Distinctions For Life Is Back

Over a decade ago I had a video podcast – remember when those were a thing – call Distinctions For Life.

Well after a very long time I’ve decided to bring it back and make it my main thing. But there are a number of changes.

It isn’t a video podcast. Or any kind of podcast. Or even a YouTube Channel. When I started bringing it back earlier this year my plan was to do it as a YouTube channel. But that quickly became a lot of work. I started writing blog posts for it.

Then things changed again as they often do when building a business.

I was in a mastermind group and was on the hot seat for DFL. I said to the group, “My biggest problem is I have no product to sell. I guess I could do coaching.”

By the end of the next day I had my first client. I don’t call it coaching because “life-coach” has a lot of baggage attached to it. Instead it is mentoring.

A couple of weeks later I had my second protege (better name than mentee in my opinion).

All those blog posts I’d written became the DFL Toolbox. They are evergreen content, meaning they don’t age, so there is no reason to think of them chronologically like a blog.

Anyway, Reactuate needed a new post and I thought I’d share this with the very few people who watch this site. If you are interested in DFL, either the free Toolbox content, or becoming a protege, I’d love your feedback and support.

My Story

“Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who loved each other very much and they wanted to show that love and have a baby.

Sadly though they tried and tried, they weren’t able to have a child on their own. So they prayed and asked God to give them a Special Baby.

And he did.”


“Mommy can you tell me the special baby story please?”

“I sure can. Once upon a time there was a young woman who found out she was going to have a Special Baby. She was excited but also sad because she knew she couldn’t take care of this Special Baby. She prayed and asked God to find her special Baby a home.

And he did”


“Mommy, mommy. Tell me the Special Baby story again!”

“The man and woman who were waiting for their Special Baby were told it would take a very long time before they could get a baby. Then one night they got a phone call and were told they could come get their Special Baby in the morning. They were surprised and unprepared, but excited. The next morning they got their Special little boy Baby and brought him home.

And they were very excited and happy and they loved him very, very much.”

Mommy, I’m that Special Baby aren’t I?”

Yes, little Ronnie you are.


That is the story my parents told me about my adoption. They told it to me a little bit at a time until I figured out it was me. I thought it a good place to start talking about myself, at the beginning.

Once upon a time, the TARDIS became flesh and the Doctor got a chance to ask it a question.

“Why don’t you ever take me where I want to go?”

She replied, “I don’t always take you were you want, but I always take you were you need to be.”

That answer resonates with me, as it seems very relevant to my life.

When I was about 7 years old I visited Oklahoma Christian College. For some reason I was enamored with the cafeteria and decided that was where I was going to go to college. We lived in Tulsa when I was 7.

In a couple of years, my parents would adopt their second child. Another boy, Ezra Joshua. His story was very different because he was born in Bombay India and was 7 when a missionary brought him to the US for a visit. Well that’s what he told Ez and left it to my parent to break it to him he was being adopted.

We moved from Tulsa to Albuquerque and then to Kingwood Texas the summer before I started High School. When I finished high school, I followed up on that 7 year olds dream and went to OCC.

And I liked it. Did lights for the theater. Represented my dorm on student council. Almost joined the Marines.

But at the end of my freshman year, all my friend from HS at OCC decided they were transferring to ACU, and so did it.

Computers had been a big part of my life ever since my Dad invested over $2000 in an Apple IIe. I’d majored in it at OCC, but when I went to ACU I wanted to be a filmmaker. I wanted to make movies like John Huges but from a Christian point of view.

I studied Mass Communications Radio/TV. Then I bounced back to Computer Science. Then back to Radio/TV. As I was nearing graduation time, I decided I wanted to be a campus minister in Seattle.

My last summer in school I decided if I was going to be a minister I better take some Bible classes. Turns out there was this thing called Missions Seminar where you could take two classes in a month, so I signed up.

And the TARDIS took me were I needed to be.

There was this weird red head, with big…. Any way I had to meet her because she was interested in my friend who all the girls loved like a brother….much to his chagrin.

Then she untied my shoes with her toes, and invited me on a first date with all of her siblings.

Seattle wasn’t working out, but I got a surprise internship – you never get internships in mass comm – in Ohio working for World Christian Broadcasting. A mear 8 hour drive from this crazy redhead I was now in love with.

Fours months later I had a better wife than I deserved.

