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! 🙂

I Don’t Feel Like It!

Very few people wake up in the morning and feel like taking big risks or feel like digging deep for something that has eluded them. People don’t usually feel like pushing themselves harder than they’ve pushed before or having conversations that might be uncomfortable.   Seth Godin

It’ that time again, the time where we access our past year to see what we’ve accomplished and then we begin to RE-commit to goals unmet or we set new goals.  The first of a new year tends to serve as a kind of “reset button” for us all.

We may take the time to list our fresh commitments, share them with a trusted friend or coach, or we might simply keep them private but “top of mind”.  We may commit to getting healthier, eating better, being more diligent in our spiritual life, focusing on a better marriage or relationships.  We may establish new fresh practices for our professional lives as well. All these commitments will require diligence.

I love attending my local gym in January where I am surrounded by zealous people committed to getting healthy THIS year! Every day the classes and exercise equipment are full! Day after day people make an effort to focus on their health…….for about 30 days.  By the tail end of February many of those recommitted to their health have already backed away from their goal.

Why? They didn’t FEEL like it.

Before the sun is even up I grab my bathrobe and a cup of coffee. I head downstairs to my favorite chair where I will journal, pray, and read on a daily basis; a discipline that needed to be shored up last year! Every morning I find my way to my chair until I begin to give myself permission to sleep just a little longer….and a little longer….until, once again, my diligence weakens and I lose out on this meaningful time.

Why? I didn’t FEEL like it.

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Making key changes in our way of doing life requires diligence that is not based on how we feel. I have often joked with friends saying that “I am always so happy after I work out but I have never started my day FEELING Yippee! I get to go exercise!!”  I simply do it because it has become part of my lifestyle; there were many years when this was not the case.

Aristotle says “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an act but a habit.”  You’ve never heard an interview with an athlete where when they are asked how much they practice they answer “when I feel like it!”  Achieving our fresh goals requires commitment even when we don’t FEEL like it!

We are rounding the corner to the end of 2013. Are there goals you set last year that you’d like to recommit to?  Are there new goals you can see that you need to establish?  Are there dreams you’d like to diligently step into this year that you know will require effort on your part?

If so, then take some time to address the challenge you know you will face as you pursue fresh behavior. Will you stay the course even if you don’t FEEL like it? and when those times come how will you prepare to be proactive so that you don’t sabotage these fresh goals that matter to you?

If we don’t give ourselves permission to make decisions based on our feelings we will find a greater sense of resolve and satisfaction; it will be well worth it!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.”  Galatians 6:9

Newsflash: Call me Grandma! :-)

Remember the game where you and a buddy would hold your breath and wait to see who could hold it the longest?  As the minutes passed there would finally be a huge GASP and the participants would take in the much needed air!  That has been me for the past 10 weeks!  For the past 10 weeks I have been holding my breath, carrying a secret that has rocked my world!! I can finally let it out! WE WILL BE GRANDPARENTS IN APRIL!  The joy of this news is indescribable.  First I cry, then I rejoice, and then I cry.

Legacy.  The  family DNA  of the Koops and the Salciccioli family is being passed on to a new generation, into this new precious life.  My heart is stirred deeply at the thought of this.

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Watching Dave and Azlan walk into this new blessing; seeing them tearily recognizing God’s sweet favor for them and acknowledging the love of family that surrounds them, has been sincerely heartwarming.

I am 54….I got here pretty fast…my baby will be a daddy for the first time and that churns up so many emotions. Yet as I watch Dave and Azlan I am moved by their maturity, their love for their unborn child, and the care they have taken as they approach this new season. They will be amazing parents.

I know, when they look into the eyes of the child they have created together, they will be smitten at such a deep level; love more deeply than they have ever loved before.  I cried learning they were pregnant, and I am sure I will cry when I hold our precious “beloved child” for the first time!

Call me Grandma or granny, I do not care………….just CALL ME to babysit, snuggle, care for, and support this precious little life…….My arms and heart are abundantly ready!

Overwhelmed by God’s favor!  Excited about the season ahead!

It starts with a ” Yes!”~

Last weekend I got to be part of a beautiful group of women who had a vision to bless those experiencing life challenges: a Day of Pampering.  The incredible woman who initially had the idea that this would bring value and blessing to many is not devoid of challenges of her own.  However, when the idea (need) was birthed in her; she said YES!

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Out of her “YES!” she was able to passionately involve numerous other women to share their gifts and talents to bless and encourage others; it was impacting on us all.  It started with a “Yes!”.

