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
wife, mom, coach, & entrepreneur
Filtering by Tag: decision
Do you like peace? Do you like your home to feel peaceful? Do you ever wish your home looked like it was taken straight out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine? You know the look . . . clean countertops, fluffed pillows neatly placed on the couches, beautiful lighting, great music, and sipping your favorite beverage while curled up reading a book in a cozy chair in the corner of the living room. This is the the look, feel, and experience of every mom in every home in America. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?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
Frequently on Facebook I run into something extraordinary. More often than not I hear people complain about all of the complaining and drama on Facebook, but the amazing stories are there too if you look for them. I was inspired by a post written by my Facebook friend, Heather. If you are ever looking to buy or sell a home in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Heather is your woman. Here is Heather's story one Wednesday morning in September:Read More
The journey of an extraordinary life is a series of small, important steps. It is easy to see "successful" people and think they simply got lucky or that success fell in their laps. I have experienced just enough success and just enough failure to know that it is not merely luck that gets a person anywhere worth going. Happy marriages, booming businesses, new cars, and first-class tickets do not come to those who sit around and do nothing.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
made a decision years ago to embark on the journey toward healthier eating. The philosophy I chose then and still believe in today is that of eating low-glycemic. I also chose long-term lifestyle changes rather than short-term diet fads. This has definitely been a journey of progress, not perfection! (If you would like to learn more about low-gi eating and the program I use and recommend, click here.) I am a simpleton when it comes to cooking. I thrive in baking more than cooking because I am good at following directions, but not so good at improvising with a little this and that in the kitchen.Read More
Those of you born in the 90's and beyond may not remember this catchy little tune that actually hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for two consecutive weeks in 1988. Those of you who do remember may have the pleasure of this song being stuck in your head for the next two weeks!
Let's begin with a big parenthesis. "Happy," as it is used in the English language, is not the goal of this life. For this post, and for the future when this song is stuck in our heads, let's redefine "happy."
Happy: extraordinary peace; joy in spite of circumstances; placement of people and situations which I can not change or control into the hands of a God who loves me and wants the best for me.
If you were to make a line with worry on the far left and happy on the far right, where would you place your dot? Where would your marriage dot, parenting dot, financial dot, health dot, safety dot, future dot, and death dot go on that line?
I have a lot of experience with worry. I don't have a PhD, but I would not say that I am a beginner. (By the way, this isn't necessarily a good thing!) One thing I know for certain: worry does not serve me. Worry in one area of my life (i.e. finances) impacts areas of my life that are relatively free from worry. Worry impacts my emotions, responses, relationships, productivity, and even the fine lines and wrinkles on my face! Worry is not worth it!
"Don't worry, be happy" is a choice.
Nobody makes us worry. We choose worry when we hide instead of owning our part in a situation, procrastinate, leave bills unpaid, don't communicate clearly, and don't resolve grievances.
What are you doing -- or not doing -- that is causing worry in your life? Honestly evaluate key areas of life (dots listed above). Take 15 minutes and come up with a solution or take an action that will move your spirit in the direction of happy.
John 10:10 says that Jesus came so that we might have "life, more and better life than we ever dreamed of." That is the kind of extraordinary life I want to live; how about you?
Personal development is an absolute necessity to live an extraordinary life. My first real experience with this type of learning (besides life events) was in 2007 when I attended a weekend, experiential, personal growth and development seminar. Since then I have attended many more seminars and trainings. I have also read and listened to books to enhance my personal growth and learning. The method of gaining knowledge is not as important as the consistency of learning and the application of the knowledge. I attend seminars, submit myself to one-on-one coaching, and read/listen to books that force me to see where I currently am and challenge me to live out more of my potential.
There are many benefits of taking the time and spending the money to learn more in this area of personal development. Remember that the benefits will only be experienced by taking action, making changes, and being held accountable to help the changes stick long-term.
