A Goal without a Plan is Just a Wish!

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Facebook added a “memories” feature this year where daily you can receive photos sharing exactly what you were doing on THIS day last year.  Today I was reminded that exactly one year ago I was taking some time to ponder my goals and dreams for 2016; I am jolted by how quickly this year has passed!

I had to ask myself the question, ” did I complete many of my goals and am I ending the year well?”  Hmmmmm………Yes, and no.   Company goals?  As a team I believe we exceeded our goals!  Friend and family relationships? I am confident that  I stayed true to my goals of keeping people a key priority in my schedule. In my faith?  I wonder if I will ever be truly satisfied with my yearly growth; there is always so much more to understand, so many areas to grow.  In my health?  Not my best account and one that I need to move up the priority list.  I’ve done a bit of the unthinkable……..allowed my schedule to affect my strict disciplines!  I know, I know……I can hear you saying “but you are a Coach!”  You are correct…..just trying to be authentic!

However, there are other questions I found valuable in assessing my year in preparation for a new year ahead and I thought I would pass them on to you for that when you access your year and set fresh goals for 2017:

  1.  Did I love my family well?
  2. Did I use my gifts and talents well?
  3. What were some of the notable blessings and memories from this year?
  4. Was there a particular book/teaching that caused me to grow this year?
  5. What goals didn’t get completed? What do I need to change to be successful?
  6. Was I a grateful person this year?
  7. What is one thing that went really well? did I celebrate it?
  8. Was I a gracious host this year? Did I practice hospitality?
  9. Was I kind to others who serve me in the community: grocery stores, gas, etc?
  10. What term would I use to describe this year?

Take some time, before the hustle and bustle of this wonderful holiday season, grab a journal, and consider how you spent this year.  Did you achieve your goals? Were you the kind of person you wanted to be?  What would you like the coming year to look like for you, your family, your company, and your community?  Then, make a plan, calendar dates and steps, and celebrate the wins along the way!  Time really passes quickly so it’s never too early to get started!

Remember, A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish!

 

 

 

 

First World Problems~

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Imagine my surprise when I entered the garage to get some water out of my 2nd refrigerator that holds all my extra drinks and food. Upon opening the door I saw that every drink (and there were many) had completely blown up and now covered the entire inside of the refrigerator with product and glass!  For some reason everything froze and blew up!!!  It was a mess!!!

What a  disappointment! Now I faced the frustration of having to clean that mess up!   My husband, in a wonderful attempt to show empathy said ” oh wow, that is such a bummer, will you be ok?”.  Hmmmm….. Will I be okay??  Such a telling question and  I needed to ponder my response!   I had to laugh because this was, obviously,  a first world problem.  My extra drinks in my extra refrigerator  were ruined!   Really?  Not a huge issue and, of course, I will be ok!

Isn’t it true, however, that we can often let first world problems ruin our day, discourage us, even make us mad, when in all reality these challenges aren’t really such a big deal in light of what the rest of the world is forced to navigate day in and day out!

The definition of a first world problem is this:  a relatively trivial or minor problem or frustration (implying a contrast with serious problems such as those that may be experienced in the developing world).

Issues such as :  My internet is too slow, I had to wait too long to be seated at a restaurant , my storage unit is too full, the road in my neighborhood is too bumpy, or my TV Cable is out.   May sound silly but these are things that we can allow to make us unhappy.

Perhaps in this season of gratefulness, of Thanksgiving, we can really see how blessed we are as well as being mindful of the many challenges people around the world face every single day:  no running water, no internet, poor medical care, no streets,  and very little safety.

Every day that we turn on the tap for fresh water, enter a warm building, enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables, and freely enter our churches we must realize how very blessed we are.  Our mindful approach to gratefulness can be richer this year in a fresh way if we appreciate ALL we have and we run from a sense of entitlement.

I want to wish you all a wonderful, heartfelt Thanksgiving this year ~ we are so very blessed!

 

 

Raw~

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One the eve of Election Day America is raw.  As a nation we have sloshed through months and months of hurtful, harmful bantering that has left so many weary and blistered emotionally.  We have seen and heard verbal wars consisting of snarky,  shameful comments that even our children should not be privy to.  Many of us have found ourselves saying and posting things that do not present the best version of ourselves but because the “bar” has been set so low by those in leadership, we still look pretty good.  This season has wounded us all in some way and we are raw.

As we walk through the Election week ahead, well, it will be bumpy; no one will really win in the end.  Our nation is so deeply divided that no matter who assumes the presidential seat, we will face the future fractured.  Families, churches, companies, and communities will have those who are grieved by the results while others will celebrate and throw their “win” in the faces of those around them.  No one will really win, we are raw and weary as a nation.

