Please Accept Me~

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I always wince whenever I reflect on my Jr. High years. I was taller than most of the girls, skinny legs and broad hips while many of my fellow students were short, cute, and probably a size 2 to my size 8! (At least the ones that I was envious of!).

I can easily recall how it felt to wonder where I actually fit in, who would I sit with for lunch, or even more challenging; who would I hang out with during that long “recess” after lunch. I am certain that I compensated by acting confident but inside I was insecure.

I am the middle child of 6 girls in my family so I may have had a bit of “middle child syndrome” but if I ponder those years for too long I can actually feel my body tense up even today! We all want to belong, to matter, to be wanted, and to be valued. This is part of our human nature.

Tonight I gave myself the gift of watching the movie “Wonder”. A story of a boy entering Jr. High for the first time in public school; he has a noticeable facial deformity that makes his experience 100% worse than anything I ever experienced. He endures, matures, and ultimately makes a difference in the school environment but it was a painful reminder of the powerful impact of rejection. Brought me to tears.

Haven’t we all experienced a lack of acceptance one time or another? Haven’t we all felt unsure of where we fit from time to time? Of course we have! Seeing it again tonight reminded me again how important it is for us to be empathetic and mindful when we see someone who is isolated or struggling to fit in; perhaps we can make a real difference in their life!

The holiday season can be especially hard for those who feel disconnected. Perhaps we could all up our game and be watchful and responsive if God taps our shoulder asking us to find a way to be inclusive. We all want to matter.

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We can lead better!

Dianna Salciccioli

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The idea of being on a church staff was thrill to my 26 year old self. My husband and I could spend all of our time loving on people and helping them come to a place where they understood how much God loved them and also how great the sacrifice Christ had made for us all so that we could be forgiven! What an amazing calling!!

And then reality set in, a bit of a wake-up call for our young, passion-filled hearts! There were times when we got behind the leadership veil we saw ego, arrogance, and manipulation.   We were so confused as we truly believed those who “followed” God’s calling would always be mindful of their treatment of people; they would be kinder and more gracious than others.  But, unfortunately it was not always so and good people were damaged as a result.

THIS is why we originally began…

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We can lead better!

 

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The idea of being on a church staff was thrill to my 26 year old self. My husband and I could spend all of our time loving on people and helping them come to a place where they understood how much God loved them and also how great the sacrifice Christ had made for us all so that we could be forgiven! What an amazing calling!!

And then reality set in, a bit of a wake-up call for our young, passion-filled hearts! There were times when we got behind the leadership veil we saw ego, arrogance, and manipulation.   We were so confused as we truly believed those who “followed” God’s calling would always be mindful of their treatment of people; they would be kinder and more gracious than others.  But, unfortunately it was not always so and good people were damaged as a result.

THIS is why we originally began coaching ministry leaders, we were and are passionate about helping them lead and finish well—having a positive impact, and leaving a legacy of faithfulness, goodness, and generosity.

In  recent days we have watched another precious leader have his integrity challenged and legacy deterred. Arrogant leaders have displaced him and, frankly, we are so grieved. Character assassination is a dangerous tool of the enemy, unfortunately some leaders fall prey to its temptation.

As leaders we can do better, we must do better because the “fall-out” from self serving leadership is so harmful for the Body of Christ.  It’s a little like trying to put feathers back into a feather pillowcase ~ you can’t re-gather them all, the harm is done.

Jeremiah 9:24 “ ‘…but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”

 

Crashing off the Pedestal~

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Ever found yourself putting people you admire on a pedestal – and then face the inevitable, crashing disappointment when they fail to live up to expectations?

When I was a little girl I can remember looking up to so many people with incredible admiration; they didn’t have to do much to gain that admiration either! I was a little girl with a high “believability”  in people.   From the President of the United States, our church pastor, my schoolteacher, to singers on the radio, I found myself putting them on a pedestal; they could do no wrong. Ah, the naiveté of childhood!

As I got a little older I can vividly remember when some of my “pedestaled heroes” began to reveal their true behaviors and this truly devastated me. My expectations and admiration were all based on what I believed to be true about them. For example, I remember when my perfect third grade teacher lost her temper while talking to her colleague in the hallway outside the classroom and cursed like a sailor~ I was just around the corner and heard every word!   Within an instant her pedestal began to crumble!

Growing up meant realizing that all people are humans with flaws and shortcomings. The truth is that it is actually much healthier to live life understanding that we all have areas that keep us humble every day. As much as I loved imagining people without flaws it’s just not who we, as humans, truly are. Because of this we all need people in our lives who know us, stand with us, challenge us, and support us when we come crashing off the pedestals we, or others have placed us on.

