Friendly Counsel

Friendly Counsel

“I’m in a meeting with my attorney.” I actually responded to a text earlier today with that message.

If you know me, you know how crazy-weird that sounds. I’ve never had an attorney. Thankfully, I’ve never had a need for an attorney. But as Lee and I prepare to transition to full-time mission work and, hopefully, move to a foreign country, we thought it would be prudent to sit down and get our affairs in order. This means estate planning and making sure our bases are covered in case decisions need to be made and we’re not capable of making them.

I have an attorney as a result of a work friendship that was established nearly two decades ago. Back when Verizon was still GTE, Bryan Devolder and I manned a helpdesk and goofed off a lot. We were young and silly and ambitious and young, and we maintained our friendship as we went down separate career paths within the company.

Remember those days when you used to do really stupid stuff?

We kept in touch through life changes: divorce, kids, new house, new spouse, and continuing education. In my case, it was Bible college. In the case of Bryan and his wife Elizabeth, it was law school. When they opened their firm, it was exhilarating for me, having seen them go through the process, work really hard, and trust God along the way.

So as I sat across the table from Elizabeth as she explained the ins and outs of who gets what in the event God calls me home sooner than I am anticipating, there is something to be said about the comfort level I had in having that conversation. It’s a comfort level made possible by the fact I’ve known Bryan and Elizabeth socially for years before needing to engage with them professionally. It’s a comfort level that’s made possible in part by the fact my kid has babysat their kids.

In the end, comfort level translates to trust, and what I want more than anything in my attorney is their competence and my ability to trust them. It also doesn’t suck that they’re my friends.

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It’s All About The Network

It’s All About The Network

No, not a data or cellular network.

I’m talking about your peeps. Your circle of friends. Your squad. Those with whom you partake.

For me, today has been a network-riffic kinda day. It started with a friend gifting me much needed moving boxes and containers. It was very serendipitous she posted to Facebook she had a surplus of the receptacles and needed to get rid of them.

From there I had a conversation with my attorney (it really is weird every time I say that out loud) whom I’ve known for over twenty years but is only in his first couple of years practicing law. It’s cool to have seen him and his wife go to law school and start their own practice, all while starting a family as well. To see the hard work they put in makes me that much more happy for their success.

I had good conversations with my BFF’s, catching up on life, snow in the Bible belt, doctor’s appointments, etc. My dudes help keep me grounded and focused, and I always take away something positive whenever I speak to them.

I wrapped up the day with some positive news regarding Lee’s and my future direction. There are still many details to be worked out, but the biggest hurdle has been cleared. Again, this is a new opportunity that is a direct result of my network of friends.


It’s been my experience that success follows when you surround yourself with good people; people who will encourage you, challenge you, support you, and pray with/for you. It will not always be smooth sailing, but more often than not, the rewards will far outweigh any setbacks. You will also find God uses your friends to open doors in your life, doors you didn’t even know existed. Conversely, you will find God uses you – your talents, knowledge, and experiences – to help steer others in new, positive directions.

We are not designed to go through life alone, so make the most of how God architected you and ‘do life’ with others. Fellowship is one of the ways God asks, “Can you hear me now?”

Sebring, Racing, and Camping Culture

I am a sports fan. Underneath that very broad umbrella lies the category of motor sports. I follow motor sports – peripherally – but in no way would I all myself an avid fan.

I am, however, a fan of taking time off of work and taking part in new experiences with my friends. That is how I find myself at Sebring International Raceway this weekend taking in the 12 Hours of Sebring race. I won’t go into specifics about the race except to say it last twelve hours. When you’re sitting out in the sun, drinking beer, and watching cars scream by, twelve hours feels like twenty four.

But for my wife and me, this is less about the race and more about the time shared with friends. For us, it’s about fellowship, and considering we’ve been here since Wednesday, sharing the close confines of a 30-foot camper (i.e. one bathroom), it’s very safe to say we really like our friends.

Our Camper

 

In addition to the good times, grilled food, and empty beer bottles, I have learned a lot these last several days. Here’s a recap in no particular order.

