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PLANT. 🌱

May 25, 2017

We are on the homestretch of the school year, with less than 8 days to go! We are so ready for the summer!! I am a second grade teacher, and one of our final projects has been learning all about the life cycle of a plant. To bring the learning to life, each of my students had the opportunity to plant something of their own.

I do not have a green thumb whatsoever and had to ask my teammates many questions about how to successfully guide my students through this process. The last thing I wanted to do was send them home with a plastic cup of dirt, haha!

This has been such a fun process for me and has given me many blog moments along the way. Its been extremely therapeutic and has once again allowed me to move slowly and be patient with the growth process.

If you look through the pages of scripture, there are many references to plants, farming and agriculture, most of the time comparing our lives to the life of a plant.

Psalm 1:3 says this, “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”

Jeremiah says this,  “He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to look into the life cycle of a plant and how it parallels to the lives we live.

This week, let’s take a closer look at the seed.

A plant starts life as a seed. When I was preparing for this little project for my class, I discovered that I had a bag of lima beans tucked away in my Science Box. This science box is not a new box, but one that was used last year.

Holding the bag of beans in my hands, I realized that these beans would only remain beans if left in my hands–they would never reach their fullest potential of growth or multiplication in this bag.

I wanted my students to see the process that often takes place underneath the soil, so rather than taking the seeds and placing them in the soil immediately, we put the beans in a zip loc bag, added a damp paper towel to the bag and set it up to hang in the sunlight.

Within moments, our beans began to go to the next step of the life cycle-germination. For over a year there was no sign of life or growth, and then, all of a sudden, when put in a position to grow, they began to change.

As I walked my students to lunch, we all were so amazed! Growth was happening and these seeds were taking on new life.

I asked myself and I’ll ask you, what in your life is on the shelf, tucked away in a box that has the potential to grow that you have not given the opportunity to come to life?

Our lives, our dreams and our greatest desires are not meant to be stored up somewhere, but they are meant to be lived out, experienced and possessed.

Or maybe you’re saying, Sarah I don’t have any seeds, I don’t see anything stored up in my life!  I encourage you to ask the Lord! His word says that, “He gives seed to the sower.” Meaning He gives seed to those who will sow what they have been given.

God wants to give you great an beautiful things. But, His plans and purposes for you are not found fully grown and mature, but instead, they are entrusted to us as small, tiny, insignificant-looking seeds. We must see those seeds as the greatest treasures and full of potential.

Take the next few moments and do some seed inventory. What has God entrusted you with that is in hiding?

Next week-we will learning about the next step of the life cycle, germination… sounds fun, doesn’t it?!

 

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INCONVENIENT BLESSING.

April 27, 2017

Last Saturday, after a really special gathering at Influence Culture, the hubs and I went to grab Sonic! It’s a greasy little treat that serves their soda with crushed ice. I don’t have to tell you we haven’t had it since 2016 for you not to judge me, right? Right? Hehe.

As we pulled up to our ordering station, (if you haven’t been to a Sonic, you park and order… they bring your food to you on roller skates. Super fun!) it began to sprinkle.

We placed our order and began talking about the different “wins” of the evening–We celebrated new faces, friends we hadn’t seen a while, new people serving and the fun that was had at team night, where my friend won herself $100.00 for making a half court shot! Yeah, true story!!

As we were talking, a young girl came skating up bearing gifts! (Greasy gifts!) We made conversation with her as we always do. I told her how I was glad the rain went away because I didn’t want her to have to be outside. She let me know that no matter what, she would still have to be out there, because that’s her job. Of course, we noticed that our order wasn’t completely right, so we had to send her back. She gave us many opportunities to keep our wrong order, including a super sad and unenthusiastic look, but we kindly insisted that we’d like to go home with what we ordered.

She sighed and went back. BJ immediately grabbed cash out of his wallet and got it ready. We LOVE blessing people just because and we wanted to be generous. She was obviously tired, maybe even a little overwhelmed and we wanted her to know that she mattered. That she was seen, known and that there were blessings all around her.

