Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tranformation and Health

I had read a book awhile back called "Outwitting the Devil", by Napoleon Hill. He wrote is best known for writing the book "Think and Grow Rich".  What's very interesting is that "Outwitting the Devil" was written around the time of the Great Depression, but was only released a few years ago. For many years the manuscript was held and not printed for fear of the literary scrutiny it would bring.

The topic I'm addressing today is our health as it relates to "transformation". This isn't a rant about weight loss or exercise, but it is more about recognizing that how we treat our bodies has an impact on our overall performance in life. Interestingly, Napoleon Hill addresses this very topic in Outwitting the Devil.  He talks about how eating sugary foods and over-indulging, creates "foggy thinking" which really is the devil at work in destroying our focus. Napoleon Hill recommended eating whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

What I found shocking is that this book was originally written in the 1920's. This was long before commercialized, packaged foods hit the stands. It was prior to fast food, fad diets, artificial sweeteners, and gluten-rich foods!  There was no such thing as "organic" because everything was home-grown, local produce! In the 1920's when Napoleon Hill wrote Outwitting the Devil, he was recommending that we do the same thing that countless experts are making a good living coaching and coaxing people to do today...EAT HEALTHY!

I was going to quote some passages from the book because they are so compelling, but I couldn't find my copy of the book! (must have loaned it to someone).  So, instead I googled what the bible says about eating. Oh my goodness! A lot came up!

The bible says "your body is a temple". And that you should treat it as such. Here are a few of my favorites that came up:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holly Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Genesis 1:29
And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
1 Corinthians 9:27
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Proverbs 25:27
It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory.
3 John 1:2
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

My favorite was that last one. Good health goes well with your soul! Where am I going with all of this? Here's the deal, you may have a goal of tranforming your health. That may be your primary focus for this 63-day adventure. It may be about losing weight, gaining strength, training to run a race.  Transformation of health was surely the focus for my family when my daughter was going through her 63-day healing journey.

On the other hand, your primary 63-day goal may have nothing to do with health. It may be about career or business success or financial transformation or relationships. The point I want to make is that to have transformation in other areas of your life, you must also incorporate goals around how you're treating your body.  Your body needs to be able to support you in achieving your goals. You need to be clear of mind, focused, and well-rested.

Self-admission...for me this means drinking less coffee (it's too acidic), drinking less wine (one glass rule never works for me), getting more sleep (I'd better finish writing this), and exercise, yoga, or meditation. I'll admit, I started a 5-day meditation challenge on Sunday and have done 1 out of the 4 days so far!

Love and Prayers,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Value and Use of Time

Another part of transformation is related to time. It takes time to transform. A butterfly doesn't launch from worm to flight overnight. Anything worth having takes time. One can't decide to lose 50 pounds and wake up the next morning and have the weight gone. Building wealth takes time. Healing takes time. Building relationships takes time. Everything worthwhile requires some measure of time.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and how you chose to spend those 24 hours of your day is also a factor in terms of your individual outcomes. Are you choosing to watch TV, play video games, read Facebook for hours? Or are you doing something, "anything" that will move you toward the transformations you want to realize in your life. Are you exercising? Are you working on improving those relationships? Are you reading and building knowledge to improve your situation? Are you spending quality time with your children or husband? Repeatedly people say things like "if only there were more hours in the day". Yet, how would you chose to spend them if you had them? Really?

I've personally been looking at how I use my time more wisely, how I can work smarter instead of harder. Plan my day better. Feel less hurried and stressed. I've been reading a book called "The 4-Hour Work Week". There are some really interesting concepts about how to reduce interruptions, distractions, and "busy work". After all, it's easy to feel really, really "busy", but not actually be accomplishing anything meaningful. The author suggested asking yourself the question, "Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?". That would be called procrastination. (I now have that phrase on a sticky note on my computer to keep me focused!)

The book also focused on being effective in your use of time rather than being efficient.
"Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness--lazy thinking and indiscriminate action...Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective--doing less--is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest...It's easy to get caught in a flood of minutiae, and the key to not feeling rushed is remembering that lack of time is actually lack of priorities."

Now, I must say reading the above statements was a huge point of awareness for me. I can't tell you how many times I think (and say out loud). "I feel overwhelmed." In fact, I think as a mother and entrepreneur there is a conditioning that happens that tells us we should feel this way. I hear this from many other women as well. We tend to share with one another the endless lists of activities, responsibilities, commitments, projects, chores, and responsibilities all in the name of validating why we deserve to feel overwhelmed. I decided I need to think about how I'm aligning my priorities for how I spend my day and consider how to make some simple changes so I can stop feeling overwhelmed.

Probably the most profound of my most recent realizations about time, is something a friend suggested to me. It was the notion that I need to spend time in intentional action, doing the things that will move me toward my goal. Then give it up to faith and trust God to do the rest. Since I like to be "in control", I've had to remind myself of other instances in my life where I wasn't in control, and I turned it over to God. And God did not fail me.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9

Love and Prayers,

Monday, July 29, 2013

Decide and then Look Forward

Transformation starts with deciding on a goal, an outcome, a desired result and setting your sites on achieving it "no matter what". It take resilience, stamina, discipline, courage, and a burning desire. It means putting your blinders on and only looking forward. A caterpillar doesn't sit and ponder whether it needs to create a cocoon in order to morph into a butterfly. It just knows, and does it.

From Joel Osteen:

The Apostle Paul was full of fire and brought this attitude into his everyday life: I'm forgetting what lies behind, and I'm pressing forward (Philipians 3:13)....Shake off the disappointments and say to yourself, "I'm throwing away my rear view mirror. I'm not looking back anymore at the mistreatment or the times when I got the short end of the stick...I'm looking straight ahead. I'm pressing forward, knowing God has good things in store for me."

Joel Osteen continues:
Nobody can put god's fire in your soul. I can encourage you. Your friends can cheer you on. but it's not going to do any good until you put your foot down and make a decision to move forward with God.
That's right. I've been getting a lot of advice lately about "just making a decision" and then committing yourself fully to doing it! This can be relevant in many aspects of your life. The truth of the matter is that whatever you are trying to achieve, you can't get there by having one foot in and one foot out. You have to be fully committed. You have to "decide".

How badly do you want it? What are you willing to sacrifice without it? What are you willing to live with if you don't achieve the goal? Are you willing to stay a caterpillar the rest of your life? Do you want to be forever trapped in the dark cocoon? Or do you want to break free and spread your beautiful butterfly wings and fly?

