Wonderfully Made~

Give yourself permission to pause and declare with the psalmist, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:14

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Can you list the many gifts and talents God has placed within you?  Do you give yourself permission to appreciate those elements inside of you that make you unique; special?  Do you say to yourself “I can’t focus on who I am. It’s selfish.” Feeling appreciative for who we are feels wrong somehow.

BUT…….

The truth is that choosing to embrace our value, all of who we are, is very unselfish as it maximizes our ability to serve others; to have on-going impact.  When we recognize our strengths we can find a way to use them well.  If you are gifted to write there are unlimited ways for you to to help others, if you are gifted with a strong detail orientation you can bring great value to a team, if you are gifted with a great voice you can use your gift to encourage others through song, and if you are gifted as a counselor or listener you can be a safe place for others to land; you can help people heal.

Certainly, there are areas of challenge in our lives and frankly, many of us find it easier to list our challenges rather than our strengths. Why is that?  How about taking some time to simply list the gifts God has placed inside of you, list also the ways that they are or could be expressed in your life. Get excited about the fact that you are Wonderfully Made!

“God thank you for creating me with gifts. I’m grateful for the strengths that you’ve placed within me and the ways those are expressed as actions through my skills. I humbly acknowledge that I do have something to offer and that you have made me to make a difference. Amen”                                                                                                        (Opening the Door to your God-sized Dream ~Holly Gerth)

Just a little “Wacky”~~

Anyone who knows me, really knows me, would not be surprised if I said I was just a little “wacky”  🙂  I love all things bright , bold, and shiny.  I love a little bling on most of my clothes; even my workout sweatshirts!   I love my little red Volkswagen bug convertible, and I have entered contests for over 15 years ( and I win!). So, a tiny bit “wacky”~

My mother, embracing my personality, bought me a Calendar last Christmas called Dare to be Wacky…go figure!  As I read through the calendar I came to a few paragraphs that I loved and wanted to share them with you.

This is the year, and now is the moment. Rekindle your passions, and multiply your talents.  Embrace your inner wackiness and redefine your world.  Stand up for something worth fighting for, and confront the challenges that come your way …especially if they cause you to be afraid.  Make a difference in someone’s life, and in the process, you’ll change your own.  Don’t wait for a “better time”.  It’s your life and your story. So dare to be wacky…and truly live a life worth loving.!”

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Sending a little whimsy your way hoping to encourage you! 🙂

I am a Millionaire~~

I am on vacation with my family…On the island of Kauai. This fact alone is enviable and I apologize if it even remotely appears I could be bragging.  However, this trip is not what makes me a millionaire! Rather, it is the people I am sharing this experience with that makes me feel incredibly rich!

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Today we spent 6 hours on a lovely beach; the sun, palm trees, and amazing, warm waters were sincerely lovely BUT the sweet conversations, deep laughter, family banter, rough housing, and the love expressed remind me again, I AM RICH!!

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My family fills my heart.  These individuals are kind, smart and interesting. Watching them interact, respond kindly to those we encounter, and listening to their thoughts and engaging ideas, make me a MILLIONAIRE! It does!  I am deeply grateful and I do not take this precious family for granted!

I pray that when you experience your own families you feel so rich, so fortunate, so blessed~~ Aloha, my friends! 🙂

STOP Rushing Me!!!

My mother is a wonderful artist and has painted some amazing pictures for me. Most recently is a fantastic European setting that is so beautiful and inspiring.  Deserving a perfect framing job; I took the large painting to Micheal’s Craft Store to be professionally framed.  They do a good job!!

However, I walked into the building passing all the summer items on sale, 75% off…When in the first week of August is Summer over??  Stunning and sad news to me!!

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As I passed a few aisles I encountered pumpkins, goblins, Bats, and Apple Cider Candles…seriously? Why are we setting up shop for next October??  This is August, it’s Summer, C’mon people!!!

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And then the biggest stunner of all…..an aisle full of Christmas Ornaments!!! Are you kidding me??  Why does retail PUSH us so quickly??? Arrgh!

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Then I began to think..how often to we live for tomorrow, a better season, a new day?  What would it look like to be fully present and appreciative for this day?  I love Summer and when it IS Fall I will love it. When the Holidays arrive I will enjoy every sweet minute of it!  But Today, just don’t rush me!!

” Choose happiness by taking life day by day, and being thankful for all the little things that mean so much!  Ritu Ghatourey

ENJOY THIS DAY!!!

Are YOU really going to play with me?

