Then I forgot to do the work

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

Here is the bottom line upfront: two of the biggest mistakes you can make as a writer are chasing a result instead of loving the process and failing to develop a deep relationship with your subject.

This is a tale of how I got gobsmacked for achieving both of those fails.

I’ve gotten so many scam-laden emails in my adult life, I could honestly write a compelling book on my top 500 favorites. So when I received one with those words in the subject line, I nearly deleted it without even opening it.

A poem about seeking the Spirit of God

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Lord, can I be honest?
I have something to say
Someone asked me a question
I couldn’t answer today
He asked me how to know You
He was looking for The Way
I opened my mouth to answer
But I had nothing real to say

Lord, I don’t know how to do this
I don’t know how to feel
To look inside myself
And know that You are real

My path has never been easy
I’ve been tossed to and fro
Stumbled from one year to the next
Not knowing where to go
My spirit lacks the water
It needs to truly grow
I feel like…

Make this time bearable

Photo by Jon Asato on Unsplash

When the social distancing and stay-at-home mandates first crashed down on my roof, I immediately feared the worst. Even as I dealt with the shocking reality that life was changing drastically for most of us, my mind immediately raced to the far end of worst-case scenarios for my own household.

In short, I thought this new reality would really test my wife’s patience.

She has an independent business that she runs out of our home. She is a self-sufficient, extremely motivated professional who is ultra-focused on TCB — taking care of business. …

You gotta hunt the good stuff…

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

We live in a far different society today than we did in the mid- to late-90s. I know, not exactly a hot take, right? But think about how different things are today.

Alannis Morissette screamed at us about failed relationships and crooned about her obvious misunderstanding of the word “irony.” Kirk Cobain reluctantly became the voice of a generation by rage-bathing us with lyrics about —I don’t know — mosquitoes and libidos, I guess. Drop a comment if you have any idea what the heck he was talking about.

High school- and college-aged youth relished the anger spewing forth from…

What Maxwell has taught us about life in our brief time together

I need to clean my mirrors. Photo taken by author.

I never contemplated having another dog. My previous foray into that did not go well; I adopted two rescue dogs during my time in Puerto Rico that were completely unteachable. When it was time to move back to the continental U.S., I found good homes for both and wished their new families bueno suerte as I backed out of their driveways.

Maxwell came to us through somewhat extraordinary means. His lifelong momma was no longer able to care for him, so she asked for help on Facebook in re-homing him. …

The art of making chicken salad out of that other stuff

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The COVID-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on all manner of normal life. Unless you are a contestant on the German version of Big Brother, this thing has changed your world in a drastic way. Curfews are being established across the country, many establishments are closing, and various services are suddenly unavailable. One thing it cannot change, however, is your creativity.

Online streaming services have your back when it comes to filling time, sure, but why not resolve to do something productive? Why not write?

Nothing is a better friend to the concept of productivity than free time. Rather than dedicating…

Be remembered for the right reasons

Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

Opinions on public reaction to the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus are widely varied. Some believe this is no big deal, while others are convinced that this is the next Black Plague. Regardless of which side you come down on (I’m currently somewhere in the middle), this is bound to affect us all to some degree.

I was bummed when the NBA suspended their season. The NHL followed suit, and Major League Baseball ended Spring Training and pushed back Opening Day. Then the NCAA canceled all postseason basketball tournaments. While I completely get why (and support it after really thinking it…

Instead, take a long look at yourself

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

If you’re struggling in a relationship, then listen up. That road is never an easy one under the best of circumstances, so stop believing the lie that it is only meant to be if it’s easy. I have some truth for you about that.

If your relationship is so easy you can’t believe it, then don’t believe it.

Successful relationships take work by both parties. Unsuccessful ones, too, but mostly the work being done in those is of the finger-pointing variety.

Oh, that is hard work too, you know. Especially when the result is endless fighting that not only saps…

It’s important to not just hear the words of others, but also to do the right thing with them.

Photo by Dmitry Vechorko on Unsplash

Most people love to talk, but few think it’s worth their time to listen. And yes, your mother was right. There is a difference between hearing someone and listening to them. That difference lies in what you choose to do with their words once they are spoken.

I have taught classes on relationship communication for nearly 15 years, all while struggling to get it right myself. You know the old saying:

Before we get into how to effectively listen to someone, let’s consider some of the reasons…

The hard work of framing your failure in the context of His grace

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

We are human. Failure happens to all of us, and it affects us all in different ways. The secret to living our best life is not in avoiding these failures, but in how to cope with, learn from, and avoid repeating them in the future.

As people of faith, we can sometimes take failure much harder than we should. Many times, we shift the blame for these tough circumstances to God, figuring that if He were really all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, then He wouldn’t allow us to suffer.

God never promised we wouldn’t have a tough time, however. …

Frank Vaughn

Husband. Father of three. Veteran. Writer. Podcaster. Photographer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store