For Mom’s Eyes Only: Patience

Be patientPatience. From one mom’s heart to another.

If I am honest, I do not always show patience to my children, even though they are so valuable to me and I love them so much. Patience shows that what my children have to say is important and worth hearing. When I am patient, I wait to hear the whole story before I begin to speak and before I formulate responses in my mind. Patience allows God’s wisdom and love to catch up with my initial emotional responses. Patience affords me the space to think clearly and respond to my children’s actions, attitudes, and words with love.

I want to love my children with patience. I want to value their opinions, ideas, and thoughts. I want to value what they, as young people, have to offer. I want to pause long enough to truly hear all of the great and wonderful things they have to say.

Child of Mine: You are funny. You are adorable. You are innocent. You are thoughtful. You are smart. You are creative. You are unique. You are bold. You are a dreamer. You are hopeful. You are beautiful.

If I don’t respond with patience I miss all of these beautiful thoughts, words, actions, and feelings.

Child of Mine: You are hurting. You are angry. You are sad. You are misunderstood. You are in conflict. You are searching. You are hoping. You are wanting. You are lonely. You are afraid.

If I don’t respond with patience I miss all of these emotions that are shaping their lives and future choices from the inside out. Without patience, I will also miss out on the opportunity to walk the path of their lives alongside them.

I have so much to offer my children, but I lose the platform for sharing and communicating my ideas with them when I don’t take time to hear what they are saying, with and without words. So often, I want to get my thoughts out. I want to have influence over their decisions. I do this out of love for them, but it doesn’t come across that way when it is not done with patience. I can’t control their future choices or change their past choices by talking at them every chance I get.

Ultimately, I don’t want their silent obedience. I want a relationship with them. I want them to relate beautifully with God. I want them to live a life full of impact, faith, love, and the realization of their greatest dreams. This relationship I desire is not solely dependent on them. It begins with me.

Moms, will you join me in the following commitments?

I choose to be quick to listen and slow to speak.
I choose to listen to the entire story before I formulate thoughts or words of response.
The answer may not always be yes, but I choose to listen with the intent to understand my child’s heart.
I choose to be patient.

Moms: Be Extraordinary!

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Are You Listening?

The subconscious. Inner promptings. The Holy Spirit. Women’s intuition. Gut feelings. The little voice inside my head.

Whatever you believe it is or whatever you choose to call it, consider how well you listen and how well you act on what you hear.

do you listen“Do you listen?”

Everyone is busy, or at least they feel busy. There is very little quiet space in our lives and in our minds. I have seen in my own life the difficulty of being ok in the quiet spaces. Those spaces can be filled with many things like playing out scenarios in my mind, movies, TV shows, social media, or You Tube videos. All of this “noise” keeps me from truly listening to any instincts or prompts that might be happening. It is important to silence the chatter long enough to listen for that still, small voice.

Listening and hearing what we ought or ought not to do is just one part of the equation.

“Do you act upon what you hear?”

All of us, if we are honest, can think of a time when we did not follow the voice inside that said to do or not do something.

Have you ever felt like you should send a card to someone but didn’t do it?
Have you ever thought you ought to approach “that person” about business, but you were too afraid?
Have you ever thought the words “I love you” or considered a loving touch, but did not verbalize or take action?

What opportunities, feelings, or relationships have we missed out on because we were unwilling to respond when that little voice spoke?

There is so much good to be done and love to be spread in this world if we would only listen and then act on what we hear.

STOP! Silence the chatter. Ask yourself,

Is there an action that I should take right now?

Is there a word I ought to speak to the person next to me?

Is there something I could do right now to make a difference in someone’s day?

Listen. Act. And then share what difference that small deed or word made in your day.

Be Extraordinary!

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 6

Photo credit: Marcus Rahm / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Marcus Rahm / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Today’s blog post, “Best.Thanksgiving. Ever.”, comes to you from Danny Ray. Danny gives us a dose of perspective for Thanksgiving by taking a look at Noah’s attitude and gratitude.

“Can you picture Noah’s face when he saw the first rainbow? He just spent the last year on a boat with his family. 365+ days with his family! A year with his daughter-in-laws and his soon to be cursed son, Ham! How much Bingo, Monopoly and Scrabble can one family play? Imagine spending Thanksgiving with your entire family for a year with no place to go. . .”