We waited and waited and waited. Finally we saw her, called her back and she nodded as if she was going to get our replacements. We waited some more until finally, we just decided to go home. After church isn’t the day we are really going to call over a a manager and ask for justice. So, we left, with cash folded up in our hands. As we left, we spotted our girl, who TOTALLY pretended NOT to see us, she actually hid from us.

She thought she was getting away with something, but it was actually us getting away with something-some cash money!

I’m not talking 4.00 people! Remember how generous we were just hours before to our half court shot-making friend? Yeah. I won’t disclose how much we were giving our fast food friend , because that’s not the point.

The point is, she missed an opportunity because of inconvenience. She allowed what she didn’t want to do to prevent her from receiving what she might have needed!

We pray for God’s blessings, we desire good things, we throw coins in the wishing pond, hoping for things to change. We look all around for opportunities but we fail to see the opportunities in front of us because they are wrapped in a box called INCONVENIENCE.

So we miss the moment, we miss the breakthrough, we miss the promotion, the job offer, or in this case, the extra cash in our pocket.

What box marked with INCONVENIENCE has arrived at your doorstep? Is it a boss, a frustrating customer, a new opportunity to serve, staying late, getting up earlier, giving more?  Are you simply “doing your job” or doing what only you are asked to do?

I encourage you today, I urge you to embrace it, invest in it, step up and go above and beyond for whoever and whatever it is that’s posing itself as an inconvenience. You never know who you’ll meet or what opportunity you’ll find.

 

Adventure, Family

Progress

April 20, 2017

We live in a social media, digital world where we can see into the lives of people in a matter of seconds- their picture perfect world compared to ours looks wildly different. We see results, we romance results, we compare results–we are obsessed with results!! We place  a high value on overnight successes and one hit wonders and under value the grind, the struggle, the everyday ordinary choices, the hard work that’s necessary to yield the results we wish to achieve.

A little background story about me… I’ve always been athletic and pretty disciplined when it has come to my health. I enjoy running and being active. After having twins, I was able to get back into pre baby (babies) weight in a few months. Fast forward a few years and gave birth to my son just 8 days before giving birth to a spiritual child, LOL and launched our church, Influence Culture. That year was a whirlwind, trying to adjust to life with three children and a new church. So, unlike my first experience, I wasn’t back to my pre baby weight. In fact, I was heavier than I had ever been, more tired than ever and just plain exhausted. So, as we sang happy birthday to my son and our church, I knew it was time for change.

So, I started working out in my apartment complex’s gym (so boring, by the way) everyday, getting up and doing the very unattractive, not so very exciting workout. I started to adjust my eating and you know , more boring stuff. I didn’t take any pills, I did however look up a tummy tuck a time or two and realized that’s outta my budget, haha! I didn’t do any miracle shakes, I just did boring stuff, everyday. There were days I ate too much, had pizza one too many times in a week and didn’t feel like any of it was worth it. My goal was to not start over every Monday, but to keep going. So I did.

I kept going.

I set a goal weight (success) That I wanted to achieve after one year-I didn’t achieve that goal… but I kept going. I hit hard seasons, experienced bad days, but I kept going. I knew that although I hadn’t given up, I wasn’t seeing my desired results because there were areas where I needed to be more disciplined and more intentional.

October of this past year, I stepped it up and began to be more intentional and more disciplined,  not starting over, but taking the next step.

One day, someone recognized this change and asked, “what have you been doing? You look like you’ve lost a lot of weight?” I replied, “You know the boring stuff-eating better and working out.” They were uninterested in a matter of seconds. Even more so when they found out it had almost been a two year journey. Haha!

Fast forward to stepping on the scale for the past three weeks and not seeing the weight change. I’ve been working out 5-6 days a week, getting up at 4:25 AM in order to workout before my day begins. I’ve been working hard, but not seeing results on the scale.

This past week when I stepped on the scale, I had a moment–results are out of my control, but, progress is not. I need to de romanticize (is that a word) my relationship with results and start falling in love with the progress, the process. I know, more boring stuff!

Yes, my body weight on the scale isn’t changing currently, but I am making progress. I can run longer and faster and I can lift heavier weights.  Yes, my tummy still has a lot of stretched skin (thank you twins!!) and my arms still move too much when I waive (thank you Jett) but I’m making progress.

