Saturday, September 29, 2012

HOPE Is Here & The Mission is Moving!

Hello,  Sparked Friends Far and Wide

I wanted to touch base with you about my book launch. Many of you know that my book is hitting the digital stands tomorrow on We are very excited about this! It has been several years in process (and we still found a typo already!)

Tomorrow, please feel free to find the book on my website and tell a friend! My website,, have gone under reconstruction as well. I wanted it to reflect our current state of affairs and projects. You will also be able to search for and find it on Amazon, if that is your preferred provider. But, be sure to read the next section about the discount code!

Amazon Fail On The Discount Code 

Some of you may already have a discount code from previous correspondence. We have found that it is not working. I apologize for this. I am sure that this is my error, and I am not making any headway with Amazon about it.

Thus, Google saves the day. Google Checkout gave me the option to set up a quick button for you to purchase the book at a deeply discounted rate. It is the best price (including shipping) around! 

Sooner Than Later 

Be sure you buy copy soon! We have a great deal with Google, however it will not last.

After a week, I will most likely let Amazon handle all the ordering. So people who buy at that time will be paying the Amazon rate (about $7.99 + $3.99 shipping!) This isn't the cheapest option, but if I am away from the internet for long being here on the mission field orders can still get filled.

Moving the Mission 

Aside from that, it looks like Marissa and I are going to need to move. The dive college as well as our accommodations is changing ownership. We will need a last minute move to another area of the Dominican Republic. I, of course, about flipped out. The standard response is a very islander response; "Tranquilo". We will bring the updates as that progresses!

Thank You So Much 

I am so grateful to have this first, published work completed!

Be sure to check the team that worked on the project. Give them a shout of appreciation because they did such a great job. I do not think the project would be completed without them!!

And thank you for staying updated on the mission we are on!

Have a Great Day! And keep sparking!

Grant R. Nieddu

Friday, September 28, 2012

The 3 Week Update from Bavaro, DR

(The video covers most of this, but here are the highlights. Estimated Read Time: 3 min.)


It has taken the last three weeks to settle in. This is difficult because I know that we will be leaving again in the end of November. However, since I need some degree of routine to feel normal, I have found it. 

  • Wake. 
  • Coffee. 
  • Marissa goes to dive school. 
  • I write, write, write. 
  • Connect with ministries. 
  • Write. 
  • Stop for lunch.
  • Write. 
  • Swim. 
  • Write. 
  • Beach. 
  • Write.
  • Eat mango and avocado for dinner.
Yeah, that's about it for now.


Marissa was good for a week, then go sick pretty quickly. She was down hard for a good stretch which frustrated her. However, she has been back in the water for over a week now and is taking her Dive Master test today.


As you can see above, I have been writing. We have completed the following:
'H.O.P.E. from Here to Haiti' will launch this Sunday, September 30th on Check it out on for a 15% discount code!


We have had the pleasure of connecting with several powerful ministries. Go Mad Ministries in north DR, Calvary Chapel's Haiti Initiative in Jacmel, Grace Center in Port-au-Prince, and a small church we will be attending this Sunday with our new friend, Jose.

There are many great initiatives here on the island. ReGenAll is promising as it aligns with our vision. But there are many welcoming ministries around that we could serve.


So, we are quite hopeful about what is happening. Being in the DR for this three months is an exercise in resting in Him and waiting on the Lord. We made the leap to be here. Now we just need to know where He is leading us next.

Several of you are planning on visiting. Others have expressed interest in us hosting a trip. We can do that for anyone, individual or teams. Just let us know and we will talk more!

That is the summary for now!

Be blessed. Have a great day. And we look forward to connecting soon!


Grant & Marissa Nieddu

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Greeted by a White Witch Doctor & Dream Seeds

Yesterday I was greeted by a White Witch Doctor.

That is the term I used to describe my favorite teacher from Semester-at-Sea and one of my all-time favorite authors, Dr. Larry Meredith. I blogged about Dr. Meredith's book, 'Life Before Death', in the end of 2009.

