Discover Professional

What’s Been Going On?

It's been a long year+ since my last update on this website.  It's not that I haven't been busy (or even blogging), but my focus as been elsewhere.

I returned to the practice of law, while continuing to work on the Shine Vision as much as time would permit. From April – July of 2016, I was super-busy getting all my “ducks in a row” for my return to the legal world.

During July and August of 2016, I was also hustling lots of farm produce grown at Shine Springs Farm. We had a great mid-summer harvest of watermelons and okra.

Our Shine Springs Farm watermelons took 1st and 2nd place at the Franklin County Watermelon Festival “best tasting” competition.

My recipe for watermelon-flavored sweet iced tea won the “best flavored tea” competition sponsored by the Franklin County Extension Service (ACE / Auburn University). I'll find the recipe and share it.

Thanks to Chef Chris Newsome, Chef-Owner of Ollie Irene for buying and serving lots of Shine Springs Farm produce in 2016 (and 2014-15). It's been great to get to know Chef Chris and wife, Anna, through my farming activities.

I handled several trademark registrations and then the legal work started to take off.

My niece Allison lived with me for 8 weeks in the late Fall while she did a round of clinical training with a Birmingham PT healthcare provider for her degree in physical therapy. It was fun having a room-mate again. 🙂

It turned out to be a great year, although it was definitely not without its challenges!

God is good and He will meet our needs when we come to him in faith.

The whole return to law practice was an exercise in faith, because it wasn't something I intentionally chose to do or that I entered into lightly.

As I opened myself up to fully embrace His will and purpose in my life, the doors began to open to law in ways I had never anticipated. As I took the tentative steps in faith, the opportunities and somewhat bigger picture began to unfold.

Each week has been a continued exercise in faith as I've sought to take action in ways that serve the clients I've been blessed with, while continuing to pursue non-legal activities and work that are consistent with the Shine vision and values.

As the “bigger picture” has unfolded, I've also come to see how my background in law is entirely connected with necessary for my Shine vision to come to fruition, in part through Shinecast® media and in part through other similar-but-separate ventures.

In late February, I attended the Lawyerist's TBD Law 2 event in St. Louis.

Sheree Martin attends TBD Law 2 Conference, Franklin County Times April 2017 article

In a few days, I'll be making the official announcements, but I'm about to launch a series of courses to help creative professionals, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs with legal and business topics. The initial offerings will be through the Sheree Martin Law website, but I'll be moving them into a standalone portal later in June.

This isn't the final logo for Write: Legal but it's one of my early DIY designs:

Write: Legal (TM) a Resource from Sheree Martin // Law

June 2-3, 2017 I'll be speaking at the Southern Christian Writers Conference in Tuscaloosa. It's always a great time and a very inspirational conference.

Thanks to Cheryl Sloan Wray for including me among the speakers she featured on her blog in the weeks leading up to the conference.

Lots to do….best get to it!!


Sports Consumption: Say No to the Passive Life

As I made the daily walk around my neighborhood the past two weekends I noticed lots of folks were playing host to football game TV watching parties.

Alabama and Auburn have had big games and, as the saying goes, Saturday down South is all about football. And, to be quite honest, tailgating before a game or just hanging out with friends to watch a game is (or can be) a truly enjoyable social occasion, win or lose.

Back when I used to regularly attend sporting events, I loved to commiserate with folks sitting around me, most of whom were strangers. The game ended and we went our separate ways. But for a few hours, we were co-participants in a sporting spectacle. As often or not, the social aspect of the game and the spirit of competition was what made the experience spectacular, not all the video Jumbotron stuff.

Watching and Reading

During the 80s and the first few years of the 90s I was a HUGE fan of college football. If I wasn't at a Crimson Tide game I was watching it on Saturday, usually with friends. If not with friends, I watched with family. Before and after the game I was monitoring all the sports talk radio. Sundays included hours of reading news coverage of the previous day's games. In those days, I started every morning with coffee and a newspaper, so I also spent a half-hour or more each day reading sports news.

During those years, I was also a regular runner and by 1989 I had a full-time, relatively demanding career as a business lawyer. My Monday through Friday schedule was packed with work to minimize the need to work on the weekends. At some point, I began to think about writing more and pursuing new hobbies but just could not find the time.

One Sunday afternoon around 1994-95, surrounded by piles of newspapers and the TV on in the background, I realized that I had given up a big chunk of my life reading and watching other people play sports.

Rather than living my life and pursuing my dreams, I was watching other people pursue their own.

And so, with that epiphany, I stopped reading sports news or watching sports news on TV. I didn't stop watching sports on TV at that time, but I stopped reading about sports.

I suspect that my choice to stop reading about sports has salvaged over 10,000 hours of time over the past 20 years, assuming I was spending about 7 hours a week keeping up with sports news. Even if I was multitasking some of the time, that's still a lot of sports news media consumption.

10,000 hours is enough time to become an expert in something, or so I've been told.

I stopped watching sports on TV in 2008. The only time I watch sports on TV now is if I go a viewing party (rare) or if I make an exception for something special, like some Olympic events. So I've probably added months, maybe years, of time to my life by giving most sports viewing.

Sheree Martin age group award 3rd place Helen Keller Festival 5 mile run 2012


I realize that I am an anomaly.

I'm not opposed to watching sports or even consuming sports media. But I do think that sports consumption can lead someone down a path he or she never intended. One day the person wakes up and years of life have passed by. Time is the one resource or asset we can never recover.

Sports consumption is a huge industry.

