Growing in the Same Direction

Five reasons to attend that conference you passed up.

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

Last month, Jorjanne and I went to the Catalyst Conference. Attending this event with our closest friends has become an annual tradition. If you aren’t familiar with the Catalyst Conference, check out their content and the people who speak. They are extremely genuine, wise, and inspiring.
Getting away a couple of times per year is a strategic part of our marriage. And, getting away together is a strategic focus of my closest friendships. I’ve learned that getting away together with Jorjanne and my closest friends regularly for a conference or special event provides at least 5 benefits:
  1. Taking a regular trip provides cherished memories that last a lifetime.
  2. These trips also allow us to grow in the same direction through the content we each experience at a conference. This common growth also provides new conversations and vocabulary that we use to continually benefit each other within our group.
  3. We can later share this information with our other friends, family, and team members to help them also grow in this same direction.
  4. By leaving home for the getaway, we are able view our everyday lives with a new perspective that we wouldn’t have recognized by staying home.
  5. Our friends, spouse, and other family can help us solve problems we may not have been able to solve while in the forest of daily life at home.
So, the next time you are invited to a conference GO! Or, if you’ve passed up the opportunity to attend a conference, take the lead next time and invite a few close friends to join you.
Your future healthier family will be glad you did.
Question…What conference has had the greatest impact on your personal, relational, or professional growth?

Freedom to Fail

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

This morning I actually got up early to work out…okay, my dog was barking (I think he’s scared of the dark) and woke me up 10 minutes before my alarm, so I got up. In any case, I just read the most refreshing and reassuring passage of scripture.

“…but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.” Psalm 89:33

This passage of scripture was included in a short devotion by Bob Goff. If you don’t know Bob, read his book, Love Does. Bob must be one of the most joyful, passionate, and whimsical people on the planet. In his devotion, he talks about how God loves us even through our failures. Fortunately, God doesn’t want us to keep score of our screw ups versus successes. He calls us to think differently. Bob closes the devotion with a powerful thought… “I’ve realized that I used to be afraid of failing at the things that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”

As you think about your various projects, responsibilities, and relationships, are you striving to succeed at things that don’t really matter?

If I want a healthy family, I must strive to succeed at things that matter. Engaging conversations with Jorjanne and the boys matter. Staying current on my Facebook feed…not so much. Consistently encouraging my boys matters. Eating dinner at home matters. Staying busy at work or another meeting late into another evening…not so much. Get the idea?

If you’d like to read the entire devotion, check it out here.

Dinner Time

Ideas for healthy family when it's time to eat.

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

Next Tuesday MPC hosts Life Lessons Over Lunch. We host lunch on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month and invite the entire farm family. Usually, anywhere from 10-30 people eat together, and we watch a video message by North Point Community Church. The messages are very helpful. In fact, we just completed my favorite North Point Series of all time, Destinations: Direction, not intentions determines destination. But, just as helpful as the messages, is the opportunity for me to pour the drinks and our entire farm family eat together. We don’t all work in the same physical locations, so everyone doesn’t always spend time together throughout the work week. While it is only an hour, Life Lessons Over Lunch allows us to grow  together as a group of people who all have hopes and dreams and fears; and what better place to grow than around a table together with food!
Eating together as a family is very important. Many times during the year, Jorjanne, the boys, and I end up eating at a ballgame or between practices. But, I cherish the evenings when we eat at home. The boys finish their homework, we play a little, and then we eat dinner together,  with no agenda other than enjoying each others’ company.
Every family needs to eat together. If possible, eat at home. And, eat together regularly. Dinner provides such a wonderful opportunity to serve each other, listen to each other distraction free, and grow together.
Bottom line…dinner as a family makes for a healthy family.
Question: What is your favorite dinner?

Value Adding

How are you adding value?

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my company and our purpose. I have a mission statement. But, frankly, I’m not crazy about it. I don’t consider myself a wordsmith. In fact, I’ve never written anything and thought, “That’s it! Chris, you nailed it!” Jorjanne writes things regularly that amaze me. But, I don’t consider myself that person. If it wouldn’t defeat the purpose of this being my blog, I wish she could write my blog posts…I would definitely write more often, and you would enjoy reading more. Anyway…

Muscadines and Supplements
My company is in the business of adding value to the crops we grow and are grown around us. We make all kinds of juices and powders from the muscadines that are grown on our vineyard that add value to our customers’ lives. I love this idea of adding value.
I define adding value as “the act of improving or adding worth.”
This definition extends beyond just the products we make. In fact, my leadership style is born from this definition. One of my goals as the leader of my company is that each person considers himself or herself better for having worked with me.
As Jorjanne’s husband and my boys’ dad, I also aim to add value to their lives.
So, as you interact with your family and friends this week, ask yourself, “How can I add value to his or her life?”
I think everyone will enjoy the resulting product.

