Build Your Legacy

 

 

I was asked a few years ago by a dear friend to come along side her son while he came into the older elementary ages and into middle school. To just be another voice and another person he could talk to about anything and everything. Also just to have fun and be there for him. Doing life side by side with kids is one of the greatest privileges in this world. I was honored to take on the opportunity. What surprised me was how much I have learned from doing this!!

The next generation is truly amazing! They are doing more, juggling more, and being expected of more than any other generation behind them. They are incredible when you think about all that they are managing and fighting against. As an older sister to three brothers I was even more thrilled to get to do this. A few times a year I would get to be out of the pink tutu’s and ballet bars that my life revolved around. I didn’t have kids yet and having the opportunity to go to an arcade and to ride go carts was a no brainer! I was going to be there.

When I was young, I had three individuals in particular that came around me and encouraged me. They took me places, they showed up for me, and they took an interest in what was going on in my world. I knew first hand what that influence had in my life. It meant the world that I mattered to them and that they really wanted to see me succeed. They were “super cool”  and to know that they had my back really shaped me.

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington

Contribution has one of the largest upshot in all of life. It is when you are contributing to a greater cause or a greater idea that you are pouring out rather than taking. Consuming money, space, time, and negativity helps no one and lest of all you. When you are nervous to go for it, remember, contribute verses consume. Building your legacy is not about buildings, or money, or empires, or even influence. Its about people. So which one is it for you? Some of us think we are contributing but in actuality all we are doing is consuming.

Many of us can come up with incredible ideas but it takes a multitude of people to spread something exceptional. It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a mob to create a movement, and it takes a congregation to have a revival.

Look at the very gospel of Jesus as an example. Become part of something bigger than yourself. Go mentor, and go be mentored! Who do you need to come along side today?

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12: 6-8

 

SEXY

SEXY

We make this so much harder than it needs to be.  We silently suffer through things that could be cleared up very quickly with a few questions or explanations.  Instead we choose to stay silent around our significant other and our group of trusted peers.  Choosing to suffer, to stew, and to be secretive.  Let us not complicate this.  All we need is to ask the real questions on intimacy, even the hard ones.  Going to work at understanding the deeper more unique nature of each other will create the most incredible dynamic. It will give you freedom that you could only imagine about in your wildest dreams.

What I would tell my young married self:

  • You are responsible for you.  Your body is His and He is yours but you are responsible for communicating correctly about it and what you need from the other person.  If he needs something from you He is responsible to tell you.  Trying to anticipate and guess and be in front of it will only wear you both out and leave you unsatisfied.
  • Make your bedroom a haven. So often the bedroom is the last room we decorate, finish and use. It should be the opposite. This is the haven for your marriage. It is the place to escape chores, work, devices, and the outside world. For years, and I mean years, I would haul the laundry baskets into our bedroom. My mistake was realized only after running ragged one day and coming upstairs to rest. There on the bed sat three loads of unfolded laundry. I could not even lie down. I urge you to make this space work for you and your significant other. Let it be soothing, and romantic. There is nothing sexy about piles of laundry and stacks of clutter. I suddenly saw the problem and the solution that day with the laundry. Our room needed to be a place that spoke to us and that encouraged connection. almost over night, I realized our room was the tone for our romantic life. I changed everything. I wanted my husband and I to walk in to our bedroom for the space to breathe life into our relationship. No harsh colors, no clutter or distractions. Everything we had, we had to love. The bed sheets were upgraded, candles were bought, visual space was marked out and no devices became a mandatory rule. I still struggle with the habit of throwing all the clean laundry in the bedroom but I am doing better and it is doing wonders for our marriage and romance.
  • Choose to have a no shame and no blame policy.

    When someone is opening up to you on the topic of anything sexual you do not want to shame and blame them.  By all means we are called to hold each other accountable.  We are all better human beings when we rise up in all of life and we do this unwaveringly.  It just means no condemnation.  In shaming someone, It will create a closed off and painfully negative experience.  They will never approach you again about it, and silently struggle to a dangerous zone.  To be a safe place to land about this struggle is sexy in and of itself.

     

     

    Proverbers 5:19

    May your fountain be blessed,

        and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

    A loving doe, a graceful deer—

        may her breasts satisfy you always,

What’s Certain About Uncertainty

I read a great article the other day from the Atlanta Business Chronicle called “7 Habits of Amazing Successful Sales People (Terry Brock, Contributing Writer)”and one of the habits seemed to jump off the page at me: Hustle when others hunker down.  When uncertainty or tough times come about (and they always do) the winners and leaders take a different approach than the average person – they jump into hustle mode while others want to stay under the radar and not rock the boat.

