An Uncommen Blog

Mother’s Day

An UNCOMMEN Mother’s Day Gift

There’s an old joke that goes something like this…

A man finds an old oil lamp on the beach. He rubs off the sand and a genie appears.

The genie pops out and says, “I’ll grant you one wish – anything you want in the world.”

The man ponders for a few seconds and says, “I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii but I’m afraid to fly – can you build me a bridge from California to Hawaii so I can drive there.”

Incredulous the genie retorts, “You can have anything you want in the world, and you ask for a bridge? Are you serious?”

“You’re right,” said the man, “Very short sighted of me. Ok, what I really want is to understand my wife. Can you give me all-powerful insight on how to read the mind of a woman?”

The genie paused and responded, “Do you want that bridge two or four lanes?”

There’s a reason one of the most popular books on marriage described us as living on different planets. 

We are approaching the one day on the calendar where every man “shows honor” to the mom’s in life or else incurs well-deserved public shaming. If you’re like me, Mother’s Day can feel like a conspiracy perpetrated on the American public by every restaurant, flower, and teddy bear shop in the country. That being said, without Mother’s Day I wonder how many of us would spontaneously “honor” mom. 

We guys tend to equate “honor” with flowers, chocolates, and a family brunch date. I’m not here to criticize dark chocolate, tulips, and bacon wrapped french toast, but let’s be honest- they are easy. All it requires is a few phone calls or a savvy assistant. Peter calls men to understand their wife as a way of “showing honor.” 

Men, when motivated, will pay big bucks to honor the women in their life – but there’s a difference between honoring and understanding. I can honor my wife with a new pair of shoes, but what she really desires is for me to take a few steps in her shoes. 

This Mother’s Day, show honor by seeking to understand her thoughts, her needs, her desires, and her dreams. When you gather around the table for Eggs Benedict, highlight some wins for the year and then have some uncommon questions at the ready:

You don’t need a genie to help you understand your wife – just a few UNCOMMEN questions.

Bible Reference: Proverbs 31: 10-30

Written by Brian Goins.

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Body Maintenance

Move

Maintenance Vs. Repair

Physical Training is Bodily discipline, something that should be a part of our daily life. It builds over time. It looks different in different seasons of life but it’s something that is always a part of our normal routine. How you steward your body in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s will greatly impact the quality of life you will experience in your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond. It’s maintenance, maintaining a healthy body. Don’t wait until something “broken”, until you’re in a sick state to start pursuing health, pursuing “well-th” (wellness). Think preventative measures vs. having to repair a situation.

Ok, so what happens when you train?

You add stress to your body that causes a disruption to homeostasis which is the “normal state of the body and mind.” This is what happens when you “exercise”.

With proper recovery, the body adapts to handle the next exposure to the stress and, when conditions are right, actually overcompensates – leading to an increase in performance and health.  Which, according to Scripture, is used to flourish on earth, subdue it and have dominion over it. And to work in His Kingdom. (Ephesians 2:10) This is Uncommen man’s “why” for his discipline in training the body.

Recovery is just as important as exercise for getting positive results because your body’s adaptation mechanisms need to help the body “overcompensate” from the breakdown that just occurred while training. This happens in about 72 hours for average men.  Men that are highly conditioned can recover faster, like 1 or 2 days depending on the individual. With this in mind, we should train, at the very least, 3x a week!  Are you doing this?

What happens if you don’t train?

When we ARE NOT training, the body is at a high risk for sickness, stress, injury, disease.  AND, atrophy sets in. Atrophy is when the bodies tissues “wastes away’ or decline in effectiveness due to underuse or neglect. “If you don’t use it, you loose it” has some validity here.

This same phenomenon can happen in our spiritual life, if we become too complacent.  God says through Paul to the church of Thessalonica and to us now, “to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” So, prayer can “atrophy”. It works like a “muscle” in some ways.  As we pray, we grow.  Growing in our prayer life is likened to growing stronger, faster and healthier when we exercise.

This week’s UNCOMMEN blog post written by Kelsey Elmore & Ben.

