In the last 80 years, we have lost 93% of the diversity in our food seeds, according to National Geographic. The industrialization of agriculture as well as our current trend toward genetically modified foods has steadily put emphasis on a seed's ability to generate the highest yield per acre. "In 1903, we had almost 500 varieties of lettuce. By 1983, we had just 36. Radishes, peas, and beets have fared no better. In fact, the most steadfast of the crops has been the tomato, which, probably due to the popularity of strange and tasty heirloom varieties, only lost about 80% of its seed diversity."
New research reveals that losing sleep could be a significant contributor to obesity. In a study at the University of Munich, researchers surveyed the sleep habits of more than 65,000 adults and found that "people whose weekend and weekday sleep schedules differed were three times more likely to be overweight than those who went to bed and awoke at the same time each day." When people are low on sleep, they tend to eat less healthily and rely more on alcohol, caffeine and tobacco to keep them going. And those who eat while their body should be sleeping will be met with a slower metabolism, contributing to weight gain.
Realign your priorities as needed. Earlier in my life, my children were a high priority. Friends were a lower priority. Community service wasn’t even on the list. Now that has changed. This is natural. You have to adjust your priorities as circumstances change. Be flexible—while remaining true to your values. Review your life plan weekly. It is not a document you finish and then file away. The key to implementation is visibility. You must review your life plan on a regular basis. Daily is too much for me. Monthly is not frequent enough. In my experience, weekly is just right. I review my life plan as part of my Weekly Review Process. Revise your life plan quarterly. Plans are only useful if they are relevant. Your circumstances can change quickly. Your action plans must shift accordingly. That’s why I recommend getting away for a half-day to day-and-a-half on a quarterly basis. Use part of this time to review your life plan and revise it. I refer to this as the Quarterly Review. Reserve time annually for your most important priorities. This has been a huge help to me, particularly as things got crazy. I reserve the week between Christmas an New Years to plan out the coming year. I don’t plan every detail—far from it. But I do put the big rocks in the jar first by scheduling my most important priorities. I have created a tool for this called the Annual Time Block. Recruit a life plan accountability partner. If you want to finish your life plan and make sure you actually implement it, recruit an accountability partner (see Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10). The best option is a coach who is trained in life planning. The next best option is a close friend who learns along with you. Regardless, having an accountability partner is an important key to success. Regard your life plan as a work in process. Don’t shoot for perfect—that day will never come. Instead, complete your first draft and assume it is a living document. You will revise it as necessary, always fine-tuning, always tweaking. Recognize the season you are in. Are you in a spring, summer, fall, or winter season? It makes a difference. You may not be able to do what I do. I may not be able to do what you do. The critical thing is to each be doing what we should be doing in this season of our lives, focusing on what matters most now.
Leaning into the future which is intended for you is not easy AND discovering, discerning, creating, and implementing that plan will bring you the greatest joy of your life. I will be glad to assist you as you work your life plan.
Interesting that we always dismiss young people ... even if they might be onto someting (via Utne Reader)
It’s always unexpected. No one predicted Tahrir Square. No one imagined tens of thousands of young Syrians, weaponless, facing the military might of the state. No one expected the protests in Wisconsin. No one, myself included, imagined that young Americans, so seemingly somnolent as things went from bad to worse, would launch such a spreading movement, and -- most important of all -- decide not to go home. (At the last demonstration I attended in New York City in the spring, the median age was probably 55.)
The Tea Party movement has, until now, gotten the headlines for its anger, in part because the well-funded right wing poured money into the Tea Party name, but it’s an aging movement. Whatever it does, in pure actuarial terms it's likely to represent an ending, not a beginning. Occupy Wall Street could, on the other hand, be the beginning of something, even if no one in it knows what the future has in store or perhaps what their movement is all about -- a strength of theirs, by the way, not their weakness.
History's intervention is always unexpected. Something important for us to remember when we are trying to "invent" the new. Henry Blackaby taught me to discern what God may be blessing and join that rather than ask the Lord to bless what I was doing. I am not sure where Occupy Wall Street may be going AND we all need to be watching
Old Spice revenues up 107%!?! Perhaps the mainline church can spice it up! (via Len Sweet's napkin Scribbles)
The Old Spice shifted from a company trapped in its past (and my dad's past) to a completely new demographics while revenues climbed 107% in the past year. The new demographics is reflected by its 1.3 million Facebook fans and 30 million views on YouTube. Leonard Sweet notes that the shift comes without leaving its core product - hairy armpits and facial foliage. So mainline, sidelined, over the line, and offline churches should take note and stay focused on our business ... helping people learn how to be fully devoted followers of Jesus!
Are we defined by a generous spirit? What if we asked our friends who know us best? Thoughts on living generously.