We all like certainty and security.  It makes us feel good, relaxed, and less anxious.  Predictability is a good thing and the desire for comfort is fundamental to our human nature!  However, one of the only certain [assured/guaranteed/definite]things in this life is that uncertainty will always be present! The deal fell through, the boss you love has left, family relations took at drastic change, sickness struck without warning, a friend left you hanging, that promise was broken, the money didn’t come in, that trip didn’t happen, that dream won’t be fulfilled.  What do you do in this moment and how do you react when met with hardship and unexpected circumstances?  Do you retreat, let life beat you down, dwell on the negatives, assume the worst, abandon your dreams and aspirations?  Or do you get back on your feet, look at what you can control in your life (emotions, time, energy, thoughts), fight, work hard, keep the right attitude, and determine to move forward?  The latter find a way to use their challenges as a springboard to success. Don’t allow it to crush your spirit or discourage you from using your gifts and talents.  Success can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people – only you can determine what that looks like for you personally.

Those of us who have faith in Christ Jesus know that His ways are above our ways and that we should count it all joy when we fall into various trials.  This doesn’t mean that we should be happy about the hardship… it means that we can get excited about what the trials will produce in us ifwe allow God to work through us.  Just as you go to a gym to workout and literally tear your muscles in order to get stronger, so God allows/uses the trials and uncertainties of this life to build character, perseverance, and spiritual faith.  When we are weak, He will be strong in us.

Don’t take your foot off the accelerator, don’t hunker down, don’t look for an easy way out, don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, and don’t throw away your dream.  Uncertainty is certain, but what you do during those uncertain times will greatly alter the outcome of your life and those around you.

-SJD

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/how-to/marketing/2014/12/7-habits-of-amazingly-successful-salespeople.html

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“Remember who you are” –J. Mingee

 

Productivity

Productivity

“Some days I feel like the internet is 100 versions of “strive for greatness!” and “how she’s killing the game and you can, too!” and “these are the 64863 things successful people do before dawn.”  But how about this: you don’t have to crush or kill or slay anything today. You don’t have to strive or wrangle or hustle or do anything violent today. You can just be a human, in a quiet and honest way and that is good.” – Shauna Neiquest

January is the month of goals. It is also the month of freezing rain, gloom, and darker nights. Very challenging for this florida girl to manage! What I have personally learned thismonyh is the opposite of what many of us are told to do for the first month in the year. I would love to share my insight with you.

Over the summer and the holiday’s this past year I read three books on personal development.  These books gave me incredible clarity when it comes to goal setting and more importantly,  productivity. I wanted to finish out strong for those goals that meant something to me but, somehow I was putting off. I wanted to complete things and to end the year well.

Many of us set goals, aspirations, and healthy ideals yet few of us reach our true potential. Why? I believe after reading these books I have uncovered one of the leading causes of this problem and have been ecstatic to see incredible things happen.

If you would love to read these books, I have placed pictures of each one for your benefit at the bottom of this blog but here are my personal cliff notes and insight. These practices have transformed my January blues and winter hibernation to something extraordinarily valuable.

Book 1 Notes:

I first learned that in order to truly achieve great things you need to rest. And just because you get your 7-9 hours of sleep a night does not mean you are rested. You may still be depleted in your emotional rest or spiritual rest or even relationship rest; which is then making you tired. Reading all of the different areas we need to have rest in was exhausting! To be honest I was less hopeful that I could ever achieve optimal recovery after reading this book but it did remind me that there is more to rest than just sleep. The American culture of hustle, making your dreams happen, and the “be more and do more”mentality is burning us all out. If we focused more on the areas of resting our very souls from striving we would all be in a better place.

Book 2 Notes:

I also learned that watching tv, playing video games, surfing the internet, and even social media scrolling is not considered restful. For our minds do not get a break. Even reading a magazine was more restful and star-gazing and even walking better options from there. Therefore, these activities should be considered non-restful things. They can be classified as fun, and even entertaining but not restful. This was big for me because the average american uses these activities to “rest”, check out, zone out, and decompress. I can’t use this as my downtime and expect my mind and body to be restored.

Book 3 Notes:

It might seem weird that I read books on rest and on high performance at the same time but they go hand in hand actually. Rest play’s a vital role on productity and motivation. If your not resed your not able to be diciplined enough in life to make it really count. What I know to be true, when it comes to productivity, is that the silent killer is focusing on what you don’t like. These are the complaining master minds of our world. You know what I’m talking about too. The silent complainers and the obnoxious Debbie downers that no matter how great things are they can find what went wrong. And we all have been both of these people at some point or another. Instead of that, instead of complaining, the experts were saying to focus on what you like. Then go and do more of that!

