Friday, August 30, 2013

I want to Live with Abandon

Sharing my love and motivation via music again! This song moves me by Newsboys. Read the lyrics and then listen to the song. Throw your head back, let your worries melt and imagine a life dedicated to a higher calling.

Chasing after this world makes me tired
Praisin' my own name leaves me dry
There's gotta be so much more to life than this
A higher calling that I missed
I want my life to count, every breath
I wanna live with abandon
Give You all that I am
Every part of my heart Jesus
I place in Your hands
I wanna live with abandon
I'll drop everything to follow You
It's only Your hands I hold onto
There's gotta be more to life than this
A higher calling that I missed
I want my life to count, every breath
I'm not looking back
I'm done with that
Wanna give You all I have

And then listen again! How do you want your life to count? Listen again. Repeat.

Love and Prayers,

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sometimes the Truth Hurts

I'm going to start this off today by being very direct and asking you to think about some dangerously thought-provoking questions.

What would it be like to be married to you?
What would it be like to be your daughter? or son?
What would it be like to be your mother? or father? or sister? or brother?
What would it be like to be your employee, mentor, coach, teacher, boss, friend, subsitute any other word here_____?
Isn't it interesting how when you frame these questions from the other person's point of view, the question becomes extremely uncomfortable.

Here's the deal. When I'm struggling with a situation in life, I have those friends that will tell me what I "want" to hear. They'll "validate" my feelings and help me feel good about my position on a situation. (And I believe we need those friends who are willing to love us and accept us and be our cheerleaders in life.)  And then there are those friends that will genuinely, honestly, lovingly tell you what you "need" to hear. Do you have friends like that?

Sometimes the truth hurts.  And sometimes we need to hear the truth. Recently, I've been having a difference of opinion with my husband on a certain issue. I asked a friend for advice. This friend gave me some very honest advice and not what I expected to hear.  She asked me to contemplate and pray about the question, "What's it like to be married to you?"

My immediate, first reaction was to say to myself, "What do you mean? What's it like to be married to me? What's it like to be married to HIM? It made me mad. What was she trying to say to me? I'm a bad wife? I'm not deserving? I'm impossible to live with? I'm not gonna lie, I was miffed for awhile. I was thinking to myself, why did I bother to ask her advice anyway.  

On the contrary, she was trying to get me to think about the situation from my husband's point of view.
Putting yourself in the shoes of the other person and realizing how humbling that can truly be takes some of the pressure off of yourself. In my case, itt also challenged me to think about whether I am truly "being" the best person that I can be.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." ~John 8:31-3

Love and Prayers,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I spent six hours at my daughter's middle school today for a "Kindness Retreat".  Yes, six hours of teaching sixth graders the value of kindness. In fact, there was an awesome nonprofit organization that led the entire day's activities. It's called Youth Frontiers and they have 50 employees traveling the country doing these programs.The concept is to teach kids to be "everyday heroes" by being kind to each other. I realize that there is more and more talk of extreme bullying in schools these days. However, it struck me as interesting that we are relying on a six-hour retreat in our schools to teach our kids to be "kind".  It made me think, what values are we teaching them at home? 

We then had an orientation at church for my daughter's confirmation class and the pastor talked about how kids used to learn their spirituality at home until the 1900's when organized religion began teaching Sunday school. Parents started dropping off their kids and relying on the church to teach them what they needed to know. Again, I thought what values are we teaching them at home?

While entering the school pick up lane and everyone "jockying" for a spot in line, I reflected on the kindness retreat. I thought to myself that there needs to be a "Kindness Retreat for Adults"!! No joke! Get in your car and drive a few miles and you'll encounter people in a hurry, texting while they're driving, cussing at people driving too slow, and rolling their eyes at the clerk in the checkout lane at Target! Generally speaking, people are functioning in a hurried, self-centered, highly-frustrated, negative manner.

Now, I'm not generalizing "everyone" as being negative. But really, don't you find that it's refreshing when a stranger in line at Starbucks smiles at you and genuinely asks you about your day, or opens a door for you, or picks up your keys for you when you drop them, or pays you a compliment? These are the very things that were being taught to sixth graders at the 6-hour retreat!

I realized that I re-learned a few basic principles today along with the sixth graders. Talking behind people's backs, gossiping, name-calling, negative attitudes, dis-respect, selfishness, among other not-so-nice behaviors are hurtful to others.  Kindness...a basic topic of which all of us could use a good refresher from time to time!
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32

Love and Prayers,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fearless Heart

I wrote about my "Something More" stage of life in yesterday's blog, and how I would scream that song at the top of my lungs while driving to my J-O-B. When you're in your car alone, doesn't it feel like a safe place to just crank up the stereo and let it all out?!  I mentioned that "life" happened and I moved past that stage of my life.  I had just gone through one of the most difficult times of my life, made some new choices, and felt an amazing sense of freedom and transparency. And when I did, I discovered a new theme song, "Fearless Heart" by Point of Grace.

I still "sang" this song at the top of my lungs, but with joy and a new sense of freedom! It's amazing what happens to your faith and your heart when you witness a miracle! And when you realize that we really are not in control of anything. But that we also are never alone.

For even the most trusting soul
This world can be a scary place
So much that we can't control
In every moment that we face

When a thousand what ifs
Whisper in our ears
We remember who's we are
And watch them disappear

I wanna live with a fearless heart
Courage that's coming from trust in God
It's constantly guiding me though the road may seem dark
I wanna live, wanna live with a fearless heart

There are worries chasing everyone
It's evident in times like these
But I have found the confidence that comes
From time I spend on my knees

There's a truth I'm holding onto
As these days unfold
Greater is He, that is in me
Than he that's in the world

I wanna live with a fearless heart
Courage that's coming from trust in God
It's constantly guiding me though the road may seem dark
I wanna live, wanna live with a fearless heart

He's my strength, He's my shelter
He is with me all the way
He's my light and my salvation
Of whom shall I be afraid, of whom shall I be afraid?

I wanna live with a fearless heart
Courage that's coming from trust in God
It's constantly guiding me though the road may seem dark, yeah

I wanna live with a fearless heart
Courage that's coming from trust in God
It's constantly guiding me though the road is dark
I wanna live, wanna live with a fearless heart

With a fearless heart, with a fearless heart
With a fearless heart

Wouldn't you rather live with a fearless heart?