  1. I know very little about camping, campers, RV’s, and the entire culture that goes with it. I am 42 years old, and I feel there is a slew of life lessons I still need to learn like; how to empty the tanks on an RV (I’ll just pay someones else to do it for me, thank you very much), and how a refrigerator can run off propane (I am still perplexed).
  2. Corvettes are beautiful. Prototype Corvettes are bleeping gorgeous. Vette Prototype
  3. The logistics that go into a racing team – specifically for endurance racing like Sebring – are amazing. From scheduling how long a particular driver will be out of the track to tuning the car to account for weather, wind direction, surface temperature, to the crew involved with loading and hauling the cars; it’s all mind-blowing when you stop and think about it. I know all motor sports teams deal with it, but to see it so up close makes it a more tangible experience.
  4. Green Park at Sebring is Spring Break for old men. Yes, there are many who partake in the festivities of the free-for-all that is Green Park (an open camping area on the north end of the track), but for the most part, it seems to be dominated by dudes looking at 40 in the rear view mirror and still trying to drink as if they were 20. If you’re looking for a crazy party atmosphere, Green Park is something you may want to experience. If you’re looking something a bit more family friendly, then Green Park is something you’ll want to avoid. Green Park Party Animal
  5. There’s no escaping the sound of the race cars. They wake you up in the morning (practices start at 8:00), and the high-pitched whine of a car accelerating out of a turn will seep into your subconscious. Even in the moments between races and practices, you’ll swear you can hear cars running. It’s akin to having sea-legs after a cruise. I will probably hear the buzzing of race cars in my brain for the next week.
  6. There are a lot of innovative campers at Sebring. From makeshift disco lounges, to tents anchored by pickup trucks, to elaborate party zones, the campers at Sebring have merged the best of function, imagination, and craftiness when it comes to watching the race.

As the race comes to a close, I look back with a relatively proud, “been there, done that” attitude. Growing up in Florida, Sebring was something I’d always heard about, and it’s cool I am now able to say I’ve experienced it. In many ways, it reminds me of when I finally got around to watching a shuttle launch.

I’m eager to continue to check off the list things to do in Florida, and we’re already planning to do the 24 Hours at Daytona in 2016. But whatever the event or the destination, what makes it all worthwhile is being able to share those experiences with the people you love.

Team Sebring

Friendly Friday – Danielle Lanier

There are some friendships that can only be described as serendipitous. And in my experience, if there is one thing that tends to create serendipitous moments, it’s music.

I’ve been so very fortunate to be surrounded by such a wonderful collection of friends, all of which share the same passion and affection for music (specifically live music). I like to refer to these people as my music family, and one of these individuals is Danielle Lanier.

Danielle is currently the Director of Program and Family Services at Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa. The Children’s Cancer Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving Tampa Bay families of children with cancer or chronic blood disorders such as Sickle Cell Anemia. Their mission statement speaks to helping families cope, and they could not have a better member on their team than Danielle.

Danielle is full of life and just screams vivaciousness. Her smile can light up a room, and she’s simply a joy to be around. But what really sets her apart are her absolute love for music and her selfless sense of giving. Danielle has merged those two by incorporating music into the many support programs offered at the Children’s Cancer Center. From live performances to field trips to a concerts to simple music instruction, Danielle is helping make the lives of children battling cancer a little bit brighter with every note, melody, and lyric.

And it is lyrics that hold a special place in Danielle’s heart. In addition to her day job, Danielle is also an artist and creator of Lyric Inspired Art. The works are exactly as the name suggests; artwork that is born from the inspiration received by music and the lyrics contained with in. As Danielle states, “I may not be able to perform music, but I am able to pay respect to it on canvas. I am moved by music, the expression, the emotions, the lyrics. My art is a physical recreation of what I feel when I hear songs that evoke an emotional response.” [Be sure to visit and Like Lyric Inspired Art on Facebook.]

I’m honored to be able to call Danielle a friend, and I am inspired by the fact that she wakes up every morning to go something she genuinely loves doing. At the end of the day, that really is what life if all about.

Danielle Lanier with Ken Block
Danielle Lanier with Ken Block

To donate to the Children’s Cancer Center, click here.

Here is a slightly dated article about Danielle in The Examiner.

Friendly Friday – Kendall Lyons

Have you ever had a tough time explaining how you met someone? “Hey, how did you guys meet?” You stumble across um’s and awkward pauses until you figure out the best way to explain a peculiar story. That’s pretty much the case with my friend Kendall.

I had the great fortune of traveling to Colorado last summer to attend the Wild at Heart Boot Camp hosted by John Eldridge and his Ransomed Heart Ministries team. It was a great men’s retreat the opened my eyes to all types of new directions in my faith walk with Jesus, and allowed me to realize the warrior that lives in me, fighting everyday here on earth for the kingdom of God. It was four days of reflection, introspection, and fellowship with the hundreds of other men at the retreat.

