Where’s your Joy?~

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Lose anything lately?  Car keys? Glasses? Credit card?  It is so easy to lose “stuff” isn’t it?  However, according to Pastor Rick Warren “The easiest thing of all to lose is your joy. You can lose it with one phone call or email, a letter or conversation. You can watch a commercial or the news on TV and lose your joy. It’s the easiest thing in the world to lose.”  Have you been losing your joy and if you have, is it possible to get it back?

I say “yes”, but I think it’s important to figure out what’s stealing your joy before you can regain it. What’s diminishes joy in your life?  I will give you a few suggestions to consider:

What are you reading, watching or listening to regularly?

Are you constantly absorbed with negative news, rants on Facebook, or sad songs?  If we have a steady diet of things that create negative emotions within us we will begin to see our joy slip away.  I love the scripture verse that says “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Philippians 4:8   Perhaps it’s time to redirect your focus to new input that encourages and inspires you.

How do you talk to yourself?

I have often said that “there are times in my life that I have spoken to myself in ways that I would never allow anyone to talk to me.”

What you tell yourself about yourself, others and everything that happens to you will determine how you feel.  We can be so harsh with ourselves. Take a little time and observe the stories you tell yourself about yourself.  Are your words life-giving or do your words regularly steal your joy? Perhaps it’s time to turn your words around realizing it’s time to apply kindness to yourself in the same way you freely show kindness to others.

Are you walking in fear?

Are you facing uncertainties and challenges that have caused you to become fearful and anxious?  Fear and anxiety are joy robbers for certain.   There are uncertainties in life, the daily news can create situations that heighten our fears, however, if we get stuck in our fears we will lose our joy only every time!  Perhaps there are some activities you can add to your calendar that will lift you from a fear-filled place to a hope-filled place:  talk your fears through with someone life-giving, exercise, pray, volunteer your time, or do something artistic. Engaging in activities that help you “get out of your head” can help lessen your level of fear and anxiety.

How’s your health?

Do you wake up refreshed? How’s your energy level? Are you proactive in taking care of yourself?  Not feeling well, not feeling energetic, or simply feeling out of shape can affect your joy.  Perhaps it’s time to make some adjustments in your lifestyle.  Do you need to laugh and play more often?  Do you need to add exercise to your daily routine? Time to prepare meals with better nutrition and take a break from fast foods for a while? Take small steps in a fresh direction and celebrate each small win! Not only will you feel better, you will feel better about yourself which can bring you renewed joy.

Joy comes from within us.   The aim is to navigate those things rob us from expressing our joy.   Joy is not happiness’. Joy is something deeper. Joy is a choice we make every day.  Joy, real joy, weathers the challenges and changes in our lives.  Guard it well.

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7 Tips to Make This A Great Week

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Well Monday is here again. While this ,of course, means the weekend is over, it also means a new week of unlimited potential lies ahead. The following are 7 ideas that will help you have a happy, productive and meaningful week:

  1. Set Goals

Ideally on Sunday I will take some time to review the week ahead.

Do I have my priorities already placed on my calendar?

Have I gotten confirmations on key meetings for the week?

Do I have my food planned ahead?

When will I exercise?

What is the most important goal for the week ahead?

  1. Get the Most Out of Every Day

This may sound like a cliché, but each and every day is a gift.. Be inspired. Live with vitality. Enjoy life every day.

What cup filling activity will I choose this week?

Where can I “give back” this week in my community?

  1. Do That Thing You Are Resisting

Almost everyone has at least one thing that they are resisting. What is that activity that causes you to sigh every time it comes to mind? Perhaps it is fixing something around the house, making an important phone call or re-starting the exercise habit. Start that thing this week and you will be sure to feel as if you have accomplished something this week.

  1. Nurture Your Relationships

I truly believe that happiness is highly dependent on the quality of our relationships with other people. So be committed to nurturing these relationships. Here are some quick ideas how:

Love on your family and friends. Treat those you love with kindness no matter how tired you may be.

Pick up the Phone: email is great, but make a point this week to call someone who you have been missing.

Meet a friend for lunch: do you have a friend that seems to have fallen off the side of the Earth? Invite them out to lunch and catch up on everything you have missed.