Love and Prayers,

Monday, August 26, 2013

Something More

In honor of it being a Monday, I'm going to share something deeply personal and a little embarrassing. Let me start by saying that I take a lot of inspiration from music. That's not the deeply personal or embarrassing part. But it will give a little back drop on why I often like to include song lyrics in my blog. I think music has the ability to evoke emotion. It can make us happy. Or make us sad. It can calm us. Or music can pump us up. When my daughter was healing, we used music a lot to help soothe her and bring positive energy into the room. There are even music therapy programs that help children with autism and other behavioral disorders.

If you're going to work out, you're probably going to tune your iPod into something different than what the massage therapist is playing during your spa treatment. Right? Are there certain songs that you hear that bring back memories of high school, college, vacations, certain people, events, or periods of your life?

For me, there was a particular song that I listened to a lot during a particular phase of my life. In fact, if you were to have been driving in a car next to me at about 7:30am on a Monday morning, you might have pulled up next to me at a spot light and thought I was a crazy woman. Why? Because I very well might have been singing this song at the top of my lungs...with all the windows rolled up! That's right, a lot of base oozing out of my car and a very animated woman!...yes that is the embarrassing part!

The deeply personal part is related to the song. It's a song called "Something More" by Sugarland. It's a great song and one I still enjoy. Except now I can enjoy it from a different point of view. I'm going to break this song down and share what it meant to me. Perhaps there are parts of it to which you might be able to relate.  In fact, maybe you've been known to secretly sing this song in your car!

Something More...
Come on!
Monday, hard to wake up
Fill my coffee cup, I'm out the door
Yeah, the freeway's standing still today
It's gonna make me late and that's for sure
I'm running out of gas and out of time
Never gonna make it there by nine

Well, there aren't exactly freeways in Omaha. But nontheless, Mondays were much dreaded. Have you ever woke up on Sunday morning and started dreading that the weekend was halfway over and you couldn't enjoy your day because you only had Monday to look forward to? Mmm Hmm.  I know.

There's gotta be something more, gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time, I need a little more bliss
I'm gonna take my chances
Taking a chance I might find what I'm looking for
There's gotta be something more
So, this was the "shouting part". This was the part of the song that I could feel in my gut. The feeling that there was "something more". The "knowing" that I was not fulfilling my purpose in life by doing what I was doing everyday. I didn't know what I was looking for. And I sure as heck was scared to take any chances!

Five years and there's no doubt
That I'm burnt out, I've had enough
So now boss man, here's my two weeks
I'll make it short and sweet, so listen up
Well, I could work my life away, but why?
I got things to do before die
For me, the five years actually became 17 years! I had a lot of different boss men and boss ladies over those years. I learned things good and bad from all of them. I attribute my own burn-out to the realization that I was doing something that I no longer felt a passion for doing.

There's gotta be something more, gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time, I need a little more bliss
I'm gonna take my chances
Taking a chance I might find what I'm looking for
There's gotta be something more
And the loud, animated singing would ensue again!

Some believe in destiny and some believe in fate
But I believe that happiness is something we create
You best believe that I'm not gonna wait
'Cause there's gotta be something more
I get home 7:30, the house is dirty but it can wait
Yeah, 'cause right now I need some downtime
To drink some red wine and celebrate
Yeah, Armageddon could be knocking at my door
But I ain't gonna answer that's for sure
This part always brought mixed emotions for me. I could definitely relate to the part about coming home to a dirty house but feelin the need for downtime and a glass of wine! Any working woman with multiple responsibilities, family, and all the juggling balls can relate to this. The part that was a mystery to me for a long time was the "happiness is something we create" part. I wanted to believe that. But honestly, deep down in side, I felt really, really trapped (like the stars trapped in the spider web in the photo). So, guess what I did? ...I sang even louder!

There's gotta be something
Gotta be something more, gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time, I need a little more bliss
I'm gonna take my chances
Taking a chance I might find what I'm looking for
Gotta be something more
(There's gotta be something)
Got to be, got to be, got to be more
(Gotta be something, yes)
You may notice that I'm referring to my reactions to this song in the past tense. So, what happened that changed? "Life" happened! And sometimes when "life" happens, it changes everything! I also believe that things happen for a reason.

My advice to you on this Monday...don't wait for life to happen! Don't let 1 or 5 or 10 or 17 years pass you by dreading Mondays! Take a chance. You just might find what you're looking for! What is your "something more"?

Love and Prayers,

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What is Your Purpose?

Well, it's very interesting how God sends us messages. I got up to go to church this morning and nobody else was really wanting to go, so I said "Ok, I'm going and whoever comes with me can come with me." And so we went.  It was actually an inspiring service and I'm so glad I went. The topic for today was "What is Your Purpose?" Pastor April (whom I credit the inspiration for this blog post) gave a very interesting talk about Goals, Purpose, Destiny.  Right up my alley!!!

I have to be honest, when we left for church I was feeling a little sad. I was reflecting on an amazing opportunity that has presented itself and debating about whether the timing is right to entertain it. So, April's talk today was perfect timing. She showed a video of people being asked "what is your purpose"?  

Most people said  things like "I don't know", "I'm scared to find out", "I wish I knew", "I don't think about it, I just try to get by each day.", "It's about being successful in my job and making money".   I felt blessed to know that I really feel like I get my purpose. I really feel that I'm not working for the sake of working and getting by. I'm working toward a greater purpose. I get that it's bigger than me. 

A friend sent me this quote today from Zig Ziglar who said:
"I've met people all through my life who had passion of a sort. But because their passion wasn't fueled by purpose, it would come and go in bits and pieces. They were trying to generate their passion out of their own energy day after day, something that's ultimately unsustainable. Scientists have yet to invent the world's first perpetual-motion machine--everything runs out of gas eventually, including human beings trying to maximize their peak performance day after day. I believe this can help motivate you to connect the dots in life, little by little. The end result will be a picture of beauty, purpose and fulfillment--a life you can't wait to live."
I know that I am blessed and honored to be on this journey of life with purpose! What is your purpose? What will it take for you to discover it? What will it take for you to pursue it?

