Abundant Life

Teaching: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones to Success (Part 1)

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

[The following article is an edited transcription of the June 2005 Tape/CD of the Month, Failing Forward by Dan Gallagher.]

It is my privilege to bring you this teaching which I have titled Failing Forward and subtitled Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones to Success. It was a number of years ago that I read a book by the author John Maxwell, and John’s book was titled Failing Forward. John’s pretty articulate, and he gave me a lot of inspiration to go the Word of God over the last few years to see what God has on the subject of failure and success and to see specifically if I can find examples from the Bible on Failing Forward. One of the points that John makes is that people in our society are always training for success, when really what we should be doing is training our young people on how to fail.

You see, failure is a lot more common than success. If people do not know how to fail properly and if they do not know how to fail forward, then they will never be able to reap the success that they really desire. You can be a winner in many ways, but you can only be a loser in one way—that is to fail and not look beyond the failure. One of the greatest problems that people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and then label them as failures. We are too quick to look at something when we are given some adversity or defeat and then give up. In fact, failing is really a gift if we can learn to have the proper perspective on it.

Why would I be qualified to do this teaching?

Well, I am not qualified because I am not necessarily a great success. I have to be honest with you; I am qualified because I have failed miserably in life. I have failed at marriage. I have made many mistakes as a father. I have failed in friendships, and I have failed in being a friend. I have failed in businesses. One time, I had a very successful construction company, and I lost it. I have failed in ministry. I have been kicked out of a leadership program, and I walked away from another, but I am qualified to do this teaching because in spite of those failures, in spite of those defeats, in spite of the adversity that I have been confronted with, I have learned how to succeed in marriage.

In fact, my wonderful wife, Lori, and I are in our fifteenth year of marriage. I have also learned how to succeed in being a loving husband and how to be a good father and hopefully how to be a great grandparent. I am now succeeding in friendships, and I have succeeded in business and hopefully now in ministry. Why? I have succeeded because I have learned the lesson of failing forward. That is why I am doing this teaching, because I want to inspire you. I want to encourage you. I want you to have hope and learn how to fail forward.

I am going to cover five different areas.

1) We are going to examine God’s Word to gain a biblical perspective on this subject. What does God have to say about failing, and does He have anything to say about failing forward? I think that you are going to be thrilled and exhilarated about what God has to say on this subject. Also, what does God have to say about success? I think that we need to have a biblical perspective on that as well.

2) We are going to review records of men and women in the Bible to see what lessons we can learn from their lives. We will look at lessons about how some have failed forward and some have not.

3) We will examine what God has to say about a few things pertaining to success; specifically, things that we may not in our modern/post-modern culture define as successful. I do believe that we need to go back to God’s Word and see how He defines it.

4) We will examine some common failure myths and become myth busters.

5) We will look at some keys to learn how to fail forward.

Something that I realized as I began to examine the Word of God is that I believe that God gave me the perspective that really His book, the Bible, is a story of failure. I am not trying to be blasphemous here. See, God has not always been successful, but one of the lessons that I believe that He wants us to see is that He knows how to turn His defeats and losses into successes. Consider for a moment Lucifer, the bright and morning star, the supreme angelic being, and one of the pinnacles of God’s creation. What does Lucifer do? He turns on God. He rejects God, and he leads open rebellion in the heavens against God. I would not consider that too much of a success story, and I am sure that you do not either. How about God’s first attempt for a family, Adam and Eve? God creates the heavens and the earth and all that we see—the skies above, the stars, the moon. He puts everything here for man’s provision. To provide for him and to show His loving concern for man. What does man do? Given a little bit of temptation, man rejects the Word of God and does not trust God. Man turns and walks away from God. Well, that is two strikes. Again, I do not consider that too much of a success story. In fact, I consider that a pretty big failure. God does not say, “That is it. I am going to take my ball and go home. I am not playing with you anymore.” No, he does not. He immediately sets in play the moves to start the redemption of mankind. God, in Genesis 3:15, describes the coming of the Savior. God begins to fail forward. He takes the failure that Lucifer has handed Him, and He begins to play forward. He begins to learn from what He has been dealt, and He moves it forward.