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Real Wellness

path

We all know well that wellness is a term that’s thrown around a lot right now. We hear about corporate wellness, personal wellness, and on and on. But at the end of what the heck is wellness? The easy answer is whatever the numbers tell you. Your cholesterol numbers, BMI, body fat, etc. But I would suggest there is something more, something that the data can’t really give us. I’ll explain more below.

Little data wellness.

In the world of big data and running the numbers it’s easy to get lost in what this means for wellness. If you have great data numbers from your doctor but can’t play with your kids, go on a hike, carry something heavy around the house are you really well? If you are physically challenged by the simple things in life are you experiences true wellness? I would say, heck no you aren’t! You may qualify by some of the numbers for wellness but I think the little data would suggest you’re not experiencing full wellness. Wellness has to have a quality of life component. I don’t think anyone would argue this point. This problem is qualifying and quantifying it. And I think it would be a waste of time anyways. This is where little data comes in. Little data is not data gathered by numbers and metrics, it’s data gathered by interactions and experiences. If you have a lot of little data that shows you’re having a great quality of life, along side the big data of healthcare norms, then you’re probably living in real wellness. And that little data is no less important than the big data. Wellness is not wellness without the little data of quality of life.

Why is it so difficult?

It’s so hard simply because it takes time and it takes discipline. It’s not convenient, it’s not easy and it’s not always fun…but it’s worth it. Wellness involves a life of activity and purposeful eating that will look a little different for everyone. And it’s something that our core education system in the US completely fails to prepare us for. And advertising mascara’s itself around as science and solutions. Bottom line is each of us will need to invest our own time and money to educate ourselves on what training and nutrition look like for each of us. We are all different. We have different interests, different genetics, different schedules and different goals. The commonality we all share is that we will have to work hard and make good choices to achieve true wellness.

What does wellness take?

A lot! If you knew how much it would take before you started on your journey you would think you don’t have what it takes. And honestly you’d probably be right. There are very few people in this world that can walk the path to wellness alone. This is why community is so powerful. I used to own two CrossFit affiliates and our tag line was “powered by community.” We chose this because it was core to our clients have any measure of sustainable success. When other people care about your wellness just as much as you do, and you return that favor, magic happens. Wellness takes hard work and community.

This week’s blog was written by Josh Elmore.

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Stress and Fitness

Stress. How Are You Coping with It?  Is it Killing You?

Life and stress – they go hand in hand. You will experience lots of stress in your life. There is no getting around it. I believe that the degree to which you effectively manage and cope with the stressors in your life will, to a very large extent, determine the degree to which you are healthy. When you turn to unhealthy behaviors to cope with the stress, your physical and emotional health will suffer. As well, your body’s immediate reaction to stress can result in physical symptoms.

When you are unhealthy, or engaged in unhealthy habits, you are prevented from being your best!

There are many, many things and circumstances that can be stressors for a person. Inconveniences such as weather, traffic and unexpected emergencies are a category of stressors. Chronic issues like relationship conflicts, job insecurity, financial strain or uncertainty, work problems and long-term health issues can all be stressful. Life events and transitions can be a challenge for us.  Things like a death of a loved one, a job change, a divorce and a relocation to a new town can all be unsettling.

Early life trauma, and its associated memory, can be a unique source of stress for a person. Medical research shows that negative experiences from decades past can be underlying issues that impact on a person’s health-related behaviors in the present. Recurrent emotional, sexual or physical abuse, an alcoholic parent, a single parent home are examples of childhood trauma that might cause health problems in adulthood. (Read more about the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study)

Stressors like those previously mentioned, and other challenging life circumstances, can impact on our behaviors. Many men turn to food as a way to cope with stress. Others turn to the use of drugs. Some turn to alcohol. Some turn to pornography or illicit sex. Still others light up a cigarette. Some burn the midnight oil surfing the Internet and pay for it the next day because they have had inadequate sleep. There are innumerable unhealthy ways in which a person might attempt to cope with the various stressors in their life.

Poorly managed stress, especially chronic stress, can also adversely impact your physical health in many, many ways. The hormones and chemicals that are released into the body and the associated inflammation that occurs can wreck havoc on the systems and organs of the body. Heart disease, intestinal issues, and muscular pain are examples. In fact, some research shows that up to 90% of physician office visits have stress-related components! (Read more details about how stress affects your health by visiting this link on the American Psychological Association’s website.)

