Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

I normally do not post other articles here on my blog, I plan to do it more, especially when it's a good one like this. Enjoy!

This post originally appeared in Collective Evolution

A palliative nurse recorded the most common regrets of the dying and put her findings into a book called ‘The Top Five Regrets of The Dying.’ It’s not surprising to see what made the list as they are all things that touch each of our lives as we struggle to pay attention to and make time for things that we truly love. Below is the list of each regret along with an excerpt from the book. At the bottom is also a link to the book for anyone interested in checking it out. One thing on regret before we get to the list. It’s important to remember that whatever stage we are at in life, there is no need for regret. The process of regret is one that provides nothing but suffering for ourselves as we begin to allow the past to dictate how we should feel now. Instead, we can use the past as a reference point to understand what adjustments we would like to make moving forward. The adjustments do not have to come out of pain, sorrow, regret or judgment, but simply a choice to do things in a different way. We are learning all the time, we can very quickly slow that learning process down by getting stuck in the idea of regret. When it comes to making changes, be at peace with the past and remember that each moment is a new choice.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. 

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

 “Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

Today We Are Rich

Today We Are Rich by Tim Sanders is destined to become a self-help cult classic!

I found Tim’s book to not only be full of fun stories, but also chalked-full of new insightful thoughts and perspectives on positive thinking, daily disciplines, confident living, practical practices, happiness, being thankful, the difference between purpose and passion as well as where faith fits in to it all. Tim’s book is a fresh look at all things self-help. I have read most all the self-help classics, and often wondered if anyone would ever write one today that could even compare, Tim did it. And he didn’t just regurgitate those timeless truths from the greats, but rather gave a new spin that is forcing me to go back to read it a second time, and I don’t read books twice usually.

My copy of Today We Are Rich looks more like one of my kid’s coloring books from all the underlining and coloring I did in it! A lot of tweetable lines in Tim’s book!

So here’s the deal, whether you are on top of the world, or crouched at the bottom of the barrel in the fetal-position I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Today We Are Rich by Tim Sanders, I promise your life will be better for it, I know mine is.

Hold Me Tight

Hold Me Tight is for anyone desiring to mend the hurts that are keeping them from enjoying a full life together.

The premise is pretty straight forward and simple: stop worrying about your past, or your partners lack of whatever you feel is missing. Dr. Johnson says the trick to a long lasting, healthy, committed relationship starts with the understanding that codependency is a good thing, similarly to how a child relies on a parent for love and nurturing. Be open to your loved one's needs, and you'll reconnect naturally and lovingly.

If the process were as easy as it sounds however, Hold Me Tight wouldn't be needed, so the book goes into great detail as to how specifically lovers need to connect - via a series of seven conversations that will, she says, change your relationship with your partner forever.

Thankfully the book isn't preachy, judgmental or coming from negative-ville, and it flows well from one chapter to the next. It is beautifully written, touching, full of real-life stories and a joy to read. I found myself underling paragraphs because of how much Dr. Johnson's words resonated. I would recommend you have a highlighter and a journal handy to write it all down.

I have been married 17 years to the same woman and found the book very helpful in my relationship.  So it goes without saying that I highly recommend this book to everyone, coupled or otherwise, for relationship insight not easily found elsewhere.

The Year of Living Biblically

If I was asked (which I wasn't) to write a "praise for The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs" I would say this:

"The Year of Living Biblically is a facinating read for any student of religion or curious agnostic. A.J. Jacobs does a splendid job of melting himself into religious faith, while keeping a skeptical (writer's) eye open to report his experiences with more kindness and grace I have experience in my 20 years as a minister in the church. A must read, one of my new favorites!"

All that said, I do recommend you read this book ... I think A.J. gives a great perspective on "us" Christians and people of religious faith that can help us better understand not only ourselves but the people and the world around us.

I found myself laughing out loud about every 5 pages, like belly laughing at his witty comments about various things ... you'll just need to read it to laugh for yourself.


If I read the entire book for only one thing, the thing I found on page 327, then it's worth the read; A.J. Jacobs refers to this thing called "Cafeteria Christianity" ... again, just get the book and read it. But it is very profound and so true.

I hope that by reading The Year of Living Biblically will inspire you to be more gracious towards others and their spiritual journey and more compassionate in our relationship with God.

