By Rusty, Thu, 09/27/2018 - 11:37

How many times a day do you get interrupted by a text message, new e-mail, or social media message? If you're anything like me, I don't want to even imagine the number.

What about just in the time between arriving home in the evening and going to bed? For me, it's too embarrassing for me to answer and too high to actually count.

We live in a world where we are more connected and available than ever, but at what cost?

For me, the reality is that it is at the cost of my family - time with my amazing bride and son.

After realizing this (thanks to the UncomMen Bible study), I asked if our family could have a dinner without any electronics. No TV, phones, tablets, or laptops. It was the best conversation we've had in months, and it was just about the day's activities. We disconnected, and actually found our family was more connected.

What can you do this week to connect more with what's most important?

By Rusty, Fri, 07/27/2018 - 15:29

How many times do we end up in a different area of life than where we intended to go? I know I do all the time. In my health, my relationship with my family, my business, my finances - so many areas that I intend to move one way, but I drift off the path and end up elsewhere entirely.

This quote Andy Stanley used really summed it up perfectly. "Your direction, not your intention, determines your destination." Regardless of my intentions, I have to choose the proper direction, action, or next steps to land at the destination I want. So simple, yet so true.

I intend to have an amazing marriage, but I am so impatient sometimes. I intend to be healthy, but that pizza sure does sound tasty. I intend to save money, but that new mountain bike sure looks nice. On and on it goes. Actions, what you actually do, day in and day out, is what is really going to take you where you want to go.

By Rusty, Fri, 06/01/2018 - 07:20

I could spend hours pouring over spending choices to make sure I'm optimizing where every penny goes, but the time invested may not always be worth the effort. For example, I just spent over an hour searching 8 different websites to save $9.32 on a hotel!

Ten minutes spent to distinguish between a bad deal and a good one is time well spent. However, hours spent to distinguish between a great deal and marginally better one deal is wasted effort. (Like my habit of searching for gas stations to save .03 per gallon!) Rather than obsessing over the optimal choice in every situation, simplify so there's more time to focus on the decisions that matter. Simplifying doesn't mean not improving. It's intentionally making the choice to decide what's good enough, focus there, and forget the rest.

Reduce stress, free more energy, and open up your time for what's most important. When I added everything up, the small savings on the hotel just wasn't worth an hour missed with my wife and son. Where could you simplify your life?

By Rusty, Sun, 03/04/2018 - 13:52

A few different images might spring to mind when you hear the word "grace". For some of us it can be the grace of a ballerina as she moves with elegance and precision. For others, you may envision a family gathered before a meal saying a prayer of gratitude. Today we are using 'grace' as a verb. To give grace is to extend consideration, patience, and goodwill to someone who may not have earned it.

Life moves fast these days and I, like many of us, find patience to be a challenge at times. I struggle with the impulse to give criticism, to quietly judge, and find others' timelines not suitable to my own. I am impatient in situations where a better version of me might find patience. I write people off in situations where I would want another chance.

I am working hard to practice giving grace more often. I have found that if I stop and take the time to put myself in other people's shoes and attempt to understand what others may be going through, it becomes easier to extend grace and kindness in difficult situations. It's still not always easy, but I am hoping that with practice and intentionality, it will become a little easier every day.

What if that person who cut me off isn't just an inconsiderate jerk but speeding on the way to North Florida for the birth of their first child? Or maybe the server that messed up my wife's order isn't just inconsiderate, but is struggling with a recent break-up. Maybe that person that isn't responding as quickly as I'd like isn't just ignoring me, but dealing with a parent with a terminal illness.

I'm sure I don't get it right most of the time, but sometimes, I might. And I would rather err on the side of giving grace than assuming the worst. Extending grace every time we are able sets us on the path to being the change that we want to see in the world.

By Rusty, Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:59

I have to be honest, I love the new year. A blank slate and a fresh start to set goals and make plans is invigorating to me, but I know that it isn't the same for everyone. Some may consider them trite, but even if resolutions aren't for you, how about finding a way to challenge yourself in 2018? Here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Get moving. There is never a bad time to add some physical activity to your routine! Whether that's getting up 20 minutes early for a jog, or starting a new sport with your kids.

2. Journaling. Whether it's a couple sentences about your day or daily gratitude, this is one habit that can help you feel more focused and centered. A prayer journal or a family journal are also great ways to get started. 

3. Strengthen relationships. Life gets busy. The older that we get, the easier it becomes to slip from spending time with people we cherish. Commit to a date night or visiting extended family a couple times this year.