Encouragement Discouragement comes in life. Shocking, right? I am amazed at how many times my area of frustration in business or parenting is addressed in the books I am reading. It is encouraging to find a solution and to discover that I'm not the only one who has experienced the same struggle. Personal development is a great way to combat discouragement.
Challenge The books I read, coaching I receive, seminars I attend are not just fluffy, feel-good, rah-rah times of encouragement. I am challenged - challenged to look honestly at MY behavior and choices. (Remember this is personal development.) If you are not being challenged then you may want to change what you are reading or listening to.
Growth This is where the learning meets real life. Am I going to take the challenge I received and do something about it? It is in the process of living out our awareness (challenges) that I experience real growth. I change! Change is difficult and this is where accountability comes in. Not many people have the sheer will-power to make big changes stick. I am thankful for my husband, coach, and others who hold my feet to the fire so I can grow, change, and live a truly extraordinary life.
Impact This, to me, is the exciting and rewarding part of personal development. During and after difficult periods of growth and change, I have the opportunity to take what I have learned and impact others. Many talk about wanting to change the world but don't know how. I think the best way to change to the world is to first change ourselves - one lesson, one habit, one challenge at a time.
The cost of living an extraordinary life is often high, but always worth it!
Are you that committed to your big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAGs)? Most of us fit better with Mandisa's song, Waiting for Tomorrow. "Maybe tomorrow I'll start over Maybe tomorrow I will finally change my ways Said the same thing yesterday Don't know why I'm so afraid."
Often it feels easier to make plans for tomorrow than to live out those plans today regardless of the results we may see immediately. Who doesn't want big results with little effort? The most successful people appear to be sitting there while money, friends, and accolades are poured into their laps. But at a closer glance, most successful people have daily habits (that they follow) which over time produce results.
Jordan Kemper is one of the most successful young men in the company I work with. His success appears to come so easily and I think it does--now. I heard Jordan share about the struggles he faced in the first year of his business. Nothing came easy and it didn't look like success would come at all. What did Jordan do? He kept working. He did what he knew was right. He didn't take short-cuts. He worked his butt off and followed the wisdom of his mentors. Daily. Weekly. Monthly . . . until success came and kept coming!
We can create that too if we are willing to pay the price up front.
Are you willing to pay the price of working daily for your goals and dreams? Are you willing to work at that relationship, that pile of debt, that book you've been meaning to write, that business venture daily, weekly, and monthly until you see the results you desire?
It isn't always easy, but paying the price up front is always worth it!
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!
I am a yo-yo. Not a silly, goofy girl (although some have seen that side of me). I am a yo-yo goal-getter. I'm on, then off, then on again. I'm on health kicks and business runs and then I'm not. This is very problematic when it comes to achieving big goals. The short goals (30 days or less) are not so bad, but some of the things I want for my life and business as well as dreams that Joe and I have together are bigger than a 30-day challenge or even a 100-day challenge! 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.
How do you stop the yo-yo?
Determine what is holding you back. When you look at your goals and dreams, what is that one (or two or three) constant that keeps showing up and robbing you of those dreams? If you are like me, at least one of these answers will come to your mind without any hesitation. Most of us know what our Achilles heel is in life. And, if you're like me, you won't want to speak that answer out loud. Why? Because acknowledging what holds me back now makes me responsible. From this point on, I choose. I either choose to address this beast or ignore it, but either way I choose.
Maybe you can relate to one of the three biggies that are holding me back: #1 Moomers Moomers has been voted the best ice cream in America by Good Morning America and I would have to agree - it's amazing! Moomers is not actually holding me back, but represents one of my biggest struggles - sugar! I love sweets! When I consume sweets . . . I eat too much, I crave more sugar, I have less energy, I gain weight, I am moody (more than usual), etc. Sweets do not serve me.