As I think back to our daughter's healing journey, we had one single burning desire on our minds. That was to take our little girl home as the beautiful walking, talking girl we knew. And we decided we could settle for nothing less.  Would we have accepted less it were God's will, of course. But we didn't think about settling we just "expected the miracles would come". And they did.

You get to decide! And then go forward fully in faith!

Love and Prayers,

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Transformation of Thoughts

After visiting the rehabilitation hospital a couple days ago, I was reminiscing about the time we spent there. I was thinking about the impossible and how it became possible. In my book Miracle of Belief, I share many of the coping strategies we used to help our daughter heal and to get through that time in our lives. I realized that while our daughter went through a transformation of healing, our family went through a transformation as well.

This 63-day blog about Faith, Love, and Time is based on the fundamental principles we followed during that time of transformation.  However, the real goal is to discover ways that we can all achieve transformation in our daily lives.  I believe we all want something different in our lives than what currently exists. Whether that is improved relationships, finances, health, a better job, uncovering purpose or discovering our passion. Everyone is seeking "something". We are wired that way.  What are you seeking? This blog is about discovering the ingredients to achieve what you really want.  It's about committing to 63 days of discovery and transformation.

I decided to focus the daily blogs for this next week on "Transformation".  I'm going to break it down, based on the principles I wrote about in Miracle of Belief. And it starts with your thoughts. What do you spend the majority of your time thinking about? Is it your problems? What you don't want? Or what you feel your life lacks? The law of attraction states that what you think about and focus your energy is exactly what you're going to get.

I propose we focus on positive thought...on the "possibilities".

This is exactly what we did to encourage our daughter's healing, and to help ourselves cope. We wore rubber bands on our wrists and snapped them when we had negative thoughts. We hung up happy pictures and surrounded ourselves with inspiring music, books, and people that were positive thinkers.

Don't get me wrong, we had some really deep, dark, scary thoughts. And at times, they were pretty hard to chase away. But we prayed and read and forced ourselves to believe and "Expect a Miracle".  Maybe for you it's mountain of debt or a failing marriage or a teenage child that's struggling. Whatever it is I guarantee if you continue to focus on the problem or what you "don't want", you will continue to bring that negative energy into your life.

One strategy I've used it to actually sit down and write out all the negative, worse case thoughts that are flooding my mind. Then I make a new sheet and write a different statement to offset every single one of the negative statements. Rip up the old sheet, shred it, burn it. Whatever you need to do. Post the new sheet somewhere that you can visually see it and read it throughout your day.

Change your thoughts and you change your world!

Love and Prayers,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Give it a Rest

My girls are spending a weekend at the farm with Grandma. I had originally planned to get a lot of work done with the house being quiet. I expected that my husband and I would do something fun that we don't normally do and go out on the town! And instead, I've come down with some sort of bug and I've been rather ill all day.  At first I was feeling guilty that I wasn't getting my work projects done. Ok, had to let go of that. Then I was feeling disappointed that we weren't going out to do something fun. Ok, had to let go of that. It's such a beautiful day. I'm missing out on enjoying it.

Yes it is a beautiful day! And even though I'm feeling under the weather, I realized some quiet, peaceful time at home is probably just what I needed. Sometimes when you are in go-go-go-mode, your body eventually shuts down. It's the signal, that you just need to slow it down. Give it a rest. I had been looking forward to a "quiet" weekend, and that is exactly what I'm getting!
"...for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his."
Hebrews 4:10

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Love and Prayers,

Visiting the Past

Dealing with the past can produce positive memories and emotions and it can produce negative ones. Here's a passage from my Joel Osteen "Your Best Life" Devotional book that I thought was really powerful:
"Too many people nowadays are living with a victim mentality. They are so focused on what they've been through, complaining about how unfair it was, they don't realize they are dragging the pains of the past into the present. It's almost as though they get up each day and fill a big wheelbarrow with junk from the past and bring it into the new day.  Let go of that stuff! Your past does not have to poison your future. Just because you've been through some hurt and pain, or perhaps one or more of your dreams have been shattered, that doesn't mean God doesn't have another plan. God still has a bright future in store for you."
It's interesting what you recall when you visit a place from your past. I had the opportunity to visit Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital with my daughters. Five years ago, my daughter, Ashley spent a total of 12 weeks of intense rehabilitation at Madonna, of which 6 weeks were in patient. She had just turned 7 at the time, and Nicole was only 3 years old. It became our "home away from home" for a brief time. This visit was the first time for the girls to walk back through the doors of Madonna since Ashley's healing there. I was worried about how Ashley would react. The smile in this picture says it all.

There are a lot of dark, scary moments that Ashley recalls from her medical journey. While, the memories she has of Madonna are few, those she has are positive. She remembered the cafeteria and stitting outside in the courtyard. She remembered the large fish aquarium. She remembered a hallway where she rode on a therapy bike. Amazingly, what she remembered the most was the water therapy. It's no surprise that she loves to swim! Visiting the therapy pool and feeling the warm water and seeing the mural on the wall, it's no wonder this was the "happy place" for her during her rehabilitation. We can credit much of her ability to learn to walk again to the therapy that took place in this pool.

Our day visiting Madonna got me thinking. Wouldn't it be nice if we could erase all the bad memories and experiences in our life and just hang onto the good ones! And we can! Because each day is a new day, and God has a bright future in store for us.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)." Ephesians 5:8-9

Love and Prayers,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reap What You Sow

One of the great things I've noticed about embarking on this 63 day journey of Faith, Love and Time is the awareness that is created. I pay attention and see signs that I think I would otherwise miss. And I find that interesting things happen.

For instance, in the past two days I have had no less than six messages in different media and sources delivered to me about the notion of "reaping what you sow". It started yesterday when I was watching a "Mentorship Moment" with Keith Kochner on one of my favorite online communities, Bob Harrison was a guest speaker and he was talking about the bible and this very concept. I read my morning devotions and this was the topic again. And it continued on in several other places yesterday. The theme of "reaping what you sow" and that you don't get anything without first giving. It just kept popping up all day. And then a friend sent me an email about a book called "How to Be Like Jesus" which talked about planting seeds, caring for those seeds, and reaping a plentiful harvest. I almost wrote yesterday's blog about it because it seemed like a recurring theme, but I didn't.

