. Yes it is nice ceremony full of tradition. It is also and wonderful rite of passage that symbolizes a passing from childhood and elementary school to adolescence and middle school.

During the ceremony, the boys are led dramatically into the room by older Boy Scouts in Native American regalia from the Order of the Arrow. They are bound together with a rope that has loosely been tied to their wrists. Next they are then presented to the “Chief” who is there to determine their worthiness to leave Cub Scouts and join the brotherhood of Boy Scouts. Before long, the ropes are cut as the speaker says they are no longer bound to their past. In…

“You have bigger boobs than me”

“You have bigger boobs than me”

Ouch! This was said to me in jest by a girlfriend of mine back in the spring of 1989 as we were eating a big tray of nachos. I was 21 years old at the time and in my fourth year of college.

I am person that has struggled with my weight as long as I can remember and it seemed no matter what I tried it would just not come off. As a youth, I remember the teasing from the other kids very clearly. I also remember the feeling as I stood there at gym or recess knowing I was going to be the last person to get picked for whatever sport we were being forced to play.

My fear of athletic failure kept me from doing any sports. Exercise was a truly was a stranger to me. Really, up until that moment in 1989 I don’t think my heart had ever risen above 100 BPM unless I was running to grab the last ding dong from the box.

The boob comment for some reason though lit a spark in me. I decided at that moment that I was going to change my life. I was going to learn to eat rig…

Running in Place

Do you think our grandparents would have imagined we would someday live in a world where we would need to run in place on a motorized belt to get our exercise?

For me, I actually kind of like the treadmill. My feet pounding out a rhythmic THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! Sweat dripping like warm salty rain to the floor from my face and arms creating pools of exasperation underneath my temporary kingdom of running content.

However, there was a time when running was for a reason. We ran into battle, we ran away from danger, we ran to the arms of a loved one, we ran to win a grand race. Now we often run just for the sake of running.

The reality of treadmill running is that we can spend hours in the artificial light of that artificial environment running in place. In the end we will still be right where we started.

Of course life can be like this too. We create artificial substitutes for things that once meant much to us. Who needs the sweet sound of a friends’ voice when we can just talk via e-…