After 19 days of moving, loading, unloading, driving, sanding, painting, measuring, cutting, drilling, planning, thinking, sticking, folding, washing, scrubbing, hanging and sweating the second walk in love. store is officially open for business. I am pretty exhausted. My legs, feet, shoulders, back and neck are all aching. It’s hard to describe my feelings as I stand in the store and type this post but I wanted to try and write this now while the thoughts are fresh, or as fresh as they can be after 19 days.
The other day I told Brooke to think of all the verbs that we had completed in the past few weeks, a few of which are typed above . It’s truly an amazing feeling to see something you’ve created completed. The Bible says that humans were created in God’s image. That thought can be overwhelming because God is so big, unimaginable and well…God. I can’t handle it all at once so instead of thinking about it all I try think of different aspects about God. A great place to start is the beginning and the first words used to describe Him. ”In the beginning God created…” It’s the first verb in the Bible – - Created. So as I stand here reflecting on my creation and all the work and sweat that went into it by our team, friends, family, Brooke and myself I keep coming back to one tiny phrase – Created to Create. If you ever come to one of our stores you will see shirts, jewelry, accessories, books, gifts, etc. but what you wont see is this.
You won’t see Mike, Jeff and Tess unloading all the wood from the van to put on the walls. You won’t see Mike and I measuring, cutting and hanging boards. You won’t see Brooke planning out and building displays to make them both beautiful and functional. You won’t see my parents folding mountains of shirts. You won’t see Joyce and Leah hanging tank tops. You won’t see Brooke and I discussing the customer experience and what we can do to make it as good as it possibly can. You won’t see Tess. Brooke and Mike on their hands and knees scrubbing the floor. You won’t see me electrocuting myself while trying to move an outlet. You won’t see the million little creations it took to create the store.
In this day and age of instant satisfaction I think it’s easy to just expect things to be completed and not ever think why or how it came to be. We don’t build our own houses, shops, sandwiches or furniture anymore. Everything comes pre-packaged, built, created and even delivered to us. I think we need to add some of those creating verbs back into our lives. We need to create and realize the importance of every little job that it takes to build something. I so often find myself annoyed by the lack of instant gratification, like I am the center of the universe but as I stand in my shop seeing all that my team and I built I can honestly say that there is not a feeling like it. So I challenge you to create something with your hands, brain and a little sweat because we were created to create.
About a year ago Brooke and I were sitting on the couch watching Netflix and I looked up to her and said, “Will you do me a love favor and get me a drink?” She said, “Yes.”
I don’t know why I called the favor a “love favor” but I did and out of that one drink request “love favors” were born in the Mousetis house.
A love favor is simple. It’s saying yes without any hesitation. It’s serving the one you love.
Here are the rules for love favors in our house.
1. You have one love favor a day (from the time you wake up until you go to sleep).
2. A love favor can be anything. It can be a simple request to get a drink or get your phone from the other room or something big like running to the store for a forgotten grocery.
3. When you are asked to do a love favor you have to say “yes” and then respond immediately. There is no “I’ll get to it later.” It’s a yes and then action.
The amazing thing about love is that it produces more love. Since Brooke and I started love favors we’ve said yes to each other at least 365 times this past year and saying yes to your spouse just once a day will create a better marriage and a loving environment for the two of you to grow together. We’ve gotten so use to saying yes that when one of us sits down and takes a frustrated breathe because they forgot something in the kitchen the other one will jump up and get it without the question even being asked.
Marriage has a bad reputation. Marriage is always looked at like it’s suppose to be a miserable, uncreative and boring aspect of your life, but it shouldn’t! Marriage should be the pinacle of joy in your life where the best parts of you come out in full bloom. Where creativity, passion and vision meet to produce lives of purpose and joy. Saying yes to Brooke more this past year and having her say yes to me has helped create and maintain that environment and I encourage all the married couples out there to add some love favors to your lives and say yes more!
How many of you have heard one of your friends say, “I am deleting my facebook.”?
How many of you have had friends delete their facebook?
How many of you have seen those same friends come back time and time again?
If you are like me or have friends like mine all of these things have happened. I have seen friends delete and undelete their facebook over and over again. Every time I hear someone is deleting it I casually say, “You’ll be back” and I have yet to be wrong. They always come back.
A couple of times I’ve asked various defectors why they were deleting their facebook and usually the answers look something like this:
I spend too much time on it.
It’s a huge waste of my time.
I don’t want people to know what I am doing all the time.
I feel like God is telling me to give it up.
I want real relationship, not the fake world of facebook.
There are a ton of other reasons but they usually look something like that.
To the people who are wasting too much time:
Stop. One of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is self-control. If we are really living through the spirit that God gave us shouldn’t we be able to practice self-control and know when enough is enough, and by giving it up are we really showing that we have self-control? My guess is that when you give up your facebook because it’s a waste of time you start doing something else more. It’s not a cure to the problem of wasting time it’s just displacing the problem onto something else. The problem is that we’ve decided that we can’t control the amount of time we spend doing something and that’s pathetic. Whether it’s facebook, watching tv or eating we’ve decided to tell God that even though we have his spirit we can only use it on loving others but not on self-control.
