In Courage

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

When we encourage someone they go out “in courage.” Pretty cool thought. Recently I had the opportunity to encourage a 3rd grade girl. She was in tears during lunch. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me a boy had called her fat. I looked at her and said, “What he said does not matter. You are a beautiful girl. In fact, what everyone else thinks or says about you does not matter either. What matters is what YOU think and say about yourself.” I pointed to my heart and said, “This is what matters.”

For many weeks after the incident this little girl would pop up around me when I was making my rounds. She would just stand there quietly smiling up at me. I let her talk to me and gave her my full attention despite the busy activities going on about me. I truly believe that these small moments will help her form a positive self-identity, Everyone wants to be loved for who they are. Now I have a BFF. :o)

There was a story in the Bible about a great warrior named Gideon. The funny thing about the story is that when God called him to battle, he was hiding in a cave and threshing wheat in a winepress! Not exactly the picture of a great warrior! But you know what the Angel of the Lord said? He did not make fun of him, call him a wimp, or anything derogatory. He called him “A mighty man of valor.” I think Gideon needed to be reminded that he WAS a mighty man of valor despite the circumstances. Gideon went on to defeat the enemy with just a handful of men…and the help of God, of course.

We have the opportunity to send people out in courage every day. Take the opportunities when you see them The results are remarkable because they can last a lifetime.


Dan Skognes

Who Are You?

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

That title may remind you of the lyrics from the theme song of the rock group The Who. It drives home the gnawing question we all have to unlock for ourselves. Who are we, and what are we supposed to do with our lives?

I was at a men’s conference where we were challenged on a multitude of levels to think differently, and it begins with knowing who we are. I was talking to a man that I met there and he admitted to me that he was unhappy doing what he was doing for a living. When I asked him what he REALLY wanted to do, he had some difficulty defining it. I realize it is easier said than done, but I told him that he had to figure out what he was really passionate about and do that. I could see the wheels turning in his head as he was processing it and trying to figure it out.

We all go through periods where we wonder who we are, what we should be doing, and how we should do it. Some people figure it out early in life and others never figure it out. Here are some noteworthy quotes from a couple of the speakers we heard at the seminar.

  • “We all want to kill giants as long as they look like dwarves. We think if God wants something for us He will bring it to us rather than through us. We have to go through great battles to achieve greatness.”
  • “Going through pain is part of the process.”
  • “Stop running from your future, lean into it.”
  • “Don’t aspire to be just great. Aspire to serve all. Fame is what you do for yourself. Greatness is what you do for others.”
  • “It doesn’t matter what anyone else does. I need to be the greatest version of me the world has seen.” Erwin McManus


  • “God did not give us a spirit of fear, yet half of us are afraid of losing our jobs. The other half are afraid they will keep them.”
  • “When a puppy messes in the house, you don’t love it any less. God does not love us any less when we mess up. We all make mistakes.”
  • “We don’t need people to hold us accountable and judge us. We need people to embrace us and encourage us. Don’t run away from people who mess up. Run TO them. Embrace them.”
  • “Do you know what you want to do? Activity does not equal productivity. Do the things that last. Challenge the boundaries.”
  • “It is easy to get a couple of degrees off course on your journey. That small mistake can make you miss your destination totally. Know where your true North is, and stay focused. Life is full of distractions.”
  • “Life is like flying a helicopter. You have to make a thousand movements the size of a quarter to stay on course.”
  • “Live your life so that you live life constantly and intentionally surprised, not fearful.” Bob Goff


Dan Skognes

Red Red Eyes

Posted in Funny

(A tribute to teachers to the tune of Red Red Wine)

Red red eyes, burn in my head

Make me forget that I

Should be in my bed


Red red lines are covering my eyes

I thought I was doing right

Grading papers all night

With red red eyes


I had sworn that with time

I would find my way to bed

I was wrong now I find

Just one thing makes me forget

Red red eyes


Stay closed for me

I can’t stay up all night

It’s tearing apart

My blue blue eyes


I had sworn that with time

I would find my way to bed

I was wrong, now I find

Just one thing makes me forget

Red red eyes


Oh how I need Visine

Help me to see again

Got papers to grade again

Through red red eyes



Dan Skognes

Old People

Posted in Funny, Relationships

Have you noticed how old everyone else looks as you get older? Particularly at Homecoming. That is why I don’t like going anymore. I am now in the group of people that the kids gawk at and giggle about how old they look. They can’t believe we are still driving. Admittedly some of us shouldn’t be…but I am not there yet!

