Happy New Year, friends!
You kept us hopping during Carmen’s Favorite Things. We took a quick break for the holidays, and now we’re back at it.
I love a new year! It’s a fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate. A time to refocus. A time to recalibrate.
I’m not big on resolutions. Of course, there’s always the “lose weight/exercise more” thing that most of civilization resolves to do. But, for the most part, I’ve never been a resolutions girl. I do better adjusting one or two degrees, rather than make sweeping, wholesale changes. This is much more effective for me.
This re-set usually plays out by me asking myself where I can make some adjustments, and focus on the things that really matter. I like to cut out the excess fat (no pun intended!) and be leaner with my time, my money, and priorities. And yes, this does apply to eating and fitness too! Ha! But, I truly believe success comes in degrees.
All this said, I got a package in the mail for Christmas. It was from my friends, Danny & Courtney. I first met Danny & Courtney ten+ years ago when they were working for Family First & Coach Tony Dungy. We’ve been on several mission trips together, and they are some of my most favorite people. They have one little girl, Harvest, and they are expecting baby girl #2 at the end of this month!
They are the sweetest, most humble couple you will ever meet. They love Jesus so so much, and they point to Him in all that they do. I’ve done many collaborations with them, both personally and professionally. I just couldn’t love them more.
In this package was a note from Danny, a print, a coffee mug, and a Christmas ornament. “Do What Lasts” was printed on each. I read the letter, and immediately handed it to Pete! I asked Danny if I could share what he wrote on my blog, and he’s given me the go-ahead.
We’ve all had life-altering moments that change our perspective forever. It may have been the unexpected loss of a parent or child, a health crisis that left you forever scarred and unable to do what once came so easily to you. Or maybe it was facing a natural disaster and losing every earthly possession that you own. It’s these defining moments when we remember the fragility of life and how everything can change in the blink of an eye.
Over the last decade, our family has had more of these moments than we thought we would face in our lifetime, and we know we’re not alone. We haven’t welcomed these casualties into our lives, but they were ordained for us. At times they have been extremely costly, but they have done something extraordinary in our hearts. They have lifted our eyes to look beyond what we can see. They have given us a propensity to wonder about, hope for and to pursue after the things that will truly last.
The things that don’t break, don’t wear out, don’t fade, don’t decompose and don’t die… the eternal things.
We are not alone in this longing to see redemption in action. We have friends and family that have linked arms with us and have chosen to believe in the things we can’t see.
The healing from a debilitating disease that hasn’t happened yet.
The child that hasn’t been conceived or welcomed into their forever home.
The community that hasn’t been restored.
The broken marriages and broken lives that exist all around with no road to recovery in sight.
BUT, we believe that God has set eternity in every human heart and that we’re all wired with an innate desire to do what lasts.
The most recent perspective-shifting moment for me was in September 2017, when the eyewall of Hurricane Irma passed directly over my childhood home with myself, my parents, my pregnant wife and my two-year-old little girl huddled inside an interior bathroom. After a sleepless and terrifying night, we walked away mostly unscathed. Yes, we lost electricity and water for over a week and some grand old oak trees, but in the aftermath of this storm the damage was minimal compared to what our neighbors in other parts of Florida and the Caribbean endured. Gratitude welled up in our hearts that we survived. We’re thankful for the eternal investments you’re making with your life, your relationships, your businesses and you’re ministries. We hope these gifts (like the wooden ornament made from the tree that fell on my parents’ house during the hurricane) serve as a thank you for being an inspiration to me and my family, and as a daily reminder and motivation to continue to perservere in the work you have been called to do.
Do What Lasts. WOW. Instantly that became my theme for the year. “Do What Lasts, Carmen.” Order your day, your time, your finances, your energy, your everything around what lasts. Oh Lord, help me to do this, this year. I shared Danny’s letter with Pete, and we hung the ornament in our bathroom so we can see it every single morning.
I write a letter to my family and friends every year at the holidays. Ironically, I included a portion about Hurricane Irma, as well. It’s in these times that a “truth-ing” happens. Moments that usher in perspective shifts, and make room for gratefulness. Also, I am convinced we still live in a world where most people do love one another. And strangers still help strangers.
Do What Lasts. Let’s put this filter over all that we do this year. And may we laugh louder, forgive quicker, love bigger, be spectacular grace givers and Jesus imitators. These are the things that truly last.
One last note:
Out of this experience that Danny and Courtney have shared, a desire to care for those in more desperate situations was born. They knew they wanted to make a significant contribution to the hurricane relief efforts happening around their home state and other affected places. With this, the #DoWhatLasts shop was born.
They have partnered with some of their good friends, who also happen to be super-talented creatives to design the first collection of #DoWhatLasts products. A percentage of the revenues from these goods will directly fund the continued hurricane relief efforts happening in Florida, Texas and the Caribbean. This is only the beginning. They hope this is the start of a perpetual effort to fund eternal work happening in our city, our state and around the world.
To learn more about Do What Lasts CLICK HERE.