Reality check – my recent story of understanding my place and the blessings around me

emergency

It can happen to anyone, anywhere. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin, your gender or social status. It can happen at home, at work, in the park, in the grocery store. To me and my family it happened in the emergency room. When reality checks in, you pay attention.

Two nights ago I found myself in the emergency room as my oldest son was taken in for a head scan after he fell head first on a concrete floor. We had just arrived at a friend’s house and when he fell his cry expressed real pain. I remember checking his eyes and checking his head, but from that point until we arrived in the emergency room it is all a blur to me. All I know is that in that moment I stood as a pillar of strength and comfort to my wife, who cried with concern for our child, and to my oldest son who showed some discomfort when arriving at the hospital.

I stood strong but not on my own: family and friends lifted prayers and assisted us when needed; medical staff showed expertise and sensitivity to our concern; God was present! After a CT scan the results came back with good news that all was okay with our 7 year-old. In that moment I found relief. But today, I found peace. Not so much in the passing of 72 hours since doctors encourage you to monitor your child (all is well thankfully). But because of all that I have learned. Reality check!

I stood tall and strong in a moment of despair for my family. But to be honest, it all happened so quickly it was natural and unexplainable. All I know is that in that moment I was ready. I felt the calling of my position as a husband and father not based on rushed adrenaline but because of who I am. In that moment the projects and reports at the office didn’t matter, the plans for our backyard didn’t come up, and the desire for a shiny new toy this Christmas didn’t even cross my mind. In that moment I understood my place on this earth. No, the trivial didn’t matter but the experiences of past prepared me to be a better husband and a better father. The intentional acts prepared me for the natural ones. And today’s peace is encouraging for the future. A motivation to focus on what is important.

I was ready and I delivered. So many years and months caring for them, loving, nurturing and being there for them. It was all natural. I won’t take the blessing of having my child with me each and every day for granted. I’ll enjoy each moment of fun with a healthy family by my side. I’m a husband and father, and I’m blessed. And this reality is much more fulfilling than the neighborhood you live in, the car you drive or the work you do. Indeed, I’m blessed.

Serving your family is not about you!

Serving my family

The title to this post sounds so simple and easy to understand. Applying it? That is a whole different story. Over the last two years I’ve been reminded of this concept often. With my work responsibilities increasing and more travel planned every two weeks, serving my family gained a bigger impact.

I think for men particularly, we tend to go for the big movements. Do something so big that the person that is most special to you will notice for years to come. Quite honestly, that is a selfish approach to serving them; “Let me do something big so I can be off the hook for the next three months.” You know what I’m talking about, right? I was once like that to.

The last two years reminded me that the small acts have the biggest impact. I’m not afraid to share these: cleaning the dishes, mopping the floor, ironing the clothes… none of these are on my list of favorite things to do. But I do them because it serves my family. And this is not about me but about the people that I love.

How do you serve your family? What are the small acts you will do today?

As part of the vision for 2motive8, be on the lookout for more posts with the category #MotivateFamily.

Four blessings

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It’s been four weeks since the last time I blogged. Much has been on my mind as I experienced life through holidays, special family moments and time with friends. These have definitely been four weeks of much meditation that have reminded me of the importance of recognizing life’s blessings.

These life events, occurrences and simple moments in time, show us the true meaning of a successful life. The things we should be measured by but that we take for granted. A life more often fulfilled in the most simple of actions. I lived through these reminders in the last four weeks. Not just about my blessings but also my real goals in life – to be a man after God’s own heart, a husband, a father, a friend, and a hard worker that shows integrity in each action.

This will be my most personal post to date. However, I believe these reminders to be applicable for anyone. A motivational reminder on how we should at our life. From most recent to my first week, here we go…

You live a good life
I just had a family member visit me from Portugal. Her stories of a frustrating society caught in the middle of an identity crisis hurst most because of the ties I have with this country I call my own. I feel American but there is still much of me that is internally Portuguese. The beautiful beaches, the historical monuments and the always present sense of pride, all fill my memory and reoccurring thoughts from time to time.

