LIST Birmingham - January 2020

JANUARY 2020

MELVIN’ S MONTHLY MOMENTS

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IMPROVEMENT IN 2019 AND LOOKING AHEAD TO 2020

Looking Back at 2019

The end of a year is a time for reflection and for setting goals for the next year. A famous person once said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” (Actually, the famous person was Charlie Tremendous Jones. Honestly, I have never heard of ol’ Charlie Tremendous, but I have heard this quote repeatedly and I love it). My goal for 2019 was to try to meet successful people who would have a positive impact on my life and read some great books that would help me grow personally. I knew these goals would help me accomplish my life goals, which are to always grow as a husband, father, child of God, in physical fitness, and in business. I started my year by attending a conference in New Orleans led by Ben Kinney, one of the most successful real estate agents in the country. Just being in the room with him jump-started my year. Ten years ago, Ben was a cable installer. He read a book on being a real estate agent, and it changed his life. He is now a multimillionaire. I joined an organization called VISTAGE, which is an international CEO Peer Advisory Group. The local chair is a gentleman named Gary Kitchen. Gary is 78 years old and has the energy of a 20-year-old. Having him mentor me has proven to be challenging and encouraging. He pushes me to stretch myself. The experience has had a dramatic and positive impact in every aspect of my life. I have read some really great books this year, but my favorite so far has been “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck. In essence, the book teaches that success is typically driven by one’s reaction to adversity and challenges. The most successful people are not always the smartest or most talented but the ones who look at all experiences with a mindset that asks: What can I learn from this and how can I improve? It is an excellent book for parents if you want to raise a successful child who grows by overcoming obstacles. A great companion book is “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth. I highly recommend both books.

My recollection of the past year would be incomplete without mentioning my commitment to the Rosary. I say this prayer daily. It has had a positive impact in

all aspects of my life. If you are Catholic, I highly recommend this prayer. For

all faiths, I know a commitment to daily prayer will help you achieve the peace of God, something I know we all desire.

In terms of being a better husband and father, I would say my biggest lesson has been one of humility. As I seek to improve in both areas, I often see my shortcomings more than my strengths. However, I know I love Jill and Bram more every day of my life, which means at least I am making steady improvement. Finally, I will finish the year with the highest sales of my career. My performance is up 12% over last year, and I will either finish second or third in total production in the entire Birmingham market out of 4,000 agents. My success is due to 70% of my business coming from referrals from the readers of this newsletter. Thanks to everyone who has sent me business. It is the highest compliment you could ever pay me.

Happy New Year!

-Melvin Upchurch

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CTRL, ALT, DELETE YOUR CLUTTER

Tips for National Clean Up Your Computer Month

Everyone relies on technology. Computers, laptops, tablets, and phones are staples of modern life. However, it’s easy for these devices to become cluttered with old photos, files, and general disorganization. Luckily, January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and an excellent time to get your technology in order.

Imagine you’re navigating a vast airport on a busy Saturday, shouldering your way through crowds and struggling to hear the PA system over the clatter of 1,000 wheeled suitcases. Suddenly, you see a pig wearing a hot pink sweater waddling toward you on a leash. Do you stop in your tracks? Does your stress level drop? Do you laugh out loud when you see its pink nail polish? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then you can sympathize with the passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and staff at the San Francisco International Airport. They get to enjoy visits from Lilou, the world’s first airport therapy pig, on a regular basis! As part of the Wag Brigade, the airport’s cadre of (mostly canine) therapy animals, Lilou wanders the airport with her humans, bringing joy, peace, and calm to everyone she meets. Lilou may be the only pig of her kind, but airport therapy animals have been a growing trend for the last few years. According to NPR, as of 2017, more than 30 airports across the U.S. employed therapy dogs, and these days, estimates land closer to 60. The San Jose and Denver airports have therapy cats, and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport even offers passengers the chance to play with miniature horses before boarding their flights. Therapy dogs started appearing in U.S. airports after the 9/11 terror attacks, which changed American attitudes about flying. They did so well at helping passengers calm down that airports began implementing permanent programs. Some have pets on hand 24/7 to assist passengers, while others host animal visits every few weeks or months. These days, regular travelers have fallen hard for their local therapy animals, many of whom even have their own Instagram accounts and hashtags. So, the next time you’re traveling, keep an eye out for a friendly pup, cat, pig, or horse to pet. A bit of love from an animal just might improve your trip! MEET THE WORLD’S FIRST AIRPORT THERAPY PIG How Lilou and Animals Like Her Help Calm Stressed-Out Travelers

START BY DUSTING

Over time, computer towers can become clogged with dust, which creates additional, unwanted heat within your computer. Regular cleanings will increase the lifespan of your computer and protect its essential components. Compressed air is great for removing most of the dust and other particulates. If the fans or filters are too dirty, you can remove them from the tower to clean them better. If you use water or liquid cleaning products on them, be sure they are completely dry before placing them back into your computer.