So instead of fighting the winter hibernation effect and the feelings of exhaustion that surround me in January and February, what if I embraced it? What if instead of pushing back against it I learned the rhythms God has placed on this world and I followed suit. How would it look if I learned to rest correctly and completely. To do this without guilt of falling behind or of being lazy.

This month I have not put a deadline on my “book reading” but instead pulled out a childhood set I loved.  No deadline in sight. I haven’t put a deadline on my health, but instead gone on longer walks. I have watched more tv but I have not called it “down time”. I have reminded myself of what I love and have chosen to do more of it. Bubble baths, hot tea, snuggling with my children, a new eye cream, an awesome music mix, and even staying up late just hanging with my husband.  The best part of this is learning to be grateful, and enjoy it fully. No more complaining, or guilt of what I haven’t done this month.

Releasing your role as CEO of doing it all, making it happen, and that it is “never enough” is freeing and a giant exhale that we should take in life. I am not saying go home, raise your hands and say, “God’s going to provide while I watch Netflix” but I am saying run your role and don’t over step it. Average people work too much, are depleted, depressed, and bone dry. Average people complain and never know peace. You and I are capable and even called to be at rest. To choose exceptional rest in Jesus. To see how precious it all is, and to enjoy life to the fullest, is our blessing. This can free you from guilt, from expectations, and from winter exhaustion. Take your vacations, take your snow days, say “no” to all the fluff, do more of what you love, and appreciate your now.

– What do you need to release today when it comes to your life?

– Are you striving to much? Why?

– Do you need to put boundaries in place for you to cultivate rest? What are they?

– Do you need to replace restorative rest over laziness in your life?

– Do you need to trust God more with your future?

– Do you need to change jobs? Change your circle? Change your mindset? Make something simpler?

– What is something you can do to clarify your vision for yourself?

– What is one thing you can do to cultivate rest in your life right now?

 

 

Being Present

Being Present

Screen time is what we call anything from your phone to laptops, TV, movies, gaming systems, and social media platforms.  When I say you must break up with your phone I am referring to all of these.  It is estimated at the time of this writing, according to a Google search, that people spend more than two whole weeks of there life on Instagram alone, and that Netflix is actually a deterrent for sex (https://nypost.com/2018/05/06/netflix-is-killing-couples-sex-lives-study/).

The average shut off times for TV is now closer to 11:30pm, compared to 8pm in the sixties.  Children aged five to sixteen spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared to three hours in 1995, according to market research firm Childwise.  It is true that technology is not going anywhere and that there are more TV’s than people in houses now. These are all stats that I pulled in a matter of minutes and they don’t even brush the subjects of desensitization and pornographic issues (more on that later).

Screens do not have to cause major issues in your marriage.  You have to put it down and look at the person in front of you.  You have to choose a board game night, instead of a phone night.  You have to get the tv out of the bedroom.  To this day, we are giddy staying at a hotel on vacation so we can lay in bed and watch a show.  We never do this!  You also have to eat a meal without the phone in your hand, or by your plate.  We’re also training our kids in this and they will call us out if we forget!

I remember Stephen coming home from work one day when our daughter was a toddler.   She was on the floor playing with some toys and I quickly pulled out my phone to check on a phone conversation that my family had sent hours earlier.  Stephen had been offline the last hour due to traffic and wanted to make sure there was nothing pressing with work that needed his attention as well.  I glanced up and noticed both of us on our phones.

I’ll never forget the look on Amberly’s face.  She was just looking at both of us, frozen on the floor with an inquisitive and confused face.  My heart sunk in that moment realizing this was not the message I wanted to send to my family.  No piece of plastic and metal would come between and distract me from the ones I treasured most.  There’s a time and place for work, and there’s a time a place for your marriage and family.  Find the balance, don’t cross the line, ignore the distractions, and be engaged.  I promise you’ll see a difference in the temperature of the relationship.

You also have to choose to go to bed together.  Stephen and I always go to bed at the same time, as this can create a starting place for intimacy.  This prevents someone staying up on the couch wasting valuable time on things that don’t matter.  It prevents a lack of communication and connection.  And for me personally, it prevents hiding from problems that need to be discussed by keeping too much in my head. 

My husband and I pick multiple nights a week that we don’t do any technology.  We talk, play games, read together, or have a bonfire.  We know people that get in their hot tub to change up the routine to deter screen time.  Other couples go out to a restaurant with no TV’s.  We will often pick non traditional date nights like kayaking, indoor sky diving, or going for a run together.  It’s easy to revert to technology as the go-to for relaxation after a long, hard day.  We all do it.  Many of us don’t have anything left in our tanks.  Changing this one issue with technology can change the trajectory of your entire marriage! 