You see, when it comes to failing, we need to change our perspective. It is perspective that leads to perseverance. Perseverance brings longevity, and longevity brings increased opportunities for success. That is what failing forward is. Most of us are given some adversity or defeat, and we think that is the end of the game. But the fact is that if we are going to continue to press forward, when we get the defeat, when we are hit with adversity, if we will learn to fail forward, we will increase our opportunities for success.

That is what the lesson is about in this teaching.

Let’s take a look at a beautiful record of what God says about failing.

Proverbs 24:15 and 16
(15) Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against a righteous man’s house, do not raid His Dwelling place;
(16) for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

Again, how many times does a righteous man fall? He falls seven times; he rises again. That is the lesson of Scripture. That is what God wants us to take away—that a righteous man, when he falls, he gets up again. You know the number seven, in the Bible, means spiritual perfection or completeness. Every time you fall, the righteous man gets up. That is the lesson that God wants us to take away. We are going to fall. We are going to trip. We are going to stumble, but when we do, we need to get up, and we need to move on again. That is what a righteous man does.

You read the rest of the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here to inform and bless you. God granted you the gift of free will – take it or leave it).

More from Write From Karen


What Exactly Makes a Person Smart?

How exactly do YOU define intelligence?

I was listening to talk radio today (*gasp*) and the subject of intelligence came up.

What exactly makes a person smart?

Is a person smart if he/she believes or supports something that is wrong? (Which begs the question, what is the definition of wrong? And what’s wrong for one person isn’t wrong for another person).

Is a person smart if he/she uses big words? Or can articulate an argument? Perhaps a person is smart if he/she has an expensive degree from a well-known university.

Does being smart mean one can regurgitate facts, figures, passages? Does being smart mean being a good public speaker, or having the ability to convince normally rational, down-to-earth people to elect someone foolish? (*Cough-Obama-Cough*)

What exactly is the definition of smart?

When someone calls someone “smart”, exactly what are they referring to? The way they’re dressed? Their demeanor? Their speech? Their grammar?


I always wonder exactly what people mean when they call someone smart and always want to ask them to clarify the label; be specific, what exactly makes them smart?

I think a lot of people have smart MOMENTS. They APPEAR smart on the surface, but when you take away their self-imposed script, when you remove their talking points, they really don’t know what they’re talking about at all.

I think people make smart STATEMENTS, but when you ask them to clarify their arguments they choose to deflect the argument or answer questions with questions of their own – smart people answer questions because they CAN.

Once again, I think people, in general, are too willing to slap a smart label on someone without really checking to make sure they really know what they’re talking about.

Just look at the people in Congress right now. Listen to some of the stupid things they say, with a straight face, and who have no clue that what they said made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

What alarms me even more is that people don’t even RECOGNIZE that what was said didn’t make sense – they simply nod their heads in dumb agreement and accept it as fact.

And I’m talking about everyone, not just a certain party who shall remain nameless (but starts with a “D” and has the word DEMO in it).

My motto? ALWAYS QUESTION AUTHORITY. Don’t just take what someone says at face value, dig a little, educate yourself on both sides of the issue and then make your own informed decision on who is right and who is completely out of their mind.

What to know how I define a smart person? (Too bad, it’s my blog – neener, neener):

Someone who is educated, has common sense, is willing to ask questions and then listen to the answers, who has a strong emotional base and who controls his/her emotions and does not cave to emotional bias before coming to a conclusion and someone who can empathize with a person or situation without allowing that empathy to sway the outcome of the problem.

To me, being smart means balancing all of the above. I realize that’s a tall order, but it’s not impossible.

A smart person has the ability to look at all sides of an issue and then come to a rational, and logical, conclusion. Sometimes those conclusions are not popular, but they are sincere and often times right.

