Well, we got a little frustrated with the Homeowner’s Association papers required for our condo, so we went with something else.  Our realtor assured us that with a good 300 year mortgage, we could afford this royalty-worthy beach home.

 

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2601-N-Ocean-Blvd-Boca-Raton-FL-33431/2138652450_zpid/

Also, now we can invite entire small-town communities to come visit us!  🙂

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01/24/11

Last night, I read an article by Eric Cressey about how to actually achieve your goals. This has been a theme that I’ve also been exploring in the Bible recently. Lastly, today I also read some of Nelson Searcy’s book about coping with failure and using it as a stepping stone.

So, that leads me to these thoughts about how to press forward into new goals. According to everything I’ve been reading, there are two major components.

  1. Faith. “By faith Abraham…. By faith Joseph…. By faith Isaac….” Faith is essential in every undertaking. We have to honestly believe that God is for us in this endeavor. If He isn’t with you in it, you’re screwed. If He is with you in it, He’ll let you know, and He’ll guide you. He’ll pick you up when you fall. This is no longer just your pursuit. God is shouldering the burden with you.

Sometimes, faith will seem quite absurd. It will make you question your sanity occasionally. I know I often question my own sanity. My goals are too high for the people around me to understand. I should “aim lower”. Why? Am I the only one who enjoys the rush/adventure of attempting to achieve the “impossible”? One major reason I took up forex was simply because several people in my life told me it was too good to be true. And yeah, it was super risky, but God protected me as I staggered my way through it.

However, this time, I’m coming back to the original burden that God placed upon my heart a long time ago. I fervently believe that in order for this plan to come to fruition, I need to win powerlifting and crossfit titles. I also don’t mind because I absolutely love both powerlifting and crossfit. They make me feel alpha, and I can feel God enjoying me as I lift. He has placed this passion within me, and He delights in me as I delight in Him and how He has made me.

So, “By faith Tyler set out to change his nation’s health. He believed that God had set this upon his heart for a purpose, and he believed in God’s power to accomplish such a monumental task. Because of his faith, God delivered His children from the ravaging effects of ill health”. By faith, bro. 🙂

2. A plan. A very detailed plan.

One major point in the Eric Cressey article was the importance of short-term goals that lead to a long-term goal. I’ve been fascinated by the Bible reading plan that Lisa and I have started. Reading the whole Bible is a huge task! However, when you divide that task into 365 parts, it’s easy. This is how we should attack all goals.

As for the current goal in mind (changing health), I have a few long-term goals.

  1. Win the June 18 powerlifting competition (my strength is my limiting factor for crossfit)
  2. After that is won, join a Crossfit gym.
  3. Enter into the 2012 Crossfit Games and place well.
  4. Continue to earn credentials that attract attention. Also train clients and expand my education.
  5. Provide unprecedented resources to the public to encourage healthier lifestyles (a book, website, educational programs, etc.)

As for short-term goals, they are listed in my personal spreadsheet, “Powerlifting Agenda”. It is broken down into monthly and weekly goals for each lift, bodyweight, and calories. O yeah!

First, we headed to Gumbo Limbo.  Gumbo Limbo is a nature center where they rehabilitate sea turtles.  In addition to that, Florida Atlantic University has a research lab there where students work on studying sea creatures.  There are also a couple other exhibits of sea creatures.

 

We also found a pretty cool park named Sugar Sand Park.  It’s basically just a community park with a couple different play places, baseball fields, basketball courts, and a science center.  It was pretty neat.  🙂  The following is a video of one of the play places.

 

Yesterday morning, we visited Morikami Museum.  It’s a Japanese Garden that was donated to the city by a Japanese immigrant.  It’s typically $12, but Lisa found out that its 10 year anniversary was yesterday and therefore free.  Woot!

Lisa and I both agreed we wouldn’t have wanted to pay $12 for it…. but for free, it was pretty good.  Especially the bonsai trees.

In case you couldn’t tell by the incredibly ambiguous title, these are a few of our favorite wedding pictures.

We’re incredibly thankful for Alex Merrell and the work he did.  Each of these pictures was taken by Alex.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alex-Merrell-Photography/112591602450

 

This past week has been pretty eventful in finding a place to live, placing offers, opening our first joint account, and many other things. The week has also been relaxing while we have found plenty of time to visit the beach and explore the new location of where we most likely will be living. The beach ended up being about 1.5 miles away from our condo, which is about a 30 minute walk, but when we get our bikes out here it shouldn’t take as long. Another good thing about this beach is that there haven’t been many people there each time we’ve been there so far. I really like that. Yesterday I think we walked about 3 miles up and down the beach. It was gorgeous. The water is still a little cold for our taste, but it feels good on your feet when you’re walking. We have also been working on our tans and are quite a bit more tan than when we got here. Sun is good.

