Things we might regret~

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This past week I had the privilege of traveling with my mother and her sister on a road trip to see one of their lifelong friends a few hours away.  This would be a 3 day trip full of laughter, meaningful conversations, shared memories from days gone by, and lots of reminiscing.   I enjoyed the time I had with them all; each of them are so precious to me.  One of the comments was that “time has just gone by so very quickly”, I even see this in my own life as I am celebrating 30 years of marriage this week.  Life does indeed move forward quickly.

Since I returned from the road trip I have been looking at my own life and asking the question, “am I doing all I can to live this life well, with purpose and meaning?”  As I think about that question my answer is “yes, some of the time.” I could do better.

I began to ponder the question, “What might we all regret when we get into our twilight years?”  and I came up with a list of things to consider.

1.  Not stopping to appreciate the “moment”.  Living life so busy-minded that we miss so many amazing moments all around us.

2.  Not traveling when we could have.  Seeing and experiencing other cultures makes a huge difference in our world view and can create memories to last forever.

3.  Holding grudges.  How sad to live life as a hostage to hurt feelings! Gotta let it go!

4.  Not having taken time to get to know God~ to invite Him into our lives. He gave us the very breath we breathe; how amazing to have a life knowing and trusting in Him.

5.  Not having taken time to volunteer.  Life is so much richer when we take time to come alongside those wanting to make a difference!

6.  Not spending intentional time with loved ones.  It’s a sad truth to realize that we don’t know how long we get to have those we love in our lives.  It’s best not to put relationships off “till tomorrow”.

7.  Caring too much what others think.   We will never please everyone all the time.  As much as we may try, there will always be those who see us through a filter that we cannot control.  Care more about being the best YOU that you can be!

8.  Working too much.   Decide when then work day needs to be done.  Disengage and fill your life with life-giving activities and people.

9.  Never having taken risks to pursue a dream.   Do you have a dream in your heart? Are you playing it so safe that your dream will never be realized?

10. Worrying too much.   Life is complicated and uncertain.  All of us could focus on areas of concern and find ourselves consumed with fear and worry.  However, worry robs us of joy.  We will regret having spent our days burdened and concerned.

It was fun to hear of all the ways my mom and her sister intentionally built memories from childhood till now.  When life was hard for them; they created space for joy and laughter.  When life has been joy-filled they have intentionally celebrated those moments with gratefulness.  No matter what stage of life you may be in; ask yourself if there’s anything on my list that YOU may regret someday.  If there is there’s no time like the present to turn it around! 🙂

When Life Feels Uncertain~

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Our lives are full of uncertainty. Pick up a newspaper, watch your evening news!  There’s change and challenge all over the world.  Weather, finances, government policies, and global conflicts swirl around our lives every day. For some, uncertainty at this level has left them paralyzed with anxiety and fear of the future.   Uncertainty is so uncomfortable; our minds want clarity and good closure.  Certainty is almost always preferrable to the unknown!

Yet, we all experience uncertainty in our lives in a more personal way; health diagnosis, job changes, relational challenges, and financial transitions just to name a few.  Times of uncertainty are really challenging to navigate because our head and emotions tend to respond negatively to the discomfort; thus anxiety can set in and hold us captive.

So, how can we find a way to thrive amidst uncertainty?  Is it even possible?  In her blog on uncertainty, Katherine McHugh says “disorienting storms of life are not just about survival, they are about learning to thrive.  It is not in spite of daunting circumstances that we grow, but because of them.”

Scripture puts is this way:

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2

There are many moments of uncertainty in life. There always have been and there always will be. Sometimes things turn out the way you want them to, sometimes they don’t. Yet, accepting the uncertainty rather than trying to fight it, trusting God to guide and lead you, remembering that you cannot predict the outcomes, and watching for opportunities to grow and learn in the middle of uncertain times really helps.

My life has been full of seasons of uncertainty.  I’ve moved 11 times in my marriage, lived in 5 different cities, we pastored in 5 different churches, served 9 years in a non-profit organization, and have built our own Coaching Company from the ground up.  We have faced physical challenges, family changes, and relational transitions.  Many of these seasons of uncertainty left me anxious, fearful, and discouraged as I walked them out.  However, now that I’m older I am able to look back and see how all these situations have played a big part in who I am today.  Some situations turned out as I’d hoped, some disappointed me, and some were a complete surprise to me!