Recently I had the fun of visiting my friend in another state.  She is a great mother yet had a new precious little boy only 3 weeks ago. I came to visit in hopes that I could occupy her 3 1/2 and 2 year old for her ~to lend a hand for a few days.

My days at home are filled with many “mature” focuses: Coaching, running a household, handling finances, and building richness into the many family and friend relationships I am privileged to have. So, having a few days to “play” felt truly amazing.

I was fortunate that I had sweet favor with these precious children; they allowed me into their hearts.  We played at the park and in their big basement playroom; I spent many hours on my knees as a dog, being an engine behind a fast moving car, and sitting in tiny chair pretending to be floating in big boat! My goal was to be fully present when I was with them as I knew it would be many months before I would get to play with them again!

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The reason I share this with you is that the oldest son said something to me 3 times that gripped my heart, he looked up at me as I heading towards the playroom with him and said ” Are you going to play with me?, my new friend…are you going to play with me?” What struck me was the look of uncertainty in his eyes….he seemed to wonder if I was really planning to “play” with him!

This boy is dearly loved and certainly NOT starved for attention; yet I think he truly wondered if I was going to be ” in the room” with him or if I was going to “play” with him! I had to think, how often am I with people yet not truly engaged?  How often am I physically in the room, yet mentally far, far away?  I wonder if there are those in my life who would look at me in wonderment and ask ” are you going to be fully present with me?”

What about you?  When you are with those you care about in your life are you fully engaged or only in the room with a busy mind? What I learned was that I gained the most by getting down on the floor with those precious children; I returned home with a full heart.

In the days ahead, try to be mindful about how “present” you are with those in your life–really engage–really play!

Now, seriously, who could resist this face?? I couldn’t! 🙂

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Lessons From Misery Ridge~

As a Coach I meet so many wonderful people. Janelle is one of them. Janelle lives in  Canada and after a year of coaching she came to Bend to visit with me. I wanted our time to be full of fun, good conversation, and activity; yet also inspirational.

After pedicures, shopping, good food and laughter, it was time to venture out!

Misery Ridge!!

It was early as we loaded up with water bottles and headed to Smith Rock. I told Janelle the hike would be challenging yet the view from the top would be well worth the climb. I think she believed me until she actually saw Misery Ridge and recognized just how difficult it would be.

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When we stood at the base of the mountain I told Janelle that we would break this hike into thirds and that we would think about different life challenges we were facing as we headed toward our goal to reach the top; imagining ourselves successful in facing those challenges as we conquered each phase of our hike!

We started out at a fairly fast pace; excited about moving forward! It wasn’t long before the altitude began to labor our breath. I asked Janelle if she wanted to turn back; we had made some good progress but were still far from the top. Should we go on or turn back?

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We discussed the value of the ultimate goal of reaching the top yet we realized it was going to be a greater challenge as the path got steeper; the footing more unsure.  This second part of the hike would require us to pace ourselves, to take longer breaks to catch our breath, and to be intentional with where we placed our feet. Off we went! Partway through this phase of our hike a big snake slithers out onto the path catching us off guard! Do we turn back?

Finally we reached place where we would begin the third part of the climb; the steepest part! Janelle was amazed at how far we had come yet still feeling caution about where we needed to go. Do we continue? Do we turn back?  Was this view really worth this effort?  After some good discussion we committed to the goal of reaching the top and pressed on.

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During this last phase of our “journey” the altitude was making it hard to breath and the shale on the path caused us to feel our feet slipping. We realized that this last push would require extra sure footing, that we would need to hold each others arms to prevent us from falling and getting hurt. Slowly and intentionally we made our way up the switchbacks towards our goal. Closer and closer, steeper and steeper! With a final push we rounded the corner and gazed at the glorious view from the top! Amazing!!  The success was thrilling! We were seeing a view from the top that many people will never see! We did it!!

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Our lives are a lot like a hike up Misery Ridge.  You start out full of excitement, goals, dreams~ ready to take on the world!  You can imagine your goals, you can visualize  conquering your challenges. Yet life starts to get hard, to required more stamina, or make you feel uncomfortable and there is a desire to abandon the very goals that mean so much to you.

As challenges come it’s important to pace yourself; catch your breath. Often times we expect so much of ourselves not recognizing the impact of “climbing higher”. We forget to nourish and replenish ourselves so that we can press on….one foot in front of the other. Often times, just like our surprise snake, obstacles make come out of nowhere~~Do we abandon our goals because of them?