#2 Paper Piles These paper piles include bills, junk mail, important mail, receipts, forms for the kids. Paper piles are overtaking my desk, kitchen counter, table, bookshelf, and any other available flat surface. Seeing the piles causes me stress. I don't work well in the chaos; phone numbers are misplaced; important documents are missing and we don't even know it. Do I need to continue? I think you get the point. All of these things cause me stress and I am not very productive in the midst of them.
#3 Candy Crush I enjoy Candy Crush along with a lot of other games for my iPad. I like the challenge. If I am honest, these games contribute more to wasting my time than building my mental muscles. When I choose to play one of these games I am often avoiding other things that need to be done. I play longer than I intend to, meaning that I stay up later or don't accomplish important tasks. "Just one more time." I've said that more times than I can count - to myself and my family.
So, there they are. Three things that are holding me back from living the life of my dreams. What are yours? Can you identify one, two, or three? Are you willing to name them "out loud" in the comment box below?
Identification is good, but there is more. Part II is coming.
Seriously pursuing the life of your dreams is not easy, but it is worth it!
To read part I of this series, click here.
I have gained awareness about my negativity and, because of that awareness, I no longer want to walk that path. Now what? Ephesians 4:28-32 in the Bible says that the person who steals must stop stealing, but it doesn't end there. It goes on to say, "rather he must labor, doing good with his own hands. . " And, similarly, if you are going to stop unwholesome talk from coming out of your mouth, the idea is not to stop talking completely, but to choose words that benefit and build up the listener. The same is true of negativity. When I made a decision to stop being negative, that negativity needed a replacement. I wanted to insert joy in my life, but trying harder wasn't enough.
Surface change is only temporary, so to dig deep and truly change it was necessary to make core changes. The initial awareness was a big factor, followed by some lessons I learned and poured over in the book The 4:8 Principle. This book is based on the verse Philippians 4:8 which encourages us to choose which things we think about. It was the study and application of the principles in this book that brought about lasting change.
A couple of sentences that contributed to my changed outlook from Tommy Newberry's book, The 4:8 Principle:
"Start programming your mind by first disciplining your mouth."
Changing my language is a relatively simple and very practicle way to reprogram a negative mindset. Try this little exercise: Next time someone asks you how you are doing, respond with "I'm great!" or "Doing fantastic! Thanks for asking." This may seem silly, especially when you aren't "feeling" it, but please give it a try and see what happens. You may just surprise yourself. My husband, Joe, has a great illustration of this. You can read his story here.
"You will always feel what you dwell on."
Creating financial abundance in my business has been wonderful, but it hasn't always felt wonderful. While creating this financial freedom we were also facing enormous amounts of debt that had accumulated from hospital bills, sewer problems in our home, etc. When I dwell on enormous amounts of debt it doesn't matter how many dollars go into the bank account each Friday; I only feel the burden of debt. If I want to feel abundant, then I must dwell on abundance.
"You can starve negative emotions by tuning in to the big picture." This is what I call a heavy dose of perspective. I think about how busy, stressed, and overwhelmed I felt at times in high school. Relationships and homework were all-consuming. Everything was a big deal. Then I went to college. I could not believe how busy, stressed and overwhelmed those high schoolers acted. They had no idea what life was really like! The reality is that college gave me some experience and perspective. Sometimes I need to step outside my current situation (and negative emotions) and see life from a bigger vantage point. The big picture helps me release negative emotions and see the positive, potential, and promise of my situation.
Does your negativity need to be replaced? What steps will you take to begin this life-changing process? I would love to hear about your journey.
Change is not easy, but it is always worth it! Be Extraordinary!
Once upon a time I considered myself a natural pessimist. After a while, I decided that didn't carry such a nice ring so I called myself a realist. My assumption was that optimists were just the people that were born naturally positive. You know those people? The positive people that always see the glass half full and believe things will always turn out ok. I am married to one such person, and too often he was right and things did turn out ok even when it looked like they wouldn't. That is maddening to those of us who are naturally pessimistic -- um, I mean realists. I'm not sure when the aha came for me, but one day I realized that I, too - a naturally born realist - could CHOOSE to be positively optimistic. What? I have a choice even in this? Wow! But how?