We want a hail marry, game ending touch down, but we only need a few first downs and we are going to earn ourselves 6 points on the board.

The same is true as I am looking at other areas where I want to see results. Our church, for example is in a new season, and boy do I have some expectations! Expectations aren’t bad, but I need to re evaluate what success means to me. Progress doesn’t always feel and look like progress, but when you change your perspective, you begin to see progress loud and clear.

Progress collects compound interest–over time we not only achieve those desired results but we shatter those barriers!

I read something this week that spoke to me and reminded me about this very thing.

“Success is not sexy. It’s sweaty!
Success is not glamorous. It’s gritty!”

-Mark Batterson from the book, “Chase the Lion.”

Um, HELLO! How true is that?!

I didn’t give you the play by play to show you how awesome I am (because I’m not) and I surely don’t plan to start my own fitness instagram (you’re welcome)  haha! But, I wanted to encourage you that whatever it is that you are wanting to achieve, to get a vision in your heart and get to work! Keep showing up, keep doing the boring, not so awesome things. STOP looking at results and start measuring progress. Anyone can fantasize about results, but it takes true heart and mental toughness to get excited about progress.

When you get excited about progress you realize that your desired goal isn’t a destination but a moving target. Every time you inch your way towards it, it moves forward–as it should.

Are you facing discouragement or frustration because you aren’t seeing the results you wish to see? I encourage you to take a deep breath and do a little inventory, place the value on progress!

I know, boring stuff… but it will get you there, one decision at a time,  I promise.

These two pictures were taken exactly two years a part. I know, boring stuff…. but I’m going to keep making progress.

Uncategorized

GOOD Friday

April 14, 2017

Isn’t it so crazy that a day marked by death is called, “GOOD Friday?” Today, people all across the earth remember a day where Jesus, the Savior of the world was beaten, mocked and sentenced to be crucified. He was called a liar and a thief, wear a crown of thornes on his head, a day where his hands and his feet would be pierced with nails–a day where Jesus would die on a cross.

We know that the story doesn’t end there. We know the ending and because we do, we can consider it GOOD!

It is GOOD because we know that God didn’t just send His son to die, but He sent His son to save the world. We know that in His persecution He would overcome any trial that we would ever face, that the marks on his body would grant us access to healing and that in His death, He would defeat death, giving us the victory in all things.

Typing these words brings tears to my eyes-It’s as though my heart is breaking, knowing that Jesus did this for me. He did this for you.

To recount and recall what happened on this day is powerful . And although it brings tears of sorrow, thinking about someone I love so much, Jesus, dying for me–knowing what happened three days later is empowering!

The cross, His death, and His resurrection tells me everyday, that whatever I am walking through, whatever we are facing, it doesn’t end there! We know the ending! We are victorious!

So, how do we remain victorious while walking through trial and experiencing what seems like defeat?

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”

Hebrews 12:2

So let us take this day of reflection to a posture in which we approach our everyday life. Let us walk in victory and call whatever it is we face, GOOD… because we know the ending!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

 

Adventure, Family, Marriage, Raising Kids

Personal Record

April 7, 2017

This morning, I ran a personal record, clocking in one mile at 7 minutes and 32 seconds and I’m pretty excited about it! Personal records are supposed to be exciting- they are your best, so far!

I wasn’t the only person in the room who hit a PR. When our coach asked the group if anyone hit a PR, many hands went up. It was motivating and exciting to see that others hit a personal record as well.

When I got home, I saw that my friend also hit a personal record during her one mile run this morning! I immediately texted her to celebrate. She and I ran our best today, even though we didn’t run the same. 

I didn’t have to ask her for her time to know that she CRUSHED it because comparing her results with mine was and is irrelevant. Her running a 5 minute and 54 second mile (heyyyo!!!) took nothing away from my 7 minute and 32 second mile.

She owned her mile and I owned mine. 

In life, we are called to own our mile, to train better, work harder, run faster than our last time. While we work to earn our best, we are to encourage and cheer others on as they do the same. We are all in the same race and called to run with endurance, but we are not supposed to run the same. You and I are not experiencing the same season–some of you are further along in your journey than I am, and maybe I am further along in my journey than you are.