ORGANIZE YOUR FILES

Naming and arranging the files on your computer in such a way that they’re easy for you to find can end up saving you a lot of time. Declutter your workspace by creating one file for pictures, one for Word documents, one for spreadsheets, and one for programs to eliminate the hassle of frantically searching for the files you need.

BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER

Be sure to back up your computer before you start deleting things. This acts as a safety net in case you delete something you didn’t mean to. Additionally, consider installing a second hard drive. The extra space can help with storing important

files without having to worry about how much room is left.

CLEAN UP SPACE

Any files you’ll never use again should be deleted. Likewise, any

programs you haven’t used in a while should be uninstalled. Check your hard drive for files that might be taking up unintended space on your computer. And remember to empty the recycling bin — it’s easy to

forget just how much goes in there.

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ESCAPE TO A WINTER WONDERLAND Chill Out in These Frosty Destinations Snow is magical and gorgeous — unless you have to commute in it. If you want to enjoy all the wonder that winter has to offer without the hassle, why not turn it into a vacation? Here are a few breathtaking, snow-covered destinations that any winter lover can enjoy. Above the city of Gyeongju, this ancient Buddhist temple has stood on the slopes of Tohamsan Mountain since the eighth century. Bulguksa, or “Temple of the Buddha Land,” is South Korea’s No. 1 UNESCOWorld Heritage Site, making it a popular attraction for domestic and international tourism. The crowds and school tours die down during the winter, however, which also happens to be when Bulguksa is at its most pristine. The iced-over lotus ponds and snow-dusted pagodas add to the sense of tranquility this site naturally exudes. If you want the feel of a ski trip to the Alps without the packed slopes and ritzy resorts, the Dolomites are just for you. Located in northeastern Italy, this stunning mountain range is home to some of the best skiing in Europe, as well as many historical sites. The secluded villages that dot the mountain valleys are an attraction in their own right, especially for the rustic cuisine you’ll find there. Don’t expect pasta though. This region is a melting pot of flavors from Austria, northern Italy, and the local Ladin people. Ricotta and sauerkraut pancakes, anyone? THE DOLOMITES, SOUTH TYROL, ITALY BULGUKSA TEMPLE, SOUTH KOREA

THE ANTARCTIC

This is the one entry on this list that is best enjoyed during the summer

months, which is December– February in the Southern Hemisphere, because that’s when the freezing temperatures of the southernmost

continent are at their most hospitable. The Antarctic has

become an increasingly popular tourist destination, with cruises taking adventure seekers through the vast, untouched beauty of this far-flung destination. Some tourists even enjoy kayaking or cross-country skiing through this icy paradise.

HOPPIN’ JOHN

TAKE A BREAK

Inspired by Epicurious

Ingredients

1 smoked ham hock

1 cup dried black-eyed peas

1 medium onion, diced

5–6 cups water

1 cup long-grain white rice

1 dried hot pepper, optional (arbol and Calabrian are great options)

Directions

1.

Wash and sort peas.

2. In a saucepan, cover peas with water, discarding any that float. 3. Add pepper, ham hock, and onion. Gently boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peas are just tender, about 90 minutes. At this point, you should have about 2 cups of liquid remaining. 4. Add rice, cover, drop heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, undisturbed. 5. Remove from heat and let steam for an additional 10 minutes, still covered. 6. Remove lid, fluff with a fork, and serve.

Solution on Page 4

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INSIDE 1 Looking Back at 2019

2

Meet the World’s First Airport Therapy Pig Enter 2020 With an Organized Computer

3

Real Winter Wonderlands Hoppin’ John Tips to Establish a Family Media Use Plan

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SCREEN-TIME STRATEGIES How to Set a Family Media Use Plan

HAVE A CHAT

With 24/7 media exposure from TVs, computers, and

smartphones, it feels like life is dominated by screens. Consider implementing a media use plan for your family so they don’t miss out on the real world.

Don’t shy away from warning your kids about what exists in the digital world. Explain to them that certain content isn’t age-appropriate, and teach them what movie and TV ratings mean. Remind them to be careful about what they put on the internet because anything they upload never really goes away. Teach them to be smart with their decisions. Connect with them on social media if it helps you keep an eye on things.

SET A CURFEW

CONSTRUCT A ‘MEDIA DIET’

Limiting the time your children spend staring at a screen is good for their health. Try to keep screen time usage to under two hours per day. Implement a rule for no screens at mealtimes, and keep all screens out of bedrooms at night. Keep track of the devices by having a communal charging dock in a shared area where you can make

Take an active role in what your children watch by co-viewing programs with them. You’ll have a better sense of what they’re seeing and can point them toward the programming that’s right for them. Look for educational media choices that teach good values. There are a lot of great educational opportunities on the internet, but there’s also a lot of room for negative exposure. If this is a concern, keep the family computer in a public part of your home so you can see what they’re accessing online. It’s important to educate your children about proper media health, but it’s even more important to encourage your kids to be healthy in other ways. Beyond the tips mentioned above, encourage them to play outdoors and even have them read physical books so they can participate more actively in the real world.

sure everything is plugged in for the night.

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