I have sat alone many times over the past year and wondered how I should navigate my own behaviour during this tumultuous season.  I have consoled myself with the thought that government wise ” I didn’t cause it and I can’t fix it”.  However, I have felt God nudging my heart as to what I can impact.

First, I can pray, specifically and in earnest I can pray that God will heal our land as found in 2nd Chronicles 7:14.  I can care enough to set aside time to intercede for the country that I love.

Second, I can vote.  Yes, this year voting has been more challenging than any year in my adult life and yet, my right to vote is a right that was fought for by generations before me and I will honor that right always.

Third, I can be the kind of leader I wish our government would be.  I can be honest, walk with integrity, make good clear choices that will impact those in my life and my community, and I can use diplomatic words of kindness in all that I do to keep the “bar” higher than what I have experienced in our government leadership over that past year.

Fourth and last, I can be kind.  I have the choice to impact my world with kindness, love, inspiration, and the hope that I have found in God.  I can choose to mentor. volunteer, coach, and come alongside those in my community.  I can choose to DO what is right regardless of what our government may or may not do. It’s truly up to me.

We all have a choice to be a beacon of light to the world around us that is just a little raw these days.  Our anger and angst over this election could easily cause us to lose sight of the kindnesses we can show every day.  The rifts between those who believe differently than as us could cause us to miss opportunities to share the good news of hope into a heart desperately in need.   This could be the true church’s finest hour if we remember that we were sent here to be salt and light in trying times, to be a healing balm to a raw generation.

THIS is my challenge for this election week and beyond.  May you be encouraged and challenged in the same way.  May YOU share the hope that is within you. 🙂

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What really matters~

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Today I had a nostalgic moment today when listening to an old Carpenters “album”.  The song  “Sometimes” came on and it made me a little weepy.  In this crazy season in our world the words reminded me of what really matters.

Don’t lose sight of what really matters!

“Sometimes” ( the Carpenters)

Sometimes not often enough
We reflect upon the good things
And those thoughts always center around those we love
And I think about those people who mean so much to me
And for so many years have made me so very happy
And I count the times I have forgotten to say “thank you”
And just how much I love them…
🙂

Balancing my perspective~

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I was 22, ready to save the world. Brave.  Adventurous. Inexperienced.

Early in the morning I boarded our plane with a team of leaders from my University.  Long Beach airport, headed to Calcutta, India.  We were ready to impact lives, meet felt needs, and return home knowing we have made a real difference in the lives of those we met in India!

I was an American girl who had never experienced poverty or government challenges. I was from a family where I was loved, and my understanding of the world was hampered simply because I had never experienced life from another’s perspective; walked a mile in someone elses shoes.

Somewhere midway between arriving in India and realizing we had 3 more weeks until we would head home to America; I knew that in my theology, expectations, and my perspectives of what life “should” look like were only an American view, not a world-wide view.

Lately, I have been pondering my thoughts as I think about this political season; the battles, arguments, and expectations.  I am watching people fighting for their rights for taxes, education, medical care, and freedoms.   I do understand the challenge; and yet I am overwhelmed by the realization that I have lived my entire life ( 57 years) with religious freedom, no fear of bombing or being arrested, I’m not concerned that I will starve to death, nor have I ever been in hiding for safety.

So many years ago I saw suffering, hunger, fear, and uncertainty.  I am reminded how blessed I am, regardless of who is running for president, and I find the need to balance my perspective.

How about you? An American perspective or a world-wide perspective?  No matter what, do you realize your blessings and freedoms?  Do you need a perspective adjustment?  I did, and I am thankful for the experience I had that changed me forever!

India changed me, I did not change India, and I think that was the plan all along! 🙂

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The Noose of Regret~

We all have regrets.

As each of us looks over the landscape of our lives we will, occasionally or often, wince when we recall poor job choices, hurt filled relationships, missed opportunities,  and poor financial decisions.  Everyone, as they grow older, has an opportunity to look back with hindsight and consider how we could have better navigated numerous areas of our lives…all of us.

Early in our marriage, with a 2-year-old and while I was 7 months pregnant, Greg and I moved far from family to pursue a new ministry role.  Everyone was supportive, there was excitement about the role we were being given and the impact we had the potential to make in that small community.

We went with the best of intentions but, regrettably, it was a pain filled season for our little family and set in motion a series of challenging situations that nearly broke us in many ways.  Greg and I have often looked back at those choices and say ” we would never make that same choice today”!

