The Weekend That Got Away~

 

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The weekend was going to be great! Temperatures were rising and sunshine was on the menu! Our son and daughter in law would be coming from Portland with our granddaughter in tow! This meant our entire family would get to spend this lovely weekend together making fresh memories among the Fall colors!! I was so excited.

Everyone arrived and after sharing a sweet meal and laughter together I began to feel it—-it started in my throat and within hours I was experiencing chills; It got worse from there. There went my best laid plans! I spent the remainder of the weekend in bed making certain I didn’t pass my “bug” onto my precious grandchildren.

For 2 days I listened to giggles and playfulness, books being read and songs being sung while I lay sequestered away!! This was not how I planned this weekend to go!! My heart broke every time I heard tiny voices say “ is Mimi sick?” where is Mimi?” I kind of had a pity party.

I had extra time to think while I lay there listening to tiny voices downstairs and I thanked the Lord for the precious gifts in my life. My heart swelled as I was reminded again of what truly matters ~ the people God has given me to love.

While I will always refer to the past weekend as the “One that Got Away” I am deeply grateful for the reminder of the gift of family.

Defying Limitations!

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After a wonderful church service yesterday our family made our way to a meet and great area of our church; coffee, tea, and snacks. This is designed for folks to interact between or before the service they have attended. Somewhere within a 15 minute period I turned and saw my one year old grandson Holden looking quite fascinated with a lovely woman in a wheelchair, minutes later his sister Scout joined him as this lovely, kind woman began to talk with our little ones in loving tones and kind gestures. I was fascinated by seeing that what drew them to her was the wheelchair, what kept them there was just who she was. This lovely woman didn’t appear to act like she saw her wheelchair as if it was a limitation.

It’s been almost 10 years now since I worked part-time at a wonderful local Athletic Club in my hometown; within the building there was a well-run Physical Therapy practice.   Jordan was my friend; he came into the club 2 times a week to do swim therapy in the indoor pool. Jordan was a quadriplegic and his wheelchair would forever be his mode of transportation.  Jordan was so kind, so funny, so motivated to live a normal life. I remember watching him faithfully ride the local bus to the Club, being lowered into the pool and making every effort to stretch and move his tight muscles. Jordan worked a full-time job at our local theater taking tickets and welcoming those who attended; he did it all from his wheelchair. I was especially intrigued when he excitedly shared with me that he had just won a Bocce Ball tournament in another city!! Bocce Ball in a wheelchair? I am convinced that Jordan did not see his wheelchair as a limitation.

My precious mother is in her 80’s and she is not only an amazing woman, she is a gifted artist.  Because she is so passionate about art she has spent well over 20 years teaching children and adults to find their inner artist.  My mother also has Scoliosis and is in pain every single  day.  She never whines.  Week after week she prepares her studio for her students: setting up art supplies and cleaning up after all of her budding artists.  She could easily quit and most people with that kind of chronic pain probably would.  I can see that my mother has not allowed her limitations to stand in the way of her passion.

How often do we limit ourselves to do or be all we can be? How often do we see our challenges as overwhelming and we simply give up on our dreams? How often do we say “no” when , if we had some real fire in our bellies, we could achieve so many impacting things without letting our limitations take us out of the game!!

Do we give up too easily? Do our limitations overwhelm us or convince us we cannot continue to challenge ourselves and grow? To be honest I really think many of us do.

Can you think back to stories you have heard of people who have faced incredible adversity: loss of limbs, finances, family, home, or health and have persevered and caused you to tear up when you hear their brave, triumphant story? Haven’t you walked away thoroughly inspired?

What is your limitation? What stops you from pressing forward in your life? Do you think you might be giving in too easily? Do you think you might be lacking tenacity and perseverance to run your race with all your might? If so, what can you change today? How can you get fired up to move beyond those things that have held you back?

I encourage you to take a fresh look at your challenges. I encourage you to be brave and move forward in spite of them. I encourage you to live in fresh freedom!

“Only acknowledge your limitations for the purpose of overcoming them!”

Randy Gage

We have choices to make~

 

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Can I be honest? There are a lot of sad and disruptive events taking place these days. There truly are concerns that have many people feeling unsettled and uncertain about their world, their leaders, and their futures. I have talked to many of them; they are feeling overwhelmed, feeling sad. There are days when I do as well.