And so, it showed up again today!  Of course! This MUST be a message I really needed to hear! First thing this morning, there it was again, and a couple more times today...this notion of planting seeds and reaping a plentiful harvest.  But the message kept coming very clear, that the seeds must first be planted. And this is where faith enters the picture!

How often do we struggle and then give up because we aren't seeing the results we expected? One of the articles I read today made an interesting point:
God has the tough end of the deal. What if instead of planting the seed you had to make the tree? That would keep you up late at night, trying to figure that one out.

And the bible says...sow and reap!

Isaiah 37:30 "This will be the sign for you. O Hezekiah: "This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
And so what areas of your life are you expecting results that you're not getting? In your work? Your marriage? Your finances? Your friendships? Your health? I can check several of those boxes. 

I "heard" the message today! And so it's time to get busy planting some seeds! Get busy giving more and expecting less in return!

Love and Prayers,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Life Doesn't Need to Be Hard

At a young age, my life motto became "Adversity is the source of my strength." In fact for many years I had a fortune cookie with this expression taped to my keyboard on my laptop computer. I saw it everyday and it became embedded in my mind. I have prided myself on being able to overcome adversity and draw upon inner strength. It also led me to independence on myself at times in my life, instead of dependence on God.

It has only been recently that I discovered that perhaps that motto was no longer serving me. Perhaps I had created an environment where I was constantly searching for adversity in order to feel strong, worthy, and rewarded.  Do you know anyone who is constantly having drama? One bad situation after another? Is it possible that sometimes we are bringing those circumstances on ourselves based on the energy we are creating?

Today, I'm sharing some passages from a little book called The Power, by Rhonda Byrne, who is also the author of The Secret. In the event that you've convinced yourself, like I sometimes do, that life is hard or that accomplishing a goal seems impossible, this is for you (and for me)...

You were not born to struggle. You were not born to live a life where the moments of joy are few and far between. You were not born to toil in your work five days a week, with fleeting moments of happiness on weekends. You were not born to live with limited energy, feeling exhausted at the end of each day. You were not born to worry or be afraid. You were not born to suffer. What would be the point of your life? You are meant to experience life to its fullest and have everything you want and, at the same time, be filled with joy, health, vitality, excitement, and love, because that is an amazing life!

And now here's something very powerful to think about!

The life of your dreams, everything you would love to be, do, have, has always been closer to you than you knew, because the power to everything you want is inside you!
Yes, YOU have the power to do whatever it is you want to accomplish!

Love and Prayers


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Letting Perfection Go

Yesterday's blog was about perfection in a positive way, in how God perceives us as being "perfectly made". Today I'm going to talk about the other extreme of perfectionism. This is something with which I struggle. And I know many others that do as well.

Sometimes it's about waiting for the perfect timing or circumstances, which may never come. Waiting for the perfect timing to start a project, make a call, leave a job, start a business, take a risk, have a baby, get married.  Whatever the situation might be for you. We often want the circumstances to be "just right". Other times it's about having perfectionism in a project. Or it may be expecting perfection from our kids, husbands, colleagues, bosses, friends.

We expect a lot! I also thing it comes back (again) to fear and procrastination. We are fearful that the outcome might be judged or criticized or might not work, instead of accepting some failures along the way and adjusting as we go.

I remember waiting to start this blog because I wanted the timing and circumstances to be "just right". I wanted it to be 63 days and so I rationalized that if I started it on this day, it would end on that day, and what would that mean in terms of dates on the calendar and goals I wanted to achieve. And then there was a holiday, so best not start then. And eventually I just had to start it! And so I did! It was my birthday, and that seemed somehow appropriate to "birth" a new project! So, I made it "perfect" in my mind. The truth is, I could have picked any day and it would have started all the same. And the truth is, I've enjoyed this blog every day since I started it! So, I ask myself, what was I waiting for?

Perfectionism leads us to waiting. Sometimes we wait too long and then the timing feels wrong, so we give up or we settle. I am proud to say that I kicked myself out of one of my perfectionist habits today. I had been contemplating a project of rewriting a series of training documents. I discovered that another colleague had already put a considerable amount of effort into a similar project. She was willing to share her training platform with me. I must say I resisted the offer at first, thinking that it wasn't "exactly" what I wanted and that I really needed to develop my own from scratch. Today, I asked myself "why". What "really" was I going to accomplish by doing that. So instead of spending 30+ hours of effort trying to come up with the "perfect" program, I adopted my friends program, accepting that I may need to make some minor compromises in what I would have otherwise produced myself. That was a 30 second decision, and the project was complete! And I'm grateful to my friend for her willingness to share her efforts with me.

So, I'm just going to offer up that if "perfectionism" is causing you to "stall" in some areas of your life or you are "waiting" for the perfect circumstances to arise, stop! Stop waiting! Stop procrastinating. Start "doing"! The perfect time is NOW!

And now I'm going to take some of my own advice and start doing some "doing"!!

Love and Prayers,

Monday, July 22, 2013

Perfectly, Fearfully, Wonderfully Made

As I was driving home from meeting my girlfriend on Saturday, I was listening to the song "Perfect" by Pink. I really like this song as it's upbeat, a good song to jam to in the car! Since I was in that mode of self-evaluation after hashing through all sorts of life lessons and topics with my friend, I really listened to the words.  So, you might think of this blog entry as the Girlfriend blog Part 2.
The song starts out like this...
Made a wrong turn, Once or twiceDug my way out, Blood and fireBad decisions, That's alrightWelcome to my silly life
We all make mistakes. We all have our own silly life. The best part about making mistakes and experiencing failure, is that we can learn from it and we grow from it. The best part about true friendship is that there is no judgement. I thought about how we are typically much harder on ourselves than anyone else. The song continues...

Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstoodMiss "no way, it's all good", It didn't slow me downMistaken, Always second guessingUnder estimated, Look, I'm still around
As I listened more I thought about how much we want to feel understood, validated, appreciated for who we are.