If I could speak into the life of my “younger self” amidst a season of uncertainty I would encourage her to catch her breath, spend time with God, look for the good that can be gleaned, spend time with life-giving people, and fight the urge to need to know NOW!  If I had consistently made those choices I can only imagine that my experience would have been a bit different!

Are you sitting in a season of uncertainty? If you are then it is my prayer that you will begin to walk in greater confidence that there will be a resolve and that there will be “nuggets of wisdom” to pocket in the days ahead.

Remember:

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 

 

Could It Be Time For A Needed Break?

 

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More often than not, we finally take a break long after the need for it began to arise!  However, what would it look like if we would give ourselves permission to take a break BEFORE we needed it!  Well, perhaps it would be helpful to list some of the telling signs that show us that we are “spent”:

1.  Even upon rising in the morning we feel a sense of dread rather than hope and anticipation. We dread the tasks of the day;we just feel tired.

2.  We find ourselves having a shorter fuse than we normally have. We will react strongly to situations that we would have navigated better when we had greater life balance.

3.  We start to sabotage the “good systems” we have had in place~ excercise, rest, quiet time with the Lord, and “screen free” time. We make excuses saying that we just don’t feel like taking the time.

4.  Often our food choices start to waver.  We start eating foods we know make us feel bad. We tell ourselves “We’ll start eating better on Monday”.

5.  We can begin to feel apathetic.  We can waste our time surfing the web, watching mindless television, ignoring  phone calls, and even turning down invitations from friends.

These are just a few of the signs that we are in need of a break!

Now sometimes we need a break at a time when we cannot take a vacation; cannot disengage from our responsibilities. So, how can we find ways to re-group and catch our breath?  Here’s a few:

1.  Get offline.  If we are overwhelmed the last thing we need is to burden ourselves with media information, mindless games, and even an over-dose of Facebook.  We need to give ourself a chance to breathe!

2.  Take a “staycation”.  Use local attractions to your benefit; live music, picnic in a park, go to a Museum, take a hike, rent a Kayak, take a cooking class, simply take the opportunity to make a refreshing memory.  It’s amazing how activities like these lift our spirits and give us a fresh attitude.

3.  Read or watch something light-hearted~ something that causes rich laughter.

4.  Take a spiritual retreat.  Set aside a full day – somewhere private or peaceful where there would be time to rest, read inspirational thoughts, pray, journal, eat chocolate, a dream again.

5.  Grant permission to say “No.”    We are often exhausted by maintaining activities that have served their time.  Allowing yourself to re-think the activities that fill your weeks and to say “No” to create greater bandwidth is a gift you give yourself!

For all of us; learning when enough is enough will be key. Learning to recognize when our energy is expiring will help us to take that needed break BEFORE we need that break!!  🙂

The Joys and Challenges of being a Pastor’s Wife~

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Years ago, Greg and I had the privilege of working with Focus on The Family in their pastoral support department.  Leading a couples retreat with H.B. London was a joy, and yet during this event I had a stark reminder of the joys and challenges of being a pastors’ wife.   There was a point in the event where the wives and husbands split into separate rooms for a teaching time planned specifically for them.  H.B. London was in my event with the woman and he risked asking a challenging question there, ” how many of you have 1-2 women in your congregation who you would consider close to you; someone you can fully trust?”  I sat there astounded when only 2 women raised their hand in a room of 90 women!  My heart-felt so grieved as I was reminded of what I had already come to know through my coaching with Pastor’s wives; her role is full of joy and challenge.

Thom Ranier, a contributor to the Christian Post, did a survey on his blog, Facebook, and general conversations with Pastors wives.  Among the challenges were; being a conduit for complaints for their husbands, frequent moves, husbands being on call 24/7, and being expected to be at each and every event at the church.

Juianna Morlet, in her blog “Dear Pastors Wives”, expresses her thoughts this way, ‘ As women, we already struggle with daily pressure to be perfect inside and out, but then adding the spiritual, emotional and physical weight from your husband’s pastoral job and heightened attention, both intentionally and unintentionally, on the demeanor of you and your family, it can be a lot for one woman to bear. ”

In an article sent to me just this week titled; Nine Secrets Your Pastor’s Wife Wishes You Knew, Christina Stolaas posed a simple, open-ended question to a panel of pastors’ wives in different states, from different denominations, with various years of service, “If you could tell the church a few things about your role as a pastor’s wife, what would you say?”  She got honest responses.  Many wives acknowledged that being completely honest was difficult.  Some of the challenges they expressed was the challenge to have consistant family time, the loneliness that came with her role; finding it difficult to have true friendships. Another challenge, and not necessarily a surprise, was that Sundays can be really stressful, especially depending on her involvement or the amount of services held each weekend.