Love and Prayers,

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Neutralizing Dream Stealers

Have you ever had a moment when you feel this complete sense of clarity of purpose where you just feel it in your bones that you are on the path intended for you.... and then someone comes along and crushes your dream? These people are called "dream stealers".

"Life's full of lots of dream-stealers always telling you you need to do something more sensible. I think it doesn't matter what your dream is, just flight the dream-stealers and hold onto it. ~Bear Grylls

Of course there are those people that love you so much they genuinely don't want to see you fail. And then there are those people that life is passing by. They have no dreams, or have given up on theirs, and so they are jealous and can't stand to see you have a full life. Or perhaps, their version of what a full life looks like is not the same as yours.

So, when that person comes along and gives you the thumbs down (I think of Simon Cowell with his scowl)...

I say this... first of all, don't let that one person's opinions define you. Don't let their fears, opinions, weaknesses, and inhibitions decrease your value. This is the time to stand firm in knowing that you ARE on the right path. Stay aligned and hold true to your vision and you WILL persevere. You will not be defined by what others think and say. They don't know what you know and what you feel in your heart.

Put yourself in that person's shoes and it will help you neutralize your reaction. Perhaps they can't support you or are trying to keep you stuck/small because of something they fear.  It may not be about you at all. Don't take it personally. 

And then I say to you that perhaps that person can not see all the potential that is locked up inside of you. But it is there. You know it is there. You feel it. I tell you, unlock that potential and SHOW them your true potential, not through words but through ACTIONS.

And then GO DO IT!
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trust in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7
Love and Prayers,


Friday, August 23, 2013

Make Lemonade

I had the honor and privilege today to do a presentation with my 12-year-old daughter at the rehabilitation hospital where she spent 12 weeks recovering from a stroke 5 years ago. I'm so proud of her. She has experienced so much adversity, yet she has no fear of standing up in front of a group of people and sharing her story. At such a young age, she has learned that when you go through a difficult situation, the best thing you can do is learn from that experience and then turn it into an opportunity to help others.  As the saying goes..."When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade!"

Or as my daughter said today, "When Life Gives You Cookies, Eat them!!" Oh how I laughed at that phrase!

Being in the moment today, standing side-by-side at the podium with my child gave me a great sense of clarity, knowing that I'm doing what God has called me to do. Knowing that we have stepped up to the plate. Doing what God calls us to do is not always easy work. It is, however, rewarding when you can look into the eyes of another person and know their pain and tell them that there is hope. And you are convicted in your words because you've felt their pain and you've witnessed the miracle. And you can promise them that their miracle is on its way.

Love and Prayers

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Keep Life Simple

There is something to be said for scaling back, down-sizing, simplifying, all those things that take the "heaviness" out of life and make life more enjoyable. I absolutely loved this story that was shared in the book The 4-Hour Work Week.  (and I promise this is the last I'm going to quote from this book..for now!) I can't take credit for the writing of the story, but it is so clever and compelling I really wanted to share it.

I'll summarize the story, but it basically starts out with an American business man who has taken a vacation to a small Mexican village to attempt to get some rest and relaxation. He ventures out to the pier one morning and sees a small boat docked with one fisherman inside the boat and several large yellowfin tuna.  He asks the fisherman how long it took for him to catch the fish, to which he replied "Only a little while."

When the businessman asked him why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish, the man replied, "I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends".

The American asked him, "But...What do you do with the rest of your time?"

(I love this part)...The Mexican looked up and smiled. "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Julia, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor."

As you might expect the American (with his Harvard MBA) immediately jumps in and starts going on about how he could help the man. If he would spend more time fishing, he could buy a bigger boat with the proceeds, and then buy several boats. Eventually he could have a fleet of boats. He could sell his fish directly to the consumers, eventually open his own cannery, leave the small fishing village and move to Mexico City or Los Angeles, and eventually New York City, where he could further expand his enterprise.

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, senor, how long will all this take?"

The American replied, "15-20 years. 25 tops."

"But what then, Senor?"

He laughed and responded, "That's the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions."

"Millions, senor? Then what?"

(Ok...this really is the best part!)
"Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your children, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll into the village each evening, where you would sip wine and play guitar with your amigos... "

Now doesn't that story just do the best job of painting the picture of the "rat on the wheel" that we often allow our lives to become. What really are we striving for?! Really!? I mean how many people have envisioned quitting their jobs, selling everything, and living in a little grass hut by the beach...the simple life?!  I think you're lying if you say that thought has never ever crossed your mind!? But how many people actually have the courage to do it? And what if we could accept our simple, yet humble lives as being a blessing?

What is too heavy, too stressful, too confusing, too "hard" in your life? What if you released it all and just relaxed a little. Laughed a little more. Enjoyed life a little more. Life can be simple and carefree. It really is a choice!

Love and Prayers

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Talk to the New Kid

I love being able to learn from my children. My 7-year-old daughter tells very detailed stories of her experiences (like mother like daughter!)  She was talking a mile a minute in the car ride home from school about "the new kid".

"He just moved here from South Carolina, or no, North Carolina, or no wait it will pop into my brain in a minute," she says.  She continues on to tell me that he had staples, not stitches, but staples in his head because he had fallen off the chair at his old school. And he didn't know that he was supposed to bring a snack to school. While the other kids were eating their snacks, she tells me he got tears in his eyes because he didn't have anything. The teacher gave him a Starburst, but then he got it stuck in his braces! Poor kid!

So I asked her, "why didn't you share your snack with him?"

Her reply was that she was nervous to talk to him. This surprised me a little, because she is a very compassionate child and I know felt badly for the new kid. And I said to her, "Really?! You were nervous! Why would you be nervous? After all HE is the new kid who has staples in his head, and Starburst in his braces, and doesn't know anybody, and forgot to bring a snack!"  Who do you think is more nervous him or you?"

She thought about it and said "You're right mom, I should have asked him to share my snack!"

Now this might appear to be me teaching my child a lesson. But in actuality, I learned as much from the discussion as she did. How many times do we see another person, possibly even a stranger in need of assistance? And how many times do we just keep to ourselves and not offer a helping hand...because we feel nervous?  How often do we clam up and not offer the talents, gifts, and wisdom we have that can help another person (or generations of people for that matter), because we are nervous about opening our mouths?