Along the beach there is a road named Ocean Boulevard, where there are tons of really nice Condos on one side and then on the other there are multi-million dollar homes with amazing boats. I’m pretty sure we saw a home with 6 wave runners and at least 2 boats, one was a yacht. Also, on one of the videos you get a taste of a conversation we have every day here and every where we go. People are entranced by Tyler’s shoes and we have at least two conversations with random people about them a day. It’s actually quite amusing.

Other than all of that, we are quite the same. We have been pretty diligent with our Bible reading so far and are learning a lot through the stories of Genesis and Exodus. It has been a while since we have sat down and read those stories and they are quite refreshing. It is also funny to see how some things never change and we are all in a constant state of feeling forgotten by God or we are the ones forgetting about God. We have been noticing that cycle with the Israelites and how it is still true in our lives today. It has also been good to see the power of God and also his genuine love for his children. One more thing that I want to mention is how there is another reoccurring theme with all of the people God chooses to use. In pretty much every situation they don’t believe they are enough to be used by God and each time God has to reassure them that they are and He has chosen to use them. We just have to trust that God knows what he is doing and he knows everything we are capable of, especially through His strength.

This is a detailed video of the condo we put an offer on!

The next three videos are of us walking to the beach from our new condo, then walking along ocean boulevard, and finally walking on the beach that is right next to our new home 🙂

This last one is not very exciting, but it’s exciting to us. It’s a glimpse of Green Wise, we are hoping to show more later. It’s pretty epic.


Well, getting to Miami was a bit of a challenge in itself. The flights were fine and everything was smooth until we landed in the Miami Airport and had to get a rental car. Let’s just say it’s not very fun to rent a car if you are under the age of 25. After we had all of those issues resolved, finding Fortuna House, the place where we were staying, and getting accommodated there was pretty simple. Fortuna House is owned by one lady and there is another lady in the House that does all the house keeping. She was the first one to greet us there and pretty much made our night.

The rest of Miami was pretty and pretty fun, but never a place where we would want to live. It was fun staying in Fortuna House for a while. It was located right downtown and we took many walks downtown and around other various back streets to explore as well. We found a couple of really cool parks and a really great smoothie place called Smoothie King, which we ended up visiting pretty much every day. We also found a local YMCA, where we stuck out in the crowd. The gym was built more for some one like Lisa who loves doing cardio and less for Tyler who loves working with weights. We were quite the different couple working out in that gym.

I think it was just a huge relief to actually be in Florida and enjoying the sunshine in the middle of January. It was a lovely honeymoon and we found we like Miami Beach the best. Although we enjoyed Miami, we both felt like we were constantly looking forward to being in Boca Raton, to see what our future home entailed.

Here are some videos from our travels to and in Miami:

This is in Atlanta Airport while we are waiting

A tour of Fortuna House

 

First day in Miami

 

Celebration of Tyler’s Birthday

A visit to Bill Baggs State Park to watch the sunset

Miami Beach

In my Economics classes, we constantly attempted to measure people’s happiness. We did this in an attempt to calculate what policies to take up in order to make people the happiest with the resources we had. After a class-period had passed, we would develop what steps to take in order for the hypothetical person(s) to be the happiest. Essentially, we pursued the Economic standpoint that we can quantify happiness. We can measure happiness to some extent and then use math to maximize happiness. While it’s a decent philosophy, there are holes in it. I guess that’s how it is with every philosophical viewpoint, but I wanted to write about this one.

It really struck me in one class when my teacher was talking about a new concept. During it, he had a graph up on the board that talked about Ferraris and mansions and their effect on “happiness”. He said something that really struck me, “And if I get to the point of having two Ferraris and three mansions, then I’ll be REALLY happy!”. Will you? Will you really? And this was coming from the only teacher I had that semester who openly professed to be a Christian. He was also the most absorbed in Wall Street and seemed the most detached from his family. Or so he seemed to be.

