The Most Important Relationship – Christina Faith

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In this season, I am reminded of the most important relationship we all can have; our relationship with Jesus. I have been struggling with writing on relationships for this blog, my blog and book. I don’t want to write simply about relationships for shares, retweets and hits. I desire for myself and for others to be changed into the image of Jesus Christ. We have been given this amazing opportunity to influence others. I would imagine if you are on Adam’s blog that you are looking to better your life in some way.

It is Christmas time and we often forget about the Christ in Christmas. We have turned the celebration of Jesus’ birth into a time of profit with self-serving agendas. As we invite people over for Christmas dinner I am challenged regarding how to make sure that our dinner is full of worship and not just a social gathering in the name of Christmas. I don’t want those whom we invite or even my husband and I to forget Christ on Christmas.

If you are like myself, then the new year brings around a lot of reflections and desires for the next season of life. As the year turns, so do our hearts. We regret what we didn’t fulfill and we make goals of what we would like to fulfill. During service on Sunday my Pastor brought up a key to progress. He encouraged us not to wait until the new year to forge change in our lives, but to do it starting today.

Over the last two months, I have been intensely reordering my life. During this season I am continually reminded that the most important relationship is my daily relationship with God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I want to be successful in life, however my plans cannot compare to the plans that God has for me. Proverbs 19:21 states, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand.”.

This Christmas don’t just give gifts, but thank the One who was and is the gift. Jesus Christ should be our focus. The closer we are to Him, the better all of our relationships will be. If you don’t know Jesus, there is no time like the present to ask Him to show you Himself. I am sure that this blog isn’t what you expected to hear concerning relationships, but He is the one who makes all of our other relationships worth having.

Relationships have their ups, downs, highs and lows, but our relationship with Christ will keep us anchored during it all.

How Writing Boosts Your Creativity – Ryan Bonaparte

Photo Credit: wenzday01 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: wenzday01 via Compfight cc

For most of us, the minute we leave school, the amount of writing we do drops significantly. And for those who do write, usually the topic isn’t the most exciting. Think TPS reports or commissioned work.

Taking time to write for ourselves about something and in a format of our choosing is often not high on our priority list.

I often forget how long I have been writing for myself, but it’s easily been 10 years or more. Every once in a while I go back to my childhood home and comb through some of my items cluttering my old room. More than once I have found a notebook that I completely forgot about and will sit down to read it over.

There are often just old sketches or quick notes written down, but sometimes there are longer ones that remind me of brilliant ideas or immature beliefs.

I’ve also written for more than a couple of websites, and when I come across them, I am immediately transported back to the time I wrote them. What is amazing is how consistent I am with my fascination with certain topics. I have gone back to an article I wrote three years ago and then forgot about it, only to see that it was very similar to something I wrote three days ago.

One of the beautiful things about writing is that it stretches our abilities to communicate effectively. Whether it’s to educate or to entertain, communicating our ideas allows us to accomplish our mission.

When you write, you are forced to think of the best words that can be used, the best order they can be in, and what to do when you can’t figure out either (hint: leave and come back to it).

Writing also lets you get the ideas out that are in your head and look at them in a different light. There are ways you can shape your ideas when they are in front of you that you can’t do when they are just floating around in your head.

If you are writing fiction, often there’s a world to be created and a story to think of. Non-fiction already has a world (ours), but there is still a story, and it can be challenging to figure out how to do that within the constraints of reality. Journaling is about your experiences, but how you look at them now might be different than when you initially experienced the event. Taking time to reflect can do wonders.

If you haven’t written for yourself in a long time, there is no better time to start than now. If you want to begin to write, but find yourself easily frustrated, that’s to be expected. Just write a few words, maybe as much as a paragraph, and that’s enough. Remember this is a way to build a habit and a lifelong hobby, not to complete an assignment.

After you have written a little, what you do with it is entirely up to you. You can choose to publish it on a blog or other format. Or, you can choose to leave it completely hidden away from anyone but yourself.

Whatever you choose, just make sure to keep it in a place that is easily accessible and that you will remember in a few years. There is nothing like coming back to something you have written before and thinking, “Wow, I was pretty smart back then.”.

How to Completely Change Your Morning – Kirby Ingles

morning, Washington, D.C., Capital, Monument, early,
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Every day you begin on equal ground.