The first key is awareness. I chose to step out of the denial that said I was born that way and had no choice in the matter. When I was no longer in denial, I could see the reality of my attitude - it stunk! Awareness stings. I realized I wasn't perfect and I wasn't right. I became aware that I needed things to turn out poorly so I could be right about my belief that things often turn out poorly. (That sounds terrible as I write it!)
I also became aware that my negativity was contagious. Have you ever noticed that negativity breeds more negativity which breeds more negativity which can turn the focus of your entire day? It is so easy to allow the negativity of others to create negativity in the outlook of your day. Just look through Facebook. Negative people read negative posts, comment on those posts then post their own negative posts. Then those people get in cars, shop in stores, engage their families and carry that negativity all over this world. It sounds dramatic because it is.
In my next post I will share some practical action steps that helped me see and choose to live on the positive side of the street where extraordinary people live. Until then, how about some negativity awareness? Are you breeding negativity - on Facebook, in your family, in your workplace, at the grocery store, behind the wheel? What excuses are you making for that negativity? Awareness is the first key.
How many times have you set the same resolution? Maybe you don't call it a "resolution", but you know what I'm talking about. We all have that goal, dream or resolution that always eludes us. We say, "this is the year, or month, or day that everything will change!" Maybe you reflect on the past year and realize, in one area or another, that you are in the same place you were last year at this time. Or, perhaps, you've had a wake-up as Alfred Nobel did (story featured in yesterday's post).
If you relate to being stuck or feel like your life is going in circles and fear that you will continue to end up in the same place over and over, then it is time to write a different story. My friend in business, Melissa, often reminds people that "your past does not define your future". The story of 2013 does not have to be the story of 2014. Just like Alfred Nobel, you too can choose something different.
Here are three steps that I am using to help write a different story in my life and hopefully they will help you write the story you dream of too!
1) Know your commitment and commit to the process. One of my resolves for 2014 is to be healthy and release weight. If healthy is the story I want to create then I better be committed and know clearly the process I am committed to. I will not arrive at healthy without making choices that reflect my commitment. Some of these choices are putting healthy food in my mouth; stocking the fridge with healthy, whole foods; filling my purse and car with shakes and bars for those times I am on the run; exercising regularly; and communicating with my accountability partners. I know what it takes to be healthy, but in order to really achieve healthy I must commit to the process.
2) Paint your story in living color. Tony, my business and life coach, is a master of painting life pictures. When he describes living in financial freedom, for example, it comes to life and I can visualize, feel, smell, and touch each piece as if I am actually living financially free. That kind of clarity is necessary if we are going to pursue dreams. We must be able to see our story in clear, living color. This can be done by writing your story as it looks on December 31, 2014. When you get to the end of this year what will you have accomplished? Write it in specific, detailed, living color.
3) Be accountable. I avoided accountability for many years because I convinced myself that it showed weakness to need help. I didn't want to bother others with my journey, but I also realized that my journey didn't go where I wanted it to without accountability. The dreams that elude me are ones that require changing my actions and my choices and that is where accountability comes in. For me, the idea of the end goal is exciting and inspiring, but a few days or weeks into the daily habits my excitement wanes and slowly my choices return to "normal". Accountability is key in order to maintain the changes until they become my new normal. (Joe will share more on choices in the next post.)
What story do you want to write for 2014? Take time before Part Three on Thursday to write out your story from the perspective of December 31, 2014.
The road to our dreams is not easy, but it is always worth it!
This is part 2 of a 4-part blog about the New Year. My husband and I are tag-teaming to create these special blogs, so be sure to read part 1 here, if you missed it. Part 3 will be at www.overboardministries.wordpress.com on Thursday, and part 4 will be back here on Friday.
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!