Disheartening events impact us on every level: thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Violence inspires worry, fear, and anxiety. The anxiety created by current events is all-encompassing and can keep us from living fully. And that is my concern. Having such increased social media and television shows/Books that mirror the events in our world only make it more challenging to come up for air!

What steps can we take to help ourselves or those we care about to redirect their anxieties and use that energy in a fruitful, impacting way? Is there anything tangible that we can do? Well, what we know about fear and anxiety is that underneath it all is a lack of feeling a sense of control; being left at the effect of someone’s leadership choices, weather events, or other disruptive situations.

We cannot control all those factors but we can control a number of choices we make that would calm our concerns and build purpose in our lives. We can make some life changes that would give us peace in the midst of uncertain days.

First and foremost, find a place of worship.   Knowing that we have a God who is incredibly mindful of us, taking time to pray about the concerns in our hearts, and locking arms with others of strong faith will make an surprising and powerful difference in how you see the world.

Limit (I mean really limit) social media. By saying this I am not saying that we put our heads in the sand but seeing news stories over and over again is unhealthy. We know for sure that what the media reports is a steady diet of what is going wrong; we rarely hear a story of what’s going right. Do a daily “flyover” but try not to make social media a steady diet.

Keep a gratefulness journal each day. What went right? Where was kindness shown? Who did I help?  What made me laugh?  When we commit to looking for the good in each day it can literally change the way we see our circumstances.

Do something good for others. Give your time where you can impact your community in a positive way! No, we cannot change the whole world but we can make a difference in the community around us.

Always be sure to spend time with life-giving people; family and friends. Talk about things you can celebrate, appreciate, and enjoy. Try to stay out of a host of doomsday conversations; rather ignite hope and vision in one another.

Again, we cannot control all the elements in our world but we can take back control of how we choose to live and navigate our lives and behaviors!  Choose well, choose hope.

 

 I have told you these things so you may have peace in Me. In the world you will have much trouble. But take hope! I have power over the world!” John 16:33

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

You just might need a Coach!

 

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Being seen and heard by someone is very powerful and profound. Having a life coach to support, guide, and teach you on a regular basis is empowering, inspiring, and one of the best decisions you can make if you want to move forward into fresh places in your life and career. Simply put~~ we get stuck.

Having a safe place to land bi-weekly call, having a coach guiding and supporting you through your challenges, heartaches, and successes can be incredibly helpful and freeing. Your coach should cause you to feel safe and empowered. If you are unclear and afraid of the unknown, you won’t take actions to make necessary changes unless you trust your coach. Make sure you find a coach with your best interest in mind, one who is trustworthy, and has enough confidence to help you to move into new territory.

When you start to make changes in your life, it feels exciting and uplifting but also scary and unfamiliar. This might be when you start to sabotage yourself; sometimes the unfamiliar territory can be a little bit scary and we want to run back to what we have always done! If you have a brave and inspiring coach by your side you will be able to make fresh changes, even when if feels a bit scary  your coach will keep your eyes on the end goals you have desired!

Your coach will understand the challenge of change. They lead the way for you to have the greatest success. A coach will spot your self-sabotaging patterns quickly, so you can stop tripping yourself up and move forward with renewed confidence.

You may not take yourself as far as you can go on your own. And just like the good intentions of getting a gym membership to become and/or stay healthy and fit, your intentions  to make needed changes will often fail when you begin to move out of your comfort zone.  Having a coach who is trained to help you create clarity for your vision and spot your reactionary patterns will enable you to make the changes necessary for the results you have been dreaming of!

If you have invited a skilled coach into your life they will celebrate with you and make sure that you recognize and cherish every success along the way.  You most likely don’t take time to realize your accomplishments and successes! You might overlook what you have accomplished and your coach will take note of every change you make along the way!

Finding the right coach for you could change your life! Having outside insight can bring you closer to your hopes and dreams. I know, as a woman who has been coached in a pivotal season…..If I’d have know how to change my life on my own I’d have done it! I needed a guide, a cheerleader, and a safe place to land in order to grow.