Order Book Here: The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

The Traveler's Gift

This modern morality tale by gifted writer and speaker Andy Andrews teaches seven fundamental strategies for creating a successful life. The Traveler's Gift reminds me of the bestselling books by Og Mandino (I recommend them highly!), this unique narrative is a blend of entertaining fiction, allegory, and inspiration, with a hint of self-help. You'll be front-row in one man's journey of a lifetime.

David Ponder is at a crossroads. Having lost his job and the will to live, he has been supernaturally selected to travel through time, gathering wisdom for future generations. Visits to historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, King Solomon, and Anne Frank yield the Seven Fundamentals for Success that will impact the entire world. A visit to the future reveals the result of David's journey, the fruits of his labor.

Ultimately, like David, readers will see how the perspective of our own circumstances is dramatically altered when we glimpse the "big picture" of life.

Here’s a summary of Andy Andrews’ Seven Decisions and just a sampling of the examples he generously provides in Mastering the Seven Decisions:

1. Be responsible – Make a decision.

Remember President Harry Truman, and that famous sign he kept on his desk “The Buck Stops Here.” He signed his name on a single sheet of paper that authorized the decision to drop the atomic bomb on two cities in order to end World War.

2. Seek Wisdom – Listen to the guidance that is offered from people you can trust.

Napoleon lost at Waterloo because he failed to listen to his troops who said that you can’t send them into battle without a bucket of nails, which were used to plug the torch holes of the cannons that were seized and render them useless. Without the nails, the British were able to get their cannons back and fire them at Napoleon’s forces, and win the battle for Waterloo.

3. Be a Person of Action – Seize the moment.

Bill Gates decided to drop out of school at Harvard University to build a computer system that would one day become Microsoft.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin, a school teacher, out of ammunition against overwhelming odds, led a bayonet charge against fully armed Confederate troops, and won the battle of Gettysburg.

4. Have a Decided Heart- Ignore rejection, let your passion be your guide.

Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield’s book was rejected by over fifty publishers before Peter Vegso at Health Communications decided to take a chance on them. The Chicken Soup for the Soul book series has now sold over 100 million copies.

Thomas Edison tried and failed over 1,000 times, before creating the incandescent light bulb.

Joan of Arc was only seventeen years old when she led the armies of France against the English. The military leaders cringed at the thought of a peasant girl leading the men of France. “Immediately. Now. Now, we must take them now. I intend to strike at the heart of the barricade,” she said. “If you go in, not a man will follow you,” they told her. “I won’t be looking back,” she replied.

5. Choose to be happy – Put a smile on your face or you won’t be the one chosen.

Consider what employers do. If you have two prospective employees with the same educational background, and equal experience, who are about the same age, and even look and dress very similar. One of them gripes and complains, and the other one smiles and is happy.

Or how about the husband who’s jealous of the way his wife treated their dog. Day after day, year after year, the wife would come home from work and the dog would run to the door, smiling, tail wagging happily, giving wholehearted, devoted attention, and lavish affection to the wife, every time she came home. And how did the wife treat the dog? Oh baby, come to mama… good to see you! Oh, I love you, too.

Lesson learned? If you want to be treated at least as well as the dog, then maybe you should take some lessons.

Ain’t that the truth!

6. Forgive! Forget Anger Management – Use Anger Resolution

Joshua Chamberlin, who led that famous charge at Waterloo, was chosen by President Abraham Lincoln to accept the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. There, Chamberlin stunned the world with a show of forgiveness and respect: He ordered his troops to attention, saluting General Robert E. Lee and the defeated South. With that bold stroke, planned behind the scenes by Lincoln of course, the President of the once again United States of America began the healing of a nation and its people.

7. Persist without exception.

Nelson Mandela sought to transform a country filled with racial divisions and oppression into an open democracy. His real qualities of forgiveness, patience and persistence were revealed to the world only after he was released from prison. He served a twenty-seven year sentence for leading a non-violent strike and for his involvement in the African national Congress’ resistance against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policy.

In Mastering the Seven Decisions, Andy Andrews aims to prove that everything you do matters, not just for you, your family, your business, and our country today, but for generations to come.

Andrews says that those people, including himself, who accomplish their goals by working all seven decision do so through intense focus, hard work, and determination to succeed. But the pay-off is worthwhile. When you begin to use these seven decisions, you stop blindly following the pack and gain the opportunity to develop the individual personal habits and practices that lead to success in whatever you do, so you can have fun, invest meaningful time with the people you are with, and give generously to others.

This is a book that has landed in the TOP 20 of my FAVORITES!