Yesterday, almost 2.5 years later, I received a comment on that blog post from Dr. Meredith himself. His comment was as artistic as his book is written. (I sincerely encourage you to read the blog post and comment, and, if you want to rock your religion, his book!)

In reflection of our transition to the mission field this summer, and then this interaction with the academic alchemist that is Meredith, caused me to consider once again, the gestation period of a dream seed.

How long it has been since I experienced time with Dr. Meredith, and then considering how long it has been since I wrote that blog, I stood in wonder of the certainty of dream seeds compared to the time it takes for them to grow.

Likewise, as Marissa and I make our way around the island of Hispaniola, I marvel at the time from when we started dreaming about being here and actually find ourselves here. Finally, in considering the first trip I took to Haiti and the fact that I have a book coming out about it this weekend. That time difference struck a chord with me this morning.

A dream seed is the moment that you take an emotionally-charged dream and  finally sow it into your heart as something you are moving toward.

The question is this: what is the length of time it takes a sown dream seed to bear fruit?

This is a difficult question. We know that corn takes about 73 days (or at least SugarPearl corn does.) We know that babies take 9 months.

But, how long does it take a dream to be sown, take root, and grow?

  • I wrote that blog almost 2.5 years ago before I had the honor of being contacted by Dr. Meredith.
  • My dream to go to Semester-at-Sea took almost 6 years.
  • Unconsciously, we dreamed about coming to Haiti for about 2 years. Consciously, it took about 3-5 months of planning.
  • My book, 'H.O.P.E. from Here to Haiti', launched on this weekend. That entire process, from idea to book, too almost 3 years.
At first blush, I would say that it depends on how passionate you are about the dream. That will determine how aggressive your actions are toward the dream. But sometimes forcing negates the natural flow of a dream.

What do you think? How long have some of your dreams taken? Should you just push through and force them?

Side Note: When my book does launch this weekend, be sure to check it out on I will have a discount code for everyone, so check back then.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Joy and 5 Fears of a Life of Mission

Nate Mundell Photography
The mission on your heart, the mission on my heart, the goals and the visions that we dream of carry with them all the possible joy you could imagine to have in a single life time.

The 5 fears I have experienced along the way have been great opponents.
  1. The fear of going broke.
  2. The fear of looking stupid.
  3. The fear of not having a sense of control.
  4. The fear of making the wrong decision (temporally and eternally.)
  5. The fear of succeeding.
The first 4 fears above strangled my heart and lungs for the two months preceding our departure to Hispaniola. They plagued me so much that I would dream about looking in bank account and finding it empty or about going back to my old jobs and people making fun of me.

They were tangible, aggressive, ominous fears that have been very real to me. The last one is devious though. The last fear on the list we hear about in success books and teachings. But it is very different to experience than to read about it.

A Most Subtle Fear

The fear of succeeding does not show up when you are worrying. I figure I thought-worried for at least 80% of the time leading up to our departure. With no guarantees, no clarity, and no income, this is easy to do. The other 20% of the time I dreamed about it succeeding, we talked about how good it could go, and planned-planned-planned.

It is during that happy, positive 20% of the time that the fear of succeeding subtly causes you to quake. Because, after all, what will you do if the mission board says "yes", of if that email you sent to the Haitian Ministry of Tourism says "let's do it," or if that big potential client that you took a complete risk in pitching says "ok, now deliver." That's the scary part. 

What if you have to deliver? I mean, you have planned for it. You have the skills and certifications for it. Shoot, you have done it many times before so you know how to do it.

But that is the nature of the fear of succeeding. It takes all the (good) emotion you have tied into accomplishing your dream and twists it ever so slightly to trick you into thinking that, just because you want it so much, it is something you are actually unprepared for, have never done and, likely (it tries to convince you) you could never really do.

Defeat it quickly with joy. Joy defeats any fear, especially the subtle fears, quickly.

The joy we have felt in our time here so far is abundantly clear. Sowing the seed of joy looks like burying fears, alive and kicking and screaming, deep into the soil of your soul. Bury them. They will spring up into fruit-bearing sprouts.

