Why I’m Wearing Red Today

I'm a pretty boring guy when it comes to fashion.  I tend to stick to some basic colors: black, brown, blue, and gray.

It's very rare that I wear something very bright that would bring more attention to myself.

Maybe some psychologist has a reasoning behind my behavior, but that's the way it is.

Anyway, today I have stepped out of my usual choice of dress and I have decided to wear a red shirt.  

devin_redshirt

I'm wearing the shirt to support the American Heart Association's National Wear Red Day.

In case you didn't know, Heart Disease kills more women than all cancers combined.  This is serious business.

Since I have lots of women in my family, including a wife and two daughters, I figured that I could help in awareness.

Just take a look at these resources and I hope it saves at least one life.

1)  Check out the Heart Attack Risk Assessment calculator to determine your risk

2)  Read this to become familiar with the warning signs of a heart attack

3)  Click here to learn about Prevent and Treatment of Heart Attacks

4)  If you would like to make a donation to the cause, you can donate here

 

That's it.  Now the next step is to share this information with others.  Feel free to spread this post or a link to the Go Red Campaign via email or your social media platforms.  You could help save a life!

8 Lessons from 8 Years of Marriage

Today, my wife and I celebrate 8 years of marriage.  I am so grateful to God for bringing such a worthy vessel into my life at the moment he did.  This anniversary brings a reflection on the great things that have been done in and through out marriage.  It hasn't been the easiest journey for either of us, but it is a relationship that God has blessed abundantly and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  

rings

Since we've been married for 8 years, I want to share 8 lessons that I have learned during our time of marriage:

1)  Marriage is so much better when you work together.

One of our favorite sayings is "together is better".  We discovered early in our time together that when we worked together, the end result was usually greater than anything we could accomplish on our own.  There is just something about a united presence that is powerful.  This can apply to handling your finances, planning your meals, raising your children, facing difficult circumstances, or even serving in ministry.  Deuteronomy 32:30 says "one can chase a thousand, and two can put ten thousand to flight". 

2)  More progress is made when you work on improving yourself and not "fixing" the other person.

When we first got married, since I was already perfect (yeah, right..lol), I often tried to change things about my wife.  I was particular about certain areas of our marriage and I had all of these expectations that I had not expressed.  It didn't help us at all.  It wasn't until I began to focus on improving myself that I actually experienced greater peace and happiness in our marriage. 

3)  It is important to be proactive in protecting your marriage.

Though the number can be disputed, I've heard it said that somewhere around 50% of marriages now end in divorce.  Who knows what the reasons are, but one way to surely have marital problems is to allow intruders into the marriage.  These can come in the form of men or women who try to win your spouse's heart, friends or family members who may interfere, jobs that require unreasonable amounts of time, and even church commitments.  I have had to learn to defend my wife, to establish boundaries, and to say no and be comfortable with it since I knew it was best for my marriage.  If you don't guard your relationship and your time together, no one else will do it for you.

4)  Date nights are important.

I still have to remind myself about this, but it is important to have a night for just the two of us.  Whether money is tight or not, date nights can still happen.  It is great when we can get a babysitter and get out of the house to do something fun, but often all that is needed is to enjoy each other at home.  We usually get the kids to bed around 7:30 (yes, it's possible!) and spend some time watching a movie, playing board games or computer games, and eating some inexpensive desserts.  Mix and match a few options and there you have it!   

5)  Intimacy and compatibility take time.

I don't remember the source, but I have heard that compatibility in marriages can take nearly 10 years.  Considering the amount of time it has taken us to get to where we are, it seems valid.  Marriage takes work and if you're selfish, you won't put in the work (Tweet this).  In addition to that, intimacy can't be a instant thing either. Men are like microwaves and women are like slow cookers.  You've got to put in time and attention over the long haul to have any real success.

6)  You should be your spouse's biggest supporter.

My wife's support matters greatly to me.  I'm an "ideas" guy. I have lots of them and I sometimes just want a cheerleader to believe in me.  It goes a long way in encouraging me to actually go from idea to realization.  Sometimes, all she has to do is tell me that she believes in me and I stick my chest out and prepare to conquer.  I am also my wife's biggest supporter.  I know that no one should "fill her tank" more than me.

7)  Learning from couples who have been married longer and share your values can be priceless.

When we first got married, we spent time around other couples who had already been married for some time.  What we learned from most was the mistakes they had made. They were open to sharing some of their past mistakes and we figured that we should learn from their mistakes instead of going down the same path.  This continues to this day.  We learn from people who have "been there and done that" and are still very much in love.  

8)  You will make mistakes.  

In the movie Fireproof, one of the fireman discussed the process of learning his wife and studying her like it was a course.  He was determined that he needed to get a Ph.D in knowing his wife.  I believe that truly knowing someone can take a lifetime.  In a marriage relationship, we inevitably will say or do something wrong.  It is because we are imperfect people trying to walk through life together.  The most important thing is to learn from the mistakes you make and work toward not making them again. 