What Is A Healthy Family?

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

I mentioned in my last post that I’m going to write more about “Ideas for Healthy Families”. Before I go much further, though, I want to clarify what I mean by “Healthy Families”.

Paper Family

Is family that collective group of people who share the same household? Or, is it a group of people who are related by blood? Family can be both. But, for my purposes, family also includes those friends, and even coworkers, whom we call on when we need a hand to help or ear to listen. I’ve found that we can build family by intentionally investing in the friendships and relationships around us. My goal is to share ideas for growing both your blood and adopted family relationships.

In the context of family, I define “healthy” as the condition where each person is better for spending time with the other, and they look forward to the next time to visit. I’ve found that the healthiest relationships I have are the ones where each person builds the other up, extends grace, listens when needed, and helps when needed.

Lastly, achieving and maintaining health in any area of life requires consistent, intentional effort. You build financial health by consistently and intentionally spending less than you make. You improve your physical health by consistently and intentionally exercising and eating healthy foods. You get the idea.

This week, help make those around you better for spending time with you. And, if you wish your family was larger, or if you need a close friend, go brighten up a friend’s day. We each need a healthy family.

Ideas for Healthy Families

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

I haven’t blogged in a while…a LONG while. I was recently inspired (thanks MichaelHyatt and AdamSuter) to start blogging again, so I thought I would make a few thematic changes to my blog. I’ve tried to write about leadership, family, and muscadines. But, I tend to struggle with writing original content when it comes to leadership. Muscadines are awesome and my world, but they aren’t necessarily your world. But, one thing I am passionate about and can share stories about are ideas for healthy families. I love my family. We are far from perfect, but we desire to become healthier. And, I want to help you have a healthy(er) family, too.

DSC_1838e

Coincidently, today is Jorjanne’s and my wedding anniversary. Over the past 15 years, God has blessed us with a very large and close extended family. Most of our family members are blood relatives, but we also have a few members who are adopted. These are friends who are as close as brothers and sisters. We didn’t draw up any documents to formalize the process, but you get the picture.

Family is very important. We weren’t created to go through life alone. So, if you have close family, do something to brighten their day. If you don’t have close family, please build your family by picking a friend and doing something to brighten their day.

Brother

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 was one of the scariest days of my life. Jorjanne was involved in an horrific car wreck. Thankfully, she had no internal injuries, and she is healing very well. Since the accident, she and I have experienced many emotions. Fortunately, neither of us have been involved in a major accident before. And, the only time either of us has been in the hospital was when Jorjanne gave birth to our children. So, needless to say, I was scared when I arrived on the scene. I was also very nervous about the next steps of her care. I was praying for God’s healing of her body and His wisdom and peace as I helped her. But, when we arrived at the hospital, I was looking one person… my brother.

Eric is an Emergency Physician. Eric is extremely compassionate, fiercely loyal…and (not to brag, but…) the best doctor around.  I joke with others, though, that I don’t ever want to see him at work! One of his concerns as an ER doctor is that one of us is injured. His biggest fear is that he is at work when we arrive. But, as my brother, his presence was the reassurance I needed in knowing that Jorjanne was receiving the best care and that everything was going to be okay.

Within minutes of arriving in the Emergency Room, our other brothers and sisters also showed up meeting every other need like taking care of our boys, praying, and bringing us food.

Fortunately, Jorjanne is recovering remarkably well. After five days in the hospital, she is home now. And, I couldn’t be any more proud to see her healing and to have her home!

Over the past couple of years, I have become a fan of the musical group NeedToBreathe. Their most recent release, Brother, is now my favorite song…ever! You should watch the music video now…and read the lyrics. This song captures my gratitude and love for my biological brother and sisters along with so many more of you brothers and sisters who have prayed, called, texted, visited, and brought us food and flowers. I told a close friend yesterday that we have experienced the love of Jesus through prayers and boiled peanuts this past week! To all of you brothers and sisters…you have been the hands and feet of Jesus, the Body of Christ.

Brothers and Sisters, Thank You!

How to Know What the Next Move Should Be

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

I just realized that my last blog post was almost 8 months ago! Oh my goodness…where has the time gone?!?! Since I last posted anything here, life has been a blur. For starters, I was elected as Irwin County’s newest County Commissioner. My business has continued to grow, and we recently brought on four new team members. As time continues to fly by faster, my business becomes more complex, and I am asked to make decisions that impact many people, I made a serious investment late last year in my leadership. I hired a coach.