Later in the same class, we were talking about a girl starting her own lawn mowing business. She borrows her dad’s lawn mower to try to make money for school. We had multiple questions about her little business, but then we had a couple about how her father wants to get a cut of the profits since it’s his lawn mower. The book called her father, “her greedy father”. I agreed and so did most of the class. However, my teacher exclaimed, “Greedy?! That’s not greedy! That’s sensible. Her sensible father”. So, he proceeded to replace “greedy father” with “sensible father” throughout the rest of the lecture.

I can understand how one might view the father’s actions as sensible according to a pure economic standpoint. The guy bought the mower and someone else is using the mower to get money. He’s entitled to a portion of the profits. However, from a real-life standpoint, why are we so focused on entitlement? Especially when we come from a Christian worldview. This is entirely contradictory to the grace we’ve been shown.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him”. The father in this story is entitled to everything the son could give him. The son deserves to be treated like a slave. However, the father wasn’t focused on the money the son had squandered. The father craved relationship with his son once again and welcomed him back with open arms.

So, back to the greedy versus sensible Dad. Is collecting a portion of his daughter’s earnings really going to increase his happiness? He’s making his daughter feel more like an employee or someone doing contracted work for him than a daughter. In doing so, he’s leading her to confuse her identity before her father. Is she an employee or is he captivated by her? Does he like being around her simply for who she is or for what she can provide for him? Would the Dad actually gain more happiness from just giving his daughter a break and saying, “I’m so proud of you and how you’re taking initiative to save up for school. You can definitely use our mower if you want”? If the father chooses grace over entitlement, he partakes of the priceless gain of showing his daughter grace. He gets to show her how her Heavenly Father sees her.

So, the notion of happiness certainly exceeds entitlement and the thought of just getting what you pay for. There’s a higher road named “Grace” where the greedy (or “sensible”) Dad becomes a true father and gives good things to his daughter. We’ve been given everything through Jesus’ grace to us, and it is our joy to pass it on to others.

Despite the fact we’ve only been here for four full days, we’ve already started to enjoy our new home of Boca Raton.  The weather here has been amazing. We are enjoying high 60’s and 70’s degree weather along with sunshine every day so far.  The city of Boca Raton is pretty well kept and there doesn’t seem to be that “bad part” of town that no body wants to be stuck in. The longer we stay here, the more we feel like we are at home. It is nice to have sunshine every day and to see so many people out all of the time. It seems like we always see people running, biking, walking, and everything else. We have yet to make it to the beach, but we will do that when things start to slow down.

We have taken a few walks in Mizner Park, which is on the east side of Boca Raton and we went to the town center last night.  Town center was a little taste of how different the culture can be here. We were walking through a giant mall full of stores selling merchandice from retailers we have only heard of in the movies. Some like Armani, Saks Fifth Avenue and so on. We were quite the different couple walking through that mall in our sweat pants and sweat shirts, soaking in all of the overpriced materials we could never afford. We also just liked walking through and seeing the people.

We shop at a grocery store called Publix and went to one called Green Wise, which was by far our favorite. There are no Wal-Marts here. There are a ton of different locally owned shops and restaurants all around and down-town. Today, our realtor showed us around Boca Raton while travelling to different Condos that might have some potential. He was really helpful in showing us around and creating more of a picture of where every thing is located and how Boca Raton is geographically. Greg, our realtor, is a really cool guy. We have enjoyed spending time with him so far and would love to be able to hang out some time outside of buying a home. He has lived in Boca Raton his whole life and has helped us out tremendously with getting familiar with the town.

Condo hunting has been a real journey in itself. We were first set on finding a house, but then Greg let us know that if we wanted to live in Boca Raton then we probably couldn’t afford a house and should look more for a condo. In the beginning, we weren’t really that pleased with the idea of getting a condo, but the more we looked at them, the more appealing they became. We have spent two days looking at condos so far and have found one that we really like. It is centered in the heart of Boca Raton and would be really close to every thing we would ever want, even the beach 🙂 We are hoping to be able to be mostly dependent on our bikes when we move down here, so we were intentionally looking for something close to every thing we would want to go to like classes, grocery stores, gyms, and the beach. It seems like we have found it. It is a really good location and a really good price.

Fitness Institute International is turning out to be everything we had imagined it to be.  Dr. Abbott and Juan Carlos Santana have both done everything with everyone ever involved in the fitness field (well, close).  From the FBI, NFL, NBA, Olympics (multiple countries), the Green Berets, other special forces, and even the general public…. They’ve trained pretty much every type of individual out there.  Needless to say, they have experience.  They’re also both very high up in the NSCA (the premier certifying group for fitness professionals).  Santana is the Vice-President of the NSCA board of directors.  Abbott is the Chairman of the NSCA’s Certified Personal Trainers Examination Development Committee as well as a past Vice-Chair of the Executive Council of the NSCA’s Certification Commission.  So, this is what we knew coming into this program.

