important nothings blog

"which of all my important nothings should i tell you first?" – jane austen


January 2016

I’m Stressed.

I’m stressed out.

Can you relate?

I’m stressed about a lot of things. Work. Time. Family. Finances. Health.

I’m even stressed about being stressed.

I’m glad I like both teams who are in the Super Bowl. That is one thing that isn’t stressing me out.

I’m tired of my shoulders hurting all the time.

I’ve done fairly well this New Year, with the inevitable “new year, new you” mindset. I’ve been focusing on being intentional, developing new and good habits each morning and being mindful of the whole One Word concept – my word being “Give” (and my favorite use of the word so far has been ‘#give myself a break!’)

So I started doing the Unhealthy Anonymous program ( ) a few weeks ago – it’s an inexpensive, targeted plan to help our bodies better adapt to stress. It’s about learning to breathe, thinking more about what we eat, being grateful….it’s about giving ourselves a break.

Science proves that stress is at the center of most of our health issues. The thought is, if we teach our bodies to handle stress better, we can save ourselves from future years of health issues.

It’s not expensive – ($14/month with the coupon code below) – it’s full of reasonable, small changes that can actually become a part of your routine. There’s a 21-day reboot….and guess what? The reboot doesn’t say that you can’t eat meat, carbs, or fruit…it doesn’t make you spend hours at the gym, it doesn’t say you can’t enjoy life.

The whole thing is just a lot of common sense. And I like common sense.

I won’t go into too much detail unless you want it. We are doing this with some friends – and you should join us so we can all support our new healthy mindsets together. We have a Facebook page, we’ll be posting on each other’s blogs…we can all start sharing the joys of using coconut oil for EVERYTHING….

Want to join? Want to try to de-stress for 2016? Want to take back your life? Remember, this one isn’t a sprint – it’s making long-term lifestyle changes that will make for a better future.

Sign up here! – To get $1 off a month – put in promo code HOPE. (in all caps!)

It’s all in your head

pull up machine

It’s all in your head.

That’s what Jeremy said in passing. Jeremy is the trainer at our local Planet Fitness and he’s the best. He’s incredibly encouraging and helpful – all without that irritating super-work-out-guy-attitude. He’s one of those people that remembers names and details, which seems to be a rarity in my world.

A few weeks ago, as I was wasting time on Facebook, I ran across a conversation about the terribleness of high school gym class. Since I moved away from my hometown in the late 80s, I wasn’t aware that our gym teacher, Mrs. Peterson, had passed away a few years ago. The discussion ended up with how much we liked her … how much we remembered the dread of what we had to accomplish athletically.

Those Illinois health tests. Ugh. Run the mile. Do a pull up. Arm hang. Sit ups. Oh the agony.

Mrs. Peterson was great, but I, admittedly, didn’t have an athletic bone in my body. With me, she didn’t have much to work with, and so that “do your best!” mantra was something I heard A LOT.

Now, a few decades later, I think she would be proud of me. I am confident that I could ace that health test now…


Except for the arm hang. And definitely not the do a pull up. I have no idea how long I could hold an arm hang currently. I don’t really intend to find out.

But I decided it was time to have a solid goal for 2016. Do a pull up. Just one. That’s all.

I enlist the help of Jeremy who immediately introduced me to a very menacing, giant machine in the corner of the gym. This beast’s purpose is to be a counter-weight to help with that pull-up motion.

Whatever that means.

Being a gentleman, he skirted around asking how much I weigh – but he needed that all painful number to help me understand just what I’m working with.

I weigh 130. If he sets the machine at 100, basically it means that I’m doing a pull up with 30 lbs. If he sets the machine at 70, I’m pulling up 60 lbs. of my body weight.

Make sense?

Just from being more in the habit of working out, I can do 3 sets of pull-ups at 70 lbs. But during this test, Jeremy tried to trick me a bit to make me work harder. And I was able to do three at 40 lbs. That’s 90 lbs. of weight.

“It’s all in your head,” he said. “You convinced yourself years ago you couldn’t do this. You really need a tougher goal. You’ll have this in a few months if you keep at it.”

This as bothered me for a week now. What else is in my head? What else have I convinced myself that I couldn’t do?

Maybe I need to #give myself more credit.

So today I was going to get up at 5:30am to write. That didn’t happen. The spirit was willing… But maybe that will be the goal after I do the pull up.

GymSounds – Benjamin Dunn!

When I found this song, my gym mixes were never the same…”My Name is Eustace” by Benjamin Dunn and the Animal Orchestra is an homage to CS Lewis and the Narnia books. What’s not to like? Literary rock and roll merged with pop-filled alt-rock.  What’s not to love?



Day 6 – #Give Encouragement


I am sort of digging this #Give word.  Funny how God puts things on your heart and then you slowly realize why.

