When you dream, what dollar figures come to your mind? Once upon a time I dreamed in hundreds. Actually, if I am honest, there was a time when I dreamed in pennies, then quarters, then dollars, and then I finally dreamed in hundreds. It is a process of growth, experience, and maturity.Read More
wife, mom, coach, & entrepreneur
Filtering by Tag: opportunity
Based on the amount of receiving our family has done in the past two to three months, I would say that we are going to be some seriously extraordinary givers in the future. I humbly shed tears of gratefulness every couple daysRead 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
Do you have specific times of reflection throughout the year? For most people birthdays (even the birthdays of our children), anniversaries, and New Year's are times to look back at where we have been and what we have accomplished. They are also times to look forward to what is next, sometimes even setting goals for the future. I have noticed that extraordinary events do the same thing. It was two years ago today (October 23, 2014) that I was rolled into an operating room in Portland, OR and left that operating room six hours later with only one kidney.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
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
In 2010 my husband, Joe, began the official journey of writing his first book. He was writing for a daily devotional site and one particular week he wrote a series on the life of Joseph. The readers gave tremendous feedback and wanted to read and learn more. This was the inspiration Joe needed to get his dream of writing a book off the ground. So, what came first - the inspiration or the writing?
Think about the question this way: What if Joe had simply been waiting for inspiration (the right thoughts, ideas, audience, a publishing company to offer him a book deal)? Would the book be written?
I venture to say that he would not have been writing for the devotional site in the first place if he was waiting for inspiration, waiting for the invite, waiting for the phone call, or waiting for the eager audience to emerge.
The writing came first.
Writing daily was just the beginning. This daily habit and desire to share with others caused Joe to pursue writing for the daily devotional site. He was not invited. Well, it was a very loose invitation and it required initial action on Joe's part. After several months of writing, the devotional series on Joseph emerged and was ultimately the catalyst for putting those initial thoughts into the pages of a book. Project Joseph is an amazing tool for dealing with past pain and gaining a new, life-changing perspective.
Are you waiting for inspiration before you take action on your dreams? What action do you need to take or what habit must become part of your daily life so that you are in a place where inspiration can appear.
When inspiration comes, will you be ready to receive and act on it? I hope so!
For example, imagine your kitchen is a disaster and the sink is piled with dishes. We also have a corner of our kitchen counter that is often stacked with mail, school papers, books, and today there is a pair of binoculars. When I look at the kitchen it can seem overwhelming -- it seems like it would take an hour to get it back in shape.
Here is where fifteen minutes comes in to save the day. Set a timer (thank you Fly Lady) for fifteen minutes, pick something (i.e. dishes, counter, or table), crank up some tunes, and get busy. This isn't even about hurrying, but work on the kitchen for the full fifteen minutes. Every time I do this I am blown away by how quickly things turn around. Usually I easily finish within the timed fifteen minutes. Often I accomplish more -- recycling out, garbage out, dishwasher started, etc.
I have seen this same thing work with other areas of the house, my work time (working at home requires self-motivation that is sometimes lacking), solving a problem, and even my attitude.
One area of my home that requires fifteen minutes of consistent attention is paper and clutter. I gave this one the first fifteen and then realized it would serve me and my family to give those papers fifteen minutes of each day. You can read about this decision in Moomers, Candy Crush, and Paper Piles.
It's not much, but fifteen minutes a day could improve your marriage, change your financial situation, clean up your clutter, put dinner on the table, flowers in the vase, veggies in the garden, artwork on the walls, and much much more.
What area of your life could use a fifteen minute turn-around? Is there something that is in desperate need of fifteen minutes of your attention? The journey of an extraordinary life can begin with just fifteen minutes.
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!
That unsettling moment when . . . you realize the problem one of your children is having actually stems from your poor choices and not just theirs! I just had one of those gut-wrenching realizations during a discussion with one of my kids. My child is fully owning and processing that poor choice and now so am I.
My personal lack of discipline directly impacted my kid. Would he/she have made the same choice even if I was fully living the disciplined life I desire? Perhaps, but I am taking this nudge in my spirit as a real wake-up call to get some things in order and under control in my personal life. My personal disciplines have been lax at best.
The reality is that every choice, to do or not do something that I know I should or should not do, is critical and impacts not only my life and dreams, but those around me as well. I am not alone in the consequences of my choices.
