* Jedd Thoughts

A Season To Grow Strong Roots

Every year I write a birthday post reflecting on something I’ve learned in the past year about myself (and thoughts about getting older). It’s a great way to see where I’ve been, who I am today, and hopefully reflects the person I am working on becoming.  

Celebrating a birthday is hard this year.

In general, I’ve never been one to make a big fuss about birthdays, but recently I’ve seen them as a great way to reflect and give thanks for all the experiences I’ve had and thanks for all the people I’ve met that brought me to where I am today.

As you know, 2020 isn’t the year we all thought it would be and these days, it doesn’t feel appropriate to celebrate. But I still have hope that things will get better and that there are many reasons to “be thankful” (as my Dad would often say) amidst the uncertainty and challenges we all face.

Over the past year there has been a lot of important life lessons I’ve been learning, but none have been so clear and relevant than thinking about how I will live and respond in times like this.

I believe we are in a life season similar to that of Winter. Though on the surface the situation is challenging, this is a time to holdfast and establish strong, healthy roots ready to face whatever comes after afterward.

My “portable” greenhouse and sprouts for this year.
Taking care of my transplants.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with plants this past year going from a person that couldn’t grow and keep alive anything to someone that can now say they’ve successfully grown and eaten their own tomato. In plant terms, I just germinated. I’m just getting started.

I have become obsessed with almost all things plants. It’s fascinating to watch something go from a seed to a full-blown food-producing machine or become a beautiful flower.

I did not grow these flowers that I found in Hawaii, but I’m dreaming I did.

You learn so much caring for your plants and seeing how so many different variables affect its ability to grow. But one of the most amazing things to witness is when someone prunes a plant like an Artichoke or Hydrangea to the point where it almost looks like it has no chance to survive through the winter, only to return even stronger and healthier the following year.

Through the winter, these seemingly lifeless plants are very much still alive and growing in harsh and non-optimal growing conditions. More experienced gardeners will tell you that it’s actually healthier for these kinds of plants to be pruned. To an amateur gardener like myself, I thought these people were crazy. I had no idea how resilient plants can be.

We’re called to be this kind of resilient during challenging times. One of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, wrote a book (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years) about storytelling. He shares that good stories often require the main character(s) to go through challenges. How the character reacts and comes out at the end of these challenges is what makes the story compelling —their transformation. How will we be transformed and who will we become because of this current situation?

Winter is Here

From the very first episode of Game of Thrones in 2011, there is a warning that “winter is coming”. The whole premise of this fantasy story is that a great evil/death represented by Winter, ice, and all of its monsters are heading south.


Only a massive wall prevents them from entering the land of the living, those that live south of the wall. The living world is divided into ruling areas that must come together to fight against the coming winter. The show goes on for 8 years and 8 seasons of people warning and trying to unite to fight this evil. They continue to use the phrase “winter is coming”. In the final season winter finally arrives and the characters must face this truth.

Winter is back in our world today. We were given warnings that it would return and like the show, though some listened and took the warnings seriously, many did not and were ill-prepared to face it. Though Covid-19 is new, our world has faced these winter-like challenges before whether it was sickness, the great depression, and world wars.

What gives me hope is a reminder that we’ve come out of those challenging times, transformed and often times better. There were loss and hardship, but I also see how the world recovered and some things have gotten better that wouldn’t have had we not gone through these major events. I’m not saying that I like or hope we go through these kinds of difficult times. I’m saying it’s inevitable.

Krka National Park, Croatia

Establishing Strong Roots

Last October we visited a national park in Croatia called Krka. The best way to describe it is that it’s a beautiful river where the people of Croatia have built long walkways over the river at different sections. It feels like you’re walking on water. What makes it even more magical are the trees that come out of nowhere in the middle of this river as rushing, powerful water flows past them (see above). How is it possible that they can remain tall and anchored amidst the rushing water? The answer is their roots.

As I try to grapple and make sense with all the things currently going on and the uncertainty of our future, I can’t help but to think that this is a time when it’s important to grow strong, deep roots.

For me, this is reinvesting in the most important things to me like family, friends, and my faith.

It’s learning how to let go of well-laid plans and learning how to go with the flow.

It’s learning how to grieve losses of things we hoped for.

It’s learning how to fight for, support, and love on others (neighbors, strangers, those in need).

It’s doubling down on the precious time we have to be with loved ones that we wouldn’t normally have.

It’s trying to learn new life skills like cooking and gardening that are useful at any given point in life.

It’s reanalyzing, pivoting, and creating new dreams and goals.

When plants come back from a winter season they are never the same and neither will we be when this time, this season of life passes. My hope is that we’ll all be transformed for the better, ready and more resilient for the next time winter returns (because it will).

Take care everyone and hang in there. This too shall pass….



* Jedd Thoughts

7 Important Things I’ve Learned This Past Year

Every year (except last year – lol) I write a birthday post reflecting on something I’ve learned in the past year about myself (and thoughts about getting older). It’s a great way to see where I’ve been, who I am today, and hopefully reflects the person I am working on becoming.  

As I was thinking about what to write for this year’s post I realized that there were a lot of good nuggets and truth that I wanted to remember from year #35.

In no particular order:

1) Getting more sleep — well I put this first because Continue reading “7 Important Things I’ve Learned This Past Year”

* Jedd Thoughts, Intentional Living

7 Things I’ve Learned in 7 Years of Marriage (updated)

Ten years ago today Michelle and I stood before family and friends and committed to being life partners. It’s hard to believe how much time has passed and yet, there’s always a newness in our relationship as we keep working on being better individuals, and working through challenges to grow closer and stronger as a couple.