Remember birthdays: make a point to remember important dates, such as birthdays, anniversary’s, and even points of success. (Tip: Facebook is great for looking ahead to find out the birthdays of your friends and colleague’s.)

  1. Stretch Yourself

Stretch yourself by trying something new this week! What could be fun and challenging? What have you always been afraid to you?

  1. Be Disciplined

Starting the week by setting. If you struggle with self-discipline I suggest you keep your plans in front of you and look at them each day determined to stay on task—getting someone to keep you accountable is also very ,very helpful!

  1. Make a Difference

This week commit to making a positive difference in the world. Even the following small actions can make a big difference in the life of another person and/ or the world:

  • Buy lunch a homeless person.
  • Show kindness to everyone who serves you: grocery, car wash, gym, etc.
  • Volunteer your time for a good cause! Read for elementary school kids, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, there are so many causes that could use a little time from you.

How are you going to make this a great week?

I watched The Shack~

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When I mention the new movie “The Shack” I get mixed responses. Back when the book came out I never took the opportunity to read it; life was just so busy at the time. Nevertheless, people I loved and respected both loved it and disliked it.

When my girlfriend asked me to watch the movie with her I was intrigued by all that I had heard; allegory or a literal representation of God? It was time to find out.

When The Shack was originally written my life had been a series of wonderful blessings, challenging situations, hurtful experiences, sadness’s, great joys and blessing: a real mix.   Having now seen the movie I believe I would have been deeply moved in so many ways yet it may have lacked a deeply personal response from me at that time.

It’s been over 5 years since an angry, ruthless, greedy individual stole my precious nephew’s life; snuffed out in the prime of life. Christopher was/is dearly loved. Never forgotten.   The perpetrator has yet to go to court; Christopher’s’ body has yet to be found.

In the first few months after losing him I used running as an avenue to process and “work out” the angst in my soul. “WHY GOD?? You could have saved his life, protected him, kept him from harm!!! Where were you??”   My trust in God was challenged, believing in all I was told He was – love, protecting, caring was turned to disbelief. I ran and ran and ran; all the while shaking my fist at what I didn’t and couldn’t understand.

One day, while running, I dropped on my face in a grass field tired of the battle, tired of trying to understand, and heavy with the deepest grief I had ever experienced. When I got still I heard God whisper to my heart “My shoulders are big enough for your grief and questions. I need you to be prepared to forgive in order to feel whole again.” I sat there for over an hour pondering His words and questioning the latter…forgive???

Back to the movie; seeing it now after walking through such deep sorrow, going from anger to sadness and grief, to asking questions, rebuilding trust in the One who formed and knew Christopher, to learning to forgive ( sometimes daily); the impact of the movie struck me deeply in this single paragraph:

“Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies.  Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes.  That will only lead you to false notions about me.  Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors. Evil exists, broken people exist, wounded people exist and make devastating choices. These are not acts that I coordinate but I will work for good what evil sought to destroy.” The Shack

As I exited the theater I could feel the tears welling, first in my throat and quickly to my eyes as I began to ponder those words and their impact on me in this season of my life.

I settled myself in my car, sitting there in the silence listening to the wind outside. Out of nowhere I began to sob from my soul, more grief finding a way out!   The words had reminded me that God didn’t cause my pain and that he was there at every moment to help and heal my soul and the soul of my entire family. Forgiveness is for me. Forgiveness sets me free from bitterness; forgiveness keeps my eyes on Christ while knowing full well that it doesn’t minimize the perpetrators guilt.

I am confident and long for the day when my entire family will celebrate a grand reunion with Christopher; what a day that will be!! Until then I will fight to forgive and grow even stronger in my faith that God is good, God is faithful, and God will never leave me nor forsake me.

Revelation 21:4  “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

When it gets Toxic~

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Toxic people defy logic.

According to Travis Bradbury, Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, ” Toxic people are blissfully unaware  of the negative impact they have on those around them and often times they thrive on creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way they create unnecessary strife and worst of all stress!”

Most people have known or worked with (or are related to) someone who just seems to spread negativity everywhere. Examples include a work associate who constantly complains about how poorly the company is run or a friend who can never seem to see the good in anything (and who never hesitates to tell you all about it). These are the toxic people in your life.

After a conversation with a toxic person, your mood probably will be lower.  Does this bring anyone or any situation to mind?