The Sprout of Joy

In the last week we have, finally after dozens of emails and phone calls, heard back from several organizations. The connections look promising. Even some of them may have work for us! 

Think about this for a second: In the States people said we were crazy for leaving our jobs, which was probably true in the middle of the economic crisis. What's more, the idea that we could find a place to serve was small. I mean, most organizations give their work to insiders, right? One step further, the idea of actually getting paid to maintain a mission center, or serve in an orphanage, or set up the tent and solar bag shower, and serve whatever needs they have, is ludicrous, right?

Wrong: We have begun conversations with several passionate people and organizations that would welcome us. (There were those dozens of unanswered emails, but I digress.)

Simply put, our seed is budding. We are experiencing the fading of fear, the beginning of work, and full experience of joy.

What's your mission being obscured by fears? Bury them. Bury them quickly. Because the season to harvest joy is assuredly coming.


Grant and Marissa Nieddu


photo: Haitian girl in red velvelt by Nate Mundell
photo: sprout from Learn English blog

Friday, September 21, 2012

Moving Your Vision Out of Beta and my Free Gift to the World

Out of beta, free, & a simple way
to spark your own life of significance.
Today I finalized the official release of 'The 7-Day Spark Homework' as well as an 8 minute video introduction to go along with it. (Free to download and check out here.) I has officially moved out of beta.

It has been a long time coming: I began using this homework almost 6 years ago.

Back then, I had to use it for my own advancement. I had found myself in a new town with no contacts and no vision. The need for me to develop vision or, more accurately, to get closer to my created purpose was a burning reality.

Aching to figure it out, I pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote the top 10, and only 10, things I wanted to do, see, and be in my lifetime. It was challenging by got me excited, so I did it again the next day. And the next. And the next.

By the end of that week, I had a good idea of what was rising from my inner most being and what desires I had merely inherited from those around me.

Thus began 'The 7-Day Spark Homework.' 

I then helped others use the same process. And then more people still. Eventually, it became a standard part of my life-coaching regiment.

Finally, 6 years later, I am sitting in the Dominican Republic, putting the final touches on my book 'H.O.P.E. from Here to Haiti,' submitting manuscripts to publishers, connecting with several organizations with powerful vision for missions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and, as of today, launching the official release of 'The 7-Day Spark Homework.'

As I moved the homework out of beta and into reality, I realized that I was doing the same thing for my own life. I am out of beta and into the real deal.

There has been a ton of work while in beta. Though you could say that we have had this direction for about 2 years, if you include the work it has taken to change my heart and habits on the inside, it has taken almost 8 years to come to this point. It takes a lot to move through beta.

But that is just the price I have had to pay for playing. As Marissa's grandfather says,

"You got to pay to play."

Now that we are out of beta the real hard work of making it starts! We are working toward building our ministry, building a community and building a life here on the island.

I encourage you to move out of beta. Don't do a shoddy rush job. The beta work is important. But move it along at a good pace.

Enjoy 'The 7-Day Spark Homework' and, do me a favor, share it with a friend. It is free, simple and effective. It has a history of helping many others get started on their own path to success.

Good luck, and keep sparking!


Grant and Marissa Nieddu

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Graphic of Successful Proportions

For as long as I can remember I wanted to assemble a grid that lines up the major principles of the many success gurus and motivational systems out there.

Today is that day!

Free on State of the Spark.
Check it out  & 'Like' it if you
got  something out of it!
The Grid of Success: Demystifying Motivational Masters is now up on State of the Spark under 'Resources'. It will be a major step in 'The Top 100 Dream Igniter' goal-setting guide that I am working on now.

You see, on the sparked journey Marissa and I are on, there are no shortcuts. There were none along to get us here and it isn't a cake walk now that we are the island of Hispaniola.

The thing I like about putting gurus on a list like this is to demystify what we think about their teachings.