I don’t like getting old and frankly, I resent the fact that my aches and pains are now my main topics of conversation. I don’t like to be raising my hand for another prayer request every week at church. What really irritates me is that my mind still thinks I am 32.

My wife and I were talking about wisdom and how much we have learned from making mistakes. She laughed and said she did not think she was much wiser now because she still thinks with her heart…and that gets her in trouble because people tend to take advantage of that. I am like that too, except that now I trust…but verify. It is a lot less painful in the end.

I was talking about my bad back to a friend of mine who is fighting cancer. We make quite a pair! Anyway, he sent me a couple of things to encourage me. I thought they were excellent, so I am passing them on to you.

Exercise for People Over 50

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you can have plenty of room at each side.

With a five pound sack in each hand extend your arms straight out from your side, and hold them there as long as you can.

Try to get a full minute, and then relax.  Each day you will find that you can hold this position a little bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to ten pound sacks. Then fifty pound sacks, and then eventually, try to get to where you can lift a one hundred pound sack in each hand, and hold your arms straight out for more than a full minute. (I’m at this level)

After you feel confident at this level, put a potato in each sack. (I am proud to say that I am now at the level where I have a potato in each sack!)

Benefits of Growing Older

  1. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
  2. Kidnappers are not interested in you.
  3. No one expects you to run into a burning building.
  4. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
  5. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
  6. Things you buy now never wear out.
  7. You can eat dinner at 4 p.m.
  8. Senior citizen discounts abound. You just have to remember to use them.


Dan Skognes








Soap Operas

Posted in Funny, Motivational, Relationships

It seems that some people are just destined to be dramatic, but I have to wonder why? Life does not have to be full of drama every day, does it? Don’t we have enough real issues without the drama?

One of the things about kids is that they learn very early how to turn on the drama for effect. They tattle, they cry, they hit, they scream, they pout, and they throw temper tantrums. I recall seeing a father in Branson many years ago sitting on a bench. His hands were cupped around his face as he calmly watched his toddler in a screaming tantrum laying in front of him on the sidewalk. Tourists walked about and were laughing at the scene. I wish I had put it on video. It would have gone viral for sure.

My wife was telling me of a funny quote she saw recently. It said, “Have you ever looked around your family and thought: Well, aren’t we just two clowns short of a circus?”  LOL. Thankfully, my family is not in that category now, but I know plenty that are.

The problem with living a life full of drama is that it robs you of your peace. Just watch the people that are constantly in turmoil and see if this is not true. They lack the ability to cope, so they stress, they complain, they gossip, and they stir the pot to make others feel their pain.

I try to avoid people who live like that. It seems that they are constantly trying to get others to wallow in the mire with them. I have wallowed in self-pity before and it isn’t pretty. At some point we have to shake it off and realize that if we want things to be different, WE have to change. We have to take on the attitude that says: “You can change the world when you change YOUR world.”

Unless you are professional actor, please leave the drama to the pros.  


Dan Skognes


Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

If you want to rock your world, RAK it. That simply stands for doing Random Acts of Kindness. We have a motto at our school, “Others before self.” How can you practice that on a daily basis? RAK.

The rules to do a RAK are simple:

  • It should be done anonymously if possible. If you do it to be thanked or recognized, you have done it for the wrong reason. You miss not just the point, but the blessing. Remember that the greatest gifts in life are those that can never be repaid.
  • Cost is not important. Everyone can afford to do a RAK. Of course, if you are blessed financially, then you should RAK accordingly. Just keep it anonymous.

Here are some ideas to try:

  • Next time you go through a drive-through at a fast food place, pay for your meal and the car behind you. Just tell the person at the window to tell the person behind you, “God just wanted to say that He loves you.” :o) We all need to be reminded of that from time to time, don’t we? I know I am not God, but I can be a representative of His hands and voice.
  • If you see a single Mom and her kid having lunch or dinner, pick of the tab for them.
  • If you see a homeless person, buy them a lunch and have it delivered to them. With Uber, you can do this easily.
  • If you see someone broken down on the side of the road, see if you can help. I realize that if you are a lady you have be cautious about doing this, but you could pull over and let them know you are calling someone to help them at the very least.
  • Next time you have a meal, leave a tip that is the size of your check. Having been a waiter early in my career, I can testify that waiters and waitresses have tough jobs. They work long hours for very little reward. I am not talking about the ones in the high end restaurants. I mean the ones that work at IHOP, for instance.
  • “Adopt” a person who is incarcerated. You may not be able to do that anonymously, but you can do it without expecting anything from them. A letter written to them on a weekly basis is like gold to them.
  • Be a “Secret Santa” for an orphan. Find out what they want for Christmas or their birthday and send it to them. You can do this anonymously through services like Amazon.