Having a servant heart means that we can enrich the lives of other people, and it starts with recognizing the needs of others and tuning out our own fears and inhibitions.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 2:3-5

Love and Prayers,

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Slow Dance

I visited a friend today who works at the company where I had spent 17 years building my professional career. As I drove through the parking lot and gazed at all the cars attached to the many people sitting in cubicles inside the building, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude for having the courage to make the choice to slow down and move out of the rat race, into a new direction.

As I visited with my friend and listened to her talk about how it's difficult to get out of bed in the morning to come to a job that is sucking the life out of her, I again counted my blessings. That used to be me.  When she told me that her kids get to have the lifestyle they have because of her, and the job she forces herself to go to everyday, again I counted my blessings. I was reminded of the conversation I recently had with my 7-year old daughter as she thanked me and told me she was lucky to have a mom that could spend the summer with her.  I was reminded that although it isn't always easy to forge new paths, it sure is worth it.

And, I was reminded of this poem that I recently discovered, written by child psychologist David L Weatherford.

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask: How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.
Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say, "Hi"?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower.
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

Are you deferring life to some future point in time when you'll have enough money or enough time or enough success? What is the price you are paying in the meantime?

Love and Prayers,

Monday, August 19, 2013

Are You Driving the Bus?

Are you driving the bus? Or is the bus driving you?  Are you driving your life, your schedule, your priorities? Are you a slave to your email, phone, office, Facebook? Do you find yourself saying "I'm overwhelmed" or "I wish I had more hours in the day?"

My husband and kids have begun to comment often to me on how I'm always checking something on my phone. I'll admit that I've become a slave to my iPhone. It is truly addictive! That lovely little "bling" you hear notifying you that a message has arrived. The curiosity is just too great to not check it immediately! I was just having a conversation the other day about how the use of technology can create so many daily distractions that it's almost feeding the onset of adult ADD.  Then I saw an article that said that the iPhone could be used to help manage adult ADD!  I love my iPhone, but checking it compulsively is not using it as a good organizational tool. And it makes me really think about what I'm teaching my children.

Here's a question.  Is it any different when you sit down to your computer or laptop? There's Facebook (and in my case I have 5 different Facebook Pages that I manage as an Admin). There's email (often multiple email addresses for many people). There's Twitter (which I don't use much...there's hope for me yet!). There's LinkedIn. Blogs. Groupon. Online newsletters. Pinterest. The list goes on with many other apps and communities to check!

Have you ever been asked by someone, "why didn't you respond to my email?" or "Are you coming to my party tomorrow? I invited you on Facebook." The challenge to stay "plugged in" and "tuned in" can be distracting at best and a huge drain on our time, energy, and focus.

"There is more to life than increasing its speed." ~Mohandas Gandhi
Here's one think for certain. If your friends become accustomed to you consistently responding to a text message or email message within split seconds of them sending it, you've set an expectation. When you don't respond they start to worry or wonder or call!  I've realized that I have set no boundaries around my access or time with regard to technology.  So, beginning today I am venturing into a 7-day, 2-A-Day Challenge! I've put my friends on alert that I'll be checking and responding to email twice per day. And if there is something urgent, they will need to call me! I've created a daily schedule of what I plan to focus and I'm keeping a journal of how I actually use my time.

I've decided I need to me in the drivers seat, with my bus headed in the right direction! Get in your bus and follow me!

Love and Prayers!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mistakes of Ambition

"All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger, but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. " ~Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.
Yesterday I blogged about Falling in Love with Your Decisions.  I was finishing reading a book today, The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss. There was a chapter about getting rid of a job that's not serving you.  Latest studies report that 84% of people are miserable in their jobs. Yet they stay! Why? I can relate, I've been there. Most of us probably have been there at one point in our lives. 

Ferriss made this statement that really got my attention:
"Most people aren't lucky enough to get fired and die a slow spiritual death over 30-40 years of tolerating the mediocre." 

When addressing the excuses people typically give for why they don't quit and pursue something more fulfilling he says this:

"Don't confuse the complex with the difficult. Most situations are simple--many are just emotionally difficult to act upon.  The problem and the solution are usually obvious and simple. It's not that you don't know what to do. Of course you do. You are just terrified that you might end up worse off than you are now." 

I think this advice can be related not only to an undesirable job situation, but also a business venture, a relationship, or anything in life that we force ourselves to continue to do because we fear change. I know that I don't want to die a slow spiritual death. I want to live a life of passion and experiences.

How do we avoid the self-imposed suffering that we often endure? Ferriss says there are only two types of mistakes: mistakes of ambition and mistakes of sloth. I think I would rather be in motion making mistakes of ambition than sitting by lazily complaining about what life could be.

"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure." ~Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM.

"Only those who are asleep make no mistakes." ~Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA

Love and Prayers,

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fall in Love with Your Decisions

I want to credit this blog post to my friend Kelly who owns Sweat, Cycle Soul in Omaha, Nebraska. She has this amazing business for people who love to cycle/spin and do yoga/pilates. The first time I walked in the door, I knew that I was at a place that I belonged! She starts each class with an "intention" and reinforces that thought while you are sweating your way through your workout.  It's a brilliant strategy, because if you're working really hard, you focus on your workout and release your mind of all the chatter and worry. And then there's Kelly planting some really great seeds of positive energy for you to take home with you!

I attended one of her spinning classes the other day and her intention for the day was to fall in love with your decisions, which will attract the love and abundance of others to you. I thought about how we all make choices about our lives and sometimes spend more time complaining about our situation than we do being grateful.  At the end of the day we forget that our choices are our choices! For the most part, nobody is forcing us into the choices we make. Unless your circumstances are highly unusual or you are under the age of 18, you are free to make the choices you make.  Her suggestion made a lot of sense. Fall in love with the decisions and choices you've made. And if you can't fall in love with them, then guess what, you need to make different choices!

I often repeat an expression that another favorite mentor always says, "I might not be where I want to be, but I'm sure glad that I'm not where I used to be."  And, therefore, I can honestly say that I'm in love with the choices and decisions I've made.

Are you in love with the decisions you've made? If not, that's ok. You're in control to make new ones!