Too often we hear a guru or see a success system and think "phew! A shortcut!" Shortcuts are never what they are teaching. There are many solid teachings and mentors out there. But if they're good, they are not teaching shortcuts.

They are just pointing the way. And just knowing the way is a vast improvement over ambling around as we all have.

The Grid of Success is made to help you see the similarities we have begun to find. We want to prevent you from chasing unnecessary rabbits hole teachings that are really just the wisdom of the ages in shiny Hammer pants.

The graphic is a downloadable, free graphic for you to look over and get into debates over dinner with. I also threw in a brief video to introduce it a little bit.

If you have any suggestions on adding people or systems, or have edits regarding a person or system we already have, let us know in the comments section on the linked page so it can improve with your knowledge.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cows, Hammocks, and a New Old Adage

You have heard the old story about the islander laying coolly in the hammock on the beach? I heard it again from a group of foreigners this weekend here in the Dominican Republic.

The story goes something like this:
The American businessman finds an islander laying in a hammock on the beach. He asks the islander, "Why don't you go work today?"

The islander responds, "Why?"

"To earn money," replies the American shocked at the question.

"Why?" the islander asks dumbfounded.

"To be able to buy a cow." The American now felt very informative and educational.

"But why?" responds the islander, still at a loss for what the American was getting at.

"To sell, to earn more money to buy more cows!" the exasperated American shouts waving his hands.

"Why do I want more cows?" questions the profoundly confused islander.

"To be able to hang in a hammock all day!" is the final response.
Cue the laughter of the critics of Western productivity.

Relax, the old saying is telling us. Relax. Why work so hard? Why push so hard to do what we are already doing? And I get it.

However, it would be far different if the ending was: "To be able to help the less fortunate."

You see, the old adage is targeted toward people working too hard for...what? Nothing but the false reality that there will be a point when you have earned the luxury of non-productivity. But both the islander and the American have mistaken priorities in the old version of the story. In fact, if you look, they want the same thing.

But what about the era when people worked so hard for helping others? To improve the world for the less fortunate? To bring food to the hungry and medicine to the diseased?

If we agree with the old adage, we are bound by the old mindset. If we revise it, we may just do something great.


photo from Andrea & Tawny

Monday, September 10, 2012

Everything's Led to This

Obedience by Grant R. Nieddu (Free Download).
Free download.
Since landing in the Dominican Republic, I have taken the time to go through everything. I mean EVERYTHING.

I have pulled out my old hard drive and dug through the ancient 'Archives'. My initial thought was to merely update my website,, to reflect what Marissa and I are up to at this point.

In the process, I found some journal entries that I had completely forgotten about which contributed to leading us to the mission field. Along with that I also uncovered some my first attempt at self-publishing.

In 2006 I woke with the topic of 'obedience' on my heart. What began as a goal to merely journal what was on my heart became a blog post. The next night the same thing happen; I went to sleep and woke with the word 'obedience' on my heart. Many days and topics later, I had a small blog series on obedience.

Several days later I considered whether or not I should publish it. I didn't want to turn to ego-fodder what originated as a humbling message to my heart. But, after many days of praying, I assembled it and just put it out there. No fan fare. No marketing. No product launch or parade.

It still remains close to my heart. The reason for this is not the fact that spiritual obedience is my message to the world. (Although it is highly overlooked.) Quite the contrary. I hardly feel qualified to speak about obedience to the unctions of the spirit since I feel like my record is questionable at best.

It remains close to my heart because it led me to where I am at today; planted on the island of Hispaniola, with a decade of ministry behind me, several years of work in Haiti, and a head start on the race to establish ourselves here for long-term mission work.

When I found the manuscript for this piece, I thought of all it led to. Following the voice of the spirit, I found myself led to Lakeland, taking over as manager of a Starbucks, writing over 3 manuscripts including 'H.O.P.E. from Here to Haiti' (which I will have done in the next week or so! #happiness), met my wife and traveled the country together.

We are now pursuing our dreams to live a life of missions. Marissa is wrapping up her S.C.U.B.A. Dive Instructor certification to instruct during the tourist season and I am writing full time about topics I love, all to fund our work in helping people on this island. We are living our dream.