This comes on the heels of my aha around the extra effort it takes to make a life extraordinary. If I wasn't sure which area needed a little extra attention, it is crystal clear now. I can't simply hope things get better. It is time to make a plan, set it in motion, and install accountability. There is much at stake.
My life purpose is to enrich the lives of others through compassion, generosity, and extraordinary living. When is the last time you sat down and considered the purpose and direction of your life, business, health or family? Having a specific purpose in any endeavor gives parameters and direction to all the little choices connected to that endeavor. So often I am caught up with the daily grind that I don't take time to really consider whether I am even on the path that leads toward my goals and dreams. In the chaos and mundane routines, it is easy to lose site of these goals and dreams. This weekend I took a much-needed night away to refocus, and strategize the direction of my business. (I am so thankful for a spouse who sees the value of this time and even made sure it happened!) In a few short hours I recalled and clarified what I do: I am a coach. I teach people how to earn full-time income while working part-time from home. That seems rather simple and also sounds a little over-kill to take a night away to get this kind of amazing clarity.
This clarity arrived in the first hour, but the hours since then have been just as crucial. I mapped out how everything I tried to do to build my business now has a purpose and focus. If I post on Facebook or any other form of social media, and I hope to see a direct impact in my business then I better know where I'm headed. There is no way for anyone to follow me if I do not know where I am going. This is true for any goal in life, business, health, or family.
What is your purpose? for your life? for your family? for your future? for your health? for your business? What area of your life could use some serious consideration about the direction and path you will take?
These words, by Matt Redman, always take me back to that morning drive to the hospital on kidney donation day. I've heard and sung the song at least a hundred times in this past year. A couple of weeks ago I realized that those words were so real every time I heard them. I was truly at peace in that moment, October 23, 2012, and willing for whatever direction my life took that day. Those same words (although not that song) were said in April 2011 on the day we said "yes" to Tati becoming part of our family and March 2013 as we drove our family to our new home across the country.
That's all great, but what about this day? Can I say those same words today and every day? "Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me". Can I accept "whatever"? Am I living in a mindset and willingness that I will accept the unknowns of this day, the one right before me? I want to. It's part of this amazing, extraordinary journey - the unknown. It's easy to say what I think I can and can't handle. I'd like to think I could handle a one million dollar donation to my bank account today. I'm willing to try that one out anyway. But I don't always get to choose the "whatever lies before me".
The reality is that all I can do today is be willing for whatever may come. I can practice the parts I can control, my responses to the circumstances around me today. In that daily practice, I am refining my spirit and strengthening my resolve to live an extraordinary life. I don't know what my next big extraordinary challenge will be or even if it will come today, but I do know that even the seemingly small things are part of the extraordinary journey.
Are you in the journey? Are you living the extraordinary life that is before you today? Can you honestly say that you will still be singing when this evening comes, no matter what may pass and whatever lies before you today? Say yes to the extraordinary journey today! It may seem scary but it's 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?
Picking up where we left off in the last blog, I wanted to take the time to interview AJ and get his direct perspective on his No Candy No Pop Challenge. For starters he informed me that he would rather I call it "soda" than "pop" and therefore the name change on this blog. :)
Traci: What was the challenge from your perspective?
AJ: To go a full year without candy or soda.
Traci: Define candy.
AJ: Anything you would get on Halloween.
Traci: What was your first thought when you were presented with the challenge?
AJ: I thought it was impossible.
Traci: It took you two days to make the decision . . what made you change your mind about it being impossible?
AJ: Another person did it meaning it must be possible, so I decided to give it a try.
Traci: Why did you take this challenge on?
AJ: 1) The reward. ($365, all or nothing) 2) To show myself that I could do it. It's not impossible.
Traci: How were you able to accomplish this challenge?
AJ: 1) I kept repeating the Bible verse, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." 2) Support from family and friends. 3) Saying "I am choosing" instead of "I have to". It was my choice. I could end it whenever I wanted.
Traci: What challenges did you face along the way?
AJ: 1) We moved to Michigan, on a camp, where they have pop and candy. It was tempting especially during my week of camp. 2) Right before it ended - I really wanted to be done. 3) Friends and family would forget and offer candy and soda. It felt like they were doing it on purpose to taunt me.
Traci: How did you handle these challenges?
