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! 🙂

Spin Class~

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Up at 5am, I am blurry-eyed as I grab my Spin Shorts and tennis shoes! With the loving encouragement of my Daughter in law who joins me; I hop in the car and head to the Athletic club for the early morning Spin Class.

I have noticed something about me; if I think about an hour of Spinning I feel overwhelmed by the daunting ride ahead. However, as the instructor leads us to ride in intervals time just flies!  When we are asked to push HARD I am sure I can do it for 3 or 4 minutes knowing there is an end in sight.

There is a part of a Spin class that I didn’t anticipate and that is the value, the necessity of what the instructor calls “Recovery”. This is when we’ve pushed really hard for an interval and we are asked to remove any bike tension making it really easy to pedal. This allows our heart rate to go down a little and helps with the lactic acid in our legs. Then, after a brief recovery, we up the pace and the tension and we ride hard again.

This morning I was thinking about the need for “recovery” in our lives.  How often do we push ourselves in our lives without taking dearly needed recovery time? We keep working harder, moving faster, all the while hoping we can sustain the pace. However, the only real sustainable way to have a healthy, fruitful life is to have the ebb and flow of hard work and “recovery”.

What could recovery look like in your life? A long walk, painting, mountain bike ride, a nap, reading a book, time with a valued friend or family member, a slow cup of coffee, time spend in your Bible, or going on a long run?  Think about the pace of life you have been managing lately and see if you need to insert a little more recovery into your calendar.  Give yourself permission to step away and catch your breath.

I know for certain that if my Spin instructor required us to maintain a high intensity for the entire hour, many of us would not return, some might simply pass out. I am thankful for “recovery” after a revved up interval……………..even if it is 5:30 in the morning! 🙂

Keys to key Relationships! (re-post)

Building  Amazing Relationships!

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Relationships can bring us our greatest joys and our deepest wounds. We can’t control how others choose to respond in their relationships with us, but we can establish our own ground rules for having and maintaining quality relationships.

Below are some thoughts to consider as you navigate the relationships in your life:

1.  Surround yourself with positive people- finding like-minded, positive people will fill your cup. Spending the bulk of your time with those who suck the happiness out of you is unwise and unhealthy.

2. Accept people just the way they are – Save yourself the needless stress of trying to change people who don’t want to change. Fight the urge to engage in fruitless conversations, rather look for areas where you can agree and show support.

3. Forgive people and move forward –  holding anger or bitterness affects us much more than the individual we have been hurt by.  Forgiveness is not saying “What you did or said was okay.”  It is saying “I’m not going to let what you did ruin my happiness or steal my joy.” It doesn’t mean you forget it simply means that you choose to let go.

4.   Do little things for those in your life –  A card, a visit, a gift, an email, a text. Simply take opportunities to connect with and appreciate those your care about.  We all feel a little more valuable when we realize that someone has been thinking of us.

5.  Talk a little less, listen a little more –  Our relationships will grow if we move away from being the talker and take the time to listen! A listening ear is the greatest gift we could give to those we love.

6.  Be Loyal – be the kind of person that believes the best about those you love. Everyone needs to know that someone “has their back”. Be that person.

7.  Pick your battlegrounds – don’t pick petty arguments. We aren’t always “right”.  Focus on the things that truly matter and let the small stuff go!

8.  Encourage and cheer them on –  be excited for those you love! Spur them on! Don’t look at their opportunities or dreams with the lens of what it will cost you, rather keep them the priority.

9.  Remember that everyone has baggage –  we all enter relationship with a suitcase filled with past experiences; successes, disappointments, hurts, etc.  Sometimes that “baggage” effects the relationship and needs to be addressed. However, using grace and understanding will always be the most fruitful approach.

10. Let go of friendships that are no longer healthy – some relationships can run their course and a necessary ending needs to take place. To force relationships to continue when the season is over can be exhausting and eventually more harmful than good.  Be willing to appreciate the relationship for what it was, and then release it and move forward.