Pretty, pretty pleaseDon't you ever, ever feelLike you're less than perfect.Pretty, pretty pleaseIf you ever, ever feelLike you're nothingYou are perfect to me.
So when I listened to the above lyrics, I thought how this could typically be what a friend or loved one might say to you when they really, really believe in you and you're being hard on yourself. Now this may seem rather absurd, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and take it a step further. I'm going to connect this part of the Pink lyrics to a bible passage. Yes, that's right! Remember, I'm on this 63-day quest for re-igniting my faith. So I'm searching for spiritual meaning in everyday life and finding connections in rather unusual places! I thought about how the above lyrics could also be God speaking to you. Now isn't that crazy to think--you're getting a message from God through the musical talents of Pink!  Well, here's the bible passage that made me think of this:
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27.  Since the bible says God created us in his own image, of course we are perfect! Right?! We are perfect in the eyes of God.
The song goes on with more self-criticism.

You're so mean,When you talk, About yourself, You were wrong.Change the voices, In your headMake them like you Instead.

So complicated,Look happy, You'll make it!Filled with so much hatredSuch a tired game.It's enough, I've done all I can think ofChased down all my demons, I've seen you do the same.

Again, I thought of how it tied to a bible passage a friend just sent me the same morning! "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

The whole world stares so I swallow the fear,The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer. So cool in line and we try, try, try,But we try too hard, it's a waste of my time.Done looking for the critics, cause they're everywhereThey don't like my jeans, they don't get my hairWe change ourselves and we do it all the timeWhy do we do that? Why do I do that?

Isn't it true that we criticize ourselves because the world tries to condition us that we are not worthy, we are not perfect. And my rebuttal to that would be the following passage..."Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

So there you have it! The next time you hear this song, you'll think of it in a whole new inspiring way!  You are perfectly, fearfully, wonderfully made! And God has your back!

Love and Prayers,

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Girlfriends Keep You Strong

I didn't have a sister, and to be honest I didn't have a lot of close girlfriends when I was younger. I had a boyfriend in high school (still married to him!) When I was in college, I was so focused on working and studying and rushing to get out into the "real world" that I didn't spend as much time on friendships.

Over the years, I've come to cherish my friendships. I've had friends come to my rescue from far away places. My girlfriends encourage me and believe in me more than I sometimes do myself.  I now realize that it's not about the number of friends you have in Facebook or your cell phone. It's really about having "quality" friendships that you can count on.

I wanted to write about this today, because I spent a few hours "chatting" with a good friend last night. We've know each other for more than 20 years. We've worked together, supported each other through having babies, and shared many joyful moments. We can talk about careers and our hopes and dreams. We can discuss our challenges and fears about raising a family (particularly the worries of raising young girls who will soon become young women). We can talk about marriage and how much we wish we could understand our husbands better. We can talk about anything. Whether it's sharing a few laughs over a martini or having a shoulder to cry on, a true friend is always there when you need her!

One of my favorite quotes is: "Friends are like stars. You can't always see them, but you know they are always there."

This is so true. True friends help us to become stronger and better than we would be otherwise. They support us on our journey through life. I've always been a believer that God intended for us to be on this planet to encourage and support each other, not to weather the storms alone.

As part of the quest for 63 days of faith, love, and time, I would suggest spending time with the friends that will believe in you and strengthen your faith, and love you for who you are and who you will become.

Love and Prayers,

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Where Does Money Fit?

I was having a conversation with a friend this morning about money. We were discussing whether money was a part of 63 Days of Faith, Love, and Time. Will you have more faith, love and time in your life if you have more money? Or does money come as a result of faith, love and time?

There are those that believe that money is the "root of all evil". Or is it the path to happiness? In my own life I've had periods of time where money was quite abundant, and I've had other periods of time where it wasn't. I can speak from experience that my happiness "quotient" did not increase or decrease based on the flow of money.

Money is a source of frustration, fear, greed, worry, and conflict for many people. In our current economy, we are conditioned to believe that there is never enough. Money is "lacking". That we should always have "more". And what if we had more? Would we be more secure? Would we be happier? What would we do with it? Would we give more away to help those in need? Or would we buy more "stuff" and spend it on ourselves? I'm not suggesting that one is more wrong or more right than the other, but I'm suggesting that understanding the reason behind the quest for more money can be worth thinking about.

Ecclesiastes 5:10
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.

A favorite public speaker and mentor of mine, Rita Davenport, always made the statement that "Money isn't everything, but it's right up there with oxygen."  She would then say, "Be more, have more, learn more, and earn more so you can share more." And she would add, "If money will fix it, it's not a problem."

I was thinking more about this today and recalling my experience a year ago when I joined a mission trip to Guatemala. It was a humbling experience to see children living in orphanages who had never worn a pair of shoes or clothing that wasn't previously worn by someone else. That had no family to love them. They were more starved for attention and hugs than any material possession we could have provided. I visited people in the meager village homes that cooked outdoors and had no running water. The children were gracious and kind and the people were happy and filled with faith and gratitude. I realized that as Americans we live better than 80% of the world. But then how do you define "better"?

I also came across an interesting article about money and our beliefs. It talked about how beliefs about money can become self-fulfilling: either "expanding" or "limiting" us. It suggested that one think about the word "money" and then write down the words that come to mind. Is it a feeling of "I can" or "I can't".  It's a matter of whether you are thinking in terms of "shortage" or in terms of "abundance". I'm a big believer in the "law of attraction" and that what "you think about, you bring about" (another Ritasim!). Our lives are guided by our beliefs. So we should make sure our attitudes and beliefs about money enhance, not diminish, what is really important to us.
Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
In terms of my views about money, I believe they are still a "work in progress". I believe over these past few years, God has been at work changing my heart.  My quest for money stems from a need to provide for my family, but it's also about being able to make a difference and leave a legacy. After all, I don't know that I've ever seen a hearse pulling a UHaul (one final "Ritaism").

Love and Prayers,

Friday, July 19, 2013

De-clutter and Simplify Your Life!

I was up early today, with my daily routine of reading and praying.  I woke up thinking I needed to "de-clutter" and ironically I came across an article this morning during my reading that was about just that!  It was a life coach talking about how our minds become cluttered. She was so bold as to make this statement:
"Clutter accumulates because of negative and self-defeating theories you hold about yourself that you've come to believe are true." ~ Laurie Gerber
Ouch! That's pretty harsh. She frames "clutter" as broadly as worrying, arguing, gossiping, overscheduling, overeating, debt, being overwhelmed by paperwork, or feeling like a victim and having pity parties for yourself.

So, today I'm "de-cluttering"!!!  I find that when I'm disorganized and my environment feels chaotic, I get distracted more easily!  With all the opportunities with my charity, Heart Heroes and the book and all the projects going on, my office has been a disaster. Instead of using file cabinets & folders I have piles of paper and projects in bags tucked under my desk.  