As a pastor’s wife for 16 years I fulfilled numerous roles and responsibilities for which I am so grateful. However there were often times when the expectations, lack of privacy, and unending schedule caused me personal angst.  Navigating all the elements of my role took patience, prayer, good council, and much grace.  I even had to learn the word “no”.  The role is a unique one; one of sweet opportunity but also challenges.

The Pastor’s wives who were interviewed expressed that they loved their churches and felt blessed to be given the opportunity to have impact in the lives of those who worshipped there. These women want to serve alongside their husbands making a difference for their church, their family, and the community.

At the end of the day, your pastor’s wife, though imperfect along with the rest of us, deserves to be respected and shown kindness, grace, and friendship.

Perhaps there is something you could change in your relationship or expectations towards your Pastor’s wife.  Perhaps she’d like to go to lunch, or maybe a card would make her day.  Your prayers for her might cover her in a situation that feels over her head.  Consider your role in helping her navigate her role.  🙂

Unanswered Prayers.

 

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I had the good fortune this week to have the opportunity to talk with a friend and fellow coach about trusting God.  Her honesty was refreshing and both of us acknowledged how difficult it can be to trust God in the face of unanswered prayers. Now I am mature enough to know the God is not a “spiritual Santa Clause” so I’m not talking about prayers that involve frivolous requests.  ” I pray I get a parking place.”, I pray I win a trip”, or I pray I can get a new, fancy car”.  No, I am talking about prayers for a friend that has cancer; who passes away.  I’m thinking about those who pray to become parents; remaining childless. Or the prayers of protection those who have beloved children pray; only to lose their children long before their lives have been lived.  How do we navigate continuing to trust what God’s word clearly tells us:

Luke 11:9 says “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Mark 11:24  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

I believe these promises are true and have experienced God’s faithfulness over and over again!  But, I have also walked through the darkness of prayers that were prayed with absolute faith yet have remained unanswered.  How do we remain faith filled?  How to we keep ourselves from feeling as though God is distant and unfeeling?  How do we protect ourselves from becoming angry and disillusioned?   In the movie God’s Not Dead, the college professor makes a profound statement; ” The biggest atheists are those were had been believers and experienced unanswered prayers”.

Have you experienced unanswered prayer?  How have you kept yourself faith filled in the midst of the disappointment?

Three years ago, I had a precious family members life taken brutally at a young age.  I had prayed for him all his life.  I had seen God do mighty things in and with his life.  He was amazingly talented and deeply loving.  Upon the news of his death I spent almost 90 days angry at God, seeking understanding with the knowledge that God “could” have stepped in and protected him from losing his life.  I was devastated and confused by the scriptures that had once given me comfort.  Those verses now served to cause greater hurt.

God is good.  His shoulders were big enough for my questions; even my anger.  In His still small voice He just kept reminding me that He would help me through the pain. He would never leave me nor forsake me. He spoke the truth that His ways are higher than my ways.  And slowly, with the power of the Holy Spirit, I could feel myself beginning to whisper   “Even so, I will trust you.”

I couldn’t even begin to give you a formula for navigating this particular spiritual challenge, but there are a few action steps that will help keep your heart from becoming bitter.

1.  Stay in God’s Word, it speaks to your soul.

2.  Be brave to talk about your questions, don’t isolate.

3.  Make sure you continue to look at your many blessings, even in the midst of unanswered prayer.

4.  Be willing to learn something fresh from what you are having to walk through.

5.  Remember, loss and challenge falls on the just and the unjust.  It is part of our human condition and can help you gain keen empathy that will enable you to love and support others along the way.

Steven Arterburn in his article , When Prayers seem Unanswered says;

It certainly seems like a secure bet that sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers because he’s aware that his, ours, and the whole world’s best interests will not be served if he does. It’s safe to say that when God decides what’s best, he’s got a broader perspective for making that decision than anything we can bring to the table.