We’d eventually come back to ACU. Had two boys at Hendrick hospital amid much drama. I’d decided ministry was great but I needed a job where I could get paid. Went back and finished my CS degree and start a decades long career as a computer geek.

We’d home school two boys all the way till college. Our oldest son graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Actuarial Science, and our youngest from ACU with a degree in Biblical Text.

After years as a computer programmer, I quit my computer job to become a Paramedic. Two years later I earned my license and haven’t been on a ambulance since. Then I returned to being a computer geek starting Reactuate Software doing software development for a number of different companies. A year later I’d win a business plan competition and start a short lived computer game company.

I’ve spent the last year building a business teaching people to build successful podcasts that past.

2018 is going to be a year with unprecedented changes. As my bride and I like to say, “It will be an adventure.”

Through all of this, I haven’t always ended up where I thought I wanted to go, but I’ve been where I need to be.

The end of the Special Baby’s story is not even close to having been written, but I’m sure he’s going to live happily ever after.

53 Things I Believe At 53

Written on the occasion of my birthday.
  1. It is possible I’m wrong.
  2. Tragedy is not evenly distributed.
  3. What you believe matters.
  4. Perception is not reality. Just because you think something is true doesn’t make it true.
  5. Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
  6. There are a lot of things worse than death.
  7. Ask good and interesting questions.
  8. Commitment is important.
  9. Happiness isn’t the point.
  10. Micro and macro living.
  11. Only worry about the things you can influence.
  12. Action is real truth.
  13. Only God can change people’s hearts.
  14. Get to the point.
  15. If you want to influence people, you have to change your behavior.
  16. Implementing is more important than an idea.
  17. Smooth is fast. Slow is smooth.
  18. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.
  19. Firing people is very painful.
  20. I hate the phrase “my truth”.
  21. Most problems attributed to millennials are a function of age not generation.
  22. You don’t have to go through the devil to get to God.
  23. Christians focus too much on the wrong parts of Christianity and not the truly hard stuff in the sermon on the mount.
  24. Grown women wear high heels when dressed up.
  25. If you don’t think you can do something, you probably won’t.
  26. You can learn to do anything someone else with similar physical abilities has.
  27. Focus is the most important thing.
  28. How to do deep work.
  29. People are no more or less moral today than in the past.
  30. Older people are generally less up tight about sex than younger people.
  31. Sometimes you believe something based on too small a sample. Or a sample from only one group/context.
  32. Laws don’t stop crime.
  33. The government generally makes things worse.
  34. Very few of the things we fear are a valid fear of violence.
  35. Humans are addicted to drama.
  36. This too shall pass. (Especially related to politics and elections)
  37. Manifesting may be bullshit, but you very often get what you focus on.
  38. Most of my beliefs are based on my experience. Other people with other experiences may believe differently, and they may be right.
  39. The more varied experiences you have the better your beliefs.
  40. All things are not equal. Wisdom is knowing the relative values.
  41. You are probably only getting one side of the story. (Especially in other people’s break-ups)
  42. Being warm – not hot, not cold – is the core of feeling good.
  43. Often we like things because we are used to them.
  44. Humans can adapt to anything.
  45. Try things.
  46. Do it. Don’t plan to do it.
  47. Sometimes it is OK to quit.
  48. People redefine their history when something goes wrong. (Ex: At divorce they say they never loved the other person.)
  49. Taking responsibility puts you in control. Denying it means you can’t do anything about it.
  50. Age is more than a number, but getting old sucks.
  51. There is a difference between health and fitness. One takes work, the other vigilance.
  52. Bad things generally don’t get better if you ignore them.
  53. Sometimes I’m brilliant. Sometimes I’m a dumbass. The trick is figuring out which is which.


Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

Looking for next steps is my indication I’m changing direction.

I firmly believe in taking action when you decide something. I really believe you haven’t actually “decided” until you start taking action. There is this phenomena in my head where I say, “I’ve decided but not really”. This means internally I’ve decided but I’m not looking for next steps. I’m not taking action.

— from my morning pages 08/22/2017

What Is A Creative Act?

If I’ve set a goal of creating something every day, how will I know when I succeed? We create things all the time. Is a Facebook post saying I’m back in Texas enough? A photo of the new Cisco Supercharger?

No, I don’t think so.

Those things are creative, but they aren’t sufficient to accomplish why I set the goal. Instead I need to define a “creative act” as I’m now calling it. This is the thing I’m trying to do every day. The thing I think will make an impact on bettering my life.