Today is a national holiday in the United States of America - Veteran's Day. I have very fond memories of this day, November 11, as well as Memorial Day in May. When I was a child, my dad was the superintendent for the city cemetery. We lived right across the street. In an odd sort of way the cemetery was my "playground". I became a proficient bike-rider on those streets, sledded down the back hill and picked blackberries near the canal.
My thoughts today are not drawn to those memories as much as they are drawn to the memories of processionals of cars lead by the sleek, black hearses; placing small American flags near hundreds of tombstones; filling the truck with loads of beautiful bouquets and placing those on tombstones for grieving families; and military uniforms and gun salutes.
I was bothered when I realized that my children had school on this holiday that honors the men who have fought for our freedom. This is the first time in all my years of public school as well as my children's that we have had school on this holiday. Does this infuriate any of you? We live in a new state and perhaps this is normal here, but I know for many this is not normal.
Before making any hasty comments below, please let me share how this relates to the journey of living an extraordinary life. . . at least to my personal journey.
I have a choice!
Whether the kids go to school or stay home, I have a choice. While it is easy to be upset at the school district, the state, or the government, the reality is that I have a choice. And what is it that really bothers me? Am I bothered that my kids did not receive another vacation day from school? Would I have done my own "Veteran's Celebration" with them if they had been home? Would we have gone to a local cemetery to place flags, flowers and give honor to our Veteran's?
Before pointing fingers at others we must take an honest look at our choices and our motives. Ordinary people go about looking for reasons to blame others and cause conflict. Extraordinary people rise above, acknowledge truth and own their choices.
Our veterans and current military fight for the freedom of our country. At the same time, we each have the opportunity to fight for our personal freedom by taking responsibility for our actions and reactions.
How are you living your life? Are you pointing fingers from your armchair or are you engaged in your life? What will you do today to rise above the ordinary, acknowledging the reality of your motives and owning your choices?
My 12-year-old son, AJ, is a stud! :) He is smart, athletic, witty, focused and a generally good kid. I love spending time with him - watching football, playing cards, or seeing him show-off some of his own sweet athletic moves. I love many things about who AJ is, but one really stands out to me: determination. When AJ decides to do something or to save money for something it is an opportunity to witness amazing determination. One time he was saving money for an iPad and in that situation every penny counted. In the summer all the kids decided they wanted to get smoothies. I told them I was happy to take them to the smoothie shop, but I wasn't going to pay - they were on their own. The girls got their money, but AJ told us to go ahead without him. When we returned he was having a smoothie. He had made his own with things we had in the house so he didn't have to use his money. Creative determination.
August of 2012 I threw out a challenge to AJ: no candy and no pop for one full year. This may seem an easy task for some of you, but believe me it was a challenge for AJ. This came about after a fellow USANA associate shared at International Convention how his daughter, AJ's same age, had gone one year without candy or pop. There was a monetary reward for this girl and I put a $365 reward out there for AJ, all or nothing. If he had candy or pop even one time in 365 days then his reward would be $0.
It took AJ two days to make his decision. He was in - all in! Consider, as AJ did, some of what this would mean . . .
Halloween - no candy, school (yes, they still have candy at school), friends and siblings (they do love to torture), Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, birthdays (his own and others), going out for burgers or pizza - no pop. Then to top things off, we moved to a camp with pop machines in the dining hall and candy in the Red Canoe (store). AJ was so determined that he wouldn't even eat a cookie that had M n' M's inside. He eliminated every possibility of missing his goal.
WOW! It is so convicting to consider what was accomplished. I have goals (desires) that I want with my health, family, income, business, etc. and yet I often find myself saying, "It's too hard!" Sometimes, as I've written before, these goals are only 30 or 90 days long. What could I accomplish in 365 days with the determination and focus of my son, AJ?
To be continued . . . because I want AJ to share with you how he was able to accomplish this great challenge. I think there will be lessons for all of us in what he has to share.