All of which brings us to the very good reason that when mature Christians do pray for something, they tend not to say, “God, please do [such and such],” but rather, “God, if it is your will, please do [such and such].” This is the all-important caveat. Always leave to him the final determination of whether or not what you’re asking for is, in fact, the thing most ultimately beneficial.

We all want to live a life trusting the Lord. However, life can broadside us.  Rather than pulling away, becoming angry, and perhaps even bitter, choose to remember God’s heart for you and I. Find yourself whispering “Even so, I will trust you.”

 

 

Navigating Transitions~

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Life transitions have a crazy way of causing some emotional imbalance–for almost all of us! Transitions, even happy ones, can be stressful and bring up some surprising mixed emotions.  These reactions can often time come as a surprise to us, causing us to feel especially sensitive for seemingly “no reason at all.” Moving to a new city, becoming a parent, selling the family home, transitioning from one job to another, marriage, or a personal loss can all create the opportunity for us to feel imbalanced for a while.

I graduated from my University, married, moved away from my family and friends to a new city, and became a mother within a 16 month period of time. Even though there was so much that was good and new –my equilibrium was off and I had to find a way to create a new normal for myself.  It was an emotional time.  My life since that time has had numerous changes and transitions. Each time it gets a little easier to understand how these transitions affects me and I work harder at being proactive during this time.  I am going to pass a few of these tips on to you!

1.  Transitions can shake your sense of IDENTITY.    It’s natural for us to define ourselves by the job we have, church we attend, neighborhood we live in, family we belong to, or financial status we have known.  When these kinds of elements get shaken up we have to find a new normal.  During this particular time, be gracious with yourself and others, remain consistent to keep your spiritual/self-care routines in place, and  surround yourself with life-giving people. These efforts will remind you that you are not defined by external titles or experiences.

2. A transition can be a wonderful opportunity for GROWTH.  Sometimes transitions give us an opportunity to see areas of ourselves that need attention. Fear, lack of faith, uncertainty, even anger have roots in us somewhere. Being keenly aware of ourselves in this season we can take a good look at these responses and begin to take some steps to address and challenge ourselves to grow. Transitions are a great time to begin new habits.

3. Keep reminding yourself WHY you chose this transition.  In my coaching I encourage my clients to assess their current situation and cast a clear vision for where they want to go.  Though this kind of thinking can take take time and consideration; the greater challenge is in the in-between…actually applying the steps that will make the transition complete.  Matthew Kelly in his book “Leading Through Change” says, “It is often said that people hate change, but that is not true.  People love change; they just don’t like the time of transition.”  If, during our transition we keep the end goal in sight, celebrate incremental changes along the way, and remind ourselves of the fruitfulness of our transition, we will navigate this time so much better.  However, I have also walked through seasons where I didn’t choose the transition, wouldn’t have asked for it, and didn’t understand it’s value at the time. Yet, in hindsight I have learned to find the value even in those tough situations. I call those moments “looking for the pony in the poop”.  There is always something to learn, nuggets of growth, even in un-chosen transition.

4.  Remember your past transitions and apply some of the skills you learned during that time.  No matter what our lives look like, we have all walked through transitions since we were children.  There are ways that we have responded, lessons we have learned, and maturity gained that, if we reflect on those times, can even give us keen insight to our present transition.  I love to journal for this reason in that it captures past responses in my life reminding me of tools and understanding gained during a previous transitional time.

5.  Don’t leave God out of the equation.  No one cares or knows us more than our heavenly Father.  Draw close to him in these time.  Sit still with Him; breath and wait.  Trust that He will see you through.

Transitions can be invigorating, uncertain, challenging, even terrifying for some.  Yet, we all face transitions.  May you find great success in the days ahead as you apply some of these small principles for great success.

                                                                          🙂

 

4 Keys for a Joy-Filled Life~~

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Life is unpredictable.  Life has challenges.  Life can sometimes steal our joy; let’s just be honest about that.  We cannot control everything that comes our way, even if we wish we could! This is why we should be compelled to maintain some key elements in our lives that will help us keep our balance and joy even when faced with uncertainties.

