On Suffering the Loss of a Child

And How to Strive for What Matters Most in Difficult Circumstances

On a Friday afternoon last month, just when one’s thoughts might wander to the weekend, I received the call. My wife had gone to the doctor for a routine checkup. But the doctor couldn’t find our baby’s heartbeat. At 9 weeks along, we had lost our 4th child—Mary Rose—to miscarriage.

My family, huddled together, looking into the grave of Mary Rose

The burial of Mary Rose and other miscarried infants in Mount Olivet Cemetery; Wheat Ridge, CO

The floor seemed to go out from under my feet. Too many realities struck me all at once; I couldn’t process them.

The initial shock turned quickly to sorrow as some of the implications began to take root. One of the hardest aspects for me is accepting that I won’t be able to get to know her, at least not in this life. I won’t be able to memorize and anticipate her smile. I won’t be able to hear her voice. No “papa doggy” rides. No sleepless nights, which I would gladly have endured.

To not be able to experience Mary Rose is a gut-wrenching loss. To suffer it profoundly is understandable and fitting. Feeling the loss keenly manifests her loveableness.

Yet at the same time, to suffer—and only to suffer—the loss would be to miss an opportunity. For good—some good, at least—can come from anything. Even from death. To find that good and bring it to birth is to honor even more the life of the one who passed. I owe it to Mary Rose to try to make of her death the greatest contribution possible to what matters most. But how? (more…)

Why I was Totally Wrong about the Total Eclipse

And What My Mistake Teaches about What Matters Most

A few weeks before the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, a friend asked if I was going to drive 4 hours north into Wyoming to see it. That’s the first I’d heard of the eclipse. I replied that if a 4-hour drive would allow for a total eclipse, then I had to imagine that no drive at all would allow me to see most of it.

Sun's corona during total eclipse

The moon, with the sun’s corona around it, during a total solar eclipse

A little research confirmed that I’d be able to see 92% of the eclipse from where I live. It couldn’t possibly be worth an 8+ hour round-trip drive just to see 8% more of the eclipse. Or so I reasoned. (more…)

Money Can Buy Happiness? It’s About Time.

New Research Reveals a Previously Unexamined Route to Happiness: Spending Money to Buy Time

If you were given $40 on the condition that you had to spend it, what would you spend it on? What type of purchase do you think would increase your happiness?

Man holding money and smiling, symbolizing his happiness

If you’re like 98% of people studied, you wouldn’t choose to spend the $40 on time-saving services such as someone else cleaning, shopping, or cooking for you. But new research suggests you might want to rethink that decision. (more…)

Want What Matters Most? Waste Time on It.

The Importance of Wasting Time, Part 2 of 2

In my previous post, I argued that in certain situations wasting time can, paradoxically, lead to greater efficiency. But there are higher goods than efficiency. And those goods often cannot be obtained in any other way than by wasting time on them.

My daughter and her great grandma, my dad’s mom

In this post I’ll provide examples of such goods and a principle for when to waste time in their pursuit. (more…)

Why a Time Budget Helps You Achieve What Matters Most

And How to Make a Time Budget in 4 Steps

This is a guest post written by Mike Antonacci. Mike is a blogger who focuses on helping people become the hero God is calling them to be. For those who know Mike, his life provides a great example of how to accomplish what matters most to you by budgeting time.

Do you ever wish there were more hours in a day? Or feel like your schedule is crowded with external demands and you don’t have time for the most important things? If so, you’re not alone. Around half of Americans report not having enough time to do what they want. In this post, I’ll show you how to make a time budget. A time budget allows you to see where you’re going, stop drifting in life, and do what’s most important to you.

Clock representing the need to budget your time

Here’s how to make a time budget in 4 steps: (more…)

2 Ways to Have what Tom Brady Wishes He Had

Why it’s Important to Consider What Matters Most and to Pursue It

I recently heard a story about New England quarterback Tom Brady that illustrates the importance of knowing what matters most and pursuing it. By 2005, 27-year-old Tom Brady had already won three Super Bowls. Brady was making millions of dollars. He was dating a model. He had it all. Or so you might think.

Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen at the 2017 Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY on May 1st, 2017

Tom Brady and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen

That year 60 Minutues correspondent Steve Kroft interviewed Brady. Kroft asked him what he made of his success. This was Brady’s stunning reply: (more…)

10 Lessons from 10 Years of Marriage

On the Occasion of Our 10-Year Wedding Anniversary

This blog is about the pursuit of what matters most. My angle is to help you have more time and money to that end, as time and money are huge levers. But they are only levers. What matters more is what matters most. Today I am celebrating a key ingredient of what matters most to me: my marriage. Today is Sarah’s and my 10-year wedding anniversary.

Brian and Sarah, with Sarah holding flowers

Our Wedding Day: May 19, 2007

In commemoration of this occasion, I thought I’d share 10 lessons from 10 years of marriage. Many apply to any pursuit of what matters most. Here goes: (more…)

In a Difficult Situation? Change, Leave, or Accept It.

How to Find a Way Beyond Frustration

Do you ever feel stuck in life? Like you’re caught in a negative situation that you can’t do anything about? I think we all do at times. Perhaps you’ve felt this way in a relationship, a job, or any number of other circumstances. There are few poorer or sadder ways to spend this life’s limited time than feeling trapped and powerless.

Man looking out over the ocean, contemplating a difficult situation

Such situations are frustrating. They make it hard to live for what matters most. It’s easy to complain about them, but complaining doesn’t make them better. In fact, it makes them worse.

There often aren’t easy answers to such situations. And I’m not about to provide one. But I did read something recently that I found illuminative and empowering for circumstances such as these. The simple quote I read is this: (more…)

Why I Proposed at the Foot of the Cross of Christ

And How Suffering is an Opportunity to Express our Love for What Matters Most

I wasn’t sure how to sneak a diamond ring into Israel without my girlfriend noticing. If I put it in my backpack, she might stumble upon it as we traveled. But if I carried it on me, would it set off the airport metal detector? The last thing I wanted was to have to show the ring to the TSA. If they saw it, my girlfriend would, too. What then? Would I drop to a knee and propose in airport security? I didn’t want to think about it.

Sarah and I praying at the foot of the Cross

Sarah and I praying at the foot of the Cross, where we got engaged

In the end, I carried the ring in a money belt, which I wore inside my pants, around my waist. (Yes, I thought that upon popping the question, my girlfriend would say “yes” despite the fashion statement that wearing a money belt makes. Guess I thought she really loved me.)

The only time I took that money belt off was to quickly send it through airport scanners. Otherwise, I kept it glued to me. And what with the Israeli heat, I don’t use “glued” lightly. (more…)

How to Live the 80/20 Rule for What Matters Most

Why the 80/20 Rule is a Key Principle for Having More Time and Money

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of effects are determined by 20% of their causes. The rule is also known as the Pareto Principle, after the 19th Century Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. Pareto noticed that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the peapods. (Weird thing to notice.) He also showed that about 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

Man contemplating how he can use the 80/20 rule to achieve 80% of the result with 20% of the input

The Pareto Principle is not a law, like gravity. It’s a rule of thumb. It fits a wide array of phenomena. Consider, for instance, these applications of the rule across a variety of fields: (more…)