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We view potential stressors of life and react to events in life through “lenses.” This diagram demonstrates how aspects of one’s life can impact on their beliefs and attitudes, which can have a corresponding impact on their choices and resulting lifestyle habits.  Our repeated behaviors will become our habits and it’s one’s habits that determine how they respond to potential stressors. This, in turn, will hugely impact on one’s health and quality of life.

I have a few questions for you. How do you cope with your stress?  Is it in a healthy way or an unhealthy way? Could poorly managed chronic stress be taking a toll on your mental, emotional or physical health?

At the link provided above to the American Psychological Association’s website you’ll find some techniques to better manage the stressors of your life. If you recognize that your life is spiraling out of control, due to excessive or chronic stress, you may also benefit from seeking and receiving help from a professional.

Your faith can also be a resource, an anchor, which keeps you steady in times of stress.  If embraced and practiced, there are many biblical principles that can be a cornerstone for your life and enable you to live a life that is less impacted by stressful circumstances. Read more about stress and health from a faith perspective at this link on my website – Stress, Health and Faith.

Stress can even kill you if you don’t manage or cope with it adequately. Many fatal heart attacks stem from a stressful event or series of stressful events.

Uncommen men make a regular habit of taking time to reflect on their life and evaluate how they’re managing their stress. And they also practice habits to effectively cope with their stressors. Because, when they do a good job managing their stressors, they are creating an environment within themselves to be healthier.

When Uncommen men are healthier, they’re better able to do what God put them on earth to do.

Dale Fletcher, M.S., is the Founder and Executive Director of Faith and Health Connection ministry where he shares biblical truths about health and wholeness. Connect with him at www.FaithandHealthConnection.org.

 

 

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Fitness and Your Future

prayercircleIt was the Spring of 2013. My wife was in the hospital for at least the fifth time. Some months earlier she had suffered a stroke for no apparent reason. 36 years old, relatively healthy, mother of four. The doctors were at a loss as to the exact reason, but all we knew was that every couple of weeks or so, she would experience debilitating fatigue and occasional migraines that gave the appearance of another stroke. Whenever these hit, we knew the drill. Lay down flat, pray, wait to see if the inability to talk or feel her left side would go away within a minute. Pray some more. If she struggled much more than that, we would go the ER. We learned over the months that doctors don’t play when it comes to former stroke victims. Every episode turned into an all-inclusive stay at the “luxurious” hospital room for a not-so restful 24-48 hours. You’ve probably stayed at this sort of resort before- where they serve the worst food, wake you up multiple times in the middle of the night, have four different people come in and ask you the same questions that are in your chart, and then tell you results are negative, but they want you to come back in a week for more tests. Then you get the bill. Whoa! All of that for the price of a week in Hawaii!

It was during this season that both my wife and I started taking our health serious. It was actually just a couple of months before her stroke that I started going to the gym and we had adjusted our diet. I was 30 lbs heavier back then, and largely uncomfortable with my physical appearance and emotional health. When I started working out with my buddy Josh Elmore, something awoke in me. The athlete from high school, the physically disciplined kid from college, the competitor was alive again. Then the stroke happened.

When my wife was resting in her hospital bed, I had a choice. Do I stick to my newfound discipline of working out hard for about 15 minutes three times a week, or do I use these overwhelming circumstances as an excuse to forfeit my goals? Do I eat the extra piece cake that the nurse would bring to me, or do I resolutely (or reluctantly) say, “no thanks, I’m reducing my sugar and carb intake.”  Do I sit in the room for hours, though working, and simply sit and watch TV, or do I choose to take the stairs, walk outside, and pray while walking around the building? Pray for my wife, pray for my three girls and boy, pray that these hospital bills somehow get taken care of.

That was easily the hardest season of my life. The fear of losing my best friend. The terrifying thoughts of raising my children without their mom. The paralyzing uncertainty of how to take care of my family with the mountains of medical debt accumulating. Two things got us through that season. Prayer, and taking care of my body. I couldn’t change my wife’s condition, that was out of my hands. The best I could do was take care of my body and emotional health, to stay strong for my family. I chose, pushups, crunches, mountain climbers, planks, wall-sits, burpees, and to not eat cake. It helped.