 

Question:  What is your best marriage advice?  What would you add to this list?

Everyone Needs Reminders

As a techie, I go through a lot of information on a daily basis.  I interact with people through email, I have conversations over the phone and in person, and I read lots of blog posts, tweets on Twitter, and Facebook posts.

Since so much information goes through my brain, I often need reminders to keep up with important dates and details.

As I was reading a candid email from author Robert D. Smith few days ago, the thought came to me that we often need reminders of lessons that we have learned in life as well.

reminder

In addition to keeping up with important dates, meetings, and obligations, we also need to be reminded of important factors in our lives.

Here are seven that I constantly have to remind myself:

1.  If God does nothing else for you in this lifetime, you are already blessed beyond measure

The #1 thing that I am grateful for at this point in my life is salvation.  After truly meeting Jesus in my early twenties, there was no experience that could compare.  It is a priceless gift and one that I hope to share with thousands of people. in my lifetime.

2.  Your wife and kids love you and they show you every day

There is not a day that goes by where I am not shown love by my wife and kids.  My wife serves us faithfully at home and the kids smile and laugh with me every day.

3.  You are gainfully employed and have never missed an important payment since you started working

With unemployment rates where they are and people struggling to get by, I have been blessed to work in an environment that I enjoy and I have been able to provide for my family as it has grown.  I have to remind myself to be grateful for "the process" when I start thinking about my career advancement and my aspirations as a business owner. 

4.  Your clients think of you as a man of integrity and they trust you to share personal information

I have been able to work with people who are known by millions of people.  I have also worked with business owners who have freely given me financial information and/or passwords because they knew that I could be trusted.  That, in itself, is an honor.  

5.  You have musical talents that have allowed you to meet some great people

Since I've played the piano for the past 21 years, I have met some interesting people.  While serving as a worship leader and music minister, I have had opportunities to interact with pastors and other people I respect.  I have also had great conversations with people while providing music and community functions.  I'm not as skilled as I want to be, but I'm in a position to use my gift, so I'll take that.

6.  You have escaped death at least once that you know of and possibly thousands of times because of God's grace

When I was in college, I was in an accident where the van I was riding in flipped over a few times.  As I approached that moment, I was almost sure that I was going to die.  Obviously (since I'm writing this post), that didn't happen, but I have to remind myself that my life has been spared – not just that time, but more than I could imagine.

7.  You may not consider yourself to be an expert in lots of things, but other people do

Until recently, I didn't think of just how many people ask my wife and I questions about a number of topics.  I get questions about computers, websites, and other technical topics.  My wife is often asked about marriage, parenting, hair care, cooking, and homemaking.  It's an honor to be thought of as a source of wisdom for some of these topics.

 

Question:  I've listed a few of the reminders that I need.  What are some of the reminders that you often need?

One Step At A Time

It's the beginning of the year.  You know what typically happens at the beginning of the year? Right. Many of us set huge goals and establish that THIS will be our year.

Somewhere along though, our insanity kicks in and we somehow realize that doing the same thing, the same way will produce the same results.

step

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Kids Need Routine

Let's face it, I'm not a parenting expert.  I haven't studied pediatrics or child psychology or any of that.

routine

So why should you listen to me? Here are two reasons:

1) I have 5 beautiful children (they get it from their mother)

2) My wife and I are often complimented about how well-behaved they are

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Can You Devote 52 Days?

I'm always looking for new and exciting ways of doing things.  Near the end of November 2012, I signed into my Evernote account and create a list of goals in each area of life for 2013.

calendar

It didn't take too long to complete the list, but it is pretty extensive.  Yesterday, i came across a unique approach to achieving goals which incorporated a 52/7 plan developed by Jon Acuff.

The general concept is to set goals for the 7 core areas of life and then focus on them for 52 days.  Starting January 2 provides you with about 7 cycles of 52 days.

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Do It Today

Sometimes it's hard to make up your mind to get something done right away.  It may be on your to-do list or your calendar, but you may not have that "feeling" like you want to get it done.  

It's sometimes easier to push it off for a later time when you feel better.

I have often been in this situation and the results have not worked in my favor.  

Whether it is cleaning up the kitchen at night instead of in the morning, exercising, writing, praying, reading, creating a project, or planning a date, I have not enjoyed what happens when I put it off for later.

A day and a half ago, I went up to my attic to bring down our Christmas tree and decorations. While I was up there, I believed that I smelled something coming from one of the gas lines.

I second-guessed the situation, but while it was on my mind the next day, I decided to place the call to the utility company.  

They came out and it turns out that there was a small leak and they were able to take care of it.

What started out small could have harmed my entire family and I'm so glad that I decided to call on the day that I did.

Now that the situation is fresh on my mind, I want to make sure I am getting the most out of each day whether I "feel" like doing necessary actions or not.

My health, my family, my income, and so much more depend on "doing it today".