Love and Prayers,

Friday, August 16, 2013

Do You Have Grit?

My daughter just started 3rd grade. This morning on the way to school, she asked me if I had "grit"!? "Grit?" I said, "where did you here that?"  She said she had learned about grit at school from her teacher.  This was very intriguing to me. I don't recall the last time I've heard someone use the word "grit".

So I asked her what she thought it meant to have grit. She promptly and confidently said to me that having grit means that you work really, really hard at something and you never give up. It's requires being brave and having courage.  My little girl is learning about what it takes to have grit. Somehow that seems to be a cold, hard word to me.

Then I began to think about whether I was being too soft. Did I have grit? Am I tough enough? What does grit really mean?  I looked up the definition:

Grit in psychology is a positive, non-cognitive trait, based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or endstate coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual’s path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization. 

Hmm. Grit is positive. It's based on passion for a long-term goal, and requires powerful motivation plus perseverance. I decided I kind of like this "new" word. I decided I'm going to work on my "grit" level!

At the end of the school day, my daughter told me that there was a program in which all the teachers danced and did a skit about having grit. And I discovered that the school principal wrote a message in the weekly school newsletter and mentioned the word grit.

I've decided if my third grader is determined to have "grit", I need to have some too!

Got passion? Think positive? Got some goals? Motivated? Willing to persevere?  I'm happy to tell you, you've got "grit"!

Love and Prayers,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

There Once Was a Rock

I came across this passage today that I had written a couple years ago.

There once was a rock…

On which I stood.  A solid pedestal upon which I had solid footing.  No one could knock me off if they tried.  The waves crashed around me and I stood sturdy.  So long I remained on that solid perch, confident and secure.  Yet always wondering what existed beyond the rock. What wondrous adventures could I seek out there? Unchartered waters and meaningful destinations? How dare I be bold and step out from this rock!  And yet I did just that.  The sands beneath my feet are now shifting and unsteady.  I struggle to find my way back to the rock of refuge.  Tides come and tides go, and that rock remains. The rock which is my core. Strong, bold, brave, courageous, and confident.

I had written this to signify the feeling of stepping out of your comfort zone into new experiences, and then feeling unsure, uncertain, and scared (the sands beneath my feet are shifting and unsteady).  And then I came across this poem called Advice From the Ocean and I thought the two went together very well!

I hope you enjoyed some perspective on what it means to get out of your comfort zone, trust yourself, make some waves, and trust that it will all work out!

Love and Prayers,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Don't Sell Yourself Short

We've all heard that women are paid significantly less than men, generally speaking. I heard on the morning news that a new study confirms that even the highest paid women in top-ranking positions of large corporations are paid less.  It was surprising even to the reporter who expected that the gap would be less at the top executive levels, but in fact, it was the same. The study revealed that when women are given prestigious positions, they feel the title and position alone is enough reward. They are paid less than men because they don't generally "negotiate" for more, for fear that the opportunity may be taken away or that they will be viewed as being ungrateful. While men, as a matter of nature, generally always negotiate for more pay.

Subsequently, I had three separate conversations today with smart, talented women in which we were discussing whether we were "worthy" of charging substantial fees for the value we bring to the table. This issue of "self-worth" kept coming to the surface.  We would nod and acknowledge that it's a "female thing"!!

I reflected on these various conversations today and came to a conclusion represented nicely by the following quote:
"When your self-worth goes up, your net worth goes up with it. ~ Mark Victor Hansen

It is a really relevant statement. We must first value ourselves in order to expect others to value us. Experience, knowledge, wisdom, unique skills; these are all things of value that we may possess that another does not. It's why teachers, doctors, and lawyers get paid. They are sharing their knowledge. So whatever your expertise or trade may be, if it's something that another can gain from you that they couldn't otherwise gain themselves, it has value. And fair compensation is based on exchange for value.

Ladies, let's all work on "valuing" ourselves and each other more and asking for what we want without feeling embarrassed about it! And let's stop comparing our paycheck and our worth to our male counterparts. God designed us to look and feel and act differently. It was by design.

Love and Prayers,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Want My Dream Life to Be My Real Life

All I want is my dream life to be my real life!  Isn't that a great thought!  Most people don't believe it's possible. But I do. I believe we make life what we want it to be. I believe we can make choices about our life and how we choose to think about our lives. And after all, we only have this life, why not make it be what we want!  Here's the lyrics to one of my favorite, upbeat songs by Colbie Caillat.  When I am doubting that it's possible to have my dream life, or I'm having a bad day, I listen to this song (usually in repetition!!) Read the lyrics first and then listen to the song! It's a great sing-a-long song in the car too, when the kids need a little optimism!

                                                       "Dream Life Life"

Dear someone
Have you ever wanted out
Of all the stressfulness
All the busyness
You could do without
Take all of your worries
Throw them away
Everyday should be a fun day
That's what I say

All I want is a dream life life
With the ones I love
Playing all day long
Laying back by the water side
With nowhere to go
And the music on
All I want is my dream life
To be my real life
How could that be wrong
All we have is this life
So make it be what you want
All I want is a dream life, life
All I want is a dream life, life

Dear summer
Will you find your way back home
I miss your golden kiss
How you warm my skin
Where did you go?
Take all of my worries
And burn them up
Everyday will be a fun day
Unlock my handcuffs

All I want is a dream life life
With the ones I love
Playing all day long
Laying back by the water side
With no where to go
And the music on
All I want is my dream life
To be my real life
How could that be wrong
All we have is this life
So make it be what you want
All I want is a dream life, life
All I want is a dream life, life

No I did not call in sick to work today
No I’m not out hanging with my friends
There’s no more wasting time on what I think I’m supposed to do
My clock is standing still so
I can have my dream life life
With the ones I love
Playing all day long
Laying back by the water side
With nowhere to go
And the music on
I’m working hard for my dream life
To be my real life
And that can’t be wrong
All I have is this life
So I’m making it what I want

All I want is a dream life, life
All I want is a dream life, life
All I want is a dream life, life
All I want is a dream life, life
All we have is this life
Lets make it be what we want
All I want is a dream life, life
All I want is a dream life, life
All I want is a dream life, life
All I want is a dream life, life...