 

At the end of the day, Pedestals are for statues, not humans.

Build Your Family with the End in Mind~

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Last week our Coachwell Team attended the Bend Venture Conference; it was a wealth of information! Part of the event was a seminar entitled “Build Your Company With the End in Mind”   It was so good to talk about making decisions in your company as early as possible with your team to set a course that will your team fired up and committed to the legacy you desire to build.

As I was pondering the statements that had been made concerning how to “begin” a legacy company my mind wandered into realizing that this challenge is the same with our families! Do we truly even think about the “end” as we are busy building our precious families?

What if we built our families with the end in mind?

How would that change the choices you would make with your family today?

Let’s consider a few scenarios:

If you want to be a family who are known for compassion you would need to regularly, as a family, become involved with situations where compassion needs to be applied. Food kitchens, homeless shelters, homes for unwed mothers, and helping your elderly neighbors would be just a few ways you could invite your children to “learn” the beauty of compassion right alongside you.

How about wanting to build a legacy as a family of givers?   I imagine you would want to engage your entire family early on in tithing, missions giving, random acts of financial giving, and financially helping in your local community projects.  There are so many ways to help! Often parents give without their children being involved in the process at all.

I can remember at Christmas every year my parents would gather we girls together and we would use some of our own small coins along with our parents finances to build a special box for our very poor neighbors down the street.  My parents even had us give a piece of our own clothing for the box.  Every Christmas eve we quietly drove to the house and left the box on the front porch to surprise them in the morning.  Believe it or not this was a real joy-filled experience for us all and it helped us tangibly learn to be givers.

Is there something(s) that you can begin to engage your family in together to create a legacy; with the end in mind?

Take a few minutes! If you consider what it means to “build your family with the end in mind” then determine what that “end” is and  begin building that into the DNA of your family life even now! It’s never to late to start!!

Happy Building!

The Weekend That Got Away~

 

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The weekend was going to be great! Temperatures were rising and sunshine was on the menu! Our son and daughter in law would be coming from Portland with our granddaughter in tow! This meant our entire family would get to spend this lovely weekend together making fresh memories among the Fall colors!! I was so excited.

Everyone arrived and after sharing a sweet meal and laughter together I began to feel it—-it started in my throat and within hours I was experiencing chills; It got worse from there. There went my best laid plans! I spent the remainder of the weekend in bed making certain I didn’t pass my “bug” onto my precious grandchildren.

For 2 days I listened to giggles and playfulness, books being read and songs being sung while I lay sequestered away!! This was not how I planned this weekend to go!! My heart broke every time I heard tiny voices say “ is Mimi sick?” where is Mimi?” I kind of had a pity party.

I had extra time to think while I lay there listening to tiny voices downstairs and I thanked the Lord for the precious gifts in my life. My heart swelled as I was reminded again of what truly matters ~ the people God has given me to love.

While I will always refer to the past weekend as the “One that Got Away” I am deeply grateful for the reminder of the gift of family.

Defying Limitations!

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After a wonderful church service yesterday our family made our way to a meet and great area of our church; coffee, tea, and snacks. This is designed for folks to interact between or before the service they have attended. Somewhere within a 15 minute period I turned and saw my one year old grandson Holden looking quite fascinated with a lovely woman in a wheelchair, minutes later his sister Scout joined him as this lovely, kind woman began to talk with our little ones in loving tones and kind gestures. I was fascinated by seeing that what drew them to her was the wheelchair, what kept them there was just who she was. This lovely woman didn’t appear to act like she saw her wheelchair as if it was a limitation.

It’s been almost 10 years now since I worked part-time at a wonderful local Athletic Club in my hometown; within the building there was a well-run Physical Therapy practice.   Jordan was my friend; he came into the club 2 times a week to do swim therapy in the indoor pool. Jordan was a quadriplegic and his wheelchair would forever be his mode of transportation.  Jordan was so kind, so funny, so motivated to live a normal life. I remember watching him faithfully ride the local bus to the Club, being lowered into the pool and making every effort to stretch and move his tight muscles. Jordan worked a full-time job at our local theater taking tickets and welcoming those who attended; he did it all from his wheelchair. I was especially intrigued when he excitedly shared with me that he had just won a Bocce Ball tournament in another city!! Bocce Ball in a wheelchair? I am convinced that Jordan did not see his wheelchair as a limitation.

My precious mother is in her 80’s and she is not only an amazing woman, she is a gifted artist.  Because she is so passionate about art she has spent well over 20 years teaching children and adults to find their inner artist.  My mother also has Scoliosis and is in pain every single  day.  She never whines.  Week after week she prepares her studio for her students: setting up art supplies and cleaning up after all of her budding artists.  She could easily quit and most people with that kind of chronic pain probably would.  I can see that my mother has not allowed her limitations to stand in the way of her passion.