So how do you spot a toxic person?

Do you know someone who always make brings you down? Think about this person. Is he or she a complainer? Someone who always expects things to go wrong? Someone who constantly finds fault with you and others? Does he or she always seem more cheerful once they’ve gotten their frustrations off their chest and into your ear?

If any one or more of these is true, you likely interacting with a toxic person.

Truly, if that toxic person (people) are family members and friends, it’s likely to be more difficult to avoid challenging interactions altogether. We all rub shoulders with toxic people.  So, we have some choices to make!  Do we allow ourselves to be silent sufferers under the weight of their regular negativity? OR do we learn to navigate them wisely as to protect and preserve our own emotional health and well-being?  If you choose the latter, here are a few tips:

Set limits on time and proximity with a toxic person, have boundaries. – A toxic person wants you to listen to them and often we do because we don’t want to be rude, but there is a fine line between being sympathetic and getting sucked into their emotional vortex.  Travis Bradbury uses the example that “IF the toxic person were smoking would you stay there and breathe in their 2nd hand smoke?  Of course not, we would all find away to excuse ourselves as quickly as possible!! ”  We should use that same urgency with toxic people.

Keep your EQ (ability to rise above) high when interacting with toxic people. – Toxic people tend to be reactive and emotionally irrational. They may have a need to win every verbal battle and find it pleasurable when they can see they’ve brought you down to their level. Rise above!!  Is this really a battleground you want to die on? Is this an argument worth winning? Walk away from the chaos before getting sucked into their negative dialogue.

Don’t let toxic people limit your Joy! – When toxic people see “boats rise”, when they see ongoing success and joy in others they often become opinionated, sarcastic, or just simply negative. Don’t let them steal your joy from you!  That age-old term “consider the source” would apply here!  In times of celebration surround yourself with life-giving people who are for you!! Call in the troops!! But never allow a toxic person to have the power in your life to squelch your joy!

Lastly, be kind. – we all have a story and I have learned one thing to be true about toxic people,  many of them have a mountain of baggage, disappointment, and rejection hooked to their souls like a ball and chain.  YES, we need boundaries, YES, we need to stay out of toxic conversations, and YES we need to not allow them to steal our joy…..but showing grace and kindness may give a toxic person something to ponder.  It’s possible!

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What’s Your Bigger Purpose?

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As we all know, life seems to be moving forward at a break-neck speed, right? Our lives are so busy with our families, our jobs, our heroic attempts at taking care of ourselves, volunteering, shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc.! Whew!! Often times we live with our heads down, focusing on what is necessary “right now”!

Caring for our families, our communities, and ourselves is a very valuable and necessary use of our time; yet do you ever feel a longing to be a part of something bigger than yourself?  Something with lasting impact that reaches beyond your present responsibilities? Something with a deep sense of rich legacy?

There are impacting people in my own community who live their lives with a greater purpose in mind daily. These women are an example of what I’m discussing in this post.

Nita Belles raised her family well, has been faithful to her church, friends, and community. Yet, when she saw the plight of those caught in the horrific effects of human trafficking; she knew she had to step into the ring and make a difference. I’m certain she was already busy in her day-to-day life but she took her passion, made room in her life and became a champion against Human Trafficking. She’s having enormous impact. This is Nita’s Bigger Purpose!          http://www.inourbackyard.org

Heather Nashelle, raising her 6 children while designing jewelry and working hard to build a business and a brand, began to recognize that she could use her passions and concerns to make a huge impact on hunger in her community. Heather decided that for every piece of jewelry purchased a meal is provided for a child. The amount of meals she has provided is astounding! Also from her platform Heather began to teach students to resist bullying, showed them how to make jewelry (one for them and a gift for another), as well as speaking to these young ones about their value and possibilities. Heather continues to be invited into public schools throughout her community and she is presently partnering with more agencies that are also concerned about hunger in our community. Heather’s  impact is enormous.  This is Heather’s Bigger Purpose!   http://www.nashelle.com

You probably have hero’s of your own that inspire you with their passionate thinking and their willingness to step into the ring to make a difference. What drives them? What drives you?