I think smart people have the ability to distance themselves from the issue at hand in order to give themselves a chance to look at the situation with an impartial eye. Smart people are not afraid of humility and have the strength of character to admit when they are wrong. Smart people are emotionally mature.

Smart people do not resort to name calling and insults during a debate or automatically assume that if someone disagrees with them, they are “trolls.”

Merriam Webster defines smart as:

mentally alert, bright, knowledgeable, shrewd

I think being “smart” actually means so much more.

random stuff

How to Be Alone

I know this time of year can be very painful for some people – loss of a loved one, no significant other … broken hearts, raw emotions.

Being alone is never easy – it’s nearly unbearable around the holidays.

Please know that you’re not REALLY alone, I’m there with you right now because you’re reading this. There is a whole world out there just waiting to see you – if you will only be willing to be seen.

I hope this video helps you feel better about being alone. Because even though being with family, with that special someone is great, being alone can be a welcome relief, too.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends.

Christmas song #17 Please Come Home for Christmas by Harry Connick Jr.


Icicle Queen, Name the Sickness, Job Opportunities


I use icicles on our Christmas tree. If you look at the ornament in the picture above, you can see them.

You don’t hear of people using icicles anymore. At least, I don’t. And I’ve been keeping an ear out – or at least, an eye out as I look at pictures bloggers post of their Christmas trees. (And it’s not like I go around and peer into people’s houses at their Christmas trees – though I totally would, because I’m super curious like that, if I didn’t think I’d be arrested for peeping tom-foolery).

But I use icicles. I like them. I don’t care what anyone says or thinks. We used them on our trees when I was a kid, and I’ve used them every year since being on my own.

*Side note: Why do cats love to eat icicles? They only throw them back up. I’ve always wondered.

I like icicles because they add a finishing touch to the tree. They make the tree sparkle and shimmer and give it an old-fashion feel.

My mother-in-law tickles me. She comes over, every year, and acts super impressed by our tree, every year.

Our tree is not impressive. It never really changes. It is, however, personal and well loved. Nearly every ornament on the tree is from a memory, whether it was given, or we purchased it or we picked it up at an event somewhere. There is absolutely nothing commercial about our tree. And we love it that way.

But my MIL comes over and oohs and aahs over it and ALWAYS, ALWAYS comments, in surprise, mind you, over my decision to use icicles.

*Side note: My mom used to save, and reuse, our icicles every year. I remember pulling icicles out of the box that looked like accordions some years because they were so crumpled. But we were poor, and my mom saved them so she wouldn’t have to spend another $0.25 buying another box. Kevin always laughs at that story. (Sorry mom, I couldn’t resist giving you a hard time about our recycled icicles. And I know, a quarter doesn’t seem like much, until you don’t have one).

I put them on the tree every year. There is no surprise. Perhaps she comments on our tree to make me feel good. Or perhaps she claims she loves it when she’s really thinking, “Gah. What an ugly tree.”

It doesn’t matter and I won’t apologize – our tree would not be complete without our icicles.


I got mad at Kevin the other day.

I had to. He simply didn’t give me a choice. He wouldn’t take me, or the fact that he’s had a cough for a solid month now, seriously. In addition to his cough, he sounds congested and can’t smell anything. When he told me the other night at dinner that he couldn’t taste anything, that’s when I knew it was time to go to the doctor. (And if I were to guess, I’d say he has a sinus infection).

I made him go to the doctor.

Actually, we went to a clinic. We went to a different clinic than the one I usually use. We chose this clinic because it’s owned by his primary doctor. (Though that will change shortly. Under the new health care law, doctors are no longer allowed to own their own clinics. In fact, the clinic had notices posted about the impending sale. And given this economy? I’m betting the clinic probably WON’T sale, which means there will likely be more people out of a job. THANKS Obama).

We walked in around 1:00 – we didn’t leave until nearly 2:30. They took an x-ray of Kevin’s chest, gave him a breathing treatment, gave him a prescription for three different medicines and then sent him on his way.

