Without courage, opportunities would be missed, adventures would not be taken, friendships would not be forged, miracles would not be seen, blogs would not be written . . .
Without courage I would have settled for the ordinary.Read More
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Filtering by Tag: challenge
Without courage, opportunities would be missed, adventures would not be taken, friendships would not be forged, miracles would not be seen, blogs would not be written . . .
Without courage I would have settled for the ordinary.Read More
Have you ever been hurt or treated unjustly by someone who loves Jesus? Have you (who love Jesus) ever been the bearer of hurt or treated someone else unjustly?Read More
When I was 12, I had visited three states and had never traveled outside the USA. I lived in Wenatchee, WA and my big travels had taken me to Oregon (the northeastern tip, LaGrande) and Idaho, mostly by car, but at least one time by plane. I would venture to say that at that point my world was pretty small. Then, around the time I turned 13, my world quickly expanded.Read More
Do you want more papers, piles, unpaid bills, overflowing closets, puzzles with missing pieces, broken games or toys, clothes that don't fit, weight, stress, or chaos?
If you love everything on that list, you can stop reading now!!
Honestly, when I read that list, I want to immediately clean my closets, clean my pantry, and go run 3 miles. I don't want more of any of those things!Read More
I have been a little silent on the blogging front for the past few weeks. This is the first week without any new posts (I usually post twice each week), but it has been a few weeks since I have written something new. I was so proud of myself for having several weeks worth in the queue, but those disappeared quickly.Read More
The mind is a powerful tool that can work for us or against us. I am working through the book 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, and I am continually struck by how important it is to be proactive when it comes to the mind. Our thoughts spiral. Negative thoughts go on a downward spiral, feeding off of each other, and producing more negative thoughts and emotions. These thoughts turn into emotions, then into words, and finally into actions.Read More
"Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more." -Caribou Coffee I am generally not a morning person so my personal life motto would read more like this: Life is sleeping in an hour later because you can.Read More
One night the kids and I were hanging out in the living room. I was on the couch with Celina snuggled on my lap. She is 8 years old, but I think she will always find a way to snuggle on my lap! BJ was in the chair working on a drawing and AJ was standing near us. I don't remember exactly what he was doing, but probably tossing a ball in the air as he is often found with a ball in his hands. The topic of conversation moved to BJ and her desire to be a fashion designer. She loves fashion, style, and music. AJ asked her a question or two and BJ's response indicated that her belief about the fashion designing dreams were mere fantasies - she didn't really believe they could become reality. AJ jumped on this disbelief quickly and reminded her of her passion, talent, and skills. He said in a number of words and number of ways, "You can do it!"Read More
Achilles' heel: a fault or weakness that causes or could cause someone or something to faili.e. I am trying to lose weight, but ice cream is my Achilles' heel.
It took the rupture of my Achilles' tendon to make me aware of an Achilles' heel in my life.Read More
The extraordinary journey doesn't always seem all that . . extraordinary. Sometimes it lacks the intense feelings and emotions that are experienced in other moments. I had one of these experiences on my birthday. No, my whole birthday was not one of those experiences. The day was filled with peace, fun, laughter, new friends, old friends, hugs, cards, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and free coffee from Starbucks. It was a wonderful day and I knew (as I know now) that I was loved, appreciated, and cared for by many.Read More
Sunday, October 5, Joe and I completed the Sleeping Bear Dunes Half Marathon. Because of my foot injury I had only run one time in the previous three weeks without pain. That run was five days before the race and a distance of 3.5 miles. Also, the longest distance I had run before the race was 8.02 miles and 8.5 miles for Joe. Race day was filled with many firsts, personal records, and (of course!) life lessons.Read More
In March of 2013 our family made a big move across the country, from suburban Oregon to rural northern Michigan. We left family, friends, church, job, and schools we loved to pursue the next step in our extraordinary life journey. One of my biggest struggles was finding girlfriends. I honestly didn't realize how much I needed them or missed them until Joe and I attended Ultimate Leadership, a seminar in California earlier this year. At that seminar I came face to face with my resistance to and need for deep and serious -- as well as fun and silly -- girlfriend relationships. Lesson #1: I need girlfriends.