As a young mama the thought of an “extra” involvement might have been more than I could have navigated and yet, in hindsight, I now realize that it didn’t have to be an all or nothing situation! I now know that in the different seasons of life my involvements may look different but I can always have impact! Here are some of the create ways to make a difference:

  1. Pray.
  2. Donate food, clothing, finances.
  3. Volunteer (even in small amounts) to support your area of passion.
  4. Babysit so that someone else can volunteer.
  5. Use Social Media to make others aware of the area of passion/non-profit that has gripped your heart in this season of life.

As you can see, there are diverse ways to make a difference in that Bigger Purpose in your life!

So, what moves your heart? What makes you cry? What causes you concern? What drives you to prayer? What is your “Bigger Purpose”?  What can you bravely step creatively into so that you can help bring awareness, change, and hope?

Recently, I stepped onto the Board of Habitat for Humanity in Bend, Oregon. It was a year ago that I was invited to become involved in small ways with the non-profit; I took time to learn, engage with those who presently served, and got to see the impact they had on the lives of families who, outside of the assistance of Habitat for Humanity, would never stand the chance of having a house of their own! I cannot build a house, I cannot be on the finance committee, but I can do something…and so I am! This has become my “Bigger Purpose” in this season of my life!   http://www.bendhabitat.org

 

What’s your Bigger Purpose?

When I see the Handwriting~

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Just recently I took some time to rearrange my office to make a portion of the room into a tiny bedroom for my growing granddaughters. As I rearranged furniture, removed excess books and craft materials, I came across a large box that has followed the every time I have moved; a box that is precious to me.

Sitting down with the box in my lap I began to spill the contents onto the floor ~ cards and letters saved from the time I was in High School until now.  As I looked over the different birthday cards, cards of congratulations, Just thinking of you cards, and Get well encouragements the thing that drew me to instant tears was the unique and special handwriting I had loved and now cherish from those who have played such key roles in my life.

Reading through the written thoughts of my Grandma Eva, My “Nanny”, incredible encouragements from my dad and from my mom, my sisters, my husband, my sons and their brides; I would know their handwriting anywhere. What had been meaningful before has now become priceless as some have passed away.  I am so grateful that I keep that box of every growing kindnesses.

In this busy day and age it is so much “easier” to send an encouragement or holiday  wish by texting, emailing, and Facebook messaging.  It is easier for certain but those messages, though perhaps rich in content, will lack part of what makes you “YOU” ~your personal handwriting!

I don’t expect everyone to save every card or letter I have ever sent but I do hope that as I get older that when my children or grandchildren will open a box they might be saving they will see my handwriting and will be flooded with memories.  I hope they will be reminded of the love and care I try to pour into their lives every; I pray that the wild flourish in my writing will make them smile.

Have you ever looked through a box of old cards and letter?  Have you seen the handwriting of someone dear to you?  Did it move you emotionally?  If so, grab a pad and paper or buy card; send your handwritten encouragement  out today!  Don’t lose what represents “YOU” ~~~ Your Handwriting!

“In the days of oversimplified communication, receiving a “just to say hi” email can feel like a big deal. So imagine the powerful message you convey when you actually write out your thoughts for another person by hand, purchase a stamp, physically deliver your note to a mailbox and wait days for your special someone to receive it. Their beaming smile at your thoughtfulness will say it all. ”

Alena Hall, Huffington Post

For Better or For Worse~

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When we were graduating college students, preparing to get married over the summer, we engaged in a solid Pre-Marriage course at our university.  The leader addressed all the hard questions to which we responded with twitterpated eyes, ” yes, we understand, but we won’t struggle with “that”. When our wedding day arrived Greg looked so handsome and I felt like a beauty queen in the wedding dress my mother had made.  Towards the end of the ceremony the pastor asked if I would marry Greg “For Better or For Worse”.  I think I probably giggled and said an emphatic “Yes!”

On the front side of a committed relationship we cannot imaging not seeing eye to eye, we can’t envision hurting one another or experiencing extreme challenge; it’s just not a reality we had come to experience at that point in our relationship.

However, the “For Better or For Worse” is the most important sentence in the traditional wedding vows!  For Greg and I, we experienced being very poor, getting pregnant 3 months after being married, moving 7 times in 5 years, health issues, and relational strife.  The reality of what “For Better or For Worse” began to sink in.