However, we were both even more impressed by the classes and the professionalism of personal training that the Institute promotes.  They publicly denounce almost all personal training certifications.  There’s a very large number of certifications, but they only promote the two with the most rigorous standards.  Needless to say, Abbott wasn’t too impressed with the one I got from the ISSA that they mailed to me.  He’s far more into actually promoting a client’s health over making money, and he demonstrates that by turning away clients who refuse to allow him to check their blood pressure, lung capacity, blood profile, and initial physical fitness stress tests.  This policy has allowed him to spare several lives.

Basically, this program is even better than we expected, and Tyler is excited to jump into all of it.  Lisa is thinking about taking one or two of the classes, but she’s probably not going to be going through the whole thing.  Regardless, we’re excited to take a couple classes together!  🙂

And now, a couple videos

First, Mizner Park.  This is around a half mile walk away from our favorite potential condo.

This is our favorite potential condo.  It’s a one bedroom, one bathroom, 660 square foot condo a mile from the beach.

 

Spiritual

As a couple:

  • Read Bible in a year
  • Daily quiet time
  • Actively praying more
  • Living a life set apart (not focusing on worldly things)

Tyler:

  • Trusting God
  • To love my wife with Christ-like purity
  • Boldness to pursue my dreams

Lisa:

  • Living in my identity in Christ
  • To serve & love my husband like the church loves Christ
  • Become a prayer warrior (give things up to God)
  • Forgiveness (relationships)

 

Adventure

  • Develop strong social network
  • Learn Spanish
  • Run a half-marathon
  • Win a 5k
  • Win a powerlifting competition (Tyler)
  • Get all A’s at Fitness Institute International (Tyler)
  • Visit at least one different volunteer organization a month (or at least until we visit all of them)
  • Do 5 pull-ups (Lisa)
  • Learn to kayak or wind-surf
  • Live simply

Hello and welcome to our blog!

We are Tyler and Lisa Brown (previously Lisa Warren).  We just got married on January 1, 2011 in Springfield, MO.  Currently, we’re on our honeymoon enjoying 77 degree weather in Miami and later we’ll be in Boca Raton, FL.

We’re both individuals who had given up on finding a soul-mate due to our own uniqueness.  We both quickly found reasons to disregard any potential love interests.  As a result, Tyler had been single four years and Lisa five.  Once we met, our interests were peaked.  Consequently, we spent five days walking together throughout the streets of Bolivar (which involved one run-in with the cops but no biggie) and that resulted in Tyler asking Lisa out at around midnight.  Lisa responded around 3:00am with “Yeah”.  Awesome.

So, we engaged in a new dating relationship.  Keep in mind, dating relationships were quite foreign to both of us.  We were quite used to the single life and enjoyed it.  We constantly caught ourselves stopping throughout our day and thinking, “Wait?  I’m really dating?”  Not that that was a negative thought.  It was simply so unusual that it caught us off-guard many times over.  We finished the semester with a heart-felt good-bye.  Even though we had only known each other for a month, we already knew we had something very special.

That summer, we were separated by two and a half hours of traveling time…. which we viewed as a small price to pay to be together.  Excluding Tyler’s trip to Colorado with his friend David, we saw each other at every opportunity.  That meant that every weekend, we were together.

So, the summer came and went.  The Fall 2010 semester came, and we continued our schooling.  For the first month, Lisa spent the days at Tyler’s house in Bolivar but then went to sleep on a friend’s couch in her apartment.  However, for the remainder of the semester Lisa found an apartment in Camdenton for her student teaching there.  She’s a math education major and had the opportunity for teaching upper-level high school math as her student teaching portion of her major.

Consequently, we were once again separated.  This was only an hour drive, but we still wished we could be together.  Only being able to talk at most an hour a night and not being able to see each other during the week began to take a toll on our relationship. We are not meant for long distance relationships.

During this long-distance relationship, Lisa was a bridesmaid in her friend Keri’s wedding in Colorado.  During Tyler’s trip to Colorado earlier that summer, he found a spot that he thought would be perfect to propose at but never thought he’d be able to use it.  Well, this was his ticket to use it.  So on September 23rd, we took a thirteen hour, overnight drive to Colorado to Estes Park.  After the thirteen hour drive, we took a twenty minute nap and hiked three hours up to Spectacle Lake where Tyler proposed.  Thankfully, Lisa said yes, and we were able to make it to Keri’s wedding.

