Are Your Relationships Subpar? Here's 5 Ways to Boost Your Average
The thought provoking idea that’s been bouncing around in my head lately is from a man named Jim Rohn who said, “we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” With the busyness of my life there isn’t much margin for interactions with people outside of my household. But as I’ve wrestled with this thought I’ve had to admit to myself that I’m far from intentional with those I allow into my life. If I’m going to be honest with myself and be able to say, “I’m bringing my best me to my family as a husband and father,” then who I allow into my life requires consideration.
Here are 5 things I’m taking into consideration as I determine my five;
Use your wisdom. Know that a lot of times urgent is running around disguised as important. If you’re feeling maxed out, overwhelmed, and on the brink of burnout, chances are you’ve lost the margin in your life.
You can take it back. I’m rooting for you today.
What’s something in your life that is often been seen as urgent (and therefore focused on) but really is not that important? I’d love your comments below.
In the last 18 months my life has been full of interacting with and caring for children. From chasing them around the house, to washing, drying, and folding their clothes (didn’t I just wash this yesterday), and getting peed on while changing diapers, my life has been one of joyful chaos.
But there are times, when the crying doesn’t stop, the disobedience is habitual, and the house gets trashed that I selfishly ask myself, “what value are these children adding to my life? How much longer must I put up with this crap? Kid, just shut your mouth go play in your room, and leave me alone.”
And that’s when I remember, children are worthless.
My wife, Andrea, and I were together for almost four years before we got married. It took me about three years to realize I wanted to marry her. Andrea only needed about three months. She’s a pretty patient woman. The biggest hurdle for me was believing I was ready to commit to a life long journey with one woman. I grew up in a family where divorce was practically non-existent and I wanted to be confident that I could commit to living my whole life with Andrea.
But there was one area I didn’t spend any time really thinking about as I considered marriage; children. And not just my own biological children, all children. I didn’t fully comprehend what was going to happen on the other side of the wedding day and I certainly didn’t expect divorce to be a part of the picture.
If you know me at all, I tend to complain about things. I often see the glass half-empty. My mother in-law even called me a “fun sucker” the other day. Ouch. You probably know someone like this in your life too. Maybe this is how you view.
Have great credit? Want a CHEAP mobile plan? T-Mobile has it!
I went into a T-Mobile store today to sign my wife & myself up for a family plan. If you don’t know already, T-Mobile is rolling out a whole new strategy for their customers, the biggest change, no more contracts. However if you want the newest phone you’ll end up paying full retail cost for it (i.e. $500 or more rather than the $199 when you sign a two-year contract). You can either pay for the phone up front, or, if you have great credit, you can make interest free monthly (ranging from $15-20 per month) for two years. Over those two years, you’ll save some decent money if you are a moderate data user.
What really surprised me was just how cheap their family plans get. The first line is $50 plus tax per month. The second line is $30. Each line after that is $10 more a month. Each line has unlimited talk and text. Each line also comes with 500MB of 4G data. They say it’s an unlimited data plan, which it is, but after you use up your 500MB your data speeds are slowed down to 2G for the remainder of that billing cycle. For most people the 500MB may be enough each month with the ever increasing public access to WiFi. You can however get an additional 2GB (2.5GB total per month) for $10 per month or get truly unlimited 4G data for an additional $20 per month.
But back to the family plans. Now for the most part on the other big three carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint) they only let you have a maximum of 5 lines on a family plan. Which you’ll see below, on T-Mobile would end up being a great deal if the monthly bill is split equally across all five lines.
That breaks down to $22 per line per month! Great deal! Who can’t afford $22 a month for that? Paying that might make paying an extra $15-$20 a month for your new phone a little easier to swallow. Even if you added the extra 2GB of data for $10 a month you’re only paying $52 a month! That’s $1,248 over two years (before taxes & fees).
