My super-talented husband, Nick Chiles, recently realized his dream of being a New York Times best-selling author when a book he wrote with Kirk Franklin, The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life's Storms, hit the Times' Best Selling Hard Cover Advice list. Words can't describe how proud I am of my man, not only for this fantastic accomplishment (perspective: with literally tens of thousands of books published each year, earning one spot on a list of 20 books on a New York Times best seller's list is truly like winning the lottery), but for the knowledge and wisdom he was able to help Kirk capture in the pages of The Blueprint. I don't count myself as a religious person I know Jesus and consider myself to be spiritual, but I have serious issues with church. Still, I really appreciate the perspective Kirk brings to life's lessons. I was already a HUGE fan of his music, but the truth Kirk speaks in his book really made me think. Today, I share with you one of my favorite passages from The Blueprint.

So shortly after arriving on Planet Earth, we begin preparing for the hamster's wheel. Life becomes the pursuit of happiness and happenings marked by accomplishments and awards. From your first child's baptism to your mother's funeral. Then you retire with your little pension and 401(k) in place, grow older, and rest your head, only to return to the ground. Just part of the circle of life. But life was never meant to be a wheel. And you, my friend, are not a hamster.

And it was never meant to center on you. When we focus first and most on ourselves, it should be no surprise that our country the richest and most influential one on the planet is plagued by vanity, pride, ego, and arrogance. A preacher who says, God wants you to have it all is a danger to all who hears him. He ignores the full message of Scripture and misleads the sheep.

Something happened to me in 2002 that made me realize I had managed to get to a different place, to step off that hamster's wheel by focusing on the important things. I had released an album that year called The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin that had received such great reviews and accolades in the gospel community that everybody was calling it the classic album of Kirk Franklin's career. But when the Grammy Award nominations came out, my name wasn't on the list. The Rebirth had not been nominated. Everybody around me was extremely upset, including my record company. I had a phone call with the record company executives, who are Christians. I said to them, It's cool that I wasn't nominated. That's not why we do what we do. 

I realized I had become hungry for real things, meaningful things, not these tangible, material things. The album had gone platinum and was considered a classic, but here was a lesson on how you never should put too much value in the things the world puts value in. You can pay honor to them, but never let them make you become a slave to them. Sure, I would have liked to have been recognized in that way, but I wasn't going to let that one experience own me. By my reaction, I realized something in me was changing.

These days everybody wants to get paid; everybody want to be the star. And no one wants to be in the supporting cast. Not surprisingly, that kind of self-absorbed me leads to a society in which major corporate CEOs spend millions to redecorate their offices while at the same time they are laying off hundreds of employees. When you make you the center of life, your motives will be selfish. And others will be affected, kicked to the curb as you strive to either fulfill or overcome the words spoken during your youth. But at the end of the game even with all the accomplishments and material gains the question still remains: What have you really gained? And what did you lose to gain it? As a wise man once asked, What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we lose our souls? (Mark 8:36). 

The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life’s Storms, by Kirk Franklin, with Nick Chiles, is available wherever books are sold. Click the picture to order a copy on 

post signature

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Funkidivagirl

    Congratulations to Nick! And I love Kirk Franklin–his music, his message and his heart for God.

  2. Joyce The Writer

    Go Nick! FYI, I, too, excerpted this powerful book on Heart & Soul magazine's website –

  3. A hearty congrats to Nick on this major accomplishment! I think it's a good sign for writers everywhere that a book not based purely on sex, betrayal and "the streets" is doing so well!

  4. The Coupon Sista

    I'm reading this book right now! I plan to do a review on it later.
    Wow, that's tight that your husband worked on this book! Congrats!

  5. Nikki @ Mommy Factor

    Congrats to you hubby! It's always great to see men doing great things

  6. Greening Youth

    Soooo proud of my brother, Nick! Thank you, Denene for sharing a excerpt of the book with us. I am embarrassed to say that I don't have a copy yet- ordering it now!

  7. Vivianne's Vista

    I wholeheartedly second Execumama's comment! Congratulations to your husband.

  8. I remember when I first talked to you, and you told me of the great sacrifice, weird hours and long nights you spent without your hubby beside you so he could get it done.

    I reviewed the book and took notes. I think it should be required reading for teens 14 and up.

    I have had issues with each church I've joined but will still look for a new one when I move to Atlanta in 2 weeks (yay)!

  9. Uncle Nick! Congratulations. What a fantastic accomplishment.

  10. mommaof4wife2r

    the man can sing…so i assume he can write too!!! i gotta look at this one!

  11. Jacqueline Lewis

    I cannot wait to read this book.

  12. Rochelle Spencer

    Congratulations to you & your husband! The book sounds interesting–I will nominate it to my book club.

  13. Chocolate Mom aka Blupoetres

    Wow, congratulations to hubby more so for discovering his dream!

  14. Tracita Linda (Tracey)

    Nice writing, I might consider checking out the book.

    Congrats to your boo!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.