Greg and I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by incredible friends and family who were “for ” us in every way; even if that meant speaking the truth to us directly. After 16 years we knew we had hit a challenge we couldn’t fix on our own. Could we navigate this “For Better or For Worse” or would we crumble under the weight of our relational challenges?  We had to decide we were going to work, and work hard to be faithful to those words we had committed to so many years before.

IF we had given up and thrown in the towel during those most challenging times we would have missed the incredibly precious season we are experiencing now.  It would have been so very sad!

Greg and I had to learn new skills to appreciate our differences, learn to communicate and know that we were heard, and we needed to check in with each other asking key questions to help us begin to protect and care for our relationship.  I want to share a couple with you:

  1.  Take time every week to sit together in a quiet place ( before you are exhausted by the  day) and ask one another these three questions:   A.  This week did you feel loved by me?  B. This week did you feel that I truly listened to you?  C.  This week did you feel respected by me?   IF you will answer honestly letting your partner know how you feel and what you need from them you WILL grow closer!  It’s a commitment that will rock your relationship!
  2. Learn Active Listening!  So much of our interaction at home is impacted by kids, TV, Phones, Computers, Sports, Etc.   It’s so easy to assume we have had a good conversation and yet, no one really paid close attention to what each other said.  We assumed we have passed on information well only to find out that you may not have.  Ever heard your partner say this,:  ” Did you ever tell me that?”  😦  Active Listening is about sitting across from each other and while our partner is sharing we just listen and WRITE!  When they are done sharing the listener repeats what they’ve heard and asks of they have “gotten it”.  When there is agreement that the one partner has been heard~ SWITCH ~ and start the process over with the one who was listening before!  Sounds a bit intimidating and new but it will revolutionize your relationship!
  3. Make sure you have some shoulder to shoulder activities on the calendar: go to the gym, take in a movie, go to a cooking class, ride bikes or hike together, play cards, or just simply read books side by side while sipping on a favorite beverage. You need time to play, laugh, and have fresh experiences!

Certainly there are many tools to help build your relationship and to make it easier to navigate any of the ” For Better or For Worse” experiences you may have but these are a few we have found to be tried and true!

This Valentines Day- beyond the flowers, dinners, and chocolate- how about making a commitment to having a rock solid marriage to your Best Friend!

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”  Nicholas Sparks

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!

What’s Your Word for 2017?

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Words are powerful. Words can encourage us, give us clarity, and words can be a powerful catalyst for change in our lives.   What do you feel when I say “broken”,” hopeless”, or ” powerless”?  What do you feel when I say “impacting”, “empowered”, or “inspirational”?  Isn’t it amazing how words can actually have an emotional impact on us!

As a Coach I always like to ask my clients if they have a “word” for the year, a word that would serve as a laser beam to keep them on track with what they’d really like to accomplish or apply to their lives.

If you were asked to stop and consider a word for the coming year what might that word be?  If you look back over the past year; what you experienced and what you learned, and then you look toward the year ahead….what kind of person do you want to be? What actions do you want to apply? What is an area of needed growth?  What WORD could serve as a target for you in the days ahead?

Just to help you out, here’s a short list of a few words but please remember, there are so many amazing words and you are unique so I only list these to get you thinking!

Abundant, balanced, consistent, aligned, creative, free-spirited, gracious, glowing, healthy, honest, mindful, peaceful, radiant, impacting, spiritual, vibrant, motivated, spirited, positive, abiding, brave, committed, courageous, or goodness ~~ just to name a few.

What’s Your WORD for 2017? Choose Well!

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When a big storm hits~

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Snow!

Right around the Christmas holidays I was excited that the weather forecast was calling for snow! A white Christmas is always fun.  I remember numerous holidays where the weather was chilly, but no snow on the ground.

Christmas came and went–and the snow never stopped falling!  Schools closed, community services closed, roads were dangerous ~ the snow just kept falling!  Some folks lost electricity, others found it impossible to leave their homes due to unplowed roads leaving them stranded.

It is in these moments when we were all challenged on how “ready” we were for a storm of this nature.  Did we have food, water, candles, batteries, snow shovels, or even better a snow blower! Were our neighbors prepared, our family members, were our  Senior Citizens prepared and safe?

When a big storm hits it can be virtually impossible to gather all you need to be successful, sustainable, and safe ~ wisdom begs us to be prepared BEFORE the storm hits.

