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!

 

Conversation Shake-Up~

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Over a year ago, my son and his wife gave us a box of conversation questions from a company called Table Topics.  I thought it was a clever idea, fun.  What I have actually recognized about their value is the unique way fresh questions can unlock meaningful conversations in a whole new way!

It is so easy to get locked into routine conversations around work, ministry, money, and children.  We partner with our spouse and we parent our children; which is all good.  But, what if we make an effort to simply want to KNOW more about those we love rather than spending the bulk of our time directing schedules and managing behaviour?

What if we gave ourselves a time-out from routine conversations at the table or in the car, using that time to ask about dreams, favorite things, ideas, and best memories? Perhaps even using that time to ask about the “highs” and “lows” of the day!  I imagine you will experience some un-expected moments of fresh understanding.  For some reason an unexpected question often takes the direction of the connection to a new place.

Table Topics is a great tool, but if we are intentional enough to want to experience fresh insights with our friends and loved ones; we can easily prepare some of our own, having them ready to use when the time arises!

As a coach I am asking my clients questions all the time. I have been amazed to watch a quality question give way to a truly rich conversation.

Perhaps this is the year to shake out of the mundane and make your conversations really count!

It’s a Screen Free Day!! Enjoy it!!

On a trip to Kauai a couple years back Greg and I went on a Catamaran Excursion.  We love to to that; just to get out on the vast open sea looking for dolphin, flying fish, turtles, and perhaps even a whale or two!! On this particular trip we were most struck by something else we saw~~ a couple who were aboard spent the entire trip using their cell phones at opposite ends of the boat!! They didn’t really interact much, appreciate the view, or enjoy the romance of it all. Nope~ on their phones the entire time!!

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Recently, at one of my favorite restaurants I looked across the crowded room only to observe a family of 5 having dinner together.  Well, actually they were eating in each others presence, but they were all on their “smart phones” sending texts or playing games! So much for their family dinner!

Driving home from work I always pass a great little park filled with kids; there’s a climbing wall, fun slide, and lots of room to run.  Along the outside of the park there are places for parents to sit to watch there kids playing.  This particular day  I observed that 4 out of the 5 moms had their eyes firmly fixed on the screen of their “smart phones” missing out on the fun and giggles coming from their young children!

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Yesterday, a gal driving a small car right behind me on the overpass continually came up too close behind my car as I headed home.  Looking in my rear view mirror I could see that she was looking down at her lap sending and reading texts the entire time, rarely looking up to see what was ahead.  Had I needed to stop quickly we would have been in a frightful situation!

So, I think it’s time for everyone to start to take some “Screen Free” time!! Catch your breath, disconnect from social media and your phone for a little while.  Remember back in the “old days” when we would come home and get our phone messages? Back when we weren’t so readily accessible?

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Read, connect with a friend face to face, play with your kids, go for a walk~~ so many wonderful things to enjoy!  Give yourself permission to regularly disconnect from your screen, any screen, and fully engage in your life in fresh ways!  It’s the weekend, try it today! 🙂

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!!!

Will you really be here for the holidays?

I love this time of year as I gear up for all of my favorite holidays in the coming months.  I anticipate celebrations with friends and family, parties to host and attend, gifts to purchase, wrap, and deliver, & lots of food to prepare. I know it will be a full season of wonderful variables.

However, in the midst of a busy holiday season I am still working, writing, and carrying on with all the responsibilities I normally have on a day to day basis. I face the question; “How can I be fully present in this season rather than being so task driven that I actually miss the valuable moments that come my way? Every year I hear myself saying, “Goodness, the holidays went by so fast!

Whether you’re feeling totally overwhelmed or slightly frustrated as you anticipate the holiday season ahead, it’s easy to lose perspective about what’s most important and valuable to you–your relationships!

Truth is we all spend most of our time in the past or the future, rather than the present moment. What we end up doing is passing through today’s moments on the way to somewhere else and, in doing so, we miss the present moment. That’s how these meaningful memories can end up passing us by!

Benefits of Being in the Moment

  1. Increased enjoyment: We will find that we enjoy life more if we’re fully present rather than having our minds elsewhere. Food tastes better, I have more fun with my family, work is more enjoyable, and laughter is sweeter when I experience them UN-distracted!
  2. Reduced stress. Worrying about the past and future can give us stress. Choosing to give ourselves permission to slow down and focus on “Today” can alleviate the stress of past regrets and the uncertainties of the future.
  3. Better relationships. When we really commit ourselves to being with someone, to listening to them,we are being a better family member, friend, teammate, and even spouse. We have better conversations. We bond with those around us!

“Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories.” — Cathy Allen

Enjoy the coming months to the fullest. Slow down and intentionally choose not to be so “busy-minded” but rather give yourself permission to be fully present each day!

…and may this be a very special Holiday season for you!