Relationships are our most valuable assets and worth the effort to keep them strong and healthy! Test these tips out and see if they help create healthier interactions in your relationships!!  Flourish in the days ahead!!

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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Daily Mentoring~

 

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“ If we waited for formal teaching moments to make a difference in the lives of others, most of us would miss the opportunity.”

Carol Kent, in her study Becoming A Woman of Influence, makes the point that in the normal routine of our lives, opportunities arise to impact those around us; to mentor others. We may simply miss these opportunities because we haven’t been formally invited into that role.   Sheryl Sandberg, in her book, Lean In, also discusses mentoring as a progression of our on-going relationships; that they develop naturally.

As a Professional Life Coach, I have the privilege to see the value of having someone in an “official role” in your life standing with you through key changes, challenges, and transitions in your life.  A coaching relationship may not develop naturally, rather it may be sought out.  It is an important and intentional role.

Mentoring, on the other hand can be expressed in small ways every day.

Growing up I was fortunate to have a grandmother who always spoke to me about the things she saw in my life that had promise. She took key opportunities to discuss ways to make good choices and to have confidence in myself.  She was my mentor.

When I was a young pastors wife in the tiny town of Susanville, CA I was facing the challenges of motherhood and church ministry. I happened to begin reading a monthly bible study in a Magazine called “Virtue”. The author, Nancie Carmichael, spoke about how we were loved and pursued by God.  She expressed my value as a woman and gave good teaching on how to walk through hard times.  She was my mentor.

In my life I have had numerous friends and colleagues who have been willing to engage in honest and meaningful dialogue with me.  These discussions have been a source of mentoring in my life.  Simply over coffee, walking the River Trail, or running together I have received precious nuggets of wisdom that have helped guide my steps.

In years past I had the joy of having a group of teen girls who I would meet with regularly.  We met this way for over 5 years.  We would have many talks about life, love, the future, God, and decision-making.  My focus on mentoring these lovely ladies was intentional and planned.  Yet, in my present day to day I find that if I am intentional to make every contact count with a word of encouragement, a positive suggestion, a helpful book recommendation, or even a thought provoking question; mentoring will happen~it flows naturally.

How about you?  In your daily life can you see opportunities around you to stir up good growth in others?  How meaningful would it be to make every connection count?

 Carol Kent shares a simple story in Becoming A Woman of Influence about a troubled and insecure teen girl who was contemplating suicide.  It was the last week of school and yearbooks were being signed.  “Meghan” asked her math teacher to sign her yearbook.  He wrote: “consider the lilies of the field, they sow not neither do they spin. Yet Solomon, in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  If God so clothed the grass in the field, shall He not much more clothe you Meghan? You have been a source of joy to me.  May you achieve your goals with joy!

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Her teacher was unaware of her emotional state but in a moment breathed life and hope where there had been none.  At his retirement party many years later, Meghan stood up and thanked Mr. Ottley for writing in her yearbook; it had changed her life.

Mr. Ottley was her mentor.

Mentoring can be that simple and profound!!  Today~see each interaction as an opportunity to breath life into those in your circle of influence and enjoy the adventure!

We need one another, we really do!

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  I was reminded again this week, through the sad events in Boston, Massachusetts that we really do need one another.  Out of the rubble of lost lives and limbs arose an army of people connected by sadness and grief going above and beyond to make sure they helped and supported every person they possibly could. Strangers housing disoriented families, men carrying children to safe places, and medical professionals jumping in to help wherever they found a need. In times of crisis we really do need one another.

However, in the regular rhythm of our daily lives we really need others as well. From the website “Live your Life well” I saw that research points to the on-going benefits of good social connection:

1.  Social connection brings increased happiness. When you are offered concrete help, emotional support, fresh perspective, wanted advice, and encouraging validation you will find that your emotions will stay more hope-filled then downcast.

2.  Better health is another benefit from being connected to others.  Loneliness is associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure, sleeplessness, and depression.

