America, Could I have a word with you?



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.

“Measuring” my Life~


Sunday morning as I entered my church service I noticed that there were paper measuring tapes on each seat in the room.  Certainly seeing them lying there made me curious about how they would factor into our morning together.  As our Pastor began to share a passionate message he asked us all to take our measuring tapes and make a tear on the number of the age we are today.  We did it; he asked us to drop it over our shoulder because it represented our past.  Then, he requested that we take the rest of the tape and make a tear at the number (age) we would like to be on our last day on earth; lots of people were making a tear anywhere between 80-90.

Now, I recognize that only God knows the time we have left but it was a good exercise to walk through.  For those who were young, their remaining tape was long with many years ahead.  I am 57 so the take was significantly shorter than the college students nearby.  My mother, who was sitting beside me and is in her 80’s passed me her remaining tape and it was significantly smaller than mine.  This visual really gripped my heart and has caused me to ponder my remaining days…..

What kind of impact will my life have in my remaining years?  How will I use the time I have left to make a difference in the world around me? How can I be certain not to waste even one day on trivial pursuits? Seeing my relatively short measuring tape really brought these questions to the forefront of my mind.

A blog post by Max Lucado caught my eye this morning as it spoke to living a life that makes a difference, I just has to share it with you!

Today I Will Make A Difference. by Max Lucado

Today I Will Make A Difference
Today I will make a difference. I will begin by controlling my thoughts. A person is the product of his thoughts. I want to be happy and hopeful. Therefore, I will have thoughts that are happy and hopeful.

I refuse to be victimized by my circumstances. I will not let petty inconveniences such as stoplights, long lines, and traffic jams be my masters.

I will avoid negativism and gossip. Optimism will be my companion, and victory will be my hallmark. Today I will make a difference.
I will be grateful for the twenty-four hours that are before me. Time is a precious commodity. I refuse to allow what little time I have to be contaminated by self-pity, anxiety, or boredom. I will face this day with the joy of a child and the courage of a giant.

I will drink each minute as though it is my last. When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever. While it is here, I will use it for loving and giving. Today I will make a difference.
I will not let past failures haunt me. Even though my life is scarred with mistakes, I refuse to rummage through my trash heap of failures. I will admit them. I will correct them. I will press on. Victoriously. No failure is fatal. It’s OK to stumble…I will get up. It’s OK to fail…I will rise again.

Today I will make a difference.
I will spend time with those I love. My spouse, my children, my family. A man can own the world but be poor for the lack of love. A man can own nothing and yet be wealthy in relationships. Today I will spend at least five minutes with the significant people in my world. Five quality minutes of talking or hugging or thanking or listening. Five undiluted minutes with my mate, children, and friends.
Today I will make a difference.

Psalm 90-12     “So teach us to consider our mortality, so that we might live wisely.



What are you trying to say?


This past week I had the joy of babysitting one of my precious granddaughters, Scout Jubilee, 2 days in a row.  We had such fun together, however, we also faced a real challenge!  Scout is now a big talker, firmly expressing her thoughts about many different elements of her little life.  To her, she is speaking very clearly and certainly loud enough for her Mimi to fully understand what she is trying to convey.

Imagine her dismay when she looked into my very confused face and heard me say numerous times “Scout, Mimi doesn’t understand what you are saying.” Scout kept saying over and over “Ne Ne” and I kept asking her about different options to unlock the meaning of the words that clearly held a strong meaning for her!  After about and hour of trying to unlock the mystery I decided she was probably a little tired so I would kiss her and carry her upstairs for her afternoon nap.  The moment I headed up the stairs Scout started to say “Ne ne” all over again; but this time with her little head lying exhausted on my shoulder! And then it hit me, this little darling had been trying so hard to let me know she was very tired and wanted to go “night, night”!!

Because of my inability to clarify her words, I completely missed what she was longing to express! ( she slept for a little over 3 hours, by the way!)

I have pondered this experience with Scout and began to wonder how often we are all on the expressing side and the understanding side of a conversation.  I wonder how often we fail to express our heartfelt thoughts in a way the someone can truly understand what we are longing to say?  I wonder how often we fail to hear the real meaning of the words someone is trying to express to us?

Engaging in quality conversations can be a real art sometimes and I believe if we really want to understand someone else, if we really want to be able to respond in such a way as to make a difference, then we need to keep clarifying until we can see or hear that we have “got it”!! Are there any conversations in your relationships that are needing further clarification?  Are there questions needing to be asked for greater understanding?  The efforts to understand will make a big difference.

“The single biggest problem in a conversation is illusion that one has taken place!”  George Bernard Shaw

Daily Mentoring~



“ 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!

                                                                                        Mr. Ottley

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!

I Can’t Breath!

When the door to the plane closes you will always hear the words ” …and when the oxygen mask falls make sure you put the mask on yourself before attempting to help someone else with theirs.” We get so used to hearing the steward/stewardess say these words that we may not truly understand what a profound life principal this is!

As a former Pastor’s wife and presently a Life Coach I have often found myself attempting to serve and help others when I am depleted myself. This kind of service to others is not sustainable.  I become weary, overwhelmed, and even resentful of the very people I have been caring for.

I have learned a great deal about self care over the bast 10 years and have been practicing giving myself needed permission to take time to re-fuel and re-charge my energy with rest, recreation, reciprocal relationships, and spiritual renewal.

Serving others is such a worthy focus for all our lives; there is great joy in making a difference in our families, communities, and even the world. However, we cannot consistently give out of an “empty cup”.

Assess your life today.  Are you depleted of “oxygen”? Do you need permission to take time for your own self-care? Permission granted!! What can you change today that would help you re-charge and refuel? Exercise? Earlier bedtime? Quality food? Time alone? Time with God?

Just like it is expressed on the plane~If there isn’t air in YOUR lungs you cannot give good oxygen to anyone else.

Mark 12:31 says;  Love your neighbor AS yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than this.”     (not INSTEAD of yourself – 🙂   )