And it is because obedience.

The book is not necessarily profound. It is not necessarily groundbreaking. It does not cover deep philosophies as I am often wont to do. Yet it led to everything that has led to this.

It is simple. It is direct.
And it at least inspired me.
It is available on my website below.

I originally wrote it 6 years ago! Feel free to enjoy or share with others: Obedience by Grant R. Nieddu!



Saturday, September 1, 2012

4 Steps to Journaling As Prayer and An Excerpt from Day 01

We have had a productive few days. Here are two excerpts from Day 01. The first is a 4-Step approach to letting your journal be a part of prayer. The second is our day in a nutshell.

Four Steps to Journal as Prayer 

How it works practically is this: open a new word document on your computer or your physical journal. A few pieces of paper will do as well, of course.

1. Now, start by simply writing facts. Share the basic matters of the day.

What happened? 
Where did you go? 
Who did you meet?

2. Once you have done that for a while and feel comfortable sharing, begin to share how you felt about it those things. 

What thoughts did you have about what happened?
Did the place you go please you? Upset you? Inspire you? Depress you?
Did you like who you met? Were there any cultural barriers to who you met? Did it occur to you why you would like to be able to communicate better with them?

3. Now that you have gotten this far, which, honestly, is well on your way to being introspective, take it one step further. Write down your questions about how you felt and address them to God.

God, why did You share with me the things that happened? Why did You lead me to these places?
Why was I upset at what I saw? What can I do about it?
Why did You put that person in front of me? Should I meet with them or invite them do dinner? How can I serve this person better?

4. Finally, write down what you sense the Lord is saying to you. You know where the keys are on your keyboard; close your eyes. Try to listen to what God is saying. Write anything you feel is spontaneously coming to you. Cross it out later, just go with it.

I wanted to share these experiences with you, daughter. I wanted you to see where the need was, son.
You feel the way you do because you have my heart, and these things upset me. I wanted them to see that I am willing to meet them where they are at, my daughter.
Yes, take them to dinner or taking them to coffee will do, my son.

You see, even if these things are from your mind, so be it! They are a good beginning to not only being able to pray and commune with God from your journal. They are also a good start to being able to discern your inner voice.

*******  (Now, an excerpt from our small download, 'Your First Week On the Mission Field.') *****

Our First Full Day On the Field, Not What I Would Have Thought 

My alarm woke me far too early. 4:45 a.m. comes quickly.

The night before I was feeling rested and prepared from a successful Day 00. Marissa calmed my fears down with some reassuring words.

We found some basic food at a local coffee shop. Some fears about finding food faded. We bought some water at a small ‘farmaceria’. Some fears about finding water melted away. We walked hand in hand, greeting everyone we met with an ‘hola’ or ‘buenos noches’ without harm. Some fears about safety faded. 

With all that, I was determined to have a highly productive Day 01. I used to wake up at 4 a.m. every morning. So, I set my alarm for what I soon found to be a devilish 4:45 a.m. Needless to say, we did not throw back the sheets to ‘levante’ until 6:30 a.m. We roused. Marissa stirred and, bearing about some remaining butterflies of her own, followed me to the cafe.

There were new people working, so our efforts to bridge the language barrier started bright and early. We ordered ‘un cafe, un cappucino y dos pastels.’ Marissa’s thoughts about her first dives in years to begin that morning shrunk her hunger. I wanted to seem confident for her. I joked, watched the Latin news, and talked about what we would accomplish during the day.

Finishing with enough time to spare, we returned to the room. Marissa gathered her dive gear. I grabbed the camera. We walked down the terracotta tile hallway to the dive class. Marissa settled in. I took a picture and returned to the room.

Today was all about finding a new normal. I knew I needed a routine, but where would I start. Though writing is the more regular thing I do now, I could not pass up a morning stretch and dip in the lagoon-blue water. After some push ups, sit ups, and several laps back and forth along the coast, I returned to find my normal.