In those moments of fellowship, we’d congregate around the fire, introducing ourselves and sharing life stories. I traveled to the retreat with my friend Jeff, and I told him I’d meet him down at the fire once I grabbed some stuff from our dormitory area. Upon my arrival, he peppered me with questions.

“Hey. Do you know this guy named cartoon daily?”

“Cartoon daily? His first name is cartoon?”

“No. That’s his Twitter handle. Cartoondaily ….. something.”

“What? What are you talking about.”

“I met this guy and he happened to mention he’s a blogger. I told him I was here with a buddy of mine who also is a blogger. I mentioned you’re danaCreative, and he said he knows you.”

“Wait. What? He said he knows me?”

“Yeah. Says he follows you on Twitter … or something like that.” (my friend Jeff was not very keen on the details that evening)

So after the sketchy conversation and upon returning home, I did some research and found @CartoonDaily1, better known as Kendall Lyons.

The Internet is a great tool. So much so that it allowed two complete strangers, both with a penchant for writing and a mutual love for Jesus Christ, to come together in a really unexplainable way. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Kendall in person, but we’ve interacted quite a bit since the retreat, and I am a fan of his work.

Kendall is a youth minister and a writer – he just released his book “22 Life Lessons for Personal Growth” – and a dedicated man of God. In addition, Kendall is a talented artist and self-proclaimed cartoon fanatic. I look forward to growing in this friendship with Kendall, and I smile knowing there is another warrior out there working hard to kingdom build here on earth.

You can find Kendall via his blog at KendallLyons.com. Please take a moment to check out Kendall’s animated mini-bio for Draw My Life. It’s excellent.

Happy Friday!

Friendly Friday – Sue Markovitch

Part of my goal for 2014 is to have a post on my blog site every day. As I mentioned on the first of the year, I don’t want to necessarily write every day (although that would be great). Rather, I want to post something. Pictures, videos, something.

Although I am still working out a ‘subject schedule’, I think I will devote my Fridays to promoting people I know and their works and success. Hence, welcome to the first ever danaCreative Friendly Friday. Okay, I guess you can say the idea is somewhat borrowed from Twitter’s #FollowFriday, but I am going to give you more than just a Twitter handle to follow and forget.

Instead, I will share a little bit about how I know the person I’m highlighting, as well as information on where you can find them on the Internet.

With all that as the backdrop, I would like to introduce you to Sue Markovitch. I first met Sue via what I affectionately refer to as my music family. That is, the collection of music fans with whom I interact, most of which came together through the music of Sister Hazel. It started with us interacting on the old Sister Hazel message board. Her avatar was the tattoo she has of the Lyrics for Life logo. We got to know each other, and we soon came to realize we were, at the time, living parallel lives with regards to love and heartbreak. We were kindred spirits, finding in each other strength, guidance, and encouragement through the emotional tough times. Our friendship was purely virtual and online, but it was, off the bat, something special.

Sue was there for me, specifically when I had an emotionally devastating setback in summer of 2006. I was driving back home from a day trip to Miami, and I remember spending hours with her on the phone and she calmly talked me off the proverbial ledge. This is someone whom I never met in person, but she made the time for me to help me when I needed it most. When we finally met in person a couple of years ago on The Rock Boat, all we could do was hug, laugh, and cry; cry the tears of joy you shed when you see someone you’ve missed for such a long time.

In her own words, Sue is a, “writer, fitness coach, personal trainer, spiritual guide, seeker of truth, child of God, (and) student of life.” She is also the owner of Clear Rock Fitness in Ohio. Furthermore, Sue just released her first book “I Know What to Do, I Just Don’t Do It: How to Break Free from the Lies that Keep You Frustrated, Overweight, and Out of Shape.” I am looking forward to reading it, and I am so incredibly excited for Sue and the success she’s having with both her fitness studio and book.

I Know What To Do

And if you’re looking for a daily boost of motivation, be sure to check out her Twitter feed at @SueMarkovitch

Sue is one of the many people in my life whom I consider a blessing and a great friend. I hope you check out her sites, and that she provides for you the same inspiration she does for me.

Happy Friday!

Sue Markovitch

192/365 Angel Investor

There are times when everything just seems too overwhelming. Work, schedules, kids, diet, finances; it all just adds up to one big ball of stress.

Yet there are time when thing happen unexpectedly and from outta’ nowhere a the solution to problem or situation presents itself.

I am so very lucky to have the collection of friends that I do, and I am so very blessed to be surrounded by such amazing and giving people. It’s a reminder that when you put it all in God’s hands, He will provide an answer to your prayers.

 

Many thanks to my friend CG for the love and support.