Today I interview Lance who blogs at Jungle of Life. Lance is one of my favourite bloggers. When I started Joyful Days, he took the trouble to show me the ropes, keep in touch, and just let me know he was there.
1. What amazes me is how you can post a one-line quote and get tons of comments in response. How did you build such a loving, supportive community around your blog?
There are a couple of things that I think helped gather so much community around something simple like a quote. Firstly, people sometimes feed off of the comments of others. I find this really very powerful.
The other thing I do is visit the sites of those who leave a comment for me. You took the time from your schedule to share your thoughts with me. So it is the least I can do to stop by and read your words. And I find much inspiration from all the amazing people I have come in contact with over these last several months.
2. You have a full-time job, a wife and three kids, exercise regularly, and have to shovel all that snow from your Wisconsin driveway… 😉 How do you find time to not only write for your own blog but communicate at such depth with so many other bloggers?
Well, let’s start with all that snow. I’m lucky in that I have a wife and three kids that help out very much with this. And with lots of other things around our house!
I am a big proponent of getting proper exercise and nutrition. Our health is one of the most important things we have. And it’s something that is within our power to control. I know that we are bombarded with ways to forego exercise, and presented with a multitude of poor food choices. Still, we ultimately have a choice in all of this. And I choose healthy! I’ve seen the other side. And a healthy lifestyle is so much more satisfying and enjoyable!
One of the big benefits of blogging has been a real improvement in my time management skills. It’s another activity, amongst all the basketball games to attend, the practices to shuttle kids to, a full-time job. So I make time for blogging by fitting it in wherever I can. Early mornings. Late nights. Lunch. Between basketball games. On my phone. Driving in the car (okay, I made that one up! I don’t do that!!)
3. When you first started blogging, you wanted to stay anonymous. Was there an event or a person that triggered you to ‘expose’ yourself to the world, and what were your thoughts when you first uploaded your photo and told everyone where you lived?
I did want to stay anonymous when I started out. I felt unsure of my writing skills, and being “out there”, exposed to the world – was scary!
There wasn’t really one event or person that triggered the step away from anonymity. It was more of an evolution, and a feeling of comfortableness with my writing. It definitely helped once I began getting comments that were supportive of my writing. I believe I put my first picture online after a vacation we’d been on in July. It continued to evolve from there, to where I became more comfortable being “exposed”.
4. You named your blog “Jungle of Life”. While I love the catchy name, the word ‘jungle’ usually implies something dark, wild or dangerous, to be survived rather than celebrated. Is this how you really see life?
No, I don’t see the “Jungle of Life” as being dark or dangerous. In fact, this wasn’t a name anywhere near the top of the list when I was choosing a domain name. I kept going through iterations of other names, everything already taken. At some point in the process the name “jungleoflife” came to me. It felt right, and it was available.
I really look at the name – Jungle of Life – as life sometimes seeming like a jungle. It is overgrown with all the things that can hold us back, or keep us from being our best selves. This is a journey through that jungle which many of us face. So, at the Jungle of Life, we travel through it together.
5. You obviously have a very happy and meaningful marriage. What separate pieces of advice would you give to (a) husbands and (b) wives who want to make their marriages filled with purpose and joy?
I have been lucky enough in my life to have found a kindred spirit. Someone who understands me, knows me, and will travel to the end of the earth with me.
Marriage is a two-way street. What has made our marriage work is trust, compromise, love, and connection. Just like the rest of life, our life together has been a journey. With these basic principles, we have been able to move our marriage through the many stages of life we’ve faced – newlyweds, moving, having children, careers.
This isn’t to say every day is perfect and blissful. It’s not! However, keeping to our beliefs in each other, staying true to the vows we made upon our marriage, and really having open communication. All this has led to a marriage that brings joy to each of us – over and over.
6. Your three children are the most important people to you in the whole world. If you were to drum just one phrase into each of them that will help them navigate through their own jungle of life, what would that phrase be and why?
“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.” ~ Richard L. Evans
J (our oldest son) – New experiences await around every corner, and through every new door opened. Go around those corners, open those doors, and live a life that you truly love.
R (our daughter) – Be confident in who you are, and you can do anything in this world! You can accomplish so much, you are a bright and shining star. Love always and fully!
C (our youngest son) – Continue to live life full out. You have a generous and loving spirit, along with a natural ability to connect with others – continue to nurture that. In everything. In your relationships. In your dreams. In all your life desires.
Questions on life beyond life
7. You’ve written before that ‘we are all one’. What are your spiritual views on God, the universe, the soul, the one-ness of everything etc, and how did you arrive at this spiritual position?
My spiritual view is – that we have a Higher Power, beyond our comprehension – that loves and cares for us more deeply than we can even begin to imagine. For me, that Higher Power is God. And that God is a God who was willing to sacrifice His only Son for me.
I know that I put a lot of what I believe in faith. And really, a faith that what I’ve learned, what I’ve read – is true. When it’s something you can’t touch, you can’t see – like this Higher Power, this God I believe in – faith is seeing beyond what our eyes can see to what our soul can see.
We are all one – yes, I do believe this very deeply. Even if we have different views, even if the color of our skin is different, even if we live on complete opposite sides of the world – we are one. Deep within each of us, I believe there lives many of the same basic core values – respect, honor, commitment, love, etc. It’s not to say that we all display these core values – I believe that they are sometimes hidden, and we may not see them unless we take the time to look deep within ourselves. Yet, they are there, and that is what binds us together – what makes us one.
8. What legacy do you want to leave the world when you’re gone? For example, have you ever done the ‘write your own eulogy’ exercise to know what you want your life to be about? If you want, you can draft that eulogy right here!
A favorite quote of mine sums it up very nicely:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children … to leave the world a better place … to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
When the day comes for me to move on to greener pastures, to fly amongst the winged angels – if I have been able to have made the world better, somehow, or for some person – I will consider my time here as having been a success.
We get one shot at our life that we’re now living. We can’t go back and repeat where we’ve been, or what we’ve done. I intend to live out my days, however many or few they may be, being a light in our world.