4. Give back. One of the most energizing things that I've found is giving back to our amazing community. Find an organization that you can get behind and find ways to contribute, whether it's a financial or time  investment, giving back to your community really pays dividends.

By Rusty, Fri, 12/01/2017 - 08:23

Now that Thanksgiving dinner has been eaten and 'Black Friday' has passed, I wanted to take the opportunity to remind you to buy local as much as possible this holiday season.

Sure, Amazon is easy and Wal-Mart is cheap - but at what cost is cheap and easy worth it? The reality is that if we want to have locally-owned restaurants and stores - the traditional "mom and pop" businesses - they need our support now more than ever.

Why does it matter? Because small local businesses are the heartbeat of our community. They create local jobs, they re-invest the money back into our town, and they offer personalized customer service you don't find at the big-box chains. They're run by your family members, neighbors, and friends from church.

I can't say I don't ever use Amazon or go to a big box store, but I can say I try, and I'm going to try even harder this holiday season....but not because it's cheap or easy - because it's worth it. Our community is worth it.

By Rusty, Wed, 11/01/2017 - 14:32

So often I think to myself that I wish I had time for this event, or that activity. I wish I had more time to spend on hobbies, or on projects that I've been meaning to get to. Time is a tricky thing. It's the one thing we all seem to have the least of, despite having schedules that are busier than ever. As a new father, I am feeling the time crunch particularly. My son is already 3 months old, and there doesn't seem to be enough time to do all of the things that we want to do.

My way of trying to combat the shortage of time is to remind myself that it isn't really about having time at all. We all have the exact same 24 hours every day. The key is MAKING time. Making time for what's important, honoring my time commitments, being focused and diligent with how I spend my time. I can spend the next 30 minutes working, or relaxing and watching tv, or trying to get my son to laugh one more time. On different days I'll make different choices, but I will continue to strive to make sure that the way that I spend my time is intentional, valuable, and lines up with my long term hopes and goals.

What will you MAKE time for today?

By Rusty, Mon, 09/18/2017 - 15:30
I love the way our communities have come together and bonded in the past week after Irma's disastrous visit. I've seen neighbors pull together to clean up fallen trees, throw sand bags, and offer a warm shower to someone without power.   It's a shame, though, that it takes an event like this to see our neighborhoods really unite.    We've seen it numerous times - the 9/11 attacks, Virginia Tech's shootings, Hurricane Katrina, The Orlando Pulse shootings, and now Irma.    We forget our differences and come together as Americans. #prayfor(insert location here) goes viral on social media. Random acts of kindness are shown all over the news. Money pours into the Red Cross and other relief efforts. But, then it all fades.   Back to normal. Back to the divisive politics. Back comes the polarizing disagreements where no one really listens to each other.    Can't this time be different? Only if we decide to make it different.    Decide to make it different.
By Rusty, Tue, 08/01/2017 - 06:18

As Americans, we get to experience something that few others enjoy - Freedom. We get the freedome to choose our home, employer, spouse, religious practice (or lack thereof), and even how to spend our resources. 

Freedom of choice, as great as it is though, doesn't give us the freedom from consequences. Consequences can be penalties or rewards, but your choices are what determine the consequences.   If I choose to focus on my health by working out and eating healthy, I will reap the consequences of strength and endurance. I may also have a consequence of being sore and a higher grocery bill. If I choose to work 70 hours a week, I will reap the positive consequences of career and financial growth, but I may also reap the negative consequence of the toll on my marriage.    When it comes right down to it, our future is determined by the sum of our choices we make today. The old saying is "You are free to choose - but you are not free from the consequences of your choice."   With that in mind, what choices will you make today so that you can enjoy the consequences in the future?
By Rusty, Wed, 05/17/2017 - 16:17
Spring is a time of new beginnings. You see it in plants with blooming flowers. You see it in animals as they become more active. We see it in kid's lives with graduations. Spring cleaning. Spring weddings.    For me personally, this spring is a time to prepare for an exciting new beginning as fatherhood nears and I get to welcome my son into the world. Starting something new is exciting, overwhelming, and scary all at the same time. It's an opportunity to expand your horizon mixed in with a bit of fear of the unknown. We don't all have such large changes in the spring, but I think it's still a great time for starting something new.    I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage you to create a new beginning in your life. It can be anything from running a marathon to learning to growing a garden in your backyard.    Whatever you choose, take the first step. It'll be worth it, but only if you get started.