What matters most, is that we get better.

I know it can at times feel deflating when in one moment you feel like you had a victory, but compared to the person next to you, it quickly becomes a defeat–but it’s not my friend! The enemy of our lives wants to discourage you-he wants you to believe the lie that you are losing, that you are not measuring up… but listen to me, YOU ARE WINNING!

You are winning every time you decide to try again, every time you take on the challenge, put in the work and do the hard things that are before you. 

Our focus needs to be input minded not outcome driven. What do I mean? We live in a culture that celebrates the results, we celebrate the outcomes and then we hold ourselves to that standard-when we don’t achieve that outcome, we experience defeat. What we should focus on is input work–we can always measure our try, our passion, and our time we put into that goal or the ceiling we are trying to shatter.

Where do you feel like you’re losing? I encourage you to not compare what you are experiencing to others, but instead focus on your best. I know, when you do, you’ll realize very quickly that you are winning!

If you are not experiencing victory, I want to also encourage you to examine your input work–are you putting in the time and the work that you need to in order to get better?

 

 

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!

1 Corinthians 9:24

 

I’d love to hear from you and your experience! Are you a runner? What’s your personal best?

 

Please comment below & share your story. I’m cheering you on, friend!!

 

Adventure, Family, Marriage, Raising Kids

Rest

March 31, 2017

We need rest. I know, there’s a lot to do, people to see, places to go–I know all about the never ending piles of laundry, the grocery store trips (yes trips.. it’s never just one) I know about the dream in your heart, the to-do list and the 14 school projects that we can’t avoid or neglect. I know about the full time job and side hustle, trying to make ends meet or pay for that desired family vacation.  Oh and don’t forget about the kids-they need to eat and bathe every once in a while too, you know… I get it,  I’m right there with you.

All the more, we need rest.

Rest has been etched into our beings since creation. God himself demonstrated rest when he chose to work for six days and rest.

If you’re like me, you can easily associate or misunderstand rest for being lazy. Or maybe you just don’t see how you can ever truly rest. So, I hear you when you start to think-here we go again, another blog about the benefits of rest, blah, blah.

But, that’s not what I am going to do.. I just want to commission you, remind you and encourage to rest, more.

Our bodies, our minds and our souls were created to respond to a pattern or work and rest. So, when we don’t intentionally decide to rest, we quit.

Rest is not abandoning our  calling or taking steps back in the name of rest, that called  quitting. Resting is a rhythm and counter part to working–they go hand in hand.  Rest doesn’t make life more convenient and easier, it fuels you and replenishes you to continue.

Rest reveals a lot about who we are and what controls us- it exposes the idols in our lives. What we are not able to unplug from has more control over us than we think.

Rest reminds us that He is God and we are not. God works in our rest. He fills in, makes better and multiplies what we offer in our rest. Our ability to not do, shows that we are not doing these things in our own strength, but in His strength. It takes great humility to rest (sabbath).

We must be intentional and fight for rest. On my “rest days” I was finding myself, doing laundry, running to the grocery store, cleaning and preparing for our week. I thought, just because I stayed in my pajamas I was resting. But I was not… I was working in pajamas (something I wish I could do more, haha).

I have been asking God to give me divine strategy and insight to work more effectiently and effectively so that I can rest more effectiently and effectively.

Each of our lives are different, so I won’t try and attempt to give you the 9 ways to get more rest–but I will encourage you to seek God and ask Him. He will show you!! Why? Because rest is a part of His purpose for your life. God not only demonstrated a sabbath, but He blessed it and made it holy. He set aside a day for you and I to stop and acknowledge that all that we have, everything we do, belongs to Him. When we sabbath, we routinely place our confidence and our hope back into the hands of Jesus. We work 6 while the world works 7.

Something practical and helpful I began doing was-determining what were my “big rocks” / the things that are non negotiables in my life. For me they are: time with Jesus, my husband, my family,  gathering with others of faith (church) and working out… I began placing these items on my calendar and then I began adding REST to that list of non negotiables. Before I schedule coffee with a friend, or RSVP to a birthday party, I schedule in rest.