To the people who don’t want others to know what they are doing all the time:
Stop posting what you are doing all the time!
To the people who believe that God has told you to give up facebook or that it’s not real:
Jesus lived on earth. He walked, talked and ate. He taught, laughed and lived his life in the community around him, with his friends, strangers and enemies. He didn’t run from them or give them up because they were annoying. He lived with them daily.
I work from home and spend most of the time with my beautiful wife Brooke in our office. I don’t get to see a lot of people during the week but community isn’t just Sunday and Wednesday night church. Facebook is becoming our community – a place where we can talk with people, see peoples lives, ask for prayer, get encouraged, laugh, cry and live life together. By giving up your facebook you aren’t living a more real life, I would argue the opposite. I would say you are missing out on another way to connect with people and be with people to show them the love of Christ.
There wasn’t a lot of technology when Jesus walked the earth but I know he wasn’t against it. He used a boat and donkey to travel when he didn’t feel like walking on water or flying – both would be considered technology of the day. I am sure that if megaphones existed he probably would have used one so more people could have heard his life-giving words. His #1 fan Paul used letter writing technology of the day to spread the word and I am guessing that Paul only dreamed and hoped that he could reach people instantly and in such volume as the internt has provided.
So my challenge to you is to stop deleting your facebook or complaining about it and start using it for good and noble things. Make a plan, be purposeful with what you post and stop complaining about everything in your statuses. If you want to represent Christ to people who may not know him you better believe that they are aware of your facebook posts. Stop acting like it’s not a real part of life and start treating it like Jesus treated the community he lived in.
The world didn’t end in 2012. I know have another 3 hours or so before that statement is totally true but I think it’s safe to say that at midnight tonight we will be ushering in a new year full of hope, promise and intrigue. With every new year comes a long list of resolutions usually abandoned by mid-February. I am in the same boat though, my resolutions usually last a little longer but it’s rare they make it till the end of the year.
So here is a little story about a resolution to encourage you as you start 2013.
Last year I wanted my resolution to be based on the idea of just adding something good everyday. I had been having conversations with friends at the time on how they didn’t know how to start exercising or eating right. I kept saying to them, “Just start.” If you can only run for 30 seconds then do that until you can do more. After thinking about this for a while I thought I would try this theory myself so I decided that I would do push-ups all of 2012.
Here was my plan:
1. Do 1 push-up on January 1st
2. Add one push-up a day for the entire year.
3. Do the amount of push-ups for that day before the day ends (not all in one shot)
Midnight hit on New Years and I dropped down and did my first push-up, no problem. At the beginning of the year if I really tried I could probably do 30 push-ups before I felt like my arms were going to fall off and if I tried to do 30 a day it would have probably been a bit more challenging, but I believed that adding one a day would be a good pace and it would help me grow at a rate to keep up with the new challenges. So January 2nd came and I did 2 and on the 3rd I did 3. I did that for 256 days until I finally stopped due to a mild neck injury. I used an app to track the push-ups I did and give or take a few based on human error I did about 34,782 pushups in the first 256 days of 2012. I am no body-builder and if you saw me in person you probably wouldn’t think anything of me as an athletic specimen, but 34,782 push-ups is a lot of freaking push-ups.
Here is what I learned and I hope it encourages you as you start your new year’s resolutions tomorrow.
1. Start small.
- I think sometimes we have these huge goals that we start with and it can seem overwhelming and unreachable. Normally goals that seem like that yield results like that. If I started with the goal of doing 34,782 push-ups through out the year I probably would have puked at the idea.
2. Add small.
- Adding one a day was the perfect amount for me to grasp and be able to reach for. It definitely got a lot harder throughout the year because doing 1 and then 2 is pretty easy, but doing 201 and then 202 is a tad bit harder. When I had to do 202 though I remembered the day before and that I did 201 and survived.
3. Track yourself.
-The iphone is amazing and I downloaded this great app called trakr and everyday when I added my new push-ups to the app it energized me because I saw them being added to the total.
4. Celebrate achievements.
-The end of the first month was a big deal so I treated myself to a buffalo chicken sub (my favorite food). Day 100 was pretty cool and so was June 1st, which was halfway. I enjoyed and usually treated myself to something special on those big days. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself.
5. Tell people about it.
-I like telling people about everything I do and when I started telling people about the push-ups they thought it was such a cool idea and started asking me about them every-time they saw me. Your friends asking you if you are keeping up with something is probably one of the most motivating things in your life, because, if you are like me, you never want to let your friends down.
6. Don’t be afraid to stop or readjust.
-I didn’t realize how hard it would be to do 200 push-ups consecutive days and I didn’t even get to 300. I had to stop due to a mild neck injury. I was a little embarrassed by it and I almost didn’t write this post, but Brooke encouraged me to. It was hard on day 257 when I didn’t do any push-ups but at that point my neck was hurting and I was having trouble sleeping so I had to stop. It was hard to tell friends when they asked how the push-ups were going and I had to explain that I stopped. They weren’t disapproving though but proud of my achievement and how far I was able to go.