Much like many European countries, Portugal is in the middle of an economic crisis that has impacted the majority of its population. If you’ve heard of the issues impacting Greece and Spain, just change the scenery and that is Portugal’s reality. Her stories were a constant reminder of how my reality was better. But that wasn’t the final reminder.

I also got to learn about the life changing stories of the Watoto church in Uganda. A ministry aimed at raising the next generation of African leaders in a nation affected by war, poverty and AIDS. The majority of children at the Watoto church are orphans cared by women who are being given a second chance in life. New families created in an environment of love and hope that are changing their country. Their mission is inspiring and their impact real.

So how does this link to your current situation? Are you frustrated with your job? Do you wish you had bigger home? Maybe you want a better car? How about… (you fill in the blank) You see, chances are if you are reading this blog post you belong to the 1% of the world population that can consider yourself rich and living with more resources than the majority of the world around us. It does change your attitude when you recognize the blessing of a simple resource as having access to the Internet.

For more information on Watoto, please visit their website at http://www.watoto.com

You are alive
This one sounds simple and it is – If you are breathing you are alive! That is also true for anyone currently battling a terminal illness. Like the old adage, “we’re all going to eventually die.” Well then, take advantage of every single moment to live it up. Spend time with family and friends, don’t stress about work, don’t worry about money, etc. It’s actually easier said than done, but still an undeniable truth that only the sense of death can remind us. This truth is more about life than death though. You can ask my friend Ryan Woods.

I met Ryan in 2001 as he served as a missionary to my church in Lisbon, Portugal. My memories of him were always of someone real, someone that truly cared for you no matter what others thought or said. His was a sense of truly loving people. Not for their potential or what they could achieve, but for who they were in the here and now moment.

I saw Ryan again this time last year. He was in North Carolina because of school and we got to chat and reconnect as he shared about his experience starting a new church in downtown Vancouver, Washington. What happened next has been both sad and amazing. Ryan was a month later diagnosed with a cancer on his spinal cord which has since changed his body but has not broken his spirit. This month his doctor told him he has 3-6 months to live.

The most inspiring part of his story is his ability to recognize both sadness and blessings during this time. His love for God and people remains. His acceptance of how his life story is being written is amazing. Ryan and his family have reminded of how indeed life can be frustrating, but the way you choose to live it is much more important. This blog post is a lot about how Ryan has reminded me to live life.

For more information on Ryan’s story, please visit http://www.grassrootsconspiracy.com/blog

Family matters most
Isn’t this the truth! Nothing is more relaxing to me than sharing memories of family events or looking at pictures with my bride and our children. It fills my heart to overflow. These memories were all too real when Courtney and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. We spent a full day together while the grandparents took care of the children. We were reminded of our dating days in Portugal and how we’ve been blessed through the years with a beautiful family inside and out.

You see I guess I’m different than most people. Growing up my first real dream was not to actually be a professional sports star or have this amazing job in the corporate world. No. My first real dream was to have a family – a beautiful wife and amazing children by my side. Looking back at the times when I would consciencly think of the dream, it’s amazing to look around and recognize that it is here. But like many of us, we dream other dreams and our attention focuses on other things. Our weeding anniversary was a reminder of what indeed matters most.

This reality is far greater than just marriage. Whether it’s your family or friends who are closest, you know what I’m talking about. I hope you have the opportunity today to live out this truth and spend some quality time with your family and friends. Take the time to enjoy the blessing of connecting with others and do life together.

Recognizing who you are living for
I can’t separate this truth. It is just who I am. The biggest blessing is straight forward – I have a maker who loves me beyond compare and who gave his only son to die for me. This is an intrinsic part of all my posts because it’s an important part of who I am. Nothing makes it more real than Easter.

As a Christ follower I have experienced life in an amazing way. No words can express how much I’m grateful for His Salvation and the fact that he rescued me from a life of mediocrity to a life of fulfillment beyond compare. But I want more, to make a difference with my family, with my friends, at work, in my community. I want others to experience this everlasting truth of a meaningful life in Jesus.

