September, 2022



“We few. We happy few.
We band of brothers, for he today
That sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother.”


Shakespeare’s line from Henry V is often used in terms of war and the brotherhood that is formed among a group of soldiers as they fine-tune their craft. If I may offer another angle, I sometimes wonder if this brotherhood mentality can’t be seen and experienced in other teams and types of work. Caring for one another while making each other laugh, to embrace the challenge at hand and get through it together happens in coal mines, on top of cell phone towers, and in sewers. Here at the Plain Values office, where one of the most dangerous risks we face are rogue paper cuts, we routinely find ways to make each other laugh till bubbles of snot come gurgling out… somewhere!

A few weeks ago, I read through Ecclesiastes. Since then, I have been observing and thinking about all the meaninglessness I see today. Solomon, the wisest guy ever, tells us how pointless and futile our thinking often is in no uncertain terms. 

My friend Brian recently shared of his search for answers to a decades-long saga in which his grandpa disowned his family. As his grandpa had passed away years ago, my friend longed for closure. How and why did this happen? Without giving anything away, it was a massive miscommunication. Years went by, the grandpa passed into eternity, and still, the mutual mystification continued… until Brian dug in and began asking the hard questions. 

You might be wondering how in the world this goofball is going to tie three unrelated thoughts and stories into a knot and make his point; and that would be a fair question! Here it is: outside of our relationship with our Creator, the people around us, our spouses, our families, the folks we get to work with are the most important of our lives. You don’t build a brotherhood around truths that matter and bind us together without communication. Genuine and deep communication. I don’t care, nor did Solomon for that matter, how much or how little you have, who your parents were, or where you studied– we are all born with a longing to belong! We all hope to be part of a tribe bigger than ourselves and to build relationships that make eternal impacts. I dare you to find joy in the middle of hard things. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying it’s worth it!

As always, may you find joy in the simple things.

Plain Values Publisher


Limitless Progress – Update #6

Limitless Progress – Update #6

The other night Marlin was playing with the boys after dinner, as they often do each evening. Marlin asked Bennett a question and Bennett replied with a confident, “No way!” We froze. Our eyes grew wide, and we looked at each other in wonder. Marlin asked him to say...

February, 2023

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An Update from Tumaini Children’s Home | Feb, 2023

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Horace and Phyllis Leister from the Tumaini Children’s Home in Kenya, Africa, recently contacted Room to Bloom with updates on two (of their 44) children. Room to Bloom shared about their daughter, Debby, in the September issue. Debby is still awaiting her surgery in...