Life is rough! I had to wake up long before daylight this morning. In fact, I had to set my alarm for 5:40am so I could get a shower before having to drag the kids out of bed for school. I was so hungry that I had to eat an early breakfast, but the only thing I could find was PB&J. Then I had to make a sandwich for my son's lunch. When everyone was finally ready I had to drive the kids to a school 25 minutes away from our home! Are you feeling sorry for me yet? My life and circumstances are tough! Sadly, this reads like a lot of people's Facebook feeds and quite honestly, I feel kind of down about my own situation after reading the above scenario. My circumstances seem worse and the hope of life looking different does not seem possible. How did my life become so bleak? One simple word: choice.
Everyone has a choice for every circumstance in their life. Yes, everyone for every circumstance. In some instances we may not actually choose the specific circumstance, but we still have a choice in how we respond to the given circumstance. My husband, Joe, delves even deeper with this idea in his book, Project Joseph, where he unpacks the life of Joseph from the Bible. Joseph is a supreme example of someone who had every right to be a victim to his circumstances, but he recognized that he had a choice.
We choose. And when we can acknowledge the fact that we choose, then we have the power to make change in the future. One simple way we can begin to take back our power is by choosing our language around our choices. Let me illustrate be restating the first paragraph from a place of choice.
I chose to wake up early this morning, in time to to enjoy the peace of the quiet house. In fact, I chose to set my alarm for 5:40am so I could take a nice hot shower before waking my amazing kids up for school. I chose to eat breakfast and although it wasn't great, I chose the food I ate. I chose to help my son by making a sandwich for his lunch. I chose to talk with the kids while I drove them to school. (And I chose to enroll the kids in an excellent school, where I am their transportation.)
I chose my morning and if I want the actual activities or the attitudes of my day to change, then I must control my choices and the language around my choices. This tiny change of language has radically changed my life and it can change yours too! Kind of like Clean Sinks, Floss, and Sit-Ups - little changes of habit can create greater results than we could ever imagine.
We recently celebrated a "Sweet 16" in our house. Tatiana - aka Tots, Tatlianna, Cheesy Tots - turned the big 16! We first met Tati when she was 12 and started attending our youth group in Oregon. She has now been an amazing addition to our family for the past two and a half years. Tati is a beautiful, fun-loving, belly-laughing, successful and adaptable young woman. Our family loves her to pieces!
Adding Tati to our family is a piece of the amazing journey that began after I read the book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Let me pick up my side of the story in April 2011. . .
I was working through the study Experiencing God, and was very touched by the things I was learning. I would visit the Upper Room of the Broadway Coffee house and work on my study there, overlooking the beautiful trees of Salem, Oregon. One particular day in April, following my time of study I journaled this prayer:
"Lord, I want to be part of YOUR extraordinary work. I realize that comes by connecting and depending heart and soul on YOU. YOU are the one who works. I am YOUR willing vessel. It feels a little fearful to say these words because I don’t know what You will ask of me, but I am willing. Help me to know You and stay close to You.
“Lord . . . I choose to be ok not knowing the big plan for this next year, but rather listening for and responding to your next move. I love You, God and I want to be changed and used by You for extraordinary things.”
Later that very same day I was driving AJ, BJ and Celina home from school when I received a call from Joe that went something like this. "I just found out that Tati's mom will be heading back to prison for 2+ years and I think Tati should come live with us." Short pause. YES! I knew without doubt it was God's answer to my earlier prayer. My heart was fully ready and my answer was YES!
Have you ever found yourself in that place where you are ready for anything? So ready, that you are ok with what "anything" actually is? So ready that your eyes are wide open, ears are tuned up and heart is eager with anticipation for what comes next? It is an exciting place to be - fully surrendered and open - a place where great things are born.
I hope you take the opportunity to embrace someone or something new into your life, heart and family. I am so glad Tati is part of the journey God has for our family. I am so glad I said "YES!"