His truth is available to all at http://www.bible.com.

If you live in Raleigh, NC I invite you to visit Hope Community Church. For more information you can visit http://www.gethope.net.

What’s in a name

I love this quote from Shakespeare’s tale of Romeo and Juliet:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Now, in this famous story of love the meaning of the name is defined as senseless because both lover’s families are at war. But the reality of pride for one’s name is something truly empowering and remarkable. I’ve recognized this meaning in my own life and have identified it as one of the 8 steps of living life motivated. Our name is a constant reminder of our experiences and our passions.

More than my family’s name, I’ve found pride in my first name – David. I once heard someone say that your first name is the most beautiful word one can hear. I think this is especially true for me because my first name is normally pronounced in the English form. I normally make sure other people understand and use it correctly; pronounced Daveed. I’ve found it powerful to have others recognize the correct way to call me. To recognize who I am.

I think in a similar way a family’s name also carries much meaning and importance. This fact only struck me when I got married and then again when my children were born. I had a good relationship with my parents, but the meaning of our family’s name was not passed down with the sense of a gift. Looking back at the times I spent listening to the stories that intertwined with my family tree, these tales paint the adventure written in my family’s name. I want to pass that down to my children; as a gift. That our family’s name, our family’s adventure, moved beyond the ocean line with God in the center of it all.

Your name may not define you but it has meaning. Even more than my family’s name, my name reminds me of the unique path I’ve taken in my life. In leaving my country, embracing a new culture and starting my family. It also reminds me of what motivates me in life.

Hi my name is David, pronounced Daveed. Christ-follower, committed husband, engaged father, proud Portuguese, new American, intended to motivate, passionate about communications, living life to the fullest.

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What’s your name?

Welcome to 2M8!

Welcome to 2Motive8! A new blog that was fueled by my desire to motivate and encourage others to achieve their full life potential. The creation of 2Motive8 is about doing what I’ve encouraged others to do: take action towards achieving your goals. My goal is that I can use this blog as a platform to showcase this gift to passionately communicate encouragement to others, and start a movement that links encouragement in our families and communities.

Why 2M8?
In my quest for meaning I thought about the true sense of motivation and how it has impacted me. I’ve always recognized potential in family and friends, and my life has provided many opportunities to showcase this amazing gift of encouragement in its simple and most powerful form. You see, true encouragement is fueled by something greater, even more powerful: LOVE. This simple ingredient can be both realistic and insane, but it’s the most pure form of belief that can change the world. Jesus talked about it and most importantly personified it. May we use love as an ingredient to help us connect with ourselves and others.

The number 2 is symbolic to the one who writes and the one who reads it; the one who reads it and the one who shares it; the one who reaches their goals and sees someone who wants to achieve theirs. The number 2 is about the relationship. It’s about sharing the love; sharing the motivation.

The word motive comes from the goals we all want to achieve. The Merrier-Webster dictionary describes motive as

something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act.

This is the call to action.

The number 8 is a reference to the number of steps I’ve identified in the need to achieve goals. I thought about these as I’ve related to people and the below have been common steps in my motivational interactions:
1. Be You!
2. Unveil your real potential from within.
3. Connecting with others.
4. Set a vision.
5. Raise awareness.
6. Be disciplined.
7. Have the right attitude.
8. Take action!

Additionally, I will post on 8 categories of motivation:

Motivating Good Thoughts – #MotivatingGoodThoughts
Motivating Meaningful Work – #MotivatingMeaningfulWork
Motivating Strong Communities – #MotivatingStrongCommunities
Motivating Joyful Families – #MotivatingJoyfulFamilies
Motivating Healthy Living – #MotivatingHealthyLiving
Motivating Inspirational Moments – #MotivatingInspirationalMoments
Motivating Soundtrack – #MotivatingSoundtrack
Motivating Leadership – #MotivatingLeadership

May this be inspirational as I share from within… I hope you do the same!