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important nothings blog

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

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Avoiding the storm…

It is Monday – a crazy busy Mofishing-sea-boat-large.jpgnday. I get a few of these days per year where all of the forces that be converge, and you just know deep in your soul that it’s just going to be a brutal day.

Brutal. Things are a mix of good and challenging. I have deadlines. Parents have appointments. Friends are staying here. Our dog is injured. Projects are starting. Projects are ending. Celebrations and thank yous need to be a priority and fit in. Life is, well, life.

Last night, I was trying to finish devotional, and I ran across the story of Jesus sleeping in the boat and the storm arises (Mark 4).

You likely know the story – Jesus had just recently begun his ministry, the disciples were new to this whole concept. Jesus had a few brutal days. He’d been called out by the church leaders and his family, parables were flowing, crowds were gathering. Jesus suggests they get in the boat and go to the other side of the lake to get away from the people. Jesus sleeps on a cushion. Storms come. Disciples panic. Jesus calms the wind. Disciples say “Who is this guy.”

I have read this passage over and over over the years, but two things really struck out in this one particular reading:

First – The disciples’ boat wasn’t the only boat in the water.

And second – Jesus calmed the storm after they mentioned it to him. Mark 4:39 – and he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be Still!” and the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

I think I need to take these 2 things in consideration.

In my life, my boat isn’t the only one that faces storms. While the passage doesn’t say anything about the condition of the other boats, I can just imagine that they were all struggling against the storm as well. They didn’t have Jesus physically in their boat – but when Jesus calmed the storm for one, he calmed the storm for many. I need to remember that when I call on Jesus, when I live my life understanding that He is the source of peace, it affects those around me. My faith is not my own. It can’t be. By design, it has to resonate to those around me.

Second, Jesus calmed the storm when they asked him. Not even like the widow who nagged the judge so much that he gave her what she wanted. They woke up Jesus, asked for help and he calmed the storm. In my life, why don’t I just call on Jesus when I see the storm approaching? Why do I wait for the storm to be in a full scary, dark assault before I admit that it’s out of my control?   My first inclination was to ask why didn’t they just wake up Jesus to begin with…but then I realize just how often I get underwater before I ask for guidance, and often I never ever mention it to those in the boats around me.

It’s time. Before the sun rises, before the phone rings; before the emails start, the distractions arise and  noise and clutter start to cloud my focus and let Jesus know about my concern for the day. #Give it to him. Ask him to weather the storm with me and bring peace to not only my day – but to the day of those around me.

 

Taking Advice from a Kardashian

“You become what you think about” – Earl Nightingale

I’ve been holding to my resolutions this year…and I’m GIVING myself ammunition for work, for productivity, for success….for change.

Eating better – check.  Working out (except this last week) – check.  Reading – check. Turning off the TV – check.  Facebook is disabled from my phone – check.  Box of thank you notes sitting on my desk ready to be addressed – check.

And I started reading a book by…

A Kardashian (GASP!)

I know. I’m not even sure where the book came from. But it was on the shelf, and during a GoodWill pick-up purge a couple of weeks ago, I found it and started reading it.

Dang. Ron Kardashian nails it.

ron kardashian

His book is 30 Second Solution. It’s about taking a beat before making a decision, before speaking, before committing. It’s about making 30 second positive statements.  It’s about changing your focus.

And ultimately it’s about action.

When I started the book, I had to get over a bit of the, well, Kardashianisms: I’m a succcess, I’m great, I’m in great shape, I’m quoting myself…but maybe that’s part of the point. We want change? We want to be healthy (mentally, physically, emotionally, financially)? First we have to believe that we can be. Once our brain believes it, we can become it.

In a nutshell, 30 Second Solution is about 3 things:

  • Think Positively
  • Speak Precisely
  • Act Purposefully

Small changes can lead to big results. The Unhealthy Anonymous program that I’m also doing proves that with our health. The same is with our mind. 30 Seconds of “I can do this” can transform our workout.  30 Seconds of “I’m good enough” can transform a job interview.  30 Seconds of “I am beautiful” can change our relationships.  And positive is addictive…and it spreads to those around us.

I want to have the integrity to speak with precision so I am true to my word. Sometimes I need to take 30 Seconds before I speak to make sure that is a reasonable offer.

I want to make sure I am a person of action, who doesn’t talk about what I am supposed to do – I just start doing what I’m supposed to do.

I want to be a person of happiness, who brings a positive spin into the world. I’m better about this when I’m out in public. At home, it’s not always the case.

I want to honor God, my family, my business, my community with my words, thoughts and actions.  I may need to set a little timer to go off a few times each day to make sure that I’m in check with those statements.

So – what can you do in 30 Seconds to change your life? Here’s a few ideas to get you started:  Say a prayer, say thank you, take a deep breath, read a food label, send a positive text message, write down a goal, plan ahead for a healthy dinner, tell someone you love them…

If you want to check out a copy of 30 Second Solution: Transform your body, business, relationships and life in just seconds at a time,  you can find it at Barnes and Noble (used for a really low price!) here.

 

 

 

 

 

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…

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.

Day 6 – #Give Encouragement

imgres-3.jpg

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: http://www.redcrossblood.org/

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.

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?

 

 

 

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