They didn’t tell him what was wrong, what he had and Kevin didn’t ask any questions.

AARGH! Talk about frustrating!

They gave him a prescription for some Mucinex (which we actually bought over-the-counter), an inhaler for breathing treatments (which is the same medicine I have to use on Jazz when his seasonal allergies morph into asthma) and antibiotics.

I’m now thinking his antibiotics are not strong enough because he still can’t smell or taste anything.

It’s going on day three. Though I wouldn’t expect him to be 100% by this time, he should have at least regained his sense of taste. We may have to go to a different clinic and request a stronger antibiotic. We’re giving it a few more days.

But this experience sort of sums up what is wrong with our health care system. The doctor at the clinic went through the motions. He took an x-ray that probably wasn’t needed (and we’re only hypothesizing, we think getting the x-ray was a ploy to get more money out of our insurance – we’re only guessing, I mean, it might have been necessary, but Kevin doesn’t think so), they gave him a breathing treatment that did absolutely nothing for him, shoved a prescription into his hand and sent him on his way without talking to him about what he had and what he could do in the future to avoid getting it again.

*Side note: Some of the best advice I ever got from a doctor concerning my sinus infection was, “Have you ever tried nose spray?” Ever since then, I’ve used nose spray whenever I get clogged up and I haven’t had a sinus infection since. THAT’S the sort of advice that comes in handy – give patients tips on how to stay healthy.

It’s like, people go to the doctor expecting him/her to fix whatever ails them, and rightly so, of course, but instead of learning about their condition and being educated on how they can take care of themselves to avoid future visits, patients just expect some sort of drug to be prescribed. So, the doctors give them what they expect and send them on their way. As my dads says, “the health care industry is a business. They don’t really care about you as a person, they care about getting you out of their office as quickly as possible so they can move on to the next person.”

Like cattle.

I thought that was a cold assessment when he first said it, but the more I think about it, the more I think he’s right.



Feel sorry for me? I feel sorry for me. But it’s not like we ever have any big plans for New Year’s Eve – we stay home, watch a movie, struggle to stay awake until midnight, give each other a quick kiss and then go to bed.

But the fact that he won’t BE here is what blows.

But like he said, at least he’s getting paid and he truly loves playing so … such is the life of a rock star, I suppose.



I really want to work at Missouri State University (MSU).

I know you’re thinking, “what happened to the whole paralegal idea??”

Good question! I haven’t ruled it out entirely, but I got to thinking. Paralegals work long hours, especially when their lawyers are going to trial. They also have to travel to take depositions …

Long hours and travel … do I really want to be away from my family that much? BUT, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities.

In the meantime, I’ve been trolling the MSU website and have my eye on a receptionist’s job. I’m hoping that my Bachelor’s degree (that I earned FROM MSU), will help set me above the pack. Not to mention, I have excellent writing skills (naturally *snort*), and have excellent secretarial skills.

I want to work at MSU because I love the university AND because I’m hoping they offer discounts on classes … discounts that we might be able to use if the boys decide they want to go to college there. (OR for me – I would LOVE to get my Masters degree).

I’m tempted to apply. I’m ready to apply, but Kevin is vetoing it, for now. (The reason why will be disclosed in a later post).



The book store is booming. We’ve been selling a lot of books and the boys are raking in the cash. In fact, Dude has enough money saved up that he can build his dream machine – a gaming computer.

He and Kevin have been discussing the various components involved and where to get the best deal. I imagine Dude will be ready to order the parts in the next few days so he’ll have everything to assemble over Christmas break.

He’s on his own. Dude has been doing researching and comparative shopping all on his own. He’s been asking for Kevin’s opinion, but he’s making the final decisions. He’s also putting this computer together all by himself. It’ll be good practice for him.

To say he’s excited about this would be putting it mildly.



