Things we might regret~

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This past week I had the privilege of traveling with my mother and her sister on a road trip to see one of their lifelong friends a few hours away.  This would be a 3 day trip full of laughter, meaningful conversations, shared memories from days gone by, and lots of reminiscing.   I enjoyed the time I had with them all; each of them are so precious to me.  One of the comments was that “time has just gone by so very quickly”, I even see this in my own life as I am celebrating 30 years of marriage this week.  Life does indeed move forward quickly.

Since I returned from the road trip I have been looking at my own life and asking the question, “am I doing all I can to live this life well, with purpose and meaning?”  As I think about that question my answer is “yes, some of the time.” I could do better.

I began to ponder the question, “What might we all regret when we get into our twilight years?”  and I came up with a list of things to consider.

1.  Not stopping to appreciate the “moment”.  Living life so busy-minded that we miss so many amazing moments all around us.

2.  Not traveling when we could have.  Seeing and experiencing other cultures makes a huge difference in our world view and can create memories to last forever.

3.  Holding grudges.  How sad to live life as a hostage to hurt feelings! Gotta let it go!

4.  Not having taken time to get to know God~ to invite Him into our lives. He gave us the very breath we breathe; how amazing to have a life knowing and trusting in Him.

5.  Not having taken time to volunteer.  Life is so much richer when we take time to come alongside those wanting to make a difference!

6.  Not spending intentional time with loved ones.  It’s a sad truth to realize that we don’t know how long we get to have those we love in our lives.  It’s best not to put relationships off “till tomorrow”.

7.  Caring too much what others think.   We will never please everyone all the time.  As much as we may try, there will always be those who see us through a filter that we cannot control.  Care more about being the best YOU that you can be!

8.  Working too much.   Decide when then work day needs to be done.  Disengage and fill your life with life-giving activities and people.

9.  Never having taken risks to pursue a dream.   Do you have a dream in your heart? Are you playing it so safe that your dream will never be realized?

10. Worrying too much.   Life is complicated and uncertain.  All of us could focus on areas of concern and find ourselves consumed with fear and worry.  However, worry robs us of joy.  We will regret having spent our days burdened and concerned.

It was fun to hear of all the ways my mom and her sister intentionally built memories from childhood till now.  When life was hard for them; they created space for joy and laughter.  When life has been joy-filled they have intentionally celebrated those moments with gratefulness.  No matter what stage of life you may be in; ask yourself if there’s anything on my list that YOU may regret someday.  If there is there’s no time like the present to turn it around! 🙂

Newlyweds~

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Being on the Hawaiian Islands in the month of August can only mean one thing! We will be surrounded by honeymooners!  After encountering one or two, I soon realized that, of course, this was wedding month!

29 years ago it was “wedding month” for my husband and I!  In a church with orange pews and brown panel walls, I walked down the aisle in a white dress towards my teary bridesmaids all dressed in Pink ( or Mauve, as it was known in the 80’s)! My tall young husband smiled a crooked smile my way filled with both anticipation and anxiety about the huge step we were making! 29 years later he still has that cute crooked smile! 🙂

After an Anniversary holiday in the Hawaiian Islands, Greg and I climbed onto the plane enjoying the fact that we would be sitting in the Emergency Exit seats that provide lovely leg room! Greg on the aisle, and I took the window seat keenly aware that there would be a “random” individual between us.  When he came, smiling an impish grin, he slid into our row.  Joseph was a newlywed…..his sweet new bride was two rows behind us. He kept looking back at her longing to have her by his side…but the plane was taking off.

Joseph was outgoing, found out he had a rich faith in Christ; he was from a family of 12 children.  Learning we had been married for 29 years, he began asking questions to learn how to find success in marriage; asked good questions.  This young man was eager to live life as a newlywed forever…so cute!

Our advice?  Stay friends, forgive, pick your battlegrounds, pray together, continue to play, get away together, and fight the urge to fall into being partners in life~~stay pals, friends, and lovers!

Well, once I knew he had gleaned all he needed from me I was keenly aware that it was time to switch seats with his precious bride, to let them cuddle the rest of the flight.  Seeing them all snuggled in from my tight seat two rows behind made me so happy.  I turned to the little gal next to me and said “where are you headed?” She smiled and said “I am a newlywed”.  so ….we chatted……. 🙂

Sweet, unexpected moments! Sweet reminders of how precious marriage is!! 🙂

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! 🙂

Can You Fly?

One day a man found a cocoon of a butterfly.   Soon a small opening appeared.  He sat & watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.  Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go any further.

The man decided to help the butterfly so he took a pair of scissors & snipped of the remaining bits of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged quite easily but it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it, expecting that at any minute the wings would enlarge & expand enough to support the whole body, neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling.  It was NEVER able to fly.

The man in his kindness and haste did not understand:  The restricting cocoon and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings.  By doing this the butterfly would be ready for flight!

You may have heard this story told over and over; but it’s good to hear it yet again! Character, patience, long-suffering; all the fruits of the Spirit are born out of challenge and adversity. Without those struggles, we wouldn’t grow or tap into our potential.

Certainly, a life without struggles sounds wonderful but we would not be “the best version of ourselves” without those struggles.

Today, you might be facing some real struggles and challenges. Let them make you strong!  Grow into a butterfly and FLY!!!

Galatians 5:22 says,

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”

Lessons from Yosemite.

We had heard that Vernal Falls in Yosemite was a beautiful sight, just a short mile and half hike to see it! We had half a day to “play” in the valley this past weekend before a family wedding, so Greg and I decided to go take a look.

When we starting out we walked on a paved surface, we passed people of all ages and languages. We enjoyed views of the valley below as we meandered along at a leisurely pace. Eventually the pavement ended and the surface became a little more rocky, and a little steeper. By the time we had reached this point we were growing in our excitement to see the falls; we were committed to going all the way!!