Wounded and a bit battered, we had a choice to live in the past and walk away from our passion and calling or choose to learn from it, forgive, and let it go.  We chose the latter but it did take some time to feel fully whole again.

Today I would clearly say that we probably learned more in those trenches then at any other time in our life ~ those we would not like a repeat performance.  God is good to redeem our past regrets; to make “beauty for ashes”.   Regret could have been like a noose around our neck and kept us from the joy of doing what we love to do today!

So, what is regret?  Regret is a negative emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made.  Nothing about walking through life this way is healthy; we must let go!

Today~  what’s got it’s grip on you?  What do you regret that’s keeping you from new starts, fresh dreams, re-newed passion, or fresh change?  What kind of cyclical self-talk do you automatically fall into when faced with moving on and moving forward?

Consider letting go, learning from the choices you made, forgiving yourself and/or others, and look toward the future with great hope and anticipation.  Sometimes you made have to get up and make this choice everyday until you begin to feel free! I know I had to!

How about moving forward?  How about letting go?  How about watching as God so creatively and lovingly makes “beauty for ashes” in your life?

Choose to experience a new season today! Decide to let go! 🙂

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Meeting Hal~

 

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Over the past few months, either by watching the news or hearing conversations taking place around me, I recognize that so many people are stressed, fearful, and sometimes even expressing hopelessness. I KNOW that I cannot even begin to attempt to meet the needs they are facing or fix the world they live in……but I can choose to be intentionally kind. I can try to situate my day so that my schedule isn’t so incredibly tight that when an opportunity to stop and be kind arrives I can respond well.

His name was Hal, which I didn’t know until he introduced me to himself later in our conversation but while grocery shopping I saw Hal out of the corner of my eye.   Seeing him, I kinda sized him up right away ~ homeless, toothless, possibly a little mental illness, outgoing, and kindhearted.

Now, I must insert that even though my heart hurts for those I see begging on the street expressing the need for funds due to being jobless and homeless, I am also careful so that I don’t help them perpetuate a lifestyle that will ultimately keep them in the life position they are in;  I support quality programs that help those that are homeless to get off the street, get training or education, and an opportunity to build self-esteem and a legacy for their lives.

As I walked out to my car I could see Hal standing in front of the Taco stand near my car; he was looking at the few coins in his hand, looking at the Taco stand, then back to his hand. It was then that the two of our eyes connected and he walked my way. “Would you consider buying me a taco?” he said.   I reached in my purse and took out a bill larger than he had anticipated and his eyes got really wide! “Oh Lady, I’m going to get the biggest burrito in the joint!!”

He smiled, thanked me, and began to walk away. Hal looked back and headed, again, in my direction. “Lady, do you read “The Book”? I told him “Yes, I read “The Book” every day!” Hal’s eyes got bigger “ Well, then you must know “The Man”!” I told him “Yes, I surely do know “The Man”!   Hal told me that “The Man” was his best friend.

Then Hal walked away as I proceeded to put my groceries into the back of the car. With a tap on my shoulder I saw Hal’s toothless grin as he asked me, “have you ever read Psalm 41:1?, because that’s what you did, that’s what you did today!” Then Hal and I introduced ourselves to one another and shook hands. For a moment time stood still and two human beings connected at the heart; both of us were encouraged in a unique and meaningful way.

When I arrived home I looked up Psalm 41:1 which read   “Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him.”

I guess Hal really did read “The Book” and he really did  know “The Man”!

I challenge you as I challenge myself ~ let’s slow down and see if we can’t tangibly encourage someone in a special way this coming week, you just might walk away with a blessing yourself! 🙂

The incredible power of love~

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I am constantly on the search for inspiration as I walk through my life.  So often I’ve thought “Wow, there was a real lesson in that!”   Recently Greg and I had the chance to sneak away to Maui for a week; I fully expected to find multiple sources of inspiration, especially in that setting!

My inspiration came in a huge and unexpected way; caused me to pause and watch the incredible power of love.

We woke up early packed and ready to head out on a catamaran trip to the Island of Lanai where we would have a chance to snorkel and enjoy a morning of incredible views.  After checking in at the dock we were asked to wait in a line until everyone had checked in.  While waiting I watched a family coming down the dock withtheir teenage daughter ( probably 13 or 14) who was in a wheelchair and experiencing some form of palsy that caused her rigid body to shake uncontrollably without ceasing.

I tried not to stare but found myself fascinated by the amount of love that was expressed to this young gal.  Since there wasn’t a ramp on the boat Dad lifted his precious girl ( who was almost as tall as him) and gently placed her in a seat where she could feel the wind and see the ocean.  Minutes later Mom proceeded to, carefully and with precision, attempt to feed her precious daughter while the shaking in her body continued.