Love and Prayers,

Fresh Start

This week is the week that many kids are starting back to school.  One of our Pastor's started a recent Sunday service with the analogy that starting a new school year is a fresh start. I loved this analogy and wanted to share it in my blog!  A new school year means there are new notebooks without any stains, new pencils that are sharp and crisp, a clean slate of opportunity for good grades and good behavior. Everyone has crisp new clothes and shiny new shoes.  And an attitude of enthusiasm for the new school year and all the amazing possibilities! Whether your in grade school or in college, the feeling is all the same.

By the end of the year there may be disappointments; back packs and notebooks show their wear and tear. There may have been less than perfect grades and even some detentions and disappointments.  The clean slate we started out with at the beginning of the school year might not be seem so clean and fresh anymore.

In God's eyes, we confess our sins and have a clean slate...always. Why not wipe your slate clean today? You have the power to decide to forgive yourself or others for the past and decide to start fresh!  Use this season of fresh starts to make your own fresh start!

And then I discovered this really cool bible verse:

God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don't throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails! ~Psalm 51:10-12

Love and Prayers,

Monday, August 12, 2013

Goal Setting in August?!

Most people set their goals for the year in January.  Did you start the year off writing down your goals? If you did, have you read them lately? Or have you forgotten where you stashed the piece of paper you wrote them on? It's now August, so is it still worth it to write or re-write the goals? I guess it depends on whether the goals are worth achieving and how badly you want them!

I must confess that I wrote some goals down at the beginning of the year and I started the year off really strong and focused on my goals. As usually happens, things don't always go according to plan and it becomes easier to drift away from the goals you had set and just "let things happen as they may happen". I decided that I needed to come up with a master game plan and re-write my goals!

Why? Let me tell you why...My life today looks completely different than it did 5 years ago.  It's not because I have more money or a bigger house, or a fancier job.  It's because I made a choice to make changes that set me on the course of doing the things that are based on passion, joy, and dreams.  That's right. I learned to dream again!  The truth is that if you have big dreams and you want them to come true, then you need to set goals. And to achieve goals you need to have a plan. And then, you need to work the plan!  I discovered that I wasn't always "working" on the things that would fulfill my dreams because I didn't really have a plan!

Did you know that it's statistically proven that goals that are written down are 80% more likely to actually be achieved?

There are many different theories and approaches to writing goals. You've probably learned that they should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely.  I've learned from some mentors to add a few other elements to make them "meaningful" to me.

Here's my formula for how I'm writing my "Master Game Plan" of goals. It's a collaboration of different goal setting techniques I've seen over the years.

  • Goal...What I Want specifically
  • Why I Want it
  • Action Steps & Timeframe (include a date)
  • Time Commitment Required
  • Possible Barriers
  • Affirmations 

The last one, affirmations, is a new approach I'm creating to respond to the potential barriers. For example: "I am persistent, when others would have quit." The idea is that it keeps me "grounded" in what I believe and know is "possible" when the obstacles are presented that cause a goal to feel "impossible".

There is still a lot of opportunity to make a lot of amazing things happen in 2013! Don't write the year off! After all, who says goals have to span a calendar year?! Join me in writing or rewriting you goals and let's get to work!
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. ~Proverbs 21:5

Love and Prayers,

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Be the Church

This morning in church our pastor spoke to us about not just "going" to church, but how to "be the church".  I thought about how I haven't been too faithful this summer with going to church, and how I may not always volunteer to teach Sunday school or help with church functions.  I was feeling guilty that I haven't brought items for more potluck functions.

And then I realized that I am doing God's will in other ways. I have given selflessly and passionately to the people and causes that I feel I've been called to do.

Interestingly, during the most difficult experience of my life, I wasn't in a position to attend church. I was spending my time at a hospital helping my daughter heal. I still made time to informally visit the hospital chapel. I prayed daily. I read scripture daily. I believed with all my heart and soul. And my faith grew stronger than it ever had in my life.

As  result, I now share my story and my faith in the way that I know how to do that.

What experiences have you had in which you learned great lessons or your faith was strengthened? Are you reaching out a hand to someone who might be going through a similar struggle. Are you sharing the wisdom of your faith? To me that is what I call "being the church".

Love and Prayers,

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Setting Boundaries with Your Time

When I see a similar message coming to me over and over, I decide that must be something on which I need to spend some time reflecting and writing. The past couple days it has centered around the use of time, and more specifically, setting boundaries around use of time.

I wrote in the post  Value and Use of Time  about how we are all given the same 24 hours in a day and how we chose to use those hours is a reflection on our priorities.  That means that you have clear goals and priorities which dictate how you are spending your time. Along with that is learning to say "no" when your time is requested where it doesn't align with your goals.  This can be one of the hardest disciplines to learn. It's not only beneficial for achieving your goals, but it also helps guard your sense of balance; and I'll go so far as to say "sanity". Especially for people who enjoy helping others, saying "no" can be a very difficult thing to do. Do you find yourself often saying the words "have to"? Do you find yourself often saying or thinking "I'm overwhelmed?" If the answer is "yes", it may be time to set some boundaries.

"We are constantly faced with competing demands, and easily distracted by the noise and the interruptions. To be effective in our lives and work, we must focus.  We must decide on our priorities. We must channel our energy and attend to the task before us."  ~ from the book Now Is the Time by Patrick Lindsay.
The task before me this weekend is to create my new "master plan" for managing the activities that directly point to my goals. These encompass career, charity, personal fulfillment, family, and health. I'm asking myself what I want to accomplish and "why". And then aligning specific action steps and dates.  Now this isn't a "goal setting" session as much as it is an allocation of how I plan to use my 24 hours per day for the next few weeks.  Do you want to redefine how your spending your time and take back a little more control? If so, join me! We'll set boundaries together!

"Think of many things, do only one." ~English proverb

Love and Prayers,

Friday, August 9, 2013

Are Your Memories Better than the Moment?

Have you ever had a time when you look back on a situation and the memories seem so sweet, almost better that when you were actually in the moment? For instance, vacations where you look back at the photos and you just cherish the memories and you long to be back in that moment? You would give anything to have that feeling of lying on the beach or hiking to the top of the mountain and seeing that amazing view.