Today, I strive to #Give encouragement.  To people I know and those I don’t. By writing a quick note to a friend. By cheering on someone at the gym.  By acknowledging someone’s accomplishments.

Looking at my to-do and to-call list, this may not be as easy as I think…but I have all day to pull it off.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing…” 1 Thess. 5:11

What will you give to today?

Day 5 – #Give blood.

Blood van

I need to make giving blood more of a priority. I’m healthy. I’m self-employed and have some flexibility in my schedule. I have plenty of blood in my veins that regenerate every few weeks. My only credible excuse is that there are no Tennessee blood banks where I live, and the Davidson and Rutherford County sites aren’t very convenient.

Funny. It’s a pain to get in and out of Titans games, but I still go.

I guess some of my feeling is that Tennessee just doesn’t have a lot of blood drives. I try to keep an eye on any local opportunities…they just don’t happen all that often.

Years ago, this was a part of my routine. I would go and give whenever I could, and this was during a very joyful time in my life.  I wonder if there is any sort of correlation.

blood arm

But in the spirit of my one word for 2016 – give – I signed up and spent 45 minutes saving three lives.

Isn’t that a crazy thought?  Up to three people will get my blood. Three people who may be in extreme circumstances will get some relief.  Three people who are in treatment.  Three people who have been in accidents.

Want an easy way to help someone?  Give blood. Sign up here:

2016 Day 4 – #givespace – New Morning Routine

It’s the first Monday of 2016…and it started quite a bit differently than every Monday of the year that just past.  The alarm went off at 5:30 – the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak, so for 20 minutes I read on my phone in bed.  No Facebook. No CNN.  I read my Bible app.  I read another book.  My body was tired from working out yesterday so staying in bed was a welcome relief.

Why is it so cold in our house?

Apparently, we never reset our house timer, so our HVAC system was under the impression that we were still on holiday hours.  I reset the heat and resisted the urge to jump back in bed,  and grabbed Chris’s sweatshirt instead.

Next up, run into the kitchen to make some liquid warmth and energy. While brewing, I had a glass of water with lemon (thank you Unhealthy Anonymous).  I wrote up a quick journal.   Coffee was ready in no time…and was served with cream and coconut oil.

morning lemons

Louis had gotten up so together we did a set of prayers/sun salutations. I tried to write a thank you note but Louis was persistent in his severe need to be scratched..  No TV news until 6:45. No email until 7:15.

I’m GIVING myself space to start the day on my terms.  Giving myself fuel. Giving my brain time to think about things more important than work.

When I woke up today I was dreading the return to reality.  But now the new week feels different. I think there may be something to this morning routine / productivity thing.


Give #oneword

xmas cookies pic

Ok ok ok – so several friends have talked about how important the idea of having a word or phrase to focus on each year has changed their life. How they need to have that direction. For a few years, I thought that was a great idea…but wow – that’s a huge commitment. I would sweat over what that word would be, make a lackluster statement and then completely forget about it by MLK Day.

But this year, a few days before the launch of 2016, I really started to feel a word on my mind. And I think this year needs a word. I think I have too much on my plate and this word can help with a grand-scale focus.

The word for 2016 for me is:


Give away stuff.

Give up what I can’t control.

Give myself a break.

Give to needy causes and people.

Give thanks.

Give it to God.

Give God the glory.

I could go on and on…but to start this focus, I gave away bags of cookies to some hungry college students and I’m starting to thin out some closets. Why let stuff drag me down and take up my time when I can GIVE the things that I could end up paying to put into storage to people who need it.

Do you have a word? What will you #GIVE to 2016?




Jan 1 – Gym Sounds…

It’s a new day – a new year – and happily I made it to the gym to kick off 2016.

Which is quite a feat considering everything.  This week was much busier than planned and New Year’s Eve was, well, New Year’s Eve so I consider this whole year a success already!

I hope to be posting all sorts of things in the coming months that can make for a happier, healthier, stronger year in business, in life, in faith. This 2016 blog will be starting a bit slow, thanks to a New Year’s evening of binge-watching movies.

Tomorrow, we kick off the Unhealthy Anonymous plan. Tomorrow, I take all of our left over Christmas cookies to some 20 something boys who have the metabolism to handle a few dozen scrumptious Christmas cookies. Tomorrow we start phasing out sugar, white flour and pretty much everything we’ve been eating the past month.


But I’m excited on this new journey!

But one thing for this year, I would love to hear what music makes you want to move.  The songs help with that first 10 minutes of getting on the treadmill.  The songs inspire you to add an extra 5 lbs. to that weight machine.  I’ll be posting new music as well, but this is the song that my iPhone decided should kick off my playlist today…and I think it’s a great launch for the new year.

Ladies, chances are, you don’t know how beautiful you are.  So get on your boots.

So – what songs get you working harder at the gym? Let us know!

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