I do think we need to do RAKs everyday with those we love. Here again, you may not be able to be anonymous, but you can do it without expecting anything in return. The ones closest to us are sometimes the ones we tend to take for granted. Let them know how much you love them or appreciate them. A love note stuck in a lunchbox or put in their luggage lets them know they are not forgotten. Leave a love note on the bathroom mirror. It will make their day. You can change your world…and theirs.


Dan Skognes

ABCs of Teaching

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Teaching goes way beyond the 3Rs. Probably the most important thing we do for kids is teach life lessons. Some of them get this at home and it is re-enforced, but some don’t get any guidance at all…sadly.

Here are some of the ABCs we teach:

A – Adapt. Life if full of curveballs. You have to adapt to situations, people, and events on a daily basis.

B – Believe in yourself. Self-confidence and self-awareness are critical to success and happiness in life.

C – Conquer your fears. Fear is one of the greatest enemies we all have to deal with. It does not just go away on its own.

D – Develop yourself mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

E – Excel at what you do. Don’t just do things half-heartedly.

F – Forgive quickly and forgive all. It is for your benefit, not theirs.

G – Give. There is an old saying: “It is better to give than to receive.” That is true, but the cool thing is, when you give freely and unconditionally you always get blessings in return.

H – Help others. When you see someone that is struggling, help them.

I – Investigate things for yourself. Just because someone says it is true does not make it true. Just because you read it on the Internet does not make it real. Don’t believe everything you hear.

J – Jump at the opportunity to try something new. You just might discover you have a gift for it.

K – Keep good company. Evil company corrupts.

L – Live in the moment. Don’t let the mistakes of yesterday or the worry of tomorrow keep you from living today.

M – Make an effort to develop relationships. If you want to have friends, you have to be friendly.

N – Never say never. When you say “I could never do that,” you are speaking a curse and limiting yourself.

O – Open your mind to learn. A closed mind will never give you joy, peace, or prosperity.

P – Persevere. Just because you have not succeeded when you first try something, that is no reason to give up. You just have not succeeded yet.

Q – Quit making excuses as to why you do or don’t do things. If it is really important, you will do it.

R – Relax and recharge. Take time to rest if you want to do your best.

S – Spend your time wisely. It is one of the most precious investments we have.

T – Thankful attitudes go a long way to finding peace and developing relationships.

U – Understand what the priorities are for the day. Focus on what is important, not on what is urgent.

V – Value people, not things. Use things, not people.

W – Wisdom is critical to living a life worth living. Pursue wisdom passionately.

X – eXpect the best from yourself and others, but realize the only one you have any real control over is you!

Y – Yield. Life is not all about you. Learn to let others go first and put the needs of others ahead of your own.

Z – Zest. Life if full of it. Live every day with it. Zest is the seasoning for each day. If you want to be fully engaged in a project, relationship, or assignment…learn to live with zest.


Dan Skognes


Posted in Funny, Relationships

Episode IX

Long, long ago in a galaxy called Grapevine there

erupted a great conflict. Dan Mallwalker, Grandfather of

the last Jedi, was on a mission of mercy to Sam’s when things

spun out of control. He was attacked by a Death Star called the Tongue

Lasher. Barely surviving the encounter, Mallwalker sought out the help from his most

trusted friend, Opie Won Cannoli. The fate of all male Jedi warriors awaited his counsel.

Mallwaker: Great Opie Won, I need your assistance. I was attacked from the dark side and have barely escaped to tell you the tale.

Opie Won: Ahhhhhhh. Yes. A great disturbance in the force it was. Tell me about it.

Mallwaker: I was on a sacred mission to Sam’s to get some paper towels. Not just any paper towels. I had to get Bounty paper towels, and they had to be the select-a-size type. I had made a serious error before in buying an off-brand. I was determined not to make that mistake twice! The problem was, the only Bounty towels on the shelf had a Star Wars theme on them. I did not think it mattered because they were still Bounty towels. I was wrong! It unleashed the Tongue Lasher and I was within a single lashing of losing my very life! Apparently I should have “known” that they had to be plain white.

Opie Won: Mallwalker, you are a great warrior. You are seasoned in battle and have fought many good fights. You are wise in so many areas, and yet the greatest mystery you have not conquered.

Mallwalker: Tell me Opie Won. What have I still to learn?

Opie Won: You have to learn to think like a woman, Mallwalker.

Mallwalker: But Opie Won, that is impossible. I am not a woman! How can I think like a woman?

