All posts by marktdutton

Life is Full of Contrasts

Contrast surrounds us. Because of my passion for photography, I ponder the world of contrast often. When I’m in Lightroom editing pictures, one of my favorite adjustments to make to a photograph is bumping up the contrast to make the picture come alive.

Contrast is one of the factors that creates the pop that draws your eyes into the focus of the picture. While editing a picture one day, it hit me that life is full of contrasts. There is light and darkness, rich and poor, salty and sweet, happy and sad, relaxed and anxious, death and life, hot and cold, good and evil, condemned and forgiven. This list could go on and on, but I think you probably get the point.

King Solomon understood this well as it was captured in God’s word in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

This new paradigm of the contrast of life has been an encouragement to me in dry times spiritually, as well as in difficult circumstances. When my day is characterized by sorrow more than joy, I am reminded that God wants me to know where my joy comes from. If I didn’t know sorrow, I wouldn’t truly understand joy. I will better recognize anxiousness and worry in my life if I have tasted the peace which comes from experiencing God’s presence. It is the contrast by which I learn.

As I am beginning the adventure of  viewing my day-to-day circumstances through this new lens, I am filled with thankfulness that God is constantly teaching me and disciplining me by showing me the contrast of His Kingdom and this world.

What comes to mind when you think about the contrast in your life? What is God teaching you through that contrast?


A Sense of Urgency

To my readers:

Sorry for my extended absence without explanation.

I never got around to giving the heads up, but in the last 2 months:

-I quit my job

-packed up my life and my family

-moved across the country (to a lifelong dream of living in CO)

-started a new job (Which I am very excited about)

-reset everything in our life back up again, including banks, mail, utilities, insurances, etc.

Some things I had to let slide over the past few months to take care of my family and myself, but I have resolved to return to consistent writing again. Thanks for sticking around!


With all the change in my life over the past few months I have had a lot of questions about why I do the things I do, and where those things will lead.  Amongst the chaos of the move, I have found myself tired, and trying to do the bare minimum to get by.  You could call is survival mode.  In the process I have discovered that coasting through life is no way to live. Am I focused on the end, or the process of getting there?

I have to seek Joy from the Lord and strive to make a difference in the lives around me every day! I must have a sense of urgency to pursue the God given opportunities I have been given every day and make the most of the lot I have been handed.


I recently read a great quote by Oswald Chambers –

“It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.”

I hope each of you will make the best of today, and strive to make a difference with those you come in contact with and enjoy the process.

Create a great day!


How do you make the best of each day? (Leave a comment below)

A Challenge to Surrender!

One of the reasons I write this blog is to encourage people to live out their dreams and act on their passions. In the three and a half years I have been married to my wife, I have seen few things she is as passionate about as she is about writing. More specifically writing to point others to Christ.

Right now, she has this incredible dream of starting a movement to encourage people to surrender their marriages to God and live them out for His Glory. She wants to challenge people to make their marriage a focus, as well as depend on God and trust Him to pour out grace and blessings on their marriages. She wants people to have FAITH that God can do big things.

This gets me excited! I want to fuel this fire, not only to grow my own marriage, but to spur her on to do great things for other people. I believe in her. I believe this can change lives. I believe people desire to have flourishing Christ centered marriages, but don’t always know how to get there.

Here is the thing. Neither my wife nor I have a 10 step plan to teach you how to improve your marriage, and if we did, after less than 4 years of being married, you probably shouldn’t follow it. No, we just want to point you to Christ, and FULL reliance on Him to bring change and growth in your marriage. We just want to challenge you to daily surrender your marriage to God and see what happens.


I want to ask you to join me over at my wife’s blog – Intentional By Grace – as we partner with two other incredible women of God, Nikki at Christian Mommy Blogger and Jami at Young Wife’s Guide, to encourage a movement of Christ centered marriages dependent on God and rooted in prayer. Sign up for the challenge and invest 6 weeks to pray for your marriage and let God work. I truly believe it will be worth it! Thanks for your support!

Is YOUR our marriage worth it? Let me know in the comments what you think would come from 6 weeks of accountable prayer for your marriage!

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

As I started thinking about this site, and the content I would be writing about, I was slightly overwhelmed. I want to write things that bring value to those who read it, content that affects people’s days and lives, but the part that overwhelms me is the idea of ensuring unique content.

I read other blogs and think, that is exactly what has been on my mind and my heart. Why would I bother writing about it though because it is already out there? I feel like a copy cat if I write about it! If what I am bringing to my readers is not new and fresh, and transformational material, why would they bother reading it?

I used to feel the same way about my job. How can you be innovative in an industry surrounded by patents and a bunch of the same? Every time I would think of an idea, I would find that someone else has already thought of it and patented it. The pressure to bring something completely unique and ground breaking was almost discouraging.

Two things would get in the way of my creativity:

Pride. Wanting full credit for great ideas. The focus is more on me than on what I am doing for my readers.

Tunnel vision. Focusing on the wrong things and missing the big picture.

Then, I realized, sometimes, the things that bring the most value are the ones that are built on a familiar and solid foundation. It is okay to re-create the wheel, as long as the wheel is easier for your audience to understand, use, or will perform better. Innovation and teaching can both be just as powerful when well established ideas are combined and packaged in a new way to bring better value.

I shouldn’t underestimate the power of God’s work in the small things. I will strive to share what God is teaching me, in the hopes to encourage, inspire and spur on change in your life towards better leadership and making a difference in the lives around you.

So with the content of this site, I promise to write with passion and from the heart, but I cannot guarantee that it is all 100% new and fresh. At least, you know now!

What barriers do you run into in your creative process?

A Few Words on Marriage & Prayer

So I probably don’t have to tell you that a major part of being a true leader, is being able to lead your family well. My incredible wife, Leigh Ann, has been doing a series all month over at her blog, Intentional By Grace, on a surrendered marriage.  She has been discussing what it looks like when we surrender our marriage to God and take the challenges, needs and desires for our marriage before Him in prayer.


Today I have the pleasure of guest posting on her series to share a word to the husbands on praying for our marriages. Come join me over at Intentional by Grace.