When we were first married we had no money and Netflix was still sending movies to us via snail mail.  Streaming was not yet available and we had highjacked the internet from the clubhouse across the street in our apartment.  In order to do this we had to be on the porch steps.  If it was raining you could forget it!  This was really a blessings in disguise.  We didn’t realize this until much later when screen time started to creep into more everyday things.

Technology was a slow adoption process for us.  Because of this, we were actually very prideful in this area.  Most of us have moved far past this stage with our devices and so the struggle is much greater.  Truly, we have had to reevaluate, change, and shift this over time.  We are now in the bracket of the masses of having to monitor our devices more strongly.  I have a habit of forgetting my phone for hours but then right before bed needing to check everything.  Not healthy!  The point is, we still go back to the very basics and we do it often.  To choose real face time over your screen.  To choose the living, breathing soul waiting right in front of you.  Push pause, put it down, come upstairs from the basement – it can wait.  Your spouse may not. 

Too Much Drinking

Too Much Drinking

The holiday’s can be so much fun!! They can also encompass too much of a good thing. I believe in moderation in almost all things. Too much sleep, your lazy. Too much sugar; you’re a glutton. Too much exercise; your obsessed. Too much of extended family; you loose relationships (Or secretly wish you could have “too much drink”). Too much of the holiday hoopla; You end up turning into The Grinch.

Stress creates a flight or fight situation. Even good stress. Identifying the stresses we face and how our bodies react to it will help us to understand how best to prevent the chronic repercussions that stress has on our minds and bodies. In doing so we can eliminate the unhealthy ways we fight or flee from our stress. Some people say they have it under control with exercise. If you say you exercise to maintain your stress great!! However, you could even be doing this wrong. Over working out, Doing “two a days”, and drinking protein like its going out of business is not healthy either. You know your over compensating for something.

I am here today to give you some practical tips on how to come back from just “too much.” If you are feeling overwhelmed, over-worked, and over everything this holiday I pray this encourages you and gives you practical ways to handle it.

First of all break down the problem into chunks. For this situation let us use the example of “too much drinking” as the problem here. This is not an issue for me or my husband even though we enjoy wine, so don’t panic. It is not a problem because we worked this out a few years ago after we had about four straight months of just a little too much of over indulging. Parties, traveling, work dinners, and stressful nights had become a norm. We were going to our wine cooler more than we would have liked. It’s not that we were alcoholic’s. Not even by a long shot but we were over doing it more than not. Maybe your drinking everyday, or bingeing on the weekends. Or maybe its a loved one that you need to raise the flag with. It’s not an issue yet, but if not addressed it will become one. This could be anything. It could be too much shopping, too much phone time, too much work, to many projects, too much sugar, too much tv, too much take-out, or too much obsessing of thinness.

This issue is creating a rub. It is not how you want to run your home, and you are choosing to get in front of it. You are no longer going to ignore this or scoot around it. Because you have decided your Creating Exceptional in every area, and that means this topic too.. This is not going to hold you back. Here is how to start.

  • Ask:  What are your feeling? What is the problem? What is the solution?
  • Ask open-ended questions  EX: “How can we partner together to make this better?
  • Listen to the answer! If your asking yourself you will be amazed at what you have shoving down and ignoring.
  • put your solution on paper
  • Now write down “adaptive” perfection – this is if you could be 100% awesome. This isn’t what you’re going to implement now. This isn’t the solution you just created. This is more than that. It’s what dreams are made of and eventually it may become your solution but for now you at least know what you want. Adaptive perfectionistis what lifestyle coaches and growth mindset experts use to develop positivity and optimism. Its a place for adapting their goals. Adaptive perfectionism is a perception of the fictitious “ideal”. It is where in the best most positive light, you can give yourself the best version of you.
  • Make a difference every day

This is how I would walk out “drinking too much”.

Break it down:

the reason we are drinking too much:

  1. Too many parties – The Excuse: I don’t want to be the part pooper or worse yet, someone thing I’m pregnant!
  2. Brother home from deployment – The Excuse: It is a celebration!
  3. Too much stress at bedtime with kids –  The excuse: I just need a minute of relaxation.
  4. Too much extended family – The Excuse: I can’t manage, so at least I’ll have fun.
  5. Not enough time to unwind – The Excuse: Wine helps relax me.

Q: What are you feeling?

A: Frustrated. I am consuming too much sugar and too stressed. I am feeling bad about not being disciplined enough. So then, I devalue myself by giving a pity party on top of it about weight gaining and not even enjoying the drink I have.