Here are 4 keys that I believe to be essential to maintain a joy-filled life:

1.  LAUGHTER:   There’s just nothing like laughter to release the tension that builds up in our daily lives. A good belly laugh can turn our day completely around! Kathryn Hepburn was quoted as saying  “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”  I have to agree! Laughter takes our minds off our “to do” list, our sadness, or our anxieties and allows us to catch our breath!  Ignoring the need for laughter will cause us all to become very serious and introspective.  So plan to lighten up a couple of times a day~~LAUGH!

2.  FORGIVENESS: Martin Luther King said; Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” This means forgiveness is a choice.  I “choose” to be unoffendable yet when I am offended I will seek to walk in forgiveness as a gift to myself! Walking in unforgiveness can change us.  Walking in unforgiveness is draining. Walking in unforgiveness steals our joy.  In an article written by Charles Stanly he said that  “It’s probably not surprising to hear that resentment impacts the mind and spirit, but you may not have realized what a physical toll it can also take on us. An attitude of bitterness ratchets up tension and anxiety, which can affect everything from muscles to chemical balance in the brain. Over time, that kind of mayhem weakens the body.”
Therefore If we seek reconciliation when we can and choose forgiveness always, we will stand a greater chance of experiencing a consistent joy-filled life.

3.  Quality Relationships:  Quality relationships are those that bring energy to you as a person.  I’m talking about the deep, unreserved relationships you have within the circle of family and friends that you have. Who are the people who know you and have weathered storms and joys alongside you?  Who are the people who love you unconditionally and call just to see how you’re doing?  Who are those who would never indict you but would have your back in any situation? Isolation is a joy stealer, we all need a handful of people who will lift our spirits when we are down, laugh with us when we need to unwind, and celebrate with us when we are experiencing even a small victory! These are the relationships that deserve to be placed on your calendar and nurtured!  Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.
George Eliot

4.  Times of Solitude:  Unplug.  Turn of your phone. Back away from the computer. Breathe.   Take some time to be silent.  To read or reflect. Take time to pray or journal.  Don’t see this as a waste of time, but as an integral part of your day. We all need periods of solitude, although temperamentally we probably differ in the amount of solitude we need. However, some solitude is essential; It gives us time to explore who we are and how we feel. Solitude gives us a chance to regain perspective. It renews us for the challenges of life. It allows us to get (back) into the position of driving our own lives, rather than having them run by schedules and demands from without. Times of solitude are also a time to connect with God, giving you time to listen to what He may be saying to you. Making times of solitude a priority in your life will help you to find joy; even in the midst of a busy, or challenging season of life.

Begin to practice these 4 Keys on a regular basis and you will begin to see how valuable they are right away!  I want you to live a life that is Joy-filled. THAT is my hope for you! 🙂

How’s your EQ?

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We are all familiar with the term IQ, right?  This term IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to access intelligence, a persons cognitive ability as compared to the general population.  The term “genius” is often used when talking about someone with a really high IQ. We might assume that someone with a high IQ would naturally become a success in all that they do, however there is another HUGE factor beyond IQ that can have a profound impact on success; personal or professional.  That factor is your EQ!

The term EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and diffuse conflict. The level of your EQ impacts many different aspects of our daily lives in both our homes and places of work.

Think about these 4 questions:

1.  How self-aware are you?   Do you recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behaviours, your self-confidence, or your responses? Can you see how your emotions affect those around you?

2.  How well do you manage your emotions?  Are you able to control your impulsive feelings or behaviours, manage your emotions in a healthy way, take good initiative when needed, and follow through on your commitments?

3.  How high is your social awareness?  Can you understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people? Are you able to pick up emotional cues, and recognize key dynamics in a group or organization?  How well do you filter how you act or what you say?

4.  How well do you manage your relationships?  Do you know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage team conflict? How about your personal relationships? Do you recognize the need for reciprocity or crucial conversations in order to maintain their health?

These questions are a really powerful filter to access your personal EQ.

So why is this even important?

We’ve all seen incredibly intelligent people fail miserably at life and relationships; we are often confounded by this because it would appear that their genius would almost solidify their success in every area….but it doesn’t!  It’s really not the smartest people who are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life.  A high IQ might help getting into a quality college but it will be a high EQ that will determine how someone manages dorm life, exams, and friendships!

To strengthen your EQ there are 5 things we can all intentionally participate in:

1. reducing stress ( guarding reactions) in the moment in a variety of personal and professional settings.

