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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How about a Summertime challenge?

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Day after day I go about attending to the different errands on my “to-do” list; hustling and bustling through traffic to accomplish my goals.   It’s very easy to go in and out of banks, grocery stores, gas stations, and even the post office without paying any real attention to the individual who is serving me.

It was 2 years ago when I found myself feeling quite convicted about the fact that I could be so busy minded that I rarely acknowledged those who are so helpful in the service industry. It’s been 2 years since I began to challenge myself to slow down, to take time to get eye contact and start a conversation with whoever served me in some way.

Over the past 2 years I have had the joy of hearing coffee baristas thank me for being kind or being patient. I have gotten to know any of the sweet people at my local Albertson’s store; their stories, their challenges,  even sharing stories from their family life. I was recently told that I am known as “the nice lady” there.   I have learned how powerful a compliment, a thank you, and a smile can be in the middle of someone’s workday.

Cost to me? Time, it takes more time to engage with people. It does take me longer to do my errands but I think it’s so worth it.

I don’t share any of this to make myself sound “so nice”.  I have really had to grow in this aspect of my life. However, summertime is a time when these folks work even harder, there are more tourists and activities that can put stress on those who serve our needs each day.

So how about a summertime challenge? What if you commit to taking a few extra minutes out of your day to connect with those at the grocery store, Starbucks, gas station, and eateries? Watch and see how when you encourage them you will also feel encouraged.

There’s a lot of busy, irritable people out there! How about we shine our light anew this summer?  🙂

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!

🙂

 

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!

 

 

The “Climb”

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As I stood at the base of Smith Rock in Bend, Oregon preparing to embark on a hiking journey up Misery Ridge for the first time this season, I felt a little overwhelmed.  I looked at the rocky path that led to switchbacks that would propel me to the top of the cliff above; I knew that for the next 40 minutes I would be required to continue to put one foot in front of the other even though my lungs would be screaming “STOP”!

As I began to climb I tried to keep my eyes on the path and on the beautiful view around me because I found that whenever I focused on how far I still had to go, I doubted my ability to press on. Step by step, switch back by switch back, I pressed on. As I took my last four steps to the top of the trail I could peek across the horizon and the expansive view ahead of me; it was Beautiful! All the effort it took to get to the top was well worth it!

In thinking about the climb the Lord directed me to remember, again, that whenever I am facing challenges and changes that could overwhelm me I need to remember to keep moving, one wise step after another, I need to take time to enjoy the “view” along the way, and I need to discipline myself to focus on the journey without getting overwhelmed with the destination.  My first time climbing Misery Ridge I had no idea that there was such an incredible view at the end of the challenging hike.  If I had aborted the climb because of weariness I would have missed enjoying an incredible view!

The Word says: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5   , “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?

Life is full of “climbs” though I much prefer the “green pastures” along the way! However, if there wasn’t a Misery Ridge or two in our lives we would miss the opportunity to see something incredible unfold in front of us that would have been impossible without the climb.  So get your hiking boots on and “let’s go!”  🙂