Image courtesy of http://www.123rf.com/profile_jperagine

What kind of coach, you ask, did I hire? I hired an executive coach. This person has so many experiences from the business teams she’s led. And, today she works with a large leadership and small business consulting company. Needless to say, she is highly qualified. I’ve worked with tennis coaches before, but I’ve never worked with such a personal type of coach. Much like a tennis coach, my executive coach starts with the fundamentals of my game. The only difference being that my executive coach’s first assignment was reading about and then writing my values and vision instead of hitting ground strokes. My executive coach’s goal is to help me lead my business towards the vision and preferred future she has helped me craft. In the midst of uncertain times, she has helped me chart a course and clearly communicate it with my team. But, the beautiful part of working with my coach is that she has helped me gain perspective and ideas for bringing clarity to my situations.

In his book, Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge, Dr. Henry Cloud makes the argument that leaders, much like any other closed system in the universe, are doomed for disorder without an external input of energy. In fact, leaders need energy and guidance in order to maintain order within themselves. Energy keeps us going, and guidance points us in the right direction. You can find this energy and direction from trusted friends, mentors, and books. I have a couple of close friends who help me navigate personal and business decisions. And, my executive coach is now also providing energy and guidance as I navigate complex business decisions.

My coach is a serious investment. But, the energy and guidance I gain in leading my team far outweigh the costs. If you’ve ever wondered what the next move should be, I highly recommend you work with a coach. You’ll be glad you did.

And, here is a great resource and another super helpful resource.

Question: What is the best quality of your favorite sports coach?

Get To Know Your Neighbors

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

Now that our muscadine harvest is over, I am busy campaigning in my race for Irwin County’s 4th District Commission Seat. This past weekend, I walked around in Ocilla making introductions and visiting with voters. Earlier in the week, I also drove around one community visiting with constituents. I will be honest, I originally wasn’t looking forward to this part of campaigning. I am not a politician, and I find myself becoming an introvert as I get older. But, I have really enjoyed meeting my neighbors for several reasons:

Campaign Sign
  1. Many people have amazing stories to share, and my neighbors are truly the salt of the earth. They are what make #ABetterIrwinCounty.
  2. Some of my neighbors have made incredible sacrifices for their family and friends. I met one lady Saturday who raised her 5 nephews after her sister (their mother) suddenly died. She is in her eighties and still occasionally works, too!
  3. Lastly, people take great pride in what they create, raise, and earn. One lady had the most beautiful pepper garden growing right along the walkway to her front door. Another couple raised two children who have started successful businesses and farming operations in Irwin County. As people of #ABetterIrwinCounty, we have many accomplishments to be proud of. I am grateful for this opportunity to see and hear what brings people pride and joy.

As I visit around the eastern side of Irwin County over the next month, I look forward to meeting many more of my neighbors. If you live in Irwin County, I encourage you to get to know your neighbors, too. They have great stories to tell.

They, like I, also believe in #ABetterIrwinCounty.

So, what is something amazing your neighbor has done? Go find out & share it here.

What is #ABetterIrwinCounty

I am the President and CEO of Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk Vineyards’ processing sister company. I am married to the most wonderful lady in the world, Jorjanne. We have two boys and live in the middle of my family’s vineyard.

Over the past few weeks and months, I have been posting and sharing pictures and thoughts online with the hashtag #ABetterIrwinCounty. For an explanation of hashtags, click here. For an explanation of #ABetterIrwinCounty, keep reading.

#ABetterIrwinCounty

I believe in Irwin County. I was born and raised here. I was educated here. I was also taught to dream here. I believe in our natural resources. I believe in our fields, orchards, and vineyards. I believe in the people of Irwin County. I also believe in what Irwin County could and should be.

A better Irwin County is built on the realization that we are all here for only a short time and should leave things in better shape than when we found them. A better Irwin County is home to healthy farms, healthy industries, and healthy small businesses. A better Irwin County also makes it safe and a pleasure traveling to these places. Lastly, if you live here, a better Irwin County includes you having great relationships with your family, friends, and coworkers.

This belief in a better Irwin County prompted me to run for the 4th District’s County Commissioner’s seat. When I see examples of what makes Irwin County a great place to live and lead my business, I am sharing them online. I’d love to see what you believe makes #ABetterIrwinCounty, too. Please use the hashtag #ABetterIrwinCounty when you share your pictures and thoughts. Also, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to see what I believe makes #ABetterIrwinCounty.

One question: What do you believe makes #ABetterIrwinCounty?