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Home Building Estimates has released a new infographic on home construction in the United States. Check out a preview below and click the link to see the detailed infographic. Please share it!

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By Nate LaClaire —  April 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

I know it’s the wrong time of year for this, but do you recall the Joni Mitchell song, River?

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Somehow that song resonates with me right now.

I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

There’s no “baby” in my story, but I’m hard to handle, selfish, and sad. And “I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”

I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
I wish I had a river I could skate away on
I made my baby cry

This post is the first part of a series. Stay tuned for more information.




Setting Goals

By Nate LaClaire —  August 1, 2012 — Leave a comment

Goals. So many of us have some hazy ideas that we refer to as goals, but how many of us accomplish them? How many of us even go so far as to turn them into something solid and truly commit to them? We say things like, “my goal is to lose weight,” or, “my goal is to visit Rome,” but somehow we never make it. Why? In some cases, we are afraid. At least that’s been my experience. The thought of reaching our goals scares us, whether because of the unknown “what comes next” or simply because as awesome as the goal sounds, it’s something new and frightening. In other cases, we just don’t do what is needed to accomplish the goal, including solidifying what exactly our goal is.

Michael Hyatt has covered the topic of goal writing from various angles. He says that goals should be S. M. A. R. T.:

  • Specific – define exactly what you want to accomplish with as much specificity as possible
  • Measurable – for example, “lose 20 pounds” not “lose some weight”
  • Actionable – start it with a verb
  • Realistic – yes, you want to push yourself, but don’t set the bar so high that you can’t possibly achieve it
  • Time-bound – give yourself a deadline

Michael also says that goals should be written down and made public. This gives you accountability. Maybe you share your goals with an accountability partner, your spouse, your family, or maybe with the whole world, but publicize them somehow.

I’m terrible at setting goals and worse at accomplishing the ones that I do set. I could leave it at that and continue “spinning my wheels” and never accomplish anything. After all, I’m bad at it. It’s just the way I am.

I’ve chosen to not do that, though. Goal #1: prepare a list of goals for the next year and revise my “contract with myself” by August 1 (I created this goal on 7/18). The list of goals should prepare me for the undertaking I’ve recently committed myself to and for future success. Goal accomplished!

I will be announcing here more about that undertaking in the next few of weeks. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’ve decided that I’m not going to allow it to become one of those things that I “never got around to.”

I’ll also be detailing at least some of my goals and discussing portions of my contract on my blog in the near future. The focus of my blog going forward (Faith, Life, Intentional Living) is directly related to my contract and my goals. Some of the goals and portions of my contract are between me, God, and my accountability partner, but the rest will be public. I’ll need your help staying on track.

By the way, I’ve set another goal: lose 6 pounds by August 20, 2012 (my 31st birthday), by using the Lose It app to ensure that my caloric intake stays within a daily budget and exercising at least 30 minutes daily. It’s specific (what and how), measurable (an exact quantity), actionable (lose), realistic (2 pounds per week, based on my current weight, is easily accomplishable), and time-bound (August 20). That’s step one in a larger health-related goal, but we’ll talk about that later.

What about you? Please share your experience with goal setting and/or a S. M. A. R. T. goal that you have set.

To my friends in the USA, I wish you a happy and healthy Independence Day. May we remember today the sacrifices of so many who made possible the freedoms that we enjoy.

About a year ago I read a fantastic book by Seth Godin called Poke the Box. The publisher describes the book as such:

Poke the Box is a manifesto by bestselling author Seth Godin that just might make you uncomfortable. It’s a call to action about the initiative you’re taking— in your job or in your life. Godin knows that one of our scarcest resources is the spark of initiative in most organizations (and most careers)— the person with the guts to say, “I want to start stuff.”

I have an extra hardcover copy of the English edition that I’m giving away to one of my readers! Please enter below!

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I recently received a distressing email from Javed Irshad, who, with his family, runs a Christian ministry in Pakistan, reaching out to Pakistani children. Here is what Javed shared:

Dear Brother Nate,

Christians in Pakistan are in “grievous distress” as large swathes of Pakistan are once again submerged in water. Serious flooding has forced thousands of people into emergency camps where facilities are poor and they are at risk of catching diseases such as malaria, dysentery and dengue fever. It comes exactly one year after flood waters covered vast swathes of Pakistan last summer.