This is not "me"!!!.................

Additionally, I have a mountain of mail and paperwork sitting in the kitchen. And a mountain of clothes piled in the basement that need to go to consignment store and then Goodwill! And I have some things set aside to advertise and sell.  These things have all been on my "procrastination" list and weighing on my mind. Again, this is not "me"! I am organized!

I decided to take today to get reorganized and do these projects and clear some clutter physically and mentally!!!  This could be perceived as resistance or procrastination. But honestly, it feels good.  And I think it's the "clearing and cutting" I need to do to free my mind. I've decided I need to set the "reset" button. There's 3 weeks left of summer before school starts. I want to be productive and also do some fun things with the girls the next 3 weeks. So I'm going to set myself up for some success! 

This morning I tackled my office and everything is now in drawers! I also did some clearing and cutting of "old" piles of paper stacked in my office. This afternoon I'm tackling the stack in the kitchen and loading the back of my car with the clothes to drop off tomorrow!

Ah....organization! A "happy place"!

And finally….reset button on eating healthy, sleep, exercise!  ...That comes next week!

Laurie Gerber also says that we tolerate clutter in our lives because it distracts us from the important things and possibilities that scare us more. We unconsciously create and hold on to life clutter as a barrier to facing our bigger fears. It becomes a justification for why we can't take on new challenges and evolutions -- because, look we are already overwhelmed.  She says lies and lack of communication are what really clutter up a person's life. Honesty allows us to learn who we really are, and that knowledge motivates us to change our lives. So know your truth, and tell it. Honesty is at the root of all personal change.

I love the "cleansing feeling" of de-cluttering! My morning Joel Osteen devotions have recently talked about "being a crystal clear stream". and that's the best way to describe the outcome of the hard work of de-cluttering one's life!

Love and Prayers,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cherish Your Loved Ones

One more year. That's the news I heard more year. I accompanied my 12-year old daughter to her cardiology checkup. As a child born with a congenital heart defect and living with an implanted heart valve, this is at minimum an annual event. She had her cardiac MRI on Monday, and today was the day to get the results from the cardiologist. She will eventually need surgery or heart cath to replace the valve.

We sat in the car outside the clinic and prayed together. We asked God to "give us one more year". That was the desired outcome. "Come back in a year."  Fortunately, after a bit of worrying and waiting, that was the answer we got! Our prayers were answered!

Today was yet another reminder of the absolute most important thing we are here on this planet to do. It's to love and cherish the people in your life. The following quote is from my book, Miracle of Belief.

I wrote that passage during a time in our journey that we did not know if our daughter would recover and be well again. It's in those moments that you just want to kick yourself for not paying attention and cherishing the times that you had.

Today's events also reminded me to think with greater clarity about the goals I've set for myself and for my family. I asked myself, where do I see myself one year from now. If Ashley needs that valve replaced one year from now, what do I need to do to prepare our family. What do I need to do to prepare myself to be able to be fully present for her when that time comes.  And I realized it starts with being present NOW!

Cherish your loved ones and the moments you have. You may be creating memories that you will cherish forever.
"Love cures people, the ones who receive love and the ones who give it, too."~ Karl A. Menninger

Love and Prayers,

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Power of Planning

Yesterday I discovered that I needed to align my "focus". Today I met the friend of Focus, named Planning! Ironically, I have always been a planner. I have always required that I do my research, layout the pros and cons, gather all the details, and create a "plan". I like the clarity and direction that a plan provides. I like checking things off a list! I've been know to make a list, just so I can go down the list and check off the items I've accomplished. Doesn't that feel good!

One of my favorite quotes and the one that has become sort of my "tagline" is as follows:

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also BELIEVE." ~Anatole France

This was the "defining" message for me when I decided to shift careers five years ago due to my daughter's unexpected illness.  When I broke it down, I felt it had all the key elements.  I knew how to BELIEVE.  My faith had never been stronger. Check! I wanted to venture down a new path and accomplish great purpose-filled things. Check! I was ready to take action. Check! I was ready to dream again. Check! And then to be practical, I needed a plan! Check!

I discovered this bible passage today...
Luke 14:28-33
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace...

It's basically saying that to accomplish anything great, you need a plan! Of course. That makes sense. Having a "business plan" or blueprint for a project makes total sense and is necessary. However, it's also necessary to have a plan for the day at hand! Having a plan ensures that you accomplish the most important things in a day before attending to the less important tasks of the day. I'm usually rally good about this. However, I discovered that with the summer schedule and kids being out of school, I've allowed myself to drift. And as I drift along through the day, I become encumbered by distractions, feeling rather frazzled, and becoming frustrated with my lack of progress.

Today, I'm drawing attention to my current state of "drifting". Tomorrow, I will have a plan! It will consist of a list of "priorities" and time specifically allocated on a calendar to those activities. I will plan ahead for distractions and take it in stride! I will tell the "drifter" they are not welcome anymore!  After all, accomplishing something of greatness requires a plan!

I will then believe in the possibilities, and let God do the rest!

Love and Prayers,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


This morning when I woke up the first word that popped into my head was "focus". I'm not sure if I was dreaming about it? Maybe it was God's message to me that I needed to work on that area. Interestingly as the day went on I had several other messages about "focus" that came popping up!

In my morning reading, I read about how God has good things in store. "He'll make your wrongs right. Start focusing on your possibilities. Let hope fill your heart."  There was that word "focus."

I popped into Facebook this morning. A friend had posted this quote:
"To conquer frustration, one must intensely FOCUS on the outcome, not the obstacles." TF Hodge
There was that word "Focus" again. I went about my day and kept thinking about this. I've had a lot of exciting things happen in my world lately. And there there are some challenging things going on as well. A mentor recently suggested to me that I was a little in A.D.D. mode. She was right. I've been juggling a lot. And with the kids out of school, it's hard to ever really focus on one single thing at one time. While I'm working on a project or tending to a task, part of me is always thinking about what they are doing in the other room or if I need to check in with them at the neighbor's house.

And then this quote from a favorite author and motivational speaker, Shad Helmstetter,  rolled across my screen:
"Today I have focus. When I want to reach a goal, I practice the habit of putting all of my attention and energy on one thing at a time. Because I have focus, my thinking is sharp, I see my goal clearly, I stay on target, I take action, and I get it done!" 
Well, yes, of course that makes total sense. Focus on one thing at a time. I have always prided myself on being a great "multi-tasker". In fact I've been known to tell people that I feel I'm at my best when I'm overloaded and have a lot going on! Or at least I used to tell myself that!