Could this be your season?

https://www.coachwell.com/

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?  🙂

America, Could I have a word with you?

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Yesterday a gunman opened fire at a Republican baseball practice early Wednesday morning, shooting several attendees. The gunman’s goal was to “rid” the world of the Republican Party leaders. We should all be appalled. We should all pay attention.   What is happening to the home of the Free and the Brave?

As a 4 year old I remember sitting with my parents in the living room as they somberly watched the funeral procession of President Kennedy; that awful act of brutality shook our nation to the core regardless of political persuasion.   My parents were Conservatives and yet I never heard them utter a disparaging word about the President or others in leadership. There was a respect that was healthy in order to have lively disagreements about policies and laws being passed.

I am sad for my grandchildren. I am sad they are living in a day where our country has normalized aggressive, hateful rhetoric. I am sad they are living in a day where it is considered “humor” to hold up the severed head of our President. I am sad that they are living in a day when healthy dialogue and disagreement has been exchanged for screaming, burning flags, breaking windows, and even desiring physical harm to those with whom we differ!

As an adult, an American woman, a Christian, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a businesswoman, and a grandmother I find myself in a constant state of shock by the daily news; I almost have to take gaps of time to simply bury my head in the sand in order to navigate being distracted by behavior that makes me incredibly sad. I have been in prayer for our Country, the leaders on both sides of the aisle, and for those who love our great land. I am confident that God is mindful and able to bring about good change in the lives of anyone who reaches out to Him; but what it our responsibility, America?

We can control what we say and how we say it. We can express our differences with anyone (government, company, team, our kids teachers, coaches, and community/church members) with respect, clarity, and the ability to listen. We have no business playing into the harsh rhetoric of the day, which pours more and more gasoline on fires that are already burning. Frankly, scripture is so so so wise on the impact of our words!

James 3:5-6   “The tongue is a small part of a person’s body, but a tiny spark can seta great forest on fire. Among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

Matthew 12:36-27  “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Ephesians 4:29 ” Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Whether in Facebook comments, Twitter “tweets”, texts, emails or even in face to face dialogue we must not give ourselves permission to engage in disrespectful, angry tones.  We cannot be people who celebrate a persons hardships or failures; we cannot be  people who mock and laugh those who also call America home.  If we do, we will cease to be the great nation we want to be.

I was in kindergarten when my teacher taught my class of 5 years old children that it was important to “do unto others as we wanted them to do unto us.”  That age-old wisdom still holds true today.  America, let’s stop all the harsh, hateful rhetoric rather let’s set an example for those young eyes that are watching us and will be the next generation.  Let’s change our tone together: not doing so is going to have continued widespread harm.

We are better than that; we are the United States of America.

Time for a change? Time for a plan?

How’s your Life Plan~ Time to get intentional again??

Dianna Salciccioli

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It’s been almost 15 years since I was given the daunting opportunity to build my first Life Plan.  The very idea that I could somehow establish some plans or a course of direction for my life felt like a whole new concept; almost impossible.  As a mother of two teen boys, a pastor’s wife, a sister, daughter, friend, and community member how in the world could I possibly build some order and intentionality into my life?  Frankly, I was already running as hard as I could!!!

And THAT was the problem ~ I needed to give myself permission to stop “running so hard” and start to “run smarter.”  Thus began my journey of building and living my Life Plan, a journey that completely turned my life around enough that I now spend my days helping women to find fresh success as they too live their lives with renewed intentionality.

Here…

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What is it?

 

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Anyone who knows me knows that I have a large fun-filled playroom in my home and I love watching little ones playing with all the treasures I have joyfully gathered for them. My granddaughter Scout often enters the playroom, looks from corner to corner and then replies “Is there anything new?” because almost always there are new “fun” things that I add to the room.

A week ago I found a cute pink “old fashioned phone” and placed it on the child-sized  vanity table. Within a week I had 3 different little girls come into the room and upon finding the item asked me “What is this, Mimi?” I was forced to face the stark reality that so many elements of life  have changed all around me; phones, record players, and typewriters all obsolete.  I was reminded  just how quickly time passes.

The use of our time, how we spend our days, the activities we engage in, or people we pour into is very personal and unique to whom each of us are.  Yet, we all have the same amount of hours in our days to waste or to use well.

