The folly of a personal “exchange rate.”

There are people I know who feel their personal value is subject to the same fluctuations as the world’s currencies.

As an American businessman living and running a company in Germany, the exchange rate was a very important factor in my dad’s everyday life. He’d get up in the morning.. check the weather, the headlines and peek at the ever-fluctuating value of the dollar against what was then the pre-Euro, German Mark.

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Fast forward a few decades and I also have friends who wake up in the morning, check their Facebook feed, and calculate their value by comparing themselves against the lives of their 598 “friends.”

Sally just got married (I’m still single)

Jane took at trip to Bali (I haven’t had a day off in months)

Mary lost 50 pounds (I just let my gym membership expire)

Nancy landed a new glam job (I’m making minimum wage)

and the real kicker…

Tammy ate at some fab restaurant last night (I heated up McDonald’s left-overs)

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It doesn’t take but a few minutes of clicking for us to devalue ourselves, what we have and who we are. Our personal valuation takes a hit every time we compare ourselves against a standard created from a collage of everyone else’s best moments.

I too spent many years basing my personal worth not only on comparisons to others, but on my own works, my physical appearance, abilities I did or didn’t have and the fact that my dad was a successful person and hey, I was his daughter! Needless to say, my personal exchange rate was in constant flux.

It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I realized I could abandon this constant

“pressure to measure.”

I learned that my value is securely grounded in God’s steadfast, never changing love for me. This value doesn’t wax and wane depending on how much I make, what I do (good or bad) or how I look. He isn’t monitoring me on some celestial Facebook feed to make sure I’m measuring up..

“The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

There is an almost indescribable sense of freedom that accompanies the realization that my value is firmly rooted in my relationship with a God of grace, compassion and a love so deep that he sent his son to earth to die on my behalf so that my salvation could be secured.

Eternal life in heaven isn’t a reward for perfect people, it’s a gift completely unrelated to any “human performance level.” Sadly, there are many who simply cannot accept the thought that their destiny is not in their hands OR that someone else they may consider a complete loser could share equally in God’s loving inheritance.

Our value isn’t tied to what I do,

it rests squarely on what He did.

Of course none of this means that I stop trying to become a better version of myself..but my efforts at self-improvement take place within the context and security of my relationship with God who paid the price for every single one of my shortcomings.

That exchange right there is the only one that matters.

rom

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photocredit:The Times of Islamabad,Genevieve Magazine,Pinterest

 

 

Monday “go-getter” / Wednesday “forgetter”

I laid out three small expectations for the week..

Don’t laugh, these are seriously small goals, but I know how undisciplined I am, and I had to start somewhere.

#1 Drink 68 ounces of water every day

#2 Take my vitamins- all of them-every day.

#3 Challenge my heart at least three times this week.(not emotionally 😉; physically through exercise.)

So here we are on Thursday and (shocker) so far I’m not only on task, but I’m doing even more than I hoped.

You see my problem isn’t ability; it’s consistency. 

I’m  a Monday go getter..

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but a Wednesday forgetter.

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That in a nutshell is what I need to address

and nothing is as motivating as

success!

 

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photocredit:Fitness & Wellness News,Runner’s World

 

 

 

 

Savannah!

My friend and I were fortunate enough to take a trip to Savannah, Georgia last month. Luckily, the weather was gorgeous (a bit of a coin toss in February) and we were able to roam all over taking in the sights and sounds of this magical and historic city. This is no place to go if you’re on a diet, but fear not- you will definitely get in over ten thousand steps a day!

You’ve got “mail!”

chain

Remember “chain letters?”

They were an absolute scourge back in my youth.  You’d be minding your own business and out of the blue you’d get a letter basically telling you to make ten copies and send it on to ten of your friends… and if you didn’t by golly, all kinds of horrible doo-doo was going to rain down on your life.

Some of the letters went so far as to claim that people who ‘broke the chain’ mysteriously died (usually under horrific circumstances) within days. Some letters had a “religious” theme to them, others demanded you send along money. The whole thing was totally messed up, and even though I didn’t take the threats seriously, they still really bothered the heck outta me.

chains

Of course those were my teen years, and chain letters were just the precursor to many other life-examples of forced compliance. In fact as I got older and familiarized myself with various religions, it surprised me that many struck that familiar “chain letter” tone.

My pastor has a line that he uses frequently when he discusses the difference between the world’s faiths, he says “Most of the world’s religions are focused on what you should do for God, ours is focused on what He has done for you.”

Don’t get me wrong, as Christians we are charged to do good in this world and model our lives after Christ..but we are to do so under the umbrella of God’s love, motivated by a  desire to please Him, NOT because we fear some cosmic, chain-letter style repercussion if we don’t.

For me, this is what Easter is all about, the celebration of Christ as the one who (quite literally) went through hell to give me the immeasurable GIFT of eternal life and the freedom to live in the light and warmth of His forgiveness, compassion and love.

No chain letter, just an invitation.

heck

No need to bring or prove anything, just come as you are.

girl

 

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photocredit:First Class MLM Tools,Sanctuary Without Walls,Pinterest,WordPress.com

 

 

 

My Inner Spring 🌷

wings

Today is the first day of Spring, and I am going to embrace it as a day of  personal rebirth.