Some areas were seeing worse flooding than last year, with the equivalent of an entire monsoon season’s worth of rain falling in just a few days. It warned that Christians were particularly vulnerable because they already live in poverty and is often overlooked in the distribution of aid. We are terribly sad to see the destruction and poor condition of the people affected by heavy rains.

We have noticed and seen that Christians are being deprived of the help, relief and support that other people are getting.

Our Ministry has launched an emergency appeal to provide food, clean water and hygiene products to Pakistani Christians caught up in the floods and as I shared with you that many of Christian families are staying with us.

In this latest calamity our brothers and sisters in Pakistan have no way to help themselves, and other organisations may never come to their aid.

“They are crying out to us for their very lives. Will you please help us help them to survive?”

You can learn more about Javed and his ministry by visiting Photos of the flood relief team can be found here. Oxfam America has additional information about the crisis in Pakistan. At the bottom of this post is a video with further information.

When I spoke with Javed recently, he had 27 people living with him and they were in dire need of funds to purchase food and will soon be in need of warm clothing as well. Please join with me in helping Pakistani flood victims. You can email Javed at or find him on Facebook at to learn more about how to help. A little bit of help can go a long way.

Only 144 Hours

By Nate LaClaire —  August 12, 2011 — Leave a comment

How would you like to save a boat load of money on ministry resources? I recently learned about though Tony Morgan Live. offers “epic 144 hour sales” for churches. It’s kind of like Groupon for Christian ministries. The concept is awesome and the savings are HUGE! For example, the site is launching a deal today that includes $1,074 worth of children’s ministry resources for only $97. If my math is correct, that’s over a 90% savings. There’s one caveat, though: each and every deal lasts only for 144 hours, so you better pay attention and buy quick. Sometimes there are also limited numbers of some resources, so you’ll get a better deal until those resources are sold out. For example, there is a single computer desk that will be included with the first purchase of the children’s ministry resources package and only the first 100 purchasers will receive a copy of the book Think Orange. I’ve included a video below describing the latest deal. To learn more or to buy, visit

How do you define success? In The Ultimate Journey, Jim Stovall’s third novel following the life of Jason Stevens, the reader takes a look at this question through the life of Jason’s grandfather, Red. As Jason and his new bride, Alexia, begin their journey together, we are given a glimpse into true success through the eyes of Red’s personal chauffeur and through Red’s diary. This is done using the 12 gifts from Stovall’s first novel, The Ultimate Gift, as the basis.

Like The Ultimate Gift, I found this book inspiring. Stovall uses a beautiful and touching story to give a timeless message to the reader about the meaning of life and how to find true success. You will laugh and you will cry. We are reminded on multiple occasions of Alexia’s daughter, Emily, who brought she and Jason together in the first novel. We are also reminded of many moments from the first novel and even given new insight into some of what took place in the same.

I have only read the first and third novels in this series, but I am looking forward to reading the second also. I encourage you to read all three as well. You will be touched, you will be inspired, and maybe you will become a better person because of it.

The audiobook was read by Paul Michael, who also narrated A Tale of Three Kings. As with the other book, he did an excellent job. I became immersed in the story as I listened because of his reading. The production quality was also very good. Another great release from christianaudio.

“Should I trust the advice of my non-Christian parents?”

“If I’m not called to be a minister, can my life count for Christ?”

“How do I teach my children humility without harming their self-esteem?”

“How do I know if I’m in love?”

These, in a nutshell, are just a few of the 171 questions that pastor and best-selling author Max Lucado answers in his most recent book, Max On Life: Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions. Unwaveringly using the Bible as foundation, Max provides answers to questions that have been asked of him via letters, emails, and even on Dunkin Donuts napkins over his 25 years of writing and ministry, adding illustrations from his life when applicable. Scripture and topical indexes are provided, allowing one to use the book as a reference.

I found this book encouraging and enlightening. I love reading Max Lucado’s writing and listening to and watching his messages and this book didn’t disappoint. With his signature conversational style he delivers at times profound insights and at other times gentle reminders. He doesn’t shy away from taking a harsh tone when it is needed, but delivers most of his answers in the encouraging tone for which he is known and loved. I urge you to read this book from cover to cover because it is too good to just leave on your bookshelf to be used as reference, but I also encourage you to keep it on your shelf after its first reading to be used in times of need.

Power outage

By Nate LaClaire —  November 8, 2010 — Leave a comment

We lost our electricity last night at around midnight and regained it sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 this afternoon. I posted to my blog shortly before 1:00 this afternoon. Isn’t scheduled posting a wonderful thing? 🙂