Marriage Books

1. Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson
2. His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley, Jr.
3. The Art of Understanding Your Mate by Cecil Osborne
4. Men and Marriage by George Gilder
5. What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women by Dobson
6. If Only He Knew by Gary Smalley
7. For Better or For Best by Gary Smalley
8. Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley
9. Boundaries in Marriage by John Townsend
10. Season's of a Man's Life by Daniel Levinson
11. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
12. Sacred Sex by Tim Alan Gardner
13. The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura
14. Rekindling the Romance by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
15. Simply Romantic Nights by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
16. Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tatlock
17. Building Your Mate's Self-esteem by Dennis Rainey
18. Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman
19. 10 Lesson to Transform Your Marriage by Dr. John Gottman


The Twilight book series by Stephenie Meyer is crazy popular right now. I have not read the books, nor have I seen the movie ... but I am okay with that since I am a 40 year guy and the book seems to be reaching a female audience ages 13 and up .

Trust me, this is no book review … but I find it intriguing because what I have heard from readers (most every female I know) about Twilight makes total sense WHY it’s so popular; it has within its pages what every human desires down deep; Love (true love that is … love that doesn’t just got for what it desires or hungers for, in Edwards case – human blood … but a love that thinks of the other person … a self-less love … a love that is so completely opposite from what we see in our current culture. Love with restraint. Crazy passionate deep heart-pounding love … the kind of love that gives you goose bumps all over! It’s lacking in the world today!)

From what little I know the book Twilight is basically the story of Edward and Bella’s romance. Edward is a Vampire, but has chosen to only feed on the blood of animals. Of course Bella is a human … anyway if you like a good romance novel this is a must-read series from what I have heard. Check it out!

1 Cor. 13

Seeing Grey

I just finished a book I highly recommend, Seeing Grey in a World of Black and White by Adam Hamilton.

I liked the book for several reasons:

1) I have the privilege of knowing Adam personally and he is a man who really loves God.
2) He touches the issues facing the church that are in my opinion critical to its survival and if handled correctly will (to use an old Pentecostal word) bring “revival” to the church.
3) He is neither radically Conservative nor radically Liberal… but radically Centered.


“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.” - John Wesley

Seeing Grey in a World of Black and White, for me really helps to clarify the passion I have in my heart, which is for there to be unity amongst God’s people. There is room at the table for us all who are followers of Christ. And no-one has the corner market on truth, and if you think you do… you are mistaken! But, I do believe that each of us understands a portion of the truth and when we all come together we are whole.

The book will challenge your thinking, and there will be some things you may not agree with… guess what? That is okay! I encourage you to read books that stretch your thinking, and even challenge your thinking. The worst thing to stunt growth is to only read books that further support what you already know and believe.


Don't Run

As many of you know I love to read, and I have read many wonderful books over the years, but right now I am reading a book that I would have to say is up in the TOP 5 greatest books I’ve ever read list. It’s entitled, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero.

Over the last 5 years as a pastor I have been amazed, hurt, surprised and confused by long time Christians and their immaturity. They know the Word, they Tithe, they Serve, they Love Jesus yet there is something missing. (Disclaimer: I am in no way slamming or condemning or criticizing… I am simply stating a fact). They spiritualize away conflict, they hide their brokenness behind spiritual practices, they judge other people’s spiritual journey, and they deny the past’s impact on their present lives and their faith is somehow challenged when someone disagrees with them.

I have asked myself and others; what is the deal? Well I have found the answer in this book! The author Peter Scazzero says, “I truly believe the greatest gift we can give the world is our true self living in loving union with God. In fact, how can we affirm other people’s unique identities when we don’t affirm our own? Can we really love our neighbors well without loving ourselves?”

Bottom line is you can not be truly Mature Spiritually unless you are Mature Emotionally. And to be Emotionally Mature takes a lot of inward reflection, tough conversations which to be honest is difficult sometimes. It will cause many emotions to rise up within you… but the end result is worth it! But for some people it is just easier to run.

Don’t run!


I read a lot of books, and I honestly like most the books I read, but this one, Unchristian by David Kinnaman is wonderfully insightful. It's been especially helpful for me as a pastor and even as a Christian!

I just started the book a week ago and would say that every pastor should most definately read it, like I would even say it should be required reading for pastors & for all church leaders. All the staff here at OLF are reading it!

In short, Unchristian is all about the perceptions people who are not Christians, and even those who are, have of us "Christians", and the reality is that "its true".

I will put it this way; if you want to truly be a better Christian, then you must read this book, period!