What if you could get even cheaper than $22/month? Well you just might be able to if your credit is GREAT. In order to get on a Simple Choice Plan they will most likely run a credit check because you have to have great credit (the T-Mobile employee said “great credit”, and T-Mobile’s website says “well qualified buyer”) in order to qualify for those interest free monthly payments on your phone. But what I also found out was that you may be eligible to have more than five lines on a family plan. I learned I was eligble to have EIGHT (8) lines on my family plan. Let’s do the math on that;
Line 1 ($50) + Line 2 ($30) + Lines 2-8 ($10 each or $60) = $140/month + taxes.
Divide that equally among the eight lines and that breaks down to $17.50 per line per month. Over two years that’s only $420 (plus fees & taxes). And that’s just for the price of the plan. You don’t have to buy a brand new phone from T-Mobile. You can bring any unlocked GSM phone and jump right on to their Simple Choice Plan.
So what do you think? Are any of you going to leave your current provider to join T-Mobile and their Simple Choice Plan?
*If you find any info that is inaccurate here please let me know so I can update this post.
Before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the wilderness he spent quite a bit of time discussing and processing the plan God had for delivering his people from the bondage the Egyptians had put them in. Moses was quite shocked that God said I’m going to use you to free my people. So shocked that there was quite a bit of doubt, unbelief and fear on his part. Just take a look at a few of the conversations God and Moses had;
I’m sure at some point in your childhood you pulled a plant or weed out of the ground and the roots came with it. They were usually a white, almost translucent color and they spread wide, usually a couple of thick long roots with lots of little ones coming off of it.
When we lose sight of the subtle beauty of the cruciform, we become seduced by the power, prestige, and pragmatism of politics… Without realizing it, we are being subtly seduced into thinking there is a better way to go…
Very challenging words. I’m going to be chewing on this for a while.
op·por·tu·ni·ty [op-er-too-ni-tee, -tyoo-] Show IPA
noun, plural op·por·tu·ni·ties.
an appropriate or favorable time or occasion: Their meeting afforded an opportunity to exchange views.
a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.
a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success
Opportunity, has the word ‘unity’ in it. When I think of the word and what it means, the second definition above comes to my mind. A condition favorable for attainment of a goal. However, when I think of opportunity I’m almost always thinking of my situation or my favorable condition to attain a goal. If this were the case, goals would probably never get accomplished. People have told me there will never be a right time to get married or to start having children or to even purchase a home. Sure you need to have certain things (like finances) in place before taking on these things, but there will also be things unresolved or uncertain before taking action.
Which brings us back to opportunity.
How do you see opportunity if conditions aren’t favorable for attaining a goal? Well perhaps we need to remove the word my and replace it with His. God doesn’t always make sense to me, and that get’s frustrating, a lot. But unfortunately, it doesn’t matter. My view and perspective on this world is tiny. God’s view is not. So if I’m truly going to take advantage of opportunities in my life I have to understand that the situation or condition might not be favorable for me to attain the goal but to God the situation, condition, and timing are perfect. Look at what Jesus says to his disciples before sending them out on their own;
“You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me (Matt 10:18 NLT).”
If you ask me, being held on trial where I could end up in prison or back then, even dead, doesn’t sound like a great opportunity.
Which brings me back to my first words; opportunity has the word unity in it. If you look at opportunity only as moments when you feel the conditions are right to achieve something then you won’t see many of them. But if you redefine it as trying to grow deeper in your faith and understanding of God, then opportunities will abound. You will draw closer to Him. Your unity will increase.
The definition of unity is, the arrangement of the elements in a work of art in accordance with a single overall design or purpose. The single overall design or purpose is God’s. He arranges us, the elements, to achieve this purpose. Opportunity gives you a chance to participate in God’s purpose.
Surprise Team: Panthers will make the playoffs a few seasons earlier than expected. Cam Newton will lead them there with a MVP caliber season. Their 9-7 record (& tiebreakers over ATL) will be good enough for a Wild Card birth.
Bottom Feeder: The Vikings are going to be pitiful this season. AP won’t be back to his old self until midseason & by then it’ll be too late. They’ll end up 4-12.