Have you considered how taking care of your body can help you take better care of your family? If not, I encourage you to do so. If you’ve considered it, I encourage you to act. If you have been acting, I encourage you to continue. Trust me, it helps.

Written by UNCOMMEN Head Coach, Dee Lanier

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The Swish Talk

Swish

March Dadness Championship Round: The Swish Talk

This is the year that everyone, including the analysts predicted chalk across the board in the NCAA Tournament. There wouldn’t be any upsets. Boy, were they wrong. We had a #15 knock off a #2 for only the 8th time ever! Plus, a handful of double-digit-seeds danced their Cinderella slippers into the Round of 32.

But that was as far as they got. The Sweet-16 held the names of schools with worthy rankings, except for perennial powers Syracuse and Gonzaga who danced through as a 10 and 11-seed, respectively Since they play each other, the Elite-8 is guaranteed at least one “Cinderella” double-digit seed.

What does that matter? The Sweet-16 and Elite-8 are ancient history. It does matter. That’s the best part of the Tourney. It’s the MADNESS of the unpredictable 15-seed, a buzzer-beater from half court, or a 12-0 run in the final 45 seconds of play to seal the game. March “Madness” got its name for a reason.

It’s no different here – anything goes. You cruised through the first 3 rounds of March Dadness with decisive wins of “Dreams“, “The Difficulty of Fatherhood“, and “Inside-Jokes“. Those games were scripted. You could study the film and look for tendencies, weaknesses in the defense, stuff like that.

Your momentum carried you past the Midwest’s 1-seed in your Final Four match-up. Amazing! Dad, you rock! But uh-oh! You only get one day of rest and prep before the Championship Game on Monday night and you just found out that you’re playing the pesky 8-seed from the West. They pulled a Butler from the 2010-2011 season and shocked the world. You were prepared for the other team, not this “unexpected” one.

Now, I’ve got you where I want you. This week’s conversation is the “unexpected” question. I call it… “The Swish Talk“. You know, it’s the old… “Hey Dad, can you tell me about Swish? Use your imagination. You don’t know what or when this question is going to come. Once there is enough Dadnamics in the water, it will surface like a shark.

Championship Round – “Dad, can we talk about… Swish?”

Take your son (or daughter) to the nearest basketball hoop with a decent net. Stand between the foul line and the basket and explain these rules.

“We will each shoot 10 shots from right here to start. If you swish (or make the basket without touching anything but net), YOU get 3 points. If you miss the basket, YOU lose 9 points. Lastly, if you make the basket, but the ball touches rim or backboard… YOU lose 9 points.”

He or she will say, “What?! That’s crazy talk!’

“That’s right son (or daughter). It is crazy. YOU better be perfect in your shots. Now, let’s go! 10 shots each!”

Who won? My guess is that you both lost with negative points, unless Steph Curry or Ray Allen is reading this article.

Keep playing. Change it up from different spots. Modify the rules. While you do, I’m going to explain the philosophy behind this game in terms of conversations. A “Swish” is like making a GOOD decision. You move ahead 3 points of trust with your Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Teacher, Friend, or Coach with each “Swish“. You strive for the swish. But what about a BAD decision? Those are the air balls and misses for sure. But the rim and backboard shots that went in, count too. All non-swishes send you 3-times further backward in trust than you gained from a swish. It’s unfair. It’s discouraging. It’s life.

Try to teach your son (or daughter) that TRUST is very hard to earn and very easy to lose.

And that goes for us too, Dads. We have to make “Swishes” with our wives, kids, co-workers, and friends so that when our child shows up at the Championship Game like Butler with his Swish Question… We are prepared with a clear conscious and a positive score ourselves with the people around us.

If you are interesting in learning more about Dadnamics, which includes interactive and creative ideas to connect with your kids… go to www.dadnamics.com. I hope to meet you because we’re all on the same team, Dads. 

Written by Ken Carfagno, Founder of Dadnamics

www.dadnamics.com

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