I admit I have neglected to tend to the gifts I’ve been given..

or fully use them to benefit others.

But this changes..

today.

I have all that I need to bloom

and my living water is drawn from God’s bottomless well.

Today is the first day of my inner Spring

..and I’m ready to dust off these wings.

butter

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photocredit:eBay,Faith Filled Food for Moms

 

 

 

The truth can be tough, but everything else is a lie.

If we stare truth in the face and choose to distort it because it doesn’t fit the narrative we are comfortable with- shame on us. Truth is a trusted teacher of tough lessons.  If we look away, we never learn.

“Fernandez’s death could have been avoided. He was not some innocent bystander of fate. He did not suffer from an incurable disease. He was not victim of a drive-by shooting. He did not step on a land mine in a foreign war. He was not a passenger in a car accident, or a passenger in an airplane where something went wrong. He was the impaired driver of a boat that crashed”

From the Sun Sentinel:

Hyde: The full, uncomfortable truth comes out about Jose Fernandez’s death | Commentary

The poet wrote there’s nothing more tragic than an athlete dying young. But we’ve found something more tragic these last six months. That’s when there is nothing tragic at all, just youthful folly, involving the athlete dying young.

Jose Fernandez was driving his boat in a “reckless manner” when he died, investigators now say.

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And he had taken cocaine, toxicology reports already showed.

And he had drunk alcohol — ordering two bottles of tequila — the nightclub verified.

And he sped in a dangerous section of ocean in the dark of 3 a.m., the emergency responders said.

And he drove two other young men to their death, as the lawsuit says.

That’s not a tragedy. Not in the manner it was framed six months ago when fans filed by his coffin, Marlins teammates played in his jersey and South Florida cried over his death in a manner it perhaps hadn’t over anyone ever.

That sounds so cold, and too callous, but it needs to be said in a manner no one had the heart or the facts to do when Fernandez’s body was being lowered in the ground.

So unfortunately does this: Fernandez’s death could have been avoided. He was not some innocent bystander of fate. He did not suffer from an incurable disease. He was not victim of a drive-by shooting. He did not step on a land mine in a foreign war. He was not a passenger in a car accident, or a passenger in an airplane where something went wrong.

He was the impaired driver of a boat that crashed, as the 46-page report released Thursday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stated.

If he’d lived, Fernandez would be facing manslaughter charges for the deaths of his passengers, Eduardo Rivero, 25, and Emilio Macias, 27. How would this story look then? As a bad night for a star pitcher? Or a foolish, even criminal night that cost two lives?

Rivero and Macias weren’t famous. They didn’t have a city line up to say good-bye to them. But didn’t their families suffer as much as Fernandez’s did? Don’t their lives matter as much as his does?

This isn’t to be insensitive to the pain of Fernandez’s death. A family lost a good son. A team lost a great talent and personality. A Cuban-American community lost a beacon of hope.

It’s just to make certain as we frame Fernandez’s legacy, and pass along the truth of his passing, that we tell the full truth of his final night rather than one that reads like a pre-packaged Hallmark card.

And the full truth is a young, rich and famous ballplayer made the kind of life-wrenching decisions that the young, rich and famous are susceptible to making no matter how hard they throw a baseball.

He drank. He snorted. He drove. He sped. He crashed in the dark. He killed two others.

And South Florida woke up and cried over him six months ago — just as it still should now. His death isn’t tragic in the way victims of innocent accidents are. But it’s profound in a different manner now that all the facts are out.

He was flawed. He had warts. He was human in the manner all of us are, but also in a manner that surprises some people when it involves a superstar athlete. Why? Because he throws a baseball better than any of us?

Even that 24-year-old who can strike out the side is subject to making dumb decisions, too.

“Fernandez operated the [vessel] with his normal faculties impaired, in a reckless manner, in the darkness of night, in an area with known navigational hazards such as the rock jetties and channel markers,” the commission’s report concluded.

So now we know all there is to know about that night. Fernandez wasn’t a passenger, but the impaired driver. This was no accident, but a reckless crash. And the real tragedy of that night, as tragedies are framed, is two passengers died and Fernandez’s newborn daughter must grow up without her father.

There’s a social-media movement afoot debating if the road named in Fernandez’s honor beside Marlins Park should be changed. No, it shouldn’t. But those walking it should remember more than good baseball nights.

“Jose Fernandez Way” should also remind all of us how one bad night of decisions can end a good man’s life.

dhyde@sun-sentinel.com; On Twitter @davehydesports;

To read Dave Hyde’s blog click here. On Facebook click here.

Teaching an old dog new tricks..

old dog

Anyone who owns an animal knows how long it takes to teach them “new tricks..”

..but they will also tell you that nothing comes close in difficulty to breaking old, bad habits.

The same holds true for humans.

One of the surprises of middle age has been that the process of learning and unlearning hasn’t stopped.  Like lint, I have picked up quite an assortment of habits over the years, some of which have served me poorly and need to be addressed.

Lucky for me, my “play-doh-ego” is still soft & malleable enough to be remolded.  It’s a challenge, but I love the idea that at 54 I am still a work in progress.

So in answer to the question can you teach an old dog new tricks and break a few bad habits?

The answer is absolutely yes, if you are willing.

grow

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photocredits:Pinterest