I was feeling that way today as I was looking back on the summer. The kids start school on Monday, so today was the last "official" weekday of summer to let them sleep in, and hang out with friends, and go to the pool.

There have been those moments this summer when the girls were getting on each other's nerves and fighting, or they were bored, or I was feeling frazzled trying to juggle work projects and keep the girls happy.  Yet now that the summer is coming to an end and it passed by so quickly, it feels like we've had the most relaxing, enjoyable summer. We didn't "do" a lot of things, we just really kicked back and relaxed. We've been together and it's been really nice.

Yet I couldn't "shake" this feeling that maybe I didn't enjoy it as much "in the moment" as I should have. These days it's really easy to get wrapped up in our devices between the iPads and iPhones and TV's and games. Or to get wrapped up in the daily "have-to's" and miss the best special moments of the day.

I thought about this idea a lot today and realized that I need to focus on being more focused on the "present moment". Less multi-tasking and more focus, listening, and enjoyment of the moment! What about you? Are you cherishing every moment while you're in the moment or are you looking back fondly on memories of good times and wishing you had a chance for a "repeat"?

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count it's the life in your years." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Love and Prayers,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Faith is an Action Word

Faith is knowing something exists or is possible without actually seeing it. It's believing in something all the way! But faith put into action can be seen. And the world needs to see our faith in action! Faith by itself, not accompanied by action is ineffective. Faith is most evident by your actions.

If you are believing in God for finances or for a new job, then you must put action to your faith. First, create a new resume.  Second, go look for a new job. Third, visualize yourself in the new job at the income you desire. Be in prayer and believe in what you can't see.  Put your faith into "action" by doing things that line up with your current level of faith.

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? if a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." James 2:14-18

What action do you need to do to see God's blessings? How can you expect to succeed if the action is not there to support your faith?

"Faith move mountains, but you have to keep pushing while you are praying." ~Mason Cooley

Love and Prayers,

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Flower and The Rain Cloud

I had this vision this morning that I shared with a couple friends.  It was inspired by my Blog from yesterday, The World is Watching and God is Smiling. I woke up this morning with the following picture in my head. To illustrate the image that was going on in my mind, I asked for help from my 7-year old daughter to draw it for me!

It's a picture of a little sunflower watching a field of happy little sunflowers under a rain cloud. The cloud is just showering them all with it's glory.  There is just a flood of goodness pouring out of the sky onto them. The happy little sunflower looks at them and thinks to itself... I need that cloud to move over here--I need some of that refreshing rain and the prosperity of growth that will come along with it.  How do I get that rain cloud to move from there to here?  

The picture below illustrates the visual I had in my mind, that the cloud of prosperity moves over to the sunflower and showers it with its goodness.

This is an analogy for me of different areas of my life. I feel bountiful goodness in some areas of my life and in other areas I'm striving to figure out how to make the same prosperous good things happen. You may look at this analogy and be able to relate it to areas of your life where you feel imbalance.  Maybe your career or finances are in tip-top shape, but your home life, relationships or health are not prospering. Or vice versa.  

This analogy inspired me. I was thinking hard about this, trying to analyze what was happening in those prosperous areas of my life that I could emulate to create prosperity in other areas of my life.  I thought I had it all figured out. I was proudly sharing this analogy with a friend.  And then she challenged me to think about this a completely different way.

What if rather than waiting, praying, and hoping for the rain cloud to come shower the sunflower with goodness, I were to dig it up and move it under the rain cloud! THAT was an idea that had not even entered my mind. This presented a major aha moment for me!

Stop waiting for the cloud of prosperity to come! Instead, plant the sunflower where you know it will get rain!

What are you doing in your life that resembles the sunflower waiting for prosperity or goodness to come its way?! What would happen if you stopped waiting and took action to move the sunflower!  What if you were to move toward God, toward your faith instead of waiting for God to come to you?

Love and Prayers,

Art and illustration by Nicole

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The World is Watching and God is Smiling

The most amazing feeling in the world comes when you follow your heart and do the work you believe you were called to do. You work hard, follow your passion, serve others, and give without expectation of anything in return. There is no self-imposed deadline, no expectation of glory or self-gain, no vision of being in the spotlight. There is just a sense of "knowing" that you are following the path God intended for you.

The world is watching to see where this path is taking you. And then the sky opens and God pours down his glory on you and it shines so bright that you know that God is smiling down on you. And you know that you have been blessed beyond all measure. And you know that the people you are serving are being equally blessed. Are you dreaming or is it real? You know that there is only one explanation.

The best feeling in the world is when you know without a doubt what you have been called to do!

Love and Prayers,

Monday, August 5, 2013

This is the Day the Lord has Made

When my daughter was very sick and on her healing journey, this became one of my favorite bible verses and I would recite it daily as a reminder that I need to first be grateful before asking God for more.

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 NIV

I was reminded of this bible verse as I sat down to reflect on today. I was recalling that as this summer was getting started, I was so excited for the possibilities of what was ahead for our summer. I am fortunate to be able to do the majority of my work from home, so I could plan to be present with my girls all summer. We started off very successfully with me working for several hours while the girls slept in, ate breakfast, played with friends. It was quiet and peaceful and very productive for me. I was shocked at how much I was getting done. And the girls were content playing with their friends.

As the months have ticked by, the momentum has shifted. The girls have become more restless and I've become more irritable. The girls are fighting with each other more often, and my volume level has been on the increase. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've found myself saying things to other moms like "I can't wait for school to start".  I do believe that getting back to a structured routine will be good for everyone, however, I am saddened today that I've been saying that. After all 5 summers ago, we spent the entire summer in a hospital begging God to let our daughter walk and talk again.  So, how dare I ever wish away a summer with my children. Furthermore there are a lot of moms that would die for the chance to be home with their kids all summer.

There you have it, I let it all out. And now I'm going to give myself a little bit of grace. Because after all I am a mom. I am a woman like so many that thinks she can juggle it all. I strive for perfection when happiness should really be the goal. And I am HUMAN. Not super human.