It is easy for me to be the Lone Ranger. I am strong and able to figure things out on my own. Making friends in the area we now live was not particularly easy, so staying strong on my own seemed a good enough solution. However, I have come to realize the great need in my soul for connection. My connection with my husband is awesome and I am grateful for such a strong relationship, but I also need girlfriends. Finding girlfriends wasn't as easy as I thought it should be, but avoiding those relationships didn't make life any easier either.
Lesson #2: Finding girlfriends requires personal initiative.
It has been a number of years since I have been "the new girl" in town. No one in the area (kids' school, church, etc.) was waiting with open arms to welcome me into their 20-years-in-the-making circle of friends. I actually had to take the initiative over and over again. I chose (most of the time) to let go of my care for what others think of me, be courageous, and invite myself into friendship with others. It was difficult and even painful at times, yet so worth it!
Lesson #3: Girlfriends understand you in ways that men cannot.
Joe and I faced a challenging situation recently. It was a private matter in our home and it was emotionally draining for both of us. There were many decisions to be made and challenges to be faced each day. Joe and I leaned on God and each other during this time. I also need the connection and care that can only come from a girlfriend. I am thankful that I took time to work on some of these girlfriend relationships so that I had a friend to call. We, women are very . . complicated . . and there are some ways that our souls can only be fed by another female.
Women: How are your girlfriend relationships? Are your girlfriends encouraging you to live an extraordinary life and have an extraordinary marriage? Are you contributing positively to the lives of other women?
Are you encouraging your husband to enjoy friendships, man nights, and man-cave time with his friends too? I am so grateful for the close guy friends that invest in my husband on a regular basis. It actually enhances our marriage in big ways.
Men: How about your man-relationships? Are you investing in and learning from other men in your life? Are you spending your man time building each other up and motivating each other to live extraordinary lives? Are you encouraging your wife to have girlfriends and invest in those relationships too?
The extraordinary life is not lived alone, but in the company of great friends.
Can you think of a season of life or even a moment when you experienced hope? On Sunday, as I was pulling out of church, I noticed the golf course across the street. I haven't noticed the golf course in about five months due to the feet and feet of snow covering the greens. Now, all around town, much of the snow has melted and we even have glimmers of brown grass, but on this particular Sunday I saw something different. It was not just the fact that I saw grass on the golf course, but that grass was green! Green grass coupled with the warm sunshine pouring through my window gave me an instant surge of hope. Hope of spring. Hope of summer. Hope of warm days, outdoor runs, trips to the lake, reading a book on my deck, BBQ's, bike riding, and so much more. All of this "hope" burst forth inside me when I saw that beautiful green.
Hope amazes me!
That internal excitement and anticipation did not remain inside. It overflowed into my conversation with the kids in the car. It came out in the smiles I shared as we went to the library and then on to the grocery store. My energy was increased. I didn't take the usual Sunday afternoon nap. I wrote a blog, helped with homework, did some cooking, and took a late afternoon walk. My day was different.
Hope is beautiful, energizing, and contagious. And I wonder, how can I infuse the energy of hope into each day? How can I, in one moment, shift my mental and emotional state when the golf green is not on my horizon?
What is your "golf green?" What infuses hope into your day and into your life? Please share so that we may learn from each other and impact our world with a fresh dose of hope.
Our family made the cross-country move from Oregon to Michigan one year ago this week. Reflecting on this past year I have a few thoughts and lessons I have learned along the way. 1 Grieve the Losses Leaving is sometimes difficult and it's ok to admit it. One loss I had to grieve in our move was the kids' bilingual immersion school and the ethnic diversity of our town. That loss was hard for me and I just had to let myself be sad about it.