3.  Connecting regularly with others helps us to remember that life isn’t all about our challenges.  When connected to others we are also able to care for their needs, focus on being supportive, and share in our common challenges.  This can help us to have a balance in our own thinking.

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When thinking about friendships, some people think that in order to be less lonely they must be liked by everyone. That’s just not true!  The person who has 4,000 friends on Facebook is not necessarily “connected in relationship”….especially if the bulk of their free time is spent maintaining their Facebook page!  Two or three amazing , trusted friends/family can be all we need to be known, heard, or validated.

Life is busy.  Perhaps this has been an especially crazy season for you and quality connections with others has been tough to find; yet with a time of reflection you would have to honestly say that you have been experiencing some of the symptoms of a disconnect: discouragement, restlessness, isolation, etc.  Perhaps a few of these steps would be helpful in moving you into a place of connectedness:

1.  Make a list of those you would like to connect with, calendar a bi-weekly/monthly  time with them that allows you to spend some quality time.

2.  When spending time with those you value the most: turn off phones and other distracting devices.  Maximize what little time you have!

3.  Listen really well and repeat back what you have heard to be sure you truly understand what is being shared!

4.  Ask for help.  Even great friends will have trouble reading your mind.

5.  Share your appreciation for those you value; you may be thinking it but bridges are built when your actually share it!

6.  Move out of unhealthy relationships to give yourself fresh emotional and time margins to begin to invite quality connections into your life.  Boundaries are a good thing!

We need one another~In our personal lives as well as in a national crisis!  If you have found yourself isolating I beseech you to reach out and invite people IN again. 🙂

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“It is impossible for us to be all we can be in isolation.”  Paula P. Brownlee

Happy Birthday to a man I admire~~

013April 6th is my father, David Wray Jr’s,  birthday.  My father is a precious man.  If you could all spend one hour talking with him, you would know what I mean! My father is a man of wisdom and yet he is a man with a great sense of humor.   My dad is very kind hearted but can also be quite firm on what he values.

I wanted to take a moment to point out the elements that make a man a wonderful father:

1.  He allows you to make mistakes and loves you anyway.

2.  He is consistent in what he believes and stays true to his values.

3.  He shows affection often, listens well, and gives meaningful advice.

4.  He prays for his children.

5.  He makes time for his children.

6.  He loves his children’s mother.

7.  He doesn’t have a bad temper.

8.  He loves to create shared memories:  backpacking, fishing, vacations.

9.  He has a love and trust for God that is evident in all he does.

10. He is interested in his children’s lives and does all he can to be involved.

All of these represent the father that I have been richly blessed to have. It is my hope and prayer that my life is one that exemplifies that of a “loved” daughter.

Dad, thank you for overcoming obstacles, persevering when being a father of 6 daughters must have been overwhelming, for loving our mother so well, and for leading us, ultimately, to knowing that God is loving and trustworthy.

I love you.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!  🙂

Commit to being KIND~~

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People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Mother Teresa

What is the meaning of Kindness? Well, according to the Websters it means to be “generous, warm~hearted, charitable, considerate, tolerant, forbearing, and agreeable.”    Is this how people would describe you?

We all rub shoulders with many different types of people all day long~ do you respond with kindness as often as you can? Or perhaps you allow the challenges of your life impact how you speak to those around you.  Are you reactive, sharp, defensive, or blunt?    Speaking for myself; when I am responded to in such a matter I can easily have my spirit broken! Because of this I simply cannot allow myself the freedom to harm someone else in the same way.

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Spring, a new season, is right around the corner. Perhaps it could be a fresh new season of Kindness for you!  Listen to how you talk, filter your reactions, and decide before you start your day that you WILL choose kindness!

IF you choose this YOU will benefit most of all with a fresh sense of goodness, positive responses from others, and less conflict. When your head hits the pillow at night you may feel a real sense of satisfaction. You will be a positive influence on your family & workplace.  Aren’t those GREAT reasons?

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Happy Spring~ Happy NEW Season! 🙂