7. No one will do it for you.
-I was the only one that could do the push-ups. No one could do them for me.
8. You will do weird things to achieve goals and that’s okay.
-I did pushups in airports, malls, music festivals, wedding receptions and just about anywhere you could think of. There were times when I forgot to do them on a certain day and as I laid in bed to fall asleep I exhaled with frustration got out of bed and dropped to the floor to do push-ups as Brooke laughed at me in the dark. It was certainly odd at points and I got some strange looks as I did push-ups while my gas tank was filling up, but who cares. Life is meant for living and I was living.
I have a few goals this year and I hope you do to, but if you don’t I will share some of mine with you in hopes that it inspires you to find your own.
- Love wildly.
- Live a life of adventure.
- Be brave.
- Try something new.
- Dance to have fun or to make people laugh (same goes for singing)
- Be present with loved ones
- Do good and honorable things
- Trust people
- Read more
- Eat healthier
- Let go of the garbage that happened in 2012
I hope your upcoming year is better than your last and that you start to live the life you’ve always dreamed of living.
The other night my brother Mike, sister Sam, friend Jeff, Brooke and I were all sitting around the table talking to my brother Mike about this girl that he likes. I don’t know if the smile on his face could have been any bigger as he talked about this girl. They’ve just started “dating” and he is so excited about it, which was making all of us excited too, just hearing him talk about her. Then one of us asked jokingly when he was going to propose and he said, “We have to date a year before that happens” and I laughed, out loud. Mike asked what was so funny, and everyone else just stared at me.
And here is why that is so funny to me…
We love making plans. We love knowing what is going to happen before it happens. We love telling people what is going to happen in our lives. We talk about the schools we are going to go to, which will lead to the job that we have.. which will lead to the wife/husband we will meet/marry… which will lead to the nice house we have… which will lead to the kids we have.. which will lead to the schools our kids go to which will lead, which will lead, which will lead….
We live in this endless cycle of planning everything for ourselves. Now, before I go on, I want to say that I am not against planning in any way! But I think our planning has gotten out of control, selfish and detached from God. I think we decide at an early age what our life plans are and tell God to take a back seat to those plans. Instead of constantly going to the Creator for the plan, we tell Him the plan and then act like its from Him. Instead of listening to God and asking Him if/when we should get engaged we tell Him, and everyone else, that it will happen in a year.
On my third date with Brooke we were sitting in a hammock in her parent’s backyard and I told her, “I love you.” NOT PART OF MY PLAN. That’s only part of your plan if you want to sound like a crazy stalker, but I couldn’t help it. I knew this was the woman I would love forever and I couldn’t keep it in. I had to say it. I didn’t plan to say it but it just came out as if I was living out a plan that wasn’t mine. Brooke casually looked over to me and said, “I know.” She said it back a few days later, and because I wasn’t living in this pre-made plan of dating for such-and-such amount of time, we were married within a year of meeting. Now don’t read this and think, “Let’s get married next week. That’s my plan!”, because it may not be. I had been in a few really bad relationships before I met Brooke and I kept trying to force everything. Force love, force romance, force the idea of being with someone, and kept telling people that God sent this girl to me. It was only when I decided that I wasn’t going to force anything and just surrender to the will of God that Brooke showed up. We went on our first date to McDonalds. (Yeah – McDonalds, I am not ashamed. Dollar sundaes will always hold a special place in my heart).
Not only do we try to camouflage our plan as God’s plan, but when our plans go wrong, we blame God. When we don’t get that job, into that school, or break up with that guy, we ask God why he would abandon us in the midst of “His” plan.
It is in the moment that our plan falls through that we need to stop and listen. Instead of going back to our plan and trying to force it to happen, we need to look up to God and submit. We need to hold out our hands and hearts and say, “Use me God. Guide me and open my heart to listen to your plan.” It is not easy to give up on our plans. Some of us have had them for so long that they’ve become our identity. They might even be good, honest, humble plans. But if they aren’t Gods, they aren’t the best. God’s worst plan will be better than your best plan. I don’t know what the plan that you have had your whole life is. It could be a certain job, an age that you wanted things to happen, a guy or girl. It could be a lot of things and in time they may be in your plan, but don’t force them. Listen to the Creator of all things and His plan for you. It’s not always the easiest plan to live out, but it will be the best and most fulfilling thing – and your life will be changed because of it!
One of the reasons I started thinking about this is beceause one of the next walk in love. shirts is based off this verse : “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11. Notice in the verse that HE knows the plans that HE has for you, not He knows the plans that you have for you. Listen for His plan and submit to it. Your life will be filled with hope and a future.
*Here is another iPhone background and sneak peek of a shirt from our next collection designed by my super talented friend Stephen. Here is his site : The Apple Factory