And then the next quote rolls across my screen from Shad:

"While everyone around you is spending every day 'multitasking' on everything, try 'focusing' intently on just one thing at a time--without multitasking. At the end of the week, see who has gotten more done, has done a better job, and has more peace of mind."

Now I'm thinking to myself, Wow, Shad must be reading my mind! It became clear to me that these subtle messages prodding me to "focus" were more than just coincidences and I really need to clear my mind and pay attention to this message. I began to think about the pledge I had made in January. I had read a really cool little book about picking "One Word" as your theme for the year that would sum up all your goals into one really simple word. My word I chose was "focus". This is how I defined the outcomes I wanted to get from "focus" as a theme:

Family:  FOCUS on Being Present
Others: FOCUS on Others more than myself
Connections: FOCUS on helping others connect with their dreams
Utopia: FOCUS on happiness through health and spirituality
Sponsoring: FOCUS on sponsoring (which is related to business growth)

Hmm, I contemplated this list. I thought about what I have focused my time and energy on that has produced results. Amazingly, I realized that the areas of my life that I really applied diligent focus have produced "amazing" results. And I am passionately connected to everything I am doing (mostly). However, I also realized there have been some areas of my life that I really want to see improve, that I have not been doing my best to apply "focus". I started to ask myself why? I realized that some of it comes down to priority and how I'm choosing to spend my time. Some of it is about timing and what has demanded my attention. And then could it again be that there are some hidden doubts causing some procrastination to set in? And then there was this from my friend, Shad:

"The moment I begin to doubt, I think about the best outcome. The moment I fear, I feel the real strength I have within me. And the moment I think I'm not enough, I remember that with my faith and my undying belief, I am greater than anything that could come against me." 

This tied it all together! Starting with my friends post about conquering frustration by focusing on the desired outcome and now Shad's message about thinking about the best outcome and most importantly drawing upon "faith".

One thing at a time...think about the best outcome...acknowledge the strength within...with faith I am greater than any obstacle.

Love and Prayers,

Monday, July 15, 2013

God Sees Right Through You

For some reason the word "transparency" just kept coming to mind today.

I did my morning reading and discovered this poem:

To know someone deeply
is like hearing the moon through the ocean
or having a hawk lay bright leaves at your feet.
It seems impossible, even while it happens.

Today was a challenging day. My 12-year old daughter had a cardiac MRI. Due to severe anxiety, she requires general anesthesia just to get pictures of her heart for the cardiologist to review.  She was "terrified" to say the least, due to an extensive history of not-so-pleasant medical memories. She sent me a text this morning from her grandmother's phone that said:

I just wish I could be a normal child and a child without pokes and MRI and no surgery. From AD
I saw that she was really struggling today with her own identity. There were a lot of "why me" questions. The more I tried to say things, the more she responded with "Mom, that's not helpful."  The honest to goodness truth is that I already knew that. As her mother, I just felt compelled to "do" something for her.

I found comfort in reaching out to the supportive friends that have children with similar heart conditions. They knew what I was specifically experiencing as a mother. They "knew" what I was experiencing. They had walked in my shoes. They understood. They "saw right through me". I was transparent and pure in sharing my emotions with them.

My reading this morning also brought me to this excerpt from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo:

Discovering who we are is like breaking a trail up the side of a mountain. Yet the deepest friendships begin when we look into the eye of another and discover that they have been there too.  It is always astonishing to me to find out that someone else sees what I have seen, and always humbling to learn that what I thought was my path and my mountain is everyone's.
I was reminding myself today all day that even though my daughter felt "alone" in her trek up the mountain, I knew that God was by our side. He knew our challenge, our pain. He knows more than anyone where we've been, the mountains we've already climbed. God could see right through us. We were transparent and pure.

God leads me to still waters that restore my spirit. ~Psalm 23
Love and Prayers,


Sunday, July 14, 2013

God Knows You Are Not An Imposter

I recently read the book Lean In, by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. It addresses women, work and the "will" to lead. I was reviewing some excerpts from the book today while preparing for a teleconference talk that I was giving this evening. There was a specific topic that struck me as being very relevant to what I've been writing about with the 63 Day Blog. I'm going to share a few of the excerpts and what it meant to me as it relates to "faith".

In the book, Sheryl addresses a very interesting issue for women, self-doubt. I don’t know if you’ll relate to this as much as I did…

She had attended a speech at Harvard while in college. The keynote speaker, Dr. Peggy McIntosh from the Wellesley Centers for Women, gave a talk called “Feeling Like a Fraud.” She explained that many people, but especially women, feel fraudulent when they are praised for their accomplishments. Instead of feeling worthy of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made. Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can’t seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are—impostors with limited skills or abilities.

It’s strange because I remember feeling this way when I first started out working in the male-dominated financial services industry. I wore my dark pin-striped pant suit to look like I fit in…but then discovered I really didn’t when I didn’t join the men smoking cigars at business dinners!

This phenomenon of capable people being plagued by self-doubt has a name—imposter syndrome. Both men and women are susceptible to the impostor syndrome, but women tend to experience it more intensely and be more limited by it.  Even the wildly successful writer and actress Tina Fey has admitted to these feelings. She once explained to a British newspaper, “The beauty of the imposter syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania, and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh god, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!” So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud. Seriously, I’ve just realized that almost everyone is a fraud, so I try not to feel too bad about it.”

For women, feeling like a fraud is a symptom of a greater problem.  We consistently underestimate ourselves. Multiple studies in multiple industries show that women often judge their own performance as worse than it actually is, while men judge their own performance as better than it actually is.

In a shocking way, I discovered when I read this part of the book that I could really relate to this concept of the imposter syndrome. I could relate to vacillating between the egomania of "I can do anything" to the feeling of "they are on to me, I'm a fraud!". Even as I write this article, I have a little of that feeling. "Who am I kidding, I'm not really a writer." Even though I just published a book that has gotten wonderful reviews!

What occurred to me today as I was pondering this phenomenon, is that we are not imposters in God's eyes. God knows our true heart. God knows our calling. God knows the path that is already determined for each of us. God has given each of us our own special set of skills, talents and abilities.