As the catamaran proceeded to the Island of Lanai I watch as both mom and dad would sweetly talk with their girl, move a tuft of her hair from her eyes, and wrap their arms around her shoulder.  All interactions with their daughter was through her eyes as she could not speak; her glee would show through her crooked smile.  There was so much love expressed between them all. There was never a moment of irritation, exasperation, or frustration.

Upon arriving in the cove near Lanai, I was surprised as both parents, instead of getting all their own snorkeling gear on, were wrapping their girl in a  floatation device and proceeded to take her into the water with them.  It was incredibly special to observe the effort it took to make this experience a reality for their daughter; so selfless.

Wet and bundled in towels, we all headed back toward the Island of Maui.  Sitting in front of me, this precious family snuggled  tightly together….  then I saw the most amazing thing.  Mom leaned in a wrapped her arms around her daughter, singing softley in her ear.  For the first time all the shaking in her body stopped.  I felt tears in my eyes as I could see the rich sense of calm that came over her rigid body; I was amazed at the soothing power of genuine love, selfless love, a costly love.

Sometimes loving others isn’t easy, it can be costly, tiring, challenging, or even confusing.  But LOVE is always worth it.  There is power in an authentic, selfless love.  Watching these parents go the extra mile with their child whose entire wellbeing is dependant on their choice to love and support her in every way, challenged me to dig deeper when I am challenged to love ~ to go the extra mile.

Couldn’t we all use more moving example of love?  I say “yes”!

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Random meeting~

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 If you have followed my blog very long you would know that with my Coaching Practice (Coachwell.com) I travel quite a bit.  Very often, when I feel a bit “empty” I will get on the plane and put on my earbuds…a sure sign that I do not want to be disturbed!

This was the case this past week when I made my way to my seat as a lovely blond woman slid in on the seat next to me. She immediately put her earphones in and I respected her privacy.

Twenty minutes into our flight there was turbulence that caused anxiety in us all; she looked at me and said “I hate to fly”!   Within minutes we began a conversation that lasted the remaining hour and a half!

This lovely lady is in a season of change, she expressed…grown children, grandchildren, job transitios, single.  I asked her “what would you love to do?’..she looked at me expressing that she had NEVER asked herself this question.  She said she was “stuck”,  I told her “I believed she was on the cusp of a grand adventure”,   she said she had no special  gifts or talents, I told her she raised 5 amazing children and she should be  exceptionally confident  about her talents!!

I am certain that most often we don’t tell ourselves the truth during a transitional time!  We often  feel stuck, uncertain, kinda lost, fearful of the coming chapter?  I would tell you to look at your new season with anticipation, hope, and fresh Ideas!  We are never stuck….only in a fresh season full of possibilities!!

Ask youself………….what do I really, really want?

I recieved a text from her the next day, she is convinced we are now “airplane buddies”.

🙂

 

 

 

 

We Danced~

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This last weekend our family engaged in a “little known” tradition in our family.  We danced! Our family gathered together to celebrate anniversaries, 6 couples in our family had marked significant milestones and we wanted to acknowledge the beauty of that together. As the evening cooled and the sun went down we laughed while dancing to pop songs watching one another make some creative dance moves.  As the moon began to show itself in the sky we danced to slow songs from the 50’s;  there were tears in our eyes as we watched the sweet way our parents moved together like they were teenagers once again.

Dancing was an integral part of our parents history back when dancing looked significantly different then it looks today!  It is a memory of sweet times, laughter, and celebration.

Sadly enough, when I was a young girl the dancing stopped.  At the time we attended a church that didn’t allow dancing and my parents wanted to “do the right thing” out of reverence and respect.  It was sad that the dancing had stopped.

Years down the road, perhaps 10 years ago now,  family weddings and summer BBQ’s began to become a regular occurrence ~ first we just played really cool music and then toes started tapping.  We began to dance again. The laughter, silliness, sweetness, and extremely cool moves began again.  Nowadays, we look forward to the next time we will gather to dance again!

Take inventory for a minute.  Is there a life giving, joyfilled activity that you’ve either neglected or felt guilty about taking time for?  Is it time to give yourself permission to re-engage in it again?  Something nostalgic?  Something light-hearted or whimsical?

As the evening ended we watched some of the Iphone videos of our crazy dance moves and all agreed that the brothers-in-law had truly epic moves; most importantly we all left with a full heart and tired feet!   🙂

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