2 Embrace the New Life I have seen people move to a new church, school, or town and everything in their life is constantly about where they used to live. They may even keep their dentist and hairdresser that is over an hour (or a state) away! On the flip-side, I have a friend who has moved her family to multiple states and I always see her embracing their new location quickly. I'm sure there is a time of grieving, but she doesn't live there.
3 Laugh and Have Fun Finding the good, the laughter, and the fun is a good thing in life and an extra good thing when experiencing big change. The book of Proverbs says that laughter is a good medicine, and it is so true. A good laugh, some fun playing a game around the table, or a fun new tradition goes a long way in moving past the grief and loss.
4 Try Something New In our new location there are many new things to try and enjoy. We have taken full advantage of the snow (like Buddy the Elf) in our new home tubing, walking, sliding, building forts, etc. We've visited new restaurants and created new traditions. This adds to the fun and has helped our family embrace our new life.
5 Connect to the Community Every community - church, camp, or town - has its own uniqueness. There are festivals, events, and local restaurants that help in connecting to a new community. In our new Village where we live (about 25 minutes outside the "big" town) we have become well-acquainted with the two local restaurants and the last-minute-stop-and-shop Lake Ann Grocery, aka LAG. By doing simple things (eating and shopping) within our community we feel connected.
6 Build a Relationship I have changed schools, towns, homes, and states a number of times in my life and it is easy to keep relationships at arm's length. When I do this I truly miss out on an opportunity to meet some wonderful people. I also miss out on an opportunity to serve others. The pain of moving away from close relationships is real and difficult, but never having those relationships in the first place is an even greater loss.
7 Enjoy the Moment Be here. Be present. Don't let the seasons - snow, rain, sunshine, and storms - pass without your awareness. There is beauty, wonder, laughter, tears, joy, and pain to be experienced. Be with those moments. The life we have on this earth is short and to live extraordinary is to be an active part of each day.
I would love to have you share a lesson from your journey in the comment box below. You can also read Joe's (my husband and extraordinary companion on this journey) perspective by clicking here.
After many years playing yo-yo, I am finally saying "ENOUGH!" I want the goals - the life of my dreams - more than I want to stay in my yo-yo comfort zone. (Read about my "yo-yo" here.) The first step in crushing the yo-yo is to determine what is holding you back. As I shared in part I, the top three things currently holding me back the most are sugar, paper piles, and iPad games. My commitment to these three is keeping my goals and dreams at arm's length month after month and year after year. Acknowledging what holds me back makes me responsible. From this point on, I choose. I either choose to address this beast or ignore it, but either way I choose. I am choosing to engage these top three in battle -- and I will win.
Yes, I say with confidence, "I will win!" How do I know I will win? Because I am burning the boats like Hernan Cortes in 1519. During the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the commander scuttled his ships so that his men would have to conquer or die. There was literally no going back. In the same way, I am not giving myself an out or a return pass to my former life. I am creating my future by making a decision, creating boundaries, and setting up strong accountability. Come back to my next blog post where I will discuss the hard-core accountability necessary to ensure success.
The Three Boats I Am Burning:
"What does this mean?" you ask. No sweets, desserts, soda, candy or sugary treats.
"When will you eat these delicious treats again?" you ask. I won't. Yes, I have considered the plethora of sugary opportunities that will come my way. No, this was not a light or easy decision.
#2 Paper Piles I am done making excuses about the mounds of paper on my desk, the kitchen counter, bookshelf, and any other flat surface in the house. I am done watching my stress increase with the increasing mounds.
"How will you eliminate all of this paper?" you ask. I will set a timer for fifteen minutes and work on these piles every day I am home.
"How will you keep these paper piles from returning?" you ask. Fifteen minutes a day. This is my new habit for life. Yes, for life.
#3 iPad Games I went 100 days without iPad games last fall and was amazed at how much I did not miss them. I will enjoy using this newly acquired time blogging, reading, crocheting, playing a game, connecting with my family, and working on my business to build our future and our fortune.
What is holding you back from living the life of your dreams? What are you willing to say "farewell" to for good?
Seriously pursuing the life of your dreams is not easy, but it is worth it!
