What if ?

life

Last summer Greg and I had the pleasure of sneaking off to Kauai for a little break before jumping into a very busy Fall. The news prior had been fairly disconcerting as there were headlines expressing that the Hawaiian Islands were an easy target for North Korean Missiles!! Greg and I even shared that we had some reservations about going.

The evening we arrive in the Princeville area we unloaded our groceries and proceeded to make a nice dinner to each on the lanai as the darkness began to settle in.   Fifteen minutes into our meal we say what we thought was a very big and very bright “falling star”. We both remarked how strange it appeared………..Five minutes later there was a quiet but huge explosion in the sky with white sparks flooding the sky right in front of us. Greg and I sat there frozen! Was this our worse fear? What had just happened? I quickly looked up the local news and there was nothing to be found. Had we just seen a missile?

The following morning it was announced that one of our military carriers had accomplished a “practice run” to see how prepared we were for any incoming missile. Whew!

Two weeks ago it was wrongly announced that there was an incoming missile and those on the island needed to find somewhere to go. Panic ensued. For 35 minutes there was no announcement that the alarm was sent out by mistake; for 35 minutes people rushed to connect with loved ones, pray, get inside “safer” buildings, and feel all the anxiety that someone might experience after realizing this could be their last day. Wow!

I only felt a fraction of that anxiety when I watched a missile explode in front of us during dinner; the idea that this could be our last day has definitely spurred on meaningful conversation between Greg and I.

Faced with the possibility that we would not have another day we have looked at the breadth of our lives and have begun making adjustments that we could have regretted missing; people, relationship with God, places we want to see, impact we want to have. As scary as that experience was we have used it as a catalyst for fresh growth and stronger priorities.

What if you had been in Hawaii two weeks ago? (I had 8 friends on the island at the time!!) What if you felt like you had a second chance after it was announced that the alarm was sent out by mistake? What would you regret? What would you change? Would your priorities look a little different? I encourage you not to wait until you are in harms way; make those adjustments this year because truly, none of us know when our last day will come. Live with no regrets!

I don’t want to get up!

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Our alarm “screams aloud” at 5:15 every weekday morning; this begins a process of decision-making for me. As I lay cozy in my bed I am more in love with my pillow than at any other point in the day and I am talking to myself. “ I could go to the gym later today”, “I worked out hard yesterday so I’m fine.” “I’ll just stay home and do stretches a little later.”   I laugh because I have this little dialogue so often knowing full well that if I don’t get up and go to the gym at the start of the day I probably won’t go at all!

My husband, on the other hand, has already made the decision that he IS going to the gym each morning. Greg recognizes the incredible value of self-care habits and is committed to taking good care of himself. I, too, know and experience the value of regular exercise. When I get up and head to the gym by 6am my day always feels better; I feel better!

So why is it that when I know something is so valuable to my life physically and emotionally I still have to “talk myself into that good decision”? It makes no logical sense! But isn’t that the way we can all be? I know taking time to be reflective each day; spending time in the Word and taking time to  journal is so cup filling. I know that eating well and exercising causes me to live with greater health and wellness. I know that taking the time to build quality relationships for challenge, accountability, and support is key to my experiencing community. Those are just a few things I KNOW.

I am committed to saying “Yes, I will” to all of the above truths in greater measure in 2018. How about you? What do you want to say, “Yes, I will “ to this New Year? What important intentions have been missing from your daily routines that IF you committed to them would make a big difference in your life?

How about it? Let’s start this year with a fresh focus, attitude, and willingness to say

“Yes, I will”!

What if this was your last Christmas?

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Can you believe another year is about to close?  It feels like I simply blinked and it was December again! How about you? However, if I take a little time to reflect over the year I realize that within that crazy, busy year there have been some monumental experiences that should not be overlooked; there were so many learning opportunities for me.

One of the biggest “stand out” experiences for me was, unfortunately, a horrific car accident in which my husband and I walked out with our lives and we are beyond grateful.   This unfortunate experience has given me many moments of reflection as I think about the brevity of life; it goes by so fast and sometimes it is stolen from us.

Our car accident has caused me to take a deeper look at my passions, my professional work, my personal life, my meaningful relationships, as well as my physical & emotional health. As I stepped out of the truck that day, badly shaken, my first thought was an overwhelming gratefulness that our lives had been spared but following that I experienced a very clear picture of what really matters in my life~ people.

As you walk through the holidays, how can you navigate the season so that the busyness does not steal from your connection with others? How can you slow the pace in order to share tender moments along the way? Christmas traditions can be so fun, baking and office parties can be invigorating; but taking the time to be certain that those you love know that they matter is really at the heart of Christmas.

What’s tugging at your heart this year? Is there a relationship that needs encouragement? A single mom struggling that needs your touch? Does your spouse need the festivities to slow down so that the two of you can remember what great friends you are; or perhaps work towards being again?

Our unexpected accident has only heightened my awareness that every day is a precious gift!  Truly, the 2016 Christmas season could have been our last! Every day is, indeed, a gift! Instead of chocolate indulge deeply in the relationships that surround and bless your life and in doing so you will have a very Merry Christmas.

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