Q: How can someone partner with me?

A: I would love to have a flagging system in place if you we see each other choosing this too much. Like a double eye wink or a nose tap with the finger.

Solution: A number. When it comes a to a lot of things in life we set number’s or a time slot for ourselves. The Bible even talks about gaining wisdom from this.

Psalms 90:12 
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 

Many of us do this without even knowing it. One hour meetings. Five days for work. Rest on Sunday. Six weeks of school, one week off. Every two weeks we pay the bills. Every season shift we deep clean the house and change the airfilters.

When it comes to my exercise, I try to workout more than half the week. Seven days in a week means 3x doesn’t cut it for me. To exercise four times a week is fabulous, 7x is obsessive. So for logical reasoning, We do a very similar idea with our drinking habits.

*This is us, and our system. Some of you may thing that this sounds ridiculous. Some of you may think that’s still too much. The point is to make your own number and stick to it.  some poeple use the whole earn it system. If they worked out they can have a drink. With whatever you are working with find your number. What’s your sugar intake, tv amount, and work hour numbers?

Perfection: For drinking, it means never going over the rule. Not for a birthday, another holiday party, a wedding, funeral or even job loss. It’s not going over one glass ever for me and for Steve it is two. Perfection would be sticking to it rain or shine, and everything in-between.

Making a Difference:  It means you are making continuous and calculated steps to implement every day. You are numbering your days and tasks. Putting in place your plan of execution. In doing this you are growing wiser.

Go be great!

“If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.” Epictetus

Money and Marriage

Money and Marriage

Prominent research firms tell us that the top 2 leading causes for marital strain (and divorce) is money and sex.  I think most people would agree with this statement even if it wasn’t backed by statistics.  Interestingly enough, both of these have a common denominator that works like a virus, slowly infecting every aspect of our relationships.  Secrecy.   So let’s talk about “money” and its impact on marriage… but stay plugged into our blog for a future posting on sex and the topics that kill connection.

There are many things that Kate and I aspire to, but one of the top ones is managing our money wisely.  We want to get this right.  We want to look back decades from now and see the harvest that resulted from prudent and consistent seed sowing.  2 Timothy 1:14 tells us to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to us from the Lord.  We are stewards and money managers.  Money was here long before I took my first breath and it will be here long after me.  Many aspects of this life revolves around or is influenced by money.  But you cannot chase after money AND serve Christ (Matthew 6:24).  Jesus called out the problem 2000 years ago and the problem still persists today.

It has everything to do with your allegiance, your time, and your heart.  Our heart – the inner self that thinks, feels, and acts – is guilty of deceiving and misleading us (Jeremiah 17:9).  How many times have you followed your heart only to wind up in turmoil or pain?  I know I have.  And at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing.

Every now and then I listen to talk radio in the morning on the way to work.  On one particular morning, they were debating the question on whether married couples should share the same bank account or keep it separate.  The common answer to support the separation argument was around gifts and surprises.  The calls that continued to come in shocked me.  Many individuals had separate bank accounts that their spouse didn’t know about.  They kept their “fun money” in there and savings in case “things went sideways”.  When questioned, many of them saw no problem with it and really felt that it was the safe, respectable, and smart thing to do.  They had thought it through, it didn’t feel wrong, and so they acted on that rationale.

100% commitment is what is required for marriage – you can’t hold anything back, and this includes your finances.  Anything that is held back equals secrecy.  The old fashion saying is true, ‘what’s mine is yours, and your’s mine’.  Secrecy breeds distrust.  And a solid relationship can be built on nothing other than trust.  Secrecy slowly dissolves your foundation, working in the shadows until finally you’re facing collapse and ruin.  Don’t let this derail your marriage.

Money should be front and center in your marriage.  It should be something that you dialogue on often and challenge each other on… spending habits, investment habits, leisure habits, and giving habits.  Let the transparency in this area free you of the burden that so many couples deal with.  And hey, if you want to surprise your bride with something, just go pull out the cash anonymously… you can get really creative here.  Don’t let your heart take you down a path that will erode the core of the greatest establishment and relationship design that God has ever created.

Given that we have stepped into the giving season, let’s not forget a key application of our money.  On top of unity, let’s embrace goodness and generosity. Lets stop for a minute and move past our busy lives to see what we could do for just 10% of our efforts.  I’ll close with these inspirational scriptures:

“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped”.  -Proverbs 11:25 MSG

“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree”. -Proverbs 11:28 MSG

“At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe (a “literal” translation means “tenth”) of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do”. –Deuteronomy 14: 28-29

 

Blessings-

SD