3 years ago I wrote this post and upon revisiting it, a lot of the things I wrote still hold true. But to mark this anniversary I also wanted to add 3 new things I’ve learned from our 10 years of marriage. Here’s the original post with some new thoughts: Continue reading “7 Things I’ve Learned in 7 Years of Marriage (updated)”

* Jedd Thoughts

You Have a Purpose and You are Loved

Time is strange. As a child, 5 minutes in timeout felt like eternity. Our wedding, now almost 10 years past doesn’t feel that long ago. And then there’s the instances where a major event happens in your life and all you can think about what life was like before and after that event. Such is the case with saying goodbye to my father last year. I think of life in terms of all the time that we shared together when he was with us and now, the time without him.

Just about a year ago we gathered with our dear friends and family to say goodbye and thank you. Somedays it feels like a lifetime ago. Other days it feels like just yesterday that he was here. I had an opportunity to give the “thanks” on behalf of our family. In the midst of all the things that were going on at the time, I didn’t think to save what I wrote and I threw away the only copy of my words. Or so I thought. 

I was going to write my annual birthday post and low and behold I had actually copied my speech to share here (insert my tears here). Now it really felt like it was yesterday that I was talking with my Dad.

We try our best to keep his legacy alive each day and I tried my best to share what I thought he would want others to know — that you have a purpose and you are loved:

Continue reading “You Have a Purpose and You are Loved”

* Life Updates, * Michelle Thoughts, challenges, Intentional Living

Will 2018 Be Your Year of Simple?

Seven years ago we made a life-changing decision to serve in the Peace Corps. We put in our notices at work, ended the lease on our apartment, and sold all of our furniture. We kept our winter clothes and yearbooks in storage with family and headed off to volunteer in Jamaica with the required maximum of two suitcases each.

Living with less was completely liberating. Not only did we have less stuff to keep track of, our weekly schedules in that rural Jamaican community were simplified, too. When we came home from work, we had time to read, journal, practice new recipes… In Jamaica, it was nearly impossible to get more than two real tasks done per day, so we became accustomed to a slower pace of life.

That simpler life was so much less stressful – it was something we vowed to keep in our lives moving forward. And we’re passionate about helping others do the same. Continue reading “Will 2018 Be Your Year of Simple?”


A Legacy of Love

It’s strange that just three months ago we said good bye to my father.

Some days it feels like he has been gone for a while. Other days like today, it feels as if he was just here. He was just here.

When people ask me how I’m doing regarding my Dad I’m not sure what to say. I appreciate the kind sentiments but it’s hard to explain what I’m feeling. How do I explain to people that I feel sad, angry, thankful, longing, terrible, at peace, all at the same time? Dad’s passing is easily the hardest thing I’ve ever been through and I still don’t feel like I’ve gotten to process or share all that I want to from that experience.

I’ve been especially Continue reading “A Legacy of Love”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, Intentional Living

What Matters Most

Every year I write a birthday post reflecting on something I’ve learned in the past year about myself (and thoughts about getting older). It’s a great way to see where I’ve been, who I am today, and hopefully reflects the person I am working on becoming.  

I want to ask you a question: what core values drive the major decisions you make for your life?

In other words, what are the things you value the most? Do you know? Have you ever asked yourself this question? If you do know what matters the most to you, do you live your life in such a way that reflects these values?

This is the foundation to Continue reading “What Matters Most”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, challenges, Intentional Living

2016 Annual Review Part 1: How Well Did The Year of Productivity Go?

For the last three years, Michelle and I have done a practice called an Annual Review. It’s an opportunity to intentionally reflect on the past year and think of the things that went well, things that didn’t go so well, and to take all that information and start planning for the upcoming year and beyond. We highly recommend this activity as an individual, as a couple, and even as a family. Don’t know how to start one? Check out this awesome free workbook from our friends at Live Your Legend and example posts from the Art of Non-Conformity

At the beginning of this year I made a pronouncement to make this the “year of productivity”. I even wrote a post explaining my plan here.

I was going to:

  • Learn Spanish (mind)
  • Get ripped and in-shape (body)
  • Grow in my faith (spirit)

How did I do? Well… Continue reading “2016 Annual Review Part 1: How Well Did The Year of Productivity Go?”

Intentional Living, Things We Love

You’re Invited to the World Domination Summit

Michelle and I want to personally invite you…

To one of the most incredible and extraordinary events called the: World Domination Summit (a.k.a. WDS). 

Mark your calendars and save the dates: July 11th – July 17th, 2017

Each year 1000+ amazing and wonderful individuals make the journey to Portland Oregon to think and respond to this central question, “how can we live remarkable lives in a conventional world”.

For the last three years, Michelle and I have Continue reading “You’re Invited to the World Domination Summit”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates, Intentional Living

To the First Cohort of the Wayfinding Academy…

There’s a good chance that when you read this post, 15 new students will have just finished their very first class at the Wayfinding Academy. It’s an incredible story of how a former college professor (and great friend of ours) put together a team to create a college from scratch that combats many of the current issues in higher education.

The main focus of the Wayfinding Academy is to help students discover and better understand who they are (based on their passions, skills, and interests), how they can serve our world, and determine what next steps they’ll need to live the life they want for themselves — not what others are saying they should do. Continue reading “To the First Cohort of the Wayfinding Academy…”