As I have mentioned at other times in our life together, I was made say "thank you" by my parents long before I ever knew the true meaning of gratitude. Why? So that I would know how to respond when I finally discovered that emotion on my own. Later I helped my parents prepare to file the family income tax form. As I was adding up my parents' annual contributions I offered my dad some teenage advice: "Dad, if you would cut back to tithing (that is giving 10% of your income) we could afford the car I want to buy!" Needless to say he did not listen to my "wisdom" and along the way I began to understand something about generosity. At this point in Cindy and my marriage we have given away moneys equal to what our first house will cost us and I can honestly say we have not missed the resources we gave away. That spirit has also allowed us to join the "junky car club" who's motto is "living with less, so we can give more." Click on the link if you want to join as well. The following are my thoughts on Adam Hamilton's chapter "Defined by Generosity" from the book ENOUGH: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity.
As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold what is due, and only suffer want. A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water. (Proverbs 11:24-25)
Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor. (Proverbs 22:9)
A Theological Foundation for a Generous Life
We Are Created to Be Generous and Tempted to Hoard: God created us with the willingness to give—to God and to others. This design is part of our who we are -- we need to be generous. Yet there are two voices that “war” against our God-given impulse toward generosity. These voices tempt us to keep or hoard what we have.
- First, there is a voice of fear. Fear, of what might happen to us, along with a misplaced idea about the true source of our security, keeps us from being generous and leads us to hoard what we have. The truth is that hoarding offers us no real security in this world.
- Second, we are tempted by the voice of self-gratification. Our culture tells us that our lives consist in the abundance of our possessions and pleasurable experiences. So we find ourselves thinking "If I give" there won’t be enough left for me.
We Can Defeat the Voices of Fear and Self Gratification: When we give our lives to Christ, invite him to be Lord, and allow the Holy Spirit to begin changing us from the inside out, we find that our fears begin to dissipate and our aim in life shifts from seeking personal pleasure to pleasing God and caring for others. Although we still may wrestle with the voices from time to time, we are able to silence them more readily and effectively the more we grow in Christ. And the more we grow in Christ, realizing that our lives belong to him, the more generous we become. Generosity is a fruit of spiritual growth.
There Are Biblical Reasons to Give to God and Others:
- We find more joy in doing things for other people and for God than we ever did in doing things for ourselves. (Acts 20:35)
- In the very act of losing our lives, we find life. (Matthew 16:25)
- Life is a gift and all that we are and all that we have (and everything else as well) belongs to God. (Psalm 24:1; Leviticus 25:23)
Biblical Guidelines for Giving: From the early days of the Old Testament, God’s people observed the practice of giving some portion of the best of what they had to God. A gift offered to God was called the first fruits or the tithe, and it equaled one-tenth of one’s flocks or crops or income. Abraham was the first to give a tithe or tenth (see Genesis 14:20, Genesis 28:18-22, and Leviticus 27:30-33).
- Giving a tithe. As Christians who live under the new covenant, we are not bound by the Law of Moses; we look to it as a guide. Yet most Christians agree that the tithe is a good guideline for our lives, and one that is pleasing to God. Though tithing can be a struggle, it is possible at virtually every income level. If you cannot tithe right away, take a step in that direction. Perhaps you can give 2 percent or 5 percent or 7 percent. God understands where you are, and God will help you make the adjustments necessary for you to become more and more generous.
- Giving beyond the tithe. Tithing is a floor, not a ceiling. God calls us to grow beyond the tithe. We should strive to set aside an additional percentage of our income as offerings for other things that are important to us (e.g. mission projects, schools, church building funds, and other nonprofit organizations).
What Our Giving Means to God
How Does Our Giving Affect God? From the earliest biblical times, the primary way people worshipped God was by building an altar and offering the fruit of one’s labors upon it to God. They would burn the sacrifice of an animal or grain as a way of expressing their gratitude, devotion, and desire to honor God. The scent of the offering was said to be pleasing to God. It wasn’t that God loved the smell of burnt meat and grain. Rather, God saw that people were giving a gift that expressed love, faith, and the desire to please and honor God; and this moved God’s heart. When given in this spirit, our offerings bless the Lord.
- Jesus said: "Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into you lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back" (Luke 6:38).
- The Parable of the Talents reveal a God who expects us to be productive, to take risks, and know that those risks are rewarded (see Matthew 25:14-30).
How Our Generosity Affects Us
Through Giving Our Hearts Are Changed: When we are generous—to God and to our families, friends, neighbors, and others who are in need—our hearts are filled with joy. They are enlarged by the very act of giving. When we give generously, we become more generous.
In Giving We Find the Blessings of God (Malachi 3:10): Many Christians have it wrong. They say that if you give, then God will give more back to you.This is not how it works. We do not give to God so that we can get something in return. The amazing thing is that when we give to God and to others, the blessings just seem to come back to us. Of course, there is no guarantee that if you tithe you will never lose your job or never have other bad things happen to you. Nevertheless, when we give generously, the unmistakable blessings of God flow into our lives.