A Question I Couldn’t Ignore~

 

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I spend a great deal of time in my career as a Leadership Coach asking powerful questions to help leaders gain greater perspective, vet out limited thinking, and to help them to see their leadership in a fresh way.

Recently, I was faced with a challenging question from an unexpected source! I have the  privilege of having my granddaughter come to my house every Thursday for an hour for her “lessons”. For the first 30 minutes we learn to draw and to paint, for the second 30 seconds I try to give her piano lessons on my keyboard. It’s a sweet time as you can imagine.

This past week, as she silently painted, Scout put her hand on my hand and asked me a profound question: “Mimi, you will be at my wedding when I grow up won’t you?”( she is 4 1/2)

I just turned 60 about a week ago so that was a poignant question. I could tell her I hope so, I could tell her I want to, or I could tell her I will do everything I can to make sure that I can be there!

I told her the latter. With that promise from her Mimi comes a real responsibility to do just that ~ to do EVERYTHING I can, in my power and decisions, to be here for her.

Certainly, there are things that catch us by surprise in our health and circumstances; some things are beyond our control. Yet, when this little darlin’ asked me that sweet question I realized I needed to shore up some areas in my life to fulfill my commitment to her. She is depending on me to be there.

I am committed to be sure to get the check ups I need , watch what I eat better, get needed exercise , work on getting a good nights sleep, using my time well, and taking richer time to pray and ponder. Those are things I can control.

What about you? Are you precious to someone who wants to you be in their life over all the seasons? If you were asked a poignant question just as I was would you be challenged to make some changes to do all you can do to “be there”?

Let’s do all WE can for those who are counting on us!

 

For Women Only!

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If you have followed my blog for any length of time then you know that there are certain themes that I will write on time and time again; hopefully expressing thoughts in fresh ways. The “rule of seven” tells us that a person generally needs to hear a concept at least 7 times before really grabbing ahold of the concept and applying it to their lives.  So please indulge me as I take another stab at a truth that I know to be very, very important!

LADIES!  I give you permission today to take as good care of yourself as you do for all the others in your lives!

As a young woman, I was a pastor’s wife, friend, sister, daughter, church volunteer, school volunteer, house-keeper, cook, and mama to two active boys; how I wish I had been told how impacting it would have been if I had figured out some way to establish self care  in those days! So often I was exhausted, unhealthy, and even a bit isolated in my closest relationships….I was just so busy.

Let me explain Self-Care a little better:

“Self care includes any intentional action an individual takes to care for their physical, mental, relational, and emotional health.”
Good food, water, exercise, and good sleep patterns are  key to maintaining vibrant energy and outlook.
Life giving friends, healthy boundaries, quality support,  and cup-filling activities help to keep our emotional health strong.
Having proven ways to relax, taking time to journal thoughts and concerns, growing in the area of faith, listening to positive information rather than focusing on the negative, and learning to nap are all elements that support sustainable mental wellness.
Building good friendships, gathering with other women in your season of life, enjoying “girl time” where you can laugh deeply, and having a “posse” of women who you know have your back, strengthens our sense of connectedness and relational health.
Here’s an action step:
If you look at your calendar, personal and professional, and you don’t see yourself represented there on any given day–it’s time!
* a spa day
* a girl’s night out
* a nap
*time at the gym
* time with God
*time with a good book
*hiking in the great outdoors
*crafting
* and saying no to some good things to use your greatest energy for the BEST things.
10WaysToSayNo         ( just for you)
Permission Granted Again. ( you are worth it )
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Can we have an honest chat?

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Have you ever had a “down” day?  Have you ever felt “blue”?  I have and I’m sure you have too.  There are times when the challenges of life feel like they are crushing in on us, there are times when situations catch us so off guard that it sends us into a sad tailspin for days or even for a short season.  The ebb and flow of life can bring both sadness and joy.  Even King David had some “blue” days where he cried out to God “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak” (Ps. 31:9-10).

However, what if you found it impossible to move past those “blue” feelings?  What if you’ve tried everything you know to be happy and positive but the heaviness you feel remains?   What if anxiety and depression have become and unwelcome guest on your life journey? Shouldn’t you be able to fix it with enough faith in God?  What’s wrong with you?