Continue reading HERE.

In case you’ve missed any days so far, here are the links:

Day 1, Me

Day 2, Terry

Day 3, Bev

Day 4, Joe

Day 5, Tom

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Thanksgiving Blog-Venture Day 1

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Are you naturally producing joy and thankfulness?

Philippians 4:8, in the Bible, states:

Ph48Whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
Think About These Things!

Often I hear people (myself included) talk about “trying harder to be joyful or thankful.” Forcing a good attitude or smile on our faces isn’t fooling anybody, especially ourselves. The answer – the secret solution – to lasting joy is found in the final line of the above verse. “Think about these things” . . . think. It does not say to “feel” these things or to “do” these things or to “say” these things. We are supposed to think about these things.

In so many areas it is easy to put the focus on the external, the feeling, doing, or saying. With focus on the behavior we will see immediate results but we don’t always see lasting results. It takes work to change the patterns of our thoughts. Our thoughts are always on – we produce tens of thousands of them a day. We have thoughts while we do anything and everything, including sleep. These thoughts are products of thought patterns formed throughout our lifetime. The subconscious thoughts that go through our minds today are results of hours, days, and years of thought practice.

This is a good thing, right?

It is a good thing if the thoughts we think are true, honorable, just, pure, etc. But many of us have thought practices that build negative thought patterns.

Thoughts of fear and scarcity.
Thoughts of loneliness and abandonment.
Thoughts of sickness and death.
Thoughts of disappointment and failure.

If these are our thought patterns, what do you suppose the resulting feelings, words, and actions will be?
Will these negative thought patterns allow you to be genuinely joyful and thankful?

What would it look like to take gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy and make them year-long characteristics of our lives rather than seasonal ones?

If this was natural then everyone would be full of gratitude and joy. So, if you really want this for yourself, your family, your co-workers, and anyone else you influence, then you will need a proactive action plan.

What will you do this year to produce more gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

50 things1. Give Thanks Jar.

Write things you are thankful for throughout the year on slips of paper and put them in the jar. On Thanksgiving, read through the papers. I love the detail and stories that could be recorded in this jar. I got this idea from Becca’s blog.

2. I’m Thankful for You.

This is something you would do for a specific person. Write out what you love about that person. In Darren Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect, he talks about filling up a notebook for his wife for a whole year and then gave it to her as a gift for Thanksgiving. I used a pack of spiral bound 3×5 cards and did a similar concept over a shorter timeframe for my husband, Joe.

gratitude tree3. Gratitude Tree.

I see many families post photos of their gratitude trees during November. What about leaving the tree trunk up all year and putting up different colored leaves during different seasons? Christmas – red and green; Valentines – red, pink, and white; March – green; May – spring colors; July – red, white, and blue (for my American friends). I found a fall tree as an example on this blog link.

Whatever idea you use, please do something to promote gratitude in your own heart and for those around you. Please share your ideas below so we can encourage each other as we grow in gratitude.

Be Extraordinary!

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Bob’s Chili Recipe

ChiliWatching the movie Ratatouille with my family inspired my 13-year-old to want to do some cooking. I enjoy cooking for my family, even trying new recipes, but doing this task with my son was a true treat!

AJ’s first task was to choose a recipe. I was open to just about anything and he is willing to eat just about anything so the options were endless. He ventured into the notebook titled, “Traci’s Favorites”. This notebook was a craft created at a MOPs event at least five years ago. Please don’t let the title fool you. Although this notebook does contain many of my favorite recipes it also contains many recipes that I have yet to attempt.

The recipe selection: Bob’s Chili Recipe (from the notebook) and Cornbread (from the Original Betty Crocker Cookbook).

Chili2I’m not actually sure why I have never made Bob’s Chili. Years ago (not sure how many) I was trained and then facilitated health and weight-loss classes through a program called Trinity Health. The founders of Trinity Health are Bob and Vicki and this recipe is Bob’s. So, this is not only a good-tasting chili recipe, but it is also a good-for-you recipe! Win-win!

The recipe was simple to follow. Check.

The recipe did not involve any crazy or hard-to-find ingredients. Check.

There was plenty of chili for leftovers. Check.

Everyone in the family liked the chili. Priceless.