Opei Won: You can’t, but you must try. Even a woman does not understand a woman, but you must try.

Mallwalker: Opie Won, how do I make up for this? Is there hope the Resistance?

Opie Won: There is a way. You must buy her two tickets to Star Wars, The Last Jedi and she will understand.

Mallwalker: That will never work! She can’t stand those type of movies! Isn’t there any other way?

Opie Won: There is only one other way. You must take your beating like a man and quit complaining. You must learn the lesson, Mallwaker….or not.

Mallwalker: That is it??? That is your advice? I HATE Star Wars!

On the way back home to his planet, Mallwalker had a brilliant idea. There IS a greater power! Why have I not consulted God? So, Mallwalker poured out his heart to God. He gave Him all the details and then asked God what to do. You know what God said? “You must take your beating like a man and quit complaining. You must learn the lesson, Mallwalker….or not.”


Dan Skognes


Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

This is not a discussion on money. This is about life. It seems that many people become lazy in life after they have made an initial investment. We should not take for granted that life will turn out great if we don’t continue to invest in the things and people that we once thought important to us. Here are a few examples:

  • Invest in yourself. If you don’t get proper rest, exercise, eat right, and have balance in your activities, how do you expect to be happy? Investing in yourself is not selfish, it is for your own sanity. You will be no good to yourself or anyone else if you don’t continue to invest in yourself. Don’t let your body go. Stretch your mind. Grow your faith. Make getting in shape physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually a priority (if it isn’t already).
  • Invest in your marriage or relationship with a significant other. Take time to let that person know that they are important to you, and do it daily. Send them love letters. Call them for no reason other than to let them know you love them. Don’t let that relationship become mundane or worse. It takes work to keep any relationship alive. There is an old saying, “It takes two to Tango.” That is especially true in relationships. You both have to invest in each other. Make daily deposits of love, encouragement, and communication.
  • Invest in your friendships. You should have a few friends that are close to you that love you for who you are and don’t judge you. They just love you. They know when to hold you accountable, when to encourage you, and when to reprimand you. They are great listeners and will take your call 24/7. They are there in the good and the bad times. They know that you are there for them as well. It goes both ways. While you can have close friends from both sexes, I personally feel you need to have a few close friends of your own sex. There are some things that only guys will get, and certain things that only ladies will get. Share things appropriately…particularly if you are married.
  • Invest in your work. Are you giving everything you have on a daily basis, or have you gone into cruise control? It you aren’t growing on a daily basis, you are going to find yourself disenchanted and looking for a different career. Find ways to challenge yourself daily, and don’t go to work Monday thinking about Friday. You will miss a lot of blessings if you take the lazy way out.

Investing in life has some parallels to finances in that:

  • You need to know the risks involved.
  • You should count the cost of investing.
  • You should never underestimate the time required to reach your goal.
  • You should understand the power of compound interest.

Investing in life will pay lifetime dividends if you continue to invest in yourself, your relationships, and your work. Happy investing.


Dan Skognes

When Good Is Bad

Posted in Funny, Motivational, Relationships

Isn’t it ironic that so many things in life that are good are bad? Don’t believe me? I bet you will see you or someone you know somewhere on the list. Check this out:

  • Virtually everything I crave…cookies, candy, chocolate (my BFF), cake, ice cream, anything deep fried, bacon, etc., are all sooooooo good, and yet bad for ya. I know: Everything in moderation, but who wants moderation when they have a bucket of movie popcorn staring at them? Just to show you how evil movie popcorn is, my wife won’t even share hers with me. She says, “Get your own bucket!”
  • How about when we settle for something good instead of great? Have you ever had a relationship you got into that you shouldn’t have? I am guilty here. I wish I had known Vicki (my wife) since I was a kid, but it would have been kind of weird since she is a few years older than me. Of course, in Arkansas where she is from, that would be OK. I hear 12 year olds date 18 year olds all the time there. :o)
  • How about people who do something good for the wrong reason? Their actions are good, but their motives are selfish. They don’t give with love. They give to manipulate people or to make themselves look good.
  • How about people who are just plain evil? They call good evil and evil good…so their good is evil. How twisted is that? Think Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Osama bin Laden, Idi Amin, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, your, etc. History is full of people who have been in places of power and sought to steal, kill, and destroy any who opposed them.

I realize this list could be virtually endless, but you get the idea. To complicate things, when the younger generation really likes something, they call it “bad!” Hmmmm. Maybe someday we will figure it all out. Till then, I am off to the movies. Quit judging me.


Dan Skognes