AJ: I knew I wasn't going to back out anytime during the challenge so I just kind of stepped through them.
Traci: Would you do this challenge again? Why?
AJ: (A moment of pause). Yes. Without doing challenging things (like this challenge), I wouldn't be ready or able to do other challenging things God has for me later.
AJ is a pretty wise 12-year-old. What challenge or challenges have you been putting off? What new challenge are you willing to step into that will move you in the direction of your dreams and goals? 1) Choose your challenge. 2) Clearly define the parameters. 3) Enroll family and friends as your support team. 4) Give yourself a reason or set a reward that will motivate you along the way.
Will it be worth it? According to AJ it is worth it.
October 23, 2013 marks the one year anniversary of donating my left kidney to a wonderful recipient, Rhonda. This event and the six months leading up to this event radically changed my thinking, my perspective, and my life. I am forever humbled by and grateful for the privilege of being a part of Rhonda's transformation story. And Rhonda's physical life has been transformed. I had a front row seat to instant change. Knowing that one willing act created profound change in the quality of life of my friend is overwhelming.
How do I put this journey into words? One year later and I still don't know the answer to that question, so here are my thoughts today.
As Joe and I headed to OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University) in the dark, early morning of October 23, I pushed 'play' on my specially made playlist entitled "peace". We had stayed at a hotel just one song from the hospital and as the song began we heard these words, "The sun comes up It's a new day dawning It's time to sing Your song again Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me Let me be singing when the evening comes."
After months of testing, preparing, testing, waiting, testing and more testing, we knew that this was the moment. The moment to put full trust and faith in God's plan. My life was in the hands of the doctor, Rhonda's receptiveness to the kidney was uncertain, recovery was unknown. God was ultimately in control of all these things and that knowledge gave me peace like I have never experienced before. I had heard people talk about 'quiet confidence' before and that day, with full awareness, I experienced it up close and personal. Those who have heard my story before know how I feel about needles, blood draws, IV's and hospitals. I don't like the smells or thoughts about any of those. I often feel faint (and have fainted). I've never even donated a pint of blood. Yet, on October 22 and 23 I experienced peace and clarity like never before. A wink from God (as a buddy of my husband once said).
Giving a kidney did not really change my physical health. After recovery from surgery (and a hernia surgery 7 months later), I really don't feel any different physically. However, my heart seems to have undergone a transplant. My compassion for others has increased. My burning desire to live an extraordinary life has intensified. My influence is different. I think differently. I feel differently. I connect differently. My kids are changed. My husband is changed. The song in my spirit will never be the same.
"Sing like never before Oh my soul I worship Your holy name."
To read my husband's thoughts the day after surgery, click here.
To read my perspective one month after transplant, click here.
I stopped to get gas today - at a gas station I've never been to - in a part of town I rarely visit. As I was filling the tank a girl approached. The 17-year-old girl was wearing pajamas and no shoes. She asked to borrow my phone and was unable to reach anyone to pick her up. I discovered that she had been in the hospital followed by a day in jail for not meeting her probation requirements.
While she was on the phone - before I knew her age or story - I prayed that God would give me wisdom and that I wouldn't miss an opportunity because of inconvenience or fear.
An opportunity for what?
I don't know exactly. Probably not the answer you were looking for and to be quite honest it wasn't the answer I was looking for either. After driving Tanya 20 minutes in the opposite direction I was originally headed and dropping her off at her aunt's house, I asked myself a question: What was I hoping to gain by helping Tanya? What opportunity did I not want to miss?
I have discovered many things in my quest to live an extraordinary life. One of those is that it is not the specific things we do that make a life extraordinary, but rather my obedience to God and my response to the opportunities I encounter. The reality is that I don't know what God has for me or will request of me around the next corner, but I do know that I don't want to miss it because I was unwilling to help a shoeless girl get across town. It's easy to show up for the big opportunities and recognition, but God demands more for me and my desire to live an extraordinary life. He wants my heart and attitude in all situations - to live extraordinary when no one is watching. To live extraordinary when the only one watching is a 17-year-old girl who just got out of jail.
So what is the opportunity I don't want to miss? The opportunity that I can't even see. The encounter around the next corner that changes a life, a family, a community, a nation or a world - I want to be ready.
Are you embracing the opportunities you face, big and small? Every encounter is a piece of the story and a step in the journey of an extraordinary life.