When something is on my calendar it’s off my mind and no longer something I’m considering or trying to make happen. I was finding myself exuding so much energy trying to think of when, where and how am I going to rest–how ridiculous, I know!

What kind of things have you done to assure that you get rest? How have you made rest a part of your life-rhythm?

Maybe you don’t even know if you’re truly getting rest-what do you think is your biggest rest stealer?

Whoever you are, however hard you are working, whatever you are trying to accomplish in the hours you have been given-be sure to rest, ok? It’s not only important and good for you, but it’s a commandment from God.

Adventure

EnCOURAGEment

March 22, 2017

Hello!

I hope you are having a beautiful day, wherever you are in the world. I woke up this morning and felt so strongly to encourage you!

This past week, I have received text messages, social media inboxes, phone calls from friends, family and acquaintances, encouraging me!  Even a woman at the gym randomly encouraged me while I was completing my time on the treadmill. Can I just say, it has brought me such strength, confidence and hope. I wasn’t having a bad week or even a bad day, but their encouragement inspired me to not only keep going, but to REALLY go after the things in my heart. Their encouragement echoed in my heart when I faced moments of doubt or felt anxious about something.

When I looked up the definition of encouragement, it read–the ACTION of giving someone support, confidence or hope.

Encouragement is an action that perpetuates action. When we are encouraged, we do something about it– We take the extra step, we go after what we are afraid to do, we complete the task and walk in strength.

So, I’m here to encourage you. I’m here to be that voice that whispers, you are good enough, you’ve got this. I am cheering you on, standing in your corner and believing that what is in your heart matters to God.

So be encouraged my friend! You’re doing better than you think, you are further than you can see and you are stronger than you feel!

 

 

But dont hoard this encouragement–go out and encourage someone else!

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Time

March 9, 2017

A few years ago, BJ had this job where his boss required him to fill out time slots–for every 15 minutes, he had to document what he did and what he accomplished. Yes, this was a very tedious and micro managing sort of task that I am sure this particular leader felt was necessary to ensure people within the organization were being productive. And, although I don’t agree with the leadership model, there’s something we can take away from this.

What if we took the same inventory of our time? What would we log every fifteen minutes of our day? Would we find countless time scrolling through social media? Would we find ourselves racking in the hours watching television, or maybe day dreaming of a life we don’t have, or worrying about our job, our friendships, our future? Or maybe we would find that we are taking better care of our health & working on our goals.

How we spend our time says a lot about who we are. It shouts our values, our beliefs and even exposes the idols in our lives. How we spend our time matters.

I believe that time is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. And as much as we wish we could have more of it, we don’t need another hour in a day, we need to spend our time, better.

So I encourage you to try this and take a daily log of your time! It will reveal areas where you can make your time more meaningful and productive as well as show you areas where you are making the most of your time. It will show you patterns of your day–when you are most productive, when you are most unproductive.

I did this excercise and it was incredibly eye opening and really helped me SEE areas I needed to be more intentional and identify time stealers and time wasters. Try it and let me know what you discover and how I can support you as you work to make your time count!

 

Adventure, Family, Marriage, Raising Kids, Uncategorized

Homerun.

March 3, 2017

This morning while at work, I received a text from my husband stating, ” Bad Dad award goes to…. THIS GUY!” He was talking about himself and how today was Jett’s Dr. Seuss party–the kids were supposed to dress in green and we were supposed to bring Hawaiian rolls (it’s our go-to on the sign up) for the party, later today.

This week was Dr. Seuss week at the kid’s schools– Each day, doing something fun in celebration of him. Whether it was wacky sock day, mustache day or today, green shirts and party!

My immediate response to my DADDY OF THE YEAR husband was, ” NO WAY, you deserve all the amazing awards… you can’t hit homeruns in everything.”

I know we want to, so badly–but the reality is that we aren’t going to knock it out of the park everytime we get up to bat. Some days we are going to have a homerun dinner, or make it to school on time three days in a row, we might remember to put our kid in a green shirt, and we might remember the Hawaiian rolls for the party. But we won’t knock it out of the park every time.

And, that is OK.