I’m concerned about Dude’s hair. It’s a rat’s nest and he never takes care of it, so it looks greasy and bad all the time. In an effort to condition him for the work world, I bribed him into getting a traditional “boy” cut, and then keeping it that way. I told him we’d pay $30 of the total cost of his computer and to my utter surprise, he agreed!

However. He has requested that we not get it done until after school on the last day before Christmas break so he can get used to it.

I’ll be posting before and after pictures, of course.


I will also be posting video of Jazz’s Christmas concert at school next week, too. He told me that he volunteered for a solo and he’s quite looking forward to playing it for us.

I’m telling you guys, if Jazz keeps up with his grades and maintains his excellent GPA, he just MIGHT be eligible for a music scholarship.

We’re crossing our fingers.



Pass the tape, won’t you?

Christmas song #16 I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Josh Grobin

Abundant Life

Audio Teaching: Reaching Out with the Love of God or Christianity: The Come as You Are Party

by John Schoenheit
It is easy to see sin and problems in other people’s lives, and it seems natural that the best way to help someone is to point out how he could change and be better. However, the wrong kind of “correction” can be counterproductive. Jesus Christ showed us how to reach out with the love of God. He loved both the sinners and the Pharisees who were around him. In so doing, he left us a model to follow and showed that the language of love is universal. He told three parables in Luke 15 that clearly show God’s love for all people. This tape covers those parables and some other verses about reproof and correction that we as Christians should heed in order to best love one another as members of the Body of Christ.

Click the arrow to listen.

Transcription | Related Topic

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Unusual Tree Topper

Ignore this picture.

Well, don’t ignore it, just don’t judge it too harshly. It was actually an experiment.

Don’t ask me what that experiment was, I don’t have a name for it. I saw this concept (breaking up one picture into two different parts) on another blog and thought I would play around with it. Granted, the subject matter is a little dull, but you get the gist of it.

Or maybe you don’t.

This is the star on top of our tree. I have no idea what this star is called … a .. pointy silver star with thumb holes punched into the base. (My descriptive powers are on Christmas break. Hush).

All I know? Is that this particular Christmas decoration is PRECIOUS in our household. The boys know to be extra careful with this puppy because I will go ballistic if it breaks. (Okay, not really, but I’ll be sad, okay? Actually, it wouldn’t take much effort to break it. Just hold it in the palm of your hand and squeeze – *pop*).

I have no idea why I’m so attached to this tree-topper-star-thingie because it doesn’t hold any sort of sentimental value for any of us and if we’re honest, is sort of ugly, but it’s become a Christmas tradition in our household. A Christmas tradition that started when I was a litlte girl.

Not this particular star, but one like it.

I think the one on top of our tree was gold. Same sort of star, but gold. (I can imagine my mother shaking her head and saying to my dad, “Nope. She’s wrong again. It was gold AND silver.” I’m rather infamous for remembering things wrong).

For some odd reason, I remember that silly looking star above anything else on my childhood tree.

When Kevin and I started dating (we lived in “sin” for two years before we got married – another post for another time), I dug out my old, crappy (cheap) Christmas tree and we decorated it with our meager (cheap) ornaments. When I put my gaudy-looking star on top (and trust me, it was a hideous looking star), Kevin said something about having a gold pointy star on his family’s Christmas tree growing up.

The same kind of star we had used on OUR tree.

(It was quite obvious to me that we belonged together from that point on – the SAME kind of weird looking star?? What were the odds?)

We spent several years actively looking for one of those weird looking stars. It was only after we STOPPED actively looking for one did we finally stumble on one. (Isn’t that always the case?)

And there it’s been perched on top of our tree ever since. Though we haven’t actively been searching for another one, I have yet to find another one. They’re hard to come by, apparently.

Though it looks odd, jutting out of the top of our tree like an ominous silver finger flipping us the bird, it also looks right. It fits. It completes our tree.

This unusual tree topper fits our family.

What sort of tree topper do you have on your Christmas tree?

Christmas song #14 Carol of the Bell by Barlow Girl