Peter Kramer in his article; It Can’t Be Depression, I’m a Christian tells us:

“Christians feel guilty about being depressed. They feel they should “know better.”  This leads to denial, which only makes matters worse. Well-meaning friends, and even pastors, who don’t understand what is going on, encourage them to “snap out of it,” and offer advice on “getting their Christian act back together.”

But clinical depression and anxiety isn’t something a person can “snap out of.”

What if your depression and anxiety required some form of wisely administered medication to assist you in regaining that needed chemical balance? This is where we get religion and physical health mixed up?  With every other physical challenge, thyroid issues, asthma, cancer, heart disease, etc, we find it completely acceptable to require medications to bring greater health and healing, yet historically  the church can get really uncomfortable when medications are required for greater mental health.

Carlos E. Whittaker, a pastor, in a recent article says;

Common myths in the church as it relates to mental illness are:
1. A person struggling with mental illness needs to have more faith.
My faith and my serotonin levels have nothing to do with each other.
2. A person struggling with mental illness should forgo medicine and pray harder.
You wouldn’t tell an asthmatic to pray harder during an asthma attack. You would tell them to suck on that inhaler.

If you are a person who struggles with regular anxiety and depression then you are probably nodding your head in agreement.

Years ago, as a very positive type of person,  I was shocked to find myself in the midst of postpartum depression! I loved my baby.  Why couldn’t I shake off these feelings? Didn’t I have enough faith?  I was ashamed to tell anyone about how I felt and I didn’t know how to make it stop!  Finally, I got some much-needed help and over time I re-gained my emotional balance.

God understands our dark feelings, our doubt, our discouragement, and yes, even our depression; and his desire is to help us. Sometimes, the help we need might include professional counseling and some form of medication. After all, God created the minds that created these medications, and it is not a sin to take them if you truly need them. Sometimes simply making better choices for food, rest, and relaxation rhythms can be all that’s required to move us to a healthier place. Sometimes we need greater intervention.

You may agree with me or disagree with me, and that’s okay. However, as a Pastor’s wife and a Coach for many years,  I have heard the shame in the voices of those who struggle with the depression and anxiety; this breaks my heart.   Add their need for medication  and the shame triples! I don’t believe they should feel any shame; I don’t believe they are faithless people.  I believe God cares deeply and wants His church to express His heart to hurting people in the midst of a very difficult struggle.  I know you do too.

If you struggle daily with depression or anxiety; please get the help you need. Find someone to talk to, get some medical support, and refuse to let shame or embarrassment keep you from living a life full of purpose, peace, and joy.

Romans 12:15  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

An Apple A Day~

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“An Apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a famous old saying but rings true! Keeping proper nutrition is essential to having a healthy life. It’s not about non-fat this or low-carb that~ it’s simply about giving your body all of the nutrients it needs and eating in mindful moderation. It’s so valuable to incorporate dark leafy greens, vegetables, fiber and protein into your daily diet! Eliminating processed foods and drinking lots of water, fresh juices, and teas  ( yes, coffee is acceptable!!) will be incredible beneficial in your goal of being healthy and vital.

There are some simple tricks to use in helping to make good health choices.  Total deprivation from yummy deserts or snacks simply isn’t a sustainable way of life.  Moderation, however, is sustainable.  Instead of a whole brownie…slowly enjoy a fourth of one.  Some say a little dark chocolate can be good for us! 🙂 Roasting over frying foods is a great “better” choice.

A challenge many of us experience is not preparing at the start of our week for success.  Taking a bit of the weekend to shop well, cut vegetables, grill chicken, and create a quality menu for yourself and your family, will make all the difference in your healthy success.  We’ve heard it so many times: “If fail to plan, you plan to fail!”

Spring is upon us and outdoor activities will abound in the months ahead; give yourself the gift of healthy eating.

Simplify:   don’t be overly concerned with calorie counting, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness.  Incorporate a few new items monthly and experiment with new recipes.

Start slow and allow for changes over time:  Trying to change your entire diet overnight isn’t realistic. You don’t want to think of a healthy lifestyle in terms of “being on a diet”.  Simply begin to make changes that make sense:  good salad vs. a bag of potato chips, use Olive oil over butter, have fruit for dessert rather than a bowl of Ice cream.  Once you incorporate this simple changes to your food routine you will find that it will become a healthy lifestyle.

Remember,  Every change you make to improve your diet matters: You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods your enjoy to have a healthy diet.  The long-term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of illness and disease.  Don’t let one misstep derail you~~every healthy food choice you make is a win!!

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