What about in real life?  Do you think it’s important to be prepared for “the storms of life” before they arrive?  Life happens to us all and it can catch us off guard.  How can we be ready to weather the challenge and discomfort of a “life storm”?

I believe that if we live our lives with routines of self-care, relational harmony, physical health, and spiritual wealth our capacity to face challenges, changes, and concerns with greater fortitude would be entirely possible.  When we are depleted and completely unprepared for the storms of life we can easily be battered to and fro in the waves of the storm.

We have just walked through the biggest snow season that our state has experienced in over 20 years.  It came without any “real” warning and it lasted much longer than any of us had anticipated.  As folks rushed out to buy space heaters, snow shovels, snow blowers, and other necessities AFTER the storm hit they were faced with the dilemma that stores had run out of all those items.

This can be a challenge in real life; we can’t effectively prepare for life storms once the storm hits but we can make choices to live a  proactive life where we apply wisdom to the rhythms, disciplines, and habits in our lives to keep us strengthened for when storms come; because they always do.

Are you ready for a life storm?  What are your successful practices?  What changes could you make to be positioned to face future challenges with strength?

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship”  Louisa May Alcott

Holidays didn’t go the way I had planned!

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Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I would find myself in the Emergency Room late at night the day after Christmas!  I had been experiencing sharp pains in my upper abdomen, right side, for four days but I brushed it off to the effect of a busy schedule, holiday foods, lots of lifting my precious grandchildren: I was sure it would go away “real soon”.   After four days the pain was really getting my attention!

After some discussion with my husband, he felt we ought to at least get it checked out so we headed for the Emergency Room.  The night didn’t unfold the way I had planned but rather it began a 2 night hospital stay with surgery to remover my gallbladder!  Seriously, not in my holiday plans!  I still had company at my house!!

After the surgery was complete and I enjoyed sweet visits, calls and responses from caring friends and family members, it was when I sent my husband home for the night that I lay there in the stillness of the hospital room surrounded with strange lights, beeps, and an occasional nurse coming in to check my blood pressure.   In the silence of that room I had an important opportunity to assess my life, to throw a wide gaze over my life and decide whether or not I am living the way I know is best in all my Life Accounts.

It’s interesting how vulnerable one can feel in a medical institution.  Being a patient is such a stark reality of how fast life (or health) can be taken.  In the Emergency Room when we arrived there had been numerous accidents on the icy streets of Bend.  A number of folks had passed away, numerous others were badly injured.  I couldn’t help but to be faced with the preciousness of “life”.

In the quite of my room I pondered the use of my time, my finances, my talents, and my energy.  I was forced to consider that if my situation had been more serious would I have had any regrets?  What would I change in the coming year?  How would I take better care of myself?  The opportunity to ponder my answers and make fresh committments was actually a gift to me.   Though I am not grateful for my gallbladder attack, I am grateful to have been given a little “wake up call”.

As a Life Coach I do try to live by the same values that I encourage my leaders to abide by: focus on health, priorities, relationships, self-care/growth, spiritual life, and being engaged in “cup-filling” activities.  However, it’s easy to say “well, this is just a busy season! I’ll get back to my good disciplines soon!”   And then one season runs into another and our busy, over-extended life becomes a life-style.  Right? We’ve all been there!

Having surgery was not even in my wheel-house of possibilities when I looked toward the coming holiday season; a total surprise!  With the help of amazing nurses (especially those precious gals who work the night shift) and caring and supportive family; I am on the mend.

As I assessed my life there were many areas that, frankly, I would not have changed; it felt good to lay there knowing that my family, friends, and colleagues do know that I care for them; they are a priority in my life and calendar.  Physically I need to be more mindful of myself and thus, I am putting key appointments on my calendar even now.  I always want to grow more in my relationship with God; as I lay there in the quiet I pondered all I still wanted to know and understand about God; I will dig deeper this year.

My opportunity to “take some time to ponder my life” was a little bit dramatic, but you have the chance to do the same as you enter this new year that is full of promise and possibilities!  Where are you in your key life accounts?  What’s lacking? What’s working?  Where do you want to be a year from now??  Take time to ponder these things by choice and not by a surprise crisis, as I experienced!

Wishing you a fruitful, impacting, balanced, healthy year ahead!

Happy New Year!