If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know that my desire and passion is to live an extraordinary life. An extraordinary life is not simply made up of extraordinary events - although that is part of it - but is a life lived out in daily obedience. My obedience is a response to the voice, promptings, and intuitions of God. This means obedience to crazy-big decisions (i.e. donating a kidney!) AND also to the small things (i.e. taking that extra moment to look my child in the eyes!) In light of this desire, I have been challenged this week by my business and life coach, Tony, and through the book by Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect. I realize that my "extraordinary" life has become safe and complacent. I have been giving the bare minimum. A truly extraordinary life requires something extra, something more, than the average person is willing to give.
Business: Instead of making ten calls, make eleven.
Finance: Instead of putting $50 in the savings account, put $55.
Parenting: Instead of the 30 second "close your eyes and go to sleep" speech, give five intentional snuggling and listening moments at bedtime.
Marriage: Instead of greeting spouses with a quick kiss and "how was your day?", greet with a full seven second kiss followed by an embrace.
Health: Instead of the regular 30 minutes on the treadmill, push an extra two minutes at the fastest pace.
These ideas may seem small, but what would happen if we embraced just a little bit more over time? This is what Darren Hardy calls "the compound effect." Our choices compound over time, whether negative or positive. And extraordinary does not come about because of a one-time decision; it comes about through the compounded results of little choices each day.
Where can you step up to live extraordinary in your life? What little choices will you make that over time will make all the difference? This is the crazy thing about extraordinary living: making one extra sales call or spending two extra minutes on the treadmill don't seem that extraordinary, but the results of those actions and that mindset creates an extraordinary life.
It is not always easy, but it is worth it!
Problems. Conflict. Issues. What do you do with these? I have had a variety of responses to problems throughout my life. I have avoided conflict completely, attempted to make peace at all costs, and everything in between.
What is your first thought when you discover a problem or conflict in your office, between your children, with your spouse, parents, or a neighbor? Avoid? Make peace? Call a friend and tell them? Stress? Panic? Anger? Eye roll and a long sigh? Annoyed? ______?
Now that you have that answer and feeling in your mind, I have another question before you continue: Do you want to live an extraordinary life? If the answer is no that's fine, but you don't need to finish reading this post. If the answer is yes, then consider with me a new (or renewed) view of the problems in your life and business.
First, if you are living an extraordinary life, there better be problems.
I've heard this phrase said a number of different ways, but my favorite is by Brian Klemmer, "Great leaders eat problems for breakfast!" What does that mean? It means that extraordinary people (aka leaders) go after problems. The extraordinary move towards problems. The extraordinary wake up ready to tackle the problems and challenges of the day. The extraordinary are willing to develop and practice the skills to solve big problems. The more extraordinary, the better the skills, and the bigger the problems. Problems grow us and when we take them head on we become the people better able to handle the bigger problems in the future.
Avoidance of problems = Avoidance of progress
If you think that your business is good or your relationships are good because there are no problems, I encourage you to look again. This is not about creating problems, but facing conflict as it comes up. I have had this opportunity with one of my kids. This child and I went through a season of "peace". This peace was really an avoidance of conflict. It seemed easier to avoid than to go through the mess of getting to the source of the problem. Who wants to hear their child say how they are not measuring up as a parent? I didn't want to hear it and the false peace was better to this child than having to say it. We had no "problems" and we made no progress in our relationship until I was willing to go after and move toward the problem. Through the process I developed more skills to help me better handle more problems.
It actually takes more energy to avoid problems than it does to solve them. I can find an answer to most problems I face if I simply take fifteen quiet minutes to brainstorm the solution. Sometimes this requires the counsel of my husband, coach, or mastermind team, but the point is that I have the energy for the solution if I don't waste that energy trying to avoid the problem.
What about you? Are you eating problems for breakfast? Is there a work problem that you need to eat for breakfast? Do you need to snack on a solution for a conflict in your family? Would it serve you to seek council and find a solution for a long-term, unresolved issue?
Know problems . . . Know progress!