I wonder how many people get to the last third of the Misery Ridge hike and turn back because they are too tired or afraid to climb higher? Right before they have the joy of that unprecedented view!!  How many of us get so close to reaching our personal goals, facing life long challenges, creating healthy relationships, or stepping into fresh dreams, and abandon them because it just feels impossible, right before we see success?

As Janelle and I learned; as it gets closer to the top, as the challenges get harder; you need the support of your fellow “climbers” to keep you from losing your footing, to encourage you to keep climbing; to press on! I would never climb Misery Ridge alone for that very reason!

I have to say that the BEST part of the climb is the celebration at the top! The joy of reaching the goal and the satisfaction that we didn’t quit!  Every person I have led to the top of Misery Ridge has been so glad that they didn’t turn back before seeing the view from the top!

Do you have dreams, goals you want to attain, challenges you must face? Are you halfway there? Turning the last difficult corner? Or have you just begun? Remember these few lessons from the mountain:

Pace yourself, stay hydrated, place your feet carefully, catch your breath, stay committed to looking forward; not back, and surround yourself with fellow climbers (healthy support systems) who can hold your arm if you slip and celebrate your WIN at the top!

You’ll never know what you’ll miss if you are afraid to “climb”.

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Keeping Score~

I remember when our boys were young and our son David was playing soccer.  We’d arrive at the field with our 2nd graders; low back chairs and coffee. Parents of each team would line up on either side of the field ready to cheer on their team; their child. As the boys would run up and down the field it was always exciting to see them get the ball into the goal!

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However, with this age group the rule was that Soccer Is FUN!! We don’t keep score!! I clearly understand the value behind this idea, but I know for certain that every parent was diligently and fervently keeping score!!!  Even me!!  There MUST be a winner, right?

Keeping score gives games a competitive angle; creates a bit of tension, makes it fun! Imagine football or baseball without keeping score! boring!

Keeping score can be a great thing accept in one arena: Relationships!

In relationships having a competitive edge, a bit of tension really isn’t fun.  Interestingly enough though, just like with those childhood soccer games, we have a natural inclination to keep score.

In the Blog “Learn This” the writer shares some great thoughts: “Be willing to offer your help, give of your time, pay for lunch, make an apology first, share some vulnerable personal stories, step out of your comfort zone, make a step in faith, be brave, be first and be generous. Do this without keeping score, offer it every chance you get. Put the effort into your relationships without expectation!  Everything about this aproach changes your attitude, increases your outlook, and keeps you joy filled!  Every personal connection you encounter is an opportunity in your life, both with business colleagues, friendships and family, to learn to NOT keep score!  A chance to forgive quickly and give freely.”

Keeping score causes resentment, irritation, and self-righteousness; all negative! Rather, love without expectation, give freely, and choose peace over being “right”. In doing so…well in Soccer terms~~ YOU WIN!! 🙂

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So, Ya Had A Bad Day!

Early this morning I got up considering what to write about in my Blog today. I had so many ideas, passions, and lessons learned that I planned on sharing.

 I headed to work. With windows down on this warm June morning I was looking at the mountains, grateful for the beauty I get to experience here in Bend. My heart was full as I thought about my family whispering prayers to the Lord for their week.  May they be so blessed!

THEN~~As I headed down the street to enter a roundabout that would take me to work there were cars were backed up a bit due to others either heading to work or taking their children to school. All of a sudden my peaceful experience was shattered as a man in a jeep behind me began leaning on his horn angry that he had to wait.  Every time he felt a car hadn’t entered the roundabout fast enough he screamed a string of obscenities that would embarrass even a sailor!

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As I looked in my rear-view mirror I could see his white knuckles angrily grasping his steering wheel; he wasn’t interested on his impact on others whatsoever! This morning was about him, and he wasn’t getting his way!

In the wake of his rage filled outbursts , I needed to re-group emotionally; pulling myself back together after 5 minutes of shocking adult behavior. Would I choose to give this man the freedom to ruin my day?  Would I allow him to steal my joy? I had a choice to make. I chose joy……

This experience reminded me that all too often we begin a day, purposeful and focused, ready to make a difference in our world and THEN~ we get bad news, we hear a criticism about us or our family, someone sends a hurtful email, or the World news is discouraging……do we allow these things to suck the peace out of our day? Steal our joy?  Sadly enough, we often do.

What would it look like if we “chose” Joy?  If we made an intentional effort to focus on the goodness of God, the kindness we share with friends and family, and the knowledge that God has our life in His hands? What would it look life if we refused to let anyone or anything control our emotional negatively?

In our lives challenges with come at us sideways at times; let’s stay in the drivers seat of our heart! Lead on with Joy!

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4