In an article written by Grace Bluerock she lists the 9 most common regrets people express at the end of life:

I wish I had been more loving to the people who matter the most.

I wish I had been a better spouse, parent, or child.

I wish I had not spent so much time working.

I  wish I had taken more risks.

I wish I had made better choices and took time to enjoy life more.

I wish I had followed my dreams.

I wish I had taken better care of myself.

I wish I’d have done more for others.

I wish I had chosen work that was meaningful.

The day will come when our present online gadgets my find themselves in a playroom somewhere; time will have marched on.  Choose to use the time you’ve been gifted incredibly well ~ may there be no regrets! 🙂

 

 

How about an EQ (Emotional Quotient) checkup?

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EQ (Emotional Quotient) is a fairly new and important topic.   In 2009 the book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” was printed and written by Travis Bradbury and Jean Graves. It is a fantastic expression of EQ; what it is and how it affects all that we do.

EQ is referred to as the ability to recognize, evaluate and regulate your own emotions, the emotions of those around you and groups of people. Which basically means having the ability to enter a room, conversation or relationship recognizing your own emotions while also being able to perceive the temperament of that situation. A higher EQ will be mindful of their words and posture so that they can bring cohesive value to the situation vs. a lower EQ that would tend to miss the social cues and their own emotions thus bringing more harm to the situation than actual good.

So, why does a high EQ even matter?    To answer that let’s look at the attributes of a low EQ and I believe that answer will be self-explanatory:

  1. Inability to control emotions.
  2. Clueless of the feelings of others.
  3. Trouble maintaining friendships.
  4. Emotionally inappropriate: content and timing.
  5. Trouble being sympathetic.
  6. Lack of appropriate volume control.
  7. Strangely unmoved by sad or emotional events.

Hmmm…..whether in family, business, or community involvements it appears that a low EQ is going to have really negative outcomes!

The attributes of a high EQ are quite the opposite!

  1. The ability to relate to a wide range of people.
  2. Understand the need for a balanced life.
  3. Know how to express gratefulness.
  4. Recognize areas where they need to grow; acknowledge it.
  5. Ability to navigate change well.
  6. Recognize the need for timing and tone in all conversations.
  7. Able to own mistakes; apologize.

So, if you took an inventory of the past year, where might you rate your EQ? Low? Mid-range? High?   It is important to have this awareness especially if you feel that you continue to hit relational and occupational road blocks and can’t seem to figure out why.

Well, there is hope! Here are a few tips to help you grow in the area of your EQ via an article by the writer and blogger Karla Jennings:

  1. Become more self-aware. Serving as the core area of emotional intelligence, being able to identify how you feel throughout the day, as well as who you are, helps you make important life choices. Put your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs on paper. By doing this, you’re able to put things into perspective, which helps you become more aware of who you are, what you want and why. Knowing how to express your emotions can often help you manage them in a proper and healthy way.
  2. Work to gain empathy.   Empathy is extremely powerful and essential to raising your emotional intelligence. Increasing your ability to empathize can help you get closer to others, gain their support when you need it, and potentially defuse high-charged conflicts in your professional and personal life. Be aware and listen carefully to what they are telling you. You know you are becoming more empathetic when you’re able to decipher and recognize the feelings of others.
  3. Gain Self-regulation. Part of growing as a person involves acquiring new skills while experiencing new relationships. By learning to control and manage your emotions, especially your impulses, you are able to prepare yourself for emotional self-management. People who self-regulate think before they act, have the ability to say no, and shift their thoughts to prevent their emotions from controlling them. They are self-aware enough to know their strengths, weaknesses, and are willing to look at themselves honestly
  4. Grow in Social Skills. Another way of raising your emotional intelligence is being able to easily talk and connect with others. Being socially responsible demonstrates that you really care about others and not just about your own personal gain. Individuals who focus on the development of others rather than their own, practice emotional intelligence as well as humility.

Don’t we all want to find joy, success, and satisfaction in our personal and professional life?   Of course we do! Take a little time to think about your interactions with others and if you see a need to grow. Begin to be mindful of the 4 steps I’ve provided for you and begin to soar in a whole new way!  To your success!