It's not always easy, but it is always worth it.
"Always stay focused, keep moving forward, and never, ever consider quitting." I cut this quote out of USANA's quarterly magazine several years ago and taped it to the edge of my computer monitor. I don't even remember how long ago or who said these inspiring words. The small piece of paper has endured new computers and a cross-country move. The words are a timeless reminder for those moments and seasons when my dreams are out of focus, I am stuck, and I feel like quitting.
Always stay focused. Focus is not always the problem, but the object of my focus can either move me closer or lead me further from my goals and dream. I must keep my goal in focus. I write down goals down - 30, 60, and 90 day goals which each point toward my larger six month and one year goals. Every goal is in alignment so that I stay focused on the path that leads to my dreams.
Keep moving forward. The only way to create momentum is to move, and the most difficult place to move from is a stationary position. It is like a large train sitting still on the tracks. It takes a large amount of force and energy to get the train in motion; however, once it starts moving and picking up speed it moves with very little force. I am noticing the same thing with my business. I am my own boss and it is up to me to get in motion. I get the ball rolling by picking up the phone, initiating a conversation, or responding to a need. These are also the things I choose to keep doing so that I can maintain momentum and encourage others.
Never, ever consider quitting. Take quit out of the vocabulary. I can honestly say that the only people I have seen fail in my line of work are the people who quit and the people who continually consider quitting. Let me illustrate with a non-business illustration:
Many of you know that Joe and I dated for a long time before we were married (17 years ago!). During our first 2 years of college (after dating 2+ years in high school) we dated "off and on." I couldn't even tell you why we broke up so much except for the fact that I allowed uncertainty to stay in my mind. This may sound silly, but I remember during the fall of my sophomore year of college recognizing my flakiness and making a decision that if Joe and I ever got back together that it would be for good. We were dating again within a few months and stayed together until we were married three years later. And in our marriage relationship divorce is off the table because we will never, ever consider quitting!
The achievement of my dreams demands that I "always stay focused, keep moving forward, and never, ever consider quitting." Where are you with your dreams? Which of these areas is keeping you from getting where you want to go?
The journey isn't always easy, but it's always worth it.
I did some calculating and discovered that I am in a pinch. Have you ever been there? Everything seemed good but then, when I looked at the situation more closely, I found myself in a big pinch. The cause of a pinch comes in various forms - emotional, relational, financial or even a health. Regardless of the reason the pressure of a sudden pinch almost knocks my feet right out from underneath me. I feel pressure, uncertainty and my mind is scrambling unsuccessfully for a quick solution. I need and want a solution, but when I am in the midst of panic a solution is the last thing I can come up with. All I can see are the problems, the uncertainties, the guilt and the blame. I have a simple process I work through (and am working through right now) to get myself in a place where I can see the solution.
1) Name the problem. I admittedly am in a bit of denial when I first find myself in a pinch. I don't want to believe this is happening; I want to take a nap and have it disappear while I sleep. Therefore, I must name in detail the problem at hand. There is no room for beating around the bush. It is time to call it exactly what it is.
2) Own my part. I do not usually find myself in a pinch and also find myself 100% free of anything to own. In my current pinch I made choices over the past several weeks and even months that have placed me in my situation. I acknowledge and say these choices out loud. By doing this I free my creativity to come out and do its work.
3) Brainstorm solutions. This is where the creativity comes out and is most crucial. Brainstorming is not about thinking inside the box or being reasonable. It is about possibility and super creativity. Any idea is ok in brainstorming; even if an idea is ridiculous and does not work, it may be the one that causes me to think of the idea that does work.
4) Choose and move. Once the brainstorming is complete then it is time to choose a course of action. I like "choose and move" because putting feet (action) to the plan is critical. My choices put me in the pinch in the first place and my choices (different ones) are going to move me into a better place whether it be emotional, relational, financial, health or countless other pinches.
What about you? Are you in a pinch? Do you want out? What is your plan of action to get out of that pinch? These choices are not always easy, but they are always worth it!