I’m crazy. a crazy christian. i believe in grace. i hope for what’s not seen. i believe God can do more than i’ll ever be able to conger up in my mind. at times it seems foolish to me. to trust. trust blindly some would say. but i don’t know a lot. i act like i do, but really my lack of knowledge far outweighs what i do. so perhaps that’s why i trust in God. trust in who Jesus said he was. because honestly, i don’t know. the two horrific events over the past couple of weeks has further compounded my realization that i don’t know. don’t know what to say. don’t know how to act. so i resort to prayer. why? because i trust God. I trust that he sees beyond the chaos right now. i trust that he is indeed good & he is love, so this can’t be a part of anything he’s planned or put into action. prayer, it sounds crazy right now, but maybe in the midst of all that is going on in our world prayer can be a pretty sane response to the chaos.
Pray. It will offer you a ray of hope. hope will not disappoint you. it will point you in the right direction.
The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies of all time. Not simply because Andre the Giant is in it, but because the story offers action, adventure, peril, romance and comedy all wrapped into one. There is one character, Vizzini (on right), who for some reason loves to use the word inconceivable on multiple occasions to describe his disbelief, the unlikeliness of something happening, or his inability to be fooled. There is a humorous montage of the use of this word from the movie on YouTube.
As much as I love discussing The Princess Bride, that’s not the purpose of this post. What made me think of this particular part of the movie, specifically the questioning of the definition of inconceivable by Inigo Montoya, is the word or idea of legacy that I have been hearing, seeing and reading much about these days. Much talk is being made of leaving your mark, making a difference and using your life to reflect your mission, vision or goals.
I do wonder though if that is really what Jesus was getting at as he spoke of the kingdom and the lives that would have to be given up if his disciples followed him. I wonder even more about how important legacy is when I think about a guy named Shamgar back in the Old Testament. Maybe you’ve heard of him, but I’m guessing not many of you have. You’ll find his story immediately following the awesome story of Ehud (why isn’t Hollywood making more movies out of Bible stories?). Anyways, here’s the story of Shamgar;
After him was Shamgar, the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Phillistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.-Judges 3:31
That’s it. There’s nothing more about him. Just his oxgoad and the death of 600 Phillistines. It doesn’t seem like Shamgar was too concerned about any type of legacy. I don’t know if he even cared much about his story being told. But the simple fact is that he was obedient to God in saving Israel.
I can’t say I see too many people living like this today. Sure I know a few people who are content with living in obscurity while being obedient to Christ, but this definitely isn’t the norm today. Jesus wasn’t really concerned about his legacy either. He regularly was telling people not to share about his miracles or talk to others about what he was doing or saying. There are four books in the New Testament that tell the story of his life, but by no means is it because Jesus was concerned about his legacy. No, it was more to underline the fact that Jesus was more concerned about being faithful than famous.
So that is the challenge for us, and my question for you. Could you live a life of faithful obedience and dedication to Christ and do so without human recognition?
In Isaiah 58, it says “Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves?” I wonder if God is asking the same thing in regards to legacy, “Is this the kind of legacy I have chosen, a life for people to build themselves up, to gain approval from men?”
If you ask me, I hope my life can be summed up as shortly as Shamgar’s. Read his story a couple more times and ask yourself, does legacy really mean what I think it means?
This will probably be the shortest review that I do on my quest to find the best mobile Twitter app. TweetDeck was horrible. I didn’t like it, at all, ever. That’s saying quite a bit because I didn’t like UberSocial or Plume but both of these apps did at least have a few qualities that I liked when I was using them.
TweetDeck is probably the most simplistic of the apps. If you are looking to just send tweets occasionally and read what people who you are following then this app probably is for you.
I sent a tweet earlier in the week that summed up how I was enjoying my experience with TweetDeck.
But to maintain some fairness I know that I should list some specifics about the pros (+) and cons (-) of the app.
- Again this was an app where there was no tutorial or quick tips when I first launched it showing me how to get around and use it easily. TweetCaster has been the only one so far to offer this.