How often do we limit ourselves to do or be all we can be? How often do we see our challenges as overwhelming and we simply give up on our dreams? How often do we say “no” when , if we had some real fire in our bellies, we could achieve so many impacting things without letting our limitations take us out of the game!!

Do we give up too easily? Do our limitations overwhelm us or convince us we cannot continue to challenge ourselves and grow? To be honest I really think many of us do.

Can you think back to stories you have heard of people who have faced incredible adversity: loss of limbs, finances, family, home, or health and have persevered and caused you to tear up when you hear their brave, triumphant story? Haven’t you walked away thoroughly inspired?

What is your limitation? What stops you from pressing forward in your life? Do you think you might be giving in too easily? Do you think you might be lacking tenacity and perseverance to run your race with all your might? If so, what can you change today? How can you get fired up to move beyond those things that have held you back?

I encourage you to take a fresh look at your challenges. I encourage you to be brave and move forward in spite of them. I encourage you to live in fresh freedom!

“Only acknowledge your limitations for the purpose of overcoming them!”

Randy Gage

We have choices to make~

 

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Can I be honest? There are a lot of sad and disruptive events taking place these days. There truly are concerns that have many people feeling unsettled and uncertain about their world, their leaders, and their futures. I have talked to many of them; they are feeling overwhelmed, feeling sad. There are days when I do as well.

Disheartening events impact us on every level: thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Violence inspires worry, fear, and anxiety. The anxiety created by current events is all-encompassing and can keep us from living fully. And that is my concern. Having such increased social media and television shows/Books that mirror the events in our world only make it more challenging to come up for air!

What steps can we take to help ourselves or those we care about to redirect their anxieties and use that energy in a fruitful, impacting way? Is there anything tangible that we can do? Well, what we know about fear and anxiety is that underneath it all is a lack of feeling a sense of control; being left at the effect of someone’s leadership choices, weather events, or other disruptive situations.

We cannot control all those factors but we can control a number of choices we make that would calm our concerns and build purpose in our lives. We can make some life changes that would give us peace in the midst of uncertain days.

First and foremost, find a place of worship.   Knowing that we have a God who is incredibly mindful of us, taking time to pray about the concerns in our hearts, and locking arms with others of strong faith will make an surprising and powerful difference in how you see the world.

Limit (I mean really limit) social media. By saying this I am not saying that we put our heads in the sand but seeing news stories over and over again is unhealthy. We know for sure that what the media reports is a steady diet of what is going wrong; we rarely hear a story of what’s going right. Do a daily “flyover” but try not to make social media a steady diet.

Keep a gratefulness journal each day. What went right? Where was kindness shown? Who did I help?  What made me laugh?  When we commit to looking for the good in each day it can literally change the way we see our circumstances.

Do something good for others. Give your time where you can impact your community in a positive way! No, we cannot change the whole world but we can make a difference in the community around us.

Always be sure to spend time with life-giving people; family and friends. Talk about things you can celebrate, appreciate, and enjoy. Try to stay out of a host of doomsday conversations; rather ignite hope and vision in one another.

Again, we cannot control all the elements in our world but we can take back control of how we choose to live and navigate our lives and behaviors!  Choose well, choose hope.

 

 I have told you these things so you may have peace in Me. In the world you will have much trouble. But take hope! I have power over the world!” John 16:33

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

You just might need a Coach!

 

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Being seen and heard by someone is very powerful and profound. Having a life coach to support, guide, and teach you on a regular basis is empowering, inspiring, and one of the best decisions you can make if you want to move forward into fresh places in your life and career. Simply put~~ we get stuck.

Having a safe place to land bi-weekly call, having a coach guiding and supporting you through your challenges, heartaches, and successes can be incredibly helpful and freeing. Your coach should cause you to feel safe and empowered. If you are unclear and afraid of the unknown, you won’t take actions to make necessary changes unless you trust your coach. Make sure you find a coach with your best interest in mind, one who is trustworthy, and has enough confidence to help you to move into new territory.

When you start to make changes in your life, it feels exciting and uplifting but also scary and unfamiliar. This might be when you start to sabotage yourself; sometimes the unfamiliar territory can be a little bit scary and we want to run back to what we have always done! If you have a brave and inspiring coach by your side you will be able to make fresh changes, even when if feels a bit scary  your coach will keep your eyes on the end goals you have desired!