What separates the movers and shakers from the dreamers is when you get up. Rising out of bed is the first challenge you face. Morning has a real influence on the rest of the day. Happily hustling is an excuse to justify chaos. You are not prioritizing goals and values. Mornings can transform the day and your life.

Last week, I was on some short deadlines and committed to a conference. After pounding the snooze, I rolled out of bed, did a splash, shave and go, skipped breakfast, and dashed out the door. Rain means bumper to bumper traffic in Washington, D.C. When I approached James Madison Bridge it took me 45 minutes to travel three miles. Arriving at the conference five minutes late, I was that guy, sitting at the first available seat, everyone staring. I was not myself the remainder of the day, made a poor impression and was irritated about my entrance.

Yesterday, I got up at 4am. My bag was packed the night before, listened to music, while making coffee, spent time in prayer, my Bible, reflected in my journal, and while listening to a favorite podcast my commute lasted 20 minutes.

The clear advantage is waking early.

I eliminated any chaos or distractions and cashed in on the best two hours of anyone’s day. You own your morning. You have silence, no distractions, the family is asleep. Morning is a time when you may concentrate on your personal priorities.

Journaling, reading The Good Book, praying, and exercise are my personal priorities each day. When I do not wake early, my personal priorities cease to exist. I will keep pushing them aside, because demands and responsibilities overrule after 8am.

When is the best time to get things done?

When the family wants your attention after work or at 9pm when you are tired?

How about 5am?

Between February and August I woke up at 4am. I accomplished my personal priorities before arriving at the gym. I managed to overcome a prolonged back problem, accomplishing feats of strength and endurance never experienced before. More motivated, happier, and productive, adjusting my wake-up time allowed me to pursue the important things in life. Realize those tasks are easier in the first two hours of the day.

Willpower depletes throughout the day.

Like a tank of fuel, you can run it empty. I found a way to build off my morning success and became more productive. A stable morning set a positive tone, which made me want to get up at 4 am. It was a reward by itself. I was able to care for myself physically, mentally and nutritionally, which benefited the people I interacted with each day, because I could give them a better me.

An early commute reduces the stress from traffic and shortens time traveling from place to place. Having breakfast gives you added nutrition to power through the day. I am not going to lie, it is difficult. The reward from waking up early before other people is worth every minute. Having two children, spouse, pets, writing for two blogs, officiating baseball, attending graduate school and a full-time job as a victim advocate requires a lot of time, energy and discipline.

You must commit yourself and make incremental changes.

Fifteen minutes to bed early and fifteen minutes up earlier for a week at a time or longer until you find the right amount of time to accomplish all your personal priorities. You will discover you have more time and energy in the evenings. I was able to focus and give my family the attention they deserved. Days become more productive and less stressful. I spent the first couple hours on my marriage and children, rather than attempting to rationalize time. Night time entertainment is a drawback at going to bed earlier. However, embrace technology by using a DVR or on demand type of programing so you do not have to miss out. You just will not be able to hang out with the crew at the water cooler or they might spoil your favorite television show.

All you must do is plan your mornings.

Create routines before bed and during morning hours, such as laying out clothes, packing a lunch or have the coffee ready to go. Stop procrastinating and start preparing. Make certain your personal priorities are things you enjoy. This could be meditation, exercise, reading, journaling, et cetera.

The snooze is your enemy.

You really like the stimulation your brain gets when you hit it. It is addicting to get an additional five minutes every time you push it. Are you a snoozer? Have you tried multiple alarms, an alarm on the other side of the room, in another room? I bought an alarm with pulses of light and vibrated my pillow. I finally found an app with an alarm which required you to stand and walk twenty steps before it would disable. There was no manual override. Once you rise to your feet and move, it is difficult to climb back into bed.

Try these quick tips to help you crank your morning up in the right direction.

  1. Set a fixed time for bed. No caffeine after dinner.
  2. Reduce exposure to lighting such as phones, computers, and television.
  3. Dim the light after the sun goes down to a soft glow.
  4. Evaluate your sleeping environment, sounds, light, and comfort.
  5. Exercise, nutrition and hydration go a long way.
  6. Avoid heavy dinners and night-time snacking.