3 Raised-bed gardens in my neighborhood

While running last Saturday, I ran past this garden, which I have run past all summer long.

In the spring, it was well cared for, prepared, and planted.

As time went on, the plants grew heartily.

Harvest time came, and I’m certain the people that live here (I have no idea who), enjoyed the fruits of their labors, and the blessing of God and nature in the form of a productive harvest.

Saturday, as I ran past this garden I felt compelled to turn around, run back and take a picture.

When I looked at the garden now, it would…


Image by Erik Lucatero from Pixabay

As a teenager, most summer days, I could do whatever I wanted. My parents were divorced, and my mom worked. Apart from older siblings who had their own activities, I was largely left to my own devices.

This was in a pre-internet/cell phone/online world. There were three TV networks and two PBS channels and you couldn’t skip the commercials or change channels without getting up and walking to the TV. Still, watching TV was a regular activity.

Consequently I spent a fair amount of time at friends’ homes where one parent was usually there. We ended up having some good…


Money is a powerful dynamic in all of our lives. Not surprisingly it therefore often has a significant impact in our intimate relationships, particularly if we are not fully committed to our partners, but even if we are.

I recently completed a round of market research in preparation for an upcoming class about financial success for couples.

The market research consists of eight different questions. In most cases the questions were answered separately by each partner in a marriage.

The first three questions ask what the biggest challenges, fears and frustrations are for each respondent. …


For married couples struggling in their relationship, the differences over money can feel like a constant weight hanging over your head. Money is frequently cited as the primary cause of divorce.

It’s not just a lack of money that causes strain. As one article noted, “The interesting takeaway here is that making more money doesn’t remove financial stress from a marriage. Affluence may alleviate the stress of living paycheck to paycheck, but wealth comes with it’s own money problems.”

In reality, the stress over finances is a symptom of a deeper problem. …


The more I realize how mature (or rather immature) I have been in our relationship, the more grateful I become for the love and companionship of my wife, Suzanne.

29 years ago last December we knelt across the altar from each other to pledge our lives together. Not long thereafter the kids started coming; work became demanding; life kicked into high gear and our marriage was just something that I took for granted. …


If you’ve ever held a newborn baby in your arms, you have the sense of the value of that particular human life. If it happens to be your own child, then those feelings are magnified.

Driving home from the hospital with our newborn daughter strapped safely in her car seat, I remember feeling my defense mechanisms go up as the vehicle in the adjacent lane began to come a little too close to our car. I was protective in a way I wouldn’t have been otherwise because of the precious cargo in our back seat.

Our daughter had value just…


Photo by Michele Bergami on Unsplash

“Well, the good news is, both of your eyes are off by the same amount. You don’t need prescription glasses, just readers. 1.75s should do it.”

I had noticed that it was more difficult reading in bed at night, but it had happened so gradually that I never thought that my eyesight was degrading. When the assistant at the eye doctor told me I needed reading glasses, I was disappointed at the reality that my body was showing signs of age. At the time, I was approaching the 50 year mark.

I have always thought of myself as young and…


My sweetheart and I have been married for 29 years next month. When we were first dating in our whirlwind courtship, I could see that things were moving in the direction of a long-term relationship. One of the early questions I remember asking Suzanne was how she felt about finances in a marriage. This doesn’t sound terribly romantic but our attraction to each other was picking up steam. It seemed like an important aspect of a potential future marriage relationship that deserved at least a little consideration.

That’s because it does. Finances are consistently among the top two reasons given…


As a 17-year-old young man, I had an experience that helped spur me on to greater levels of achievement.

I was a youth leader for a group of boys my age in our neighborhood. With some adult supervision we were planning an upcoming trip to California with as many of the boys as we could convince to come. We were going to hit a few theme parks and spend a day at the beach. We needed to plan the details, earn the money, and arrange the logistics. …


Goals — A Process of Expediting Growth and Achievement

Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now. — Denis Waitley

Having a process and practice of setting goals is a two-edged sword. The positive side is that it accelerates the process of achievement. The negative side is that it causes discouragement and distortion of how you are actually doing, because your focus is primarily on something you haven’t attained, or a level you haven’t yet reached.

A healthy process of goal setting then includes appropriate reflection, gratitude, and the ability to…

James Stephenson

Author, Mentor, Coach

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