Your coach will understand the challenge of change. They lead the way for you to have the greatest success. A coach will spot your self-sabotaging patterns quickly, so you can stop tripping yourself up and move forward with renewed confidence.

You may not take yourself as far as you can go on your own. And just like the good intentions of getting a gym membership to become and/or stay healthy and fit, your intentions  to make needed changes will often fail when you begin to move out of your comfort zone.  Having a coach who is trained to help you create clarity for your vision and spot your reactionary patterns will enable you to make the changes necessary for the results you have been dreaming of!

If you have invited a skilled coach into your life they will celebrate with you and make sure that you recognize and cherish every success along the way.  You most likely don’t take time to realize your accomplishments and successes! You might overlook what you have accomplished and your coach will take note of every change you make along the way!

Finding the right coach for you could change your life! Having outside insight can bring you closer to your hopes and dreams. I know, as a woman who has been coached in a pivotal season…..If I’d have know how to change my life on my own I’d have done it! I needed a guide, a cheerleader, and a safe place to land in order to grow.

Could this be your season?

https://www.coachwell.com/

Angels and Airbags~

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I have always wondered what it would be like. I have always been cautiously curious about what a person experiences in a significant car accident. Other than a few fender benders in my life I’ve been incredibly fortunate that I’ve never gotten the chance to explore my curiosity, until last week.

We had done all the right things to be sure that we were traveling safe as we drove over the pass to see family on the 4th of July.  Most of the traffic was heading towards our hometown so as we headed out we could see that traffic in our direction was smooth sailing. The days spent with family were truly treasured days; we don’t regret having made the effort.

We headed home as a reasonable hour; making sure we would have daylight for our entire ride home. Thirty minutes into our drive we could see that there were a great deal of folks making their way home from the Central Oregon area after having enjoyed hearty celebrations there. My husband and I had just discussed the fact that we would need to really watch how others are driving as they were coming fast and way too close together.

Then it happened.   The driver of a large truck had been distracted by something he saw along the road. This distraction caused him to fail to see that the car in front of him had put on their breaks. In a knee-jerk reaction the driver over-corrected and plowed straight into our vehicle at 55 miles an hour. I saw the truck, let out a scream, there was impact, and airbags deployed which felt like having lightning strike right in front of us. Windows broke, smoke flooded our car, and we scrambled to safely get out of the car on the only side that was usable at this point.

As I stood shaking alongside the road I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I watched my husband make his way out of our vehicle and it was obvious that he had some injuries and was in a daze. Within minutes the paramedics and police came to our rescue. It all seemed very surreal. The driver of the oncoming vehicle had crashed into a ditch alongside the road behind us; his truck was totaled due to the impact as well but gratefully, he was not injured.

I stood off to the side as a flurry of helpers and well-wishers made incredibly kind efforts to support us; my husband had sustained the major portion of the impact and so it was vital he had the paramedics working with him. Now I know what it feels like to experience a significant car crash; to be in a setting where you have absolutely no control. If someone were to ask me what my thoughts were in those few seconds as I watched this oncoming vehicle slam into our truck, I would say there was just an odd sense of quiet. A sense of helplessness without the sense that this was something I could fight.

Many folks have faced various car incidents and I am so grateful that Greg and I did not sustain the kind of injuries so many others have had to endure. Bumps, bruises, and strange new pains are the extent of our woes ( and the loss of a new well-loved and well-used truck).  It could have been much worse.

Here’s the piece of the story that has left me asking the right questions. It could have been much worse; we could have perished. That begs the question “what would I have regretted?” What would I have wished I had made a priority? “ Where would I have wished I had put the bulk of my time knowing that day could have been my last?” For me, there were numerous areas of priorities that I have worked hard to keep over the last few years, people who I’ve kept at the top of my “to do” list, and activities I have maintained that I felt happy about. Most people in my life would not have to second-guess how I feel about them but I am sure I could do better at this.

As I look at this accident in hindsight I am filled with gratefulness that our lives were spared, the other driver included. I am grateful for the help we received. I am grateful that there “just happened” to be a turnout right where there was impact and we were able to get off the fast-moving highway. I am mostly grateful, however, for another chance to take a good look at my life and once again, evaluate my key Life Accounts, priorities, and the use of my time and talents.

Certainly, I’d love nothing else than to never have to experience this ever again; I am not longer curious. My hope, in sharing this blow-by-blow narrative, is that you might grab this opportunity to evaluate your life. Where might you have regrets? What ought you change today? Who needs to know how you feel about them?

We went from calmly driving while listening to 70’s music to being slammed by airbags in a period of seconds! No warning!   Life can change just that fast; let’s use the time we’ve been given to build a legacy of love and impact; no regrets!

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