And so I realized that it comes down to being connected spiritually with a greater force and feeling in your heart that you are doing what you're supposed to be doing. Listen to that inner voice, because it just may be God trying to tell you that you are not an imposter at all, but that you are right where you belong.

Love and Prayers,

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Love Yourself First

For the first post regarding "Love" I decided to focus on "loving yourself". Because if you can't love yourself, how can you give fully of yourself to the family and friends that rely on you.  I got up early this morning to join my Saturday morning coffee group at 7am. I had some great conversation with some like-minded, amazing women.

Then I went to a Yoga class. I will admit fitness is an area that I've been neglecting lately. So I really had to push myself to go today.  At the end of the Yoga class as I was having my "zen" moment of relaxation, I realized that it felt really good! I went across the street to another coffee shop and sat outside for another hour catching up on email, phone calls, and some follow up business activities I have had on my list all week. I realized I felt "happy". It was only 11am, and already I had done several things for "me" to fill my cup!

The girls were sleeping in and spending some time with their dad this morning and I sneaked out of the house before anyone was even awake. I realized I didn't feel guilty for being away, because I was spending some necessary time to focus on my own mental and physical well-being. So that prompted the idea for today's posting.

As women we spend a lot of time taking care of our family and other people in our lives. If you're like me, you  feel guilty about not doing enough. It's easy to feel guilty when you're working that you're not spending time with your family. And guilty when you're spending time with your family that you're not giving of yourself enough to your career, or your church, or whatever other commitments you've made in your life. Yet how much time do you spend filling your own cup (without feeling guilty about it)?

A favorite author Rhonda Byrne (author of The Secret) writes this in her book The Power (which essentially is about "love"):

"You were not born to struggle. You were not born to live a life where the moments of joy are few and far between. You were not born to toil in your work five days a week, with fleeting moments of happiness on weekends. You were not born to live with limited energy, feeling exhausted at the end of each day. You were not born to worry or be afraid. What would be the point of your life? You are meant to experience life to its fullest and have everything you want and, at the same time, be filled with joy, health, vitality, excitement, and love, because that is an amazing life!"

And my favorite part:

"The life of your dreams, everything you would love to be, do, or have, has always been closer to you than you knew, because the power to everything you want is inside you!"

That is the truth! You can have everything you want in life! It begins with taking care of yourself, loving yourself. Do something today to "fill your cup" and encourage someone you care about to do something to "fill her cup". Love yourself first!

Love and Prayers,


Friday, July 12, 2013


Some people think of faith as "religion". I think of faith as believing in something that you cannot see.  Sometimes when you want something so bad, it's easy to forget that we never really accomplish anything on our own. I've always been a person that is very independent. From the time I was very young, I yearned to be self-sufficient. I wanted to "stand on my own two feet". I never wanted to rely on anybody else but me. I felt adversity was the source of my strength and I could get through any challenge in life, on my own.

I realized when my daughter was sick, I couldn't stand on my own two feet. In fact, I prayed and hoped that God would provide mercy and let my daughter once again "stand on her own two feet". And he did. However, the odds looked bleak. There was no "fix". There was no answer. There was no surgery or magic medicine. There was only hope and trust in the impossible miracles that only God can provide. 

The doubt and fear at times were consuming, yet we had a desired outcome and we focused on believing that our faith would lead us there.  That our prayers would be answered. And we learned that rather than being "self-sufficient", we need to rely on faith and be "God-sufficient".

I've been reading daily passages in a book called The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. He described faith beautifully as "outwaiting clouds". I love this passage:

"So faith, it seems, can be defined as the effort to believe in light when we're covered by clouds, and though it feels like the sun will never come again, the truth is it has never stopped burning its light. In fact, its heat and warmth is burning steadily, right now, on the far side of whatever cloud we are under."
I love this because I think it is so true. The possibilities of whatever you are praying for, yearning for, striving for are always there.  The possibilities never go away. But our doubts and fears pull a curtain of clouds over those possibilities and trick us into believing something is not possible.

My daughter is no longer sick. Our prayers were answered because of our strong faith. However, I find that there are now other goals in my life that I'm striving for, and guess what? I've reverted back to being "self-sufficient", expecting that I can do everything on my own. That's the reason for this 63 day journey of reading, praying, and writing. It's so that I can once again become "God-sufficient".

Matthew 19:26- "with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Love and Prayers,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pink Snake

I really did not intend to write about "fear" again. But I am compelled to write about this because I've been trying to rationalize something all day.

It's a little strange. Most people don't care for snakes. Some people are afraid of them. I have a phobia when it comes to snakes! I know it's a phobia because I scream, feel panic course through my body, and then I begin to hyper-ventilate.  Just thinking about or talking about snakes makes the hair on my body stand up.

So when I screamed in the middle of the night last night, sat up in bed and began to hyper-ventilate, you can imagine that my husband was a little bit concerned! When I was a kid I used to have dreams about snakes a lot, especially when I was sick and would have a fever. As an adult, it's something that's rarely happened. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had a dream about snakes. I'm actually a really sound sleeper and rarely wake up. I don't have dreams very often, or at least that I recall. But last night the dog was ill and kept waking us up, so I wasn't sleeping very soundly.

In my dream I was in bed and woke up to realize I had a snake wrapped around my chest. I cautiously croaked to Tim to get it off of me and so he yanked it away and tossed it to the floor. Immediately, it began trying to crawl back up.  I peered over the bedside and there it was hissing up at me. This is when I woke up, breathing heavily and feeling completely creeped out! I actually had to turn the light on and look over the edge of my bed to be sure it was just a dream.  Now, here's the really odd thing. The snake was pink! Yes, a very pretty pink color! So even though it was creepy, it was a nice snake? Maybe?

As you can imagine, I've been thinking all day what symbolism this dream might have! So I googled and found a Dream Moods website that gives opinions on various symbols and themes in your dream.

This is what is says about snakes in your dreams:
To see a snake or be bitten by one in your dream signifies hidden fears and worries that are threatening you. Your dream may be alerting you to something in your waking life that you are not aware of or that has not yet surfaced.   If you are afraid of the snake, then it signifies your fears of sex, intimacy or commitment. 
As a positive symbol, snakes represent healing, transformation, knowledge and wisdom. It is indicative of self-renewal and positive change.
Hmm. Well I've been really focused on building my faith, yet I was definitely afraid in the dream. I can't say I fear sex or intimacy. So does it have something to do with commitment? Hmm, maybe it's about "focus" which is something I've been working on. And, on a positive note it can represent transformation and self-renewal...positive change!  So, I'm going to "chose" to believe that's what the snake symbolized.