This industry I'm talking about isn't about playing sports, professionally or recreationally. I put that sports industry in a different category.

I'm just thinking and writing here about the sports industry that uses marketing and persuasion to get us to attend sports events and develop team loyalties, that uses pro athletes to endorse products, that employs thousands of writers, pundits and media content creators to produce stories about these teams and athletes and dramatize the competition.

Every college and university has established or is in the midst of launching some type of sports marketing, sports communication and/or sports media program. These are hugely popular with students, who dream of being hosts on ESPN sports talk shows or spending their days dreaming up ways to get fans in seats.

I see several potentially harmful consequences of all the emphasis on sports consumption.

1. If you are watching other people play sports you are probably sitting, sometimes standing, but mostly sitting. You are probably eating at some point. Sitting and eating too much typically lead to bad outcomes. Exhibit A: American's obesity problem.

2. Although sports marketing and media production are hot career paths right now, I suspect the universities are turning out way more graduates for this industry than it can absorb. On the plus side, good communication skills are transferable across industries. But video editing is something that can be easily outsourced, and video camera operators can be (and are being) replaced by robotics and technology like the GoPro. And the hosts of the big shows: These spots are usually reserved for the former pro athletes, the retired coaches. It's rare for a sports journalist to rise through the ranks to a coveted anchor slot with first-class travel, a cushy dressing room, and assistants to do all the actual hard work that takes place 24/7 in the world of sports media.

3. Related to, but distinct from, #1 above: Time spent watching other people do things (whether its sports, “reality” tv or movies) is usually time that you aren't doing something to improve your own life. I'm not suggesting that we/you/I should never watch TV, never go to a movie or play, or never attend a sporting event. In fact, we can learn from watching other people do things. But moderation is the key.

And it seems that more than a few people have moved from the occasional spectator to the all-in, all-consumption sports-obsessed fanatic. There is a difference between being a fan and being a fanatic, even though fan is simply a truncation of the word fanatic.

So anyway, those are just some musings that passed through my head as I walked through my neighborhood. And when I sat down last night to peruse my social media streams and found them filled with tweets and status updates from friends and relatives ranting about a bad call or venting frustrations (to put it mildly), I closed the screen to my laptop and picked up a book.

Well, a Kindle with a screen to be precise, but I spent a few hours reading. Still somewhat passive but when I closed the flap on the Kindle cover and turned off the light I didn't feel as if I'd thrown away a piece of my life.





5 Recent TED Talks To Spark 2014

These 5 TEDx talks don't have the views as some of their more popular counterparts, probably because they've been released in the months since Fall 2012.

Each of these speakers offers specific tips and action steps for changing your life in positive ways.

The first three focus on selflessness and gratitude, while Priya Parker offers advice on overcoming fear and inertia to move forward in pursuit of a life where you thrive. Paul Wood shares guidance for breaking free of mental prisons. And I threw in a bonus video from Sean Aiken who reminds us to seek and find the thing that makes us feel alive.

Polly Young-Eisendrath TEDxMiddlebury

“Getting Free of Self-Importance is the Key to Happiness”

Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath points out that “we are not the fixers or fashioners of our lives.” After defining self-importance and happiness, Dr. Young-Eisendrath talks about four of the self-conscious emotions (shame, guilt, envy and jealousy) that cause so many of us to choose self-importance over the spirit of oneness that yields the greatest happiness.

This TEDx talk is a great companion to those by Dr. Brene Brown.

Katia Sol TEDxMission

“The Transformative Power of Gratitude”

Dr. Katia Sol works with the Ecology of Leadership Program at the Regenerative Design Institute in California. The Ecology of Leadership Program asks:

What are the shifts that need to happen on an inner level that then will create the possibility for transformation on an outer level that we really want to see in our lives, in our communities and in our world.”

Katia shares these reasons about why gratitude is special:

It's an affirmation of life itself.

Turns our focus from the negative to the positive.

Opportunity for reframing — new lense on life.

Connects us to something greater than ourselves, cultivates a sense of wonder and awe.

[Tweet “Gratitude helps us recreate our communities from the inside out. Katia Sol”]

Jane Ransom TEDxChennai

“Discover The Three Keys of Gratitude to Unlock Your Happiest Life”

Jane Ransom also focuses on the power of the gratitude to transform our lives. Her work grows out of the science of neuroplasticity which centers on research that studies our capacity to reprogram our brains by changing what we focus on.

There's a minor audio glitch between approximately 12:25 until 14:15, but it's corrected. You can still hear Jane Ransom easily, but the audio level is much lower during that 2 minute interval.

[Tweet “”When you change yourself you change the world” – Jane Ransom”]

Priya Parker TEDxUHasselt

“How to Quit Your Life and Reboot”

Priya offers 7 techniques to help you overcome fear, quit your uninspired life and reboot. In her consulting and research work through her firm Thrive Labs, Priya has found that fear is the emotion that drives choices to remain in prestigious but unsatisfying professional careers.

The driving question Thrive Labs helps individuals and organizations to ask and answer is this:

What is the biggest need in the world that I might have the passion and capacity to address.


Paul Wood TEDxAuckland

“What's Your Prison?”

Prisons can be mental, as well as physical. Paul offers 5 steps to freedom.

Bonus Short Talk

Sean Aiken TEDxVancouver

“What Makes You Come Alive?”

Sean Aiken is well-known for his One-Week Job Project where he set out to work a different job each week for 52-weeks to find his passion. Although his approach isn't useful for most of us, his message about the work-consciousness revolution that's now underway is an important one.