The main difference between the little creations that we do all the time and the Creative Acts that change us is magnitude. It isn’t the medium. My portraits from yesterday are just as much photographs as the picture of the Cisco supercharger. But the new pictures of my friends took skill, thought, preparation and execution.

That is the kind of creative act I’m trying to do every day.

This morning was the first time I ever woke up and my first thought was, “I have to create something today.” That’s a good thing. I need to have a driving desire to create something from the moment I wake up if I’m going to accomplish my goal.

It isn’t easy. Today I spent some time helping fellow Toastmasters. Most of the day was spent trying to get back on Texas time for sleep and driving. Driving from Dallas to Stephenville, them home to Abilene. Getting stuff to the bank and dry cleaners.

Now I’m creating something, even if it just a blog post about creating something.

Tomorrow has a bunch of travel in it, but I will create something significant. Then do it again the next day.

Photos of New Friends

I spent the week on the M/Y Pegasus at the San Diego Comic-con and one of my jobs was to take pictures. Specifically to take pictures of the crew/guests. Here are some portraits I did of my new friends Jesica, Devin and Amanda.

Jesica SDCC 2016
Jesica SDCC 2016

Devin, SDCC 2016
Devin, SDCC 2016

Amanda, SDCC 2016
Amanda, SDCC 2016

More Creating Less Consuming

My life is pretty good. Actually really good if I look at it objectively. Not just the “I’m not a starving child in Africa” objectively either. Heck I’m writing this on a freaking yacht for God’s sake. This leads me to feel a little guilty when I start thinking it needs to be better, but that the way it is.

What needs to change? What am I missing that needs to be improved. After much soul-searching, or something similar, I’ve come to the conclusion I’m not creating enough. Heck, I’m rarely creating at all.

I just spent four days at the biggest popular culture celebration of creating event in the world, Comic-con San Diego. As I walked the floor I was filled with a yearning. The rock stars from the next Wonder Woman to the guy selling cosplay photos in a booth where all creators. Even the metaphor of “rock star” means you are famous for creating something so cool that people by the thousands become ecstatic in your presence.

Given this I realized I’m not on my way to stardom. I’m looking for the next thing to get by. A job, or even a new business. My standards are low and my heart just isn’t in it.

So what is the solution?

More creating and less consuming.

For the last few months the only thing I’ve created, the only creative outlet I’ve had, is Toastmasters. Which explains why, despite how much work it is, I just keep doing more. I’m passionate about making it better and better. I really believe that Toastmasters changes people’s lives by helping them overcome their fears and learn to communicate and lead. But the joy I get out of it is in the creation.

I used to create all the time.

I had a thriving photography hobby. I blogged all the time. I did some cosplay.

Now I do almost none of these. But I do spend a lot of time-consuming media about these things. I’m consuming art, not creating it.

Over the next few days and weeks, I’m going to create more. Everyday I’m going to create something. I’m not sure what yet, but I’ll post about it every day. This post is the first thing I’m creating.

Discomfort Credit Cards and BBQ

Blogger’s Note: I haven’t blogged in forever. Used to do it all the time, but am way out of the habit. In an attempt to keep this blog from becoming a ghost town, I’m going to post my longer thoughts that have been mostly going to Facebook. Here’s the first one.

Was listening to Tim Ferris’ podcast with Ramit Sethi and he was giving negotiation techniques and suggested to call your credit card company and ask for a new APR. I always pay off my CC so don’t really care much about the APR, but my uber-cool blue Sapphire Card is all scratched up and I wanted to new pretty one.

So I called them and first asked if they could tell me how much I’ve put through that card since I got it in April 2014. The number was 6 figures because I use the card for everything, including almost all our expenses in the UK, most of the repairs on the house and every travel expense we do.

Then I asked for a new card. Not surprisingly they merely asked if 3-5 days was OK for delivery.

Missed the annual fee renewal, but they’ll be getting a call next March.

And it was SO FUN, which I wasn’t expecting.

This was a follow-up to a discomfort exercise from the day before where you have to ask for a discount at any store. For some reason I decided to do it after lunch at Betty Roses BBQ.

I asked my waitress if I could have a discount because it was my first time there. I expected a no, or for her to ask how old I was to give me the senior discount :(. Instead she asked if I was in the military. I get that alot, I think for my hair cut rather than my command bearing.


“Do you have a CHL?”

“I do.”

“I can give you one for that.”

10% off.

Oh Abilene.