Since wifi internet is only available in the open air lobby of the dive resort, I set up there. I began by going through my emails and social networking messages. In that short time, my legs were already swollen with a multitude of mosquito bites. Though the sun was high and the heat wafted in waves under the palm-layered roof, the mosquitoes operated as deadly assassins in the shade.

This made me desire a momentary change before sitting to write. A dip in the pool was in order. Splash. Swim one lap. Breathe. Swim another lap. Towel off.

Now, to face those darn mosquitoes again. Knowing that anyone seeing a photo of my ocean-side “office” on Pinterest would ensure the lack of any sympathizers, I returned to my work writing.

Start and stop. Swat! Clicking on the keys. Smack! Research that concept on a Spartan’s sword again. Bang! (Curses God’s creation of mosquito’s under breath.) Sorting note cards about my ‘90 Day Launch Guide to a Life of Mission.’ Slap-Slap! Editing blog. Bam! Researching ministries in Punta Cana. Pow! Scratch-Scratch. Emailing ministry partner about working in the D.R. and what is going on in Haiti. Nibble. Adjusting chair. Walk around to allow blood lessen the throbbing in the bites. Return to seeking forums or boards about local ministry.

GAH! I was going crazy. So, I packed up and was about to head to my room when, bam, there is Marissa back from her two dives already. Several hours had passed. I had written in, well, not exactly Auschwitz-like conditions. For the non-sympathizers, I will simply say it was not perfect writing conditions. BUT! I had written.

My neck was stiff and my feet swollen. I stood on one leg while my other itched it as Marissa gave me the update on her day of diving. We shared a plate of rice and beans. She planned to go to the pool for a third dive of the day, so I returned to the room to rest my neck, my feet, and generally get a new start on the day.

I had no momentum. And, though I had actually written more in one sitting than I had in a week back home, I knew that I had not brought us one step closer to living a life of mission than I was when I sat down. I turned on the TV to improve my Spanish by watching a show in Spanish. Some call this vegging out. I call it learning language.

Knock-Knock. Marissa had returned. There was no need for her to dive in the pool today. So, we went down to the beach for another swim. The sun was nice and, since she was in a wet suit all morning, Marissa wanted to get some sun.

By this time, I was getting antsy for any sense that we were moving toward being secure in a life of mission, I paced. Marissa ignored this for a few moments, trying to peacefully get some sun. Upon accepting that I would walk a trench into the sand, she offered that we return to the room, get ready, take a walk to explore the area and then grab dinner.

The only response to that is a good kissing. Which, I can attest, was the best kissing Marissa had ever gotten. Just saying.

We Explored. We walked in the humidity all the way down a particular street. We stumbled upon the stark contrast between the smells of rank sewers and over-ripe fruit and the sights of perfectly manicured and high-walled resorts. We walked past to areas that reminded us of Haiti.

We Absorbed the sounds of Spanish mixed with quiet quips of conversations in Haitian Creole. My quick glance at recognizing the language would case the speakers to return to an accented Spanish conversation.

We Observed this and noted the self-consciousness that Haitians bear here. After that steamy 45 minutes or so, we sat at a sports bar targeting vacationers. We ordered burgers and fries and tacos. They were about the only things on this diminutive menu which, I suppose, was fitting as it matched the smallness of the restaurant. It was just a handful of tables. 

We began to Unwind by Interacting with Valerie, a Spanish-speaking transplant from Belguim. She gave us some tips about getting around town. I only understood half of what she said. Marissa was very impressed by this. Just ask her.

Another waitress talked with us. Her name was Vivian. She was Italian. She spoke French, English, Italian and Spanish. She was a waitress gypsy whose linguistic skills were her key to most nations in the world. Energetic is an inaccurate word for her. Electric is more like it. Marissa and I appreciated her interaction in English with us, her local knowledge, and her welcoming nature.

The sense of ease we felt after that walk and time at dinner was soothing. We returned to our ‘habitacion’, our room. We put on a show and, just before falling asleep, I set my alarm for 4:14 a.m.