- The app does nothing to help you add in people’s Twitter handle when writing a tweet. This means I’m supposed to memorize anyone whom I want to interact with on Twitter?
- Either I wasn’t using it right or it really just doesn’t allow it but I couldn’t merge both my Twitter accounts into one stream.
+ The one thing I really did like about TweetDeck is that my tweets that had been retweeted were merged right into a column with any tweets that mentioned me. This was much better than the previous apps I used where I had to dig and go to multiple different screens to find it.
+ There were no ads at all. This was a completely free app.
-/+ It did have a nice feature that was difficult and took a while to figure out. After hitting ‘refresh’ you can hit the time displayed at the top of the app and it will quickly and automatically scroll you to the top.
That’s about all I have for this app. I honestly didn’t like it. It did give me a new appreciation for UberSocial and Plume (which I really didn’t like before this) and it really made me miss TweetCaster.
If you use this app, I would love to know what you like about it.
For this upcoming week of March 24-30 I will be using HootSuite…hopefully I won’t be disappointed.
This is the third installment of my quest to find the best Twitter app. I started off with UberSocial followed by Plume. Clicking (& reading) those reviews may help in reading this review. In this review and previous reviews I always bold the main points so those of you looking for a quick read can get through this in no time. I would love to hear your thoughts on this review, any of the previous I have done or apps I have yet to review (TweetDeck, HootSuite, Twitter’s official app or Seesmic).
As always, this review is written in the order in which I came across the pros (+) and cons (-) of the app. Here we go…
This past week I continued my quest to review the most popular Twitter apps. If youhaven’t read my first post on UberSocial, it may help to read that first before continuing on with my review of Plume.
Just a quick reminder, I am using these apps for one week only & am not ‘Googling’ any answers that the app does not provide for me itself. Below is the list of pros (+) and cons (-) in order in which I came across them as I used the app. Again you can read the bolded sections to get a quick read of this post. So here we go…
As I use my smartphone (HTC Evo 3D) more and more I’ve realized that Twitter is the app I use most frequently. I’ve also realized that there are several 3rd party apps that you can use with Twitter. Over the next several weeks I will be using and reviewing several Twitter apps (UberSocial, Plume, TweetCaster, HootSuite, Tweetdeck, Twitter’s official app and Seesmic). I will be using the apps for approximately 7 days. I will not be searching the web for ‘how to’ on apps. My thoughts are the app should have all the answers. Please let me know your thoughts on these apps whether you’re currently using, or looking to test a new one out. On the next page I’ve bolded the main points if you are looking for a quick read…
Gungor was nominated for a Grammy again this year. And again they didn’t win. It’s a tragedy that should never happen. It just isn’t right. I’m kinda joking because the Grammies aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. But seriously, Ghosts Upon the Earth is one of the best albums…
Below is an excerpt from an email I received from someone who is much wiser than I & who I seek out for counsel on matters like the one going on with Mars Hill Church. Their response is candid, concise & hits the nail on the head.
I suggest reading these 2 articles first if you don’t know what I am talking about. They will put into context the text that follows.
Unfortunately we really don’t have all the facts of the events that took place. I have watched so many situations like this unfold and usually there are those on both sides of the fence grinding an axe. I agree it seems strange to discipline a member this way. But churches don’t disciple well in this day and age. The fact that this gone public from the blog and Mars Hill is bad…..for the cause of Christ.
I know that Driscoll is tough and yet he lives under grace….so hold out hope that it will get resolved well. Reconciliation and restoration is the key.
On another note it is a shame that our world (Christians) today looks so much to the celebrity Pastor and his church to define Christianity. We are always looking to put men on a pedestal and not Jesus…..I have done this much in my life and have finally realized God raises some men up to a place of influence and others he puts in a place of simple, quiet influence. We as you know are just a small part of HIS story not our popularity.
What are your thoughts? How would you respond in this situation? Do we need to spend less time focusing on the Popular Pastors & more time looking at Jesus as our example of how to live our lives?