Today I committed to making it a special birthday celebration for my 8-year old daughter, even though her birthday isn't until the end of the month. Having her party in the middle of the day on a Monday assured that her friends would be able to all come and they could spend the whole afternoon together. We baked and decorated a homemade birthday cake (and I really mean it when I say I am NOT a domestic goddess!). We painted and decorated a homemade pinata and filled it with candy. My daughter planned activities including musical chairs.  It was a lovely day. It kind of took me back to what birthday parties used to be like when I was a young girl. This evening by daughter thanked me profusely for her party, her presents, her cake, and most importantly for giving her this special day and being a part of it.

I had opened our family gratitude journal the other day and this was the message that had been written a while back by my youngest daughter, who celebrated her birthday today:

"I am thankful for my family and food and water and my home". Gratitude of a 2nd grader

The combination of that journal message and today made me realize how simple life is to a child; how little it takes for them to find joy. And how being grateful for every single second we have with our children and loved ones is necessary.

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not: remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for." ~Epicurus

Love and Prayers,

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Life is a Mess and So is Yours

(This is the post for August 3rd)

Often times we look at other people and it appears their lives are perfect. They may appear to have a perfect house, adorable family, loving spouse, lots of success and money. We can look at those people that appear to have what we think we want and think wow, if only my life were like that.  I say "what we think we want", because we honestly have no idea what may really be going on in that person's life. If you really knew the "messiness" of their lives behind the veil of what they allow others to see, you may not want their life.

Rita Davenport, author & speaker, says that if you think your problems are bad, you should throw them into a bowl with everyone else's problems and then draw out a new problem.  And if you saw what some of the other people's problems were, you might wish to have your own problems back! Interesting way to look at it.

So, why do we spend our energy comparing ourselves and our lives to others? Why can't we just be grateful and content with what we have?

I was at a leadership conference this weekend, and listened to several amazing, successful women share their stories. They are at the top of the ladder in their industry and business. They are women that others aspire to be like and possess a level of success everyone in the industry covets.  As these women unveiled their stories and shared their journeys, it was clear that their lives have not been perfect. Their journeys have been "messy". They have experienced doubt, failure, imbalance, financial struggles, relationship challenges, guilt, and fear.  Yet they persevered. They found the path that God was leading them "individually" and stopped trying to be who they were not. They stopped comparing themselves to everyone else and stepped into the greatness that God intended for them.

So why do we do it? Why do we spend our energy wishing for the life that belongs to someone else? Why can't we just be content with what we have. The truth is that I think it starts when we are children. Someone else is prettier or more athletic. That kid already has a cell phone. And this kid's parents just bought him a car. The comparison game starts and we begin to develop a feeling that we aren't as worthy as others.

Perhaps it's a lack of gratitude. Or is it about forgiveness? In my morning devotional reading I've been reading a lot about "forgiveness". I think sometimes the person we need to forgive the most is "ourselves". We sometimes create our own feelings of unworthiness because of the grudges we hold against ourselves for the mistakes we've made. Or we find a way to place the blame on somebody else.

"When we hold on to unforgiveness and live with grudges in our hearts, all we're doing is building walls of separation. We think we're protecting ourselves, but we're not. We are simply shutting other people out of our lives. We become isolated, alone, warped, and imprisoned by our own bitterness." ~Joel Osteen, from the book Your Best Life Begins Each Morning

I've concluded that the best we can do is to just embrace our own "mess". Accept that it is our mess and be grateful we don't have someone else's mess.  Life is meant to be "messy".  It's how we learn. It's how we grow. And it sure feels good when you can get through your mess and look back and feel blessed that you persevered and didn't give up.

Love and Prayers,

Friday, August 2, 2013

If You Knew You Could Not Fail

What would life look like if you knew you could not fail? Or put another way, if money were of no concern would you be doing anything differently with regard to: job/career, relationships/marriage, health/fitness? If the answer to the last question is yes, what's stopping you? What is stopping you?

Let me say that again a different way, if you knew you could not fail and money was irrelevant, what would your life look like?

That question was presented to me more than once today. When that happens, I know it is always a sign. It's a message that I need to spend some time acknowledging. It's an easy question to answer if you allow yourself to have an open heart to possibilities. If you allow yourself to open up to dreams. But if your heart is not open, you might miss the whole point! I find that so many people are so busy "settling" that they don't even want to let themselves ponder these questions. It's too painful because their dreams are buried so deep it will take heavy duty machinery to excavate their broken dreams.

What is it that you want? What excites you about this life? What is your passion? What is your contribution and purpose on this planet? Ask a child what gifts they want for their birthday and they will spout off a long list! Ask an average, hard working adult what they want and you might think you are looking at a deer in the headlights!

God made us in his image to do amazing things. What is holding you back from stepping into your greatness?

Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. ~Ephesians 5:14.

That's right...tonight is your wake up call! You can't fail, because God didn't design you to fail. So what is it that your life looks like without the sleeping mask of mediocrity? Wake up and shine!

Love and Prayers,

Thursday, August 1, 2013

You're Going to Want to Give Up

I was just visiting with a friend  today about how you can often see vividly where you want to be with regard to a goal, and yet it can be hard to stand in peace with where you are at currently. The gap can seem so wide. We judge ourselves based on a comparison to some final future destination. The truth is that it is one of the normal challenges of aspiring to become something more. Where we are, is never quite enough, and the gap between where we are and where we want to be can seem so wide.  Even though we may be closer than we realize.

That's the thing about transformation. There are times that your journey can feel really hard. You may question whether it is worth it. You may wonder if you are ever going to reach your destination.  The truth is that change is not meant to be easy. Change is always met by resistance. But the net result of change can be so very worth it in the long run.

Transformation also requires getting uncomfortable. Losing weight requires a little bit of exercise and sweat. Rebuilding a relationship requires some truthful, perhaps painful conversations. Building or rebuilding a career or business may require admission of mistakes and making shifts in new directions or trying new things. The game plan calls for getting out of your comfort zone. I love the illustration below because it shows that outside your comfort zone is exactly where the magic happens!

The truth is that once the novelty of a new goal or plan wears off and the destination hasn't been achieved, most people will lose faith and quit.  It can feel safer, easy, more comfortable to give up. At least you can say you tried, right? But what if you were only inches away from achieving your goal and you didn't know it? You would never know it if you quit.  Your miracle is coming, you just need to be patient and have faith. Miracles don't happen based on your watch. They happen based on God's watch.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven ~Ecclesiastes 3:1
Love and Prayers,