Bob’s Chili Recipe

Ingredients (ingredients we used, if different, are placed in parenthesis)

2 lbs. lean ground beef or ground turkey (beef)

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 green pepper, chopped (red pepper)

3 stalks celery, sliced

2 cans (15-16 oz each) whole tomatoes, cut into pieces (petite diced tomatoes)

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp Splenda (Stevia)

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tsp red pepper sauce (Tapatio Salsa Picante)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 small can diced green chilis, or 3-4 whole roasted green chilis, peeled and diced (canned)

1 can black beans

1 can rd beans

Directions

Chili3Cook and stir meat, onion, and garlic until meat is light brown, then drain. Stir in remaining ingredients, except beans. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans (don’t drain) and simmer another 45 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. (30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes)

Honestly, I can’t wait to make this recipe again. It was so delicious! Yet, even more than making the chili, I can’t wait to cook with AJ (or one of my other children) again. It was awesome!

Even the simple, mundane, everyday tasks can Be Extraordinary!

Do You Inspire Others?

Extraordinary kidsOne 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!”

At this moment Celina piped in with a statement that added fuel to the energy building in the room. She said,

“AJ, you always say stuff that makes us feel like our dreams can come true.”

AJ quoteIn the hour that followed papers were pulled out, drafts of ideas were made, and brainstorm lists were created. BJ created outfit designs. Celina had a list of her dreams consisting of a big red barn, farmhouse, and all the animals that we would find there. AJ has plenty of dreams of his own. He plans to be a wise and godly business man – first with USANA and then owning his own store by the time he is 30.

The greatest thing about all of this was the belief that I saw well up in each child. There was great excitement, energy, and bonding between the kids. They were helping each other and even discussing how each one would help the other in the achievement of their dreams.

Without even realizing it, AJ showed leadership that night. He inspired greatness in his younger sisters. He uncovered and stoked their belief.

When you are in the room, what do you inspire in others? What conversations are created because of your questions? Is there energy, positivity, and belief in your presense? I think we all can learn a valuable lesson about the extraordinary life from AJ’s example – I know that I can!

Be Extraordinary!

An Extraordinary Craving

pursue GodDo 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. Several hours later Rhonda would leave that same operating room with the other kidney.

That transaction changed my life. For the first year there were so many things that brought me back to the feelings of that time and experience. There were several songs that were particularly meaningful. I noticed when it was the 23rd of every month that first year. And the one year marker was very emotional.

Miss RhondaThis past May (2014) our whole family did a kidney walk in honor of Rhonda. The walk was put on by the National Kidney Foundation and held at the Detroit Zoo. It was a great day to remember all our family did and sacrificed to give this gift. I love my family so much and am so grateful that they were willing to partner with me in this extraordinary gift. They were directly involved and each person stepped up in their own way throughout the process.

kidney walkBut here is the interesting thing I am thinking about today.

You have probably heard me say in some form that being part of extraordinary events, people, and journeys brings me huge satisfaction and energizes me greatly. The experience of donating a kidney has long passed. Yes, the story continues . . . Rhonda is doing amazing! I still live with one kidney and am doing great! The story still happened. The story has been used to inspire, encourage, challenge, and bless others and I pray that it will continue to do so. But,

I am left with a craving for more of the extraordinary.

My life story is not over and donating a kidney does not, by itself, equal an extraordinary life. I have passion and desire for more – more of the extraordinary journey. Just like there are adrenaline junkies, I am a bit of an “extraordinary” junkie.

Sometimes the extraordinary life is loving my kids – taking extra minutes to tuck them in at night, signing up for a field trip, waiting for them after school, hugging them extra tight when they’ve had a rough day, or being super silly with them. These “simple” things are extraordinary and occasionally more difficult than gifting a kidney.

Sometimes the extraordinary life is taking the family on a mission trip to South Africa, moving across the country, or inviting someone to join your family.

This is what I do know:

A life lived in pursuit of the extraordinary is extremely difficult and even more extremely rewarding. After all the scary, exciting, difficult, joy-filled, and uncertain extraordinary living I have been blessed to do – I still want more. I have an extraordinary craving to leave this life having experienced everything God has available for me. I don’t want to miss any of it.

Are you living your own extraordinary journey? May you pursue all God has for you today as you live out your unique opportunity . . . your extraordinary life.

Be Extraordinary!