But what does the pink color mean? Here's what the website says about the color pink in dreams:
Pink represents love, joy, sweetness, happiness, affection and kindness. Being in love or healing through love is also implied with this color. 
So there it is! I'm going to believe that a pink snake is telling me that my life is about to change to encompass more love, joy, sweetness, happinesss, affection and kindness!  That's a wonderful translation! Who wouldn't want more happiness in their life!

I think this dream also tells me that I've "awakening" to the signs that will continue to be revealed to me along this 63-day journey of Faith,  Love, Time!

I'm looking forward to a good night of rest tonight!

Love and Prayers,


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is Fear a Friend or Foe?

My initial plan was to focus my first few posts on the key ingredients of Faith, Love and Time. However, I write from the heart and what presents itself in the course of daily experience. Today, I had a conversation with someone that led me to focus on the topic of Fear.  Now if you remember from yesterday's post I included a photo of the Tower of Terror at the Atlantis Resort, or maybe it's actually called the Leap of Faith. I'm not entirely sure. I do know that to me it was a "tower of terror" and I had to take a huge "leap of faith" to force my body to propel down the crazy thing!

Some people believe that fear is the enemy and you must work hard to eliminate fear and make it go away. People have written books about this. Then there are those people that believe that fear is your friend and you should embrace it and use it as a catalyst to propel you into taking risks you otherwise would not take. People have written books about this philosophy on fear. So, who is right?

I believe that you cannot fully eliminate fear. It might feel like a disease that's consuming you in the moment. And you might be able to temporarily curtail the symptoms, but it is forever present in our nature. It's survival instinct. It keeps us on our toes. It makes us human. I also believe the antidote to fear is "faith".

We are faced with many different kinds of fears. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of what people will think, fear of whether people are thinking about us, fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of what we cannot control.  I discovered the ugliest fear that I believe anyone can experience and that is fear of losing a loved one. It's a world-shattering, painful, experience to fear that a loved one may be slipping away from this life. I realized today that I am not alone in this place. I spoke with a mother today who has just been told her child needs to have life-saving open heart surgery in a few weeks. She was distraught, guilty, and maybe even a little ashamed because the fear was consuming her. She shared how her friends and family just couldn't understand and kept telling her "don't worry, everything will be fine." Yet, I understood her. I got it. Because I've been there.

There is no stronger bond that the bond a mother has with her child. Other than the bond we have with our creator and with our faith.

And that was the answer I gave her. There is no shame in feeling fear. In any capacity of your life. Whether it's as significant as her situation and the fear of losing a loved one. Or whether it's the fear of making a career change or public speaking or whatever it might be that you fear. There is no shame. I realized it would have been illogical for me to tell her that the fear will go away. Because I know that it won't. It is ever-present. But I know that while it might not be possible to eliminate fear completely, it is possible to "tame the beast of fear". It is possible to put fear in "time out"!

This might be a little embarrassing to admit, but sometimes if my kids are arguing in the backseat of the car, the only way to get their attention is to turn the music in the car up really loud. I can't hear their arguing. And neither can they. So they stop!  I feel that is what we can do with applying our faith in the presence of fear. We turn up our faith so loud that it drowns out the fear! It's about exchanging the thoughts that are streaming through your head. It's about exchanging the negative "what-if" statements for positive "what-if" statements.

Fear also demands us to be courageous. It demands us to pull from strength we have deep down inside that we don't even realize we have. It challenges us to be stronger and better, just like a coach challenges an Olympic athlete to work harder. It builds mental stamina.

Here's a quote that I love from a book that is really worth reading:

"At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can't handle whatever life may bring you.  The truth is: If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear? All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way!"   
Feel the Fear, And Do It Anyway, a book by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. 

I believe it to be true that God doesn't give us more that we can handle. Sometimes it may seem like a lot. But if we operate from this premise, then we can find comfort in knowing that we are stronger that we may know.

So, is fear "friend" or "foe"? I say neither. Just accept that from time to time fear is going to sit down at the table next to you.  And, remember to call upon Faith to sit at the table along with you.

Love and Prayers,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Why 63 Days?

Welcome to the first of 63 days of consecutive posts about Faith, Love, Time! In my recently published book, Miracle of Belief, I describe the miraculous healing of my six-year-old daughter. After experiencing a stroke during a heart surgery, my family and I were witness to a miracle. The prognosis for her recovery was completely unknown and after waking up from her coma, she was unable to even hold up her head. 

We poured our love and positive energy into her healing. In the course of 63 days, I watched this tough little girl fight hard to regain her ability to sit, talk, eat, walk, and be a little kid again! 63 days! It was the length of her summer vacation from school! She relearned everything it had taken her 6 years to learn in the course of 63 days! That number has become a magical number to me, because it was the length of time she was hospitalized and we kept a bedside vigil with her.

This period of time was a complete "awakening" for me and for my family. We learned what was truly priority in life and somehow we learned how to cope and heal and support each other.  As I was writing Miracle of Belief, I realized the true strength we drew upon during that time. Of all the life lessons we learned and the strategies we deployed to cope, I've been able to really boil it down to three simple ingredients...Faith...Love...Time.  I also realized that much of my own personal "awakening" was because I was reading, praying, and journaling "daily". The signs were popping up all over the place about what God's plan was for my daughter, for me, and for my family. I accepted that God was in control and not me.

I've often wondered, if my daughter could accomplish all that she accomplished during that brief period of time, what could I accomplish during that same period of time? It required hard work, sacrifice, pain, exhaustion, determination, tenacity, positive encouragement, and belief.  But most of all it required faith, love, and time!

This journal will be my own 63-day walk to focus on faith, love, and time to discover what God will reveal to me as the next stage of my life. I invite you to join me on the adventure and discover your own "miracles" along the way!

The photo below is the "Tower of Terror" slide at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.  I almost passed out trying to muster my fear of going down this slide. In fact, I feel my heart starting to race at this moment as I recall it! Ironically, my daughter that overcame the stroke, zipped down the slide like it was no big deal! Another lesson to be learned from her!

Let's conquer the "Tower of Terror" together by taking a "Leap of Faith"!  

Love & Prayers,