No Wind, No Sail

Three Ways to Face Your Difficulties that Make You Stronger

I know this to be true in sailing: no wind, no sail. Sailing is all about the challenge of leveraging the wind and seas in order to enjoy the journey and make it to your destination in good time.


And I know this to be true in life, as well. No wind, no sail. So here are three ways to leverage life’s winds for your benefit.

Finding Your Secure Identity

What American's Increasing Interest in Heritage Can Mean For You

I have a picture on my desk I love looking at. It’s of me when I was a small child, along with my whole family in Japan, with our Japanese nanny. Guess which one I am??

Nelsons in Toyama, Japan

The Nelsons in Toyama, Japan

Every time I look at this, it reminds me of who I am, where I’ve come from, and who I’ve come with. The memories of my growing up years in Japan flood my mind. I remember all the places we lived–what I enjoyed, the adventures, at each place (as far back as I can remember). It’s a huge piece of my own history. So I’m drawn to this picture again and again.

And guess which figure in the picture I spend the most time looking at? That little kid on the left. He looks so innocent and angelic, doesn’t he? Ha Ha. Notice that slight hint of mischievousness. What a dude! :)

Interestingly, Americans’ fascination with family history is rapidly growing.

Clarifying Your Calling Will Bring You A Lifetime of Empowerment

I’ve never heard anyone say it’s their Calling to be a janitor.

I’ve definitely known janitors who perform their work with passion and excellence. It inspires me. But as I’ve watched and listened to them talk about what they do, I’ve seen that their role isn’t their Calling. It’s why they do this role–what it is about what they do and how they do it–that helps to identify whether it’s a Calling or not.

I saw a wonderful story on a CBS Sunday Morning show that reminded me of how at times our calling and our job can collide and intersect in powerful ways. Watch this 2 minute clip about Charles Clark from Trinity High School in Euless, Texas, and let yourself be inspired!

Be the Thermostat Not the Thermometer: Practice Mindfulness

Have you noticed how often your mind is paying attention to either your past or your future? You tend to focus on regrets from choices or circumstances in your past or worries about your future.

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courtesy of

Truth is, most of us spend very little time in the present (which is, by the way, the only time we actually have for ourselves). Which means in practical terms that we are not fully present to enjoy that which matters most to us–our relationships, our work, our experiences, even our spirituality. And it means that what presence we do have is emanating a spirit of stress and worry that is invading from a point of time not even available to us–the past or the future.

Are You In a Job or Ministry? Reframing Work to Change Your Whole Experience

Remember the story about the stonecutter centuries ago? He was chiseling a huge piece of stone, pieces of rock flying from his pounding hammer. All the while he was whistling and humming as he worked.

A passerby stopped and asked him why he could make music while doing such mundane and arduous work. He said, “I’m not just chiseling stone. I’m making a cathedral.”

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courtesy of

It’s true. What can reorient our experience of work is capturing the right vision. Reframing our reality. Seeing what it is beyond what our eyes perceive to what our souls believe.

I used to think this was possible for some kinds of work but not others. I mean, how is this possible for someone stuck in a deadend job that doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere; or for someone caught in work that is filled with not just mundane and repetitive tasks but dysfunctional environments? Is it really possible to see these kinds of jobs as ministry? What does this mean anyway?