Knowing that we won’t hit a homerun in every area (work, school, marriage,parenting, friendships, etc) frees us from guilt, worry and the constant desire to be driven by what’s demanding us of our time, attention and money. Understanding that we aren’t meant to hit a homerun in every area allows us to run at our own pace and focus on the areas that deserve our best.

My husband didn’t remember the Hawaiian rolls, and Jett didn’t go to school in his green shirt, but my husband woke up earlier all week long to make me and the kids fresh pressed juice, (yes you read that right.. fresh freaking pressed juice…and I’m not talking OJ. I’m talking ginger, kale, carrots, apples pears.. you get the picture, now) pack their lunches and kiss us all goodbye for the day. He fixed things around the house, hugged our babies, and he told me I was pretty, many, many times… he did all of this while leading our church and preparing everything and everyone for a BIG move.

Those are some serious homeruns, some serious RBI’s (google it if you’re not a baseball fan, lol). That’s where it counts.

So, if you are trying to knock it out of the park in all things, and beating yourself up for it, take a breath and remember, you aren’t meant to, and that is ok!

 

 

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Who Am I Trying To Impress?

February 17, 2017

Our son Jett turned three last week! Ah, I honestly can’t believe how quickly the past three years have gone by.  He’s seriously one of my favorite people on the planet–he brings everyone around him so much joy, keeps us laughing and he’s super cute, too. To celebrate his big day, we planned a family trip to Legoland at the end of the month. We have never been and scored a super great deal to go. Oh and as a teacher, I get in FREE! Heyyyy!!

His birthday fell on a Wednesday, BJ was out of town for work so it was just me & the kiddos. After celebrating with his classmates at school, I asked him, “Jetty where would you like to go today for your birthday, you can pick any place?” His response, “Let’s just go home and eat cookies.”

So that’s what we did, we went home and ate cookies. After about the third cookie, major guilt started setting in, especially when the phone calls and face time dates started pouring in–everyone asking him what we were doing on his special day. He kept replying, “we are just hanging out.”

I kept reminding myself that hanging out and eating cookies and receiving endless hugs and kisses was a great way to spend your birthday.

As the days went on, it was as if every kid was celebrating his/her birthday–big parties, fun parties, invitation, balloons and superhero guests! I wasn’t feeling like mother of the year.

So, I started to scramble–I started to plan. Maybe we can do a pool party at our house, of go to one of those kids places, that would be fun, right? Maybe a park or Chuck E Cheese (yes desperate) THIS would be better for Jett, right?

In reality, this had nothing to do with Jetty and everything to do with me. Jett was happy eating cookies (that were store bought… in case you were like well at least you baked them…I didn’t) He was fine with spending his day on his mommy’s lap.

As I went to store  to pick up a slew of vitamins, cleaning supplies and essential oils, because you know a stomach bug that hits the whole family (including the dog!!!) fits perfectly into this scenario , I starred at these store bought cupcakes and had a moment.

Why am I doing this? Who’s standard am I trying to live up to? What is my motive? Am I hoping to make myself feel better about not throwing a big ole shin dig? Who am I trying to impress?

I paused, reflected and I grabbed the store bought cupcakes that were decorated for Valentines Day and headed home. The next morning at the end of church, we sang him happy birthday  and ate cupcakes. No party favors, no piñata, just some cupcakes and his favorite friends.

He was happy. I was happy. Those cupcakes were yummy.

When we place unfair and UNNECESSARY expectations on ourselves we lead ourselves to frustration. When our motives are not aligned correctly we begin to force things to happen! And although we might succeed at doing whatever it is we are trying so desperately to do, we end up miserable.

Instead, we ought to fully embrace how we do things. This wasn’t about me not wanting to throw him a party and there is nothing wrong with going all out–if that’s how you want to do it, go for it! It’s more about me forcing something for the sake of doing something. Does that make sense?

So whatever it is that you are doing out of “obligation” or fear of missing out, pause and ask yourself these questions.

1. Who am I doing this for?

2. Who am I trying to impress?

3. What is my  motive?

If these answers lead to you do whatever it is, then do it. If they reveal that this isn’t something you HAVE to do or be a part of, or buy or post about on social media, then pass.