2.  paying attention to our emotions and finding creative outlets in an effort to keep them from overwhelming us.

3.  staying connected relationally and emotionally with others; asking for sincere feedback.

4.  allowing ourselves to use our sense of humor and creativity when faced with challenging situations.

5.  seeking to make intentional efforts to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence. Agreeing to disagree, compromise, and active listening.

“Emotional competence is the single most important personal quality that each of us must develop and assess to experience a breakthrough.  Only through managing our emotions can we access our intellect and our technical competence. An emotionally competent person performs better under pressure.” 

–Dave Lennick, Executive VP, American Express Financial Advisers

“What really matters for success, character, happiness and life long achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ – not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests.” 

–Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.

In 2014~Let’s have the highest EQ in the room! 🙂

We all want to be liked……….

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I DON’T LIKE YOU!!

Ugh, those are 4 words we hate to hear! We hate it when people don’t like us.  I believe we come by that naturally as we are wired up to want to be liked. The challenge is when we find ourselves compromising who we truly are trying to make others like us; admire us.

I read a wonderful statement this morning that got me thinking about this topic of “being liked”.  It expressed “Don’t stay so busy trying to be what you think others want you to be that you forget who you truly are!”  Joyce Meyer

How often do we turn ourselves inside-out to meet the approval of others only to find ourselves disappointed in ourselves? Been there? I have, and here are a few things I have been learning:

1. Not everyone will like me. Yet, truthfully, I don’t have a natural affinity for everyone either.  It’s ok.

2.  The strongest relationships are those where it’s okay to disagree; the shallowest relationships are the ones where we agree simply to stay in someones good graces.

3.  When I work hard to be the best “me” I can be, I am more confident and less affected by whether or not I am “liked”.

4.  When I am willing to be my true, authentic self I find that others who are authentic are drawn to me and our interactions are much more meaningful.

Perhaps asking yourself these questions can help you assess whether or not you are challenged in your need to be liked:

*Do you speak the truth (while still using care, wisdom, and respect) even if it’s unpopular to do so?

*Do you live a life consistent with your Core Values?

*Do you life a life of integrity to the best of your ability?

*Do you believe that your motives are good?

*Is it your goal to be a positive impact in the lives of those around you?

*Do you like who you are?

*Do you “disappear” when interacting with someone whose approval you long for?

Honestly access your answers to these questions.  Perhaps this year we can all learn to be more of our authentic selves in the home, workplace, churches, and communities.  In doing so, we may give others permission to do so as well!! 🙂

” It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”  E. E. Cummings

New Choices for 2014~

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As I arose early this morning on one of the last days of 2013 I began to ponder just how quickly this year had passed!   Seems like I just blinked and another year had gone by. Delving even deeper into my thoughts, I asked myself if I felt I had used this year; the time I was given, to the best of my ability?  Was I a good steward with my time and priorities?

My assessment of myself? Not 100% perfect! However, I felt satisfied with the priority I had chosen as my main focus throughout the year. People! I have tried very hard this year to stay connected with the precious people God has allowed me to know and love.  Family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, and new relationships.

As I perused through my 2013 calendar, looking through the tasks/appointments that I set for myself I am satisfied that I gave ample time to my key priority of valuing people. Certainly I’ve not been perfect, wishing still that I’d have had more time with some that I only connected with occasionally!  Staying and being connected with others in this way is cup-filling for me; I pray it has brought value to those I care for as well.

Now, here’s the balance~ did my focus on my main goal of valuing people impact other priorities in my life? My devotions, exercise, study time, and housekeeping…….well, sometimes it did.  Because of this, I recognize the need to balance my priorities better in 2014!  Just a little tweaking here and there to my calendar and Ideal Week would create time to spend with others while making sure I am still being keenly responsible to the other areas of my life that deserve my attention!

As you look over your past year, are you pleased at how you used your time? chose your priorities? navigated your responsibilities?  Like me, are there some areas you need to shore up to find greater success when you arrive on the doorstep of 2015 (which will come in a blink)?

Now is a great time to think about the year ahead! calendar those priorities, create an Ideal Week to assist you in committing to how you will use your time ( contact me if you’d like an Ideal Week document to use), and give yourself permission to make needed changes for greater satisfaction in 2014! The new year is yet untouched~ make it your best!

Happy New fantastic year! 🙂