Two weeks ago Greg and I had the joy of heading to Louisiana to spend time with a courageous group of men and women who are dedicated to pursuing their faith.  All of them, at some point in their lives, were faced with the challenge of whether or not they would say “YES!” to their calling.  The “Yes!” has meant hard work, willingness to learn, and a life spent making a difference in the lives of their communities.  Due to their ‘YES!” they have impacted the lives of thousands for the good; bringing hope, healing, and faith to many.  It started with a “Yes!”

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This week we had the honor of spending time in Nashville, TN with the Cutco/Vector Company and learned again of the value of “Yes!”  The President actually took over a failing company, invested all he had, applied ingenuity and creativity to build the strong, sustainable company they have today.  The greatest impact of the “Yes!” however is not only their world class product but rather, the incredible impact on young people.  Their sales force is built on college students whom they teach to sell, public speak, lead, and live life and leadership with intentionality!  This great company has impacted and continues to impact thousands of young people to grow and learn skills they could never learn in the classroom!  It all started with a “YES!”

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Saying “YES!”  always has some risk attached; some personal cost ~ time, finances, a move, willingness to change, etc.  Yet, if we look at some of the greatest people, greatest ministries, greatest companies, there is a legacy of someone who was willing to be brave and say “YES!”

What about you?  Do you have an idea burning in your heart? An opportunity on the horizon? A dream still unexplored?  Need a tipping point that will drive you to a brave “YES!”?  Focus on the impact of your choice! Lives that will be changed! The legacy you’ll birth!

It starts with a “YES!”  🙂

Time to sail away from the shore~

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During the past week I came across a quote that caught my attention right away; I felt that it embodied how I feel about this season of life.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

As a young girl I don’t think I would have called myself brave or daring, rather I was most comfortable with things that were steady and safe.  Certainly I could get excited about the “idea” of taking big, bold action but in the end I would always stay safely on shore!

I believe that my fear of failure kept me on tasks and in situations that had fairly sure outcomes, no real risk or adventure involved. I never wanted to feel the weight of personal disappointment nor did I want to disappoint anyone. Thus, I did very little that was competitive in my early years.

In High School I branched out and joined the Swim Team; practicing hard to prepare for the swim meets on the weekends.  I remember one particular swim meet where I realized no one was in the lanes next to me and I felt a twinge of excitement that, perhaps, I was going to be the first one to the finish line. As I pulled to the edge of the pool with all the speed I could muster I popped my head out of the water to find that, actually, I was the last one in! That was my last swim meet.

Today, with years of hindsight under my belt, I fully recognize the value of taking risks, challenging myself, throwing off extreme cautions that choke my ability to dream, and giving myself permission to “fail forward.” Without being free to “sail away from the Harbor” I would never have had the life I have full of rich memories, opportunities, relationships, and fresh challenges!

Everyday I learn that life is short, mistakes only cause me to grow, challenges strengthen my resolve, and risk makes me depend more on God in every way. So, 20 years from now I don’t want a laundry list of things I should have done; wanted to do~yet feared exploring! Rather I would love to have a journal full of memories, experiences, and adventures to recall with satisfaction!

What about you? Playing it safe, hugging the shoreline? Perhaps today is your day to explore what it would look like to “catch the trade winds in your sails.”  Dream big! 🙂

Changing Seasons~

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I can already feel it in the air; chilly nights and mornings.  Mid day there is still a sense that Summer is upon us, but I know from much experience that the seasons are changing.  Some people love how seasons change; they anticipate leaves turning red and gold, the the shorter days, and pulling out the bulky sweaters!

However, I don’t really like change all that much.  I get into a preferred season (yes summer) and want it to last forever! Long, warm days are my favorite thing!!  I am quite okay enjoying this one season.

I’m a bit like that in life too. I do like things that stay constant, change often creates anxiety in my heart.  I know in my brain that change is necessary but I tend to want to hang onto what I am comfortable with, what I know.

I’ve experienced a great deal of life change over the past 5 years; some of it challenging-lots of it good.  In these changes I have been forced to grow, try new things, learn to have greater trust, and see the fruitfulness of a “changing season”.

Can you feel a “changing season” coming for you? Like me, do you want to hang on tight to the season you are in? Well, like me, it might be time to pull out that bulky sweater and embrace the change ahead knowing that the fruitfulness will well outweigh the challenge of the change.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

   a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
   a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3

Blessings to you in Your Season ahead! 🙂