Tyler was an Economics major at Missouri State University for Fall 2010.  However, he withdrew from classes midway through the semester.  He started out an Exercise Science major, but he changed to Economics when he started becoming involved in foreign currency trading.  Although trading was certainly an adventure, he found that he enjoyed the end product (money) far more than the process.  In addition, as he got more and more involved, more stress was added and he found himself in a situation that he no longer enjoyed.  He worked long hours and couldn’t seem to think of anything else.  His whole life was dominated by foreign currency trading, and it came to an unhealthy level where he couldn’t seem to connect with people anymore.  His life had become a pursuit of money.  He realized his priorities needed to be re-evaluated and, much thanks to Lisa, had the boldness to leave his business.  He really meant no harm to his partners, but he knew that this wasn’t the life he wanted to live.  He wanted to enjoy the simple act of his endeavors, and he knew that his heart was in Exercise Science.

As a result, he ran across Fitness Institute International in Boca Raton, Florida.  All collegiate Exercise Science programs prepare graduates to pass the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) certification for personal training or strength coaching.  Fitness Institute International is a 18 month program that prepares students for the same certification, and their graduates have a 100% pass rate.  This was the opportunity Tyler had always hoped to find but didn’t think existed (much like finding Lisa.  🙂  )  Tyler still plans on pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology primarily for how his name looks on paper and the simple enjoyment of Exercise Physiology classes.

All that’s to say that, Tyler was able to move to Camdenton and live with Lisa’s parents while Lisa finished her student teaching at Camdenton High School.  The long-distance part of our relationship was over, and it removed a major strain.  We’ve found that our relationship is much healthier when we can actually spend time together.  Surprise!

So, we would wake up at 5:30am for breakfast at 6:00 and then Lisa would spend her day teaching while Tyler took care of miscellaneous tasks involved in getting prepared to move to a new school and state.  Around 5:00pm, Lisa would return.  We would find some time for dinner, a workout, and then Lisa prepared lesson plans for the next day.  Although our time was limited, we loved being able to see each other again.

Then, after Lisa graduated, we were caught up in a whirlwind of Christmas activity visiting Tyler’s relatives.  That was followed by two days of final wedding and honeymoon preparations and then came to a crescendo with the wedding on January 1!  Although we only had a three month engagement, we were very ready to be married and stop saying good-bye to each other every night.

Lisa really enjoyed student teaching. Her cooperating teacher was awesome and her students were great. Teaching has a lot more involved than she realized though, and she is not always the best at handling stressful situations. For right now, as we embark on our adventure, she is thinking of pursuing different avenues. She has always loved working at a soup kitchen in Bolivar, MO and would love to find one to work with in Boca Raton. She has also considered taking a couple of classes at the Fitness Institute with Tyler on Nutrition and maybe a couple of psychology classes to possible work with people with eating disorders. Lisa has also thought about opening a coffee shop and selling art, while having the shop connected to a homeless organization to help the poor. Then, there is still the possibility of teaching. There are many things she would like to see and do. She wants a job where she can make a difference in the world and be able to build relationships with people.

We’ll see what Boca Raton has to offer. It’s hard because Lisa has never really wanted a traditional job. There are many things that she would love to do, but doesn’t know of a “real job” that actually fits what her heart desires. It’s also hard, because that is what the world expects. If it doesn’t earn a descent income, then it’s not worth doing. Tyler and Lisa hope to be able to find a way to break these American expectations and live a life in the fullness of God’s kingdom, not matter what that looks like in our lives.

Now, we are thoroughly enjoying our honeymoon in Miami.  We’re really enjoying the new culture and weather that Miami has to offer, and we’re excited to see how Boca Raton is as well.  The rest of this blog will be a documentation of our journey together.  A collection of thoughts and stories.

We decided to name this blog after a thought we found in one of the airline magazines that documented “The Happiest Countries”.  When the article talked about Denmark, they noted a concept originated by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Flow: An authentically happy state of engaged activity that supremely interests you, challenges you, and occasionally makes time melt away

This is how we view happiness.  We believe that our happiness is not found in our possessions but in the things we cherish for which we would give away all of our possessions to keep.  So, we could, in theory find supreme happiness while living in a cardboard box.

We are, honestly, truly happy although we have no idea what the future holds.  We’re simply excited to set out on this adventure of life together.

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