Within a quarter mile the hike changed dramatically as the path led us up a path that caused us to climb nearly 1200 ft. in a one mile stretch! YES!! practically straight up! Well cut stone steps and handrails placed where needed were helpful to the journey ahead but there was no escalator; we had to place one foot in front of the other to get to the top!

About half the way up, feeling like my heart would beat right out of my chest, I had to remind myself of the value of the goal ahead of me. Did I really want to see the Falls, because I could just buy a postcard at the gift shop! Hmmmmm…….I could stop if I wanted to.  As I looked at the stair-step path in front of me I realized how much like “life” this hike truly was!

Every worthy goal requires steps.  If I want to grow in a new area of my life, achieve any new abilities, attain any lofty purposes , it will require steps that may often tax my will to stay the course.  I will have to decide along the way not allow myself the freedom to return to the way things have always been, or to stop short of the goals that I’ve longed to attain.

The commitment to continue the climb outweighed my pending fatigue and within minutes I could hear the rumble of the waterfall; this spurred me on.  Step by step got us closer to the top.

Peeking over the waterfall to the vast beauty of the Yosemite Valley had been worth every ounce of muscle it took to climb to see it!  Incredible.

Are there goals ahead of you that seem to be taking too long, expending more energy than you had anticipated, or that you simply find challenging to remain committed to?
Keep in mind the sense of satisfaction you will have if you stay the course and walk out the needed steps! Keep your goals where you can see them and march forward…the “view” will be wonderful!

Powerful Thinking~

Thoughts are intensely powerful!  Our thoughts have the power to lift us up or to drag us down; they can inspire us or crush our spirits.  Our minds are always running like a clock runs on the wall; always ticking.

I’ve heard it said that “no one can be harder on you than you“, I am going to have to agree.  As humans we can have the tendency to think through a filter of fear, uncertainty, self doubt, or negativity causing our passions to be squelched and our joy to be hindered.

But, do we have to live life thinking this way?  I would have to say an emphatic “NO!” It is simply time to intentionally re-adjust our thinking patterns.  Negative thinking can be habit forming but so can positive thinking.  Training your mind to focus on what is good, to dream of possibilities, to reaffirm your talents to yourself, to capture all the many joys that can arise in a day will completely take your thinking in a new direction.

Proverbs 3:21-22 says; “Guard clear thinking and common sense with your life; don’t lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive.”

Author and painter Joni Eareckson Tada puts it into these words; ” No more imperfect thoughts. No more sad memories. No more ignorance. I have a redeemed body AND a redeemed mind! God grant me a foretaste of that perfect mind as you mirror your thoughts in me today.”

Our minds are powerful; God made them that way. It is our challenge to choose to direct our thinking towards hope, passion, joy and peace or to continue thinking through a negative filter.  This is one of the tasks no one can do for us.

Philippians 4:8

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Let Powerful thinking infuse you with joy today! 🙂

What is YOUR Dream List?

She wants to be an actress, we discussed stretching into fresh ideas and opportunities.  Today–she has beginning roles in 2 movies.  We discussed that she desired to be married but was hesitant to “ask” God to a soul mate…she is engaged. We discussed that he would really like to run the Olympic Torch across the Golden Gate Bridge, and 4 years ago he did just that!  She tells me that after years and years of work that she would love to take a sabbatical; she is just returning from Paris to complete the “rest” of her six week sabbatical!

There is something to sharing your dreams and being positioned to “Partner with the Possibilities!

As a Life and Ministry Coach for seven years I’ve had the  privilege of hearing the deepest wishes and dreams of over 100 leaders, I know for certain that there are dreams  in us all that are just dying to be “birthed”! Sometimes money, time, health, relationships, and present responsibilities lead us to believe that our dreams will never see daylight!  Though there may be challenges, even hurdles to overcome, I have seen many, many leaders experience the reality of their dreams.

Take your own personal inventory.   What have you longed to pursue? Where have you wished to travel? What have you desired to write? How have you imagined you would like to feel?  What are the dreams you have for yourself that you have never verbalized to anyone?  What would be your “Dream List”?   Matthew Kelly, author of the inspiring book, “The Dream Manager” says “In various aspects and arenas of our lives. we encounter people who need to be challenged and encouraged in the direction of their dreams. In our personal and professional lives, we are constantly crossing paths with people who have dreams that are fallow or stagnant because nobody has encouraged them to clearly define those dreams and pursue them.”

Perhaps today is your day.  Perhaps today is the day where you look deep into your heart and allow yourself to dream again.  Here’s the exciting part in all of it.  When you allow yourself to consider your dreams, you will begin to talk about it, you will begin to look for opportunities, and the coolest part~~ you will begin to pray about it!  That’s where it gets dynamic! We have a God who loves us and is not limited by finances, opportunity, or timing! He wants us to dream!

It has been astounding to watch the miracles that have taken place in the lives of those I have Coached as they allow themselves the freedom to dream again.  I watched surprising doors open, incredible connections made, even prizes won by those who have begun to ALLOW themselves to pursue their dreams.

As a coach I’ve got an Action Step for you:  Grab a note pad & pen, head to an inspiring location, and begin to put your dreams where YOU can see them. What are your dreams Physically, Spiritually, Financially,  Professionally?  Do you have dreams to travel, to do something creative, to build a legacy, or to grow intellectually?      Just start writing! You might surprise yourself.   Then share your dreams with someone who will nourish them and encourage you to pursue them!  Honestly, one year from now you will be able to cross some of them off your  list as they come to fruition!

Oh, and don’t leave me out of the loop! Fill me in WHEN you experience dreams fulfilled, not IF! 🙂